Author's Note: I am a terrible, terrible author. I can only apologise (again!) for the unacceptable delay. But here it is. The end… Thank you so much to everyone who has read this and especially to those who have written kind reviews. I will see you all at the next story – which will either be a sequel to Why Tony Should Not Interfere With Clint's Love Life (Why Doctor Poole Gave Agent Barton an Extra Check Up) or a sequel to Mrs Barton (Mr Barton's Mistress).
Disclaimer: Don't have anything to do with Marvel and their wonderful play-land of creations … sigh…
Tony gave a satisfied nod as he laid the prototype arrow down on the bench next to him. Hawkeye would have a lot of fun with this one - not that he deserved it. With a faint scowl the billionaire turned his eyes upward.
"JARVIS? Elevator report?"
"The elevator has returned to the communal floor after collecting Thor and Miss Foster sir."
"So the elevator hasn't been back to Barton's floor since I came down here last night?"
"That is correct."
Tony sighed dramatically.
"What time is it JARVIS?"
"Nine thirty sir."
Tony's eyebrow arched.
"Better go say happy birthday to the big guy then. And get coffee."
By the time Tony reached the elevator area the carriage already sat open and waiting for him. Stepping in he turned briskly to face back outwards as the door closed, tapping his fingers absently against his leg. Now that he had stopped tinkering in his workshop his brain was slowly starting to succumb to his need for sleep. Even in the short time it took for the elevator to reach the communal floor his thoughts had turned purely to coffee.
Clint stretched his free arm leisurely, his other arm resting comfortably against the soldier sitting next to him.
"I suppose I should go and fetch Tony," the archer commented although he made no effort to move. Natasha waved a hand absently.
"Leave him to simmer. He'll ju..." her eyebrow arched gleefully as said billionaire shuffled into the kitchen from the door across the room, at the opposite side from where Thor and Jane had entered and from where she, Clint and Steve sat. "Speak of the devil."
Tony did not even bother to look over.
"I am far more handsome than the devil ms Romanov," he replied flatly, taking the coffee JARVIS made for him. Turning on his heel he turned to head toward the door again. Half way through the doorway however he stopped dead. For a long moment he stood silently.
"Agent Barton," he spoke finally. Clint's eyebrow rose slowly.
"Mr Stark," he managed to reply in an even tone. Suddenly the billionaire spun round, blinking rapidly as he looked between Steve and Clint.
"But... the..." Tony gestured wildly between the two. "The elevator never moved!" an accusing finger was pointed toward Clint. "It dropped me off and then went back up to your floor and then it never moved! It hasn't been back to your floor since I used it last night," again the billionaire's arms waved although somehow no coffee was spilled. "What the hell did you do, climb through the ventilation system?" silence. "You climbed through the vents!"
Clint offered a faint shrug.
"JARVIS wouldn't let the elevator go to the right floor."
Tony scowled and crossed his arms but it was Natasha who spoke first.
"You were ordered to stop sneaking through vents," the female pointed out, narrowing her eyes at the archer. Clint shrugged again with a smirk.
"I thought that only applied at SHIELD."
Natasha arched an eyebrow but let the subject drop. Tony however continued to flail his arms.
"You climbed through the vents? JARVIS! Why did you not tell me about this?"
"You never asked Sir."
Tony turned an incredulous expression upward.
"I did ask!"
"You asked about the elevator Sir. You did not ask for Agent Barton's location or any alternative modes of transportation."
Tony's mouth opened to object but finally he simply let out a huff, slumping down into a seat next to Bruce.
"You are a bad influence on him," he pointed an accusing finger at Clint before grabbing some pancakes off the centre of the table. His hand stopped half way to his mouth however. "Happy birthday big guy."
Bruce smirked as Tony turned a sheepish smile toward the doctor.
Tony's lips quickly turned into a vastly less sheepish expression, his eyes lighting up.
"Party!" he grinned, turning and launching into a tirade of speech directed at Bruce. Across the table Clint rolled his eyes.
"Good luck babysitting him," Steve's voice ghosted un-expectantly over the archer's ear. Clint turned slightly, offering the soldier an arched eyebrow.
"You're not going to help me?" he asked with a mock hurt expression. Steve smirked.
