A/N: Everything is good and nothing hurts! Aka, everyone gets a happy ending. There is more Steve/Cas, because this pairing really started to grow on me. Also, this is officially over 50k which should clearly count as this November's NaNo.
A/N: Thank you to everyone for your support. Writing Avengers fic while watching TV has led to some interesting crossovers, and I'm glad I wasn't alone in thinking Dean/Clint could be interesting.
Dean knew from TV that Tony Stark could throw a party, but there was a difference between seeing E! clips of a Stark shindig and actually being at one. Dean feels underdressed in his jeans and leather jacket, but he does have a maroon button up underneath it so he's at least making an attempt.
"This is a little more posh than we're used to," Sam whispers edging closer to Bobby and Dean as they take in the lighting, the bar, the balcony pool, and Tony's slick black suit.
Bobby rolls up the sleeves of his plaid flannel. "If it means they have good alcohol, I don't care what they're wearing. Thanks for breaking me out of the hospital for this."
"You would've killed us if we hadn't," Sam says.
Bobby grins. "Damn straight." He tips his baseball cap to them and heads over to the bar for a stiff drink.
"And then there were two," Sam mutters. He looks around, frowning as he doesn't see any sign of a tan trench coat. "Where did Cas go?"
"Probably off playing with soldier boy."
Sam's eyebrows scrunch together. "Like playing?"
"Ew!" Dean shouts, shoving Sam. "Why would you say that? Why would you put that in my head? He's like my son and my little brother and my guardian angel rolled into one. He has no sex drive. None. Zero." Dean shakes his head trying to get the imagine of Cas having sex out of his head. That's probably blasphemous, and any moment now he's going to get smited. Smoted? Smit? Smitten? Hell, he's going to get blown up.
"Sorry," Sam says holding his hands up. Dean overreacts to everything. "Wait. Did you say little brother? You think I don't have a sex drive?"
"Unfortunately, I know that you do. You also have terrible taste in women."
"Like you're any better."
Dean shrugs, conceding the point, and then he spots Clint on the other side of the room and he can't help his smile. "But I've got fantastic taste in men."
Sam says something, probably unkind, but Dean isn't listening, because Clint's eyes meet his across the room, and his face breaks into a brilliant smile, and Dean can't concentrate on anything else. He starts toward Clint, not really caring whether Sam follows or not.
"Congrats on saving the world," Dean says, giving Clint's shoulder a light punch.
"Well, you did it twice in one week." Clint gives Dean an easy smile, and he reaches out a hand to touch Dean's arm, because he still can't believe that Dean is here. Dean is here, and Loki's spell has been broken, and the world is still in one piece, and Clint doesn't know whether he wants to laugh or cry or sleep for the next three days.
"Oh wow," Sam breathes, and Dean doesn't like that tone. That's the 'I've just discovered a really hot girl, and I'm about to be stupid' tone.
Dean follows Sam's gaze to the left where Natasha's just appeared, a light robe wrapped delicately around her body. It's a cover-up so the hem barely skims mid thigh, and Sam is shamelessly staring at miles of long, smooth leg as she walks toward the pool.
"Oh no," Dean counters. "Absolutely not."
Clint laughs when he sees who Sam's checking out. "Good luck kid. She'll eat you alive."
Dean groans. "Now you've done it."
"Done what?" Clint frowns at Dean, and when he doesn't say anything he turns to Sam. He's slack jawed, now, watching at Natasha slips the robe from her body, leaving her in a few tiny scraps of material that serve as a bathing suit.
She turns over her shoulder like she knows they're talking about her, and she winks before diving smoothly into the water.
"I think I'm going to go for a swim," Sam says still not turning away from Natasha. "I'll catch you later."
Dean shakes his head as Sam ambles off to get himself into more trouble than he knows how to handle. "I hope you're not too attached to her."
"My brother seems to have a thing for evil chicks. Werewolves, demons, backstabbing bitches, you name it he wants to screw it."
Clint waves a dismissive hand. "Eh, I'm not too worried about it. I think Nat can handle herself against the Sam Winchester curse."
"You're right," Dean says. "We've just saved the world, we deserve a break from taking care of people. Let me buy you a drink."
"It's an open bar," Clint points out as they head towards the bar.
