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Leader Of The Free World

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It was kind of a dare, and it was sort of at a party, which were both excuses Tony and Clint used a lot, because "we were drunk" was not an excuse Steve would put up with. Technically "it was at a party" wasn't either, but he and Tony had shouted their way through several arguments over "it was a dare", and the result was that Steve no longer got into fights over dares. Because Tony knew his history, and he knew that if Steve Rogers was telling someone not to take a dare, Steve Rogers was being a giant hypocrite.

"It's honestly not that hard to get your ass on a ballot," Tony said, tipping his beer at the presidential debate going on silently on one of the televisions. The Avengers had developed several patterns around their missions against Hydra, and Tony liked the post-assault protein-load that they usually did right after, but the post-assault party the weekend following a mission, that was his favorite.

"There's a ton of paperwork, isn't there?" Clint asked.

"Not really that much. I mean," Tony corrected, "Not that much if you have, you know, your own legal department."

"Oh, rich-dude-not-much," Clint teased. "So you could run for president pretty easily, huh?"

"Sure, if I wanted the job. Who the fuck wants to be president? Have you seen what it does to people? George Bush aged twenty years in the four years he was in the White House. Barack Obama looks like he needs ten thousand naps. Besides," he added philosophically, "there are too many hookers in my past."

"How many is too many to be president?" Clint asked.

"Five."

"Five, really? That's the number?"

"At once? Yeah," Tony replied. Clint gave him an awestruck salute. "Thank you, innocent one. See, now, you could be president."

"How do you know I don't have a sordid past?"

"Doesn't matter, I'm sure SHIELD erased it. Why, do you?"

"Nah," Clint said. "I'm an all-American corn-fed boy scout. I've been arrested a couple of times but never in my own name, and usually not in-country."

"See? You were in the Army, right?"

"Yeah," Clint said, sounding suddenly suspicious.

"And then you worked in intelligence, which the conservatives like. You're single, though, that's potentially a problem." Tony peered at him. "You don't have a secret wife and two-point-five kids hidden away on a farm somewhere, do you?"

Clint stared at him. "No..."

"Hm. Would you be willing to be married off in the service of your presidential campaign? Can't be Natasha, she's a Commie."

"Hill would marry me," Clint said.

"HILL!" Tony yelled. Maria looked up from where she was making conversation with some of Steve's old-guy soldier friends, then ambled over.

"Yeah?" she asked, leaning on the couch.

"Clint's gonna run for president, would you marry him?"

She gave Clint an assessing look. "I'm gonna pull an Eleanor Roosevelt."

"Like being a lesbian Eleanor Roosevelt or like being a loud social activist Eleanor Roosevelt?" Tony asked.

"Both."

"Sold."

"See you in the White House," Hill said, and went back to the bar.

"Who's gonna be my running mate?" Clint asked. "If I'm running as an independent I can't just take whoever lost to me in the primaries."

Tony's eyes drifted over the room and landed on Steve, who had been accosted by groupies and was, for once, smiling and looking unafraid. He might already be drunk; Thor had given him his own stash of Asgardian liquor, and Steve tended to save it for special occasions like "celebrating America" and "talking to women".

"Oooh," Clint said, following his gaze. "That's a lock. Does he need to marry a social activist lesbian too?"

"No, he can stay single, a hot VP would be a nice change," Tony said. "He'll play well to center-liberal soccer moms and, I don't know, militia members."

"What I'm hearing," Clint said, "is that between my SHIELD job and Steve's national symbolism, we could be running as conservative independents."

"Well, that'd work right up until Steve wore his HER BODY, HER CHOICE t-shirt again," Tony said.

"Oh man, that was the best week ever," Clint replied nostalgically.

"I'm serious, we could do this," Tony insisted. "It's about time I stirred some shit, and politics is more, whatever, socially relevant than another sex tape. It'd be fun social satire."

"Hey, I'm not arguing." Clint held up both hands innocently. "If you wanna, I'm on board."

"Too loud in here for voice recognition...Jarvis," Tony said, taking out his Starkphone and holding it to his ear.

"Sir," Jarvis replied.

"Clint's gonna run for president."

"An excellent choice for your inevitable shadow government, sir."

"Sass," Tony said affectionately. "I need you to marry him to Agent Hill, backdate it a couple'a years, and make sure neither of them have any scandals available to the public. Then get his name registered as an independent candidate, with Steve as VP."

"Shall I start a war chest, sir?"

"Sure," Tony said agreeably. "Throw a couple million in. Uh, the campaign donation limit from every account. No illegal donation monkey business."

"The paperwork to add Mr. Barton to the ballot will require several dozen signatures -- "

"Forge those. Notarize them too, will you? Pepper's still a notary public, I think."

"Is Captain Rogers aware that he is now a political candidate?" Jarvis asked.

"We'll tell him tomorrow. He loves political satire, he'll think it's funny," Tony said. There was a disapproving silence down the line. "You wanna be Clint's campaign manager?"

"That could be...enjoyable," Jarvis allowed.

"Done. Thank you," Tony said, and hung up.

"Am I running for president with a ninety-year-old war hero as my VP and a sentient computer program as my campaign manager?" Clint asked.

"Given Stark Industries is funding you, I expect to be Chief of Staff when you win," Tony informed him. "Wait, no. Secretary of Defense."

"What are your qualifications?"

"Aside from being a billionaire industrialist? Well, I've seen The Unknown Known and partied with a couple of the younger Kennedys. I had a three-episode cameo on The West Wing. Also I'm a mason and a member of the Illuminati."

"Seriously?" Clint asked. Tony gave him a dry look. "Right! Plausible deniability."

Tony grinned. "This is gonna be fun, Clint. Do you even own a business suit?"

"I'm not gonna wear a suit. If it's good enough for saving the world in, my tac vest is good enough for campaigning in. Plus it's bulletproof," Clint said, crossing his arms.

"You do you, baby. I've blown millions on worse," Tony replied.

***

-- mericans woke this morning to the news that Clint Barton, an agent of the shadowy SHIELD intelligence agency and an Avenger, is running for president.

Tony walked into the Avengers communal kitchen to the sight of Clint with his bare feet kicked up on the dining table, sipping a coffee and watching the news.

"I'm getting a jump on the day, Presidential style," Clint called, as Tony groped sleepily for coffee. Next to him, Natasha was reading something on her tablet, Bruce leaning over her shoulder. "Natasha's going to be head of security for my campaign."

No comment yet from the Avengers or from Avenger Tony Stark, who right now appears to be Mr. Barton's major campaign contributor. Jarvis Babbage, Mr. Barton's campaign manager, says Mr. Barton will make a statement at ten this morning, Eastern time...

"You are a travesty," Bruce said to Tony.

"That's no way to speak to the future puppetmaster of this country," Tony replied. "You hate politics. Go find something to smash."

"I can't, watching the news coverage of Clint's presidential candidacy is like watching a train wreck."

"We're already rising in the polls," Natasha said. "Though the Dems are calling him Clint "Nader" Barton."

"If they can't handle a split vote they don't deserve to win," Tony said, slurping down half a cup of coffee. "Please tell me Steve isn't up yet, by the way. I want to see his face when he finds out."

"Steve's off," Clint said. Tony frowned. "Secret mission, he got the call just after the party ended. Something about some stealth infiltration overseas."

"Steve Rogers," Tony repeated. "Stealth. Infiltration."

Mr. Trump has commented on Mr. Barton's late-entry candidacy, declaring him a 'poor-trash loser' and 'a guy with a stick and some string'.

"I'm going to enjoy meeting him," Clint remarked, attention momentarily drawn to the television.

"Steve did sneak in and out of Hydra territory during the war," Natasha said. "Almost incessantly and usually without orders, according to the memoir Margaret Carter wrote."

"It's probably more enter-and-sabotage than infiltrate-and-interrogate," Clint said. "Anyway, he said he'd be gone for a week or two. I figure by the time he gets back I'll have humiliated Donald Trump, which will be something, anyway. I bet I could beat him in an armwrestling match."

"But you'd have to touch him," Natasha said. "I bet his palms are always wet."

"Well, this is awesome breakfast conversation, but I have an industry to dominate," Tony said. "Has someone written the speech you're supposedly giving in two hours?"

"Sir," Jarvis said.

"Ooooh," Tony exclaimed, eyes going wide. "Jarvis, are you writing Clint's speeches now?"

"I've taken the liberty of examining famous speeches throughout history and analyzing their word choice, grammatical patterns, and emotional sentiments," Jarvis said. "I have composed a neutral yet inspiring speech which I believe will present Agent Barton in a positive light while remaining vague on political specifics."

"I am just so proud of you," Tony said, patting the nearest wall. "Shoot it my way so I can proof it first, okay?"

"Send it to me as soon as you're done so I can memorize it," Clint said.

"We can get you a teleprompter."

"No need, I'm a fast study. Used to learning on the fly when I was a carnie. Hey, can I juggle while I give the speech?" Clint asked.

"That's up to your campaign manager," Tony replied.

"In 603 BC, the famous warrior Xiong Yiliao defeated his military enemies by juggling nine balls at the head of his army, terrifying the opposing troops and leading his own to victory," Jarvis said.

Clint beamed.

***

"You'll have to excuse me," Clint said, standing at the microphone in front of Stark Tower, in his cleanest tac-vest and his Sunday-best armguards. Natasha stood behind him in full Avengers uniform. Tony, off to the side, was wearing a suit and had his StarkPhone up to film everything. A huge mob of journalists was watching him with the breathless glee of people who knew they were about to get the story of the month. "I'm used to talking while performing, from my days as a sideshow artist before I joined the Army. So I'm just gonna..."

He reached into his bulging pockets and took out five little fabric balls, rotating them around in his hands.

"It's my first time public speaking gig in a while, I need something to do with my hands," he said, and started to juggle.

***

"Two weeks into a late start as an independent candidate for President, Clint Barton sat down with Good Morning America to discuss his domestic policy..."

***

"Clinton Francis Barton, the surprise dark horse candidate on everyone's mind, joined Republican and Democratic candidates for his first debate tonight..."