"I'll think about it," he shrugged. Clint blinked slightly at the playful expression on the soldier's face but his lips too quickly curled into a smile. Steve leant back, his voice rising slightly. "I think I'll go for a jog before this party starts. That ok?"
Again Clint blinked in surprise.
"Sure it's ok," he replied casually. "You don't need my permission."
Steve gave a warm smile and leant forward, quickly capturing the archer's lips before he clambered to his feet. Yet again Clint blinked rapidly. Along the table Natasha also stood.
"I think I'll join you," the female commented. She laughed as Steve's face paled. "Don't worry - I'm just coming along for the company, I won't threaten you," an overly sweet smile complimented a couple of gentle pats on the cheek. "You already know what I'll do to you if you hurt my husband. Now just let me go and get my running shoes."
Steve turned a quick, bemused look to the table.
"Rather you than me cap," Tony commented with an amused glint, taking a sip of his coffee. Steve arched an eyebrow.
"Yeah…" the soldier pulled a face before shaking his head, offering the group sitting at the table a small wave, giving one last smile in Clint's direction. Everyone at the table bid their own farewells – vocally, with a wave of the hand or with a nod. Of course it was Tony who spoke first once Steve had left the room.
"Well isn't he an affectionate creature," the billionaire turned an amused glance towards Clint. "I think you were more freaked out by that little public display of affection than he was."
"I wasn't freaked out," Clint muttered, shrugging slightly. "It's just… weird."
Tony's eyebrow arched mischievously.
"Weird is one word for it…" he grinned, earning a half agreeing, half insulted look from Clint.
Clint sipped on his drink as he glanced around the crowded room from his spot near the bar. Pepper had done a fine job organising Bruce's party – although it was Tony who was swanning around acting as lord of the manor. Overall though said billionaire was behaving himself so the archer left him to it. Clint watched as Tony bounded over to where Bruce stood chatting intently with Cayden – the other doctor having arrived about ten minutes prior.
A small frown pulled on Tony's brow as he approached the two doctors, close enough now to hear what the two were talking about.
"Brucey! Dr McSmirky!" he grinned at both, stepping in between them and placing a hand on each man's shoulder. "No work talk!"
Bruce rolled his eyes as Cayden gave the billionaire a bemused look at his nickname.
"This isn't work talk," Bruce informed Tony. "This is just for fun."
"The two of you are growing viruses for fun?" Tony screwed up his face, shaking his head and stepping forward again, letting go of the two and turning to face them. "Weird," he sing-songed, sipping on his glass of scotch. He offered the SHIELD doctor an apologetic look. "I'm sorry you'll have to excuse us - I need to introduce the birthday boy to someone."
Bruce opened his mouth to object but Tony had already grabbed his arm. Cayden laughed and gave the doctor a quick wave as he was dragged away. Shaking his head slightly he raised his bottle to his lips.
Cayden turned, offering the soldier behind him a smile.
"Cayden, please," he shook his head. "For the next thirty-seven hours I am not a doctor."
"It is good to see you away from SHIELDs medical wards," the soldier commented. Cayden laughed.
"It is good to be away from SHIELDs medical wards," he conceded, taking a sip of the beer in his hand. Steve chuckled quietly, also taking a sip of his drink before turning an earnest expression towards the doctor.
"I am actually owe you an apology," he admitted. Cayden turned to him with an arched brow, a knowing smirk on his lips.
"You mean for telling me that Clint was taken when he wasn't?"
Steve blinked in surprise but again he laughed, nodding in acknowledgement.
"Who told you?"
Steve rolled his eyes slightly.
"Of course she did," he muttered although a faint smile pulled on his lips. Cayden shrugged slightly.
"I bumped into her the day Clint was sent away and asked how his boyfriend coped with his missions. She looked confused...for about five seconds."
"Ah..." Steve nodded sheepishly. Cayden took another drink and turned an inquisitive look on the soldier.
"So... Is Clint seeing anyone?" he asked innocently although his eyes sparkled mischievously. Steve bowed his head sheepishly for a moment but he quickly looked back up again.
"He has a date tomorrow actually," the soldier stated, taking a sip of his drink. Cayden chuckled, holding his beer bottle up in a toast.
"Glad to hear it," he smiled as Steve tapped his bottle against Cayden's. "I hope you enjoy yourselves. I look forward to hearing all about it when I have to check on agent Barton's arm," the doctor's smirk faded slightly as he turned a more serious expression to Steve. "You don't mind me being friends with him? Like I said before I ain't interested in more than that if I know he's taken."
