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“I am a goddamned Avenger,” Clint hissed, giving his subject another shake, “I have weapons and technology and information like you wouldn’t believe. Aliens exist, did you know that? I know that! And I know how to kill, like, six different kinds.”

His locked front door continued to be unimpressed.

So the thing was, Clint had options.

One, kick his front door down. Except he was barefoot and broken toes didn’t sound like a good way to spend his morning.

Two, go around the building and climb in from the fire escape. Then again, barefoot and an alley full of broken glass.

Three, pick the lock. Brilliant, perfect solution, ten-out-of-ten would already be doing it if his lockpicking kit wasn’t on the other side of the locked door.

Heaving a sigh and giving the traitorous doorknob one last shake, Clint went downstairs. Option four it was. Time to call a locksmith.

There was a public phone (corded phones? In this day and age?) in the building’s lobby, a battered phonebook (who used those anymore?) next to it, and a cork board with business cards haphazardly tacked up. Clint took a glance at the business cards, didn’t see a locksmith on the list, and grabbed the phonebook.

Okay, right, locksmith. How did this work? How was he supposed to know which ones were close by or on the other side of the goddamn city or--

Brock’s Locks

It wasn’t a flashy advertisement, really just run of the mill stuff, company name, list of services offered, phone number.

But it rhymed, and considering the morning he was having (his coffee was on the other side of that locked door, getting cold without him there to drink it), Clint could use the smile. He picked up the phone, punched in the number, and waited as it rang.

“Brock’s Locks, this is Jack, how can I help you?”

“So I locked myself out of my apartment.”

Jack snorted. “Hear that one a lot. I can send somebody out, what’s your address? And you got any ID to prove you live there?”

Clint rattled off his address, groaning softly. “My ID is inside the apartment.”

“Hear that one a lot, too. If you don’t mind a fifteen minute wait, I can run your name against public record.”

He didn’t mind the wait. He minded that there was a possibility, however slim, that this random locksmith was going to figure out that one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (trademark copyright registered by The Avengers) had locked himself out of his apartment. Well, Hawkeye was barely tied to Clint Barton. Probably.

“Full name is Clinton Francis Barton.” Was he supposed to stay on the phone for fifteen minutes, or was Jack going to call him back? Clint leaned against the wall, looking towards the front doors. At least the rest of the building wasn’t up and around and seeing him hanging out in his bathrobe. Not that most of them hadn’t before.

“Well, that was easy,” Jack came back after less than five minutes. “DMV matches your address and property records show that you own the building. It’s your own apartment you need to get into?”

“Yeah. No one else here is as, uh, forgetful as me.”

“Someone should be by in… Actually, pretty quick. I’ll get Rumlow on it. He should be there in a few minutes.” Jack hung up and Clint put the phone down, shaking his head.

Clint waited around for almost ten minutes before someone approached the doors of the building and--oh, hell. The guy was hot, with his shirt sleeves rolled up and hair slicked back in a way that looked carefully careless. Clint was abruptly more aware of the fact that he was in a bathrobe and boxers.

“You’re Rumlow?” He guessed, opening the door and nodding towards the stairs.

“Yep, Brock Rumlow. Clint?” Holy shit. There was actually someone named Brock there, it wasn’t just for the rhyme.

“The poor unfortunate soul. C’mon, I’ll bring you up to the door that’s ruined my morning.” He took the stairs two at a time, listened to Brock’s footfalls easily match his. Hot and in shape, that was a dangerous combination.

Stop sexualizing the locksmith, he chastised himself.

You know what else rhymes with Brock? Co-- He cut that thought off, glad he could blame the six flights of stairs for the slight flush to his cheeks. Clint’s apartment was the only one up here, a second door reserved as a management office that he never used. Maybe he should start keeping spare keys in it.

He stood back as Brock knelt down and got to work on the doorknob, pointedly not looking at the man’s ass in those jeans that hugged his thighs just right--

Fucking hell. 

“So what happened?” Brock asked, like a perfectly normal human being making conversation.