***

I just think Barton has a real chance, he clearly has no fucks to give.
Of course he has no fucks to give, he doesn't have to please big business because he's got big business funding him already.
But would you rather have Tony Stark buying a presidency or Donald Trump buying a presidency?
Oh my god, Tumblr echo chamber in full force today. I think we're all forgetting about the Democrats here, it's not Barton vs. Trump.
A Democratic candidate's the only one who can beat Barton anyway....

***

"It's been three weeks since Clint Barton declared his candidacy for President and named Captain America, Steve Rogers, as his running mate. But where is Steve Rogers? Every other vice presidential candidate is out furiously stumping for their running mate, but Rogers has been completely silent..."

***

"So now we're hearing that Captain Rogers is on a long-term mission in defense of the country and might not be back until after the election. Surprise, you're the veep! I mean, is this going to happen after Barton wins? Like, are the Secret Service gonna mobilize because someone's breaking into the White House at 3am and oops, it's just the VP back from a secret mission, he didn't want to wake anyone up..."

***

"Prospective first lady Maria Hill says she supports her husband's stance on education and is willing to push even further, though she too stopped short of suggesting defense funding be cut in order to improve schools, instead focusing on higher taxes for the ultra-wealthy -- including ardent 'Bartoneer' Tony Stark..."

***

But does he even understand politics? This is a man who dropped out of high school, who got his GED when he was twenty-two and has no college degree.
I'm going to have to point out here that he got his GED while serving in active combat. He has a long history with the military, with the intelligence community, and let's not forget some other presidents who didn't have college degrees, like Abraham Lincoln.
Are you comparing Clint Barton to Abraham Lincoln? I'm just picturing him in a beard and a stovepipe hat.
I think we're getting off-topic here...

***

"It's official. For the first time today Clinton Francis Barton, the homegrown superhero with big Stark money backing his play, is leading in the polls against both Democrats and Republicans. This is no longer a Ralph Nader situation, where the worst the two major parties had to fear was a split vote. They can no longer continue to campaign against each other and ignore the young upstart from Iowa...."

***

"You know, this is supposed to be fun," Tony said, as Clint paced back and forth in the wings of the debate stage, muttering to himself. "You can drop out at any time."

"Who says I'm not having fun?" Clint asked.

"You look like you wish you could shoot someone."

"I always look like that," Clint said dismissively. "I have resting sniperface."

"So what's up with the pacing?"

"I'm getting in the mood! I'm going over my talking points," Clint said. Tony stopped him and hooked his hands under the shoulder straps of his tac-vest, adjusting them slightly. "Thanks."

"Remember: Education, Poverty -- "

" -- Domestic Terrorism, Digital Infrastructure, I know," Clint said.

"And we're staying away from?"

"International Policy," Clint said.

"Because?"

"Nobody wins a debate about war," Clint repeated dutifully.

"Good man."

"I wish Steve would get back already. I could use some backup."

"You do remember this started as a prank on Steve, right?" Tony asked. "I'm sure he'd be proud that you're engaging in the democratic process, but I don't think he's going to love being made VP without his knowledge."

"We maybe shoulda asked."

"We maybe shoulda," Tony agreed.

"I spoke to SHIELD last night, they say he's pinned down but fine," Hill said, pecking Clint on the cheek, more for the interns with their phones out than for Clint's benefit. "He just needs another few days before he can leave the safehouse. Mission accomplished, whatever it was."

"You know what it was," Tony accused.

"What I know about a lot of things would start several interesting wars," Hill said. She patted Clint's shoulder. "Remember that when you help me pick out my gown for the inauguration."

"You're not wearing a three-piece suit?" Clint asked.

Hill looked pleased. "Well, I am now."

"Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to meet your candidates!" came a voice over the speakers, and Clint squared his shoulders.

"I'm gonna armwrestle Trump this time," he said to Hill.

"You're not gonna armwrestle Trump this time," she replied. "He's a crazy motherfucker but he'd never let you do it."

"I'm gonna do it."

"I'm not gonna stop him," Tony said to Hill. "I want to see it."

"When you're president, we're going to have a long talk about you doing what I tell you," Hill told Clint, but she stepped aside so he could make his grand entrance.

***

"Film footage of last night's Presidential debate is going viral worldwide, but not because of the political talking points. The highlight of the night was when Independent candidate Clinton Barton challenged both opponents to an armwrestling match. Video clips of Barton defeating Donald Trump are filling up YouTube, but even those are outpaced by Barton losing to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton..."

***

"Good morning, and what a beautiful day for an election. We'll be here all day, covering the closest presidential race this country has seen since Bush and Gore in 2000. We here at NBC would like to remind you that your vote has never mattered more, so make sure you get out to the polls today..."

***

"CLINTON FRANCIS BARTON."

Steve's voice, a bass roar, reverberated throughout the Avengers' common space. Clint, reading a biography of Alexander Hamilton, fell off the sofa in surprise. Tony, who was going over Clint's constituency data with Thor (it turned out Thor was fantastic at data analytics) looked up just in time to see Steve arrive in the doorway. He was glowing with rage.

"Ooooh," Tony said. "Someone call Natasha."

"What have you done?" Steve asked.

"Steve's going to be president," Tony said to Clint.

"Tony, I can't believe you're helping -- "

"Because he's gonna kill you," Tony finished.

"I got back stateside five minutes ago and the minute my phone has reception again I have ten thousand voicemails and just one giant text message from Jarvis telling me I'm the vice-president," Steve said, holding up his phone. "The vice president of what? THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES."

"Oh, yeah, it was a hell of a day," Clint said. "Welcome home, by the way. Not like you to miss a chance to vote, I'm ashamed of you."

"I was in a safe-house in Nepal," Steve said grimly.

"Well, anyway, it all came out fine in the end, and here we are," Clint said. "We get two days off now that the election is done and then I have to start, I don't know, building a transitional committee to help move me into the White House. I guess I buy them pizza and beer?"

"Clint, you can barely make pancakes that aren't from a mix. You cannot be president," Steve said.

"Excuse you, I was elected fair and square. Besides, I have a five point plan for improving education in this country and also Tony says he'll be my shadow emperor because he's in the Illuminati," Clint said.

Steve seemed confounded by this answer. He just stared at them, bewilderment filling his face.

"Well, I hope you're not raising taxes on the middle class to pay for the schools," he said finally.

"What do I look like, a moderate?" Clint asked. "By the way, I'm being sworn in on your Bible."

"I don't own a Bible," Steve said, now thoroughly lost.

"The little pocket one you carried in the war? It's at the Smithsonian now. Bruce suggested it. They said yes so I'm being sworn in on the Captain America Bible."

Steve's face went awash in horror. "The one where all the Commandos wrote dirty limericks on the flyleaf?"

"There once was a girl from Poughkeepsie," Tony sang out.

"James Barnes had an awesome sense of humor," Clint said.

"I'm going to go sleep, and when I wake up this will all have been a dream," Steve said.

"I'll have Jarvis write you a nice speech for the inauguration," Tony told him, and turned back to Thor, who was highlighting regional wealth data for upstate New York.

***


Art by Alstonwiggles on Tumblr; you can find the original (larger) image here.

Steve wore his HER BODY, HER CHOICE t-shirt to the inauguration.

"It's gonna be a long four years," Hill said to Tony, as Clint stepped up to the Captain America Bible and rested his hand on it. He'd gotten a new formal tac-vest for the occasion.

I, Clinton Francis Barton, do solemnly swear
"I, Clinton Francis Barton, do solemnly swear -- "

"All part of my master plan, and it's eight years," Tony replied.

"What's the master plan, anyway?"

that I will faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States
" -- that I will faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States -- "

"Green energy in three years, socialized medicine in five, and the last three years we'll just relax and see what we can do about peace in our time," Tony said. "Today, appetizers and dancing. Tomorrow I start blackmailing senators."

and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States
" -- and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States -- "

"Does Steve know you're blackmailing senators?" Hill asked.

"Are you kidding? He wrote the hit list."

So help me God.
" -- PLEASE help me God."

A laugh rippled through the audience at Clint's plea. Tony and Hill watched as Steve handed Clint his bow and a single arrow; Clint raised the bow, drew it, and fired. Bright orange fireworks, vivid against the overcast day, burst over the Reflecting Pool.

"You know, the nice thing is, the bar's actually pretty low," Clint said, as he walked arm-in-arm with Hill down the steps to the presidential car, waiting to take him to the reception. "I mean, as long as I don't rob the Democrats or chase interns in the Oval Office, I'll probably be okay."

"Rumsfeld," Steve said to Tony, offering him his elbow to follow. "Can I have the first dance?"

"Cheney," Tony replied, taking it. "I'll think about it. Nice shirt."

"Well, begin as you mean to go on."

"Pro-choice t-shirts and gay flirting?"

Steve shrugged. "What are they gonna do, impeach me?"

"Good point. Come on, I want to get to the party before they run out of champagne."

Chapter Text

"Shots fired, shots fired!"

There was a way a crowd reacted, Clint thought absently, like a flock of birds -- when the gunshots went off, everyone ducked in sync, in waves, and from his place behind the podium on the stage he could see it sweep through the gathering in the park in gorgeous detail.

Not that he had a lot of time to contemplate it. Even as he was admiring the way human instinct took over, he was vaulting the security gates around the podium.

"Ah fuck, Hawkeye's on the move," he heard someone yell. As he raced past one of his Secret Service detail, who was scanning the crowd for the shooter, he ripped the wireless radio out of his ear and plugged it into his own.

"This is Hawkeye, I have eyes on," he said, and heard a cacophony of swearing down the line. "It's okay, fellas, he left the gun, I just passed it. Everyone okay?"

"Nobody's dying," Tony said, voice hushed but reassuring; Clint should have known he would be on the security channel. "Medical staff's here and I'm taking care of it."

"Great. Detail, someone tell Spangles to head northeast and block the exit, I want two men with him."

"Sir." "Yes sir." "Mr. President, with all due respect -- "

"Don't need your respect, just your obedience," Clint snapped, hurdling a shrub and pulling a sharp turn to keep the shooter in his sights. He wished, not for the first time, that Tony hadn't declared it declasse for him to just wear his quiver everywhere. "Come on, guys, I literally have eyes, why is nobody following me?"

