"You sure I can't drive?"
Clint could feel Tony's breath against his cheek, hot and sweet with the scent of the booze he'd been drinking. The man's weight was heavy draped against him. "Yeah, I'm sure. Think you've had just a few too many."
"Oh, come on. I always drive home after these things. Well, almost always. Hogan doesn't care if I drive myself."
"Well, I personally don't want to get in a crash with your drunk ass."
"What about my drunk face?"
"God, you're such an ass."
"No, we're talking about my face."
"Tony, shut up and get in the car." He pulled the door open and Tony gave him one of those dazzling smiles.
"Such a gentleman." For once that evening, Clint was completely unaware of all the eyes on him, everyone wondering who was this man that Tony Stark had brought to one of the biggest gala events of the year. And now, the intensity of those gazes was growing, for the two were leaving together, and Tony seemed to be trusting this mystery man to drive his precious car. No one touched his car. Ever.
With Tony safely tucked into the passenger seat, Clint slid into the driver's side. Tony was watching him. Clint pointed at him. "Seatbelt."
"Put it on."
"It's my car, I shouldn't have to wear one if I don't want to."
"Put it on or I'll do it for you."
"Well, why would you expect me to put it on myself when you offer such fun alternatives?"
Clint simply stared at Tony, eyes narrowed, giving him the look he usually reserved for particularly aggressive enemies. Tony simply smiled back, that insufferably cocky smile that seemed unflappable. But he put his seatbelt on.
Clint fastened his own belt, starting the ignition.
"Tony, I swear to God…"
"Okay, okay, fine, I'll behave. I'll behave." Clint fixed that same steely gaze on him again, but Tony merely smiled, hands in the air. "I'll behave."
Clint couldn't look at that smile any more. He thought he was pretty well past surprises by now, but Tony's behavior that evening had surprised him indeed. He didn't know how they had come to this from that afternoon, when he'd showed up on Tony's front steps with a pizza and a rental movie from the Redbox kiosk down the road.
Tony pulled the door open before Clint could knock a second time, and looked at his watch. "Eleven-fifty-eight. You made it here with two minutes to spare. Nicely done."
"Told you I'd do it." He held up the pizza box. "With dinner and a movie, as promised."
"I see that." Tony pushed the door open wider. "Entrez la maison de Stark, s'il vous plait."
Clint just shook his head at that, and carefully maneuvered the pizza box through the door so as not to bump Tony with it. He was vaguely aware of the 'snick' of the door shutting behind him, but he was distracted by the house itself. So this is where Tony Stark lives.
"Can I take that for you?"
The question stirred him from his thoughts. "Oh, yeah. Thanks." He handed the pizza to Tony and shrugged out of his jacket.
"Here." Tony reached out his hand to take the jacket. Clint was a little surprised by that.
"I can do it.."
"Give me the damn jacket." Clint complied, and Tony headed off, pizza in one hand, jacket in the other.
"Where are the robots to do all this for you?" He had to call the jibe out; Tony had vanished down the hall. But he returned, jacket gone.
"Actually, the robots all stay in the lab…that's really where I need the help. Believe it or not, I can do most of the mundane stuff myself. Pepper helps me with anything else."
Clint opened his mouth to say something, then stopped…and stared. Tony was dead serious. "….I….you're joking….right?"
"….how many do you have?"
"…..uh…." Tony screwed up his face, thinking.
Clint shook his head. "Nevermind." Geez. This guy. "So…..you wanna eat?"
Tony did a strange little half nod, half shrug of the shoulder. "Sounds good." He picked the pizza back up off the counter. "Here…..if you want to take this in the living room….that way….." he pointed down one hallway, "…I'll just grab some napkins and stuff. You want anything on it? Cheese? Red pepper?"
"Oh, red pepper, thanks."
"Okay. I'll be there in a minute."
There were several rooms branching off that one hallway, but it wasn't hard for Clint to figure out which was the living room. The television took up half the wall, and there were enough couches to fit at least ten people. He gave a low whistle, shaking his head, and set the pizza down on the coffee table. If this thing had surround sound (and he would bet good money that it did), then they were in for an awesome fucking time.
