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lady in red (man in purple)

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Clint has been way more enthusiastic about this wedding business than Kate expected.

She thought he’d either be fine going to the courthouse on a Thursday afternoon or possibly using some of that money he claims he has to go to Vegas, but he has latched onto this idea of throwing a real wedding reception with deeply puzzling seriousness.

He’s still him at least - he helped her rebuff her dad, who is trying to throw money at her instead of an actual apology, and he’s weirdly into finding a venue that “feels just like the VFW hall in Waterloo,” whatever that means. (She Googled it. It didn’t help.)

So it’s been two months of “wedding planning” (a thing she always intended to avoid like the plague) and it’s been… weird. Clint gets kind of gooey in her direction every time he finds something he really likes, looking at her with the damn kicked puppy look while he waits for her to give thumbs down and then lighting up every time she doesn’t. (It’s not like she’s Serena Van Der Woodsen or something and going to turn up her nose at poor people parties or something -- I mean sure she grew up with that kind of asshole but she’s … whatever she is, now. Not that.)

Anyway, the process has been kinda fun (she IS going to use his money on flowers because they are pretty, damn it ) and she’s been starting to get excited about the actual wedding part and not just the weird competitive nyeah nyeah I got him and you don’t part of this process…

And then along came Peter Cetera.


She walks into the apartment and there is… crooning. And synthesizers. And … a drum machine?

“I am a MAN who will FIGHT for your HOOOONOORRRRR, I’ll be the HEEEEERo that YOUUUUU’RE dreamin OOOOOF”

Clint is doing the dishes, wearing the hideous Minion fuzzy slippers that she hates and his own damn branded boxers and nothing else. The black “boom box” on top of the fridge is blasting whatever this awful song is so loudly that she can hear the cheap speakers crackle.

She stops in the front doorway, totally perplexed. Her hand goes lax and her bow clatters to the floor.

He looks towards the door and stops shout-singing along with the music to grin at her. “Hey Katie-Kate!”

She blinks.

He lunges at her and literally sweeps her off her feet what the hell .

“We’ll live foreeeeeever, knowing togeeeeeeether, that we did it ALLLLL for the glooooory of loooooove” he bellows in her face.

She blinks again. “What.”

He leans in and nuzzles her nose with his as the song meanders to a close. She opens her mouth to ask what the actual fuck is going on, but he turns the nuzzle into a kiss, slow and soft and with just a little bit of a tease, and she kind of loses her train of thought.

He’s still got her in a bridal carry, one of those ridiculous arms keeping her snug against his chest, when the world’s fakest sounding synth starts pouring out of the speakers and he kind of jumps. He plops her feet back on the floor and begins to -- well, the best way she can think to describe is that she’s being danced upon.

With a surprising amount of speed, Clint toes her bow out of the way and hipchecks the front door closed.

He takes her arms and guides them up around his neck, then snakes his arms around her lower back, slowly starting to sway back and forth against her. Some chick is singing over the bad synth about her breath being taken away and it is… it is really cheesy and also she’s pretty sure it was in a movie and …

“Oh my god, Hawkeye, are we slow dancing ?!”

He huffs out a laugh. “Well yeah, we gotta practice, right? I mean, I haven’t found one that feels right for the first dance, but there’s so many good tunes on here!”

“On… where?” She is so confused. They’re still doing the actual clutch-and-sway and she is having flashbacks to Jeremy Coen's bar mitzvah.

“On this mix cd! I found it at the gas station - it’s all wedding songs!”

She loves him. She really loves him. She’s going to keep repeating this in her head so she’s not accidentally a dick about this.

She takes a deep breath. “Uh, I kinda thought we could get… a band?”

He makes a dismissive noise. “Oh, no, they never know how to play the songs right and they’re always playing like … expensive department store music instead of things people actually like.”

They’ve sort of swayed to a stop and he’s looking down at her with absolute confidence that this issue is going to be the thing they’re absolutely in tune about (har har) despite the fact that she hates all his old man music and he calls all of her music “emo” despite the fact there is no actual emo in her entire collection.

She really doesn’t want to make the kicked puppy face come back. 

“Uh, I don’t actually think I know this song. Or the one you were singing when I came in. Was that, uh, Baltimore?”

He makes a face. “Boston, Kate. The band is Boston. Or maybe Chicago, but it would be really weird to mix that up with Baltimore."

The last song is finally over, but unfortunately the drum machine is back as the next track starts the kitchen thumping again.

“Oh hey, is this that Africa song? That’s… a weird choice for a wedding.”

He looks pained. “Uh, no , that wouldn’t make any sense.” He pauses for a second, looking puzzled, as he starts to sway them softly again. “But actually Lady in Red is kinda weird for a wedding too, even if it is pretty romantic...”

Clint’s arms curl around her a little tighter and he starts to mumble-sing along as he buries his face against the side of her head.

“Never seen you looking as lovely as you did tonight… mmhmm mmm hmmm so bright…”

She manages not to sigh. He is clearly really, really into this. Ok. She won the flowers (he thinks it’s depressing to have dying plants everywhere), he can win this. More importantly she’s actually going to let him win and not tell him there was even a challenge. Marriage is all about compromise. She's pretty sure she read that somewhere. (Possibly in the Redbook at the urgent care the last time she broke her nose, actually, but it counts.) 

She settles her head a little more gently against his chest and lets her fingers skate along the back of his neck. The song keeps on warbling about a lady in red.

“I’m not wearing red," she mutters. "It’ll clash with your lavender tux.”

He sighs. It sounds a little wistful. “Yeah, we’ll have to find something else.”

“What about that other band you like - REO Airplane?” She’s tucked under his chin enough that he can’t see her smile.

“NO! It’s not -- wait, are you fucking with me, future Mrs. Barton?”

“Yes, future Mr. Bishop, I am.”


When she tells Darcy he picked Almost Paradise for the first dance, Darcy laughs so hard she snorts her latte out her nose. She makes Kate and the rest of the bridesmaids watch Footloose while they’re carb-ing off the bachelorette party drinking. Somehow watching the dumb movie just makes her even fonder of her goofy husband-to-be and his terrible midwestern 1980s taste.

The wedding DJ plays all the songs on Clint’s CD. He claims her for a dance every time, and sings along with every single one. He cries when she sings "I Wanna Know What Love Is" back to him.

And they lived happily ever after.