Steve raised a hand.
"No, no I like that he has a friend in SHIELD," he replied seriously before arching an eyebrow lightly. "Especially one who can stitch him up. Just hopefully not too often."
A little further along the room Natasha watched the exchange with an amused glint in her eyes, one arm crossed across her chest as she sipped on her drink.
"I believe I only owe you two debts now."
Natasha smirked, casting a quick glance toward director Fury as he slipped up next to her.
"I believe you are right."
Fury's eyebrow rose slightly.
"I don't suppose you had anything to do with that violent parachute?" he asked. Natasha laughed.
"No, no," she shook her head. "If I was going to actually hurt Clint I would have done it when he was on his way home - not heading into the jungle. I was trusting you to think of an excuse to send him to medical all by yourself."
Back across the room Clint looked between where Steve talked with Cayden to where Fury talked with Natasha, his eyes narrowing suspiciously. Finally he just gave a small shrug and downed his drink, turning instead to where Tony was starting to make a pest of himself. A lovable, endearing pest – but a pest none-the-less. With a quiet sigh the archer started to head in his direction, sending a mock glower in return to Steve's amused smile…
"Your help with Tony was much appreciated by the way," Clint commented, the elevator door pinging shut behind him and Steve. "Thank you."
Steve chuckled as the elevator started to move.
"You seemed to have everything under control."
Clint crossed his arms and scowled but it quickly broke as Steve stepped closer. His last attempt to look un-amused quickly faded as the soldier leant down and stole a quick but tender kiss.
"Hmmmm… I suppose I did…" the archer smirked as the elevator door pinged open again. A quiet sigh escaped Clint's lips as he looked out to his floor. "Well I guess I'll see you in the morning then."
"Yeah," Steve nodded, leaning down as Clint leant upward for another kiss. "Good night."
"Night," Clint grudgingly stepped out of the elevator, turning back to wave farewell. A slight frown pulled on his brow as the elevator doors stayed open. Steve's expression quickly mirrored his.
"Yes Captain Rogers?"
"My floor please."
"But this is your floor Captain."
Steve arched an eyebrow as he looked upward in the general direction he thought the voice was coming from.
"JARVIS this is Clint's floor," he replied calmly. "Is s…"
"Eh… Steve?" Clint interrupted. The soldier looked over at him questioningly and the archer responded by pointing toward a nearby picture. Steve's brow furrowed again as he recognised it as one of the pictures of old New York from his rooms. Stepping out of the elevator he followed as Clint made his way further down the hall, finding yet more of the pictures that were supposed to be on Steve's floor now hung on Clint's walls. "Eh… JARVIS?"
"Is there anything actually in the floor above this?"
It was Clint's turn to arch an eyebrow. JARVIS sounded almost… mischievous. Maybe Tony was right about the AI developing a bit of a cheeky attitude…
Although he would later deny it the archer suddenly let out a quiet yelp.
"What?" Steve asked, suppressing a laugh at the sound. Clint merely stood in a nearby doorway, pointing into the room. Steve walked up and looked over the smaller man's shoulder, unable to help the laugh that escaped his lips. Gone were the green cushions and pillows that had previously made up Clint's nest – the nest was now red, white and blue.
"Tony and I are going to have words in the morning…" Clint grumbled before turning to Steve. "Look, we can move everything back tomorrow if you want. You can sleep in my bed – I'll crash in the nest."
Steve opened his mouth but JARVIS spoke up again.
"Captain Roger's bed has been moved into the room two doors down from where you stand."
"Oh, ok thank you JARVIS," Clint turned a meek, slightly relieved smile on Steve. Tony had not got too carried away with his re-arranging of the living quarters. After all, they had not even been on a proper date yet. Steve's smile mirrored that of the archers.
"Well we do already live under the same roof – what difference does it make if I'm the floor above or along the corridor?" he shrugged although Clint could tell he was relieved to still have his own room. For the time being at least.
"True," Clint agreed, stepping closer to the soldier. "Well… I guess I'll say goodnight. Again."
"Good night," he leant down and stole another kiss, pulling away slowly. "I'm really looking forward to tomorrow."
Clint returned the smile.