"Good?" Somehow Tony had come in without him noticing, and set down plates and paper towels, and not just pepper and cheese, but an assortment of other odd toppings. Before Clint could really get a good look, though, Tony was speaking again. "Now, on to the important stuff….drinks." He was striding across the room to the bar that Clint hadn't even noticed. He hadn't had time, he was too busy taking in the television.
"Oh. Rum and coke?"
He had to smile at that. "Oh? That's a good drink choice?"
"Oh yea. You passed."
Clint laughed. "So someone can fail at choosing a drink?"
"Well, yea. Some drinks are really stupid. You could've chosen a stupid drink and then I would've worried about you. Or a pansy-ass drink and I would've been questioning your masculinity. But no, you went with the rum and coke." Tony gave a conspiratorial sort of wink. "Nice going, man."
Clint couldn't help but roll his eyes. This guy is ridiculous. And yet he found he was enjoying himself more than he had in a long time. Something about Tony just put you at ease. He could be the most infuriating person in the world, but he was more amusing than anyone Clint knew. He took the glass from Tony's outstretched hand, and felt a finger brush lightly against his own. He glanced up, and found Tony's gaze locked on him, so intense. Was that intentional? It was actually him who looked away first. "So…..you ready?"
"I'm ready." Tony looked at the TV, then back at Clint. "…where's the movie?"
"Oh! Sorry." He found it and held it out. "Here."
Tony accepted it and took a look for the first time. "…..'The Rock'." He looked up at Clint, and that so familiar smile spread across his lips. "…nice."
"You've seen it?"
"Oh yea. Classic!"
The DVD player slid shut and the TV roared to life, the sound almost deafening. "Whoops, sorry." Tony immediately turned the sound down several bars. "Sometimes I turn the surround sound up really high."
Clint uncovered his ears, turning to look at Tony with arched brows. "…..yeah, no shit."
Tony laughed. "Hey, with certain movies, it's pretty cool."
"I'm guessing this movie will be one of them."
"Yea." Tony flopped back in the cushions, and it was then Clint noticed for the first time the drink Tony had made himself. It was a strange blend of red and gold, some darker hues to it. It almost reminded him of the color of Tasha's hair, but deeper, more purple to it. "….what is that?"
"Hmm?" Tony looked at him, and saw where his gaze was. "Oh, this?" He looked at his glass. "El Diablo. Basically tequila, blackberry and pomegranate juice, some other stuff." He paused, looking at Clint. "….never tried it?" Clint shook his head. Tony held out the glass. "…you want to?"
"…you sure?" A nod, and Clint accepted the glass. "…damn, that's good!"
Tony grinned. "I always thought so."
Clint returned the glass. He could still taste the sweet tang. "….damn." He watched as Tony took a sip. "…know any more drinks like that?"
"Oh, dozens. Besides science, drinking is one of my major skill points." That gaze returned to Clint, and there was a hint of something there, something not altogether safe, something dark and teasing. "….amongst other things."
Clint had no idea what exactly Tony was saying, and he wasn't sure he wanted to know. He's teasing me. "Think we could make some?"
"Oh yea. We'll keep the drinks flowing all through the movie. Here." He pulled something from his pocket…..a phone, Clint knew, but it was like no phone he'd ever seen before….and opening a file, tossed it to the table. "You can look up any drink in there, search by base alcohol. Like, this," holding up his glass, "it's tequila-based. So you'd search under tequila. You just do that in there, and it's a veritable Garden of Eden of alcohol."
Clint had to laugh at that, picking up the phone and scrolling for a minute. He had to admit, it was impressive. Then, he realized: "Oh! The pizza!"
"Oh, yes…we seem to have gotten sidetracked. There's the movie, too." Tony reached for the remote, pressing play, then leaned in over the pizza. "So, what do we have, here?"
"Well, I didn't know what you liked, so…" Clint opened the box. "….I got a slice of everything."
The pizza was cut into twelve slices, each a different topping. Tony stared at it, eyes huge. After a moment, he leaned over and hugged Clint. "Marry me."
Clint snorted, handing over a slice. "Gotta put a ring on it, first."
"A ring? No problem. Let me know what size ring you wear and what kind you want, and it's done."