Clint needed to work on his people skills at some point in the future. “Oh, uh--I got up and my dog started whining to go out, so I went to let him out and he got halfway down the stairs with me, then suddenly decided being in was better and booked it backwards. Hit the door with his tail before I could catch up and it locked me out. And Lucky in, come to think of it. He's probably sleeping on the couch right now." Snug and warm inside, while Clint suffered without his coffee out here.

“You left the door wide open while you took your dog out?”

He shrugged. “I hadn’t had my coffee yet. Still haven’t, actually.”

Brock muttered something too low to hear, his face turned away too far for Clint to read his lips. He made a low tsking noise, before standing up and wiping his hands off on the back of his jeans. Clint tried not to be jealous of Brock’s hands.

“Well, the good news is that your lock works like it’s supposed to. The bad news is that it’s gonna be a bitch and a half to pick it. I could do it in two minutes with the pick gun, but I came on call, not from the shop, so I don't have all my equipment. If you don’t mind another little while until you get your coffee, I can try to manually pick the lock.”

There was no point in lamenting the delay to his locksmith. Clint could picture his coffee pot, sat on his counter next to his favorite mug, the one with the purple bullseye that Nat had gotten him for his birthday (well, it had appeared in his apartment around his birthday, so he made the safe assumption). “I don’t mind.”

Brock pulled out some tools from his belt, crouching back down and getting to work. “You know, I own my own business so I don’t have to be on call twenty-four seven, but somehow I still end up with the morning shift.” He glanced over, grinning crookedly. “Was about to go get a coffee of my own when your call came in.”

“My life is a spreading web of tragedy,” Clint agreed, leaning against the wall next to his door and crossing his arms. He could smell coffee through the walls. That probably meant he needed to clean. “I was out late last night, too. Really looking forward to that first cup of coffee to cure what ails me.”

“Partying?” Brock asked, tongue edging along his lower lip as he worked.

Avenging, Clint almost said out loud. Instead he shrugged. “Working. Starting to think I’m a little too old for the party scene.”

“What sorta--ah-ha!” Brock cut himself off, pulling back and standing up. He turned the doorknob easily, pushing the door open slightly. Immediately, Lucky nosed his way out, sitting down at Clint’s feet and panting happily. “Well, there’s your little trouble maker. Guess he wasn’t on the couch after all.”

“He probably just jumped down. So, what do I owe you?” Clint patted Lucky’s head, pushing his door open a little wider as Brock stepped back--and immediately pulling it most of the way shut again. His bow was on his table, right inside the door. Right where he’d dropped it last night.

“Fifty bucks is the standard, but--” Brock gave Lucky a light pat, shrugging. “Forty’s good. Call it the ‘my dog locked me out’ discount.”

There was something on the other man’s face, in his eyes, that spoke of more. Clint nodded, ducked inside and grabbed his wallet and his keys. He stepped back out, carefully keeping the door shut most of the way, and handed Brock two twenty dollar bills. “I’ll be sure to call Brock’s Locks if I ever need help again.”

“We appreciate the business. I’ll see myself out, let you get your coffee.” He was already making his way towards the stairs and all Clint wanted to do was call him back, invite him in for coffee, maybe give Brock his number--

But all of that was incredibly inappropriate. For fuck’s sake. He really was a disaster when he hadn’t had his coffee yet.

Clint shook it off, heading back inside and getting some clothes on, pouring his coffee into a travel mug before whistling for Lucky. He leashed the dog, slipped his shoes on, and headed down the stairs.

He probably wouldn’t be getting locked out often, but if he did… he’d definitely call Brock again.


From the first time he met him, Clint didn’t like Emma’s new boyfriend. John or Jeff or Joe or whatever, he just gave off a bad vibe. And being a person keen on trusting his gut, Clint kept an eye on things between his second floor tenant and her boyfriend.

So three weeks later, when he came in late after a job and heard breaking glass and yelling, he didn’t even have to consider which door to bust open. Clint kicked Emma’s door in with one solid impact, walked in and hauled douchebag-of-the-year out, threw him outside and into the alley. He got in real close to the raging man’s face, his voice almost unnaturally steady.

“If I ever see you again, I’ll put an arrow through your skull. Go to anger management and quit drinking.”

He’d gone back inside, back to Emma’s and helped her pack a few things up, waited with her outside until her friend came to get her. He’d also promised to fix her door before she came back. The deadbolt had sort of… shattered.

