2019-09-10 - You Fib Well


A fundraiser for the police finds Clint and Babs talking.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Sep 10 08:21:16 2019
Location: Policeman's Ball

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The Hilton Grand Ballroom hearkens back to a time some sixty years ago when it was built, the recent maintenance and remodeling keeping the elegant aesthetic from that time with its sharp monochromatic tones tinged with hints of soft orange and light yellow. The chandeliers dominate the view when one enters, casting a brilliance of starlight down upon the people who are there. Usually when it's open it's filled with socialites and citizens of some standing, enjoying the night together. Mingling and munching the night away.
Though tonight the people enjoying the quiet music and the hubbub of the crowd are not quite the established community elders one finds in Manhattan. Tonight with the Fraternal Brotherhood of Police Man's Ball in full swing, it's a melange of blue and white collar individuals. There are career officers. Heroic cops. Long time supporters. And tonight, as a guest offered as a draw for donations… is Clint Barton.
On the invitations that were sent he was mainly listed under the Honored Guests line as Clint 'Hawkeye' Barton, An Avenger! Though the word AVENGER was delivered with a greater font and more emphasis. As if the actual 'who' was less important.
At first when he was asked he hemmed and hawed, grumbled and moaned. But when some of the others on the team brought up the term 'duty' he surrendered. And so it was that he was there tonight, amongst the many people, standing in a small circle of curious donors who were all trying to find out what they could about this most curious person.
"So you're an Avenger."
"Yes, Mr. Rosenstein, amongst other things." Clint, when he made the effort, actually did look quite handsome. A tuxedo went a long way. But so did a haircut and a shave. Hawkeye was standing up straight, and his smile did a strong approximation of sincerity when he gave it to the people around them.
"What are your super powers?" Said Mr. Rosenstein, though one of the others lightly gave him a nudge.
But Hawkeye's smile remained as he replied, "Oh, inexhaustible patience? Perfect punctuality? A strong sense of fashion?" And as he says that last there are polite bits of laughter all around.

In the sea of blue and white, a redhead mingles. A redhead dressed in emerald green. Her hair cascades down her back in a fall of crimson tresses and she leans, heavily, on a cane as she makes her way through the crowd. There's a weariness to her face, that comes from dealing with constant pain - those who have experienced it will recognise it. Those who haven't tend to tell her she needs more rest.

That might be the case but not for the reasons they think.

"Really, Jonathan, isn't the fact that Mister Barton is an Avenger, enough?" Babs asks she comes to a stop at the group, offering a faint, retiring smile to those gathered. "Evening gentlemen."

"Barbara, don't tell me your father actually got you out of the house." That's the sandy haired fellow to Rosentsteins side. He steps over and presses a chaste kiss to her cheeks. "How the case load? Anything we were police can assist with?" beat "Oh, forgive me. Mister Barton, have you met Barbara Gordon?"

"Miss," Clint says as he's introduced to the lady and accepts her hand should she offer it, lifting it gently for the implied kiss granted to the back of the hand that is proper for two unacquainted individuals meeting each other at such an event. "That's a kindness you've given me, but I don't blame anyone for their curiousity." He says those last few words looking to the people who asked those questions, as if to absolve them of any negative connotations.
No matter how annoying they may be.
But then another older man standing next to Mr. Rosenstein, "Mr. Barton was just telling us about the high flying life of the super adventurer and advising us that we should set all of our children on that path."
To which Clint says, "Now I don't think that's what I said at all, Mr. Raines." More good natured laughing as Hawkeye looks around, "I believe my sentiment was more along the lines that this is a job meant for the truly reckless." And he takes a breath then adds, "And the young. I, for one, intend to focus on my memoirs. And my libations. If you'll excuse me."
That said he does pause, however, to ask Barbara, "I see you're not drinking, Ms. Gordon? Is there anything I can get for you?"
And if she does, then he'll assuredly carry that order with him when he steps away toward the bar. It gives them some time without him, and some of the less patient guests wander off.
Harvard Reed, an assistant to the mayor tilts his head to the side and says conspiratorially towards Barbara. "Some people should know when to retire. I would agree with that. Best to leave in your prime than to be asked to depart."

