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Lilac Perfume

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"...so I get walk back to the table and he's trying to convince the waitress that he's a scout for a modeling agency like she hasn't just witnessed himboring me to tears about his internship at Goliath Bank." Katie-Kate rolled her eyes, took a sip of the beer she's stolen from Clint's fridge.

"Asshole," Clint agreed equably.

It was a good evening. It was a sweat-sticky August night, he had a cold brew in his hand, and Kate was regaling him with tales of the dating life while they sat on the rooftop of his building.

"You don't mind me telling you this stuff, right?" Kate asked.

Why would he mind hearing about the handsome, age-appropriate boys she was dating? Not a reason in the world.

"Nah," he said lazily. He leaned over, nudged her shoulder with his. He caught a whiff of her perfume, mixed with the familiar scent of sweat and beeswax and girl.

Kate picked at the label of her beer bottle. "I like that you laugh about it," she said, the worlds falling soft and slow out of her mouth. Clint realized she was a bit drunk. "If I told Teddy-and-Billy about this, they'd get all indignant and offended on my behalf." She leaned back, bracing her palms behind her. "I think they're so in love and happy they want everyone else to be in love and happy."

Clint made a face and Kate laughed. "I know, right? Right? They're warped. And my sister would want to me to give tonight's date another chance, which, ugh."

~~~

Clint had to call the mugger an ambulance after Kate was through with him. He wasn't sure how he felt about that.

"I'm not sure how I feel about that," he informed her, three blocks later. There were a lot of people out, considering it was going on three in the morning. He had to dodge around an woman with a cane and a cat under her arm to catch up with Kate.

"Yeah, I, uh," Kate said, rubbing one shoulder her hand, her two batons tucked in her elbow, "might have had a teeny, teeny bit of frustration to work off."

Clint has suspected, when she'd spontaneously decided to join him on patrol after previously having plans and showed up still wearing lilac perfume and darker than normal eyeshadow. He wasn't the word's greatest detective or anything, but he could put two and two together.

"Yeah?" Clint asked.

Kate rolled her eyes, "Look, this guy from my econ class asked me out...." she started and Clint tuned out the of the 'mating habits of the wealthy coed' part of the story, more invested in the hints of lilac that kept drifted towards him whenever Kate tossed her hair in annoyance. Which was often.

Maybe he should advise her to cool it on the perfume? But it wasn't like she wore it regularly, or anything like that. Strictly a date-night-only kind of thing. Besides, there were people on both sides of the line who could smell what she'd eaten three days ago from a mile away so... barn doors, horses, etc.

"At this point, I'm on the fence about a second date but I thought, 'what if he has mad skills in the sack or something?' so I invited him up for coffee and he told me, get this, he told me that 'he doesn't believe in it.'"

Clint came back to the conversation with a mental thud. "In - what?"

Kate did this whole, nonverbal, 'what the fuck' interpretative dance-shimmy move.

"I know," she said. "In sex on the first date? In sex before marriage? IN SEX EVER?" her voice hit a pitch Lucky would probably have trouble hearing.

Clint rewound the conversation thread. "You actually wanted to have sex with a guy who's allergic to arugula?" he asked.

Kate turned to him and jabbed one finger into his chest. He rocked back on his heels. She opened her mouth, clearly about to read him the riot act, and then snapped her teeth together hard enough that Clint's jaw ached in sympathy.

She spun away from him and resumed her angry stalk down the sidewalk. A beat late, he realized what Kate had been going to say, something to the effect of, 'I wanted to have sex with somebody,' and Clint knew, he had no doubt, that he would have done something damaging like offer his beautiful, smart, wonderful eighteen-year-old partner a quick screw.

Clint told himself to be grateful that smart, clever, mature Kate had hamstrung that whole... thing, but his stupid head decided to throw up a couple of technicolor fantasies –Katie, tumbled back on his bed, dark hair spilled across his pillow. The way her thighs would tremble, slung over his shoulders while he licked into her. Katie-Kate, blue eyes bright and challenging while she rode him, her betcha-I-can-do-one-better smile on her face–

"Are you coming, old man?" Kate yelled from across an intersection.

Clint wanted to bang his head against the curb.

~~~

"You realize this show is terrible and ridiculous and terrible, right, Hawkeye?' she asked, settling herself on the couch next to him, tucking her feet up.

"Watch your mouth, Hawkeye," Clint said, taking a slice of pizza from the box without looking away from his tv. "This is quality television."

"Whatever," Kate huffed, picking slices of pepperoni off her plate and feeding them to Lucky, who was looking at her in adoration.

Kate could pretend to hate Dog Cops all she wanted but she'd shown up in plenty of time to watch the 'last season on Dog Cops' recap episode that was airing before the premier, and had brought pizza. So. Clint knew what was what.

And when Detective Barkowitz realized that her boyfriend had gone back to the street and the music swelled, she turned her face into Clint's shoulder to muffle her... okay, her giggles but–

He turned to shush her and went dizzy. Lilac. She was wearing lilac perfume.

"How did your date fuck up this time?" he said, his tone all wrong. He sounded angry and there was no reason to be angry, just because he'd thought she was here because Dog Cops was an awesome show and it turned out she was just killing time because the dickheads she dated had no clue how great she was, no idea how to treat her.

Kate jerked her head back, startled. "Barton, the hell–"

"You only wear perfume when you're on a date," he said, trying to forced his voice level, calm. It didn't quite work; he sounded angry, violent.

Katie-Kate open her mouth, snapped it closed.

"Jerk," she spat, flushing, blotchy color spreading over her cheeks. "Enjoy your moronic show about canines." She threw herself off the couch, hopped over Lucky, who whined plaintively at her, and knocked the lamp against the wall. Which, okay, was in the middle of the floor, but it had been there for about, oh, six months, and she was not a clumsy woman.

"I'm a fucking idiot," Clint said to himself and vaunted over the back of the couch and tore across the room. She was in the hallway, hopping on one foot as she yanked on a boot.

"I'm a fucking idiot," he said again. "I didn't get it."

"Nothing to get," Kate said, and she could make her voice go flat, go chilly and upset and all wrong. She shouldn't ever sound that ground-down.

He put his hands on her shoulder and she immediately straightened, meeting his eyes with her shoulders square and her chin up, his brave, brave Kate.

"I kinda like your perfume," he said.

She blinked at him, clearly waiting for the punch line.

"It's nice," he said, lamely, inadequately and couldn't quite figure out where- how to go from there.

"Whatever, Clint," she said, breathing out heavily, shoulders slumping, clearly reading that as a brush-off, which is wasn't, at all.

He leaned down, kissed the corner of her mouth quickly. He felt Kate grin against his mouth, fierce, and then she threw herself at him.Clint ended up with his arms full of Katie-Kate, her legs around his waist, fingers digging into his shoulders while she kissed the hell out of him.