Clint Barton has always loved Chris Stark. Of course, at first it was more of a platonic love, but it hadn’t taken long for him to stop fooling himself: platonic his ass. He was in love with her, wanted to make love to her, marry her, be the father of her babies and etcetera, etcetera.
Knowing it and admitting it, though, are extremely different things: for years Clint keeps fooling himself, fooling her and everyone they know saying that he loves her but he isn’t in love with her, when he is only bloody scared that he’ll ruin this relationship as well- and he feels, he fears that he would be lost without her. Besides, they are both pretty good at keeping themselves occupied: he has Bobbi, Janet, Moonstone, Wanda, Maya, Jessica and one-night-stands, and Chris has Alec, Wisdom, Peter Parker, Wisdom again, Hellstrom, Wisdom one last time and –yes, he knows it’s hard to believe but she is actually a female version of her brother- one-night-stands.
Which means that, with the exception of when he and Bobbi broke up after Russia, none of them is ever single at the same time.
But then… just when they are both singles for the second time (and this time it’s actually lasting), Francis Barton- “I’m your son from the future with your best friend” happens, and Barton is pretty sure it’s the push in the right direction he didn’t even know he needed.
He tries to be casual about it- casual touches, lingering every day a little bit more, but either she isn’t getting it, or she doesn’t want to get it. So, he pushes himself a little more forward: his arm around her as they watch television, playing with her hair like they were two teenagers making out in a dark theatre, and then he goes for the killing and he tries to kiss her. Only to get hit by a very huge and heavy book.
He excuses her, though; maybe it’s just because he was, after all, sitting between Chris and Kate. Chris was probably just embarrassed because she didn’t want to make a scene, didn’t want to make out like horny teenager in front of a girl- someone who more or less a teenager herself.
He decides to try to be romantic, but aggressive about the whole ordeal. He wants her, and he is done waiting around for Wisdom to decide that after all he may want to leave his work behind and have a family with her. Like Hell. Chris asked him to choose- her or Britain, now that, with his father gone, he had only his Country to keep him there- and he told her he was born a British Spymaster, and he would have died that way. Now he can go rotting in hell while he builds a future with this amazing woman.
(And frankly, if he can have a word in all of this, well, he’d really, really like to not stop at just Francis. If there’s something that life has thought to the two of them, it’s that children should have siblings.)
Only things is, he really don’t know how to go about the whole thing: subtle doesn’t work; should he act like his usual smart-ass arrogant self when it comes to women? Maybe he should. But… big. Yeah. He has to go big. Women just love when men go big on them, right? It’s practically the only thing he had learnt from his relationship with Janet (and the Doombot).
He times it.
Chris goes grocery-shopping every Saturday at ten, and buys as much as she can for the week- hence, it’s a good hour, a hour and an half, and on Friday evening she always has her night out with… with the “Barton messed with our life but we stand strong” club, (Yes. It’s their actual name.), meaning that he has time to plan everything perfectly.
He mentions his idea to Jess- because, contrary to common belief, they are still friends and have never been too serious- and she begs him to reconsider.
“She’s gonna hate it. And she is gonna hate you, too. Besides, she’ll read your mind, and call you a foul pig or something like that.”
“Nah. Women love when men go big.”
“You remember it’s her we are talking about, right?”
Well, he doesn’t; so on Saturday morning scented candles, over 60 red roses and champagne are delivered to her address while she is out; he puts some of the roses in vases, or he leaves them in strategic places; the majority of them, though, he takes off the petals and transform her apartment in something akin to American Beauty; he lowers the lights, turns on the candles, and keeps the champagne on ice while he goes looking for the flutes and takes a quick shower, not exaggerating with cologne or anything else, and when he hears the noise of her key turning into the lock, he drops in the bathroom his robe and goes to wait for her on her bed (where he had put new sheets, soft and silky and ivory and very, very sinful-looking) completely naked, filled flutes in hand.
“What the…” Chris blushes as soon as she notices his state of complete undress, and hasty turns, giving him her back; Clint, frankly, finds it adorable, and chuckling, he leaves his spot on the bed and reaches her. He stands in front of her- as red as a tomato now- and offers her a flute, grinning like the cat that got the canary.
“Would you prefer to take all those clothes off, first?” He practically breaths on her lips; their bodies are touching, and, as much as she hates herself, as much as he knows she doesn’t want to… her eyes always go in that particular place.
“Clint… what do you think you are doing?” She suddenly asks; her eyes are closed, and her voice is low and filled with anger. Which is not a good sign. She should be turned on, not mad with him.
“Clint…” she sighs, taking her black leather jacket off; he chuckled shamelessly, out loud, which, given her look, seems to irritate her furthermore. “cover yourself. Now. “
She keeps her eyes closed as she speaks next- her voice resolute and frustrated and angry. “Now I’ll go to a SPA- where I’ll charge as many treatments as I want on your card. Meanwhile, you’ll think why this has been a bad idea, AND you’ll clean up this place. I don’t want to see any petal or burning candles when I’m back, all right?” She turns on her heels and is already at the door when she stops and turns back to him- to his still naked form- and stands in front of Clint, grinning.
Clint chuckles, leaning over the bedroom doorframe, as Chris seductively runs a single digit over his smooth, muscular chest. “Tsk. I knew you wouldn’t have resisted me, sweetheart…” He whispers in her ear, biting her lobe, making her gasp. And then… then Chris touches his forehead, and her eyes shine like liquid gold and he feels the tell-tale sensation in the back of his brain which means that she is playing with his mind.
(She may have lost almost all her powers, almost her whole control over them because of the Mists, but she still has a couple of tricks up on her sleeve.)
And when he looks down at her next…
He doesn’t see her. Nope. Instead, he sees a pink dancing elephant, Disney-like, talking with her voice.
He puts on the jacket while he starts cleaning up, and he swears he can’t get the elephant out of his head.