Title: Doing Double Duty
Fandom: Supernatural & Marvel Cinematic Universe
Characters/Pairings: Clint Barton/Tony Stark; MCU Universe characters; Dean Winchester; Sam Winchester; Jo Harvelle; Ellen Harvelle; Bobby Singer
Word Count: 10,533
Summary: There are many faces of SHIELD. There’s the face that the public sees when they handle alien invasions, and threats to world peace, but the hidden face, SHIELD Arcanus, hunts the myths and monsters that makes the public face look like a summer picnic. Clint Barton works for both sides.
Author Notes: Dean is recruited by SHIELD Arcanus after Sam goes to Stanford. A huge Thank You!! for the Beta read done by my beautiful Meimei.
Spoilers: The Avengers 2012; Campbell/Winchester back story from Season 4, Episode 3 In The Beginning
Fiona Campbell’s Blessing
“Always will your eyes see true both of this world and the next. Your aim and that of your children will remain true through all those who come after.”
Finn Campbell’s Blessing
“No spell or curse shall bind you. You will see the warp and weave of the work and shall know how to break and counter these works to your children and through all those who come after.”
Clint Barton and Dean Winchester dozed against each other in the back of the Quinjet as they headed for New Mexico. Agent Phil Coulson kept a sharp eye on the duo as he filled out his report to be forwarded to Directors Fury and Singer.
Rumors of a large nest of vampires caught the attention of SHIELD Arcanus, who sent its two strongest hunters deep into the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Fury had sent Barton’s SHIELD handler along to protect his interests and asset. What they found in the favelas was an enclave of vampires, werewolves and witches joining forces and terrorizing the poor of the city.
Silver arrows through the heart took the werewolves from a safe distance. Hawkeye’s arrows tipped with dead man’s blood slowed members of the nest long enough for Dean to eliminate them before the witches could throw their spells into the mix. Clint had been warding off their spells leaving Dean to finish the vampire nest. They’d barely got away when one of the witches had burst into flame after Clint deflected the man’s spell back at him. The fire spread to the adjoining buildings keeping the authorities too busy to worry over two men fleeing the scene covered in gore.
Phil had been busy recovering Clint’s silver arrowheads, but the regular broadheads had been lost to the fire … A plus in the handler’s mind. There hadn’t been time to stop and clean up or sleep. They needed to get to New Mexico to check out an artifact that had been found in the desert.
The Quinjet had barely set down before Agent Jasper Sitwell ran toward to hatch.
“Hawkeye … Helwyr see Junior Agent Fields for your quarters. You can clean-up then meet us in conference room three. Fields will be your guide.”
The two hunters gave him a nod and headed toward the Quonset buildings. Sitwell’s attention was drawn back to the Quinjet by Coulson’s voice.
“I hate to throw this in your lap, but the Directors insisted.”
“What do we know?”
After a quick shower, Agent Fields showed the two men to the conference room.
Agents Coulson and Sitwell gave them a rundown of the situation. Clint and Dean were leafing through the files when Clint stopped and stared.
“Clint?” Dean looked over his shoulder to see what caught the older agent’s attention.
“Is that … ?”
“Care to share, Agent Barton?”
The hunters were confused by the question. Phil knew both men were well versed in the mythology of most cultures. The questions must have been for Sitwell’s benefit.
“Hmm … Oh … Yeah. That’s a picture of Mjolnir.” Confusion crossed the faces of the regular SHIELD agents.
“Norse god of thunder, Thor?” Coulson asked.
“That’s the one.”
“And the readings Doctors Foster and Selvig are picking up?” Sitwell asked.
“Taking a guess … Things coming through the Bifrost between Earth and Asgard.” Clint threw the photos back on the table.
“We’ll take that up with the researchers. In the meantime, you and Dean are on standby. We’ll debrief tomorrow morning at 0800.”
“Yes, Sir.” The called together as they headed for the door.
They exchanged a look.
“I need eyes high with a rifle!” Clint heard Phil bark through his com.
Clint and Dean had eaten and were familiarizing themselves with the base layout when the call came over their coms. No time to get his recurve bow from his gear, Clint took a sharp left to the armory. Hopefully Sitwell came prepared. Dean headed toward command.
His hand hovered over a sniper rifle until he saw the compound bow. Not as good as ‘his’ bow, but it would do. He grabbed the quiver and ran through the downpour to the crane.
In position he frowned when he noticed the bow was set for a right hand pull. He would be having words with Sitwell. He was still grumbling until his com crackled.
“Barton, talk to me.”
Ignoring the rain rapidly soaking through his clothes, he grinned as he watched the huge blond going through security agents like bowling pins.
“You want me to slow him down, Sir, or are you sending in more guys for him to beat up?”
The biggest man in the complex lay sprawled in the mud. The blond shook like a dog as he got to his feet.
“You better call it, Coulson, ’cause I’m starting to root for this guy.”
Coulson listened to what Clint wasn’t saying. The archer often had insights into people and situations that were as unerringly true as his aim. The agent had learned the hard way to listen to ‘Hawkeye’. There was a lot SHIELD didn’t know about Agent Barton, but the man would not work for the two most dangerous divisions of SHIELD if he wasn’t talented.
“Stand down … I want to see what he’s going to do.”
Clint relaxed as the crane began to lower his perch. He was going to need another shower … For being in the desert the rain was damn cold.
“What’d they do with pretty boy?” Dean asked.
“Sitting in one of Fury’s Hulk cages.”
Clint stripped off his wet clothes. Once in his sweats, Dean handed him a beer as he settled cross-legged on his bunk. He shook his head at his cousin’s ability to find a beer in the middle of the desert.
“Can I ask you a question?” Dean’s face was serious.
“Sure.” Clint shrugged.
“Bobby said you could tell me about my mom’s family.”
Dean had his head ducked picking at the label on his bottle.
Clint didn’t need to check the Campbell family archives … The story of John and Mary Winchester was used to keep Campbell children on the straight and narrow.
Clint cursed Bobby Singer to perdition as he scrubbed his hand through his wet hair. He’d be lucky if Dean spoke to him again after this.
“First … You and I are shirttail cousins. We’re both descended for Fiona and Finn Campbell who were married to a brother and sister from Germany who were witch hunters.”
“Cousins? I thought you grew up in the circus?”
“I did. It was a sanctuary.”
Bobby was so going to owe him.
“A place where supernatural creatures could live without fear of hunters because they didn’t hurt humans.”
“But you’re a hunter.”
“If they step out of line I’m all over that, but as long as they live within the rules it’s all good.”
“Whatever. Just tell me about Mom.”
“Mary Campbell was descended from Finn Campbell who married the witch hunter, Gretel. Because Finn and his twin, Fiona had helped a ‘good’ witch that lived on the Campbell lands, the witch gave them each a gift that would pass on to their children.”
