countlessuntruths: (Kate/Clint - What Hawkeyes do best)
[personal profile] countlessuntruths in [community profile] fictionaluntruths
Title: Ice Cream Fixes Everything.
Fandom: Marvelverse.
Warnings: Severe age differences. Mentor/sidekick relationship.
Contents: Spoilers for Children's Crusade.
Characters/couples: Kate Bishop/Clint Barton.
Summary: The thing for Clint here is: things don't change too much with a partner. Or maybe, with the right kind of partner things just change for the better.
Rating: PG.
Notes: Look I couldn't wait until August so, how I see Kate and Clint's future partnership. And my ship googles are screwed on tight.

Ice Cream Fixes Everything.

Kate offered zero sympathy over his dilemma with Natasha and Jessica which was, perhaps, to be expected of a sixteen years old teenager. She sat on the couch – his couch, he might add – with a bowl of chocolate mint ice cream, nodding at the right parts and shaking her head but, other than that, zero.

He groanned as he slid down over the floor, leaning against the couch near her legs.

“What am I supposed to do?” he asked, purely rhetorical.

But of course, here she answered.

“Don't be a cheating ass?” she offered, completely unrepentant. “You have to make a choice, even if the choice ends up leaving you alone. But unless everyone involved agrees with a threesome, you talk with Jessica, you talk with Natasha, and you aren't a creep.”

Clint pouted. “You are ruthless, girly girl. Has anyone ever told you that?”

Kate grinned mischievously, but even so she offered him a spoonful of her ice cream, feeding it to him.

“Compliments will take you nowhere with me, Barton.”

*

Finding her at the range wasn't strange: a thing they had in common was that, when they tended to relax shooting a few arrows without it actually being practice because, frankly? The day one of their targets was sitting calmly for them to shoot them was the day they stopped being heroes.

What was strange – and what Clint DID notice immediately – was that despite that the target had several arrows stuck, Kate was still tense. That and a certain frown on her face and Clint decided to pretend that he didn't notice that her eyes looked red.

“Tough night, girly girl?”

“Don't try me,” Kate told him, she grabbed a new arrow from her quiver and shoot, bullseye. “I hate men.”

“Where have I heard that song,” Clint mused, dragging a chair to sit on it backwards and then, softer. “Did you and Eli have a fight?”

The way that arrow went THUNK into the target told him the answer, and he didn't envy the boy for even a second.

“It's been constantly a fight since I decided to come back,” Kate said, going towards the target to take the arrows of. He didn't offer her any help, knowing she most likely needed that, and also knowing that she just needed someone to vent, which made it difficult when your other best friends where also your boyfriend's best friends. “Don't I know it's dangerous, don't I want to have a real life where we can actually go to the movies and have a date not interrupted, do I have a death wish, do I want to end up like Cassie...

“Woah. He brought Cassie on this?”

The way Kate leand against the target told him more than he needed to know - and he resisted a few choice words, but Clint did think them very, very loudly – as Kate sighed, pulling another arrow free.

“He's happy, not being a hero. He wants to be a lawyer, and he keeps telling me that there are other ways for us to help that don't involve...”

“Getting killed?” There was no romance in hiding the words.

Kate sighed again and then nodded, moving back, reading her bow to shoot again.

“Eli thinks... he said. When we quit. Weren't we on the same page? And we were, but.” She lowered the bow, the arrow, her head. “... Cassie's mom yelled at us, that we had killed her daughter. How could I say that I was her best friend when I had driven her to her death and part of me wanted to tell her that she had no right to say anything because she never supported Cassie at all but a part of me thought... that she was right.”

“And that's when you quit.”

“I thought I should try living the life Cassie wasn't going to get. School, prom, shopping, dating...”

Clint stood up slowly. Kate hadn't looked up yet but he could see the way her shoulders were trembling. So he spoke softly, approaching the still grieving, still hurt girl.

“But you realized it wasn't the life Cassie would've been living.”

