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Book Club..................of a sort.

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Despite being on the clock Clint knew there was shit all to do today, unless some random psycho started something. But everyone knows villains don't roll out of bed before eleven. It's practically the number one villain commandment; 'thou shalt not take over the world before noon'. So all things considered, a chat with his favorite icon of good old American values seemed like a great way to start his morning.

It took almost no effort at all to 'bump' into Steve in one of the many 'lounge' areas in the tower. Why there were so many of these designated places only Tony knows, but Clint suspected it had something to do with proximity to liquor and the convenient "ultimate mini bars" that graced the individual seating arrangements.

"Hey Steve-o, you got a minute?"

Steve turned slightly to face Clint and made sure his lips could be clearly seen. Clint appreciated that Steve was classy like that, a real considerate guy.

"I was going to review some old mission debriefs but it isn't urgent. What's up?"

Clint smiled at Steve's akward but endearing use of slang. "My kid thought this Flowers in the Attic book was pretty good and she asked me to give it to ya. She wants you to read it so she can have someone to discuss it with. Kinda like a book club I guess?"

"Oh, ok. What is it about?"

"Oh some siblings band together and survive, overcoming the odds, you know, the kind of shit you are into."

Steve frowned slightly at Clinton's casual vulgarity but refrained from correcting him.....this time.

"Sure thing! I read pretty quickly so I should have it done sometime this morning."

"Oh, no rush. So long as you finish it she will be tickled pink!"

"All right then."

Preoccupied by the worn paperback with the picture of a sweet but slightly ghoulish group of children gracing the cover, Steve sank down into the buttery soft leather couch. 'Steve looks cozy; Tony really does buy some nice things from time to time.' Clint thought to himself.

Shaking away his distracted thoughts, Clint flashed a small but triumphant grin in the direction of the security camera and casually sauntered from the room.

15 minutes later he flopped into an overly engineered ergonomic office chair and wheeled it next to where Natasha sat with her feet casually propped up on a desk.

Snagging some of her popcorn he gestured to the monitor. "What have I missed?"

"So far no crying but I think he's about to blow; based on the number of pages in he's starting to figure out it's the Grandmother."

"Oh man! Has he hit the incest scene yet?"

"I don't know......he reads fast so it's hard to....wait...oh yeah. There it is."

Both Clint and Natasha begin cackling evilly at the look of stupefied horror on Steve's face.

"You are both completely demented, I hope you know that." Tony spoke up from across the lab where he was preoccupied, fiddling with connectors and a multi meter.

Tony was heading into day two without sleeping and was just a little bit whiner than normal. Natasha predicted he would crap out in the 56-64 hour range, Clint had a whole pie riding on him making it a full 78; so far the odds were good that Natasha would be buying him an XL pineapple, jalapeno and pepperoni pizza the next time they were off duty together.

"Give us a break Tony!" Clint volleyed back with a laugh. "Compared to what passes for normal around here this is practically benign; I wasn't joking when I said my kid read this book!"

Tony shook his head with a huff. "That's not what I'm talking about and you know it! I can't believe you got J.A.R.V.I.S. involved!"

"Sir, is it not part of my directive to observe and analyze human behavior?"

"Yeah, but you aren't supposed to be hanging out with the Spy Kids! You're my sidekick dammit! If you don't believe me check your root file, I am absolutely certain it's in your designation, "Sidekick to one, Anthony Edward Stark", not those two......cackling huns!"

Natasha turned and whispered to Clint. "That's a relief, for a moment there I thought Stark had grown a conscience!"

"I believe that function is under my purview as well." Said J.A.R.V.I.S. without a trace of irony.

"Shhhh Jarv! Oh oh, look 'Tasha! He's crying now!"

"Awww he's like a puppy! A blond eviscerated puppy!"

"The fluids issuing from his optical sensors are quite copious; how would one turn this 'emotionality' to one's advantage?"

"Dammit J.A.R.V.I.S.! I'm going to boot you from an earlier file if you don't knock it the fuck off with the creepy spy shit!"

Natasha and Clint shared an evil grin; so far this was the best non-working work day ever!