“What kind of gift?”
Though he’d been out from under John Winchester’s influence for four years, Dean was suspicious of anything that smacked of psychic abilities.
“You can’t be bound by spell or curse, and you have an innate ability to break them.”
Dean nodded, but kept silent.
“Mary fell in love with a fresh from the Vietnam War, Marine, John Winchester. He wasn’t in the life and Mary saw her chance to get away from the Campbell family legacy. Azazel possessed some poor sap and was traveling cross country making deals with parents for their children.”
“Azazel! The yellow-eyed demon we killed last year?” Dean was shocked.
“Yeah. He killed your grandparents while possessing your grandfather, Samuel. While John was proposing to Mary, Azazel found them then killed John and gave Mary a choice … Everyone stayed dead unless she allowed the demon access to her kids when they were six months old. She agreed and Azazel brought John back to life. Mary called the Campbell cleaners to help salt and burn her parents and clear the house of anything to do with hunting. She ignored everything she’d ever learned about the supernatural until she found Azazel in Sam’s room when he turned six months old.”
“How do you know all this?” Dean asked.
“The orphanage where my brother and I were placed was started by and for members of the Campbell Clan whose parents were killed hunting.”
“A Campbell family orphanage?!”
“Not just Campbell’s … Any kid whose parents were involved in hunting. They made Mary the Campbell Clan boogeyman.”
“You said yellow-eyes was in Sam’s room … What’d it do to Sam?”
Fucking Hell! Singer owed him huge for this. Clint thought
“Azazel picked families whose lineage showed certain abilities. The Campbells have their share of ‘gifts’ through interactions with the fae, witches, and marriage. At six months old he appeared to the children he’d been promised and fed them his blood to boost those abilities.”
“Azazel boasted that Sam was his favorite. The demon was going to keep Sam, but your mother interfered and was killed.”
“Does Dad or Sam know?”
“John doesn’t know Azazel’s dead. Only the family and Arcanus know about Azazel’s Children. We have people in place if any of them ‘activate’.”
“Why not tell Dad?”
“Keeps him hunting the lower level stuff we don’t have time to hunt, and gives him something to obsess over. Sam’s going to be some self-righteous mouthpiece with a perfect blonde girlfriend who deigns to call his brother sometimes on holidays and his birthday.”
“So why’d you recruit me?”
Clint hated that Dean always sounded surprised when someone picked him over his asshole family.
“You have one of the Campbell ‘gifts’ and you’re the protégé of the Director of Arcanus. Bobby’s been grooming you to take over the big chair.”
“But Ellen …”
“Doesn’t want Bobby’s job. She wants to have time to play grandma to Jo’s kids.”
Clint took the last drink from his beer.
“All that talking’s done me in … Think I’ll call it a night.”
“Wait, Dude. You said you’re a Campbell, too. What’s your gift?”
His bottle hit the trashcan with a thud as he settled into his bunk. That was a question Clint never answered. Finn’s line got the gift for unraveling magic, but Fiona’s line got the gift of true aim and the ability to see people’s true face. Nothing could hide from the true sight of Fiona’s line. The end result of Finn and Fiona’s marriages to Hansel and Gretel was Clint. The two lines had come together in Clint’s parents though Clint’s father had tried to beat his gifts out of Clint before he and Clint’s mother died in a car accident.
Following his SHIELD handler toward the command deck of the helicarrier, Clint was mentally cursing Fury, Singer, Winchester and anyone else his tired brain could conjure. Both divisions of SHIELD were running him ragged, and now everyone with a Level 7 clearance were scrambling like someone kicked an ant hill.
Sharp eyes took in the people in Fury’s office and their demeanor before the door had closed behind them.
“Agents Coulson and Barton,” Fury acknowledged, “let’s get started.”
While Fury droned on about them finding Captain America and something called the Tessaract, Clint watched Bobby and Dean. They were relaxed but attentive to what Fury was saying, but kept throwing glances his way. When Fury started sounding like a politician trying to persuade his constituents that his way was the only way, Clint’s exhaustion got the better of his common sense.
“With all due respect, Director, why am I using the time when I could be getting the four hours of sleep I’m allowed every seventy-two listening to you drone on about Agent Coulson’s dream man and his mood cube?”
A sharp glance from Fury to Coulson and Singer had both men studying their notes and not meeting the Director’s gaze. Deputy Directors Hill and Winchester were wearing their ‘I told you so’ smirks.
Clint sent a wink toward his cousin, glad to see Dean had settled into his new role. John Winchester’s death a year ago and the final break between the Winchester brothers at the memorial service had hit Dean hard, but seeing him conspiring with Fury’s Deputy, Maria Hill, finally allowed Clint to stop worrying for his cousin.
“Agent Barton, you will accompany Agent Coulson to the base where they have Captain America, and tell us whether he was placed in suspended animation by magic or a set of freak circumstances along with your opinion of the Tessaract.”
Clint rolled his eyes as he looked at Coulson. The man practically beamed.
“Anything else, Sir?” Clint asked.
Fury’s tone was practically paternal.
“That’ll be all Agent Barton … Agent Coulson will brief you if anything changes … Get some rest.”
“I will.” He gave the room a sloppy salute and headed for his quarters.
Coulson sat in the back working on mission statements leaving Clint to enjoy the quiet as he flew the Quinjet toward the SHIELD installation that had been set up around the plane containing Captain America.
Agent Woo met them on the helipad leading Coulson inside while Clint secured the Quinjet against the frigid temperatures. Peeling off his gloves he opened to the door to hear Woo question his presence.
“Why is Barton here?”
Clint saw the flush rise on Woo’s face when he saw Clint at the door.
“He’s following orders the same as the rest of us.” Coulson scolded.
To an outsider the tone of Coulson’s voice never changed, but Clint and Woo … Both heard the ice when Phil answered.
“Sorry. That was incredibly rude.” The flush deepened.
“Where is Captain Wonder Bread so I can get this dog and pony show over with.” Clint’s tone was testy.
Woo started to answer, but caught the minute shake of Phil’s head.
“Ah … Why don’t you get settled, eat … The Captain isn’t going anywhere.” The agent suggested.
Before he could protest, Coulson stood.
“That sound like a good plan. If one of the junior agents could show us to our quarters …”
“Certainly. MATTHEWS!” Woo yelled.
“Yes, Agent Woo?”
“Show Agents Coulson and Barton to senior quarters.”
“Agents, this way.”
Coulson grew concerned as he followed Clint and the junior agent. Normally the younger man would be flirting outrageously. It was a sign of how exhausted the archer was that he followed the pretty woman quietly settling his weapons and pack like they were leaving on a death march.
