Title: Maybe You Need It.
Warnings|Contents: Sex, Age differences, Pregnancy. Meant to be future fic (About five years from the last issue of Hawkeye, more or less).
Characters/couples: Kate Bishop/Clint Barton.
Summary: Clint knows what's coming, has been there a number of times:The best thing about Kate: once she makes up her mind she hits the target straight on.
Notes: Zarabithia mentioned babyfic with Kate and Clint. My brain went 'but can you imagine Clint's panic attack?' and then it decided that imagining it wasn't enough.
Maybe You Need It.
Kate has been moody. Clint is used to this because, as much as he loves her, Katie-Kate has a temper and Clint has been on the receiving end of her temper, sometimes when he deserves it and sometimes when he doesn't.
But it's a different kind of moody: for one, he's pretty sure he hasn't done anything. She's not exactly angry, but she's not happy. She isn't avoiding as much as she's keeping her personal space very very personal, but that's fine, right. They're not living together, not really, like, she still has her place and every now and then she goes to it, probably to get more clothes, but in that not-really-living-together-but-almost Kate spends five of seven nights at his place, curled against his chest. Clint's gotten used to that, just like he has gotten used to waking up to find Kate wearing one of his shirts in the kitchen, Kate playing with Lucky, Kate singing - off key - to the Beatles.
Now that Kate has apparently decided that she's done with this – with him – his place is too big. It's full of empty Kate-spaces, like the couch where she curls or his bed where she sleeps with him and where they fuck and where they move together, there's an empty space lily-scented and Clint knows what's coming, has been there a number of times.
He just hoped that this time, at least, would take longer to come.
Good thing about Kate: once she makes up her mind she hits the target straight on.
“We need to talk.”
Bad thing about Kate: once she makes up her mind she hits the target straight on.
Clint rubs his neck, wishes for an emergency, the end of the world, a phonecall, anything so that he doesn't have to be here, so that he can go away, so that he doesn't have to face the woman who has become his best friend and be there while she breaks up with him.
But Kate is sitting down, pale and blue eyed and perfect and looking at him in such a way that Clint has to conciously avoid fidgeting and he just pulls out a chair to sit down, hoping against hope that whatever it was that drove Kate away from him won't be bad enough to ruin their friendship, because the idea of not having Kate in his life, being one of the best friends he could have ever hoped for makes him want to curl down and weep like a baby.
The silence is inches thick, the chair creaking as he fails at not fidgeting. Kate stares at her hands.
Clint blinks. And he blinks again. And stares at Kate. Kate looks at him for a moment and then she shrugs, some awkward breaking through her serious.
“Congratulations on not shooting blanks? I mean, even against the pill. I guess you can say your superpower is supersperm? Except, ew.”
“Pregnant. As in-- how--”
“My doc says it's about six weeks. I noticed two ago because, well, you know. No shark week.”
Six weeks. What were they doing six weeks ago – besides, obviously, having sex. But two weeks explain Kate's behaviour, and Clint really thought that he would have been happier about knowing that Kate didn't just not want him if it came to that.
“Are you sure?” He asks, because it still feels as if his head is about to roll off his shoulders, as if someone had kicked him really hard and Clint would know how that feels since it seems it's what always happen.
Kate pushes a small photograph towards him. It's one of those fancy 3D ultrasonic photos and still all he can see is a sproud surrounded in black, but there is a circle there.
“Pretty sure,” Kate says. “And that's why we have to talk.”
“So you've known. These two weeks?” something hurts then, just a little. They don't lie to each other, and he thinks this is pretty close to a lie.
Kate has the grace to look a little ashamed.
“... I got scared.”
“Of this,” Kate shrugs and crosses her arms. Now Clint can see he's not the only one trying not to fidget. “I needed time to think about... well, everything. Our lives. School. How would my father react. Telling my team. Telling your team. Telling you. Thinking wether I wanted it or not.”
“Please tell me you know I'd support you no matter what you chose, Katie,” Clint asks and fuck this, he reaches for her hand.
Kate smiles at that, squeezing his fingers. It's comforting to feel the roughness of her fingertips, the warmth of his hand.
“Duh, doofus, of course I know,” but before Clint can smile, pretend that he can ignore the baby-thing, Kate looks at him again, the way she looks at a target. “But that's why I needed to think. And now it's your turn.”
“I'm keeping it, Clint,” Kate says. “It'll be hard and it'll be a mess but I want this baby to be born and I want to be its mom,” Kate says and then, softer. “And you have to choose if you want to or not.”
Clint wants to say 'do I have a choice' or 'if you're having my kid of course I'm involved', but he hears what Kate is saying, knows why she's putting it like this and he can feel his throat closing up, the urge to run away and hope for the end of the world once more even stronger.
