This started with this reblog of this artwork by the amazing Sekra to which I added one word: Jetpack.
Then the_nita and katieuplate wanted a drabble, so here it is. It was supposed to be funnier, but as usual it became more romantic along the way.
"Good God, Cupid, have you gained weight? Maybe you need to spend a little more time burning calories in the good Agent's bed and less time eating in front of the TV watching Duck Dynasty ."
That's how it all started, a crack Tony made about Clint gaining weight; he had his gloved hand on the reinforced neckband of Clint's new suit specifically designed to withstand the force, dispersing weight evenly through a series of Hulk-proof miracle fabric widths sewn in. The silence that greeted the off-hand comment was deafening; Clint glowered at Tony as he lowered him onto the rooftop, stalking away with a muttered, "Fuck you, Tony."
"Stark." Coulson's voice was ice in his ear, angriest he'd heard it in a while, even more than the time he'd trashed his Malibu beach house and let Phil deal with the fallout. "If you can focus on the enemy, we've got an intrusion of more roaches on 57th and 8th. Fire doesn't seem to slow them down, so see what your repulsors can do. Barton, keep them from going past 10th if you can."
And that had been the end of it, or so Tony thought, until they were done mopping up the last of the practically indestructible bugs – yeah, roaches would so survive the Apocalypse for sure – and Tony strolled into the briefing room to be greeted by a glacial silence. Steve glared at him, and even Tony knew he'd messed up somehow when Rogers gave him that specific 'I'm embarrassed to say I like you' look. Bruce just shook his head and turned away, staying out of the fray. Thor shrugged; there would be no help from that quarter either. But what made Tony realize he'd well and truly fucked up was the fact that Natasha smiled at him; not her terrifying smile either, but her 'oh, good, now I finally get to kill you without any repercussions' happy smile. Whatever he'd done, he was toast. Coulson sat quietly in his usual chair, calmly filling out paperwork; the only sign of his state of mind was the slight crook in the knot of his usually perfect tie. Clint, however, made no bones about his feelings; a powerful fist plowed into Tony's jaw, snapping his head back and causing him to see stars before Clint stormed out.
"What?" Tony asked the stunned room. "He really hasn't gained weight. It was just a joke."
"Tony," Steve said, exasperated. "You don't just announce things like sleeping arrangements in the middle of battle. Or any time, for that matter. Especially when no one knew about it."
"Oh. Oh, shit. Phil, I'm sorry, I didn't …" and there was the crux of the matter. Tony knew he acted before he thought things through - see the infamous self-emptying garbage can fiasco for a case in point – and he'd never been good at keeping secrets, especially juicy ones like Hawk and Cheese being in love.
So, really, he had to do something to make it up to both of them because that's what friends do, right? He'd screwed up, as always, and he knew that just buying a shitload of Phil's favorite ties wouldn't be enough, so he locked himself in his lab and did what he did best – invent something. Phil was easy; Tony already had the basics schematics for tensile strength fabric, so a few ties that could double as rope or even a garrote, in Phil's favorite silk and patterns, were done in just a week or so. But Clint? That took longer. This whole mess had started with Clint needing a lift, so, in the end, he figured he'd solve that problem once and for all, kill two birds with one stone.
"What the hell is this?" Clint asked when Tony threw the suit down on the breakfast bar, nearly knocking Clint's bowl of Lucky Charms off the edge. "If this is supposed to make me hate you less, I'll have you know I'm holding out for a box of Richart chocolates, a bottle of Glenrothes, and I wouldn't say no to a Lamborghini."
"Yeah, well, my usual 'I'm a fucking idiot' gift is jewelry – or a piece of art in Pepper's case – but you're not the diamond earring type, so this is what you get." Tony grinned, glad to hear the good humor in Clint's teasing; all, it seemed, was back on its way to being normal. Well, as normal as a bunch of superheroes living like college kids in a dorm can ever be. "We okay?"
Clint snorted and fished out the last of the cereal bits, leaving marshmallows soaking up the milk in the bowl. "I was the one dragging my feet, worried about the work side of things. Being outted wasn't great, but we'll survive."