A hot shower and meal later Clint was sound asleep rolled in an arctic weight sleeping bag, only the spikes of sandy brown hair showing. After days and nights perched for hours in all types of weather, he hated the cold. Phil paused in between pages to send a prayer to the powers that be that with the discovery of Captain America, Fury’s pet project came to fruition. Clint needed the distance from SHIELD that this opportunity would give him. Fury and Singer acted like Barton was the only agent who could do what they needed. Clint’s exhaustion was a perfect example of his inability to say ‘No’ to Dean, Bobby or Fury. When all the excitement over Steve Rogers settled, Phil intended to take over Clint in both divisions. The sniper/hunter was rapidly headed for burnout.
The next morning while the doctors updated Phil, Clint watched Steve Rogers sleep. After fifteen minutes, Clint left the room, giving Coulson a negative head shake as he followed a group of scientists to where they were keeping the Tessaract.
Clint listened to the techs as they rambled on about readings and tests until his brain ached. He delegated their voices to white noise as he began to watch … The lab turned into an ant hill as people fussed and fidgeted around the glowing cube. As his brain sorted out people’s routines, he settled out of the lanes of traffic but with a direct line of sight to the cube. Stretching all his senses toward the Tessaract he let the room fall away.
He watched thin tendrils of energy move outward to wash over everyone and everything in the room. He felt a wave of warmth as it flowed through his mind and body lifting his lingering exhaustion. Impressions that were not quite thoughts … Not quite emotions drifted through his mind that became clearer the longer he watched.
It … She had once been a part of something much larger and infinitely powerful that had been chipped away over eons as many had tried to remove the Tessaract from her home among the roots of Yggdrasil.
*Well damn*. He did not need more magic in his life.
The magic of Clint’s forebearers mingled with the magic of the Tessaract and a door opened in his mind and a swirl of blue energy coalesced into the form of a human woman looking like his ancestress, Fiona. Since a door opens a portal to both sides, Clint was able to see into the Tessaract as thoroughly as it looked into him.
The entity within the cube wished only to return home … To no longer be the tool powering the greed and ambition of others.
*You have a good heart, Archer. I fear our magicks have mingled gifting you with true far sight. Can you see what is being planned for your small blue realm even as we speak? *The Tessaract sent into his mind.
Clint looked to where she pointed. A being that looked like a walking talking mountain, a beautiful man in green and gold being held to floor by the boot of another, pain as a spear cut into his chest allowing blue energy to pour into his being mingling with the residual energy from the Tessaract to try and help him fight the beautiful man’s influence.
*Who are they? *He asked to blue lady.
*Loki of Asgard … Brother to Thor … Exiled for trying to overthrow Odin.*
*And the Other?*
*I know not. I have been long separated from the piece of myself attached to the scepter.*
Scenes of terrible destruction and death continued to play around them. Clint startled at the sight of himself eyes glowing blue directing his enemies … Killing his co-workers … Trying to destroy his home. Living monsters of metal with eyes of Tessaract blue. He closed his eyes.
*Can I stop this?* His own eyes changed with his emotions … Green to grey to blue … A kaleidoscope that the Tessaract watched closely.
*Then what good is this?! Clint shouted as he motioned to the pictures flashing by. Why show me things I can’t change!*
*I did not say you could not change them. I said you cannot stop this event. Perhaps between the two of us we can soften the blows, and return to our homes.* She soothed the agitated assassin.
The lady looked away as though hearing something.
*We must return to the outer world. The one you call Coulson approaches … Someone has expressed their concern at your stillness.*
*Will we speak again?*
*Before this is over we will. I will try to make the pain of our separation bearable when I am taken from the earth.*
*Fear not, Archer. I will see to it that all will be well.*
When Clint’s vision turned outward everyone was staring. Even Agent Coulson’s normally calm façade was looking a little strained around the edges.
“Sir, I think I need to talk to Directors Fury and Singer.”
“I’m sure they’re anxious to speak with you, too, but you need to step out of the light.”
“Of course, Sir.”
Clint turned his eyes back to the Tessaract a small smile curled the corners of his mouth as the light dissipated. He started to move toward Coulson only to collapse like a marionette with its strings cut.
When Clint woke, he was in Medical with an IV stuck in his hand.
*Hell’s bells and Christmas carols.*
He wasn’t on any monitors so he pulled the IV and went in search of his clothes. He slipped into the maintenance access and on to the cafeteria without being seen. Fed and caffeinated, Clint headed to his quarters for a shower and hopefully a chance to wander inside his own head to see what the Tessaract left behind.
Sitting cross-legged on his bunk, Clint picked a target on the opposite wall and let himself sink into the hyper awareness he used on a mission … His mind on the target while his other senses were alert to the outside world.
The grey eyes turned crystalline blue as they went from the present to true far seeing. Pictures formed like a movie projected on the wall giving the sniper insight on what needed to be his next move. The beeping of the alarm he set pulled his focus outward. It was time for rounds. Medical would soon be calling Coulson. Clint slipped on his boots, grabbed his ‘go’ bag and slipped into the stream of people being shuttled to the mainland.
His first stop was the bathroom where he removed his locator chip. The SHIELD issued phone had been left on the shuttle as though it fell from his pocket. A subway ride to a storage unit for a clean ID, and he was back downtown before dark.
Making use of the time riding trains, he wrote down his visions and studied the lines and angles of the situations. A very predominant figure in his visions had been a man with wild brunette hair. At first he thought it was Howard Stark since he’d read all the briefing files on Captain America, and Howard was everywhere in the files.
Out of the corner of his eye, a newspaper on the next seat showed a full page ad for the Stark Expo. There in a four color centerfold was the man in his vision … Tony Stark, genius son of Howard Stark.
One thing stood out among everything else … He needed help. Not help from SHIELD or Arcanus, but from Tony Stark, CEO of Stark Industries. There wasn’t much Clint could do about the science, but maybe … Maybe brutal honesty would get them both what they needed to survive.
When Medical had called to say Agent Barton had disappeared from his bed, Phil Coulson expected the assassin to slip out of the maintenance access and onto his couch before he hung up his phone. When that didn’t happen he went to track down his wayward asset. Directors Fury and Singer had questions, and only Barton had the answers.
After a fruitless search, Coulson turned to surveillance footage. He was staring at what may or may not be Barton leaving the Helicarrier on the shuttle when he was notified he had mail.
To: email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Don’t shoot the messenger
Though protocol says I need to debrief about what happened with the Tessaract … I can’t, yet. All I can say is that part of my birthright and the magic in the cube came together, and if I tell you what I saw the events could be so irrevocably changed that it could make things much worse. Don’t consider me AWOL, just in deep cover until you, Nat, and I meet again.
P.S. If my friend, Phil, is around … Tell him to prepare for the worse this is going to be ugly.
Agent Coulson put a trace on where the email originated while Phil cursed his friend, Clint for being a self-sacrificing idiot.