With all that excitement on top of all the excitement from fighting an army of monster-of-the-week, Clint had then gone to sleep for about eighteen hours.

Morning (well, late morning--okay, fine, early afternoon) found him back down in the lobby, with the battered phone book and the apartment building’s built in phone. He could have used his cell phone, could have looked up and called a place, but it had gotten smashed when he’d been flung off the second floor of an office building last week and, well, he wasn’t going to use his official Avengers phone to call a locksmith.

“Brock’s Locks, this is Jack. How can I help you?”

Deja vu all over again, except this time he’d had his coffee and was wearing pants. “Hey, you guys do installation, right?”

“Absolutely do, sir.”

“Cool, cool. This is Clint, uh, Barton. I called a few weeks ago because I got locked out of my apartment. Can I get someone down to install a new deadbolt on one of the units in my building?”

Jack hummed quietly. “I'll send Rumlow out. Looks like... Brock can be there in about an hour. Do you have the hardware?”

Clint cursed under his breath. “No.”

“Not a problem, we can provide that, there’s just a small additional fee. Would you like to set up an account with us?”

It’d probably be nice to have a locksmith service on hand. He was technically the landlord here. “Sure. What do I need for that?”

“We’ll just need a credit card on file to bill you whenever you call for the service.”

Clint grinned, rattling off the sixteen digits of one of Tony’s cards. The man would never miss the money, and more fool him for leaving it where Clint could find it. “So, about an hour?”

“Give or take. Call us if there’s anything else we can do, and have a great day.”

“You too, Jack.”

He hung up and made his way to the second floor and Emma’s apartment. It was a mess, broken glass on the floor, furniture out of place, splinters from where he’d kicked the door in still scattered across the room. Clint cleaned up as well as he could, sweeping up the mess into a trash bag. He met Brock on the front steps as he came out, tried to keep his excitement at bay. “Oh, hey. Head on in, the door’s on the second floor. I’m just gonna toss this out and I’ll be up.”

Brock grinned back at him and nodded, climbed the stairs easily as Clint watched. He dumped the garbage into the dumpster and headed back inside, came up short as he saw Brock on the second floor landing. His hands were on his hips, sleeves of his work shirt rolled up and oh, god, those forearms.

“What the hell happened?” Brock asked, looking over his shoulder. “It looks like someone kicked the fucking door in.”

“I did.” Clint shrugged, scratching the back of his neck sheepishly. “One of my tenants had a real asshole boyfriend. I got in last night, heard him yelling, and kinda--brawn before brain. But I promised her I’d get her door fixed up.”

“Well, the good news is she isn’t going to need a whole new front door.” Brock pulled out a few tools from his belt, got started removing the deadbolt. “How many tries did it take to get through the bolt? This is pretty heavy-duty.”

“Oh, uh, just one.” At the raised-eyebrow look, he grinned. “Adrenaline, you know?”

“Adrenaline,” Brock repeated, skepticism heavy in his voice. “Okay.”

He worked in silence for a little while, and Clint wondered if hovering around was in bad taste. He could go back to his own place, but…

“So how’s your dog?” Brock asked abruptly, standing up and popping his back. “He causing any more problems?”

“Not for me. I split custody of him with my friend Kate, he’s at her place up in New Rochelle for the weekend.” Or until Kate found out he was back from Avenging and dumped his ‘smelly mutt’ back into his life. Like she didn’t love that dog almost as much as Clint himself did.

“Pretty long weekend…”

“Huh?”

Brock tilted his head slightly. “It’s Thursday.”

Oh, hell. That was what he got for galavanting all over the world every other day. “Yeah, well, I’m not exactly a nine-to-five Monday-to-Friday schedule kinda guy, so…” Clint raised his eyebrows. “Aren’t you usually on call in the morning?”

“I’m on call whenever Jack feels like sending me out.” Brock shook his head, kneeling down again and setting to work on the new deadbolt. “I swear it’s like he’s my boss instead of the other way around.”

Clint didn’t miss the affection in the complaint--it was familiar, like how he talked about Natasha or Kate talked about him. He slid down the wall to sit next to where Brock was working, raising an eyebrow. “Work husband, right?”

