A/N: This story is what is called a Round Robin over on The Beta Branch forum (the link is on my profile for anyone who wants to join...in long form 'cause I know ffn recently disabled links...). What that means is that I started the story off with a few paragraphs, then one of the other writers added a few more, and another writer added a few more, until we all bounced back and forth and a fun story was created. It's not a collab in the sense that the writers involved discuss plot points or have any real plans for where the story is going. You simply base your section of writing off the work that came before. It's unpredictable and fun as hell!
So this particular Round Robin was written by me, Red Tigress, and SicklySweetNanny. I hope you enjoy!
"Please tell me that thing is see-through."
Clint tilted his head in the direction of Tony's voice, and flashed Stark a cocky smirk. "What would be the point of putting on a blindfold if I can see through it?"
Tony looked at the designated target sitting far down range of where they were standing, frowning at its uncomfortably close proximity to his collection of rare - and rather expensive - pieces of lawn art.
"Don't worry, I won't hit your stupid gnomes and flamingos," Barton quipped, as if sensing what Tony had been fretting over.
"I don't have gnomes and flamingos. I don't even know how you can mistake a three dimensional reconstruction of-"
"Whatever, I won't hit them."
Tony sucked in a breath as Hawkeye snatched an arrow from his quiver, knocked it, and let it fly all in the short time it would've taken for Stark to spit out the word stop! It hit the target. Correction - it hit a target. Clint smiled.
Stark watched in dismay as the air from the back tire of his favorite mountain bike leaked away. He'd have to remember to reprimand Steve for leaving it out in the lawn like that...
A second arrow flew past and hit the bike's frame, knocking it over into its side.
"Why...why are you doing this again?" Tony asked, staring on at his poor, damaged piece of equipment.
"Doing what?" Clint asked innocently. "Am I not hitting the target?" He fired off another shot that smashed through a small vase on a pedestal. He shrugged. "Oops. Guess not. Sorry. But hey, at least it was just a vase and not one your precious lawn ornaments, right?"
Nodding slowly, irritably, Tony backed away holding his hands in the air. "Fine, okay, I get it. This is how you want to play? Let's play. I told you it was an accident, but if you're too immature to let bygones be bygones, then we'll do it your way. This means war, archer boy!"
Clint snickered as Tony stormed back into the house, lifting up the blindfold to peek out from under it. Tony had only agreed to let Clint take blind pot shots at his stuff because the man actually felt guilty that Dummy had rolled over the box of custom arrows he had ordered. Tony had ordered new ones, of course, but they were going to take at least a week to manufacture and deliver. Clint had been so distraught, Tony agreed to let Clint retaliate. In all fairness.
Tony was now regretting his moment of weakness.
But now, they were even. And Tony hated being even.
He made his way back to his lab, punching in the code and pushing the door open. Dummy cooed questioningly at him as he moved over to one of his desks, rummaging around in a drawer until he found what he was looking for. He pocketed the device, moving back up to the communal area of the mansion. Clint was just coming inside having put his bow away, swaggering slightly and grinning. Luckily, Banner was sitting at the kitchen bar eating a sandwich and reading the paper. Tony came up to him.
"Hey, Banner," he said innocently. Bruce regarded him with suspicion while chewing quietly. Tony pretended to look over his shoulder at his newspaper.
Bruce swallowed before asking, "Can I...help you with something?"
Tony feigned shock at the newspaper. "Why, yes, yes you can. Barton, c'mere for a second. This is quite shocking."
As the unsuspecting Clint moved closer, Tony pointed to something in the newspaper. "Look, look at this!" Both Bruce and Clint squinted at the paper, trying to find what Tony was so shocked about. Tony leaned back, pulling the taser out of his pocket, and zapping Bruce right in the side. The scientist cried out in pain as Tony stuffed the taser down the back of Clint's shirt, and then ran for it.
