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Till Death Do Us Apart

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“No, no, no, no, no! This has got to be a bad joke!” William Brandt exclaimed as he stared at his teammates in pure horror. “You guys better be kidding me!”

“Uh… Nope. We’re pretty sure we’re serious,” Benji said as he grinned at the ex-Analyst.

“You said you wanted to,” Jane reminded him.

“Come on, Brandt,” Ethan said with a gentle smile. “You’re the only one who can do this.”

“Nuh-uh!” Will protested. “Jane can so easily take care of this! She’s the Queen of Seducing! No offense, Jane.”

“None taken,” she said.

“The target’s too used to seduction techniques,” Ethan quickly shut down. “He’ll just sleep with her and then dump her. We need someone in there for a good amount of time to build trust and to get all the necessary information. For something like that, one night lay isn’t going to cut it.”

“Then why doesn’t Benji just hack in there?” Will stopped when he realized how ridiculous that sounded. From the looks of disbelief that his teammates were giving him, he figured they realized how stupid it sounded as well. “Okay, that was a stupid question. Of course Benji can’t hack in there. And I’m also going to guess that despite not being able to hack in there, Benji’s still going to be stuck in the computer room with his technology?”

“Yup! And seeing that I’m stuck as the techie, I don’t get to… How did you put it? Ah, ‘seduce the rich guy.’” Benji smirked, looking much too smug for Will’s taste. Will gritted his teeth.

“So why can’t Jane not seduce-seduce him, and instead work as his PA?” Will asked. “Build up the trust and such like?”

“Too likely that he’ll sleep with me and get me fired first,” Jane pointed out. “Ms. Potts is too good at picking up those kinds of vibes from other women or from the target. Not to mention I’m pretty sure she won’t let me anywhere near any important files if she thinks I’m going to get fired soon.”

“But you think she won’t be able to pick up a ‘vibe’ from a man?” Will demanded.

“No other men have tried,” Benji offered. “At least, according to the intel that we got. Everyone always sends in women for seducing the target because… Well, it’s Tony Stark. So we’re being creative.”

Will looked thoughtful at this. “But if this intel is correct,” he said, “why can’t Ethan do this? He’s attractive. And he’s much more experienced in seducing people.”

“Because you have eidetic memory,” Ethan countered. “If we can’t get hard copy of who Stark Industry is selling their weapons to, then at least you’ll have it all in your head. All we have to do is shut down the terrorist organization ourselves afterwards.”

“And what makes you think that he’ll even spare a glance towards my direction?” Will pointed out.

“Have you looked at yourself? You’re practically a cute little puppy, begging for attention! Not to mention you have that angsty agent look going for you as well. Who doesn’t want to tear the suit off of you and ravish you?” Jane said, her lips curling into a smile at the growing horrified look on Will’s face. “Besides, the target’s known for having lots of sex. It’s just so happens that he prefers women, but I’m sure you can convince him otherwise. He’ll want to bone you sooner or later. I’ll teach you a few tips.”

“But that makes no sense. I just need to get close to him emotionally. Why do I have to seduce him?” Will asked.

“Distraction using sex,” Benji explained.

“Okay… but there’s still a big piece of the puzzle missing,” Will reminded them. “How am I going to get close to Tony Stark?”

“That’s the fun part!” Benji said excitedly. “We’re going to stage a kidnapping.”

Will stared at him as if he had lost his mind.

“We’ll kidnap him,” Ethan said. “You break him out. He’ll be so thankful that he’ll want you. Maybe keep you. All else fails, you can convince Ms. Potts to hire you as his bodyguard. After all that you do for him, he’ll be happy to keep you with him at all times.”

“And if you really want, you can wait to seduce him then,” Jane added.

“What about comms and other methods of communication? Wouldn’t those be compromised because of Stark technology? They’ll be able to tell that I’m an agent from a mile away.”

“We have that covered!” Benji exclaimed, looking much too gleeful by this.