He knew the trip to JFK was a dead end, but Agent Coulson left no stone unturned when he did an investigation. Clint had altered his appearance enough and avoided having his face on camera so facial recognition could not pick him out of the crowds. No names on any of the passenger manifests pinged SHIELD databases, and his RFID chip had been found in the bathroom of the SHIELD landing pad. Coulson had forgotten Barton used to be one of the best at this game before SHIELD recruited him.
By the time Senior SHIELD Agent Phil Coulson questioned the employees of an internet café at JFK Airport, Hawkeye was already studying his next target.
Debriefing the Directors and their Deputies was not a happy time for Coulson. Fury was livid that something was out of his control while the Arcanus side of the table smirked.
“Is there something you’d like to share with the rest of the class?” Nick snarled.
“Dean got an email from his cousin, Clint, informing him that the Tessaract is an Asgardian artifact of massive power and sentient enough to communicate with people who have magic in their lineage. He was warning Dean not to go near the Tessaract.” Bobby said.
“Did Agent Barton tell his COUSIN anything else?”
They all rolled their eyes are Fury’s tone.
“Just that it was very old and very powerful.” Dean said.
“And what pray tell is in your and Agent Barton’s bloodline that has to do with magic?”
“I didn’t know Clint and I were cousins until right before Ellen retired. My mother was killed when I was four by a demon called Azazel. What I didn’t know was my mother’s maiden name was Campbell.”
There was a collective gasp in the room.
“Yes the famous hunting clan Campbell. Somewhere in the 1600’s a set of Campbell twins married brother and sister witch hunters, Hansel and Gretel, but before the wedding the Campbell twins were ‘blessed’ by a witch giving each sibling a gift that passed down through the generations. I’m a descendant of Finn’s I can see magick and break curses.” Dean kept his tone matter of fact.
“What about Agent Barton?” Nick asked.
“He never told me exactly.” Dean looked at Bobby.
“I realize earning Agent Barton’s trust is a rare thing, but if there is something about him that is pertinent to the Tessaract we need to know.”
“Well, Nick,” Bobby spat, “if the situation warrants, I will take it under advisement.”
Bobby and Dean left the office.
Phil wanted to follow and question Dean about Clint; but Agent Coulson remained with Fury and Hill.
It didn’t take long for Clint to connect with Tony Stark. He’d spent the first week observing his target before he put himself in the genius’ life by letting Stark think it was his idea.
The morning after the night before, Tony Stark walked down the hall hearing his latest bed warmer talking to JARVIS. Tony came around the corner in time to catch the end of the conversation.
“You can verify all but the one thing?”
“I can indeed, Master Clint.”
“Just Clint … I know … Proper form of address and all that, but ‘Master’ doesn’t have any good connotations in my brain.”
“As you wish … Clint.”
“What are we verifying, J?” Tony grabbed the carafe as the last drop coffee was brewed.
“Mas … Clint has some very interesting information 99.9% of which I have verified.”
Dark eyebrows rose in inquiry.
“After breakfast?” Clint suggested.
Clint moved to the stove where breakfast fixings waited only for Tony to make an appearance.
Tony plowed into the plate of food while his house guest picked at his. Plate empty he sat back with his mug of coffee.
“I have to say you have a unique presentation style … Not to say the sex wasn’t mind bending, but I bore easy so dazzle me, Hot Ass.”
Tony’s tone was cynical and made Clint feel like the biggest whore on the planet. His body stilled and he blanked his expression as he pulled his ‘master assassin’ armor around his battered psyche.
He’d ‘seen’ the warp and weft of the magick surrounding them the moment his cock penetrated Tony Stark’s body. The mind blowing orgasm that followed had sent them both into oblivion.
Waking first, Clint cleaned up Tony then grabbed a quick shower. Still energized, he’d watched the older man sleep, and seen his true face. He knew this wasn’t the real Tony, and he could only speculate at why the magick that coursed through him from the Tessaract used the power of sexual energy to connect him to the billionaire genius.
All his speculations didn’t’ stop the pain from Tony’s verbal daggers.
“My name is Clint Barton. I am an Agent for SHIELD and a hunter for SHIELD Arcanus, code name Hawkeye. Ten days ago SHIELD recovered Steve Rogers from under the ice in the North Atlantic. Also on the plane was a glowing blue cube that Howard Stark’s files identify as the Tessaract. I was brought in to determine if Captain America had been bespelled or cursed and my impression of the Tessaract …”
At the word ‘Agent’, Tony had sat up and Clint saw he had his undivided attention.
Tony saw the flash of hurt and flush of shame his tone caused before Barton had gone still and blank. Tony was surprised at the loss he felt when Agent Barton closed in on himself.
Barton had been silent for several minutes before Tony’s brain slowed down enough to recognize the outside world.
“I have been able to verify all but the most esoteric of Agent Barton’s recitation.”
“Did Fury send you?”
“No. I’ve gone underground.”
“Why seek me out?”
A flash of worry crossed the handsome face before it smoothed out.
“The Tessaract boosted my far-seeing ability. I’m sure Director Fury will want to send me to the lab and wire me up until he can figure out how to control or replicate my ability.” Clint’s face paled.
“There are things I’m going to have to do when an Asgardian called Loki appears. The Tessaract and I agree that certain events have to occur to keep worse things from happening. I need someone at my back that doesn’t think I’m certifiably insane and powerful enough to help me keep casualties at a minimum …”
Clint walked over to look out at the ocean.
“When it’s over, I will have no place to go …”
“What do you mean no place to go?”
“SHIELD will make me a lab rat … Xavier might give me shelter, but I want to stay with you. If you can protect Bruce Banner … I should be a piece of cake.”
“As in Dr. Bruce Banner!? I am a big fan of his science and his enormous green rage monster. So let me get this straight … You fuck me …” Tony rubbed his chest where the magickal energy had entered his body through the arc reactor, “In exchange for the protection of Stark money from SHIELD because the Tessaract loves you?”
Clint didn’t turn, but Tony saw his shoulders come up around his ears.
“Sex wasn’t supposed to be part of the equation, but … I … I’ll go … JARVIS has all the information.”
Clint grabbed his coat off the back of the coach and headed for the door.
“Barton, wait! Where are you going?” Tony set his chair on four legs with a thump.
“Saving Pepper the trouble of taking out the ‘trash’.”
He looked up and saw Pepper’s face go pale at his words.
“Miss Potts, if you’ll excuse me.”
He darted around her. Tony nearly ran over Pepper on his way out the door.
“Barton! JARVIS lock the gate!”
Clint stopped. He didn’t turn around. He wouldn’t beg. He stood perfectly still until Tony’s hand appeared on his arm.
“Can we start over? Hi. Anthony Edward Stark, and more often than not I’m an ass.”
Eyes whirling with the colors of his emotions met brown and Tony felt like Barton could ‘see’ him back to the womb. A calloused hand cupped his cheek.
