Alright guys, this is my 23rd fanfic and it's a one-shot!
I felt like the Avengers, I felt like writing, and I can't help but notice the lack of Ironhawk (Tony Stark/Clint Barton) on this site...
So I've remedied that.
This is an Ironhawk flufflet of a story, set in Third Person Point of View.
I hope you like it!
Tony opened his eyes and groaned.
Another sleepless night.
He quietly motioned for JARVIS to turn the lights up a notch because the blue light in his chest wasn't enough, not when only three months previous he had been flying a fucking missile into space and the light had flickered and flickered and flickered so badly that the last image he saw before losing consciousness was complete and utter darkness.
He asked JARVIS to open the blinds.
Turning on his side, he gazed out across the still-bustling New York city, despite it being two in the morning. The brightly lit buildings and racing cars below soothed him, however, and Tony couldn't help but release a long-suffering sigh as his heart finally slowed and his breathing evened out, muscles relaxing and all red warning signs in his brain being switched off as his world was once again lit.
He allowed himself a few minutes to calm down and admire the view, before reluctantly dragging himself from his bed.
If he couldn't sleep (which even if he could, he wouldn't) then he might as well get some work done.
Silently, Stark padded down to the Avengers communal kitchen, all other occupants sleeping safe and sound in their individual rooms, dreaming of the happy times to come. It had been a few months since the Manhattan attack was won, and the city was well on its way to being repaired. Stark Tower had become the Avengers Tower (and for all his grumbling, Tony really didn't mind the extra company) and everyone was finally back on their feet and on the way to recovery.
'All except me', Tony thought sardonically, 'you'd have thought I'd get a break from the nightmares and flashbacks after quite literally dying for this city, but no, of course I don't.'
Starks were never so lucky, after all.
Wandering into the kitchen, bare feet against the cool tiles, he began his usual routine of coffee-making, not spying the familiar silhouette until it was almost done.
Tony blinked in surprise.
Was that... Clint?
Stepping back around the counter, he stared at the lithe man gracefully siting on the windowsill, knees pulled up to his chest and arms loosely wrapped around them as he looked out at the bright lights of New York.
'The silvery sheen reflecting off his angular features almost makes him look ethereal', Tony mused, before shaking his head at the thought of birds and angels, and returning to the coffee machine.
"You know, while I pictured you as an early-bird-catches-the-worm type of guy, I didn't think you'd be up this early, Feathers".
From the reflection in the glass, Tony saw the archer smirk, "Actually Stark, I'm more of a lie-in type of guy".
"Couldn't sleep?" the Inventor asked, genuinely curious, because despite Clint being his closest friend after Bruce, and despite him adoring the sarcastic prank king, he didn't actually know that much about him.
It was a testament to Tony's respect for the man that he didn't hack into S.H.I.E.L.D's files.
"... Something like that" Clint answered quietly.
Pouring the coffee into his cup, Stark paused before taking out a second mug.
Walking over, he held one out to the archer, who took it with a small smile in thanks.
Taking a sip, Barton spoke, "So, what about you? Pillows weren't fluffed to your billionaire standards?"
"... Not quite".
They sipped their coffee in silence.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?" Clint said suddenly, and Tony followed his gaze out to the city.
He frowned, "You've never seen New York at night before?"
"Not from this height" He admitted, "I mean, I've watched it every night since the team moved in here but before that... It still hasn't lost its beauty, you know?"
Tony studied his response carefully.
Barton watched it every night since moving in.
Barton watched it every night.
Barton didn't sleep.
Tony blinked, "Ah, yea, yea, of course!"
Clint smirked, amused, "You've got no idea what I just said, do you?"
"... My memory's not the best".
"You've got the best memory in the world" He shot back, "Both in computers, and in your mind".
"Why Feathers, is that- is that a compliment?!"
"Don't get used to them Stark, they won't become a habit" Clint replied, taking a sip of coffee to hide his smile as he turned back to Manhattan.
Because for all the teasing he did, he really did like the eccentric inventor.
They sat in a comforting silence, each one lost in their own thoughts but neither one wanting to be alone right now. And by the time morning came, the Inventor was in his lab and the Hawk was in his nest, both pleasantly surprised at how content they now felt.
It became a routine, after that. Tony would enter the kitchen at about two every morning and make them coffee, and in return, Clint would give him some company and the occasional banter.
"You know, you never answered my question that first night" Tony said suddenly, turning to his companion.
Clint frowned slightly, "Your question?"
"Why are you up so early?" He asked, and the archer tensed, "... I couldn't sleep"
"Why couldn't you sleep?"
He couldn't hold back a small smile, "That's two questions, Stark, not one".
Tony studied him carefully, "... Alright, fine. I'll answer your questions if you answer mine".
"Who says I have any questions?" Barton teased, and the inventor shot him an unimpressed look, "Bitch please, I'm Tony Stark. There's always questions".