That was definitely not the first flirtatious comment Tony had made that afternoon, nor indeed since they'd met. There had been some suggestive texts the night before, as well. Not that Clint was uncomfortable, but it was making him wonder. Did Tony really enjoy teasing him that much? He glanced over.
Tony seemed oblivious to his friend's thoughts; he was currently pondering his slice of pizza. "…..what is this?"
"It's pineapple and chili pepper."
"That sounds really good."
Tony was quiet for a moment, seeming to be mulling that over. "….think I'll put some pickles on it."
Clint had been in the middle of taking a bite of a slice of pepperoni and mushroom, and he promptly choked on it. "What?"
Tony looked at him as though he were deaf, as though what he'd just said was the most normal thing in the world. "Pickles. On the pizza."
"…..that is disgusting."
"No, it's actually really good."
"You haven't even tried it yet!"
Tony thought about that for a minute. "No, but I've had pickles on other kinds of pizza before, and it's good." He offered the slice. "You wanna try?"
"I am not."
"Then try it!"
"Tony, get that out of my face."
"I will if you try it." He was waving the pizza so close to Clint's face that it was practically up his nose.
"Dammit, Tony…..fine! Give me the damn pizza!" He snatched it from Tony's hand, grimacing, and took a bite. Immediately he pushed it back Tony's way. "I was right. That's disgusting."
"Really?" Tony looked at the pizza, face disappointed. "Well, do you want part of it? I haven't put pickles on all of it yet. And you said you like this kind."
For some reason, that was incredibly sweet. Tony looked like a little kid making a peace offering. "….sure."
Carefully, Tony cut the slice in half, handing over the piece that was as yet untouched by pickles. Clint smiled. "Thanks."
"No problem." Tony smiled back. "Thanks for trying it." A pause, and that smile took on a bit of it's usual obnoxious smirk. "…wuss."
This time, Clint didn't hesitate. He punched Tony in the shoulder….hard.
"You deserved it."
"I did not!"
"Shut up, we're missing the movie."
Tony managed to be quiet for all of two minutes…..about the length of time it took him to finish spreading the pickles on his slice of pizza, take a bite, and chew it. "…you're right, this does taste kind of weird."
"Are you going to talk through the whole movie?"
"I should've known that, huh."
"Yup." Tony took another sip of his drink…..if it could be called a sip. He drained half his glass. "Damn, look at that guy's face melt."
"I totally saw that happen to someone."
"Cool. I mean, in a really gross, creepy way."
Clint shook his head. "I swear to God, you are one of the weirdest people I know."
"Yea, I get that a lot."
"I'm not surprised.
Tony's drink didn't last much longer. He gave Clint a punch to the shoulder, albeit a much softer one than Clint had given him. "Oi."
Tony raised his empty glass and gave it a little wiggle, the ice clinking. "C'mon…keep up."
"…..is that a challenge?"
Tony smirked at that. Both of them knew Clint could never resist a challenge. "It is now."
His head tipped back, and Clint drained his glass in one gulp. Tony's eyebrows went up; he smiled appreciatively. "Nicely done."
"Thanks." Clint held out his empty glass. Tony accepted it, rising and heading towards the bar.
"What else do you want?"
"What else do you got?"
Tony paused, glancing back at Clint. "….is that a challenge?"
It was Clint's turn to smirk. "It is now."
Tony chuckled. "Stealing my lines now, huh." He emptied the ice from both glasses, rinsing them out. "Well, fear not. I think I can come up with something."
The movie was still going, but it was hard not to watch Tony. He hadn't lied…he had a way with alcohol. He even looked graceful making it. Clint felt stupid even thinking that, but it was true. He didn't hesitate, didn't stop to think about what mixers he needed. It was as if his hands knew every inch of the bar. And maybe they did. Clint turned back to the TV.
It was no time at all before Tony joined him on the couch. "Here."
Clint accepted the drink, sipping. It was equally as delicious as the first. Tony was watching him carefully. Like a hawk, he thought with some amusement.
"Well?" Tony demanded.
"It's great." He took another sip. "What is it?"
"Oh, some melon and raspberry liquor, some cranberry juice."
"I meant what's it called."
"Ohhh, that." Tony watched Clint drinking. "….Panty Hamster."