Clint watched in confusion for a second as Stark disappeared from sight, then reached into his shirt to see what had been so rudely deposited on his person. The second he brought the taser into view, he looked at it, looked up at the seething, green-eyed Banner, glanced at the incriminating evidence in his hand again, and promptly dropped it as if it had suddenly caught on fire, his eyes going wide in alarm.
"Oh, shit," he murmured as the Hulk began to grow beside him. Just in time to avoid taking a hit from a massive, swinging fist, Clint used one hand to vault himself over the bar, his feet barely hitting the ground before he took off in a dead sprint.
"Shit, shit, shit!" he repeated as he raced down the hall towards the foyer, practically throwing himself through the door in a panic as he tried to think of where to hide. When he was halfway across the open space, movement in his peripheral had him looking up at the walkway above. In the pause of a breath, Clint stopped and made eye contact with Tony. They read each other in that brief second - Tony with the slightest hint of a smug grin, Clint narrowing his eyes in anger and with thoughts of revenge. Time started up again as the Hulk crashed through the doorway, and Barton altered his course, aiming for a new destination.
"No," Tony breathed out. "No, no, no, no, no. Tranq. I need a tranq..." He took off in another direction in search of his weapon of choice, hoping there wouldn't be too much damage inflicted before he could bring Banner back from his rage. Unless it was on Hawkeye. That sonuvabitch was playing dirty, now.
And Clint knew it. He was smiling this time as he raced ahead, and only stopped long enough to plan out his method of attack once he reached the garage. Spotting his first target, he slowed down just a tiny bit in order to let the Hulk close the distance enough to ensure the enraged monster would stay on task, then regained his speed in order to hurl himself up onto the hood of one of Tony's most expensive sports cars. He slid across to the other side and dove down to the ground, hearing the poor car crunch beneath the Hulk's feet as the green beast simply stomped over the top of it. Keeping his momentum, Clint rolled under a high class SUV - which was promptly lifted up and tossed onto its side like an empty garbage pale - before regaining his feet and rushing off to clamber over the top of another speedy little toy. That one wound up sliding across the garage straight into a cherry red classic that Barton hadn't actually intended on destroying, but hey, it was Tony's own fault. He's the one that pissed off Banner.
No less than five more pristine vehicles were demolished before Clint started to run out of steam, and places to hide. Seeing his opportunity to escape, he made a mad dash back to the door and barely dodged a motorcycle that got thrown at his head. Turning to see where the Hulk might be attacking from next, he didn't realize Tony was coming in until he ran right into the man, throwing them both to the floor. He landed on top of Stark, wincing as whatever the man had been carrying slammed into his chest.
"Christ, Tony, what are you-?" The question died on his lips as he felt a strange tingling in his right arm. He sat up and stared down at the tranq gun Stark was gripping - which explained why the landing had been so uncomfortable - then at the dart protruding from his shoulder. "Oh, shit," he said again before the world started spinning around him. Something else came to a crunching demise inside the garage, and Clint managed to mumble out, "I hope you have another one of those," before simply falling over in a heap.
Tony let out a "whuff!" when he collided with something solid, landing on his back with a weight on his chest.
"Christ, Tony, what are you-?" Clint's voice sounded. Tony then realized the tranq dart he had loaded into the gun was now sticking out of the archer's shoulder. "Oh, shit...I hope you have another one of those." Clint then passed out on top of him.
"Goddamn it, Clint," Tony mumbled, before sitting up and pushing the prone archer off of himself. Another crash sounded from the garage, and Tony peered around Clint's prone form to see the full extent of the damage to his cars and motorcycle. "GODDAMN IT, CLINT!" he shouted.
The shout made the enormous green rage monster turn towards them, snarling. "Oh, shit!" Tony scrambled backwards, then as an afterthought, grabbed Clint's arm and began pulling him along the floor with him. He wouldn't admit his plan had totally backfired. Clint at the very least would have a KILLER headache. Hulk charged them, and Tony dropped Clint's arm as he fumbled around in his pocket for an extra tranq. God, he did not want to have to call Cap in on this. He was sure his ass was grass as it was, and getting chewed out by Rogers in addition to Fury was just sort of adding insult to injury. The guy was such a mama's boy.