“More like work wife. Nag, nag, nag.” Brock laughed, glancing over at him. “Just don’t go telling Jack I said he’s the wife.”

“Are you two…” Brock didn’t wear a ring, Clint would have seen that. “Y’know, married outside of work?”

“Bite your tongue, he deserves a way better husband than me.” Brock snorted another laugh. “Don’t tell him I said that, either. We’re just friends, have been since basic training. There we go.” He stood up, brushing his hands off on his pants and passing over two keys. “I can cut more if you need them, Just give me a call.” He passed over a business card as well, a phone number handwritten on the back. “That’s my cell. Jack’s gonna send me all the way to Bed-Stuy every time you call anyways, might as well cut out the middleman.” He paused, eyes darting to Clint’s face and then away. “Or you could just text me whenever.”

Damn his broken phone. Clint nodded, tucking the keys and the card into his pocket. “I’ll be in touch. How much do I owe you?”

“Taken care of on your account. Don’t be a stranger, Clint.”

He was halfway down the stairs when it hit Clint like a ton of bricks (and, yes, he knew what that felt like--thanks, telekinetics). He ran to the stairwell, leaning over the railing. “Hey, wait!”

“Yeah?” Brock paused, tilting his head back to look up.

“What do you mean, send you all the way to Bed-Stuy?”

The other man laughed and shook his head. “Clint, we’re based up in the Bronx. Our address is right on our website.”

“Oh… I got your business from the phone book, actually.”

That made Brock laugh harder, the sharp angles of his face not quite softening, but reshaping into something almost youthful with his amusement. “Who the hell uses the yellow pages anymore?” He was still laughing as he went out the door, and Clint grinned into the empty stairwell.

“A lucky guy like me, that’s who.”

Time to get a new cell phone that hopefully wouldn’t get shattered next time he was out avenging.


Four in the morning was not a normal human hour to start texting someone, but Clint had never claimed to be a “normal” human. A human and nothing more, sure, but not a normal one.

He’d given up trying to sleep hours ago. Every time he closed his eyes, he saw Natasha reaching out for him, getting farther and farther away as he was just a second too slow--

She was fine. He’d been fast enough. Strong enough. Good enough.

This time.

She’d been thrown off the bridge by the explosion and he’d caught her before she could fall to the ground so far below, and she was just fine.

But every time he closed his eyes, she wasn’t.

Clint laid on the couch and watched reruns, then infomercials, then the really weird things that came on between the hours of three and five am. At four he picked up his new phone, scrolled to Brock’s number, and opened a new text message thread.

Clint 4:05am
Hey it’s Clint you gave me your number the other day

Almost as soon as he hit send, he regretted it. It was four in the morning, no sane human was--

Three dots appeared below his message and Clint sat up slightly on the couch.

Brock 4:06am
Hey whats up?

Clint 4:06am
Me and apparently you

Brock 4:07am
Hilarious. I was about to go for a run.

Clint 4:07am
Ok Captain America

Brock 4:07am
So why are you up?

Clint typed out too many personal thoughts--can’t sleep because I almost let my best friend die today and every time I close my eyes her hand slips through my fingers and it’s all my fault--before deleting them and writing a shorter message instead.

Clint 4:09am
Insomnia
Stop me from buying a nutribullet

Brock 4:10am
Save your money for coffee.

Clint 4:10am
You make a compelling argument

Brock 4:11am
Or buy it and Ill buy you coffee.

Clint 4:11am
You are a man after my heart
When and where are you buying me coffee

Maybe he was being too forward, but fuck it, Brock started it. And it was four in the morning, he was allowed to type before he thought things through.

Still, the three dots appeared again.

Brock 4:15am
Meet here at 6? I promise to take a shower.

There was a link to a coffee shop below it, a midpoint between them if he had to guess. Clint rolled off the couch and moved to his bedroom to plug his phone in and take his own shower.

Clint 4:16am
See you there

He tried not to see Natasha falling every time he closed his eyes in the shower, and he mostly succeeded.


“Thought you didn’t like mornings,” Clint said when Brock sat down across from him, putting two steaming cups of black coffee on the table between them.