"We are, sir," someone said. "You got a head start."

"Ah, you bunch of wimps, I'm gonna make the VP give you drills," Clint said. "Where's Lefty?"

"I'm about twenty yards ahead of you," Bucky said. "I hate that codename."

"Yeah, take it up with our evil overlord Stark, I don't pick the codenames," Clint said. He was gaining; the guy wasn't ten feet ahead of him now, his running taking on a frantic pace. "If you're ahead of me you're ahead of the shooter, but I can't see you -- "

There was a rustle, then, and Bucky dropped directly out of a tree onto the man's head.

The shooter kicked Bucky off of him with a frankly kind of impressive move, then twisted and got back to his feet. Clint threw himself forward, putting all his momentum into a solid thwack to the back of the head, then slung his other arm around the man's throat and twisted them both to the ground, pinning him in a secure hold that had once deeply impressed Phil Coulson until Clint told him he learned it from watching pro wrestling and practicing it on his older brother.

Bucky rolled over, took in Clint and the shooter, and scooted around to sit calmly on his legs.

That was when the first camera flash went off.

***

"...president chased down his attacker and, with the aid of the Secret Service, restrained him until he could be taken into custody by federal agents. But the real hero appears to be Secretary of Defense and Avenger Tony Stark, seen here providing first aid and comfort to victims of the shooter..."

"Okay, I was literally shot at," Clint said, kicking his feet up on the table in the Oval Office as Hill put the news on. "I chased down the shooter and Bucky and myself held him down -- thank you, by the way, you should always fall out of trees onto my enemies, it's very impressive -- "

Bucky gave him a silent nod, but he was smiling.

" -- and yet somehow you're the hero?" Clint asked Tony, who was changing out of a bloodstained shirt.

"If it bleeds, it leads," Hill said, muting the television and flipping around the various news channels.

"I tell you what though, the shutter heard around the world isn't the picture of me pressing my handkerchief to that delightful young woman's bullet-graze wound," Tony said. "It's you choking the fuck out of an assassin you personally apprehended."

"You shouldn't have done that," Steve added reproachfully.

"He's right, that's what I'm for," Bucky said.

"Well, excuse me if years of combat training kicked in," Clint said, accepting a stack of paperwork from an intern. He watched, intrigued, as she shot a look at Bucky, turned pink, and retreated. "What was that about?"

"Animal magnetism," Bucky said serenely.

"Is that the necktie girl?" Tony asked.

"Oooh, is that her?" Hill asked, turning to Bucky. "I heard about that."

"What's a Necktie Girl?" Clint demanded. "Also what is this paperwork, I thought I already told the Senate they could blow me in re: this bullshit."

"Clint, you have to stop telling entire branches of government to blow you," Hill told him.

"Well, you won't blow me, sweetie, someone has to," Clint said with a grin at her.

"It's true, a Senator is more likely to try before I am," she replied, sliding off her perch on the presidential desk. "Do you need me, sugar pie? I have to go spread socialism and corrupt the young."

"Votes for women!" Clint called as she left.

"Give me the paperwork," Steve said, holding out his hand. "Nobody in Congress knows how to talk to me anymore, I can take care of it."

"None of this has informed me of what the Necktie Girl is," Clint pointed out. Tony and Bucky exchanged a look. "Oh my God, I am President of all of you, I am executive ordering you to tell me."

"One of the interns was crying in the library," Bucky said. "I had some time to kill, I asked her what was wrong. She said one of the guys in Communications told her he wanted to tie her up with his necktie and play with her...y'know."

"Who?" Steve asked sharply, looking up from his paperwork.

"I didn't get his name," Bucky said. "He'd been doing it for a while, I guess she didn't think she could report it 'cause she's an intern. It's handled, doesn't matter now."

"How handled?" Clint asked.

"He resigned," Bucky said. "No severance package. Left his necktie behind too, so I gave it to the intern as a present."

There was a long silence.

"It mighta had some blood on it when I gave it to her," Bucky admitted.

"I'll tell your director of Communications to ensure he doesn't work in this town again," Tony said. "Now, as fun as this is, I have to get back to silently pulling the strings of government in ways that are plausibly deniable should you have to answer questions about them."

"I'll walk you down, I should get home," Steve said. "Try not to get shot at, huh, Mr. President?"

"I'll bear that in mind, Vice-President Rogers," Clint replied. He settled back on the sofa as the door to the office clicked shut, eyes closing. "Bucky."

"Yes, Mr. President," Bucky said, sounding as amused as he always did when he knew he was about to actually be used as a secretary. Technically that was his job title, but he still seemed to find it funny when he had to serve in a secretarial fashion.

"How much time do I have before I have to be somewhere?"

"Your schedule is cleared for the day," Bucky said. Clint opened one eye skeptically. "You were shot at. I took advantage of the situation. Plus nobody wants to be around you right now in case someone tries again."

"So I have..." Clint checked the clock. "Five hours free? All to myself?"

Bucky nodded.

"I haven't had five hours free together in this job in ever," Clint said. "I haven't had five total hours free in the last week. The West Wing made this look a lot easier."

"No it didn't."

"You never saw The West Wing."

"I have Netflix," Bucky said. "Steve made me watch it. We laughed a lot at Tony's cameo."

"Well, it made all this look funnier at least."

He felt Bucky slide off the arm of the sofa where he'd been perched and settle in next to him on the couch.

"Why'd that guy wanna shoot me, anyway?" Clint asked.

"He was aiming for Steve."

Clint burst out laughing. "Seriously?"

"He had some kind of theory about time travel and aliens."

"You know, I miss the days when that meant someone was clearly delusional. Now we've actually got aliens and time-travel, you just can't tell anymore."

"The FBI'll figure out what to do with him. What're you gonna do with your five hours of free time?"

"Nap, I think. You know Bush Junior bought this couch? I think they had every upholstered surface replaced after Clinton left office," Clint said. "It's really comfortable."

"Okay," Bucky said, but he didn't move.

"What, are you going to stand guard?" Clint asked.

"Sit guard."

"Funny. Pretty sure I'm safe in the Oval Office."

"I'm not," Bucky said. "If I can sneak up on the Secret Service, someone else could too."

"You have to stop shaming them, they aren't super soldiers."

Bucky snorted. "They have fun."

"They might like it but the head of the Detail doesn't."

"And where were they when you were being shot at today?"

"You literally just said I wasn't even being shot at."

"I'm just sayin'. Someone's gonna take a bullet for you and I intend it to be me, not those lunks," Bucky said.

"That's...terrible. And kind of sweet," Clint said, yawning. He listed over to the side, leaning against Bucky's ribcage. "You stay right there and protect my presidential head."

"Yeah," Bucky said, as Clint slid down into very presidential sleep. Clint felt his hand on his head, palm spread defensively. "Have a nice nap, Mr. President."

Chapter Text

"What are your qualifications?"

"Aside from being a billionaire industrialist? Well, I've seen The Unknown Known and partied with a couple of the younger Kennedys. I had a three-episode cameo on The West Wing. Also I'm a mason and a member of the Illuminati."

The West Wing
Episode Title: The Common Defense
Written by: Aaron Sorkin

Tony Stark guest-stars as Alex Sandhurst, the young and influential CEO of the Army's largest defense contractor. Sandhurst is eager to sell the military on his design for a new "safe bomb" that is capable of detecting RFID chips in US military uniforms and disabling itself until they are out of range. He claims to have met resistance from top Army brass, who feel the bomb is not worth the expense of R&D, and as a result is withholding another new product: lightweight, inexpensive, and more effective body armor. Josh is asked to mediate negotiations between Sandhurst and the military's representatives, but after a confrontational meeting with CJ, Sandhurst insists she be part of the negotiations as well.

The West Wing
Episode Title: The General Welfare
Written by: Aaron Sorkin

Defense contractor Alex Sandhurst (played by Tony Stark) is still in negotiations with the military, refusing to provide them with his newest patented body armor until they agree to also fund the development of a "safe bomb" which will refuse to detonate in the presence of US military personnel. Josh's growing frustration with Sandhurst's defense of military action brings him into conflict with CJ, who denies she is charmed by Sandhurst's attention but who also supports the concept of the safe bomb and advocates for the military to agree to Sandhurst's request for funding. CJ agrees to dinner with Sandhurst after the latest round of bargaining.

The West Wing
Episode Title: Domestic Tranquility
Written by: Aaron Sorkin

Negotiations between defense contractor Alex Sandhurst (Tony Stark) and Army top brass grow more contentious after Sandhurst leaks a document to the press which appears to indicate that the Army is refusing to investigate new safety measures for its soldiers. Veterans gather to protest while Josh and CJ try desperately to bring Sandhust and the military to an agreement regarding new research funding. Having finally brought enough leverage against the Army to get his way, Sandhurst thanks Josh and CJ for their assistance, despite essentially having wasted several days of their time. CJ tells Sandhurst she feels betrayed that he didn't warn her he was going to take such a drastic step. Sandhurst points out that one person's betrayal measured against the possible thousands of saved lives from his technology is a small price to pay. He asks CJ if she'd like to have dinner with him again and she declines.

***

Tony -- more properly, Secretary of Defense Stark -- usually referred to Bucky as the President's favorite feral cat. It was true that there were resemblances; Bucky often raided the kitchen, he left gifts for the administration staff in unexpected places, and he frequently sat quietly and just stared, unblinking, at whoever was talking during Cabinet meetings.

Bucky knew he was Tony's favorite, so he never minded. His official title was Personal Secretary to the President, but Bucky liked to think of himself as a one-man rogue security detail. After all, the Secret Service had never been able to stop him, which meant they clearly had some holes in their security net, and Bucky's job was to personally plug those holes and ensure the safety of the President.