"In that case, I'll buy you as many drinks as you want."
Clint laughs and leans into Dean's shoulder for a brief moment.
"Oh, cheer up," Jane says, giving Thor's shoulder a shove. It's virtually ineffective, because she doesn't have a lot of mass behind her, and he's a pretty immovable object. "You saved Earth, the Tesseract has been returned to Asgard, and in a few months the Bifrost will be working again."
"My brother has been kidnapped, and I have encountered a new foe." Thor flicks an irritated glance back toward the door to the living room where Steve is leaning against the wall and talking to the creature that has laid claims to Thor's day.
"Castiel is not a foe," Jane says drawing on her patience reserve. They've had this conversation multiple times since she escaped the safe house and made it to Manhattan. She had difficulty at first accepting that angels were real, but if aliens and space travel were real then why not angels? "He assisted you in the fight against the Chi'tauri."
"He knows the creature that has taken Loki."
"Angel," Jane says. "They're angels, not creatures. Now, stop moping and party or I'm going to find someone who will. Tonight we're celebrating that we're all still alive. Tomorrow we can freak out about all the problems we still have."
"You are a wise woman," Thor says, giving Jane a one armed hug. "I apologize for my behavior."
Jane grins and slides into his lap. "You can apologize by getting me a drink. And promising me a dance later."
"There will be dancing?" Thor asks. "I don't know any Midgardian dances."
"I'll teach you," Jane promises.
Bobby tips his hat down lower and cradles his beer. When Dean had told him there was going to be a party with some fantastic booze he'd been all in despite the nurse's warning about drinking with a concussion, but now that he's here he's sort of regretting that he came.
He's a hunter, by nature a solitary guy, and the three people here he knows are all happily integrating themselves into this world. Well, Dean's always been loosely attached to this world and Sam's good at making friends, and even Cas has managed to corner someone, and that just leaves Bobby alone at the bar.
He feels uncomfortable being surrounded by all these government types. He knows the Avengers aren't your typical organization, but they're still working for SHIELD, and Bobby has never had a good relationship with the law. Most hunters don't which is why Bobby's still having a hard time wrapping his head around the fact that Dean's gotten himself involved with a suit.
He glances over at Dean and Clint who are sitting on the far end of the bar, leaning into to each other, occasionally laughing or taking a sip of their beers. It looks natural, comfortable, and he's never seen Dean so relaxed. He might not understand how or why it happened, but he does understand that it's probably the best thing that's ever happened to Dean and that's good enough for him.
"You must be with the Winchesters." A man in a suit slides into the chair next to Bobby and offers him a bright smile. "Phil Coulson, pleasure to meet you."
Bobby looks down at the outstretched hand and wraps his fingers tighter around his beer. "I came with them."
Phil isn't fazed by Bobby's manner; though, ever since being raised from the dead he's been in a pretty jolly mood. Must be some sort of side effect. He orders a gin and tonic and settles into his stool. "I know you don't trust me which is fine, and I know more about you than you'd want me to, Bobby Singer, but I thought we should have a chat."
Bobby's eyes narrow. "How are you connected to this lot?"
"I'm Clint's handler." Phil points Clint out just in case Bobby hasn't met him. "I look after him. Much the same as you look after Sam and Dean."
Bobby laughs. "Those boys don't need looking after anymore. That's what they've got angels for." Bobby nods in Castiel's direction.
"They'll always need us," Coulson says. "Though less and less each day. I think I've got Dean to thank for that one."
Bobby takes a long drink of his beer and wishes he could go back to sitting in silence.
"He's changed Clint, you know. I came on as Clint's handler, and he was a handler's dream. He followed orders to the T, trusted me without question, pushed himself during training, and he never hesitated on a mission. I told him to jump, and he'd wait for me to say how high. Not so much anymore. He's always talked back, but now he questions. He wants to know the why behind everything. He even disobeyed orders for the first time. Turned a target instead of killing her."
"Is this the part where you're going tell me that Dean's a bad influence?" Bobby's heard it a thousand times. He's heard it from John, he's heard it from Dean's teachers the couple times he picked Sam and Dean up from various schools John had dropped them at. Bobby also knows that it's complete bullshit. Dean is loyal to a fault, completely dedicated to a cause once he's decided it's worthy, and there's no one else Bobby would rather have watching his back during a fight.