“Never said I didn’t like mornings, just hate getting stuck on call in the morning.” Brock took a drink, his dark eyes lighting up with a smile. “You know, most folks would probably say that you can’t sleep because you drink too much coffee.”

Most folks. As in not Brock. Clint took a careful drink from his own cup. He wasn’t one to judge coffee too harshly--if it had caffeine in it, everything else was secondary--but this was good. “So what would you say?”

“I’d say that I’m just a locksmith who gets his insurance from the VA and goes to meetings every Saturday to try to deal with what I went through. I’d say that I recognize the look in your eyes from those Saturday meetings. And I’d say that it ain’t my business, but like finds like over a cup of coffee, good or bad.” Brock sat back, taking another drink. “I could be wrong, though. Maybe you just drink too much coffee.”

He had an out and he should take it. He wasn’t ex-military, he wasn’t interested in divulging the childhood trauma that probably gave him the PTSD Brock was alluding to. And he wasn’t exactly at liberty to spill the truth. Clint smiled a little into his drink, shaking his head. “Am I that obvious?”

“I don’t think so. I wouldn’t see it if I didn’t know what to look for.” He shrugged, and maybe Clint could spill his guts, or at least an abridged version of it, but then Brock’s phone went off. “Fuckin’ hell. Sorry, one minute.” He stood up, phone already to his ear. “Yeah, Jack, what’s up--”

Clint spun his almost empty coffee cup between his fingers, took another drink, waited. After almost five minutes, Brock came back, his face twisted into a scowl. “Duty calls?” Clint guessed.

“Nag, nag, nag,” Brock agreed, picking up his coffee and finishing it. “Go try to get some sleep if you can, yeah? Text me later, maybe I’ll swing by and check up on you.”

He would just swing by to check up on Clint, most of the way across the city. That gave his heart an uneasy flutter that he'd examine after he was able to sleep. "Just don’t break into my apartment. I have an attack dog, you know.”

“Your attack dog loved me the last time he met me.” Brock grinned, clapping Clint’s shoulder lightly. “See you around, Clint.”


A cup of coffee had no logical reason to be exactly what he needed to fall asleep, but it had worked. Clint had gotten home at around seven to Kate in his apartment, there only long enough to return custody of his dog and tell him he looked shockingly not homeless for so early in the morning before leaving again.

Huh, come to think of it, Kate had a spare key to his place. He could have called her when he’d been locked out.

Oh well.

He’d curled up on the couch with Lucky on the floor beside him, one hand gently scritching the dog’s head. Daytime television was almost as bad as night time.

And six hours later he’d woken up to his stomach growling and several dozen missed calls and texts, his phone buzzing across the coffee table.

Clint snatched it up, putting it to his ear with a yawn.

“Hello to you, too,” Natasha said.

Immediately, he sat up straighter. “Did I miss an Avengers call?”

“No.”

Clint slumped again. “Thank god, I don’t wanna listen to everyone bitch about that.”

She hummed briefly. “You get any sleep last night?”

There was no point in lying to Natasha. “Yeah, some.” But he did it anyways.

“Clint…”

“Tasha,” he met her concern with exasperation.

Natasha hummed again and Clint stood up to start making himself some--what fucking time was it?--time inappropriate food. Eggs were always an acceptable meal, right? Did he have any eggs?

Conversations between the two of them were often had more in the silences. Clint put his phone on speaker and put it on the counter, so that Natasha could hear him cooking. It didn’t take long for him to pick up the sounds in her background, either. Classical music and measured breathing. One of her routines.

Lucky came up and nosed against him. Clint filled his bowl. “You want to come with Lucky and I on a w-a-l-k?”

“Sure. When?”

“An hour?” He could see her, safe and well, and maybe his heart would finally get out of his throat and back into his chest where it belonged. “We can meet at that park with the fat squirrels.”

“Your landmarks are terrible.” Amusement colored her words, a tone that Clint was pretty sure hardly anyone but he could pick up. “I’ll see you there in an hour.”