He felt this was very patriotic of him, in addition to being really good fun. And the Secret Service guys didn't seem to mind; they usually had bets going on who Bucky was going to terrorize next. They loved when other agencies had representatives visiting, because then they got to watch Bucky literally drop from the ceiling onto the head of the FBI, or cause MI7 supervisory agents to believe the White House had a particularly corporeal ghost. The only agency he never messed with was SHIELD, after trying to sneak up on Phil Coulson only to find himself faced with a pleasant, blandly-smiling man who disarmed him and then offered him a cup of really good coffee.

Bucky didn't even try to take down Melinda May. Whenever she showed up, he just followed her around and brought her the small, weird trinkets he would normally bestow on the office staff.

At any rate, it was his job to make sure the White House was truly secure, particularly after hours, when Clint and Hill had retired to the residence and everything was supposedly quiet.

Which was how he ended up prowling the ground floor towards the Gold Room, because nobody oughta be in any of the reception rooms at this hour but he swore he heard someone. There was a shuffling noise he couldn't quite place and -- was that furniture creaking?

He drew one of his knives and decided on the indirect approach. After all, it might just be a Secret Service agent thinking he could sneak off and take a nap, which in Bucky's mind was punishable by death (but Clint would probably disapprove, so terror would have to do).

Instead of bursting into the room, which was the most tempting, he crept past it carefully, slipped into the stairwell beyond, and slid through a concealed passage -- oh, the White House was fun -- into a small, closet-like room that opened on one side into a women's restroom and on the other side into the Gold Room. He put his ear to the door and heard a low, menacing-sounding laugh.

Well, that cinched it.

Bucky didn't bother with the doorknob; you lost precious seconds that way. Plus, when a door went flying across the room you were clearly plotting the death of the President in, it tended to give you pause, which Bucky figured he could use to his advantage.

So he kicked the door in, rushed in after it with knife upraised in his flesh arm and his metal arm ready to block any projectiles thrown his way --

And found, on the very nice empire sofa, under the portraits of several First Ladies, Steve Rogers with his shirt unbuttoned, straddled by Tony Stark with his pants open.

There was a moment of painful silence.

"Hiya, Buck," Steve said, leaning around Tony. His hair was mussed, and his mouth was very red. So was a blooming bruise on his neck. "How you doing there, buddy?"

Bucky pointed at them. "Not terrorists hiding in the Gold Room waiting to murder Clint."

"Not last time we checked," Tony said without turning around. "We've been very thorough in going over this room, I think we'd have found them."

Most rooms in the White House had vases of flowers in them, to brighten the place up a little. Bucky noticed that two of the vases in this room were overturned. So were a couple of chairs.

Well. Good for Steve.

"So when you said you were gonna work late," Bucky began.

"He had some very important Defense items to go over," Tony finished.

"Okay. I'm gonna...go report a busted door," Bucky said, jerking his thumb over his shoulder.

"We'll be gone by the time you get back," Steve said, even as Tony rested his forehead on Steve's shoulder and groaned regretfully.

"You got a nice house and everything, you know," Bucky said reproachfully.

"Yeah, Buck, I know -- "

"It's got a turret in it," Bucky added. "If I lived in a nice house with a fancy turret, that's where I'd take my fella."

"Bucky," Steve sighed, and Bucky grinned.

"How much can I pay you to stop?" Tony asked.

"I don't take bribes, Mr. Stark," Bucky replied, grin widening. "You guys got five minutes."

"Thank you," Tony said, in a very final sort of voice.

"My pleasure. Mr. Secretary, Vice-President Rogers," Bucky said, and decided the look in Steve's eye meant he definitely should retreat now.

***

Tag: President Clint Barton/King T'Challa
This tag belongs to the Relationship Category.
Related tags: RPF; Wakanda; Character of Color; Interracial Relationship; Political RPF

1-20 of 2,047 works in this tag:

Diplomacy by copperbadge
Fandoms: Political RPF
Teen And Up Audiences
No Archive Warnings Apply
3 Jul 2016
Tags: President Clint Barton/King T'Challa, RPF, Political RPF, President Clint Barton, Current Presidency, King T'Challa, Wakanda, Wakandan Junket

Summary
Another take on the famous photograph. President Barton wants to learn absolutely everything about Wakandan culture.

Language: English Words: 1,723 Chapters: 1/1 Comments: 16 Kudos: 52 Bookmarks: 39 Hits: 205

The popularity of the President Clint Barton/King T'Challa tag is attributed to the extensive press coverage surrounding President Barton's junket to Wakanda to discuss formal trade relations between Wakanda and the US. President Barton, notorious for his disdain of formal diplomatic procedure, convinced the King to give him a tour of Wakandan street food; the most well-known image of the trip is of the President and King T'Challa watching Wakandan children engaging in sports while eating ice cream in Wakanda's Izolile Park.

"Is no-one worried about the impact of these images on our children? President Barton, who along with his wife is a notorious supporter of the gay agenda, certainly seems to be supporting it in his close, intimate relationship with this T'Challa character. Do we really want this effeminate version of the leader of the free world broadcast to our children as a masculine ideal? Furthermore, should President Barton continue to imply that he believes Wakanda is a favorable trade partner, given this imagery? Shouldn't he be distancing himself from this country and the homosexual scandal that seems to accompany it?"
-- National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown

***

"Yeah. Okay. Well, if you don't give a crap, I don't see why I should. Sure. Thanks, T'Challa," Clint was saying, as Tony let himself into the room. He held up a finger, and Tony nodded. "Great. So I'll see you in two months. I'll expect the courier tomorrow."

"Strategy meeting about your big gay Wakandan scandal?" Tony asked, throwing himself down on a sofa as Clint hung up the phone.

"I just wanted to make sure T'Challa wasn't taking any blowback," Clint said. "Turns out that his advisory council would respect him more if he had bent me over the throne and gone to town. Romantic conquest of one's political peers is seen as a very Kingly thing to do."

"So we're not making a statement on it?"

"God, it's just a bunch of romantics thinking I'd be cute with the King. It's like Obama and Trudeau. Nobody takes it seriously except people with no sense of humor."

"I have it on good authority Obama and Trudeau exchanged Best Friend necklaces," Tony said gravely. Clint chuckled.

"I do have a question for you, though," Tony said, and Clint got up from the presidential desk, sitting across from him on the sofa. "If we did want to deal with this, like if your vice president had a personal statement to make on the matter, what would you say?"

"I don't see any reason to stop him if he wants to make a speech. Steve's great at speeches," Clint said.

"Okay. Second question: would you like to see the entire Republican party collectively shit a brick?"

"Tony, it's not even my birthday!" Clint said, beaming. "What've you done?"

"Nothing yet," Tony said, taking out his phone. "I'm just texting Steve that he can go ahead with the backup version of the press conference address he's doing this afternoon."

"The backup version?"

"Well, he had a boilerplate We support LGBT rights, love is love is love kind of a speech going," Tony said. "But he's got something a little more incendiary up his sleeve."

"Fire away," Clint said, and Tony picked up the remote from the coffee table, turning on one of the bank of televisions in the far wall. It was already tuned to CNN, where Steve was just taking the podium.

"By the way, Steve and I are dating," Tony said.

Clint gave him a narrow look. "I know that," he replied. "I wasn't sure you guys did until just now, though."

"Bucky didn't tell you?"

"Bucky's good at keeping secrets," Clint said complacently. "I'm sure if it was relevant it'd have come up."

"Good afternoon," Steve said from the podium on the television, wearing his most vice-presidential suit. "Certain statements made in the media over the past few weeks have indicated that a great number of Americans seem to be unclear about the White House's stance on human sexuality..."

It went on like that for a few minutes, Steve calmly but forcefully validating all sexualities, and Clint was about to zone out when Tony said, "Here it comes."

"Finally," Steve said, "I would like to show my personal support for the rights of queer and transgender people. As a bisexual man currently in a committed relationship with another man, I fully support and hope to embody -- "

That was as far as he got before the roar of yelling reporters drowned him out.

Clint glanced at Tony and offered his fist. Tony bumped it.

"Three, two, one...and Twitter's down," Tony said, checking his phone.

"A good day's work," Clint said. "You two gonna be okay?"

"Oh yeah. Steve's been looking forward to this for like a year," Tony said. "I'm gonna go talk to our analysts and see how my bisexuality is going to affect our foreign policy with Russia. Fun times!" he added brightly.

"Love is love!" Clint called as Tony left. As soon as the door closed, Bucky stepped out from the shadows and joined him on the couch.

Clint flopped sideways, head landing in Bucky's lap, and Bucky rested his hand on Clint's neck, thumb rubbing the knot of tense muscle at his nape.

"If T'Challa had tried anything with you, King or not, I would've taken a swipe at him," Bucky said.

"I'm well aware, you murderous death kitten," Clint said. "I suppose now we can't come out until after I'm out of office or we'll just look like followers."

Bucky chuckled. "Let Steve take the flak, he likes it. And Tony likes whatever Steve likes."

"Fine by me. I need to have Communications start writing the press conference I gotta give about Steve's press conference."

"You know, I bet with three or four strategically placed murders I could silence every single person objecting to Steve's bisexuality," Bucky said thoughtfully.

"That's nice, dear, but not very American," Clint said.

"Nuts."

Clint patted his knee affectionately, sitting up. "You should go make sure Steve doesn't punch anyone this afternoon."

Bucky grumbled his way out of the Oval Office; Clint stopped at the door and signaled to his scheduler to send in his next appointment.

"Busy afternoon for you, Mr. President," she said, as she went to fetch his three o'clock.

"You have no idea," Clint agreed, still grinning.

Chapter Text

Clint was in a meeting with the Deputy Secretary of Education (the Secretary had resigned mysteriously a few days ago; Clint had a note to talk to Tony about it) when he looked down at his pen and had a sudden revelation.

He let out a brief, low-pitched yelp. Just one, and not too loud, but it did cause the Deputy Secretary of Education to stop talking and squint.

"Are you all right, Mr. President?" he asked carefully.

"Yeah! Yeah, sorry," Clint said, looking up from his pen, because he was after all the President of the United States, and he had larger orders of business to attend to than the pen and all it symbolized, as much as he hated to admit it. "Momentary cramp."

The Deputy Secretary looked concerned. "Should I call someone?"