Clint huffed out a low laugh, and Tony couldn't help but notice the way the archer's eyes crinkled ever so slightly as he grinned and how his own heart quickened in return.
"Alright then, Tony Stark, answer me this" He replied, leaning forward conspiringly, "Why can't you sleep?"
He froze, hands automatically tightening around his mug, a move that did not go unnoticed by the spy.
don't want to show you any weakness.
He shook his head, "I just... I remember".
"The black hole" Clint said softly, and Tony looked up at him in surprise.
He gave a small smile, "It wasn't that hard to figure out. One or two bad night's sleep I'd understand, but you barely sleep any night. It has to be nightmares then, and a recurring one, which would make it something you've lived through... At first I thought it was Afghanistan, but you're okay with water now and you don't seem to mind when people talk about the Middle East... So I thought about what happened during the battle. Going into space with a missile like that... Not knowing if you would survive it or not... Man, even I was scared for you".
Tony felt his heart warm at the archers worry, and couldn't help but smile back at him, "That's some great detective work there, Feathers. Ever thought of becoming a PI?"
He laughed again and the inventor's heart felt like it was going to burst.
He liked Clint.
He really liked Clint.
... But did Clint like him?
"So, you're, uh... pretty cosy with Widow, huh?" He asked a few nights later, trying and failing to act casual.
Clint raised an eyebrow at him, "I guess so, why do you ask?"
"Oh, no reason, just... curious" He replied, "... I could always give you a single room, you know. I'm a billionaire, I can do that".
"I'm not dating Natasha".
He blinked, "... Did you two break up?"
"No, Stark, we didn't break up. For us to break up, we'd have to have been dating in the first place".
"So... you guys never slept together?"
"Never" He replied, obviously amused, "I don't quite... swing that way".
"Well, that's... good for you" Tony said awkwardly, "I'm not, uh... as straight as a strippers pole either... just so you know..."
"Why Stark, is that an invitation?" Clint teased.
Well, he thought, in for a penny in for a pound.
"Do you want it to be?"
Clint stared at him, studying him carefully, and Tony held his breath, ignoring his sweaty palms and quickening breath in favour of watching the New York lights flicker across the archer's face.
And then he was kissing him.
The next night found the pair at the window sill once more, though this time their cups of coffee were long since forgotten as they curled up together, finally at peace.
"... I remember too".
Tony blinked at the sudden statement, and glanced up from where he head was resting against the archers chest.
Clint carefully avoided his gaze, continuing to stare out the window, "You told me why you can't sleep... It wouldn't be fair if I didn't return the favour.
"You don't have to-"
"I want to" Barton interrupted, hands playing with the inventor's hair.
He took a few minutes to collect his thoughts.
"... I remember being under his control" He began, "With... With him in my mind, telling me what to do, who to kill... I remember the faces of everyone I murdered... I remember the shock, the fear, the look of betrayal... I remember everything".
A sparkling drop of silver rolled down his face, and Tony quickly sat up.
"I remember... I remember the looks they gave me" He continued, voice breaking and tears glistening against Manhattan's white lights, "They didn't understand why I had turned against them, they didn't know about... about him... about what he had done to me... And I knew what I was doing but I couldn't stop I couldn't back away I couldn't not kill them and I just-"
His voice cracked and his hands came up to scrub at his face but Tony quickly stopped them, kissing away the tears as he held the distraught archer in his arms, whispering near-silent words of reassurance and hushing and cuddling and calming until they both fell asleep by the lights of New York City.
"Man, I'm bored" Clint announced the next day.
It was a lazy Sunday afternoon, one of the first breaks they had gotten since the battle, and the entire team were sprawled across various couches and chairs and floors in their sitting room.
And maybe Clint was sitting just that little bit too near Tony for them to just be friends, but they've always been close, and maybe Tony's hand was running softly through Clint's hair too familiarly for it to be the first time he'd done so, but they've always craved physical contact so it only made sense for them to find solace in each other.
"Wanna watch a movie?" Natasha asked, but they all groaned and shook their heads.
"We always watch movies on Sundays. I'm sick of movies!" Clint complained from where he was sprawled across Tony's lap.
The inventor nodded, "Seriously guys, it's like a designated movie night or something. And it's so boring! I feel like... I don't know... I want to do something stupid".
Clint turned to him, "I'm stupid. Do me".
Then suddenly, Steve is choking on his drink because I may be from the 40's guys but that is a reference I understand and Thor is spitting out his pop tart because dammit guys I wasn't gone that long and Bruce is just sighing in exasperation because it was so bloody obvious that they were sleeping together how the hell did you guys not notice?! and Natasha doesn't react and neither does Pepper and ain't that curious but Tony and Clint are staring at other silently not paying any attention to the reactions of those around them until suddenly-
-and they're off running to who knows where holding hands and giggling like little children and-
"Tie a sock on the door!" Natasha yells after them.
Because you can hear it in the silence...
You can feel it on the way home...
You can see it with the lights out...
You're in love, true love...
You Are in Love.