Clint’s not so bad at poker, normally, but that’s when he plays with men; when it’s with the girls, it’s a whole other matter- even if they do allow him to win at least a game every now and then every time they are together. But not tonight. Tonight, even when they are practically serving the game on a silver platter, there’s something on his mind that keeps him from being even just an half decent player.
He is sweating despite the cool air, and every time they he looks at one of them, he sighs, desperate and- Natasha would say- even scared. And if there’s someone who knows that Clint Barton doesn’t do fear, but is a pretty bad-ass, that’s Natasha Romanoff. She knows him, and knows when there’s something wrong with him.
Bobbi is a bit worried- few days ago they worked together on a mission for SHIELD, and Clint caught a nasty new kind of bio-engineered virus; she had believed he was out of the blue, but from the looks of things, that’s not what it looks like.
Jesse simply looks at him quizzically, not scared but clearly worried; she doesn’t know what this is all about, but she fears this could be the famous payback for the American Beauty that the archer pulled on Chris; Kate, obviously knowing something- or maybe even being on the secret, whatever it may be- chuckles, and takes advantage of the situation robbing Clint for everything that he is worth, Jen, Patsy and Carol look quizzically, often with an arched eyebrow, at whom they have come to call the “poor man”, and Chris, power damper on (“Best friend or not, I’m not playing poker with her. Its’ bad enough playing with trained spies, her included, but a telepath with a computer for brain? Thanks, but no thanks.” Clint had told her once. She had shuddered like it was nothing, turning on a power damper Clint didn’t even know she always kept on hand. Just in case.) acts like she couldn’t care any less.
Natasha sighs, shaking her head like a disappointed parents who’s feds up with her own children. “What did you do?”
“I haven’t done anything bad.” Clint mumbles, so incoherently and low that it’s a miracle any of them catches it at all; Kate simply snickers- in a very un-lady like manner, like to say, yeah, sure, keep saying that…
It’s in that moment that Jess knows for sure that whatever is going on with Clint, it’s definitely Chris’ fault- even if she does think that Clint went looking for it.
“Chris…. What did you do to that poor man?” Jess asks, a bit worried, turning to her former Avengers team-mate; whatever it is, it must be bad, to have Clint so worried and scared. She had assumed she had given him a nightmare or two or urticaria. Made appear embarrassing pictures. But not this. Whatever it is she has done to the poor soul.
“Did you go and annoy her? I honestly thought that you and Tony had learnt to share by now. You should have known better.” Natasha sighs. “What’s on your mind? Parrots? Mice? Birds? Green Arrow making fun of you because you are a lame shot?”
Clint sighs, burying his head between his hands, in his arms. “Elephants. Disney dancing pink elephants. That’s what I’m seeing. In place of every female past the age of 18.”
Jess chuckles turning to her friend, their bottles of non-alcoholic beer clicking together in cheers . “You are right, you definitely hate him.”