“Or not completely. Cassie was a hero and it was her choice and... it's selfish. To take on the blame as if Cassie didn't know, as if she wasn't aware that heroes die and that if we're lucky, when we die we managed to save someone else's life. It was her legacy and I was taking it away by blaming myself and not doing what I should. Not living the life Cassie would have been living.”

“He said he can't see me die like Cassie and Jonas did. Dumping your girlfriend on her birthday should get a prize, right?”

Her voice sounded miserable and heartbroken and Clint made the mental note to remember the date even as he sighed, moving his arm around her shoulders and pulling her close. Kate didn't really hug him back but she did leaned against him, her breathing heavy, obviously trying not to cry again. Clint squeezed her shoulder and tried to make his voice sound happy.

“C'mon, girly girl. I've had enough girlfriends to know exactly what you need.”

The words hadn't even left his mouth when he winced because that sounded bad even for him. Kate raised her face towards him and, yeah, there were more tears but she had one eyebrow up in a very universal 'what the fuck'.

Ice cream, young lady,” he said, shaking his head. “Honestly, kids these days.”

*

Kate actually asked for the night off on her eighteen birthday, which made sense, superhero or no: with no new case over, Clint told her that she was free to go and he took on the impromptu free night to go out and relax a bit, even if he did feel awkward.

Over six months of his and Kate's partnership, most nights found them together, even on those nights where they didn't have a new mission. They could be training or pouring data over digital maps or building their arrows or even, sometimes, Kate's homework covering every inch of the table because it wasn't easy keeping a straight A's record while being a superhero but Kate was most definitely going to try. It wasn't every night, but it was frequent enough that, around one, he decided to call it an early night and go to bed.

He didn't actually see anything. He hadn't turned on the light, just the hall's lamp letting him see the silhouette's of his partner and her apparently secret boyfriend over his couch, just enough light to make the absence of clothes perfectly clear.

Ohmygod sorry!” Clint called, slamming the door shot. In the silence that follows he realized the incongruity of having to say 'sorry' for coming inside his own apartment.

For a moment he almost started getting angry – annoyed at the least – over the fact that Kate decided that his apartment was a motel of some sorts, did she think that just because she was eighteen now it meant that she could do those things... and then he realized that he was channalizing someone's father and, being that he was definitely too young to have an eighteen years old teenager, he shook his head again.

Clint had told Kate that mi casa tu casa. Of course he had meant that if she was ever lonely in that big penthouse that she had to call home she could go and crash there for a few days, no problem. And it was better than a motel: Kate was too rich and too pretty not to call a papparazzi's attention towards her.

He cleared his throat, now that the initial surprise had passed, Clint tried hard not to grin as he knocked the door to his apartment.

“Ready or not, here I go!”

He counted three more seconds and opened the door again.

A white and green blur ran by his side, Kate siting down over the couch, blushing and glaring at him, her eyes crossed. Clint bit his tongue not to say anything yet, closing the door and going to his fridge for a couple of fudge pieces with ice cream.

He wasn't going to be an ass.

“Was that Tommy?”

He wasn't going to be an ass.

He wasn't going to be an ass.

“Yes, he was.”

He wasn't going to be an ass.

“I hope he wasn't too fast.”

Clint Barton, you're an ass.

Kate groaned, grabbing a cushion to start beating him with that. She's still blushing, righteous fury practically flowing out of her. Clint laughed, shielding himself and his ice cream as Kate calls him 'asshole' and Clint answers, between laughs an 'I know!'.

*

Kate's nineteen birthday found them kicking ass and taking names: the best way to celebrate a birthday, if you asked Clint, and with the way Kate was grinning, she probably agreed with him.

“A whole Mafia party for myself, Clint,” Kate said, half a smile on her face. “Awww, Clint. You shouldn't have.”

He snorted, putting an arm over her shoulders and squeezing, careful of the bruise where she had landed badly.

“Just the best for my partner, girly girl. So. Tired yet?”

“Not at all. What's next?”

“I know a fro-yo place that closes late and then we'll see about actually arriving to the surprise birthday party your friends planned for you. Think you can look surprised enough?”