“Clinton Francis Barton and I feel a connection to you like I never have with anyone.” Clint blushed at his admission.
Ducking his head shyly … Blushing, Tony broke their stare.
“Uh … Maybe we could go back inside … It would soothe a savage Pepper if you feed her, and we could put her mad skills to work? You know, I think we should get her and Agent together … Except they’d probably take over the world.”
“Agent … You mean Coulson?”
“Yeah.” Tony answered as he tugged Clint back in the house.
Clint barked out a laugh before he went quiet.
“That’s a terrifying thought.”
By dinner, Tony had a new bodyguard/trainer, Happy was assigned to Stark Industries’ new CEO, and Pepper Potts was absolutely certain she’d fallen down a rabbit hole.
Later that night tangled together in Tony’s huge bed, Clint whispered against the billionaire’s skin.
“Tessa showed me your poison.”
Happy, Clint and Tony were sparring when Pepper entered the gym trailed by a beautiful red-headed woman. Tony grinned as he watched the two agents pretend to not know each other.
“Pep! You’ve come to save me from being pummeled.”
“No. I’m here to get your signature and to introduce you to my new PA. Natalie Rushman … Tony Stark. You’ve met my driver and bodyguard, Happy Hogan, and Tony’s personal security, Bart Franklin.”
Her face was passive except when her eyes caught Clint’s. Only someone watching close would have seen the slight narrowing of the green eyes. Clint gave her a twitch of his head.
“Miss Rushman, you can take my place …”
Tony pointed to the ring after Natalie showed him where to sign and laid the portfolio on the table.
“Can I have one?” He asked Pepper jokingly.
“No. She’s mine, you have … Bart.”
They both looked when they heard a thump and a squawk from Happy, and shook their heads at the smirk Clint gave them.
“You’ll be in good hands. Bart tells me there’s no one better.” He whispered as he signed and thumb printed the documents.
In the van, Phil Coulson hurriedly typed in the name Bart Franklin. Frustration grew as he searched. There were few electronic footprints, and the ones that existed were sealed behind Stark’s AI’s firewalls. Even the override codes Fury had given him only got him so far. He’d have to wait until he could talk to Natasha.
Clint was bristling with weapons though you’d never know it by looking at his suit. He hated being in the Senate hearing room, but Tony had insisted. JARVIS had done a hell of a job keeping his image from news footage, paparazzi and now the Senate video cameras, but being in the middle of the crowd made him twitchy. So far Fury had let him stay with Tony, and other than Natasha punching him in the face and then hugging him, she was the only SHIELD contact he’d seen. Things were beginning to pick up speed and he hoped his plans worked out.
Until he saw Justin Hammer. He wanted to put an arrow through his eye just to shut his stupid lying mouth. When he’d asked Tony, the genius grinned.
“Now I know why I love you besides your great ass.”
They both stopped wide-eyed at Tony’s words.
“I love you, too, and if Pepper wouldn’t kill me for making you late for the opening of the Expo I’d show you in great detail.”
He watched from backstage as Tony gave them his all. He shuddered to see the fine black lines that crawled under Tony’s skin as the palladium poisoning spread. Clint locked his dread away and promised to be whatever Tony needed to get through this.
He watched from the shadows as Tony sat in the giant donut. The birthday party was nothing short of a twelve on the Richter scale.
“Mr. Stark, please come down from the donut!” Nick Fury ordered.
Clint slipped further into the shadows.
Inside Fury told Tony he knew about the palladium poisoning. Clint almost broke cover when Natasha stabbed Tony in the neck, and trembled like a thoroughbred in the starting gate to go to his lover. He almost tumbled from his perch when Fury raised his voice.
“Agent Barton! Will you stop skulking and come sit down!”
Clint came out of the kitchen like he’d been there all along and settled beside Tony as he looked for signs of whatever Tasha had in her needle.
“It’s fine, Legolas.” Tony soothed as he sat.
Fury and Romanoff both glared but Clint refused to cower.
“You think I would damage an asset of your caliber by giving you to the scientists we have working at Pegasus?”
Clint knew about Pegasus. SHIELD had never revoked his access and it had given JARVIS the door he needed into SHIELD’s and Arcanus’ files.
“If it met your ends.” Clint answered truthfully.
“Nope … Not gonna happen. Hawk’s ass is mine now, and I don’t like when people touch my stuff.” Tony pulled his sunglasses down his nose to look Fury in the eye.
Fury blinked first.
“When this op is wrapped, you’re to go with Agent Coulson to Pegasus since you have an intimate relationship with the Tessaract, and watch everyone and everything around the cube. You will report anything out of the ordinary.”
“Yes, Sir.” He squeezed Tony’s hand.
Tony felt the slight tremble in the archer’s hands and knew this was the beginning of what might be the end.
Agent Coulson didn’t turn a hair at Hawkeye’s appearance behind Stark’s shoulder as the helicopter landed. His threatening to tazer the billionaire earned him a glare from his asset as he stepped slightly between his partner and his handler.
“Stand down, Sweet Cheeks, I’ll be good. I’m sure you and Agent have some catching up to do while I visit with dear old Dad.” His tone was sarcastic.
Clint was glad the fight with Rhodey hadn’t destroyed the kitchen. He handed a cup of coffee to Tony.
“Coffee, Agent Coulson?” He kept his tone polite, but he was worried.
“Thank you … Clint.” Coulson relaxed and followed his friend into the house.
They settled where Clint could keep an eye on Tony.
Clint’s head twisted back to Phil.
“Why you ran. Fury was pissed, but Director Singer wouldn’t give up your secret.”
Clint closed his eyes in relief. He made a decision.
“I need you to make me a promise.” He looked at Phil.
“NO! I don’t have enough friends to lose one. You can’t confront Loki with NO backup.”
“Your eyesight goes farther than just your targets.”
“Thanks to meeting Tessa. Phil …”
“I’ll try, Clint, but I have to do what’s required.”
“BART! I could use an extra set of hands.”
Phil watched Clint’s face light up as Tony Stark leaned into the archer with a soft look on his face. He hoped it would be enough if what Clint ‘saw’ came true.
Coulson moved through the Pegasus base checking on all parts of Phase 2. He didn’t agree with fueling weapons from something they’d been told was sentient, but the WSC didn’t ask his opinion, and Fury would use any means necessary to get the job done.
Clint had been watching Dr. Selvig and his techs for a week, and everyday his expression was more closed off. If he was communing with the cube, he never said a word. Coulson had heard the younger men on the phone when Clint had told the Deputy Director of Arcanus it would be like putting the sun in a cage. The next day Singer, Winchester, Hill and Fury landed on site and all hell broke loose when Loki came through the gate and took Clint, Dr. Selvig, and a handful of other agents along with the Tessaract.