Coulson laughs. "No. This is the part where I tell you he's a damn good one. He's taught Clint how to think, and I can't thank him enough for it. Now, why don't you set that beer down and let me get you a whiskey. You seem like the kind of guy that would enjoy a good whiskey."
Bobby hesitates for a moment, but he doesn't fancy spending the rest of the night on his own, and this guy might be government, but he approves of Dean, and that makes him okay in Bobby's book.
Bobby sets his beer on the counter. "Dean's been straightening himself out. I didn't think it was Sammy's doing, and it explained a lot when I found out Dean had a secret friend stashed away. We don't have a lot of friends in our line of work."
"You're a hunter too?" Coulson asks. "Were you with them when they stopped the apocalypse?"
Bobby grins and makes himself comfortable. It's story time.
"This has been a weird week," Tony says, one arm looped easily around Pepper's waist, the other looped around Bruce's. He has an armful of beautiful woman and an armful of a blushing scientist, and the only problem he can see is that he now doesn't have any hands leftover to hold a drink. "First aliens with mind control then the Avengers Initiative happened then alien invasion and when I thought it couldn't get weirder we ended up with angels and resurrection, and Clint's been shacking up with one of the FBI's Most Wanted."
"Yes, because Clint having a boyfriend is the weirdest part of this week," Pepper says. She rolls her eyes but presses a kiss to Tony's cheek. "I'm just glad that we all made it out of this alive."
"I almost didn't."
Pepper's smile freezes for a second before she smoothes is back out. "But you did. Thanks to Bruce saving your life." She smiles at Bruce who ducks his head but not before they can see his blush.
"Thank him?" Tony asks. "What are you thanking him for? I was all set up to be a martyr, and he had to ruin it by jumpstarting my heart." Tony tsks. "No one has any respect for my plans."
Pepper frowns as she slips from Tony's grasp and moves to stand on the other side of Bruce. "I don't think you're funny."
Tony pouts. "No one ever thinks I'm funny, which is a shame, because I'm hilarious." He holds his hand out to Pepper, but she ignores it. "Aw, come on, Pep, I'm sorry. Come back?"
She twines her arms around Bruce's. "I think I'll stay with Dr Banner tonight. He's much more my type. What do you think?" She looks up at Bruce through her eyelashes, and he's trapped with Tony on one side and Pepper on the other, and really he'd rather be on an airplane back to Calcutta right now.
"I would hate to get between you two," he says diplomatically, trying to pull his arms free.
Pepper laughs and leans into him, until her mouth is brushing her ear. "That's a shame, because we were hoping you'd do just that."
Bruce's eyes widen and he looks over at Tony who nudges his knee between Bruce's legs and slowly inserts himself into Bruce's personal space.
"You interested?" Tony asks, whispering the words across Bruce's lips.
Castiel transports the humans to the party, but he doesn't follow them in. He assumes that Dean will want to spend time with his human companion and that the other two will engage in celebrations that require large amounts of alcohol, and he does not want to intrude on Dean's personal time, and it is a wasted effort for him to try and get drunk.
Instead, he begins inspecting the decorations, because he has learned that how humans furnish their homes speaks to their character and their lifestyle. For example, the Sam and Dean travel from motel to motel, but they always hide their weapons in the same places. They each keep a gun under their pillows, and a knife in the bedside drawer alongside the hotel Bible. Neither of them unpack their bags, but Sam always puts his dirty clothes in a plastic bag while Dean strews his across the room.
All of these things tell Castiel important information. The Winchesters don't feel safe unless they're capable of defending themselves, they always have a back-up plan in case the original one doesn't work, and Sam is more cautious with his belongings unlike Dean who opens himself up and flings himself in all directions and sometimes this causes him to forget a sock in their rush to leave their motel room.
There are two couches in the living room, one with three cushions and another with two, and Castiel finds it intriguing that there is no armchair like at Bobby's place. The human that inhabits this place must enjoy physical contact. Castiel wonders at the meaning behind the pillows. There are no indentations to suggest that someone has laid their head on them. Why have pillows if you are not going to use them?
"The party's in the other room, you know."