"SHIELD giving you problems?" Tony found the half-empty pot of coffee and poured, expecting a sludgy mess you could stand a spoon in, the way Clint usually made it. Instead, he got a decent cup of golden roast; seems Phil's love of a good cup o' joe was rubbing off on the archer.
"Technically, since I'm with the Initiative now, Phil's not my direct superior, but that doesn't stop people from talking, especially those who didn't know about our … proclivities, as someone put it yesterday." Scooping up a big spoonful of the colorful sugary treats, Clint cleaned out the bowl.
"You're shitting me. Someone actually said that to you? For god's sake, I'd worry I'd end up with an arrow in my eye socket, and that's not even counting how damn terrifying it would be to wake up with Phil sitting there, watching me sleep. People are so stupid." He nudged the suit towards Clint. "Are you going to look at it or not?"
"You just made me a new suit not that long ago …" Clint trailed off as he began to look at the pieces of equipment: a pair of boots, vest, arm guards, archer's glove. "I repeat, what the hell?"
"Based it on Mark VII flight technology. The whole backpack idea just wasn't going to work with the quiver and the exhaust, so it's really more hovering than flying, but …" Tony stop talking as Clint ripped off his running shoes and slipped his feet into the boots which automatically fitted themselves to the contours of his jean covered calves. The vest went on next and in a few minutes Tony had helped him rig the whole system; flexing his bare fingers, Clint tested his grip, happy to find that the slim line thrusters in the guards didn't add more than a tiny weight, one he could easily compensate for in his aim.
Unfortunately, no one was around to talk them out of what happened next. Honestly, how could Phil expect them not to have a trial run? They may have trashed the pantry cabinets before they decided to take the suit to the helipad on top of the Tower, but Tony did put on his suit just in case anything went wrong from there. Jarvis warned Phil, just as Tony's had programmed the AI to do, alerting him that Tony was about to do something monumentally stupid. It wasn't their fault that Phil was on the Helicarrier and couldn't get to the Tower in time to stop them. In the end, the damage was minimal; a few startled tourists at the Statue of Liberty, a fender-bender on 48th street from rubberneckers, and some shattered windows in the financial district. Oh, and a few arrows in the big Hammer Industries sign, leaving only HAM alight; Tony certainly didn't mind paying for that. As a test, it was wildly successful. Clint took to flying like he'd been born to it; he could shoot arrows while standing on horseback, so hovering wasn't that much different once he got the hang of it.
All might have been fine, but Phil hated the suit. Not because he didn't think Clint could handle it; he knew he was more than capable. No, he didn't like the way it changed the dynamics, made Clint more reckless and less a static commodity. The team worked because they each had their strengths and played to them. Tony was aerial, air support, attention flitting quickly from one target to the next. Steve was the ground anchor, the central pole that supported the whole tent; he made instant decisions, went for the hero play, and could hold off a whole platoon of villains while the others did their jobs. Thor was a bridge between the other two, a formidable powerhouse fighting beside Steve or bringing the lighting in surgical ground strikes. Natasha was the wild card, often overlooked, the shade that slipped in through the smallest crack to hit right at the center of the opposition's power. The Hulk was the beater, in Quidditch parlance (and, yes, Phil loved Harry Potter); his job was to smash anyone or anything that got in the others' way, clearing a path through or just doing the dirty work of dispatching bugs or mutated fish or any of the myriad other creatures they encountered. Clint's job was to be the fixed point, his vantage chosen to survey the whole battlefield; calm and centered, he was a stable seeker, his main job to find the crux of power and take it out. Too many times to count, one of Clint's arrows ended a situation long before it got to the critical stage. And even if he didn't get a bead on the big bad, Clint had saved everyone on the team's ass more times that they wanted to count precisely because he waited and watched. He saw the little guy sneaking up on Natasha, the blow that knocked Steve's breath away, leaving him vulnerable for a swing of a weapon, the RPG aimed at Tony from another rooftop, and the digital net held out to catch the Hulk. That was why Phil hated the suit; a key piece of the Avenger puzzle was lost as Clint zoomed up and down, more intent on particular targets than the big picture.