JARVIS traveled with Clint via the Starkphone Tony had given him. He hated causing Sir pain, but he needed to know.
“Sir, it’s started.” The AI’s voice was almost a whisper.
“Loki’s got my bird?”
Pepper looked up from where she was studying the schematic of the Tower.
“I hate when people take my stuff.” He muttered.
“Sir, Agent Coulson is requesting entrance.”
“Tell him I’m busy.”
“I’m afraid he’s using the overrides.”
“It’ll be the last time.”
He glared at Pepper who gave him a sweet smile as the elevator opened to reveal Agent Coulson. He held the file out to Tony.
“I don’t like people to hand me things.”
“I love people to hand me things.” Pepper batted her lashes at Coulson while handing the Starkpad to Tony.
“Stark … Tony …”
“I know.” He turned to the images on the computer.
The Tessaract and Clint fought against Loki’s control. Loki’s master among the Chitauri wouldn’t let him rest so nobody got to rest. The God of Mischief refused to let Clint more than an arm’s length from his side unless he was on task. ‘Tessa’ kept feeding energy into Clint so his mind was clear enough to limit collateral damage while making sure Loki didn’t catch on to what he was doing. After crippling the Helicarrier, he tried to take down as many mercenaries as possible by sending them into pre-set kill boxes before heading to the detention level.
Red hair and green eyes glowed in the emergency lighting as Black Widow ducked his arrows and pummeled his exhausted body. He felt ‘Tessa’s’ amusement as Natasha’s teeth latched onto his arm then his head met the metal railing. He pulled himself to his knees.
A hard right and Clint collapsed on the deck.
Waking up in medical with Tasha staring intently was nothing new. What was new was Clint wanting to stay where he was and sleep for a month, but the bossy bitch in the blue cube was pumping his body full of Asgardian magickal energy.
*Damn it, Tessa! He growled mentally.*
*We have to finish this, Archer. The battle is nigh. I have one last ‘gift’ for you.*
*I know he promised, but Fury’s going to strap me to a table and never let me go now.*
*I think your Man of Iron will not share what is his willingly.*
*For a glorified night light you sure got a smart mouth.*
*Soon I’ll be going home.*
When Captain America and Natasha cleared the way for him to the armory, the Tessaract urged him to take a quiver of regular arrows along with his weaponized quiver. He didn’t understand until blue energy moved from his hand into his arrow. When the glowing arrow embedded itself in a Chitauri eye the creature’s head exploded. Finally a gift that keeps on giving.
Tessa fed him energy through eating shawarma and Medical … Tony never left his side, threatening anyone who even looked like they were going to suggest Clint be detained.
They ended up at the Tower, everyone but Natasha not having anywhere else to go. When Tony got himself and Clint stripped, showered and in their bed he told Clint his handler was dead.
“No.” Clint’s voice was a choked whisper. “He promised me he wouldn’t go after Loki alone.”
Tony held still while Clint searched his face to make sure he was telling the truth. Too exhausted to run and too exhausted to keep the emotions in check, both men collapsed into each other and mourned the death of their friend.
Bodies heavy with exhaustion and grief, The Avengers watched Thor prepare to take a restrained Loki back to Asgard. Clint mentally bid a farewell to Tessa. The Tessaract in return implanted one last thought into the marksman’s mind. The two Asgardians twisted the container’s handles and disappeared.
Clint collapsed holding his head as his link with the Tessaract was severed.
It was long past the witching hour when a figure traversed the shadows on the dry docked Helicarrier. He carried out the last suggestion given him by Tessa. Finding only one of the two things he searched for, Clint slipped into bed drifting to sleep against his lover, the blue stone from Loki’s scepter clutched over his heart. The blue glow slowly seeped from the stone and into the gash made when Loki tried to steal his heart.
When Tony woke, he was alone. Finding Clint staring out the windows he spoke softly.
“I couldn’t find him.”
“Phil. I couldn’t find his body in the morgue.”
“Did you ask JARVIS?”
“We searched together, Sir.”
A small blue glow under Clint’s wife beater caught Tony’s attention.
“What did you find, Legolas?”
“Before she left Tessa gave me one last ‘gift’.” He pulled off the shirt. “A hawk for ‘her’ Hawkeye.”
On his chest where his anti-possession tattoo had been was a tribal hawk with a bright blue stone for the eyes. Blue energy crackled on Clint’s fingertips.
“It’s the stone from Loki scepter. It was a part of the Tessaract. It healed the broken link, and left me a regular Redi Kilowatt.”
Tony chuckled, but sobered when Clint’s face fell.
“We’ll tackle Fury about Agent’s body.” He promised.
“What if he holds it as a bargaining chip for me?”
“Too bad. I get first dibs on my lover as a new energy source. Now let’s go find you some food. Then more sleep I think.”
Tony marveled at the Black Widow as she curled around her partner in their bed. She’d given him a glare daring him to object when she’d slid under the covers and wrapped around a sleeping Clint. He worked on the search for Phil until fatigue pulled him down to curl around Clint from the other side and went to sleep. As he fell into sleep he chuckled inwardly at his and Clint’s matching night lights.
After a week with no results, Clint asked Tony to stop searching. Seeing the two assassins deep in mourning for their handler and friend had the others closing ranks around them.
Clint Barton resigned from SHIELD, but stayed with Arcanus and The Avengers. Agent Natasha Romanoff stayed with SHIELD, but took a permanent mission as Pepper Potts’ PA to watchdog Stark Industries and their competitors.
Arcanus broke from SHIELD and moved its offices into the renamed Avengers Tower since Stark already had labs and top notch security in place. A heavily shielded and magickally warded vault for dangerous artifacts was built into a sub-basement, and Ellen Harvelle was coaxed out of retirement to head up the research department … Her daughter, Joanna in charge of the legal department.
Bobby Singer told Nick Fury he was packing his tent and leaving before he had a revolt in the ranks over the WSC using a nuke. The wily old fox had been building a support network for years while using SHIELD resources until he could make a move. Fury’s treatment of his assets had been what Singer needed to break away without raising the WSC’s ire.
Fury cursed the loss of Arcanus, his agents and the resources Arcanus had afforded him, but knew the blame rested squarely on his shoulders. He knew Barton and Romanoff wouldn’t stay without Coulson. The damn man ruined his best assets. He assigned Agent Jasper Sitwell to act as liaison since he was the only handler Clint and Natasha would tolerate.
Six months after the battle with the Chitauri, the society mavens of New York went into mourning as billionaire philanthropist Tony Stark married his bodyguard, Bart Franklin, in a private ceremony. Only The Avengers and a few family and friends were in attendance.
Six months after Arcanus broke from SHIELD, the receptionist gave a cool welcome to a very tall man in a very expensive suit. Retired from the field when Winchester, Barton, and an ‘old family recipe’ cured her after she’d been forcibly turned into a vampire, Trina Jakes made it her business to know who was persona non-grata to the men, and Sam Winchester was number one with a bullet.
