Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Beauty in Imperfection

Chapter One

"You have that look on your face again," Bruce Banner commented with a weak smile at his lab companion, watching with mild interest as Tony Stark pressed the palms of his hands frustratingly into his eyes and groaned out loud.

"And what look would that be? The 'I-can't-figure-it-out-and-I'm getting-mad-beyond-all-belief' look because I think you might be right, doc," Tony rambled in his usual long-winded and slightly childish way, his irritation showing through with each of his words as he lowered his hands from his face and fixed Bruce with a halfhearted glare.

Bruce just shrugged his shoulders, his smile actually growing across his face as he lowered his gaze back down towards his own documents and designs laid out before him.

"Actually...your expression looked more like you were thinking about someone...someone important that you miss or something," Doctor Banner worded such a sensitive topic as gently as he could without prying too much, such a topic not exactly being his forte' to speak of as it were.

Bruce might be a quiet man by nature, but that did not mean he did not notice the things going on around him.

He could tell that that reason for Stark's recent lack of progress with his research was not due to comprehension of the material...it was that Tony was distracted.

Iron Man quirked his lips to a side, knowing that the good doctor was absolutely right, as he bought himself only a moment to piece together a suitable answer as he took a minute to crack his neck and look around the bright white development room Bruce and he were currently using.

"I guess there's no fooling you after all, Banner..." Tony smirked, acknowledging his companion's keen observation of him with a bit of reluctance as he stood up from his seat and pushed his long, black sleeves up to his elbows again, "...but, if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to get some fresh air."

"Alright...I'll be here," Bruce replied with knowing chuckle, already picking up his pen and jotting a few more notes across the designs on his desk as Tony shoved his hands in his jeans pockets and exited the room.

Stark huffed silently, half-way in annoyance and half-way in confusion at his situation, as he strode smoothly down the corridor of the particular research and development floor and towards the balcony, barely lifting his eyes up from the floor as he navigated through such a large space.

"Who am I kidding...even Banner is noticing how I can't keep my thoughts on work...I'm pretty much useless like this..." Tony thought glumly to himself right before he pushed aside the glass doors and stepped out onto the balcony, immediately feeling a little better once the crisp early evening wind swept passed him in a decadent fury that kissed his skin and ruffled his clothes.

Tony breathed easier, resting his hands on the metal railing as he blinked at the setting sun that looked like it could fit inside the palm of his hand at this altitude, the sky stretched out before him looking as if it had been dipped in a plethora of vibrant orange and pink hues.

"...but...I just can't help it...I tried to in the beginning, when we all first met him; I tried not to let this happen...but now..." Tony's thoughts trailed off, even his mind not being able to come up with a solid explanation for why the man of iron could not stop thinking about a certain face, a certain person whom he had not known before but now felt he needed to know more than anything.

Tony sighed out the rest of his air and closed his eyes in order to force some solace back into his life, his emotions in disarray, his thoughts jumbled to a point of exhaustion.

It was not every day that Tony Stark was met with something he could not have, and the self-acclaimed genius billionaire philanthropist playboy did not know what to do about it.

But he would do something.

Tony opened his eyes, his gaze hardened at the beautiful city scenery before him as he looked upon the tops of the surrounding buildings with resolve again, with determination and the will to figure this problem out.

"...messy blonde hair...sad eyes...so handsome...I will see him again soon...I'll make sure of it," Tony affirmed finally, curling his hands into fists on top of the railing and tapping it twice with his right hand, his chest puffing out a little as he made such a declaration to himself.

"See you soon, Barton," Tony announced to the darkening night sky, watching as those lighter shades of pink melted into a rich ruby which would eventually turn into a solemn black, as Iron Man turned on his heel and headed back inside the tower, feeling rejuvenated and back in touch with reality again; ready to get back to the lab so he could actually get some work done.



Clint Barton sat with heavily muscled arms resting on the safety rails in front of him, his nearly superhuman eyesight watching as the many S.H.I.E.L.D operatives and construction workers alike walked this way and that, everyone seeming to state and perform orders that had everyone moving in a constant flow of movement below.

Clint blinked at all the goings-on from the workers in order to rebuild their top secret storage facility and research center in case anything at Stark Tower was ever compromised, the marksman watching everything almost with a sense of remorse.

From his bird's eye view of the whole operation, nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary for such a job going on, no suspicious activity, no unfamiliar faces, nothing hiding in dark corners, and for that the agent was grateful.

"You alright, Clint?" Nick Fury asked his usually withdrawn but highly skilled agent, his arms folded behind his back as he slowly approached the sitting male.

"Yes, sir...it's just that the last time we were all here, it didn't go so good..." Clint alluded to the time Loki had appeared within their facility, took control of him and the scientist, and then caused the havoc no one had been able to forget about in only the few short weeks that had passed since it ended.

Fury nodded in understanding of his agent's concern.

"How have you been getting along with the other Avengers?" the S.H.I.E.L.D director changed the subject, Fury never being the type of man to draw things out longer than necessary as he took a few more steps towards the marksman, "You all did save the world...one would think you would all be one, big happy family by now."

Clint had to smirk at Fury's off-beat comment before bringing in his gloved hands and then standing up from his spot so he may face his commander directly.

"It's been okay...they are all pretty amazing, sir," Clint replied with a purposefully round-about answer, not entirely answering Nick's real question to him, which he knew already Fury would notice.

"You need to spend more time with your teammates. They all depend on you, so it would be best if you didn't spend all of your time here," Fury cut to the chase, not at all surprising Hawkeye with his logic as even the marksman knew he had been avoiding the rest of them.

Clint lowered his troubled gaze before speaking.

"I did try to kill them, sir...it's a little difficult for me to try to be their best friend," the archer admitted quietly, hating the truth that came from his lips to his superior, hating how he had been caught off guard so badly by Loki and how he had worked against the Avengers for a short time whilst under his control.

Fury smoothly turned around to begin descending the metal staircase, but halted his movements before doing so.

"I don't think it would be difficult at all...once you give it a try, that is," Nick offered warmly from over his leather-clad shoulder before directing his attention back to the steps and began walking away from the blonde-haired agent.

Clint blinked at his superior's back, watching as he glided down the metal steps back down to the many, rushing bodies along the lower levels, and the marksman honestly had to let Fury's words cycle through his mind to process a few times.

"Fury's right..." Barton mentally agreed with the one-eyed director of the agency, frowning his perfectly shaped lips at the thought that immediately struck him of going to Stark Tower where he knew everyone would be.

"Maybe...maybe just for a few days...to see how it goes," Hawkeye found himself reasoning terms with himself as he mindlessly flexed the fingers on his right hand, feeling the need to shoot a few arrows at the moment as he began walking down the same steps Nick Fury had just a few minutes ago, "...and if it doesn't work out...if they all really do hate me...then so be it...nothing else I can do then."

Clint knew he was practically giving himself an ultimatum regarding spending time with the other Avengers, like a flimsy chance at something that he could already practically see the outcome and none of it was particularly fair.

But what other choice did he have?