Ethan reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring box. Will blinked. Don’t tell me…?! Ethan opened the ring box and offered Will the wedding band that was inside of it.

“What…?” Will asked.

“This ring,” Ethan said as he pulled the ring out and helped slip it on Will’s ring finger, “is the pride and joy of Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division’s R&D project. It shouldn’t tick off any alarms, because it has absolutely no technological component. But because it’s made from a special metal alloy that our satellites will always track, we’ll be able to find you, no matter where you are. This is, of course, on the assumption that you don’t go rolling around in similar metal alloy, which would confuse the satellite. As for communicating, we can set up meeting times later so that we can exchange information.”

Will nodded slowly. He looked at the ring on his finger, which looked like it was a pure gold ring. He was going to have to get a chain later, because a ring on his finger was going to get in the way. Rings always got in the way. Speaking of which, if he had a wedding band, didn’t that mean that he would have to pretend to be married? But he was going to seduce the target despite that? Damn, he hated being a douchebag.

“What’s my background story? I can’t just show up randomly and save his life. I have to have a reason. Plus, wedding ring. Am I married to someone else but still going to sleep with Stark? Am I going to be using this to propose to Stark? On top of that, wouldn’t he run a background check on whatever new identity that we come up for me? And if there’s even an inkling of a mistake, they’ll know something’s up.”

“Oh, we’re not coming up with a new one,” Benji said. “Too risky.”

“But…?” Will frowned, his brows furrowing in deep thought. Then realization hit him and his mouth dropped open in disbelief. “Hell no! No! There’s a reason why I took on the name William Brandt after I joined IMF. I’m not going to return to being Clint Barton!”

“Will,” Ethan said. He was using his “I’m-the-leader-and-I-say-this-is-the-only-way-we-can-do-this-mission-so-go-with-it” voice, which meant that he wasn’t going to budge and that Will was really screwed. “You have no choice.”
After IMF had been shut down by the President through the Ghost Protocol, rebuilding it back up turned out to be more taxing then anyone had expected. The President insisted that IMF no longer be so hush-hush, and that it report under a High Council to make sure that the agency didn’t undertake a mission that could potentially cause another World War. This meant that the new director of IMF had to be someone who not only could do the job, but also could stand up to the Council to make the right call, no matter the consequences.

Colonel Nicholas Joseph Fury was the perfect man for the job.

He stormed into the President’s office and took the job without a word. He then reformed IMF. To the public, they were Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division. Inside the agency, they still joked that they were the Impossible Mission Force, because everything that they undertook was pretty much still impossible (or close enough to it that it didn’t matter).

This change was followed by a small witch-hunt where Nick Fury got rid of any moles or corrupted agents, to ensure that the agency would be clean and pristine. Quickly after, he began to recruit new members. Phil Coulson and Maria Hill were two of the best that joined after IMF’s change. Brandt had chosen to stay and helped Fury with his job, because well… Chief Analyst.

William Brandt was one of the most composed suits around, which made him the perfect candidate to speak to the Council or take care of dealings with the Presidents or any other high-ranking politician. He also had the mission reports from IMF days memorized in his mind that he could offer to Fury. On top of that, he was a patient teacher and could train new recruits for analyst or other suit positions quite easily.

For a while, Fury considered keeping Brandt as the Chief Analyst and forbid him from returning to the field. But Brandt always reminded everyone of his abilities through action rather than words. This was especially so in the case of one Black Widow, who was a well-known assassin sent in to kill Fury. Instead of killing her like ordered, Brandt made a different call, and now Natasha Romanoff was one of the best agents Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division had to offer.

All the IMF agents were given a choice to commit to the new agency or to leave, disavowed. Ethan, Benji, Jane, and Luther all chose to stay. They also offered their services for the sake of the new agency. Usually, they went on missions and achieved the objective flawlessly. But few times, they helped come up with policies and train new recruits.

