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In the Future

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Clint smiled slightly to himself as he looked around the room at his teammates, relaxing together in the living room after the organized chaos of exchanging gifts. Thor and Jane were curled up near the fire place, discussing holiday traditions. Pepper and Natasha were sharing an armchair, and a cup of hot cocoa, and while they hadn’t said anything officially, Clint suspected they had come to some sort of understanding. He did not dare to ask, knowing better than to mess with a pair of red heads.

Steve, Tony, and Bruce were tangled together on one of the couches, the scientists tucked in closely to the Captain, with his arms wrapped around them protectively. Clint was somewhat impressed that Steve had managed to wrangle them away from their labs for such a length of time, but then Tony and Bruce had been just as excited as the rest of them about the Avengers’ first Christmas together.

The team had had to institute a spending limit, despite Tony’s pouting (and it was pouting, puppy dog eyes and all, which Clint could have told him would have no effect on Coulson, but where would have been the fun in that), after Tony had gone crazy hand making everyone personalized ornaments, and then directing their placement and the lights’ on the giant tree he had had delivered. He had made the rest of them do the decorating, claiming that he had done enough work.

It was fun though, the first time that Clint had ever decorated a tree, had ever had one, and now he had his very own ornament for the future, with his name on it and everything. It was a hawk in flight, an arrow grasped in its talons, his name engraved across the arrow. Clint didn’t think he had ever received anything so fine. Well except for his bow, but that wasn’t the same, that was for work, this was just because.

He had been deeply touched when he had seen the ornament; he suspected all of them had been when they saw theirs. Not that they had showed it, or that Tony would have let them, it would just have made him uncomfortable. Still something must have come through, because Tony had blushed sharply, fidgeting with nervous energy, before setting them all to work.

It was the first time Clint had decorated for the holidays, the first time he had really celebrated them, and he could not help but hope that there would be many such occasions in the future. That years from now he would be able to take out his hawk and hang it with the rest of the team’s ornaments. He did not usually let himself dream about the future, did not usually feel any of the holiday spirit that he had always thought was for other people. But feeling his holiday miracle in his arms, Phil, released from Medical after almost dying, and finally, finally his, Clint felt that his future was suddenly much brighter than he could ever have hoped for.