The others hated the suit because, well, Clint was like a kid in a candy store with an unlimited credit card. First time he hovered outside of Natasha window – he was just going to ask her if she wanted Chinese or Thai for dinner, nothing else, he swore – she threatened to rewire it to explode if he got above a certain height. Steve officially banned the whole 'jump off the building in front of people who didn't know' practical joke after one of the lab techs ended up having a panic attack watching Clint fall off a balcony (When Maria Hill heard about that little stunt, she forbid Clint from going anywhere near the new recruits wearing the suit on the Helicarrier, just to be safe). Thor didn't seem to care all that much, but the suit was a major distraction to the Hulk, who thought Cupid flying was hysterically funny. And Tony didn't help at all, major enabler that he was. He took to inviting Clint to go places with him, like those interminably boring meetings in D.C., flying in together and buzzing the Washington Monument or the Capitol just for fun and photo ops.
"You want me to get rid of the suit," Clint said one night as he and Phil lay in bed, his head resting on Phil's chest; often, long after the fight was done, the debriefing had wound down, Phil still had his tablet, bedside light gleaming late into the night. Clint could sleep anywhere, anytime, and he truly enjoyed resting against Phil who had his glasses perched on his nose, dotting every I and crossing every T as he continued to work. Phil's dedication meant fewer complications for the whole team.
With a sigh, Phil reached the tablet over to the end table, balancing his glasses on top of it; he ran his hand into Clint's hair, tousling it in the way he loved so much when Clint let it get too long like it was now. "It's not that I don't like you having the mobility," he began, but then petered to a stop, trying to think of how to explain his objections.
"Problem is, I'm a sniper. That's what I do. I watch and take the shot. Damn suit makes me itch, want to be in the thick of things, but that's Steve and Thor and the Hulk's strengths. Tony's a hummingbird, couldn't sit still for long, needs to be flitting about. Nat's better in the shadows, and you, you're the man behind the curtain." Clint's hand idly stroked Phil's chest and the soft cotton of his favorite Jets t-shirt, a habit he'd gotten into to remind himself that Phil was alive and real.
"And that would be why I love you," Phil said as he looked down at Clint. "Smart plus a damn nice ass and sexy arms."
Clint laughed, tilted his head up and brushed a kiss along Phil's jaw. "Much as I like not being lugged around like a potato sack, guess it's time to give it up and let Tony off the hook. Not that I didn't enjoy making him grovel, but you were right. We should have done this a while ago. Dinners, movies, shows, just being out and about … everything's fair game now."
"Or we could just stay in bed." Phil's hand covered Clint's; he did have a thing about Clint's fingers too. "Think you could keep the suit and not be tempted? It would be nice to not worry if you have to get off the roof fast."
Clint heard the unspoken "again" in that sentence. "Yeah, I could do that … if I can occasionally buzz the helicarrier."
"If Fury shoots you, I'll say I told you so." Phil flicked the light off before he slid down, settling into Clint's arms, lips touching for an easy kiss, bodies fitting together like two halves of a whole.
It was Tony's fault, really; he never could keep a secret and, if you looked up extravagance on the internet, his name and picture would be the first results. But, despite Stark's big mouth, Phil & Clint became a known item, and everyone in the Tower was delighted by the news. Clint got a nifty new suit that let him find his own vantage point and not worry Phil when the situation demanded fast relocation. The others loved it when Clint stopped messing with them – well, he and Tony still had fun sometimes but they kept it to a dull roar, mostly pranking each other or Reed Richards – and, though they might not admit it, everyone was relieved to quit worrying about the "Barton's jumped off the roof" call … again.
And Phil's new ties? Well, let's just say that he thanked Tony politely, thought of a couple dozen ways to use them to kill someone, hung them neatly on his rotating tie rack, and paired them with his mission suits. All but one specific blue-grey paisley that reminded him of Clint's eyes and, it turned out, made for a perfect way to bind wrists without leaving any marks behind, the ease of one twist release taking all the guess work out of it. Clint certainly appreciated that, almost as much as the suit.