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Title: I get a kick out of you (AO3)
Author: Enmuse
Fandom: MCU
Characters/Pairing: Clint Barton/Tony Stark (Pepper & Natasha cameos)
Rating: All
Words: 1,965
Summary: Clint found a safe haven with Tony in Malibu after the events of New York.

Notes: Written for seratonation as part of avengersfest. I had to try my hand at Clint/Tony when I saw it as a possibility in Seratonation's request list. The request was pretty open-ended but it seemed like something fairly lighthearted, friendship focused, and a bit domestic would work out. I hope this managed to fit that :)

Clint was currently sitting pretty with his free roam of Tony Stark's Malibu estate.

He spent many of his days lounging in the sun on a wide veranda overlooking the ocean. During the first week of their arrival, he'd claimed an area of mostly empty yard to use for archery practice. Tony had added to the setup since then. Clint also had more equipment to try as the weeks went on.

There weren't any demands on his time; that still bothered Clint to some extent. It had been a long, long time since he had been free of obligations. He tried not to dwell on why there was an absence. He kept himself busy, though, keeping up with exercises and training to keep in shape and adapt to new equipment from Tony. Stark even let him try out some prototype equipment that SHIELD had apparently requested. Clint didn't mind suffering the consequences of the occasional failure (there was only one explosion, though he never admitted it to Natasha when she expressed skepticism about the situation).

It was interesting to watch Tony work. Clint didn't like sitting in the workshop for long, there were no windows and he'd come to enjoy being out in the sun, but he always found some time to hang out in Tony's domain. The extent of the projects on display was sometimes overwhelming if Tony had all of the work stations lit up, but Clint had a feeling that it was an accurate representation of the genius's busy mind.

For most of the time, it was just Clint and Tony at the house. There was a cleaning staff who came through once a week, and someone delivered groceries.

When they'd first arrived from New York, Clint had imagined that Pepper Potts would be a frequent face. Although he'd known that Tony and Pepper had gone splits-ville in terms of romance before that relationship had even developed, he'd still had the impression that they were toeing the line. Apparently not. Pepper checked in occasionally in-person, usually when she came bearing Stark Industries related business.

She'd stay long enough to drag Tony out of the workshop and get him to sit down to an actual meal with her and Clint. She was a brilliant woman and didn't let Tony get away with attempts to sneak back to work. She proved herself witty and with a wicked sense of humor, too, once she warmed up to Clint.

When Pepper wasn't around, it was much harder to get Tony away from the workshop unless there was some sort of testing to be done in the light of day. One method Clint found effective involved gaming competitions – epic virtual battles even when playing supposed team games. Another way to get Tony upstairs was to profess ignorance of or insult some pop culture that apparently Tony found vital. It was amusing to get a rise out of the man. Clint pushed Tony's buttons easily, feigning ignorance over obscure "classic" television and mangling movie quotes. Tony may have caught him out in those lies more than a few times, but it didn't interrupt their entertainment sessions. Sometimes Tony even focused on the present activity instead of dragging up projects on a tablet.

They didn't talk about why they were on the opposite side of the country from New York. Clint never mentioned the way Tony flinched when the city arose when Pepper discussed SI business. Pepper obviously noticed, but she never made it a topic of discussion in Clint's presence. Tony never asked what Clint startled at when strange reflections in the mansion's many windows caught him by surprise. The less said about the shouts sometimes heard at night, the better. Clint had asked that JARVIS inform him of any serious event that might require his intervention, but otherwise let Tony have his distance. He didn't want anyone coming to him in the wake of his own nightmares.

Natasha sometimes tried to ask about how they were faring. She always ended up muttering derisively about stubborn-headed men and their poor coping mechanisms. Clint found it important to point out that neither he nor Tony had taken to over-excess drinking. That had actually gotten his friend to fall silent as she took that in. Quietly she'd expressed her approval and told him it was something she'd mention to Pepper. Clint wasn't sure when the women had apparently gotten into regular contact. He could have investigated that further, but ultimately he decided he could simply appreciate the fact that Natasha had perhaps made a friend.

Clint had been in Malibu for over four months when Tony interrupted his lunch on the veranda one day. Unlike any other time Tony had previously ventured outside, he didn't carry anything with him. The lack of equipment was odd in and of itself, but Clint felt outright suspicious when Tony's gaze focused intently on him. Hands tucked into the pockets of his jeans, Tony passed through the door and made his way across the stone tiles. Clint chewed his next bites of sandwich slowly as he contemplated the oddity. Tony looked a little tense, but not overly concerned. He didn't show signs of any recent explosions, so it was doubtful that some accident had expelled him from the workshop.

Tony stopped a couple feet away from where Clint had settled at a patio table, feet crossed at the ankles on the tabletop. "This seat taken?"

Clint squinted up at the genius, trying to piece together what was going on. "Not exactly a crowd waiting for a spot," he replied.

Rolling his eyes, Tony freed a hand to pull out a chair and took a seat, slouching down with his legs stretched in front of him. Clint noted that pale bare feet stuck out of the frayed cuffs of Tony's jeans. They were silent for a few minutes as Clint continued eating and Tony squinted his eyes at the sky.

Eventually Clint said, "I was beginning to think you were allergic to fresh air."