Hulk lumbered forward, grabbing Clint's leg and tossing the unconscious Hawkeye into the wreckage of the shiny red sports car. Tony winced. That guy was gonna be hurtin' for sure. Also, his insurance was probably going to raise his premiums again.
He found what he was looking for and loaded the extra tranq into the gun. He had brought two, because it usually took at least two to put Bruce back into anything resembling a normal state. "Bruce, Bruce...let's be reasonable now," he said as the Hulk stalked towards him, practically spitting in anger. "Ok, fine, have it your way." Tony fired the tranq gun right into the big green chest.
Hulk growled, looking down, as Tony let out a "Ha!" His smiled quickly disappeared as Hulk roared, grabbing his leg and making him drop the gun. "JARVIS! HELP! NOW!" Tony screamed as the Hulk hurled him across the garage into the wreckage of the car next to Clint's. Dignity be damned.
Tony blinked open his eyes, hoping he had been blissfully unconscious long enough for someone else to have come to their - his - rescue. Clint probably wouldn't need rescuing at this point. The whole 'dead possum' trick seemed to be doing splendidly on the less intelligent mind of the raging monster, keeping Banner focused on the obviously still alive target.
Minutes. He had to have been out for only a couple minutes, if that. It might've only been seconds. Good news for his brain - he might even have managed to escape that toss without even a concussion - bad news for everything else that the Hulk was probably intent on breaking, tearing, or smashing. Those words coupled with body parts, namely his own, were enough to motivate Tony into moving to a more body-part-preserving spot than on top of a crushed car.
Unfortunately, his body didn't seem to be quite as in tune with the whole self-preservation concept as his possibly non-concussed brain was, and the most he achieved was rolling sideways down to the hard floor.
"Ow," he said again, and wondered briefly at Clint's limp arm dangling in front of his face. Maybe if he just dragged the archer down on top of him for cover, it'd fool the Hulk into thinking both of them were dead and Banner would just go away satisfied with his Hulk smashing for the day.
The thought made Tony frown, and he reached a hand up to grip Barton's wrist for a few seconds. Good, not actually dead. That wouldn't have been good on his conscience, which was surprisingly his first thought as opposed to worrying about the ten thousand ways Rogers and Fury would punish him for that...and Natasha. The thought of her wailing on him for getting her fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agent killed both frightened and strangely excited him. Maybe he did have a slight concussion...
The not-so-jolly green giant let out an enraged yell a little too close for Tony's comfort, but the bellow was cut short by the sound of...
the Hulk flying across the garage?...
...to crush an antique Harley between his massive body and the wall. Damn.
Oh, good, let's add a hammer-swinging, ex-god into the fray. Why not? I needed to clear out the garage anyway. He shot what he hoped was his best death glare at his unconscious teammate, and lay still, wishing he had another tranq so he could put himself out of his misery until the destruction of his priceless automobile collection was over.
Thor called for them again, and with a resigned sigh, Tony raised his hand as much as he could. "Here," he said meekly.
"Ah!" Thor approached him with uncharacteristic carefulness, as if expecting to find semi-conscious teammates strewn about the floor. "What happened? Is anyone injured?"
Tony raised an eyebrow as he pushed himself up on his elbows, and jerked his chin at Clint. "You mean apart from the carnie?"
"M'not a carnie," Clint mumbled, eyes still pressed tightly shut, but with something resembling a frown marring his features.
Tony opened his mouth to argue that point -
"Anymore," Clint added as an afterthought, before slipping back into unconsciousness.
- Fine. Tony looked back toward Thor, and accepted the god's offered hand. He grunted as he was hauled to his feet, swaying unsteadily for a few seconds before looking back to Clint.