Clint almost chocked. "….'Panty Hamster'."
"….you gave me a drink called 'Panty Hamster'."
"Yes, I did."
Tony burst out laughing. "Hey, you said you like it!"
"I do. I mean, it's good, but….really? 'Panty Hamster'?"
"Yup. What….you don't like the name?"
"I'll give it that." He looked at the drink in Tony's hand. "What do you have?"
Tony leaned back in the cushions, putting his feet up on the table. "…Sex on the Beach." That look was back in his eyes, the usual brazen smile on his face.
Clint shook his head. "You're a pervert, you know that?"
"Hey, I can't help it if all the good drinks have sexy names!"
"Yeah, because their names have no part in why you choose them."
"Such accusations." Tony gestured to the screen with his glass. "You ever do shit like that?"
Clint looked at the television, where Sean Connery was busy maneuvering a labyrinth of flame and blades. "…that's classified." He said the line almost at the exact same moment as Nicholas Cage did, and Tony nearly hooted with laughter.
Clint was grinning. He'd never seen Tony like this….the man was always joking around, but never this much so, completely at ease, totally goofy, almost like a kid.
"Takes one to know one."
"Mm, so they say." Tony shifted, turning sideways so his head was resting on the arm of the couch, and plopped his feet in Clint's lap. The blonde turned to look at Tony.
"Hmm?" Tony looked to Clint. "I'm sorry, did you say something?"
"What's with the feet in my lap?"
"Oh, that? I just felt like stretching out." He gave a little wriggle as if to prove the point, and took another sip of his drink…..swig, Clint corrected mentally. Damn, the man could drink.
"You've got like, six other couches."
"Yea, but I like this one."
"Well, I'm on this one."
"So? We can share, I have no problem with closeness."
"So I noticed."
"Why….you getting jumpy? Don't like being touched?" His toes found Clint's waist and poked, and Clint jumped.
"Hey!" What was left of his drink sloshed over the side, soaking his pants. "That fucking tickles!"
"Oh?" Tony grinned. "Then I'll do it again." But before he could, Clint had tossed his empty glass aside and had Tony pinned face-down on the couch in a head lock.
"…..oof." The noise was muffled by the pillows. "Guess that'll teach me to tickle badass SHIELD agents, huh?" Clint laughed. "Yeah, right. Like you ever learn a lesson."
"True." He shifted beneath Clint, as much as he could. "….so, how does this work? Do I tap out, cry uncle, what."
"Mm….I don't know. If I let you go, you'll probably just go right back to what you were doing."
Clint sat quietly contemplating. Amazingly, Tony was still for once, awaiting an answer. His body was warm beneath Clint's. It felt strangely nice.
….he could almost feel Tony's tension. It was true, the man was sitting still and quiet for once, but he wanted to move, to say something, Clint could feel it. It was endlessly amusing. He wondered how long it would take until Tony broke, and if he should just prolong the torture and wait until it happened.
Turns out he didn't have long to wait.
"…so are you going to do anything, or what?"
He laughed. "Well, I was waiting to see how long you could actually keep your mouth shut. It was longer than I thought."
"Only a little. It was still only about two minutes long."
"Hey, for me that's fucking impressive. Like, Guinness Book of World Record's impressive."
"Wouldn't surprise me in the least."
"You haven't moved at all. Getting comfy up there?" Tony was strangely comfy, and warm, but Clint felt no need to tell him that. "Am I comfy? Should I start renting myself out as a bed?"
Clint snorted. "From the stories I've heard, you already sort of do."
"Ouch, man. That was harsh."
"Yea, I bet you are. Besides, you're one to talk."
"Yeah, yeah, okay."
"You've got your own reputation, you know."
"I know, I know, you don't have to tell me."
"Really? Cuz you know, seems like maybe you forgot, wanting to point fingers and all…"
And between trying to think of a way to shut Tony up and simultaneously still thinking of how damn warm he was, inspiration struck. Clint fumbled blindly for the empty glass he had discarded and, fishing out a handful of ice cubes, shoved them down Tony's shirt.
Immediately, Tony let out a yelp that was practically ear splitting, wriggling beneath Clint like a mad puppy. "What the fuck was that?"
"Ice. You like it?" Clint was laughing.
