“So, the other day I was talking with Steve, and I was thinking, we should get married.”
Chris lifts her eyes from the journal she has been reading, and lifts an eyebrow in Clint’s direction; her best friend/boyfriend/father of her child is wearing one of those “I HEARTH HAWKEYE “ apron, while making a nauseating and greasy breakfast she’d rather die than eat.
Chris sighs, barely resisting shaking her head and grunting. “If you really have to be friends with a Captain America, can’t it be James? At least he isn’t so old-fashioned…”
Few years back, Clint would have ruffled her hair at such a statement; but Chris isn’t his just his friend any longer- she is his lover, and frankly, he likes it way too much to risk getting her mad. And man, she can get mad when she wants. Mad- and vengeful.
So, he simply says, “He is just looking out for you. You know how Steve is. He worries about everyone.”
She rolls her eyes at the statement. “Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m the poor soul everyone pities because I’ve been raised by that jerk of Tony Stark who didn’t give me enough love, nor provided any emotional education, so I grew up too rich, too bored, too smart and too powerful and before someone gave me the talk I almost joined the Hellfire Club so that I could covertly control humanity. Blah, Blah, Blah.”
Clint chuckles. “Yeah. You are everybody’s little sister.” He can’t resist any longer, so he does ruffle her hair, and kisses wetly her forehead, like a dumb idiot in love. Which, by the way, he is.
“Yeah, I know. The only thing more embarrassing than you giving me the talk, was you always behaving like I was your little sister.” She chuckles as well, putting away the journal; sighing, she takes a bite of food- she may not be too much in the mood, but man, Clint Barton can really cook when he puts his mind to it.
She expects him to answer her, remark something about incest- like Kate likes to do- but he stays in silence, and when she lifts her eyes from the plate, fork mid-air, she is staring at her with a mixture of sadness and regret and love so much raw she may very well melt.
“You’ve got to be kidding me. You are joking, right? Please, tell me you are not thinking what I think you are thinking…” She grunts; she gulps down a mouthful of saliva, a bit shocked. Also, she is suddenly feeling very, very guilty. “All these years? You’ve liked me all along?”
Clint shrugs. Like it was complete nonsense, like it really didn’t matter. “Ehy, I was a guy in his late twenties, with the hots for the teenager sister of his best friend. An eighteen years old who, on top of that, was about to get married. Besides, you were the telepath with the psychic link with me; I thought you knew, just… didn’t want to open up Pandora’s box. Besides, I met Bobbi shortly later, so…”
“Oh, God. I came to you when I had relationship issues. I ranted about men with you. I’m awful. I’m an awful human being.” She hides her head between her crossed arms, her forehead hitting the stone-cold kitchen table. “I asked you to give me away when I was about to marry Pete…”
She sniffs. Christine Antonia Stark actually sniffs as she meets his eyes. “You are such a good man…you are a great man, no one should deny it…”
Clint looks around, then points a digit at himself, like to say, me? A good, great man? Are you crazy?
“Yes, you. You were ready to put my own happiness before your feelings for me. That’s the sweetest thing anyone had ever done for me.” She sniffs again. Her eyes, he can see with his perfect eyesight, are turning glassy. Which means she is that close to tears and sobbing.
“Honey, I haven’t exactly been a monk, you know that, right? Besides, you didn’t marry….” He is about the say something like “the jerk”, “the asshole”, or some other profanity, but Chris loved that idiot of Wisdom, and when they broke-up just days before the wedding, well, it hurt her, and he doesn’t want for her to think that he is dismissing any relationship she had ever been in just because he believes that they were meant to be, or whatever. “Wisdom. You didn’t marry Wisdom, so that’s ok.”
And that’s when all hell breaks loose, and Chris leaves her seat and practically jumps in his arms , wetting with her hot tears his t-shirt. “No, no, no… don’t cry… if Kate sees you crying, she’ll think I’ve hurt you and she’ll tell everybody and they’ll hurt me… you don’t want to see your brothers attempting murder, right?”
Sniffing, with Clint drawing invisible patterns on hr back, Chris leaves her spot, staying, thought, on his knees, her arms around his neck. “See? Isn’t that better, uh?” He chuckles, his eyes like those of a baby- mischievous and fun and just plain happy; laughing, she hides her head in the crock of his neck, her breath tickling his skin.
“Yeah. Well, I’m still not marrying you.“
“No? You sure about that?” He asks, a little serious; one arm is encircling her, his hand on the small of her back, the other hand is caressing her abdomen; it’s early- not so much that they haven’t told people yet- but it’s barely visible. Especially given the fact that Kevlar and black leather aren’t part of Chris’ wardrobe any longer.
She nods. “Yeah. We don’t need a piece of paper to know how you feel about us. And neither should you.”
Smiling, she kisses him.