It was the reason why Fury trusted them (more specifically Brandt) with this mission.
“Wow… you’re… You’re not wearing a suit,” Benji commented when Clint walked out of the bathroom in nothing but a towel wrapped around his waist.

Clint grinned. “Like what you see, lab geek?”

“Lab…?” Ethan began, sounding actually horrified for once. “What… Will, you can’t just… Why aren’t you dressed? We leave in five minutes!”

“Chill out, boss man! You’re much too tense about this,” Clint teased. “I’ll be dressed and ready to go in no time.”

“Guys, what are you doing? We should be getting ready to go. And… Will, are you seriously not even dressed? What’s going on?” Jane asked as she peeked into the room.

“Lay off, man-legs! I’ll get fucking dressed. Jesus! Every single one of you!” Clint muttered with a roll of his eyes as he stormed off.

The others glanced at one another, suddenly unsure of the future of the mission. Clint Barton was surprisingly different from William Brandt. They could see why Will had been so reluctant about this.
The kidnapping, for the most part, went well, thank you for asking. The mission, for the most part, went well as well and Tony Stark was convinced that he had been kidnapped for the sake of quick bucks.

Clint Barton with his bow and arrows (“Seriously? That’s what you want to fight with?!” Benji exclaimed when he saw Will’s choice of weapon. “Shut up,” Will growled back, “This’ll make it hard to track my past as a secret agent.”) appeared and rescued the billionaire. There was an epic battle between Clint and Ethan (It wasn’t all staged. It was an actual hand-to-hand combat. Clint’s got bruises to prove it), where Ethan’s mask ripped off and Tony Stark got a look at Ethan’s face.

Other than that one little mishap, everything else went well.

Tony Stark truly believed that Clint Barton was a good guy, who (because of his love for bow and arrows and his crude mannerism) had a hard time fitting in. He believed Clint when Clint said that he was a runaway circus performer who just wanted to do good in the world (because, well, that was the truth). He also believed Clint when he said he was a fan of Stark’s weapons and proudly shared with him the different trick arrow tips that he carried with him (He actually designed and created most of them himself when he had been younger and still interested in archery). And when Clint spotted Stark get taken, he had done what any bow-slinging circus runaways would do: Rescue him.

Stark was impressed. But more importantly, Clint had him exactly where he wanted him.
“Pepper!” Stark exclaimed when they returned from the kidnapping incident. “Meet Clint Barton. Clint, that’s Pepper. Get along now, because I’m adopting him into the family.”

“You’re what?!” demanded two different people in the room. Pepper’s recovery was much more attractive. She quickly mouthed, “No offense,” to Clint and turned to face Stark with a furious expression. “You can’t just decide things like that by yourself! Where did you pick him up? I’m going to make sure that he gets home and-”

“I don’t exactly have a home,” Clint cut her short. He had to stay here. That was the mission. And no pretty woman was going to make him walk away from this. He was throwing his dignity away to seduce a rich man, and damn him, if this mission was anything but a success. “I just need a night to stay, got it? Then I’ll be out of your hair.”

Pepper shot angry glares at Stark, who just beamed and began to introduce Clint to the rest of the ‘family’ (otherwise known as robots). Clint was pretty sure that ‘a night stay’ was soon going to last forever.
“Did your house just… talk to me?”

“That’s just JARVIS. You’ll get used to him watching everything you do.”

Will wondered if that was Tony’s way of being Big Brother. Clint, however, raised an eyebrow at Tony with an amused grin. “Figures you’ll be a kinky bastard.”
When Will reclaimed his name as Clint Barton, he also reclaimed his past swagger and grins. After all, Clint Barton was a man untouched by the sins of William Brandt or the training of an agent. Clint Barton only had his skills as a circus performer who once upon a time shot arrows and was known as the Greatest Marksman in the World.