"Guess we better get Robin Hood looked at," he said, sighing as though it were a great inconvenience to have to do so.
"Perhaps we will have Banner looked after, too," Thor suggested, glancing at the large Hulk-shaped hole in the wall behind him.
"Oh, yeah..." Tony and Thor left Clint where he was for the moment, as they crept quietly over towards the hole. Fortunately, they didn't see a big green monster, but a very dirty and somewhat clothes-less Bruce Banner. Tony sighed. "I suppose I'll have to buy him a new suit. It's the least I can do since I'm going to make him pay for all this." He vaguely gestured to the wreckage behind him. Thor gave him a somewhat shocked look.
Tony raised his eyebrows before looking back at Banner. "Well, of course you're right, I'll make Hawkeye pay for the cars."
"Perhaps you should not keep your vehicles in the same establishment where the Hulk resides," Thor added helpfully.
Tony huffed in amusement. "Please. What am I going to drive around New York? The helicarrier's just tacky."
Thor ignored him, moving over to get a closer look at Bruce. It seemed that the tranq combined with the hammer to the head did the trick. He picked up the smaller man, moving back through the wall. "I am very interested to hear what happened," he mumbled to Tony. Tony stumbled over to the only car that wasn't destroyed, a convertible, before opening the door and sliding into the passenger's seat.
He leaned his head back and shut his eyes. "Thor, when you say it like that, it sounds very incriminating. We have a saying on Earth...in America. Innocent until proven guilty."
"Should I be setting out to prove you guilty then?" Thor gently placed Bruce on the ground before moving over to retrieve Hawkeye from the wreckage.
Tony leaned his head back and closed his eyes. "Probably, but don't tell Coulson." Thor said nothing as he then placed Clint on the ground next to Banner, seemingly at a loss for what to do next. "Well, you can tell Coulson, but tell him Barton started it. Because that's true," Tony lied.
When he opened his eyes again, he found himself disoriented as he discovered he was now not only lying down, but doing so in a completely different room.
"Welcome back," a familiar voice said chipperly, and suddenly his view of the white ceiling was invaded by Coulson's unreadable visage.
"It's great to see you, too, Stark."
Did I say that out loud?
"Yes, you did."
Tony blinked his eyes sluggishly a few more times, trying to clear his head. "I have a concussion, don't I?"
Coulson backed away slightly. "Among other things. Cracked ribs, a mildly sprained wrist, enough bruises that you'll be sore for awhile. All in all, you didn't come out too bad considering the shape your garage was in." He leaned in again as Tony scowled at the mention of his beloved garage. "Do you want to tell me why your garage is in the shape that it's in?"
Clearing his throat, Tony shifted in the bed so he was a little more upright. "I distinctly remember telling Thor to inform you it was Barton's fault." That part actually was technically true. His garage wouldn't have been destroyed if Clint hadn't purposely led an angry rage monster into it.
"Somehow I get the feeling that agent Barton will disagree," Coulson countered.
Tony inwardly sighed with relief. That meant the agent hadn't talked to Clint yet...which meant... "I take it that means he's still out for the count?"
Coulson stepped to the side, revealing Clint definitely still unconscious in the bed across the room. He looked like shit.
"He'll be out for a while," Phil informed him.
"Is he okay?" God, was that guilt in his voice? No, must have been the concussion talking. That man put his vehicle collection on the critically endangered species list.
Coulson shrugged. "Physically, I think he actually came out of it a little better than you did." He turned back to see Tony's eyebrows arch up in confusion. "Limp on impact, like a drunk driver who can walk away from a five car pileup. Bones tend to break less when you aren't tense."
Stark nodded. Bastard.
"Of course," Coulson continued, "getting hit with a tranq dart strong enough to slow down an ox - that had us a little worried. Frankly, I'm surprised he's only partially comatic. It could've been worse."