Castiel turns at the sound, and he spies the human that had intrigued him earlier. Steve Rogers, also known as Captain America. Castiel's eyes widen, because this is the man Dean had modeled their assault on Lilith's home after.
"It is an honor to meet you," Castiel says. Steve has changed out of his uniform which saddens Castiel, because he had enjoyed seeing the wings on the sides of his helm, but he has a much better view of the man's face now so perhaps it is not a total loss.
"Ah." Steve's smile falters slightly. "You've heard about me."
"You had the A because you are Captain America. Dean has seen your movie. We were able to prevent the apocalypse because of you."
Steve laughs and shakes his head even as a slight blush rises on his cheeks. "I'm sure it took a little more than watching a WW2 action flick to prevent the apocalypse."
"Well, yes," Castiel says as if that was obvious. "It took demon magic, the Colt, and Ruby's knife, but our plan was modeled after you. We walked up to Lilith's front door and knocked. I admit that I was surprised when it worked."
Steve doesn't understand a lot of what Castiel just said like how this person named Lilith had anything to do with the apocalypse, but he smiles anyways. "Sometimes the direct approach is best."
"That is something Dean has taught me. He wanted to go find you. It was going to be our next mission after averting the apocalypse, but you had already been found."
Steve's seen and heard a lot of thing that he's had difficulty believing since he came out of the ice, but this tops the list. An angel had wanted to lead a search and rescue for him?
"I'm just a kid from Brooklyn."
Castiel smiles and he reaches out his hand so that his fingertips brush Steve's cheekbone. "You are much more than that."
Castiel drops his hand so that he can trace the line of Steve's jaw and the curve of his ear, the pads of his fingers dragging over Steve's skin and memorizing every inch.
"Do not forget to breathe," Castiel says, his thumb trailing down the shell of Steve's ear. "Humans die without proper oxygen."
Steve laughs, and he drags in a choked breath. "Yes, breathing is very important. Uh, is there any reason you're doing this?"
Castiel cups Steve's face in both his hands now and his thumbs sweep across Steve's cheeks. "Humans fascinate me, but Dean will not permit me to touch him like this. Oh." Castiel pauses and he starts to pull back. "I should have asked permission. I apologize, I am still growing accustomed to being around humans. May I touch you?"
Steve's heart stutters as those blue eyes train on his, watching him so intently that he's afraid he's going to forget to breathe again. All of Castiel's attention is focused on him, waiting for Steve's answer, and Steve feels like they're the only two people on the planet right now.
He also misses the touch of palm to his skin so he guides Castiel's hands back to his face. "You may."
A smile tugs at the corners of Castiel's mouth and his eyes crinkle with pleasure. "All of you?"
Steve's hands tighten their hold on Castiel's. "Oh wow."
Castiel tilts his head to the side. "Is that a yes?"
Steve nods. "That's a definite yes."
Clint and Dean spend the first part of the evening drinking at the bar together, not saying much, just sitting close enough that they can feel the other there and thinking about all that's happened in the past few days.
They don't get a lot of time to sit and be by themselves, because people from SHIELD start showing up, and they want to congratulate Clint on stopping the Chi'tauri or offer their apologies—it took three apologies before Clint told Dean that he'd been possessed for most of the invasion which Dean is still pissed about, because it should've been the first thing Clint told him—and once people get close enough to see Clint's friend they freak out, because apparently it's a well known fact that Dean's wanted by the FBI. Go figure.
"You need these?" Martin offers, dangling a set of handcuffs off her fingers. She's the latest in the parade of people who are wondering why the Winchesters are casually enjoying the Avengers after party, and Dean's hoping she'll be the last. He really wants to get back to convincing Clint that he's not responsible for anything that happened while he was possessed.
"No thanks," Dean says with a grin. "We've already got a pair stashed in the bedroom."
He winks and she laughs and gives Clint a little 'you go' nudge.
"Stop that," Clint says smacking Dean's shoulder. "I work with these people."
"Then they should already know all your dirty little secrets. So agent, what embarrassing stories can you tell me about Clint?"
"I could fill a whole night with them, but it sounds like you boys have something better planned. You going to christen your new room?"
"How do you already know about that?" Clint asks.
"Your new room?" Dean looks from Martin to Clint. "You're moving?"
