A comicsverse story written for the cottoncandy-bingo prompt, "Firefly". This is the last of my fluff bingo prompts, and you can find the (blacked out!) prompt table over on my DW (sidhera . dreamwidth 1853 . html).
Thanks to eiluned for the beta, to Bees for reading through this and being all encouraging and stuff, and to Amanda for putting up with my griping about this crap. Couldn't have managed this without you guys!
And, as always, if you have a minute, I'd love to hear what you think!
It said a lot about how used to her presence he was that Clint didn't bat an eye when he stumbled groggily out of his bedroom and found Kate already there, mug in hand.
Well, at least he was dressed this time.
"Good morning!" she chimed, and, as ever, she was too fucking chipper for whatever the hell o'clock in the morning it was.
He groaned a reply.
"I made coffee!" she said. She handed him a mug. "But no drinking out of the pot this time, jerkface. I want a second cup." She grimaced when he moved close to her to grab the mug. "Good lord, Barton, don't you know it's polite to shower after sex when you're expecting company?"
He drank deeply and shrugged, not really giving a shit. Grasshopper wanted Hawkeye lessons, Grasshopper better get used to it.
He told her as much.
She rolled her eyes, but hey, at least she let him finish his coffee in peace.
In true Kate fashion, though, she couldn't stay silent for long. "So tell me about your latest thing. Is she cute? Does she like dogs? Is she a redhead?" she badgered, asking the last a little too astutely for his comfort. She moved on without noticing his reaction, though. "Oooh, wait! I know! What's her name?"
Clint resisted the urge to flip her off. You don't learn the name of a one night stand one freaking time (okay, maybe five times, but there was no reason Kate had to know that), and it was like you'd offended all of womankind. It wasn't as if those women had known his name either, for fuck's sake.
That, however, wasn't exactly the problem at hand. Presently, he was wondering if he could get Kate out his apartment before she discovered who his current bedmate was. Things were finally working out in his favor for once, and he didn't really want to screw it all up this time around.
He probably would mess it up anyway (that was how he rolled), but he was going to try to avoid any potential drama because he really, reallywanted it to work out. And Kate (more importantly, Kate and her inability to keep anything from her teammates) running into the woman currently sleeping in his bed? Well, that was drama just waiting to happen.
"So what's up?" he asked as nonchalantly as possible.
Kate frowned at him. "It's Saturday, dumbass."
Saturday, or as Kate liked to call it, "the day of introducing poor, uneducated Clint Barton to pop culture he'd missed because he was too busy fighting moon men or some shit."
Kate held up a dvd box. "Today is Fireflyday. Because reasons."
They were in the middle of the third episode (he grudgingly admitted that he kind of maybe just sort of liked the show), when the shower started up in the other room.
Kate smirked in his direction. "Sounds like this one's housebroken, at least," she said, leaning down to scratch Lucky behind the ears. "It's a step up for Clint, isn't it, puppy dog?"
Lucky licked her face.
He held out hope that this would end smoothly right up until Natasha sauntered out into the living room, clad in one of his shirts and a pair of his boxers, both of which were very, very purple, so even if there had been a question of what happened here the night before, there wasn't now.
Natasha didn't bat an eyelash when she saw Kate, but then, it took a lot to make Natasha flinch. Though, he noted with a self-satisfied smirk, he managed to make her scream a few times last night. He wiped that shit off his face immediately when Natasha turned her attention his way.
She didn't stoop to kiss him or any sentimental shit like that, but that wasn't Nat ten years ago, and it sure as hell wasn't Nat now. She did, however, smile at him, a real smile, the kind that meant she was happy (and, with some luck, willing to stay long enough to go for round six and maybe seven and eight, too).
"Caffeine?" she asked, and fuck, he wished Kate weren't around right now.
He gestured toward the kitchen with his head. "Tea's on the top shelf in the cabinet over the sink."
Natasha thanked him and shuffled off.
Knowing that it was time to face the music, he turned back toward Kate. Her eyes were bugging out of her head, and it looked like she had a million questions she wanted to throw at him. He could practically see her going through the mental calculus that comprised his love life, knew that she was putting together all the pieces that led up to one undeniable truth: he had been hung up on Natasha Romanova for years.
Kate had better manners than that, though, and reserved her commentary to some frantic gesturing that he largely ignored. Throwing her hands up in disgust when he didn't bite, she pouted a little in silence. Thankfully, she managed to school her features back to careful indifference by the time Nat returned with a mug of tea.
"So what are we watching?" Natasha said, sliding onto the couch next to Clint (close, but not touching - was that some kind of message? Was he supposed to pretend that nothing happened and they were just friends? Were they just friends?), and she propped her feet up on the coffee table.
"Cowboy pirates in space," he replied at the same time that Kate supplied, "Firefly."
Natasha huffed a low laugh. "Okay. Mind if I stay, or is this a 'birds only' event?" she asked.
He smiled when Kate said, "If you can stand being around Barton once the shooting starts, then by all means."
He had to give her credit, he really did. Katie didn't say anything about the elephant in the room the entire time they were watching, just kept up her typical, sort of annoying, sort of pleasant commentary. True to form, he'd bitched about the fight scenes, but Natasha had gotten in on that, too, and he was really enjoying having someone on his side of a Hawkeye argument for once.
The second Natasha excused herself to use the bathroom, however, Kate pounced.
"Ok, spill," she said, leaping up from her seat on her side of the couch and scrabbling closer to him. "What the hell is up with that?"
He pretended not to understand. "What is up with what?"
Katie leveled an unamused look at him. "Really?" she said flatly. "You expect me to fall for that? C'mon, Barton, it's me."
He sighed. She wasn't wrong.
Still, he sighed again for good measure.
"Nothing to tell, really," he said. "Nat and I are old friends."
Kate snorted. "Yeah, 'friends'," she said, even going so far as to mime quotation marks with her fingers.
The sound of the toilet flushing drew both of their attentions. Clint, at least, was relieved about it. He so did not want to have this conversation, much less have it when Natasha was still in his apartment. The sink turned on then, and he knew time was growing short. Oh, if only he could hide in a drawer or something until she got back …
"Is she why you keep picking up stray redheads?" Kate asked, grinning widely. She was enjoying this far too much.
He scowled. "None of your business, Katie-Kate. You're the one who came over uninvited."
She rolled her eyes theatrically. "Whatever. We've had a standing date for like, months." The tap shut off and it was now her turn to sigh. "Okay, buster, you're getting off easy this time," Kate said, moving back to her side of the couch. She reached for the popcorn and added, "But you better believe that we are going to have this conversation."
Kate left in the early afternoon with a flimsy excuse that he saw right through, not least of all because she'd mimed a telephone with her hand and mouthed the words "Call me!" as he shut the door in her face.
That left him alone with Natasha. She smiled at him when he returned to the couch.
"Sorry about that," he said, sitting back down next to her. "Didn't mean to completely kill the mood."
"Don't worry about it," she said, waving him off. "I like Kate. She's like a mini-you."
"Don't let her catch you saying that," he replied with a grin. "She might try to gut you."
"As if she could," Natasha said.
"I did say 'try'," he replied.
They grew silent, just staring at each other while, and he scrambled for something to say, anything that would cut the tension that grew thick between them. .
When it became too much, he settled on, "So, are we going to talk about this, or …"
Natasha cut him off with a raised eyebrow and half a smirk turning up one side of her mouth. "Or are we going to have super hot, nasty sex on this couch?"
He tugged her into his lap, beaming as he pulled her close.
"I vote for option two."