“I’m Sam Winchester from Moore, Mason and Winchester. I have a ten o’clock with the Deputy Director.”
“Have a seat. I’ll let them know you’re here.”
Sam was confused at the woman’s unfriendly manner. Usually the prestige of his firm’s name had people falling over themselves. His thoughts were interrupted by the ding of the elevator. A handsome sandy haired man in black tactical clothing stepped out.
He didn’t wait for Sam just turned back for the elevator like he didn’t care if Sam followed. The elevator door closed, but the elevator didn’t move.
“Scan complete. Admittance approved.”
Sam wondered at the security, the research he’d done had shown Arcanus was a company with a very small public footprint. The elevator opened to another receptionist. She frowned at him, but smiled at his escort.
“Conference room. He didn’t want his office ruined.”
His escort snickered and turned left down the hall into a conference room facing the street and all the re-building around the city.
“Have a seat. The boss’ll be will with you shortly. There’s coffee and water in the carafes.” The shorter man turned to the door.
“Wait? … My time is very valuable … Wait how long?” Sam demanded.
Sam felt winter’s chill when cold grey eyes turned on him.
“You called us … We didn’t call you, Winchester.”
Before he could recover from his surprise the man was standing outside the closed door. To help settle his nerves, he poured glass of water and pulled his presentation folder out of his briefcase. The door opened, his escort came in the room first followed by …
“SAMMY! Long time no see, Bro. What’s it been … Oh yeah … Dad’s memorial service where you couldn’t be bothered to give your grieving brother the time of day.” Dean’s tone was biting.
“Dean!? You’re the Deputy Director of Arcanus?”
“What it says on the door of my office.” He motioned the man in black over. “I want you to meet some family Dad never told us about. Meet cousin, Clint … We’ve become … Brothers.” He gave Clint a wink.
“Yeah. He was with me at the funeral. There are lots of Campbell cousins … A few great aunts and uncles … Most of them hunters … Some of them even work for me.”
A petite blonde walked in the door.
“This is Joanna Harvelle, Head of our legal department. I figured since you’re a lawyer this had to be something legal.”
The blonde stuck out her hand.
“Mr. Winchester. What can Arcanus do for Moore, Mason and Winchester?”
Fifteen minutes later, Sam was dismissed, and he was almost run down by a dark haired wild man.
“Hey Dean-o, is my husband done playing bad ass bodyguard for the Deputy Director, we’re wheels up in an hour?”
Tony Stark grabbed Clint’s hand, and turned to leave.
“We’re done.” Dean laughed.
Sam stepped in their path and stuck out his hand.
Clint snatched Tony behind him.
“Sorry.” Tony smirked from over Clint’s shoulder. “Legolas doesn’t like people touching me. Plus I know who you are. JARVIS are we doing business with his firm.”
“Miss Potts issued a memo when Arcanus moved their offices to the Tower as a courtesy to the Deputy Director.”
Tony shrugged. “Too bad. Gotta run. Don’t forget poker Friday, and bring Mr. Crankypants.” He pulled Clint out of the room.
“I HEARD THAT, STARK!”
“Sam heard you were just on your way out.”
“Yes, but …”
Now Sam stood on the street outside The Avengers Tower wondering what just happened.
A year and a day after the battle with the Chitauri, JARVIS informed The Avengers that Miss Potts was bringing guests to the communal floor.
“Who?” Tony growled at his AI.
He feared everyday that Fury would try to take Clint from him so he’d tightened security to where a fly couldn’t get through without JARVIS notifying him.
“Miss Potts asked me not to say, Sir.”
JARVIS sounded sorry, but he also sounded excited.
Something was off. Clint looked at Natasha who way too relaxed after hearing unknown people were in the elevator, so he focused on the windows and tuned in his far sight, but the elevator didn’t give him time to focus before it arrived.
To keep his sanity, Clint kept a tight rein on his far seeing. In the beginning he’d been nearly overwhelmed by all the futures until he’d gained control. It had been quiet recently, and nothing had tripped his paranoia until Natasha started acting out of character.
Natasha knew Clint was confused by her actions, but Pepper had sworn her to secrecy. She only hoped Clint would forgive her.
Pepper stepped out of the elevator.
“I found these two at the airport, and thought I’d bring them home.” Her expression and voice were full of joy.
Blue eyes locked with grey as Agent Phil Coulson stepped off the elevator with none other than the Winter Soldier, aka James ‘Bucky’ Barnes. Shock held everyone in its grip until Clint walked out of the room without a word.
“I’m glad you’re not dead, but not glad about the emotional mess you’ve just made of my husband.” Tony glared at Phil, Pepper and Natasha as he went after Clint.
“Bucky?” Steve breathed out like he’d been holding his breath. “How? … What? …”
“Long story, but if you got a beer I’ll be glad to tell you about it.”
He enveloped Steve in a hug.
Bruce gave Natasha a look of such disappointment she actually twitched under his scrutiny.
“I hope they were worth the pain.”
Thor was a little more enthusiastic.
“Son of Coul! I wondered why I could not find you in Valhalla. It is good you have returned. You were mourned greatly by your friends.”
Pepper looked between the two agents.
“Did we do something wrong. I thought they’d be thrilled to have you back.”
“They are. They’ve also been lied to by Fury, Phil and now you and me.” Natasha said softly. “Clint was doing fairly well until yesterday. Tony barely got him through the anniversary of the invasion. I warned you he’d feel betrayed. He blamed himself for your death. Now he won’t trust me because I didn’t tell him you were alive.”
Tony had forgotten how fast Clint could move. By the time he got to the roof, his archer was soaked by the early autumn rain.
“Bart? Come in out of the rain.”
“Why … He … They … I thought …”
“AGENT. It’s practically in their DNA, and knowing Romanoff’s background it probably is.”
He muttered as he pulled his drenched husband into their bedroom. He stripped off Clint’s cold wet clothes and shoved him in the shower. They’d barely made it through yesterday. JARVIS had blacked out all news broadcasts and remembrance programs, but Clint had still spent the day alone in the maintenance ducts mourning those who’d died because of his actions. The fact that his actions had cut the number of casualties substantially didn’t register.
“Bed or going downstairs and kicking Agent’s ass?” Tony kept his tone light as he kept a tight hold on Clint.
“I guess SHIELD and Captain America did mean more to him than anything else, but I don’t get why Nat lied.”
Clint turned in Tony’s embrace to stare out the windows.
“Because Pepper asked, and I think our little Natalie may have a thing for her ‘boss’, and if I read the file right Romanoff and Barnes worked together while at the Red Room.”
“So it’s okay to use and abuse us for the greater good? I can just imagine the greater good of having the Winter Soldier on your side.”