"Do I look like I like it?" But despite Tony's struggles, he couldn't escape the hold Clint had on him.
"Well, you felt a little warm….."
"Oh, that's cuz you make me so hot."
"You are such an ass…"
But Tony managed to get his own glass in hand and reached back, dumping the ice on Clint's head.
"Hey!" Clint immediately released Tony, rearing back at the cold, laughing as he tried to brush it out of his hair to no avail. Tony immediately took advantage of catching Clint off his guard, tackling the man onto his back on the couch.
"See? How do YOU like it?" He found some of the fallen ice and shoved it down Clint's shirt. "Feel good?"
Clint was laughing up a storm, trying to shove Tony off, but the man was insistent, hair sticking up in all directions, that mad grin on his face.
"….what on earth is going on in here?"
Tony's head whipped about, looking at the doorway. Clint had more difficulty seeing, pinned down as he was. He struggled to sit up, but Tony probably weighed almost as much as him, and the man wasn't making any motion to let him up. Still, he managed to shift just enough to see the doorway, where Pepper stood, staring at them. She had obviously been reacting only to the noise, but a strange look passed over her face when she saw that it was Clint there with Tony. She looked extremely surprised, but there was something else there as well. Something he didn't quite understand. And something a little bit pleased.
She turned her attention back to Tony. "…what are you doing."
"It's a battle for couch domination."
Pepper seemed to take the comment in stride; Clint would wage that she had to put up with much stranger things in her day to day life with Tony. She nodded. "Okay. You do remember that you have an event tonight, don't you? The Abbington Benefit Gala?"
Tony rolled his eyes. "Um, yea, I'm gonna ditch that?"
"Tony, you confirmed your attendance a month ago. You can't ditch it."
"Yea, well, I am. I'm hanging out with Clint."
"We're bonding. And doing MAN STUFF."
Pepper glanced at the two of them, Tony straddling Clint's lap on the couch. "….oh, is that what this is."
Clint couldn't help flushing at that. The words "man stuff" combined with Tony in his lap just seemed incredibly inappropriate.
"Yup. Bonding time. So you see, the gala's going to have to benefit itself. I sent them a check already."
Pepper opened her mouth to object, but Clint cut in.
"Actually, Tony…..I was planning on taking you."
Tony stared at him. "…you…..you were going to take me to the gala?" He looked so stunned. Clint felt a little silly. He nodded.
"Yeah. I know that that's usually your…..thing….that you go to a lot of these. So I thought that you might want to go. Those were the real plans I made for tonight. I mean, dinner and a movie seemed kind of lame." Maybe he had called this wrong? But no, Tony's eyes had lit up, that ridiculously huge smile on his face.
"…seriously, will you marry me?"
Clint laughed, flushing again. He was glad it had turned out to be a good idea after all. "Told you, gotta put a ring on it."
"I'll have one by tomorrow morning." Tony smiled. "Two minutes before noon."
Clint glanced up. Tony was still smiling, but the look in his eyes was dead serious. He looked away. "Uh, so, what time does this start?"
"Uhhh…good question. Pepper?"
Pepper sighed. "It starts at five. Not that you ever show up on time. Your suit is already hanging up in your room."
Suit. Oh shit. He hadn't remembered anything to wear.
Tony must have noticed Clint's sudden discomfit. "What is it?"
"I didn't remember to bring something to wear."
"Oh, that's fine. We'll go pick something up."
He stared. "…can't I just borrow something of yours?"
"Dude, you're two inches taller than me, and I'm pretty sure you're more built." He poked Clint's chest with one finger. "Think you'd be busting out of my suits like Banner out of his shirts."
Clint had to smile at that. "Okay."
"Awesome." Tony shifted uncomfortably in Clint's lap. "….dammit, I think you got that ice down my pants."
"Ha. Serves you right."
"Hey, you already had me pinned; was the ice really necessary?"
Pepper interrupted. "Boys, how old are you two?"
Tony paused. "…physically, mentally, or emotionally?"
Pepper sighed. Clint shook his head, biting his lip to hold back laughter. "If the two of you are done bickering and throwing things at each other, you should probably get going."