“I'm not trying to guilttrip you here, Clint, please know that. I just...” Kate lets go of his hand and this time it's Clint who crosses his arms to try and ground himself. “You can tell me you don't want it and it's fine, I won't hate you or anything and I'll still be your friend. But if you tell me that you do want it, then I need you to be here for good. So...”
“You're breaking up with me?”
“What? No!” The vehement way in which Kate says 'no' makes him smile for a moment, but then she takes a deep breath. “Well. Not right now? If you choose not to be involved with the baby, then... well. Yeah. 'cause I'm involved with the baby. I know it sounds like guilttripping, but I'm just saying it how it is.”
“So I shouldn't ask you to marry me right now, huh?”
And where did that come from?
But Kate smiles at his joke, snorts. “If you dare ask me to marry you right now, I'll probably kick you in the balls. Hard. Without the probably”
He winces, nods. “Point taken-- hey, wait. You're leaving?”
“So you can think,” Kate shrugs again. Clint tries not to stare at her completely flat stomach but he can't. There's a baby in there. The logistic of it seems weird. Too weird, even. “Because I don't want you to be here because you think you have to. I can take care of this baby on my own. If you want to be here it's because you want ot be here.”
Before she can go, Clint grabs her hand, softly. He swallows the words he was about to say, saying that yes, he wanted the baby, anything as long as she didn't just (leave him) go. But then he takes a deep breathe and nod.
“You're right, I... I'll think, Katie, I promise. Just... please, for tonight, stay here.” He tries to smile, but he wouldn't put his money on it being very good or anything. “I missed you these past two weeks, Hawkeye.”
Kate smiles at him but she moves into his arms, her arms wrapped tight around his waist.
“You're such a sap, Hawkeye.”
This is both familiar and unfamiliar territory for Clint.
(Not the baby thing. That is completely unfamiliar, we've discovered a new world, plant on your invader's flag kind of territory).
This way of saying goodbye without clothes on, the desperate grabbing and pulling at each other, fighting against yourself to keep your eyes open because this might be the last time you see how the other person shivers when you touch them, how they bite their lips, the last time you make them say your name.
That part? Familiar enough.
Except how it doesn't quite feel like a goodbye, or not how a heartbreaking goodbye goes. Kate smiles at him and she pins him down and when she says 'I love you' it doesn't sound like a curse, but just the way it is, for her. And when Clint says 'I love you' he doesn't feel like he's going to disappear, like he's not breathing.
Drowning, yes, but he is familiar to this drowning in Kate.
Her hands press over his sternum as she rides him and it's only Clint who can't close his eyes, who won't lose not even a minute of Kate as she bites her lips, as her mouth goes slack for a moment. It's Clint who can't stop touching her, her thighs, her sides: his hands cover her breasts perfectly and he moves his hand down, towards her – still flat, god, he has to start getting used to using that word, right – stomach and Kate's eyes open to look at him then, just a moment.
Then she goes tight around him and Clint closes his eyes as he feels her come undone.
The world doesn't just stop moving just because you and your girlfriend are in a maybe-kinda-sort-of-maybe break. People still need to be saved, there's avenging stuff to do... and the other kind of saving, too, only that now it's harder, without his partner there to watch his back. He ends up screwing up his knee after a bad fall and he has to rest unless he wants surgery (which would mean even more rest).
His place feels too big, suddenly. It's not, of course: one room, one bathroom, and he never had a proper table or anything because, well, he could have either a living room or he could've had a table. It's home, of course – or as close as he gets to it – and it's a place where he can keep his stuff, keep his dog.
But for a couple of years now it's also been the place where Kate tends to gravitate so now that she is actively not doing it... it's weird.
Weirder because it's not because they fought. Kate hates admiting she's wrong about something, but if this was a fight and it was because she was wrong, once she cooled down she'd be here bringing coffee and acting as if she had never left and once she was inside she'd apologize. If they were fighting because he screwed up, by day three he'd be ready to say sorry.
The thing is, he and Kate help save the world from big collosal threats about three times a year at least, and there's no count for all the side business they do. He's lost count of the times he's seen a dead kid, collateral damage of this. Even know there are times when Kate wakes up in tears when she has a nightmare involving Cassie Lang and he's not counting what Wanda kind of did because the best part about not having any kind of power whatsoever is that his fuck ups tend to be down-scaled, compared to what his best friends can do on a bad day.
(Then again, if you have to compare the fuck ups of gods and super soldiers to your own to feel a little bit less shitty... yeah).