Martin gives a little wave and shuffles away, leaving Clint alone to field Dean's question. "Tony invited all the Avengers to live in the tower, and I didn't see a reason to say no. No one else did either."
"This tower?" Dean looks from the personal bar to the balcony pool. "I guess there are worse places you could live."
"And I've probably lived in them." Clint curls one hand around the neck of his beer and rests the other on Dean's leg. "Tony's a decent guy once you get past the ego, and since we're going to be a team now Fury figured it'd be best if we all shacked up together."
He's making a home for himself, and Dean doesn't know why that doesn't sit easily with him. He should be happy that Clint's found himself a new family, one that he's not going to have to track down and kill. One that's going to be there to watch his back and hold him up when he needs them to. But part of him, a shameful part, is upset that Clint's found new people, and Dean can't help but wonder if that means he won't need Dean anymore. Now that he has all these people he's living with, that he'll see on a day to day basis, will he still want the occasional phone call from Dean?
"Hey," Clint says, leaning in, his hand a steady pressure on Dean's leg. "You okay?"
"Yeah," Dean says putting a smile on his face. "Of course I am. I'm still trying to process this whole team of superheroes thing. I can't believe you're a superhero."
Clint rolls his eyes. "I'm not a superhero."
"Not yet," Dean agrees, "but once that spandex suit I ordered comes in, you'll definitely be one."
"You're an idiot," Clint says but he gives Dean's leg a squeeze after he says it.
Dean finishes his beer and looks around the room. Bobby is still talking with Clint's handler at the bar, and he is both terrified at what they could have in common and really wants to know what they're talking about.
He's searching for Cas, because he's afraid of the kind of trouble Cas could get himself into unsupervised when he's ambushed by an unexpected yawn. He hadn't realized he was tired until after he yawned, and he had to open his eyes again, and they really didn't want to open. He supposes it's only to be expected that he's tired since he pulled a double duty this week, and he'd been operating on a hangover for most of this morning.
"It's been a long day," Clint agrees as Dean covers his mouth. "Want to head to bed?"
Dean's already sliding off his bar stool. "Sound like a plan. First I have to make sure that Cas and Sam are still alive."
"You check on Cas, and I'll check on Sam, and we'll meet over there." Clint points to the doorway just to the left of the end of the bar.
"Yes sir." Dean flashes a smile before heading toward where he'd seen Cas last.
"You look a little pale," Clint says as Dean approaches him, white faced and wide eyed. "Everything okay?"
"Definitely not. Possibly. Don't eat off the kitchen table tomorrow morning. Captain America is lying naked on top of it."
"He's what?" It's Clint's turn to pale. "Steve's naked? What the hell? I thought people from the 40s were modest. Wait, Cas is naked with Steve?"
"No, thank goodness," Dean says as they head down the hallway. "Cas claims he's exploring the human body. I didn't ask questions, I just left. Let's talk about something else. Anything else. How's Sam? Is he alive?"
Clint grins. "Somewhat. Nat was trying to drown him when I showed up, but that's her way of flirting."
"And I bet he's loving every second." Dean shakes his head. "Sam would love it here."
Clint's hand pauses on his doorknob. "I'm sure he could stay." He pushes the door open and walks in like he'd dropped a casual comment about the weather and not a test. He flicks the light on, but he isn't brave enough to turn around and see the expression on Dean's face.
"He's always wanted to settle down." Dean kicks off his shoes and keeps talking about Sam even though he knows that's not what Clint wants to hear. "Ever since I could remember he wanted to get out of hunting. He never really got back into it until the yellow eyed demon, and then we kind of got sucked into the whole Lilith and apocalypse thing. I wonder if he still wants to hunt now that it's all over."
"You did earn yourself a vacation if not an early retirement by saving the world." Clint flops down on his bed and looks up at Dean. "Any idea how you're going to spend it?"
Dean laughs as he runs a hand through his hair. "Hunters don't get vacations, and the only early retirement we get is death. I fight until I can't anymore. That's how this life works."
Clint's on the edge of his bed, and he reaches out and hooks his fingers through Dean's belt loops, pulling him forward until he's standing between Clint's legs. "But what do you want?"