“I didn’t say I agreed with them, Bart … Just suppositions as to their motives.”
“I don’t have to make suppositions thanks to ‘Tessa’.” His voice was cold.
His circle of trust suffered a major contraction.
“Do you want to cancel ‘poker night’? I’m sure everyone would understand.”
“It’s at Dean and Bobby’s?”
“I’m in.” He pulled out fresh jeans and Henley shirt along with a shoulder harness and silver short sword.
“Uninvited company for the game?”
Tony ran his hands over the broad shoulders accentuated by the leather.
“Strong possibility.” Clint leaned forward and planted a kiss on the ‘V’ of skin showing above the arc reactor.
The couple stopped on the communal floor, but stayed close to the shelter of the elevator.
“Off for poker night … Who’s in?” Tony yelled.
Thor and Bruce stood with smiles and moved toward the elevator. Coulson stepped out of the kitchen toward Clint.
“Agent Barton, we need to talk.” He said calmly.
“If Director Fury or Agent Romanoff failed to bring you up to speed … I am no longer employed by SHIELD, Agent Coulson, so there is no reason for us to talk.”
Nonplussed Coulson backed up as Bruce and Thor brushed past. By the time he gathered his wits they were gone.
“You really didn’t think it would that easy.” Natasha said from behind him.
“He really quit?”
“He works for Arcanus and his husband.”
“Stark really married him? I can’t believe Singer …” Coulson started.
“Split from SHIELD, and protects Clint from Fury’s lab rats. That’s why their offices are in the Tower. Why The Avengers are an independent entity. The only reason there’s a liaison is to handle clean-up after battles.” Natasha cocked her head. “Fury didn’t read you in?”
He looked over at James and Steve getting re-acquainted. Pepper sent him a smile from the couch.
“You think he sent me in cold so I’m seen a ‘victim’ of Fury’s machinations?”
“Tony still consults, but is highly paranoid. Maybe he thinks you can bring them back in the fold.” Natasha shrugged.
“No. The best you’ll get is a good working relationship and forgiveness, but they’ll never forget. Since you came back with Yasha in tow, Hawkeye will be expecting you or Steve to suggest Winter Soldier become part of The Avengers. He has all the bells and whistles-cybernetic arm, the Red Skull version of the super soldier serum, sniper … All much better than a mere human.”
At Pepper’s call, Natasha left Phil with his thoughts. He stared after her, a lead weight in his gut.
Had that been Fury’s plan all along?
The senior agent felt ill at Black Widow’s suggestions. There would be words with the Director in the morning. Pepper calling his name pulled him out of his thoughts.
“I didn’t come back with Coulson to stir up a hornet’s nest.” Bucky opened a new beer.
Like Steve, he couldn’t get drunk, but he enjoyed the taste of good beer.
“Are you going to work for SHIELD?” Steve asked.
“They’re recruiting to fill Hawkeye’s spot on the roster.”
The Winter Soldier looked up at his old friend. The steel in his voice was new.
“The Avengers are no longer connected to SHIELD.”
“What are you beating around the bush about, Steve?”
“If Fury sent you and Coulson here thinking I’d pull Hawkeye from the roster in favor of you … You should go back to SHIELD, now.”
“I’ll go where they want me, but from the scuttlebutt about Barton … As a sniper is the only way I could replace him. I came here with Coulson to see a couple old friends. Top shelf beer doesn’t hurt.”
“Then go talk to Natasha … She’s getting impatient, and the Black Widow in a pissy mood is not a pretty sight.”
Phil Coulson’s return from the dead was the main topic of conversation as the men played cards.
“Who is this Bucky the good Captain seemed so happy to see?” Thor asked.
Tony gave him the Reader’s Digest version of Bucky Barnes aka Winter Soldier and best friend of Steve Rogers.
“The ‘Man of Fury will employ this Winter Soldier?”
“He’s my replacement.” Clint added.
“WHAT!” Tony squawked
Play stopped because everyone was staring at Clint.
“You have seen this, Hawk Brother?” Thor asked.
“I don’t need to see it, and you don’t need to be a genius either.” He glared at Tony and Bruce.
“Why have a human on The Avengers when you can have the Winter Soldier?”
“Then it’s a good thing Fury doesn’t have a say.” Dean said.
“What about Steve? What if he wants his best friend on the team?” Bruce asked.
Before anyone could answer there was a flash of light. When the light dissipated, Clint was standing with the point of his sword under the chin of a dark haired man in a trench coat who looked bewildered at having a sword at his throat.
“My sensors register a source of great energy inside the body of a human.”
“The poor slob’s possessed?” Dean asked.
“He is a righteous man that has been chosen as a vessel for an angel of the Lord.”
“What is this angel creature?” Thor asked.
“They’re supernatural beings that are minions of the Christian God.” Bobby answered.
“How are you called?” Thor asked.
“I am Castiel. I have been sent to tell you there is work God requires of you.”
He started to move until he remembered the sword.
“I assure you I mean you no harm. You can call off your man.”
“It must not be very important work if God sent the angel of Thursday.” Dean chuckled. “You’d think we’d at least rate an archangel.”
“What’s this important work?” Bobby asked.
“There is an apocalypse coming, and it must not be allowed to happen.”
Clint shoved the angel into a chair while laughter filled the room, but stood at the ready.
“Son, you just described every odd Friday around here.” Bobby said. “You go back and tell God we’re doing just fine.”
Before Castiel could speak again, Dean shut the door and slapped the hand he’d sliced open in the middle of a sigil. The angel disappeared.
“Just what we need another alien race sticking their noses in our business. No offense, Thor.”
Dean walked over to the sink. Clint cleaned and bandaged his hand.
Dean sat back at the table.
“Who’s turn to deal?”
When the elevator door opened, the poker players were laughing at Thor with Clint tucked under his arm. The archer was trying to get the thunder god to put him down in between bouts of laughter.
“Dean was joking, Big Guy.”
“Why would he joke about that?”
The blond set him down.
“Like Tony, he’s a sore loser.”
The tension in the room seemed to register with the laughing men. Tony walked to the bar while Bruce and Thor followed Clint to where Steve sat with Coulson. Captain America actually flinched when he saw Clint was wearing what Tony called his ‘spy face’.
“Am I still an Avenger?”
“Yes, Yastreb.” James answered as he and Natasha walked up behind where Steve and Phil sat. “I’m a great sniper, but I suck at tactics and strategy. Nobody knows that but Steve and Natal … Natasha.” He grunted when Natasha elbowed him over her name.
Tony grabbed his husband around the waist and tugged him back toward the elevator.
“Then it’s time for all good little … Yastrebs to retire to their aerie and have celebratory sex with their husband. Come along, Legolas. I can hear our sinfully luxurious bed calling our names.”
Blushing, Clint let his husband pull him into the elevator.
~ Fini ~