“Much better than how Teddy and Billy can play subtle.”

*

They didn't really celebrate Kate's twenty birthday. She's got a bullet in her gut and wires and cables crawling inside her body to keep her alive and the world might be ending again and all Clint had to tell her was that she had to wake up because he had capucchino ice cream and a whole bottle of Baileys and if she didn't hurry up to get better, he was going to have them without her.

(When Wanda's son finally was able to come back to wish her better three days later, Kate's first groanned words were 'you better not have drunk a drop of that bottle, Barton' and Clint felt so grateful for that that he did cry).

*

Clint had long ago learned that, being a superhero, you rarely, if ever, managed to watch a whole movie in one sitting. It was one of the reasons why he didn't go to the movies, and Kate was of the same idea so, taking advantage of the afternoon while it lasted, the pulled out the blu-ray, some Disney because their lives had enough explosions as it was for anything else, a couple of popcicles and they sat down to enjoy being able to be kevlarless with the hot dry June weather.

It wasn't until Shang started wondering about being sent daughters rather than sons, with Kate leaning against his shoulder, his arm around hers, and her legs tucked up on the couch but even so half of them sort of leaning close to him that Clint had a sudden realization.

“Kate?”

“Shh, it's my favorite part.”

“Sorry,” so he waited for Mulan to get the arrow of the post and throw it to Shang's feet and everyone to become into super warriors against the huns before he spoke again. “I was just wondering something.”

“Mmm?”

“How long have we been dating?”

Kate threw a smirk his way. “You just cost Bucky ten bucks to Natasha.”

“Wait. Ten bucks-- what?”

“That you hadn't noticed. And in theory, around March,” Kate said, her eyes merry, the smirk quite firm over her face. “Really, Barton, a girl could get offended.”

He waited for a second or two. March. March had been a bad month with lots of cases and lots of fights and there had been a bad night for them both. Not bad enough that they had to call for reinforcements, but bad enough that by the time they made it back to his apartment they were both ready to just drop off. So they took a bath, bandaged each other, he had lent Kate a shirt and some sweat pants that she had to roll over twice over the ankles and they slept.

To sleep they went alright, but in the same bed. It didn't even occur Clint to tell her that he'd sleep on the couch. It had been a bad mission with more than enough close calls for them both and he wanted Kate within reach, where he could know that she was okay. Over the course of the night they had rolled up close.

And then... nothing changed. Or nothing too big, things that had already been there in a thousand casual ways that he hadn't actually noticed. They practiced, they argued, Kate reminded him that vegetables were more than what was found on pizzas, he told Kate that with their lives having an apple for a snack wasn't enough, they saved the world, they helped others. And then there were times with Kate leaning over his shoulder to point at something over the screen and her hands remained on his shoulders, lingering, or he rubbing her shoulders and Kate leaning against him. There were movie evenings just like this one.

Three months. Wow.

“That does explain Tasha's amusement with me lately,” he said very matter of factly before Clint reached over to pause the DVD, feeling a smirk over his own face as he turned more fully into Kate. “You said 'in theory', girly girl.”

She shrugged, nonchalance in every single move she made except for the way her eyes were rbight.

“Well, we haven't kissed yet, so I'd just call it pre-dating.”

“How about we move to 'dating' then, huh?” Clint asked, leaning close.

Kate's answer was to close the space between them and kiss him, her hand curling over the side of his neck and there weren't fireworks, the world didn't shift it's rotation but he could have happily stayed there kissing Kate for the next few hours, the strawberry of her lipgloss, the faint traces of lemon left from her popcicle, his hand over her waist, close to where she still had a scar.

Which was why, of course, their alarms went off because, ladies and gents, you could always count in the world's timing. Kate chuckled against his lips as he cursed.

“After this, you, me and ice cream,” he told her, stealing another kiss.

Kate nodded, as unwilling to move as he was with the way she was playing with the hair at the nape of his neck.

“Clothes welcome but not required.”

“I knew you were my favorite for a reason.” Clint said, kissed her again before they stood up to change to go and save the world again.

January 2013

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