"No, I'm fine. You know how it is, you take a few days off at the range..." Clint rotated his right shoulder as if his drawing arm was giving him trouble. The man looked like he probably didn't really know, but it was reassurance enough to get him talking again.

Clint got through the next fifteen minutes of discussion mostly unscathed, and as soon as the Deputy Secretary left, he tabbed his intercom and asked the scheduler to clear his next half hour.

"Of course, Mr. President," the scheduler said, "But then you've got half an hour for lunch, should I swap them or postpone the meeting? It's with the VP."

"Postpone it, Steve hates meetings and he's probably off punching someone for freedom anyway," Clint said. Steve, despite an urgent sense of duty, made it to roughly half the private meetings he was ever scheduled for. They'd been forced to appoint a Proxy Steve to handle them. (Proxy Steve did not have Steve's charisma but did have much more thorough note-taking skills.) And really, Steve and Clint having a meeting just meant a brief respite from politics to discuss how the Dodgers were doing.

Clint, thus freed for almost a solid hour, went in search of Bucky Barnes.

Usually Bucky wasn't hard to find; if Clint had a quiet moment, Bucky would just appear, or sometimes he'd show up for meetings and glower from some appropriately dramatic seating. The White House, Clint had discovered, did not lack for dramatic architecture.

He checked the kitchens -- briefly, Chef hated when the President was in the kitchen, so usually he sent Bucky as a proxy -- and then the administrative offices, where Bucky could sometimes be found entertaining interns. Everywhere he went, he was preceded by the soft murmurs of security and followed by a shuffling as people resettled themselves.

"It's good to be the king," Clint muttered to himself, amused, as he peeped into the Map Room. Tony was there with a couple of senators.

"Need something, Clint?" Tony asked, as the senators hastily tucked various folders and cigars away.

"Just looking for Bucky," Clint said.

"Stand in one place and shout, I'd think," Tony said.

"Hm?" Clint asked, distracted by the blank expressions on the senators' faces.

"Usually you two are joined at the hip. If you stay in one place long enough I'm sure he'll drop from the ceiling," Tony said. As one, the senators looked up. Tony gave Clint a long-suffering look.

"Well, if you see him, send him my way," Clint said.

"No problem."

"Hey, just taking an informal off-the-record survey, hands up if you're a member of the Illuminati," Clint said.

Tony raised his hand, smirking. The senators all exchanged looks, then slowly raised their hands.

"Do you need anything?" Clint asked Tony. "I dunno, a sandwich tray or something?"

"No, we're good, just hammering out your next clean-air act," Tony replied, grinning.

"Right, well, carry on," Clint said.

"Hail to the Chief," Tony called, as the door swung shut.

Clint headed back towards the Oval Office, but as soon as he let himself in he saw Bucky arriving through the Rose Garden, a large fabric sack resting on one arm.

Clint let himself out into the garden, took aim, and threw the pen at Bucky's head.

Bucky didn't swat it away, but he did catch it as soon as it bounced off the bridge of his nose, just to let Clint know he'd allowed him to hit him in the face with a pen.

"What was that for?" Bucky asked, handing him the pen back as he passed. A waft of scent followed him, garlic and cheese and fresh bread.

"Is that Pizza Palace?" Clint asked, distracted.

"You said you were tired of the kitchen putting arugula on your fake gourmet pizza," Bucky called over his shoulder, at the door of the Oval Office. He took a cardboard box out of the bag and handed it to the nearest Secret Service agent, who nodded and trotted off to, presumably, deliver the Pizza Palace Personal Pie(tm) to whoever amongst the administrative staff Bucky was bestowing favors on this week. "And Hill told me you like mass-produced chain pizza."

"It's my favorite," Clint said, resentment thick in his voice. Bucky took a full-sized Pizza Palace box out of the bag, hung the bag on the hat rack near the door, and set the pizza box on the presidential desk.

"So what's eating you?" Bucky asked, as Clint opened the box. A square pan pizza that looked like a small mountain of toppings had been thrown onto it lay there, steaming.

"The Party Pie," Clint breathed. The Pizza Palace Party Pie was legendary, although admittedly mostly among drunk college kids. He took a moment to appreciate its beauty.

Then he slammed the box shut and looked up at Bucky. Bucky looked back, and Bucky Barnes had an impressive poker face, but Clint also had really good eyes, and he detected the slightest hint of bewilderment.

"Are we boyfriends?" Clint demanded. Bucky blinked. Clint plucked a pen off his desk and threw it at Bucky; Bucky batted this one aside. "We're boyfriends, aren't we?"

"Did you throw a pen at my head again?" Bucky demanded.

"This pen," Clint said, taking a third pen out of the cup on the desk and holding it up. "This pen belongs to a foreign diplomat. I remember her chewing on the end of it in a meeting."

"Ew," Bucky said, looking at the pen. "I didn't know she'd done that."

"This one I'm pretty sure is Tony's favorite pen and probably cost like three thousand dollars," Clint added, picking up another one.

"Two million," Bucky said.

"Two mi -- TWO MILLION DOLLARS FOR A PEN?" Clint asked.

"He built it himself. His time is money," Bucky said. "I mean it's a prototype and that's a rough estimate -- "

"ARE WE BOYFRIENDS THAT YOU GIVE ME A TWO MILLION DOLLAR PEN AND A STILL-HOT PARTY PIE FROM PIZZA PALACE?" Clint yelled. "Is this a boyfriend pen?"

"Well," Bucky said, and then fell silent. Clint crossed his arms, tucking the two-million-dollar pen safely back in the pen cup first. "Hill gave me permission," Bucky said finally.

"She what," Clint asked.

"She gave me permission," Bucky repeated. "We had ice cream in the kitchen and she said it was a marriage of convenience and that you could really use some distraction so that she could advance her lesbian socialist agenda, and I said did she want me to engineer a junket for you, like, I could make a small diplomatic incident that would require you to visit...Vanuatu or Vatican City or something, nobody would even have to die -- "

"Vatican City?" Clint asked.

"Seemed like it could be fun," Bucky said with a shrug. "Anyway then she said no, she meant just ask you out on a date."

"Oh my God," Clint said, turning to his laptop and opening his calendar. Over the previous two weeks were several lunches and dinners picked out in red, the "family and friends" color that meant he had an appointment where he was unlikely to talk business in a formal way. Plenty of dinners in the Residence with Hill, a couple of lunches with Steve, and at least a dozen meals just marked JB-SD. It was the subtle administrative code for James Barnes, Security Detail. "You scheduled a date with my scheduler?"

"I schedule all the dates with your scheduler, I have to, you're the President," Bucky said. "And I asked you!"

"No you didn't!"

"I did, I asked if you wanted to go out for dinner!"

"No, you said I talked to your scheduler and you're having dinner with me tomorrow night at that steakhouse you like," Clint said.

Bucky gave him an injured look. "Hill said you liked confidence."

"Oh my god," Clint said. "Boyfriend pens, these are all boyfriend pens."

He sat down and stared at the pen cup, then opened the pizza box again and took out a corner slice. Bucky stood awkwardly on the other side of the desk.

"Eat!" Clint barked, pointing at the pizza. Bucky sat abruptly in one of the slightly-uncomfortable chairs on the other side of the desk.

"Are we...so are we not boyfriends?" he asked.

"Yes, of course we're boyfriends," Clint said around a mouthful of the best terrible pizza money could buy. Bucky had even gotten the special garlic sprinkles on top. "Like I'm going to dump a bona-fide war hero and personal delight like you? Dating when you're the married President of the United States is hard enough, let alone landing Bucky Barnes."

Bucky stared at him.

"What?" Clint asked, mouth still full.

"You're literally the leader of the free world," Bucky said. "You can do better than me."

Clint swallowed and licked his fingers. "Yeah, but Steve's taken and my wife's a lesbian."

Bucky stared at him; Clint let his lips twitch, and Bucky picked up one of the pens and threw it at him.

"Watch the pizza, watch my boyfriend pizza!" Clint yelled, ducking. Tony's two million dollar pen clattered to the floor and rolled under the desk. There was a knock on the door and one of the Secret Service agents leaned in.

"Everything all right in here, Mr. President?" he asked.

"Yeah, fine," Clint said, waving his pizza. "If Bucky were gonna kill me he'd have done it the night we met. You want a slice of Party Pie?"

"No thank you, sir," the agent said. He gave Bucky a professional nod and withdrew. Bucky threw another pen.

"Steve's taken, my ass," he muttered, settling back and pulling the box of pizza towards him.

"You're the one who said I could do better," Clint said, making the mistake of grabbing another slice instead of slamming his hand down on the box. Bucky tugged the box off the desk and into his lap. "Hey!"

"I gave you this pizza, I can take it away," Bucky said.

"I'm very sorry, Bucky," Clint said, a slice in each hand. "You are truly the best boyfriend. Nobody else I've ever dated has brought me a Party Pie with garlic sprinkles."

Bucky sniffed, but he put the pizza box back on the table.

"Anyway, I think Hill's out somewhere tonight, at a gala or a planning committee meeting or something," Clint said, examining his computer screen. "You wanna come up to my place and watch movies and make out?"

"You have a literal foot-high stack of briefings to read," Bucky pointed out. "You were moaning about it all morning, that you were gonna spend all evening reading briefings."

"Yeah, but that was before I found out I have a boyfriend," Clint said. "Half of those briefings are defense analysts trying to justify their jobs and the other half are thinly-veiled political porn. There's only really two I have to read and Tony's already seen them both, so..." he shrugged. "Leftover Party Pie, Netflix's finest, and the President are all at your disposal."

"Sounds all right," Bucky said, biting into a slice of pizza. He made a sudden face.

"The garlic sprinkles?" Clint asked. Bucky nodded. "Swallow fast, you get used to the burn."

"When do I get used to the taste?" Bucky asked, and Clint leaned across the desk and kissed him.

"Tolerable," Bucky allowed. Clint glared at him. "I'm just saying, if you brush your teeth I might let you get to second base."

"I'll get right on that," Clint said, settling back and biting into the second slice. Bucky subtly shook the garlic sprinkles off his slice and into a napkin as best he could. Clint grinned and went back to happily contemplating the evening's entertainment.