Clint Barton was a man of sarcasm and snark. He was rude, crass, and didn’t give a rat’s ass about how he came across to people. He looked uncomfortable in a suit, couldn’t sit still for more than five minutes, and most definitely couldn’t be quiet when required. He couldn’t lie worth shit, which made him an honest idiot who wouldn’t last a minute under any torture. But that didn’t matter because Clint’s will was stronger than his want to tell the truth, and if he needed to keep his mouth shut under torture, he could.

He loved life and risk, and his personal philosophy was ‘if there’s no risk, life isn’t worth living.’ He threw himself in danger for the hell of it and rode through the thrill because it made him feel alive. And if he didn’t make it through at the end, then who cared? It wasn’t like there was anyone waiting for him somewhere.

At least not because they loved him.

In other words, Clint Barton and William Brandt were two completely different people with different experiences. Getting into character had been hard, but once Will was Clint Barton again, he was Clint Barton. He was all smile, confidence, and arrogance rolled into one. Getting back to Will, however, was a struggle.

Will just hoped that this mission went smoothly and that he didn’t get stuck being Barton too long.
“You have any job, Legolas?” Stark asked that night as he gave Clint a tour around the Tower.

Clint snorted. “If I had a job, would I have been hanging out like some hobo in front of the shop where you got kidnapped?”

Stark grinned at that. “Thought so,” he said. “Well, good. Because if you had a job, I would have told you to quit.”

“And why would you do that?” Clint asked, his eyebrow raising up to his hairline.

“Because I’m officially hiring you as my personal bodyguard.”
Pepper was not happy with this new arrangement. “What about Happy?” she demanded. “He’s working his hardest to make sure you stay safe, Tony. Are you going to fire him?”

“Nothing like that,” Stark explained. “I’m just hiring Clint as my other bodyguard. That way, if Happy wants to take a break, he can. Clint’ll just be with me all the other times, you know?”

“Tony, I really don’t think this is a good idea,” Pepper said.

“Then do a background check on him or something,” Stark said with the wave of his hand. “Look, Pepper. It’s going to be fine. I have a good feeling about Barton. And if you really want, Happy can follow me to all the important SI meetings and sales.”

Pepper frowned at him but didn’t verbally disagree. If Clint Barton was a danger, then by god, she was going to find out.
“Hey, there any place I can have a shower?” Clint asked at the end of their tour.

“Well, since I haven’t prepared you a suite yet, you can use mine,” Stark told him. He led Clint towards the penthouse and pointed at the bathroom. “There you go.”

Time for Jane’s Seduction Technique Number 12. Clint smirked at Stark as he slowly pulled up his shirt, revealing his skin inch by inch. He turned around, giving Stark full view of his backside (“Why my back? I have too many scars. What if he gets scared seeing them?” Will asked with wide eyes. “Scars are hot. Besides, you have a sweet ass. It’ll be a shame not to show it off!” Jane said with a bright smile).

He heard the faint sound of the door opening and Pepper’s words of, “Tony, I have the-” Then she stopped talking and something fell to the ground, and the archer knew without a doubt that he had everyone’s attention.

Clint pulled the shirt off completely, revealing all the scars of his past. He turned slightly to give the other two in the room a good view of his well-toned chest and abs. He began slowly unbuttoning his jeans and pulling down the zipper, throwing his head back slightly. Pink tongue swept out across his lips, and he slowly rolled his hips while pulling down his pants.

A quick glance over informed him that Stark was staring unabashedly at him, his eyes darkened as he gulped slowly. As for Pepper, she was distractedly picking up the dropped files, her eyes never leaving the scars and…

The ring around his neck. Fuck. Clint had almost forgotten about the wedding band. To cover up the any fear from the mistake, he threw them both a cocky grin before stepping out of his jeans and walking into the bathroom. He made sure to move his ass slowly, just as Jane had taught him. Gods, this was embarrassing.