It's an awkward moment as Clint takes Babs hand and she tries to shake his. Her eyes glitter with mirth for a moment as her cheeks flush and she lets him have his way. "Barbara, please, Mister Barton." The redhead says, the cane steadily by her side.

"The case load is the case load, Charles and when I need help, I know where to find you." she's a little dismissive, trying to draw the attention back to Clint "Truly a career meant for the truly reckless and those with a large heart, Mister Barton. To value justice and freedom and want to help others as you do." Young? She just smiles a little and nods at his question "Sparking White, if you would. My only one for the night."

Reeds observation gets a sharp green eyed gaze "I suppose you would know, Harvard." She says mildly "Have they asked you to leave yet or are you just counting days? Or would agree that often age and treachery beats youth and skill?"

Harvard makes a little of a face toward Barbara as she stings him with her rejoinder and his response is typical of one not wishing to offend an individual with strong connections. "Oh, there is Eugene Heraldson." He holds up a hand, "Oh Eugene!" Then he looks back to Barbara and the others remaining, "If you'll excuse me."
He heads off and after a few moments of shared small talk that's a touch more polite, inquiries about her health and her family, thoughts about the coming elections, Clint Barton returns with two glasses in his hands. "Barbara, your sparkling white." He says and then also imparts, "And please, call me Clint."
Then he turns to look at the remaining two other guests with Barbara and himself, then asks them affably, "Where did everyone go?"
Mrs. Oliver, an older matron, smiles and tells him. "Oh you know how fickle people can be these days, Mr. Barton."
"Ladies, please. Clint is fine. Keep calling me Mr. Barton and I'll get delusions of grandeur."
A few more polite laughs.
Then he asks them, "But forgive me, how do these things usually… go?"
"Pardon?" Asks Mrs. Oliver.
"These events? I won't have to make a speech or a toast or anything, right?"

Barbara bites her lip when Reed heads off, eyes sparkling a little to brightly. That was bad of her and she supposes the Mayors office will be checking her PI's licence in the next day or so but it was totally worth it to get the response.

"Thank you, Mister B—- Clint." The redhead takes the glass, raises it in a silent salute before sipping from it.

"Probably?" Barbara answers for Mrs Oliver before snagging a program from a table nearby and scanning it. She'd memorised it weeks ago but this is for show. "No, you don't. Not tonight. Tonight they've a White Elephant auction instead." Thank goodness it's not the celebrity auction. Barbara hates those.

"White Elephant auction?" Hawkeye asks her as he quirks an eyebrow, looking between her and Mrs. Oliver even while Mr. Rosenberg clears his throat and bids his adieu to them. "Aren't those endangered?" He asks, with surprising sincerity and seriousness. Enough that it causes Mrs. Oliver to laugh softly.
"Oh, Clint. How droll." She chuckles and shakes her head as her husband wanders over, a thin bearded man of some age and with a smile meant only for his wife.
"Honey, they have those wafer desserts you like, shall I bring you one?"
"Oh? No no, let us go together." And so they do.
Which leaves but Clint and Barbara there as he looks sidelong towards her and only then sips his sparkling white. "Hm. I guess I'm not /that/ popular after all."
His eyes shift to her cane very briefly, then back to her. A glance most wouldn't catch before he asks, "I'm feeling a touch tired, however. Would you like to get a table?" He gestures to the one just two steps beside them and even draws out a chair for her should she so wish.

"Jonathan, have your boys contact me about the Poste case, I've got information for them." Barbara says as Rosenstein wanders off. "Edith, it's good to see you again."

"You too Barbara, though I'm sad that Grayson didn't come with you."