Chapter Text

“Okay but…why can’t I juggle during the debate?”

Tony pinched the bridge of his nose. “Clint, I’m not defending their preemptive ban on juggling. I’m just the messenger. And the moderators said that they know you like to juggle while speaking in public and when you’re doing the debate you can’t juggle.”

“But did they give a reason? Is it because I have to hold a microphone?” Clint rubbed his jaw. “I mean, I bet I could juggle three microphones and not drop a word.”

“I suspect it’s because the rest of the candidates would find it distracting,” Steve said. “Just a wild guess.”

“Listen, pal, I’ve been president of this holy mess of a country for four years,” Clint said. “And let me tell you, if juggling distracts them from policy debate, they are not going to do well in the White House.”

“Yeah, but it does give you an unfair advantage,” Steve pointed out.

“Good! I’m the incumbent, I’ve been doing the job, if I can’t have an unfair advantage who should?”

“Clint,” Tony sighed. “Deep in your heart, you know it’s not fair to the other candidates. You want to at least give the appearance of not cheating.”

“Are we cheating?” Clint asked, intrigued.

“I don’t really see the need for it, you’ve got a clear lead right now,” Tony admitted.

“So, what if I juggled only while I was talking and not while they were?” Clint suggested hopefully.

“Anderson Cooper does like his juggling,” Steve pointed out to Tony.

“I can take it to him but if he says no, Clint, I need for you to be agreeable, I need to not have to search your pockets for bean bags before you go onstage,” Tony said, taking out his phone. “Hi, can you put me through to AC? Thanks…”

He wandered down to the other end of the Oval Office, not even startling when Bucky stepped out from behind a panel carrying lunch.

“Why are you being so iffy about the debate?” Steve asked, as Bucky presented them with greasy sacks of hamburgers and fries. “You’ve done this song and dance already, Clint, and you were a lot less ready for it four years ago.”

“You know you have to do a debate too this time, right?” Clint asked. Steve narrowed his eyes. “I’m not being iffy, I just think if the President of the United States can’t juggle on national television that’s an issue we should investigate.”

“Clint!” Tony called.

“Yes, Dark Lord?” Clint replied. Steve rolled his eyes.

“The network says absolutely no juggling during the debate, but Coop says he can book five minutes after the debate. Local stations will decide whether or not to carry it or to cut back to local news commentary.”

“Done,” Clint said, shooting Tony finger-guns.

“Great, okay,” Tony finished, putting his phone in his pocket. “I’m gonna go find Hill and see if she’s willing to do an informal town hall debate with the other prospective first ladies.”

“She’s sleeping with one of them, shouldn’t be tough to convince her,” Clint mumbled, around a mouthful of fries.

“The ways of power are strange,” Tony informed them, trotting off to do the devil’s work, no doubt.

“Excellent, now I can choreograph a whole routine,” Clint said.

“It’s not nice to manipulate the news media like that,” Steve scolded.

“Bah. Everyone loves it when I juggle, even Putin,” Clint said. “Oh! I’ll juggle matryoshka dolls. It’ll be like an allegory.”

He held his fist out for a bump. Steve just looked at him wearily. Bucky reached over and bumped it with the hand holding his hamburger.

Chapter Text

The first new snowfall in Washington DC in 2017, a few weeks after the Inauguration, brought icy road advisories, the roll out of the salt trucks, and Vice-President Steve Rogers banging on the window of newly-minted President Clint Barton's bedroom, which was on the second floor of the Residence.

"Agh, God," Clint mumbled, rolling over and coming face to face with Steve, wearing a jaunty knit hat and pressed up against the glass. "What is he doing?"

Maria, who had already been up for an hour ("Executing the queer agenda requires getting up earlier than the Republicans, darling") and was putting her earrings in at the vanity, said, "I think he's waving madly and asking if you want to build a snowman."

Clint sat up, rubbing his bristly hair the wrong way. "HOW DID YOU GET PAST THE SECRET SERVICE?" he yelled at the glass.

"LIKE THE SECRET SERVICE WOULD STOP ME?" Steve yelled back, muffled. It was a point. The Secret Service had already given up stopping Steve doing anything.

"Go downstairs, oh my God," Clint ordered, slipping out of bed. "Man has his own damn house, a nice house with a turret, why's he gotta come climb mine?" he mumbled, on his way to a brisk shower and a fast shave.

When he emerged, his suit for the day was laid out on the bed, but instead he ducked into the palatial closet of the Residence and pulled down a pair of ratty jeans, one of the bulletproof tac-vests, and a jacket.

Out on the lawn, which was slowly disappearing under a blanket of snow, Steve was in a snowball fight with half the kitchen staff, two Secret Service agents, and a couple of interns. Several more Secret Service agents were worriedly trying to look like they were guarding him. In the distance, people were taking photos with their phones.

Clint crept around the side of the building, motioned for the nearest agents to keep quiet, shushed the crowd, and began packing a snowball.

He waited until the interns had backed Steve nearly up to him, hefted the snowball, and leapt.

It went viral in record time, even for the Barton Administration.

***

Four years later, in an unseasonably cold autumn, it snowed the day after the elections. With a clear victory in hand and Tony riding herd on the reporters, Clint had gone to bed at midnight, intending to luxuriously sleep until nine. Even Bucky, who never slept until he slept, had been feeling the exhaustion of the campaign, and passed out pretty much at the same time Clint had.

He woke because Bucky was moving, reaching for the gun he kept behind the headboard; when Bucky saw him move, he said, "Keep your head down. Someone's climbing the wall."

Clint groaned and grabbed Bucky's wrist. "Is it snowing?"

Bucky turned to him. "Are you lucid?"

"If it's snowing, don't shoot. It's just Steve."

Bucky blinked, turned back, and yelped, startling backwards into Clint as Steve's goddamn face appeared in the window. He was in full Captain America uniform.

Clint, who had learned from previous years, rolled over and popped open the removable glass pane he'd installed. "What is wrong with you?" he asked, as Steve pushed his face through the hole in the window.

"Been asking him that my whole damn life! What the hell?" Bucky demanded.

"It's snowing! Vice Presidential Snowball Fight!" Steve insisted.

"He does this every year," Clint told Bucky. "It's just the first year you've been in the Residence for it."

"You can't take the stairs like a regular person?" Bucky asked.

Steve frowned. "Climbing the Residence is tradition," he said.

"I can't wait to see the next VP try it," Clint drawled. "Go down, tell the kitchen to make ten million cups of hot cocoa and somebody better tweet about it."

Steve dropped lightly down into the snow, and Clint replaced the glass. "Come on, First Creep," he told Bucky. "You now have to go bodyguard me from everything except snowballs thrown by Captain America."

Chapter Text

"Steve, you can't..." Clint pinched the bridge of his nose, wishing they weren't having this conversation at twenty-five thousand feet. "I can't believe I'm saying this. Steve. You cannot sneak away to foment revolution in small Eastern European countries when we are visiting adjoining small Eastern European countries on diplomatic junkets."

"I wouldn't say I fomented, it was fomenting already," Steve said. "I just gave it a little kick in the pants."

"You broke into the palace, stole incriminating documents from a safe, terrorized the state-owned newspaper into publishing them, and organized an entire presidential election," Hill said. "I mean, I'd be angrier if I wasn't so impressed. You get a lot done in seventy-two hours when you put your mind to it."

"I don't sleep much," Steve said. "Anyway, it was successful, so who's mad at me? Nobody. Well, nobody still at large."

"I am, for the record," Tony said, pacing back and forth on the opposite side of Air Force One's main conference room. "Partly because you didn't warn me, partly because you didn't invite me along."

"You're just mad I took Bucky instead," Steve said.

"Like old times," Bucky said nostalgically.

"But mostly," Tony finished loudly, "because I now have to handle the several nearby countries that are terrified by this development and rattling their not inconsequential swords."

"I'll fight' em," Steve declared.

"You're the vice president of the United States," Clint continued doggedly. "You can't be seen to be interfering so blatantly in the governance of other countries. You're not Captain America anymore."

"Temporarily," Steve said. "Just until the next administration. Besides, I didn't go in as Steve Rogers or Captain America."

Tony clicked a button on his phone. The flatscreen television beeped, turned on, and automatically tuned to the local news. A man in a black combat suit with gold accents and a full-face mask that showed only his eyes and stopped just above his ears (to display a full head of perfect golden hair) was leading a triumphant, democratically-elected new president of Lotovia into the former royal palace.

"Lotovia borders on Latveria," Tony said. "Victor von Doom, ruler of Latveria, is not pleased with anti-monarchist democratic revolutions so close to his homeland."

"Nobody knows that's me," Steve said.

"Everybody knows that's you," Hill replied.

"Fine, nobody can prove it's me," Steve insisted.

"Steve, there's an entire Reddit ironically dedicated to whether your butt matches Nomad's butt, which isn't hard to compare because you wear a lot of booty shorts," Tony said. "Not that I'm not one hundred percent Team Booty Short, but I think the Nobody Knows I'm Nomad ship has sailed."

Steve crossed his arms. "Democracy needs its champions," he said.

Clint let his head fall to the table, sighing. Bucky patted the back of it. Clint batted him away.

"I assigned you to keep him from doing this again," he said, turning his head to eyeball Bucky. "I said, Steve can't be allowed to sneak off and depose a dictator again. I said, Bucky, that you needed to keep him to his official agenda."

Bucky shrugged. "You've read history books about us. You shoulda known better."

"Look, I know there's politics involved," Steve said. "I know we can't just invade every country we think isn't being democratic enough and install democracy. As vice president I have to behave myself, I get it. But it's just one little country, and I wore a mask."

Clint rubbed his eyes. "Tony?"

"I'm fixing it," Tony sighed. "I'm smoothing over hurt feelings. I'm arranging for the imprisonment of several generals who were propping up the evil king. I'm a damn good boyfriend, and you owe me apology sex," he said to Steve.

"Like...right this minute?" Steve asked, flushing.