"Yea, true." Tony slid out of Clint's lap, rolling off the couch to his feet, and the blonde found himself already missing that warmth. "Let's make a couple more drinks before we go."
"Are you serious?"
"What, we can take them in the car." He moved behind the bar, rinsing out their glasses again. Clint looked to the door to see what Pepper's reaction was to this statement, but she was gone.
"You drink in the car?"
"No, not really. But one's not going to be a problem."
"One? You've had two already."
"Yea, but not in the car." Tony said this as though it was completely obvious. "Come on, get it together." He returned to Clint, handing him a glass. Clint eyed the glass suspiciously.
"…..what's this one called?"
Tony feigned surprised innocence, wide eyes, a hand to his heart. "What….you don't trust me?"
"Not at all."
"I'm wounded." He heaved a sigh, shaking his head. "It's a Singapour Sling."
"Okay. Thanks." At least it's not another weird thing, like Panty Hamster, he thought as he sipped it. And damn, was it good. "You really know your drinks."
"Why thank you, good sir." Tony sat beside him, drinking his own glass. Clint gestured towards it.
"What's that?" It looked the same as his.
"Same." Ah. He had guessed right. "Oh, and I lied before."
"The drink. It's not a Singapour Sling." That wicked smile returned. "It's a Wild Wet Dream."
Clint shook his head. "Dammit, Tony!"
Tony just laughed. "What, you don't like it?"
"Wild Wet Dream?"
"I had one about you last night…."
Clint almost choked at that, looking at the brunette, but the smile on his face hadn't altered at all. "…you're such an ass."
"Yup." He drained his glass and set it down with a soft 'clink', rising. "Better go get dressed. I'll meet you back down here in a few."
Clint nodded. "I'll be ready." He watched Tony vanish, shaking his head. The guy just doesn't stop. He sipped his drink. It really was good, he had to admit.
Tony didn't take long, returning to the living room dressed and ready for the evening, Clint's jacket in one hand. Clint could only stare. Usually when he saw Tony he was either in his Iron Man suit or wearing casual clothes….a t-shirt and jeans. Now he was dressed to the nines, a dark blue suit with pinstripes so light as to be nearly invisible, a pale blue shirt and a striped tie in alternating shades of purple. And damn did he look good.
He smiled. "You ready?"
Clint realized suddenly that his throat was dry. He finished the rest of his drink in one gulp, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand as he nodded. "All set."
"Okay. Let's go then." He tossed Clint his jacket. "Gotta go get you a suit!"
"Get me one?" He followed Tony down the hallway. "I thought we were just swing by my place and pick one up."
"Where's the fun in that? No, we're gonna go buy one; I'm gonna buy you one."
"You are not going to buy me one."
"Yea I am."
"No you're not."
"Try and stop me."
"Hey, you said you wanted to take me to this, right?" Tony paused by the front door, keys in hand as he turned to face Clint. "Well I wanna buy you a suit. So let me do it."
Clint stared at Tony, who stared right back. Finally, he sighed. "Fine. A cheap suit."
"No way, we're going fancy."
"God, you're so infuriating."
"You bet. Gonna make you look spiffy." Clint shook his head, but he had to smile. He couldn't help it; Tony just made him smile. "Jarvis, don't wait up."
The words were followed by the sound of the door 'snick'ing shut….somehow it all sounded incredibly ominous.
"Okay….Acura, Audi, or Lamborghini?"
Clint just looked at him. "…is that question for real?"
"…you actually think I care which of three amazing cars we ride in?"
Clint shook his head. "Audi?"
The collection of cars in the garage was ridiculous….far more than the three that Tony had listed, but it was easy to see why he hadn't suggested others. Most were expensive restorations. He held open Clint's door for him, almost like a real date, before slipping into his own side.
"Here…." he passed Clint his phone. "Go through that drink app I showed you…come up with a list. We'll see how many we can get the bartender to make tonight."
Clint laughed. "Awesome." He began scrolling through the items on the screen.
"Okay." Tony turned the key in the ignition, and the engine roared to life. "Let's roll."
They sped out of the garage and down the driveway, ACDC blaring from the radio, and Clint had to wonder briefly what the hell he had gotten himself into, but the answer came immediately. Whatever it was, it was going to be a hell of a lot of fun.