Dean rests his hands on Clint's shoulders and pauses. No one's ever really asked him that before. It's always been go here, kill that, find your brother, keep Sam safe, move, move, move. What does Dean want? He wants the people he cares about to be safe and after that he wants them to be happy, but first and always he wants them to be safe.
He runs his hands through Clint's hair and tilts his head back so Dean's looking down into his eyes. He's wondering what answer Clint's looking for. Does he want Dean to move into this tower too? Hunters like to work alone; though, Dean's never really followed that rule. He hunted with John, he hunts with Sam, and more and more lately it's been Sam, Dean, and Bobby or Sam, Dean, and Cas. Besides, Dean's never been good at following the rules.
He's also not good at sitting still or commitment. Is that what Clint's looking for? Does he want Dean to move in and become all domestic? Share a closet and put their toothbrushes side by side, and eat eggs in the morning before putting on their suits? Does he want Dean to give up hunting? Could Dean do that? He'd been willing to give up hunting once upon a time for Sam, but he's not sure he can make that kind of offer again.
He's seen what's in the world. He knows what stirs in the night, and he has to protect people from it. Even more so now. They've prevented one apocalypse, but he's sure Lucifer has back-up plans in play, and the angels don't seem too keen on helping the humans out which means it falls on Dean to protect the human race. It always falls on Dean.
His shoulders sag, and he suddenly feels exhausted.
"Hey," Clint says, capturing Dean's attention. "You still with me?"
Dean smiles. "Yeah. I'm here."
Clint's eyes scan Dean's face searching for the answers to his first question.
"What do you want?" Dean asks and what he means is what do you want from me, how do I answer this question, tell me what to do, because I don't want to screw this up.
"I asked you first," Clint says, teasing.
Dean doesn't like answering questions when he doesn't have any clues to how he's supposed to answer. He bends down so his forehead presses against Clint's. "I want the people I care about to be safe." Dean's hands tugs on the short strands of Clint's hair. "And I want to keep protecting the world. There are spirits out there that need to be put to rest. There are demons that need to be destroyed. There are all these threats, and everyone is so unaware. I have to protect them."
"No one's asking you not to."
Dean pulls back so he can look at Clint again, really look into his eyes. "You're not?"
Clint loosely wraps his hands around Dean's wrists. "Of course not."
"Good." Dean nods and Clint's not sure which one of them he's trying to reassure. "Because I'm not very domestic. I'm not one for staying still. I can give you tonight, but I don't know what will happen in the morning. There might be demonic activity in Sacramento or a haunting in Nebraska. Or maybe things will be quiet, and I can stay. I-"
"It's fine," Clint says, running his hands up and down Dean's arms. "I know. I understand. I fell in love with you through the phone. We can keep doing what we've been doing. Except with less dying on your part and maybe a little more seeing each other in person."
Dean laughs. He can't help it. He's relieved that Clint's not asking for more than Dean can give, he's relieved that his life isn't about to be completely flipped upside down, and Clint's just said that he loves Dean, and Dean doesn't need anything more than that.
"I can deal with dying less."
"And seeing each other more?"
Dean shrugs. "Eh, maybe."
A slow smile spreads across Clint's lips and he reaches up to grab the collar of Dean's shirt. "I guess I'll just have to convince you it's worth it."
Clint presses his lips to Dean's, swallowing his response and pulling Dean down on top of him. Clint falls back on the bed, one hand on Dean's collar, the other fisted in his hair. He coaxes Dean's mouth open and sweeps his tongue through, lazily mapping the inside of Dean's mouth. Dean's promised him all night, which means there's no reason to rush things.
As Dean kisses back he shrugs out of his jacket and gets to work on the buttons of his shirt. He wants to feel his skin against Clint's. He wants their bodies to touch, to memorize every inch of Clint with his hands and then with his tongue. They belong together, both broken, but their jagged edges are what let them fit together.
Clint helps Dean push his button up off his shoulders, and Clint's hand pauses on the raised ridges of Castiel's scar. Dean breaks the kiss, his shoulders hunching together, but Clint doesn't break contact.
"He left his mark on you," Clint says, tracing the handprint.
Dean takes Clint's hand and places it on his bared chest. "You'll have plenty of opportunities to leave your own."
Clint grins and drags his nails down Dean's chest, raising faint red lines. He might as well start now.