"Comatose," Tony corrected lamely. "Comatic is an optical- nevermind." He shook his head as that annoying guilt thing started to creep back up. He stabbed it dead with his mental arsenal of sharp objects. It wasn't his fault Barton couldn't watch where he was going.
"So Barton ran himself into the dart?" Coulson asked.
"Yes," Stark answered with full conviction. "And stop eavesdropping on my internal monologue. It's creepy."
"It's not internal when you're saying it out loud," Phil pointed out.
Tony stared at him for a second. "Okay, this isn't working for me. Go away, and come back when my concussed brain remembers how to keep my mouth shut. I'm thinking tomorrow. Unless it's already tomorrow, in which case I'm talking about the day after tomorrow... How long was I out, exactly?"
Phil just smirked. "I'll talk to you soon, Stark."
With that he slipped quietly out the door, leaving Tony with nothing better to do than glare at Clint. It wasn't as fun if archer boy couldn't see it.
"I hate you," he spat out, uncaring of the immaturity in that statement. He had a concussion. Everything he did for the next two days at least could be blamed on that. He smiled at the thought, but it flipped to a frown in the silence that followed. It dawned on him then that Coulson probably stuck him in the same room as a half-comatose, obnoxiously, boringly quiet Barton on purpose just to drive him nuts.
He sighed, and pouted as he stared up at the ceiling. It was going to be a long couple of days.
Clint could hear a voice drifting in and out of his consciousness.
"...and then he had these whip things. It was sort of silly, really. Like electric whips. I don't know how he thought of those. They were a little scary, I guess. But whips...it just makes me think of a dominatrix. Not that I was turned on by him! So anyway, he had these whip things..."
What the hell? This must actually be Hell. Trapped in his head with Tony Stark talking about...something stupid, anyway. He groaned loudly and tried to roll over, but his whole body felt like lead and he didn't succeed other than rolling his head away.
"Clint? Clint, you with me?" Something heavy bounced off his thigh, making him open his eyes in pained surprise before he heard the sound of ceramic shattering on the floor.
"Excellent shot, Sir."
"Tony," Clint licked his lips in confusion. His tongue felt unnaturally heavy. He was about to tell Tony to stop, but knew his requests would do nothing. Instead, he settled for a mumbled "...hateyou."
Tony chuckled. "Rise and shine! You have to start interning for me today to pay off those cars you destroyed."
"Wha?" Clint squinted in confusion. Then like a bucket of icewater, the memories of Hulk chasing him through Tony's garage and running into the tranq dart hit him. That would explain why he felt like a beanbag chair. "You sonofabitch," he mumbled. Tony grinned at him, leaning back in his own infirmary bed.
"Think Bruce will tell on us?"
"YES," Clint ground out then moaned again.
"Well, in that case you'll have more time to pay off my car payments."
"You had it coming, you asshole." Clint's tongue was slowly beginning to feel more normal, though he could still hardly move the rest of his body. "...how long?"
"Until they're paid? Probably 10 years."
Clint groaned loudly in frustration. "Was I out?"
"Oh. Eh, about 14 hours, give or take."
Tony grinned again. "That's your fault, you know. I was trying to help."
"YOU STARTED IT."
"Shh, this conversation is probably being monitored."
No sooner had he said it than they heard angry footsteps coming down the hall.
Tony shrank back and Clint visibly flinched as Nick Fury entered the room, scowl in place and looking very much like an enraged bull. His eye went from Clint, to the bedside table set with a small, obligatory, unsigned "get well" card, and finally settled on Tony.
"Would you care to explain yourself?" Fury asked, tone deceptively calm as he folded his arms across his chest and glowered from what Tony considered to be a safe distance from his bed.
"Actually, yeah. Sure." Tony sat up a little straighter, leaning back against the pillows between his back and the steel-barred headboard. "See, Barton was -"
"Sir, he's lying," Clint interrupted.
"Sir, he's lying," Tony mimicked, voice high-pitched and whiny. Clint glared at him, and Tony stuck his tongue out and rolled his eyes, muttering, "Fury's pet."