"Sex in airplanes is bad for my blood pressure," Tony said, before literally everyone else in the room could object to the discussion. "Clint, there's ice cream in the fridge, go eat ice cream and take a nap. By the time we land this will all have been like a bad dream. Bucky, do your creepy bodyguard thing, stand unblinkingly over his unconscious body or whatever it is you do. Hill, don't you have some black magic to practice or could you get with toppling the patriarchy or something?"

"Not this week, but thank you for clearing my schedule for it," Maria replied. "I have some lobbying I could be doing, I'll use the aft office."

The President, the First Lady, and the rest of the assembled staff were just about out of the conference room when Tony finally leaned over Steve and murmured, in a voice that said he'd risk his blood pressure, "So...where do you keep that skintight Nomad outfit, anyway?"

Chapter Text

"You know, I can't believe nobody thought of this sooner," Clint said, rattling the chains around his wrists and ankles. The ankles were chained together; the wrists had separate chains attached to the wall, but they gave him a fair amount of movement. It was all very medieval. At least he wasn't in a cell, like the other two.

"Yeah?" Bucky asked. He was not chained; large steel cylinders encased his hands up to the forearms and his feet up past his ankles, holding him spreadeagle, which was kinky in a totally different way. He was caged in by bars, which did seem like overkill. "What's it they finally thought of?"

"I mean, you joined the administration what, two years in?" Clint asked.

"I like how you call it 'joining the administration' and not just me showing up in your bedroom one morning, looking for Steve," Bucky said.

"Being fair, it took you about two seconds to get onboard," Steve called, from a similar predicament to Bucky, but in the cell on the other side of Clint.

"Well, I am a patriot," Bucky replied.

"Anyway," Clint said, annoyed that his personal bodyguard-slash-boyfriend and his vice president were ignoring him. "It is now seven years into the Barton Administration -- oh, my mother would be so proud -- and I have only just now been kidnapped."

"You did have that assassination attempt," Steve said. "And they've tried to kidnap you before."

"Have they? Who?"

"AIM once, a couple of very ill-prepared domestic terrorists twice, and some Hydra splinter group once," Bucky said. "I had a lot of fun with that last one."

"This is only proving my point though," Clint said.

"What is your point, anyway?" Steve asked. "Takin' you long enough to get to it."

"My point is that nobody managed to kidnap me until now because nobody could get past Bucky."

"That's my job," Bucky said, not without pride.

"So I can't believe it took five years for someone to come up with the idea of just taking Bucky too." Clint's chains rang against the concrete floor thoughtfully. "Taking Bucky and you seems like overdoing it, but -- "

"Well, that was part of the plan," said a new voice, and an unbearably bright light went on, pointing right at them. Clint squinted, one hand over his eyes. There was a man standing between Clint and the light, outlined in shadow. "Good afternoon, Mr. President."

"I've had better," Clint said frankly. There was a low laugh.

"My apologies," the man said. "I was all for giving you some nicer accommodations and a little less of this..." a hand waved, "borderline stereotypical dungeon nonsense. But I'm given to understand you're extremely good with improvised weapons, so we couldn't really give you the freedom of movement I'm sure you prefer. The vice president and your bodyguard were obviously never going to get the white-glove treatment, considering their unusual abilities."

"Kind of you to consider it," Clint said.

"Well, we try not to be barbarians about these things."

"So is this a ransom situation, or a political statement, or some kind of coup?" Clint asked. "I should warn you, a coup of this kind normally requires a lot more paperwork filed in advance."

"Ah, the famous Barton wit. Earthy. Down-home," the man said. "A farm boy from Iowa with Tony Stark's deep pockets behind him. Oh, how my employers loathe you."

"Was it universal healthcare or peace in our time that upset them?" Clint asked.

"Honestly, it's a matter of principle. You should have been one of them. A midwestern ex-soldier working for the intelligence community? How on Earth did you end up a liberal?"

"Well, I like people," Clint said.

"Horrifying," the man drawled.

"It happens more often than you'd think," Clint replied. He didn't look at Steve or Bucky, who were suspiciously silent. "So, definitely a coup?"

"Of a sort," the man agreed. "The president and vice-president vanishing simultaneously offers us so many options, President Barton. It destabilizes the administration. I'm sure Tony Stark is losing his mind right now, what with his boss and his boyfriend both missing -- "

"Fiance," Steve said. The shadow man stopped short.

"Really?" Clint asked. "When did that happen?"

"Last weekend, the retreat at Camp David. Very romantic. The woods, the moonlight, crisp country air...."

"Did you get him a ring?"

"He asked me, actually. No ring yet, he wanted to have it custom-fitted, I got surprisingly thin fing -- "

"Enough," the shadow man snapped.

"Hey, butt out," Clint said. "My pal just got engaged."

"Those chains could be activated," the man replied.

"Activated?" Clint asked, and a short, sharp shock ran through his body. "Oh," he panted, when it was done.

"At any rate, Mr. Stark's fiance is missing, so his mind is certainly not on his work. There's a new emergency president who must be sworn in, the whole country is nervous. Our security seems to be in pieces! What is the intelligence community doing to protect us?"

"Oh, my God," Clint said, sitting up a little, still stinging from the brief electrocution. "This is campaign strategy. You're freakin' out the voters. Is this seriously the GOP campaign strategy? Kidnapping the president?"

"Well, technically no," the man said. "We're only loosely affiliated. Rather like SHIELD -- doing the candidate's dirty work for him, without being asked."

"Hey, I used to work for SHIELD, I resent that," Clint said.

"Is it untrue?"

"No, but if we found out you were stealing our schtick and using it for Republican purposes we'd be very annoyed."

The man sounded amused. "You do have a way about you when you want to charm someone, Mr. President."

"Thanks, but I'm married."

"So I hear."

"Can I ask a question?" Steve said, clearing his throat. "Why aren't we dead?"

"Oh, well, kidnapping you was more effective, in terms of instilling fear and causing chaos."

"Yeah but...now that we're kidnapped, really pretty effectively kidnapped...."

"Oh! We intend to break you."

Clint went still, and he saw Bucky draw in a thin breath.

"We'll return you eventually. Shells of the men you are now. You see, we're very good at our jobs, Mr. Vice President. We'll simply torture you until you break and then throw you back to be seen by the entire country for the weaklings you are."

There was a moment of silence; Clint started to worry, really worry, especially about Bucky. He could see Bucky take another low breath, head hanging down, and then --

Then Bucky started laughing. Howling, really. Clint didn't think he'd ever seen him laugh quite like that.

"Oh man," Bucky managed, through his mirth. "Oh man, you guys, you guys are gonna try to break Steve Rogers, I been tryin' to train him just to put on a parachute for ninety years, you all think you can break him -- ahahahaha -- "

Clint glanced at Steve, who was grinning.

"Tony Stark's been tryin' to get him to put his socks in the laundry hamper 'stead of in his boots since they started up together," Bucky continued. "Greatest genius of our generation can't get his betrothed to put his socks away -- and you think you can get him to break -- "

"Enough," the man in front of the light said, and the light went out. Bucky kept laughing for another five minutes, just in case.

"I'm cryin' so hard from laughing, and my nose itches so bad," Bucky said finally.

"I always take them out of my boots," Steve said, which set Bucky off again. "The next morning I take them out and put them in the bin when I put new socks on. I don't see what the big deal is, it's just habit! Sometimes we didn't have new socks or laundry machines in the war!"

"Well, at least now we know what's on the program," Clint said brightly. "Conservative blithering, respectability politics, and torture. Honestly it's just like going on FOX news."

"How many cameras they got on us, Steve?" Bucky asked.

"I think just the one. Hard to tell with a light that bright but I think they just got one up in the left-hand corner," Steve said.

"You see anything like a switch or a lever that'll let you guys free?" Clint asked.

"Nope. I imagine they'll gas us first if they need to move us," Steve replied.

"They better gas me if they try to move Clint," Bucky growled.

"Not to worry, my fellow Americans," Clint replied. "I am the President of the United States and I have a plan."

***

Clint couldn't track the passage of time too closely in the windowless dungeon, but they brought him a sandwich and a jaunty "The torture starts in the morning!" message soon thereafter, so he was pretty confident it was evening the next time he saw the shadow man. This time, a man with a laptop approached Clint and held it up.

"Tell me what this is about," the shadow man said.

"Is this live?" Clint asked, peering at the screen. On it, President Barton was giving a press conference.

"So we're informed," the shadow man replied. "What is this?"

"Gosh, it sure looks like President Barton is giving a speech. What a handsome son of a bitch he is," Clint said. He got another short shock for his pains, but it was totally worth it.

"Explain this!"

Clint decided the President onscreen was probably Kamala. Tony had gotten her a job as a White House intern (her parents were over the moon) in part so that she could follow Clint around and learn his mannerisms for just such an occasion. He couldn't decide whether Steve, standing behind him, was Teddy or Mystique. Probably Teddy, he did a great Steve Rogers impression.

"Plan not going how you wanted, is it?" he asked, pleased that his own personal plan was in fact going even better than he'd intended. "You're really gonna hate what happens next."

"What -- " the shadow man started, and Clint moved.

He'd picked the locks on his shackles hours ago, using a sliver of fingernail and a bit of luck. Now he lunged forward, accomplishing several things at once -- with his left hand he flung a pebble at the camera in the corner, breaking the lens, then brought it around to smash the man holding the laptop in the face. He caught the laptop, snapping it shut, and zipped it like a frisbee across the room, catching the shadow man in the side of his head even as he turned to call for help. Clint found a gun in a holster under his arm once he was on the ground, then took off through the passage the shadow man had been using.

"You guys sit tight!" he yelled to Bucky and Steve as he ran.

"THIS WAS YOUR PLAN?" Bucky roared.

"Go get 'em, Clint!" Steve yelled encouragingly.

Down the corridor was a control room with two people in it, a man who was looking frantic and a woman who was reaching for a switch on the wall. Clint shot it out before she could reach it, conked her on the head with the gun, then grabbed the guy in a headlock and pressed the barrel to his ear.

"How do I release the super soldiers?" he asked.

"I swear I voted for you this is just a job I needed the money," the guy replied.