And what if he dies (again)? What if Kate dies. Sure, their friends would take care of the kid, but when most people choose godparents, Clint's pretty sure that it's in a very distant situation. Here? He's pretty sure it'd involve a contract and clauses as well as a whole list of 'oh hey, if these heroes died in the same battle as I did, please, send the kid to THESE other heroes, unless they also died' kind of thing.
Besides, what the hell does he know about being a dad? Hell, what the hell does he know about families. Proper families, with mom and dad and siblings who don't betray you, families with Christmases and birthdays and beach-holidays.
Nothing, that's what he knows.
It's just a terrible, not very good, kind of shitty, bad idea.
“Haven't seen your better half lately, dude.” Peter comments.
Clint grunts because he has gotten tired of getting THAT particular comment. Kate just said she was taking a break from Avenging. He knows she hasn't said why the break: Steve hasn't come to congratulate them, Tony hasn't thrown a party to show support. It's kind of impossible in their world to keep a secret (which is one of the biggest ironies ever), so very reluctantly he kind of admires how Kate has managed it.
“Aw, man, don't tell me you broke up! I was rooting for you, guys! I didn't even take part on that bet that was going on!”
“We didn't break up,” Clint grumbles.
They didn't. Sure, he hasn't talked to her in more than two weeks, but they haven't. She said he had to think and he has been thinking and...
Point is, they HAVEN'T.
“You sure?” Peter asks. “'cause the last time I saw you like this--”
There's a moment of silence. Clint realizes that Peter's the first person he has ever told. That it's the first time he says it out loud and somehow that makes it more real than the last two weeks of trying to think about it and then not think about it and then just think about it.
It doesn't make sense but then again, this is his life.
Peter's eyes are huge, mouth slack. “Um. Congrats?”
“Thanks,” he curls over his coffee, frowning.
“Hey, no, no, I mean it! I was just surprised!” Pete, god bless his nerd head, slaps his back hard. “Congratulations! Why haven't you said anything, dude? This merits a party! When's the planet's next best bowsman being born?”
“You'd have to ask Kate. I've no idea.” he says, taking a drink of his coffee.
Peter's hand, still on his back, moves to his shoulder to squeeze.
“Dude. I wouldn't have expected that from Kate,” he says. “Is it Tommy's? 'cause dude's my friend, but you're also my friend and you've been my friend longer, so that means that if you want me to sock him, I can.”
“What?” It actually takes him a second to process what Pete's saying, and a second longer to understand why he's saying that and-- “Of course not! I'm the father.” He sighs, rubs the bridge of his nose. “But I'm still not sure if I'm going to be the dad.”
And just like that Peter's hand is off his shoulder.
“So that's why Kate's not around,” he grimaces. “Okay. Your business, then. I won't say a thing.”
“Dude, what's up with you?”
“I'm probably the wrongest person you can have this conversation with, dude,” Peter says. “I mean, it is your business if you don't want a kid. I mean, what do I know? On the side of having a kid, I mean. I can tell you what it is wanting a dad.”
“I didn't say that, did I?” Clint moves a hand through his hair, feels a headache forming again. “We're taking a break. Sorta.”
“So you and your girlfriend are taking a break because she told you that she was pregnant?”
And he wants to say that it's not like that, not really... except that it is kind of like that, isn't it.
Peter shrugs again at him, and he even thumps his back – and not THAT hard, either.
“Like I said, it's your business. But, tell me when you decide what kind of business it is, okay? I wanna know if I've to stop Tommy from breaking your nose or if I'm gonna help him.”
(Clint keeps thinking about it. Not because he worries he'll be punched because, in his life, that's a day that ends with a y. But he keeps thinking about it because it is important. He has no idea when you can know if a baby will be a boy or a girl, but he keeps thinking about this particular baby as a girl, because he's pretty sure that while Kate genes might not have the x-gene they still somehow are superior or bossier or something.
So, a little blonde girl with her mama's stubborness and her scowl and she's the fiercest, most daring, happiest little girl in the world. A little girl who'd call him daddy and who'd ride on his shoulders. A little girl he can teach how to shoot and tell her stories. A little girl who'd put little bows on Lucky and on him.
Clint thinks about that little girl calling Kate 'mom'. Thinks of Christmas trees and presents and little girl feet padding over the floor and running towards him.
He can't stop thinking about it. About that life.
It kind of says a lot.)
Kate's place has a view of Central Park, a birthday gift from her father when she turned twenty one. His place fits about three times in Kate's place, one of the reasons why, before they started dating, he sometimes asked her why she spent so much time in his place. 'Noisy roomates having sex' Kate usually answered just to see him grimace because he would always be happier without knowing what one of Wanda's kids did or did not do.