"You're getting an arrow in your iron ass if you don't -"
"Agent Barton!" Fury snapped, shooting his one-eyed glare toward Clint just long enough to send the archer back into a submissive silence. He looked back to Tony and leveled a glare at the man. "Seventeen hours," he said. "That's all it took for you to get bored and provoke Doctor Banner. Seventeen hours."
Clint sat up straight again and shook his head at Tony. "Dude, shut up!"
"Both of you need to shut the hell up!" Fury said, his frustration clear in the way he held both hands at his sides, fists clenched so tightly that they appeared almost to tremble. "I am sick and tired of hearing complaints about you two. If it's not one thing, it's another. I am not your babysitter, and this is not some game for you to play. Until you both put your egos aside and learn to get out there and fight side by side without your smartass commentary, you can stay in here on lockdown. Is that clear?"
A mumbled "yes sir" and huffed "fine" were his responses, but Fury didn't bother to stay around for it. With a final, lingering glare, he turned and left the room, slamming the door shut behind him so hard that it quivered in the doorframe in his wake.
Both men remained silent for a few seconds, before the rustle of sheets alerted Tony to the fact that his roommate was lying down again.
"So," Tony said, turning to look at Clint.
The archer raised an eyebrow. "So?"
"I guess we'd better put all this behind us," he suggested. "We can both agree it was stupid and immature."
"Um...I suppose," Clint said cautiously.
"And that I won. Great. Glad it's settled."
"How the hell do you consider that a win? I killed, like, twelve of your cars. And a motorcycle."
Tony glared at Clint for far longer than the archer thought was necessary. "All of them," he finally said.
"My collection. Banner killed all of them...except Morgan. That car is an immortal goddess..." His voice became wistful at the end of his comment.
Barton turned his head so he was staring at the ceiling, an impressed look on his face as he tried to remember how many vehicles were actually in the garage. "Wow." His lips twitched at the corners into a tiny, satisfied smile. "Yeah, I'm pretty sure that makes me the winner."
"You were unconscious longer," Tony quickly shot out. "And I can tell you can't move your legs, so I consider that a win."
Clint shot him a flabbergasted look. "You win because you accidentally almost killed me with a tranq?"
The man sounded so damn sure of himself. Clint rolled his eyes, and caught sight of the little card on his bed stand. His arm still felt like a lead weight as he tried to reach for the little token of concern, wondering who it came from. Sitting up for his C.O. had been an amazing display of willpower on his end, but the adrenaline from believing Fury might actually shoot him in the kneecaps for the little stunt he and Tony pulled had quickly worn off. Stark was right - he could feel his legs but sure as hell couldn't move them yet, and he was currently failing at getting his fingers to perform the more delicate task of picking up the thin piece of cardboard. It only ended up falling over on its side, making it impossible to get a grip on it after that. Frustrated at his lack of motor skills, he decided the card wasn't really that important and moved for the glass of water that was resting beside it. That attempt resulted in him knocking over the cup, spilling its contents, and saturating his one lonely card.
"Fuck it," he mumbled, and pulled his arm back down to his side. Sighing, he closed his eyes in an attempt to ignore his dry tongue and lips, hoping to just fall back to sleep and wake up with his brain reconnected with the rest of his body. It didn't take long before that hope was granted, and he slipped away again into a blissful slumber, the remaining influence of the drug in his system making him fail to realize that Tony had been watching his struggles with an uncharacteristic silence.
The problem with Barton, Tony reflected wryly as he watched the marksman fall back asleep, is that he was the only one in this hellhole (besides Jarvis) who'd put up with his shit. In actuality, Tony wasn't even that upset about the cars. He always knew it was a risk parking them there.