"I try to be a caring president but I have long since passed the point of caring if I blow you away," Clint said. "For God's sake, I gave you guys universal health care and raised the minimum wage, what more do you want?"

"Yeah okay, I totally voted for Trump," the guy admitted, and tried to wriggle free, so Clint grabbed his ear and twisted. "OW! OW OKAY OKAY IT'S THE THIRD LEVER ON THE RIGHT."

Clint considered whether a guy who voted Trump would actually tell him the truth, then twisted harder.

"SECOND LEVER," the guy corrected, and Clint let him go, clipping him with his elbow just hard enough to knock him unconscious. He flicked the second lever and heard a pneumatic sigh and then Steve yelling "Clint, if you can hear us, we're out!"

Just then there was a crash, and Clint ducked back into the hallway, heading further into the complex. The corridor opened into a large common room; half a dozen people were pushed up against the walls of the room, apparently trying to make themselves as small as possible. Clint didn't blame them; an angry Tony Stark in the Iron Man armor wasn't anything to mess with.

Tony was standing in the middle of the room, one Agent Of Indeterminate Evil suspended in the air in front of him by the throat. Behind him, on a still-functioning television, Kamala-Clint was still talking. The Tony Stark on the television was probably Mystique then, Clint thought idly. Tony loved it when Mystique played him.

"Hey, Mr. President," Tony said conversationally. "Where's my fiance?"

"TONY?" Steve yelled, skidding into the room. Right behind him was Bucky, who grabbed Clint around the waist and began bodily dragging him towards the hole in the ceiling, where SHIELD agents were lowering themselves on ropes.

"Ack! Lemme go, I can climb my own rope ladder!" Clint insisted, but Bucky just yanked a SHIELD agent out of their harness, buckled Clint into it, and then grabbed on again. "Buck, this is just unnecessary. I rescued you!"

"Shut up and get in the helicopter," Bucky said, tumbling in after him. Clint turned in time to see Steve riding the Iron Man Express out of the bunker.

The helicopter pilot turned around, gaped, and said, "Mr. President!"

"Hiya," Clint said with a wave.

"Would you like to take the stick, sir?" the man asked.

"No, no, that's fine," Clint said. "Home, please, I've had a very long evening."

"Yessir!"

***

Clint was met in the Rose Garden by a very freaked out Kamala, who tacklehugged him around the waist.

"Welcome back! I don't like being you!" she yelled into his chest.

"I don't always like being me either, I feel you," he said, patting the back of her head.

"Are you okay?" she asked, letting him go. Then she straightened her shoulders and added, "Mr. President sir."

"I'm fine, M&M, and you did a great job," he said. "I saw you on TV, it really freaked out the guys who kidnapped me. Hey, pizza party for the interns," he told her. "Put it on expenses. Go on," he said, and she nodded and ran off.

"Dammit, I bought a new black outfit for the funeral," Maria said, joining him as he proceeded into the White House, heading for the Residence.

"You can wear it to the pizza party," Clint said with a grin, and she smacked the back of his head.

"Don't get kidnapped again, I don't want to be a gay widow before my time," she replied, peeling away for her own bedroom.

Clint stopped in the hall to give a few instructions to the Secret Service, who all looked very anxious they were about to be fired and then relieved when they weren't. He waited just long enough to see Steve and Tony disappear into the Lincoln Bedroom, then waved off security and ducked into his own suite, Bucky on his heels. He collapsed backwards onto the bed, staring up at the ceiling.

"SHIELD's securing the compound they pulled us out of," Bucky said, checking his phone. "Pretty sure they'll know who it was who kidnapped us and which candidate paid them by morning."

"This will be a footnote in the history books," Clint said. "Make sure SHIELD handles it, not Tony, he's gotta plan a wedding."

"Tony knows how to delegate."

"The wedding or the domestic intelligence?"

"Both, he's a genius. Are you okay?" Bucky asked.

"Yeah. I just want a presidential-speech-length bath."

"Starts twenty minutes late and lasts thirty minutes longer than necessary?" Bucky suggested.

"Yeah, something like that."

"Should I pretend to be a pundit and criticize your bathing?"

"It's an interesting roleplay you've suggested, but no." Clint stood up and started peeling off his grimy clothes. "You may join me if you like."

"Well, Mr. President, what an honor," Bucky remarked, as Clint wandered into the bathroom to start the water.

"If you play your cards right, I'll let you sleep in the presidential suite tonight," Clint said with a grin. "Come on, Barnes. We foiled treason today and I beat a guy up with a laptop, I deserve this."

"If only your voters knew how you suffered," Bucky drawled. Clint eased himself down into the hot water, sighing.

"Security briefing in the morning," Clint said. "Now get over here while the water's still warm."

***

"So," Tony said, "Now that I have both proposed to you and rescued you from certain death, you definitely have to be the one to plan the wedding."

"I'm the vice-president, I have event planners to do that kind of thing," Steve replied. "So do you, actually."

"We should do it before you leave office. A state wedding is just the thing to raise peoples' spirits."

"You just want to get married in the White House, you egomaniac."

"Well, it's a very nice venue and I hear we can get it cheap," Tony replied.

"Clearly a concern," Steve drawled. "Go to sleep, hero. I need my beauty rest."

He drifted off to Tony talking his way through plans for the wedding, including whether or not Steve should wear his dress uniform and if Tony could get away with wearing white.

Chapter Text

snowytumble on tumblr: I'd love another Steve Rogers, Vice President snippet. I firmly believe this universe splintered from that one and I got stuck in the bad one where Trump won. Any window I can open to that brighter future is one I'd love to Break in Case of Emergency & crawl through!

"Okay, explain this to me," Clint said with a sigh.

"I don't think it's that complicated," Steve said, glancing sidelong at Bucky. "There's a running bet between the Secret Service and the President's personal secretary."

"That's me," Bucky said. Clint gave him a dry look.

"Every time Bucky gets the best of the Secret Service, the agent he defeated has to learn a song," Steve said. "Of my choosing. I mean, he is my best pal, Clint. He's got an interest in my safety too."

The four Secret Service agents also clustered in the room looked embarrassed.

"And what you chose to do with this," Clint said, "was to teach these gentlemen each a different part of some four-part harmony union agitation songs?"

"You've been a very union-friendly president," Steve said.

"Which is why when I went running this morning, running along behind me was a barbershop quartet singing I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night?"

The agents looked sheepish.

"Could'a been worse," Steve said. "Coulda been Waist Deep in the Big Muddy."

"Steve, can't you teach them My Country Tis Of Thee or something?" Clint asked. "I got enough problem keeping Congress in line without you teaching my personal security force anti-authority ballads."

"They already know My Country Tis of Thee," Steve pointed out. One of the agents hummed, and on his key note the others burst into song. Clint let his head fall onto his desk.

"I am exercising my presidential veto power," he said. "Steve, you are now restricted to showtunes."

Steve set his jaw. "Fine. I'll teach them I Know Where I've Been. Come on fellas," he said, gesturing to the quartet, who left still singing. Bucky patted the back of Clint's head.

"I'll go easy on them for a while," he said. Clint groaned again, and decided to stay there for a while, at least until he couldn't hear the singing anymore.


memprime on Tumblr: How about Steve in Leader of the Free World trying hard and avoiding to not cause an international incident while visiting Doom.

Steve bit his tongue, for what felt like the ten thousandth time, on a hard retort to Doom. Clint, who saw the muscles in his jaw jump, gave him a knowing look.

"Of course we understand Latveria has a very...unique form of government," he said, pressing his palms to the table. "Victor, I think Steve's tired, and I need time to read these briefs. We'll take the afternoon and see you tonight at the feast, yeah?"

As soon as they were alone (as alone as diplomats ever were in Latveria), Steve exploded.

"The people here live in a dictatorship!" he blurted. "Twenty minutes in the Nomad costume and I could bring democracy to Latveria!"

"No," Clint said.

"Just tell me where it is!"

Clint put his hands on his hips. "Look, it's not my fault you lost the bet with Bucky. He has custody of the Nomad suit until we get home again, and it's just as well, because you seriously cannot unseat the government while I'm here."

"But Clint -- "

"Hey, I'm not the one who made or lost the bet. Take it up with the First Creeper when we get home."

Steve muttered sedition, but when they sat down to dinner with Doom that night, he kept his peace. Clint smiled. Bucky was right; this was awfully character-building.


monicaop21 on Tumblr: If possible something on the Leader Of The Free World AU!! Stony all the way!! Maybe something with Immigrants?

They had held the wedding privately -- in the White House, as Tony had demanded, while Steve laughed and called him a Bridezilla. Still, they couldn't escape the public eye entirely, and Tony had agreed to turn the reception speeches into a sort of press-conference-and-media-event. Rhodey and Sam had given speeches as Best Men, Clint had put in his cameo, and they'd had their first dance; so Steve was surprised when Tony told the cameras "Keep rolling."

"What are you up to?" Steve asked in an undertone, as Tony waved to Kamala, who brought him a small leather folio.

"When we talked about wedding gifts, I couldn't figure out what to give the vice-president," Tony said, holding up the folio. "Assassinating Clint was out of the question, and you're lacking in material desires."

The assembled reporters laughed. Steve narrowed his eyes.

"So I decided I'd pull a few strings, and this morning Clint signed a little document into law," Tony said. "Sara's Law is named for Sara Rogers, who immigrated to this country at the age of twenty-three. It grants indefinite residency rights to all immigrants under the age of twenty-five, regardless of documentation status, and budgets federal funds for the creation of a new government agency designed to guide anyone over the age of twenty-five to documented resident status or citizenship. As of this moment, no immigrant in this country is an "illegal" immigrant, thanks to Sara's Law."

There was an audible intake of breath from the crowd. Steve took the folder, opened it, and frowned.

"How did you...." he began.

"I'm the Illuminati, dearest," Tony murmured, then, louder, "If I can't give you something nice for your wedding, what's the point of being Secretary of Defense?"

Steve blinked rapidly. "You gave me twelve million new citizens," he managed.

"It was that or a World's Okayest Vice President mug," Tony told him.