"Edith. You know well that Dick and I haven't been thing for years."

"I can hope, Barbara. I can hope."

With Edith departing, Babs laughs softly at Clints comment "Maybe it's my perfume, you never know." Those brilliant green eyes of hers track the glance and she smiles knowingly as the archer makes his excuse.

"I suppose one must make allowances for age." Oh, she's teasing but she doesn't argue when the chair is drawn out and held.

"I'm surprised to see you here, if I were honest and I am. Sometime too honest if the rumours are to be believed. I didn't think pressing the flesh was something the Avengers would have Clint Barton doing. From what I've seen, you're more comfortable with a bow in hand."

His nostrils flare slightly, and in some crowds it would be considered rude, but then he half-smiles and crinkles his nose at her as he says, "Nah, it's not that." But then she makes her comment about his age and he gives a short nod. "S'truth,"
Clint says as he makes sure she's settled into her seat and then takes up one next to her, turning it a little to face a touch outwards so they can watch the comings and goings of the crowd at the bar nearby. "When you reach my age standing on your feet for long periods of time just isn't done. I'm the only Avenger with my own Lark scooter that I drive around the mansion."
He grins as he looks away, features warm from the small bit of alcohol though whatever age he may be… his dark blue eyes are alive with a look of amusement and mischief. He looks back to her, "But you'd be right. Usually Tony would be doing something like this. Or Cap. They save me though for when they want to run off to Vegas or Atlantic City or wherever they go with their free time." Ok Cap never goes to Vegas or Atlantic City.

"You're too kind." the redhead chuckles. Clearly at ease in this type of company and teasing. The skirt of her dress falls to her ankles, covering her legs, it's impossible to tell their condition. "You don't look that old to me…"

"Vegas, Atlantic City or the Veterans benefit that's being held at the Ritz Carlton tonight." Whatever this woman is, she's knowledgeable and she has interesting facts at her recall.

"What would you be doing if you weren't here?" she asks, watching the crowd as it mills around them. A number of the boys in the blue nod to her, some of the older ones stop and press a kiss to her cheek with a murmured "Say hi to your father."

The blonde archer smiles and gives a nod to those that stop by, lifting a hand to wave when they offer greetings. Now this, this isn't so bad. Relaxing, drinking, with a beautiful redhead to talk to to pass the time. The evening might actually be looking up. So when she addresses him again she might catch a brief moment of such positivity in his blue eyes as he looks to the green in hers and then says, "Pardon?"
But then he catches up and says, "Oh, what would I be doing…" Clint looks thoughtful, one eye scrunching up as he lits his gaze upwards, as if the words were written no the ceiling with which he should use to answer. And he knows what the PR officer would want him to say. Something positive about work life balance, about doing the right thing but keeping focused.
Instead the truth has always been easier for Clint Barton, even if he doesn't always have the luxury to induge in it. He chooses so here, "Probably working." His lip curves a bit, "Or sleeping at my desk, waking up. Then working." A fingernail scritches along the curve of his chin, "Or training. Important to not lose a step when you're on a team with people like Cap and Natasha."
A beat, then he adds, "And you?"

Those that stop do greet Clint, shaking his hand, thanking him. Well most of them. As he might expect there's a few that look at him squirrelly - the Avengers have been called out before for the chaos that often ensues when they're around.

Clints distraction draws a chuckle from the redhead, a slight blush dusting her cheeks.

"Married to the job are you? She sounds like a harsh mistress. Well actually that's the moon…." There's the slightest quirk of Babs lips "Do you try to keep up with those two? I would doubt they could shoot a bow half as well as you do."

She pauses then, looking into her glass thoughtfully at the question. "I'm a PI, Clint. I always work. There's always leads to chase or paperwork to lodge or clues to try and decipher." maybe that's why she and that Grayson fellow aren't together anymore.