Pepper waited until the bathroom door was closed before collecting all of the dropped files and handing it over to Stark. Instead of taking it, Stark stared at the closed bathroom door, a look on his face that she knew too well.

“No, Tony,” she said firmly. “You can’t have him. He’s married. Didn’t you see his wedding band?”

“Is that for real? I mean, does any of the file say that he was married?”

Pepper bit her lips. “Well, that’s the strangest thing. The last six years of his life is missing. Almost like he dropped off the face of the earth. It’s possible that he got married within that timeframe and changed his name or something, but I can’t say it for sure. Tony, I don’t like this. He’s dangerous. Did you see those scars?”

“It’s probably from when he was with the circus,” Tony said distractedly. He finally took the files from Pepper and began to flip through them. “If he changed his name back to Barton, then that means the marriage didn’t last… Tell me more. Where was he born? Who are his parents? Can you find out what he did in the last six years? Why was he at the circus? When did he leave? Did he ever do anything else? What are his sizes? What about his favorite color?”

“His favorite…? Tony, how the hell would I know that?” Pepper asked, looking incredulously at the billionaire. “Why do you even need to know that?”

Stark whined at that, causing Pepper to rub her temples. “Tony, I’m serious,” she said. “No fucking Barton.”

She never said anything about Barton fucking Stark.
To make the plan ‘Barton fuck Stark’ come to fruition, Tony knew he had to play his cards right. After all, he just hired Clint as his bodyguard. And although Clint showed sure signs that he wouldn’t mind sex, Tony wasn’t sure that was all he wanted. Tony was good at sex with no strings attached. He was fine with fuck-and-dash.

But with Clint, things were different.

Tony didn’t want to just fuck him senseless (or be fucked as the case may turn out to be) and leave him. He couldn’t do that. Clint had saved his life, and although “Thank-God-we’re-alive” sex sounded good, Tony didn’t want anything awkward between them. It would be like having sex with Pepper or Rhodey. Their relationship would be screwed up. Things would get awkward and sex wasn’t worth ruining their friendship.

Not to mention the wedding band that Clint wore around his neck. Who did Clint marry? Did he marry? And if he did, then did it have anything to do with the six years that was missing from Clint’s files? If Clint changed his last name for his spouse, then did that mean Clint married another man? Why did Clint never make any attempt to call his spouse? Was his spouse dead? Did that mean that Tony had a chance? Or maybe it didn’t, because maybe Clint was actually straight and Tony was reading all the signs wrong.

Whatever it was, Tony Stark figured that he was going to cultivate their friendship first.
Happy did not look very pleased at the sight of Clint. Indeed, there was a firm line of crease on his forehead from giving Clint what the archer assumed was supposed to be an intimidating look. But to someone who had grown up at a circus with clowns running around, it was more ridiculous than anything. How did Tony Stark survive for so long with someone like Happy watching over him?

“Well,” Happy said finally. “You look the part.”

It was the closest to acceptance Clint was going to get at this moment in time. Will figured it was good enough.
Clint followed Tony around everywhere except for one. Stark Industry. He was forbidden from ever entering the building or going anywhere near any business. It made completing the mission a little complicated. But Ethan had warned him about this. So Will just told himself to be patient and played along with Tony Stark’s antics.
“Ah, so you must be the Clint Barton that Tony spoke a lot about,” greeted an older gentleman.

Clint gave him a cocky grin. “And you must be the Ol’ man Obie Stark goes on about. He made you sound younger.”

Obadiah Stane chuckled and opened up his arms as if to say, ‘What can I do?’ Clint thought that the man was chill, just as Tony had described him. But there was something about the way the man was staring at him, almost as if he recognized Clint from somewhere… It made Will anxious because neither Clint Barton nor William Brandt had a recollection of meeting Stane. But if Stane recognized him, did that mean that the old man knew him from his circus days?

Did rich people like Obadiah Stane and Tony Stark go watch circus performances?