“See you,” he agreed, hanging up the phone before plating up his eggs. Clint scrolled through the rest of his messages and missed calls as he ate. Nothing too important. Spam and telemarketers, automatic notifications of bills, memes from Kate (he must have still looked messy enough in the morning that she’d decided to try to cheer him up). There was a message from Brock among them, however, almost lost in the fold.

Brock 10:54am
Sorry I had to take off. Call me later if you want, Im done with work at 4.

It was almost one-thirty, he was meeting Nat at the park with the fat squirrels shortly after two. He’d be home by four, could call Brock and…

The and was a harder decision. Invite him over? Just talk? Meet up for dinner?

“Going outside three times in one day? Who are you?” Clint muttered to himself, dumping his plate in the sink and going to put on clothes he hadn’t slept in recently. He clipped Lucky’s leash on, letting the dog lead the way outside.

Call Brock and let something happen. He liked where this whole thing seemed to be going.


Some of his closest associates were literal superhumans and some weren’t even human. But, much like himself, Natasha was one hundred percent homo sapien, no extra ingredients.

So her eerily perceptive nature was also completely human and that made her completely terrifying.

She met him at the park with two steaming paper cups, hot coffee for him and hot tea for her, took one look at his face and heaved an over dramatic sigh to rival the silver screen. “Clint, I’m fine.”

Which was, on the surface, true. But as eerily perceptive about everything as Natasha was, Clint could read her just as well. Make up could hide the dark circles under her eyes, but not the way her gaze twitched around. “Did you sleep last night?”

“Barely,” Natasha admitted after a measured drink from her tea. “Did you?”

“Caught a few hours this morning.”

Her eyebrows rose. He cursed internally.

They walked in companionable quiet, however, let Lucky guide them around the park on his own whims. Clint held the leash in one hand and his coffee in the other, and Natasha stayed close enough to his side that even when he couldn’t see her in his peripheral, he could feel the occasional brush of her skin on his.

“I think I met someone,” he finally admitted after a quarter mile of wandering. Natasha hummed. “His name’s Brock and he’s a locksmith. He gave me his number. We got coffee together this morning.” Still, Natasha’s near silence continued. Clint groaned. “No, he doesn’t know about the whole Avengers thing and no, I’m not planning to tell him.”

After another measured silence intended to drive him crazy, Natasha nodded. “Contrary to your own beliefs, Clint, you are an adult.”

Meaning he could do what he wanted. Meaning it was his own job to weigh the risks and rewards. Meaning if he got his heart broken, she’d be there for him with tissues and ice cream.

Meaning, deep down, that Natasha already knew he’d made up his mind about this and her permission meant nothing--but he still needed it.

“I don’t want everyone else to know,” Clint settled on answering. Not because she would tell anyone his business, nor because he felt any pressure to tell people himself. He came off as open and amicable, as easy to read and even too transparent. Very few people knew all of Clint Barton’s secrets and even fewer bothered to delve his hidden depths. One more piece of private information between himself and the person that possibly knew him even better than himself wouldn’t change anything.

They walked in casual quiet for another ten minutes or so, drinks long finished, hands occasionally brushing against each other. Finally, Natasha spoke.

“So is he cute?”

Clint grinned. “He’s so fuckiing hot.”

And it was fine again.


Texting had evolved to a phone call and then to an invitation to come over. Clint ordered pizza, tried to remember his Netflix login, and shoved as much of his mess into his closet as would fit. He did a last sweep of the apartment for anything too obviously Avengers-related, deemed it all good enough just as Brock and the pizza delivery showed up.

If there was something here, he’d have to divulge his secrets eventually. But for a (first date?) pizza and movies night, that seemed too much too fast.

They kicked their shoes up on the coffee table and put on a movie. Brock had brought beer to go with the pizza, and he and Clint ate and drank and chatted as a slasher chased a bunch of teenagers through the suburbs (or something, he was paying way more attention to Brock than the TV). Lucky had settled between them, his tail content to whack them each in the side in turn as they took turns petting him.

“So…” Brock started over the shrieking cords of a jumpscare, taking a drink from his beer and sending a glance towards the TV. “Get any sleep?”

“Few hours after I got back from coffee.” Clint shrugged, grabbing another slice of pizza.

“Can’t be healthy.”

“We all die eventually. Sorry I’m not the eight hours of sleep, predawn jogging type.”