Speaking of her kids, the two of them glare at him when he comes in, Tommy even standing up from his previously privileged place over Kate's lap. Even Teddy, who is probably the second most patient person Clint has ever known (only second to Steve) is looking at him as if he was trash.
Which... okay, it's kind of fitting because, well. Two weeks it's kind of a long time.
“Should I send him away, Kate?” Billy asks. If the kid wasn't one of the most powerful magic users they have and if Clint didn't know that that 'send him away' probably means a 'send him to the cornfield' kind of deal, it would've been funny, with that attempt of a goatee he has going on.
Kate can't, obviously, roll her eyes harder. She does try (he knows) but she stands up, pushing a pillow to Billy's side and then tugging Tommy to sit down, hard.
“Stop it. How about you go and get some ice cream? Clint and I are going to talk.”
No-one moves. Now, Clint knows that teammates usually get privileges that normal people don't, but he also knows that when Kate has that tone... well, he's not sure if the boys are being very brave and supportive or incredibly stupid and possibly suicidal.
Kate smiles at Teddy. Obviously, he does have survival instincts because he just de-hulks and nods. Billy stays a moment longer to share a look with Kate, then to glare at him before he follows his boyfriend. Tommy doesn't even deign to look at him.
“If you call, I'll be here in a second. Maybe less.”
“Go,” Kate says, pushing at the kid.
And then, when the door slams, they're alone. Clint just takes his time to look at Kate, barefoot and wearing jeans and a sweater he had long considered lost, her hair in a messy braid. It's not the longest time he has gone without seeing her – missions with both their teams has meant being away, even after they started dating – but it feels longer, somehow.
Her face is a little more round, he thinks – or imagines. She's not dazzling or shining or whatever it is they say pregnant women do, mostly because she has always been that way. But there's something in her face that he likes a lot.
“So I'm guessing I'm not your teammates favorite person right now.”
“They're being overprotective. Which is sweet, if a bit neanderthal and I'm probably going to end up this pregnancy thing by putting arrows up where the show don't shine with them. But right now it's sweet.”
He laughs a bit, shuffles from one foot to the other.
“Can I get you something to drink? Only, if it's coffee it'd be decaf: Teddy made me divorce regular coffee.”
“How's that working for you?”
“Let's say that having a speedster for a friend is an excelent target to spend some frustrations on.”
He huffs a laugh, realizes he's stalling. Kate probably does as well. Clint takes a deep breath, thinks of all the things he wanted to say and draws a blank except for one word.
Kate actually looks confused then. Clint smiles, remembers why that word was kind of important and gets closer, not quite touching her yet. He's not sure that she wants him to touch her just yet.
“I thought, names we probably have to veto if we don't want this kid to hate us forever,” Clint starts. “Being the son of two archers, Robin is vetoed. Marion as well. Artemis and Apollo. And I'm guessing we're getting those suggested from day one because Tony Stark is one of my best friends so we're getting every kind of archers names as suggestions from him, so maybe when we tell everyone we could add that list? I've thought of a few that no kid should have to endure.”
“We?” Kate asks. Her voice sounds soft.
She was expecting him to say no, he realizes, that he had come here to say that he couldn't do this, that he wouldn't be here for his partner. Clint knows he doesn't have the best track, knows that Kate has been one of the persons who has told him to stop running away and so he knows that he deserves that lack of trust.
Still, it kind of hurts.
“We,” he says, reaching to pass a strand of hair behind her ear, take advantage of that to put his hand on her face, realizing how much he has missed this, having her near, touching her. “If you two'll have me.”
He has never seen Kate smile that wide. She kisses him then, arms tight around his neck while she tiptoes, and then she presses her face against his neck. Clint knows that, when they tell this story around, word out is going to be that he was shaking, and he will be nice and not say just how hard Kate was shaking, too.
He presses a kiss against her temple, takes a deep breath to get his voice back. Then--
“So this means I can ask you to marry me or--”
She laughs. Clint will forever pretend that he doesn't hear how chocked up she sounds as well, so he just brings her closer, hugs her a little bit closer.
“Do so and this kid's never getting any siblings, Hawkeye.”
(There is a tiny tiny start-of-a-curve on Kate's not-quite-flat stomach now. Tiny and almost not there, just a tiniest shift that is felt under his hand more than seen that is totally enthralling to Clint and that causes Kate to call him a dork, her clever fingers combing through his head.
They agree that Cassie Bishop-Barton is a good name, if Scott doesn't mind, in case the baby is a girl. Kate laughs at him when he suggests 'Steve' for a boy, calls him a dork, but then says okay.
It's still very new and Clint is pretty certain that, at one point or the other, he's going to faint or puke or both.
He's very okay with that).