“Darn, you guys already introduced each other!” Tony whined when he walked into the room. “I was looking forward to doing that!”

Stane just rolled his eyes and exchanged a friendly grin with Clint. “No harm, no foul,” Stand told his charge. “Maybe next time when you bring another stray home.”

It was said with light charm and all good humor, but Will couldn’t help but to find small underlying tones of discomfort. Strange. Why was Stane unhappy with Clint being here despite the friendly exterior?

“Oh, by the way, Obie, I decided to tunnel some of the weaponry funding away to help me pay for a new weapon idea of mine.”

“Is that so?” Stane asked looking pleased but a little confused. “Why exactly is that a problem? You usually just create weapons without asking me.”

“Right, but I just wanted you to know this in case people started asking.”

“… What are you creating, Tony?”

“Arrows!” Tony shouted, punching the air. “I’m going to make new trick arrows for Clint!”

There was a stunned pause before Clint’s brain finally started working again. “What the hell?! I told you that no one touches my arrows! You’re not creating new arrows for me! Only I create my own arrows!”

“… Arrows?” Stane asked softly. He looked at Tony and then at Clint. “If it’s for Clint here, then why not use your own allowance?”

“Because I figured we can sell them, too!”

“Tony,” Stane growled. “No one in their right mind uses bow and arrows for weapons. It’s going to flop and there will be no business in it. You’ll be wasting resources in creating bunch of arrows that no one will use!”

“So?” The billionaire challenged.

Will understood what was going on. Tony wanted to use the Stark Industry to mass create trick arrows so that Clint Barton could use them. It was a waste of resources and funds, especially since Will wasn’t planning on being Clint Barton for long. He had to stop this.

“Tony,” Clint said. “Don’t be stupid. Keep creating your weapons. And leave the arrows to me.”

The billionaire pouted and complained, but Clint did not budge. Will did not miss the way Stane’s anger did not leave his body. Will did not miss the dark and rather spiteful look in the old man’s eyes. Interesting. There was a story here that wasn’t being said. Obadiah Stane was hiding a secret.
Tony walked down into the kitchen in the morning, yawning loudly. “Hey JARVIS, what do we have for…” His words trialed off when he realized that there was someone else in the kitchen. Normally, he wouldn’t have cared so much, except the sight in front of him left him not only speechless but also a little light-headed.

Clint Barton was whistling a happy tune as he cooked bacon on the frying pan. If that had been all, then Tony would have been able to just casually joke around with his bodyguard and fool around. But Clint was wearing nothing but shorts and a towel wrapped around his neck. It was as if he walked out of a workout magazine, especially the way he just made all those scars on his body just work. And don’t get Tony started on all those muscles on Clint’s arms, torso and…

Tony gulped loudly, not realizing that this was just Jane’s Seduction Technique Number 29. The archer turned with a big grin.

“Yo!” he said, “Hope you like bacon.”

The billionaire just nodded mutely and sat down on the counter, where a breakfast meal had been set up. Was it bad that he sort of wished that this would last forever?
“Rhodey, you’re going to love him!” Tony ranted as he skipped happily ahead of his best friend. “He’s funny, brilliant, and athletic!”

“Right, right,” Rhodey groaned. “Look Tony, I just got back. Can this wait?”

“What?!” Tony exclaimed. He turned to glare at Rohdey with a look of disbelief. “I’m telling you that I think I finally found the one and you’re telling me to wait?!”

Rhodey rolled his eyes. “Look, I’m sure he’s wonderful and all that. But I need some sleep first. We can talk later, okay? I can see him later.”

“But he’s waiting for you in the room!” Tony whined. “Please? Just say hello?”

“Fine, fine,” his best friend sighed. “I’m just saying hello and-”

The doors opened and Rhodey was greeted with one Clint Barton, who was sitting on the couch. He was tossing a small racquet ball up in the air, bouncing it against something, which returned it to his hands. All of this would have been fine if not for the fact that he was completely shirtless and Rhodey could see the muscles stretch and pull as Barton continued to toss the ball.