There was a snort next to him, quiet but amused. “You think I was up for a jog at four because I do that shit regularly? Sometimes you just gotta…” Brock waved his beer bottle to the room at large. “Get out of your own head.”

Well, he could relate. He’d never been one for a jog to get out of his own head, but there were certainly enough practice targets with holes clustered in the dead center at ranges around the city that he knew what Brock meant. Clint passed his pizza crust to Lucky, grabbing another beer out of the six pack and opening it. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were trying to talk me into going to therapy.”

“Do what you want, you’re an adult.”

“Supposedly.” He took a long drink, sitting back and draping his arm over the couch. “So what’s your real motive? You didn’t just drop into my life to be a walking self help book.”

Brock laughed, shaking his head. “What, my awkward attempts to flirt over text weren’t enough? Clint, you’re funny and easy to talk to and being hot doesn’t help. My motive is to see if that leads anywhere, if you’re interested in me as much as I’m interested in you. S’why I gave you my number.”

No dancing around the subject, he could appreciate that. Clint turned slightly on the couch, the movie long forgotten in the background. “I did start texting you. I did meet you for coffee. I did invite you over.”

“And you even bought me dinner first.” Brock grinned at him, leaning in a little closer. “Does that make this a date?”

Too much too fast, Clint’s internal alarm sounded and he silenced it. He leaned in until he was as far into Brock’s space as he could get with the dog still between them, let his hand drift from the back of the couch to cup Brock’s jaw. “A very casual date that I could pass off as just hanging out if I’d read the situation wrong,” he agreed softly, “but definitely a date. I’ve never been happier to have locked myself out of my apartment.”

He searched Brock’s eyes for a moment, before leaning in, closing the distance between their mouths. Brock eased forward to meet him, the kiss tentative for only a moment before it deepened, before they were desperately exploring each other’s mouths. Time seemed to be moving too slowly and too quickly all at once, the room heating up but shivers racing down his spine as one of Brock’s hands came to the back of his neck and held him steady. 

By the time they parted, breathless and flushed, they’d somehow shifted to lying down on the couch, Clint stretched across Brock, his hips settled between the other man’s spread thighs. Lucky had absconded to his dog bed under the window, a pilfered slice of pizza half eaten in front of him. Clint pressed a slower series of kisses against Brock’s neck, nudging the collar of his shirt with his chin, before laying his head on the other man’s chest.

“Good date,” Brock whispered eventually, fingers coming up to card through Clint’s hair. 

“Ten out of ten, would ask you to come over again,” Clint agreed, shifting his gaze up to the other man’s face. “There’s… something you should know, though, if we want to do this again.” He took a breath, pushed himself up slightly. “I’m… an Avenger.”

Brock’s eyebrows furrowed. “Wait--are you Iron Fist?”

Clint huffed, flopping back down with more force than strictly necessary. “For fuck’s sake… No! I’m Hawkeye!”

He could feel laughter below him, the shaking of Brock’s body as he snickered. “I know, I’m just fucking with you. Clint, have you ever googled yourself?”

“No?”

“Oh, right, you use the yellow pages like an old man--”

“Excuse you I learned how to look stuff up from Captain America himself.”

Brock continued over his protests, still laughing. “You google Clint Barton and you get the official Hawkeye fan page. You’ve got a very dedicated fan club, you know.” He slid his hand down Clint’s body before dropping it aside, grabbing his phone off the coffee table and pulling up his browser. Brock tapped a few buttons before turning the phone to Clint.

There was indeed an official Hawkeye fan page. Clint scrolled down, searching out what he knew he’d find--there, at the bottom.

Web Admin: Kate Bishop.

“God dammit Katie,” he groaned, rubbing his palm against his forehead. He’d have to check how much she’d actually put online--it was supposed to be a secret identity, after all--later. For now… “So you know all about me, huh?”

“I don’t know all your deep dark secrets, but according to user TheBetterHawkeye you’re probably wearing purple underwear.” Brock put his phone down, raising his eyebrows. “Is she right?”

Clint grinned, sitting up onto his knees and guiding Brock’s hands to his hips. “Maybe you should find out for yourself.”

(She was right.)