God, was that guilt creeping up on him? Again? Either that or his cracked ribs were acting up…
The get-well card was actually from him. He knew the water had probably washed away the "No one runs the gauntlet like you do" he had scribbled inside. He sighed, wincing as he sunk back into his bedsheets. Besides almost getting killed by a tranq with enough kick to take out the strongest man-thing in the world, he hoped Clint had had fun. He definitely saw a smile on his face when he was running into the garage.
Truth was, how the hell else were they going to let off steam? He felt somewhat bad for tazing Banner, since the guy always came out of his Hulk-outs like a co-ed on the wrong end of Marti Gras. But if Tony wanted to be honest with himself, the stuff they saw on an almost daily basis was enough to screw someone up for life.
Until a few years ago, he was an almost regular guy. He had experienced enough shit that still woke him up in cold sweats, and his "superhero" career was just beginning. He tried not to look too far ahead. Realistically, he knew things would keep getting worse for them. That was the life they were leading. Steve had been through legit war, as had Thor. Natasha coped by cutting off all her emotions. When Bruce wasn't Hulking out, most days he was trying to hide from the world. Tony was coping the only way he knew how.
And Clint was the only one who indulged him.
They had pretty much silently invited each other to do their worst.
Tony grunted, not liking where his thoughts had turned to, unbidden.
Tomorrow he would order Clint an Edible Arrangement.
"Wake up soon, buddy, I need you."
Tony and Clint raced through the trees, breathing heavily as they ran. A few seconds later an explosion detonated somewhere behind them, sending a large plume of flame and smoke into the air, and the resulting shockwave nearly knocked them off their feet. They stopped moving and turned back to look, realizing the fault in that a little too late as giant pieces of metal debris began falling through the canopy above their heads.
"Oh, shit!" Clint exclaimed, laughing as he protected his head with his arms and dove for cover.
"That was...impressive," Tony remarked as he let the smaller pieces of fallout bounce off his armor and dodged the ones that looked like they could possibly be damaging.
When it seemed like the worst of it was over, Barton crawled out from under the fallen tree he had rolled beneath, and Tony offered him a hand up.
"You owe me a hundred dollars," the archer claimed happily.
Tony studied the way the sky was blackening above their heads. "Mmm...no, I don't think so. You rigged the bet."
"How did I-? You're the one that made the bet with me! How could I possibly have set that up ahead of time?"
"I don't know, but clearly you did. Why else would you carry around a time-detonation arrow of that magnitude?"
Clint shifted irritably. "Gee. I don't know. I can only think of about a million reasons why I should have explosives. It wasn't supposed to pack that much punch, anyway. Whatever the hell was inside that thing tripled the effect."
"Ha!" Tony barked out in triumph. "So it wasn't your arrow that killed it! The poor robot clearly committed suicide, therefore negating the bet."
"Robots can get depressed. I see it all the time."
Tony began walking back to where the wreckage of the bot was hopefully still remaining, ending the debate, and Clint reluctantly followed. When they got back to the battle site, the only thing that remained of their enemy was a large scorch mark in the ground. Stark whistled while Barton looked on in dismay.
"You know Fury's going to kill you when he finds out you blew up all the evidence, right?" Tony pointed out.
Clint paled for a second, but then quirked his head in Stark's direction, speaking like he'd already pushed his certain demise out of his mind. "So you admit I'm the one that killed the robot."
"I didn't say that."
"Yes, you did. You clearly just said- Jarvis, play it back for him."
"Ignore that, Jarvis," Tony sighed. "Fine. You win. You're the conqueror of evil robots everywhere. You can write that in the reports, and I'll make sure they put it on your tombstone. Just remember, I am completely innocent of all responsibility in the destruction of this robot."
"Fine," Clint nodded, playing at being not scared of the consequences. "You still owe me a hundred dollars."
Tony fired up his thrusters, shouting, "We can take it out of the car payments!" as he launched himself into the air.
He smiled as he watched Clint flip him off. His partner in crime wouldn't leave it at that, he knew, and he could honestly say that he looked forward to the payback. The war was always and forever still on.
Thanks, Red and Sick! This was fun!