"I always heard it was gravity." That was the harsh mistress. Though he gives her a nod as she asks him about keeping up with those two, "I try. But actually…" He looks to the side, then back. "There are some SHIELD agents that would give me a run for my money. And maybe a robot." Considering one declared him to be an inferior archer. The nerve.
"But mainly they keep me around for my sense of humor." Which hasn't been the best of late, then he adds. "And my prettiness." He nods once as if he were serious, but his smile cracks as he looks over towards Barbara.
"A PI, now that… seems like interesting work. Accountable to yourself and your client. Able to focus on it and decide when your efforts begin and should end." He takes another sip of his wine and sets the glass down, running a fingertip along its edge thoughtfully. Then he looks back to find those green eyes again. "Was that always what you wanted to do?"

"I forgot to add Physical Therapy as well…" Babs murmurs, chuckling a little "Well, yes. Gravity though I take it you're not a Heinlein fan?" The mention of SHIELD and robots has her ginger brows rising a little but she doesn't add to that.

"Ah well, I can see why they keep you around for your looks. And your sense of humour is to die for." There's no flirting there, just good natured, dry, teasing.

"Accountable to myself, the client and the bank… don't forget the bank." Babs points out, sipping her own wine and holding the glass in her lap. There's something … still about her. Poised. Calm. Collected. Despite the dry and quick wit, she doesn't put herself out there, it would be easy to overlook her, even with that bright red hair.

"Well … maybe? I wanted to help people for as long as I could remember but when I started university I was studying computing. I finished it to. I thought I might join the force as an analyst or something. But that was before the … accident." It was publicised, about six years ago, when the daughter of the commissioner was shot in a home invasion. The injuries confined her to a chair. "After that I guess you could say that my attention turned to solving crime and helping put those who deserved it behind bars."

"What about you? Did you always want to be … well, you're not just an archer, are you?"

She is a student of people and can likely read the way his eyebrows slightly knit together for a brief moment when she mentions physical therapy. Just a hint of sympathy before he quashes it mentally in case it could be perceived as pity. He just nods and then his lip lifts as she comments about his humor. And his looks. "See now I can see why you make a good PI."
He points at her as she shifts in his seat a little to look at her more directly, "You tell fibs rather well." Self-deprecating, sure, but in such a setting such is his approach.
But then, "Ah yes, the bank." He nods slowly and crinkles his nose. "It's difficult out there in the private sector. They expect results." The casual movie quote tossed out there, perhaps with him pretending it as his own.
There it is again as she mentions the accident. The small furrow to his eyebrows but this time it lingers longer. "It's good, though, that you're still helping people."
"What you mean, adventurer, world traveler, super hero, secret agent?" His smile broadens and he pushes a hand through his hair as he murmurs, "It sounds better than it is. Really I'm just this guy who…" He slides the small swizzle stick from his glass and flicks it across the way where it lands precisely in the next table over's centerpiece vase with a clink-ka-clink-cling. "Has a hard time missing is all."

Babs is used to pity and can tell the difference. Clints change of expression meets with a knowing look. "I am actually. Helps that Dads a cop too." Not to mention an ex or two. "What do you mean I tell fibs rather well?" A direct question that she expects an honest answer to.

Has she told any tonight? Or is he extrapolating?

"If you use Others People Money, they do. But who ya gonna call?" A smile to tell him she's caught the reference. "I keep that as low as I can but yes, I still have the bills to pay and food to put on the table. Not to mention my trainer and my health insurance scheme."

"I meant that use more than just a bow. You forgot Rock Star. You're in a band aren't you? If you aren't you should add that to your credentials."

His smile grows at the caught reference though he doesn't say anything else about it, instead he answers her first question by telling her, "Well I know I'm pretty, but I'm not /that/ pretty." Meaning the comment she made about him being so, though this does actually fit what she said about his sense of humor.
She then suggest he's in a band when he laughs and shakes his head, "No, I have a singing voice that's befitting silent movies." The ole switcheroo for that saying, he does eye her sidelong and confides in her something that only Natasha really knows, or that he's shared.
"Though. I do play a bit of guitar." And she had best carry that with her. To the grave!