There was no doubt in Rhodey’s mind why Tony Stark liked this guy. Great. Just great.
“Wait, wait, wait,” Tony said as he stared at Clint as if he was an alien from out of space. “Are you fucking serious? You’ve never had mint chocolate chip?!”

Clint shrugged. “Never really had a need to.”

The billionaire signaled at Happy to change their destination, and from listening in, Happy knew exactly where to go. Few minutes later, the sports car pulled to a stop in front of an ice cream store.

“We’re going to buy every single flavor in this shop,” Tony declared with a winning smile. “And you’re going to eat every single one of them until you find your favorite flavor.”

William Brandt thought it was unnecessary and kind of gross. Clint Barton, however, was thrilled and ready to comply. “Awesome! I’ve never had that much ice cream before!”

Damned mission, Will cursed mentally. This isn’t even what I signed up for! Well, I suppose Jane’s Seduction Technique Number 32 will actually come in handy now.
There were two girls hanging off of Tony’s arms. The billionaire looked too snug for Will’s liking.

“I’m going to bed,” he declared loudly to Pepper and Clint.

The archer rolled his eyes and Pepper just rubbed her temples. And things would have ended there if not for Tony who motioned for Clint to follow him.

“You’re my bodyguard,” the billionaire reasoned. “You have to be by my side at all times. Just in case, you know?” Will thought the stress on the words ‘at all times’ were unnecessary, especially since it wasn’t like he was allowed anywhere near the Stark Industry. “So come along to my bed chamber.”

Wait what?

This has got to be a sick joke, Will thought. Clint just laughed and shook his head. “You’re one sick bastard,” he said, agreeing with Will on some level for once. “I ain’t going to perv on you while you fuck two girls.”

“Too bad,” Tony said with a wave of his hand. “You signed up for this job. Now do it.”

Clint stared at the two girls then at Tony. With a shrug, he said, “Whatever you say, Boss,” and followed, the traitor.

How’s this even my life? Will lamented mentally.
The gunshot rang through the alley, and all Tony could do was stare blankly.

“… Clint?” he whispered hoarsely.

The said archer tried to sit up but didn’t make it far. Instead he just waved his hand at Tony, trying to get the billionaire to help him sit up. “I’m fine, rich boy,” he promised, “Just help me up.”

But Tony was frozen to the spot. His eyes were wide and face much too pale. His whole body shook, and not the small tremors of laughter, but full out shakes of fear. Sighing softly, Clint forced himself off of the ground, holding the bullet wound gingerly in his hand.

“I’m fine, Tony,” he repeated as he pulled Tony close to him. He was leaning heavily on the other man, but Tony didn’t seem to notice.

“I’m fine.”

He repeated the two words until Tony calmed down enough to call Pepper. She called an ambulance, and by the time they got there, Clint had lost a good chunk of blood, and dots were clouding his vision. All in all, Will thought it was the least amount of damage he had ever received in his post-IMF missions.
Once Clint was out of surgery, he found himself on a lone hospital bed with a worried Tony Stark by his side. And for the following week, the billionaire refused to leave Clint’s side. Every single Stark Industry business had to be rerouted to the hospital, and since Clint couldn’t be at a meeting, Tony took to holding the top important meetings either out in the hospital hallway or in the doctors' private quarters.

It was amusing as hell to watch, but Clint’s sharp eyes didn’t miss the grumblings and annoyances on everyone else’s faces. If Tony didn’t control the world through his weaponization, Will realized with a start, then he probably wouldn’t get very far in life. This realization made him hesitate. He knew he should be going ahead with the mission, but going through with it had the potential possibility of leaving Tony Stark broke.

And so a good portion of the year passed without any progress on ‘Barton fuck Stark’ plan or ‘Seduce Tony Stark’ mission.