Tony snorted but didn't look away from the sky. "It doesn't always agree with me."

Clint shrugged and returned his attention to his sandwich. Occasionally he caught Tony looking at him sidelong, but he remained silent as Clint finished his lunch.

"Dare I ask what brought you out into the sunlight?" Clint asked as he brushed crumbs from his shirt.

Tony grimaced at the sky, like he'd been searching it for something to say but hadn't managed to find his answer. After a lengthy pause, Tony said, a little overly loud like he'd been gearing up to speak, "I could make you a suit. Design's ready. high maneuverability, easy for you to get into high positions, attachments to secure your gear—"

"Uh, no thanks...?" Clint answered with a half question. The offer caught him off-guard. Tony straightened in his chair and frowned.

"What? Why? You're passing up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! You do realize how many people would kill for this sort of exclusive tech?" There was an odd sort of desperation in his eyes as he fixed Clint with an intense stare.

"Heavy armor's not for me, man. Physique like mine's meant to be showcased."

Tony's eyebrows drew together in contemplation. "So I go for a minimalist design, focus on the movement aspect."

Clint shook his head as he felt his lips curve into a smile. "I'm good working with the type of thing I've already got."

"I don't think you're really considering the possibilities here," Tony argued, frown deepening. "Better protection, flight, the ability to—"

"I'm sure you could out-design my wildest dreams, Tony," Clint interrupted. "But it's really not for me."


"Keep the suits for yourself. You're iconic, don't want to compete with some joker like me in a suit, do you?"

Tony scoffed quietly as he looked away. Clint caught a flash of disappointment before the expression cleared. Still looking away, Tony muttered, "Can't believe you'd turn down a pair of wings."

Clint arched an eyebrow at that, wondering what Tony had in mind. That project might be worth looking into. "I need minimal bulk when I work," Clint explained.

"You and Romanov are dead set on the sexy ninja thing."

"I can only dream of managing her level of stealth," Clint admitted. Tony cast him an amused look. Clint shrugged, there was no point in denying the truth. It took another moment for him to catch on Tony's phrasing. "Sexy?" he asked.

"The lady does make a Bond girl look plain," Tony said, a little too quickly as his gaze darted away.

Clint tipped his head to the side as he considered the man sitting next to him. Although Tony was doing his best to present a casual posture, Clint could see an underlying tension in the line of his shoulders.

"And where do I fall on that scale?" he asked.

Tony waved a hand dismissively. "Fishing for compliments?"

"I don't know, seemed like you might have been offering one," Clint replied.

Tony's hand dropped into his lap abruptly and his gaze dropped to the ground. Clint resisted the urge to move his legs from the table so that he could inch closer. He had the feeling that any sudden movements would send Tony scrambling back to workshop seclusion.

Clint wasn't sure what he was going to say when he opened his mouth; what came out was: "Girls never did much for me." At Tony's startled expression, Clint blurted, "Bond. The, uh... Bond girls." He grimaced and looked away.

The silence didn't last long. Tony asked, "So who does it for you?"

Deciding to go for honesty, Clint admitted, "Cary Grant. William Powell, you know, The Thin Man?" He caught Tony's smirking and scowled. "Fine, more contemporary? Han Solo."

"What, no Bacall or Hepburn? What about slave Leia?"

Crossing his arms, Clint shrugged as he answered, "Attractive but doesn't get me hot under the collar."

Tony tilted his head as he made a show of giving Clint a considering look. "I was looking for an iconic reference from you."

Tony propped his elbow on the table and rested his chin in his hand. Gaze fixed firmly on Clint, he suggested, "There's this up-and-coming group they're calling superheroes..."

"I hear the archer's pretty hot."

With a small scowl, Tony protested, "That's just narcissistic."

"And you'd know all about that," Clint teased with a smirk. Tony waved dismissively.

Clint leaned his head against the back of his chair and smiled up at the sky. "I suppose there's this masked guy. Doesn't show his face much on the field." He closed his eyes as his smile widened to a grin. "I'd be lying if I said I've never thought of unwrapping that package." He heard a sharp inhale and the creak of the chair next to him.

"Want to take this inside?" Tony offered quietly.

Clint opened one eye and glanced sidelong. "Are we watching a movie?"

Tony glared in response.

Clint slipped his legs from the table and sat up straight. He held up a hand. "I don't put out before a date. At least buy me dinner first."

"I've been buying you dinner for months," Tony pointed out with a smirk.

"Well you haven't yet today."

Tony rolled his eyes. "Fine. How about we go inside, you choose a movie, and I spend the time convincing you to move up your timeline."

Clint snorted quietly in amusement. "I'd like to see you try."

Tony's eyes glinted with confidence as he stood up. "I can be very persuasive," he promised. He swept a hand in the direction of the door. "Lead on."

As Clint pushed to his feet and stepped past Tony close enough to feel the other man's heat, he decided he wouldn't mind losing this challenge.


Notes: This was my first attempt at this pairing, though I've leaned towards a strong Clint-Tony friendship since I first entered fandom. They just seem to gravitate towards each other in my headcanon.

Title from the Cole Porter song of the same name. I was scrounging at midnight for a title and the song's been in my head lately.