Eidetic memories are good for something. Babs is a bit of a killer at trivia. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Clint." Babs laughs, colouring a little more as she does. "You can't say what I find attractive and I don't. At least, not from the few moments we've spent here." She pauses and sighs "OK, maybe you can. Cause I tell you've glanced at that blonde over there seven times in the last three minutes and the leggy brunette at the bar nearly as often."

Observant too.

"Ah well, maybe we should start a band together. My room mate walks around with noise cancelling headphones when I sing in the shower." The bit about the guitar gets a surprised look. "You do, do you? And are you any good?"

"Nope, pretty terrible," Clint's lip twists as he leans to the side in his chair and eyes her across the table. His smile is wry, amused, and she can likely see the gears churning in his head as he considers a needed reply to her. His fingers rest around the lip of the wine glass and he lightly lifts and lowers it with soft clinking sounds as he thinks and he tells her…
"Well, Barbara." He puts some emphasis on each syllable of her name. "If you must know, the brunette is a member of the security detail. She's got a .40 caliber beretta along her right thigh. And she seems a bit nervous about something. So that's more my paranoia, s'why I keep looking."
Then he moves on to the other, "The blonde, however, is crashing the event. You can tell by how she seems on edge, and checks her purse wenever someone on staff walks by. But, to be fair, she does look like my ex-wife. So, you're sort of right there."

"True. The brunette is nervous because she was recently injured. See the way her left hip hitches? I'd say a bullet wound to the leg and this is likely one of her first events back." Her eyes slide to the blonde and she nods. "Ex-wife. I should have guessed you'd have a soft spot for blondes."

The redhead sits back a moment, assessing the man. Paranoia, he'd said. "Is it action related, your paranoia or just something that you have? If you don't want to answer you don't have to. I'm just curious."

"Well, more just…" Clint shifts to the side to look back at her more directly, "You work in my field long enough and you start to…" He frowns as scritches at his chin with a fingertip and then goes on, "You see a lot of the worst of people. So that colours the lens through which you view the world. I try not to let it bug me too much…"
He looks up and meets those green eyes again, "So I call it my paranoia, compartmentalize it, shift it away. Keep it from your core self-image." There's a pause and his smile turns a little sardonic. "But there you go, Clint Barton Amateur Psychiatry Lesson #1."
Which, to be fair, is a way that some clinics have used to help veterans deal with their PTSD, though he wouldn't admit as much to her. Not on their first meeting.

There's a maturity to Babs that comes through when she talks. It's not just that she's smart. She's seen things, experienced them and learned from them. As Clint talks to her he might get a sense that she's taken on a lot of responsibility, not that she says anything but it's there anyway.

"I get it." she says quietly. "You see what enough psycho's can do when they mess up someone, and then understand they did it because they could … it sticks with you." And everything you experience is experienced through that filter. Letting his blue hold her green ones, Babs considers - is this her future? Or is it more like Bruces?

Does she want either? Or will she be able to carve her own path?

Shaking herself, the redhead offers a faint smile "The White Elephant will be starting soon. Did you want another drink?"

When she encapsulates it like that he can only nod a little and doesn't voice his own thoughts. Though she can tell there is a silent inner monologue and that some of his memories are there with him in that moment, gaze distanced for a time. But when she stops talking and then speaks about the White Elephant, and mentions a drink, he smiles to her.
"Let me get that, another white sparkling?" He asks as he pushes himself to his feet, reaching over to take her empty should she allow it. Then he confides in her with a small smile, "I… have no idea what a White Elephant auction is, you'll have to tell me when I get back."
And with that he turns and starts towards the nearby bar, placing the order.

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