2019-10-07 - Reconnecting


There is a date, and it is super awesome, and very aww.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon Oct 7 02:03:51 2019
Location: Clint's Apartment

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Theme Song



Of all the places on the planet that one is likely to find the man known as Clint Barton, his apartment is likely a fair ways down the list. Not so much that he doesn't care for it. He does in some ways. But more that he is often, almost always just… elsewhere.
The office is one of those places he goes to mostly. Stays there. Works files, works ops, eats there, showers there, often sleeps there considering. And when he needs to train, well… the Triskelion has all the best toys. But every now and then, a few times a week, he'll find himself coming back to the old apartment. Sure it's just a third floor walk up that he got mainly because of its proximity to work. And sure it had to be fumigated after he left on a 5 month long operation in which he had forgotten and left out a pizza in the living room that whole time…
But now the place is in a decent state. It has furniture, all chosen by Kate. It has been cleaned fairly regularly since she engaged that Amazon Maid Service, which likely breaks some sort of security protocols somewhere. At least now, however, Clint isn't entirely neglecting it.
Which doesn't save it from his treatment when he comes home. Jacket's thrown off to the side on one of those Ikea couches. A half-eaten hoagie sits on the wooden coffee table. The television is on and tuned to the weather channel of all things…
And Clint, finally with some enforced time off is… beating the hell out of the punching bag that's hung from the ceiling in the corner of the living room. His wrapped fists are busy slamming over and over into the heavy plastic and fabric weighted sack, causing it to jounce and leap with steady clinks and clanks of chain, each impact making the quartet of throwing daggers embedded in the wall threaten to fall right out of it.
But so far, for the last two hours, they haven't. Even as Clint, sweat-slick and grimacing, keeps hammering that bag for all he's worth.

Does anyone visit Clint? I mean, really. It might make the knock that comes at the door even more alarming if no one ever visits him.

At first he might not hear it, then he looks up from the bag after the repetition of it. He leans over and reaches for the remote on the table right next to the cold hoagie and clicks the television off. His brow knits, surprised a little. Suspicious moreso.
"Yeah?" He calls out.
But then he starts to walk to the door, grabbing an errant piece of tape on his hands and tearing it off with his teeth. "What is it, Mrs. Bertowksi? The rent should be paid for like the next six months."

In response? A KNOCK.

This time the knock is harder, more insistant that someone better answer the door. But it hasn't reached police level of loud yet.

At the door there's a check for the silhouette against the door. Shadows low and along the side to gauge the position of the person on the other side of the door. A quick glance given to the peep hole showing no light coming through it, obscured.
The archer frowns, tension entering his frame as he leans over to the hat rack against the wall and pushes it up a little, revealing a small 9mm that he takes down from its hiding place, chambers a round, then rests it against the mid portion of the door.
"One sec,"
Then the chain jangles even though he didn't have it in place, as if tempting someone to fire if they're going to. Then he opens the door. From the side, out of the line of fire.

There isn't any gun shots that echo down the hallway, not even a gun muzzle that appears when the door starts to open. If someone is coming to get him they aren't stupid enough to stick an arm through the door. Well.

Almost not stupid enough. The arm that comes through the door isn't holding a gun, instead it's holding a bunch of flowers. Deep red roses. Expensive looking. The arm is bare except for the flash of a silver bracelet around the wrist, which for someone who is jumpy enough it might trigger that GUN instinct.


The gun is downplayed for now, held out of view and off the right side of the door, but if that arm belongs to the woman he thinks it belongs to… she probably knows that it's there. Since she likely would've done the same thing.
"Hey." Clint's voice is greeting, warm, and a little quizzical as he steps into view. He'll tilt his head sideways first considering the roses…
Then the person holding them.

The arm does belong to the person that he thinks it does, which might explain why she's still standing out in the hallway instead of following her arm through the door. Making sure that he's not going to do something crazy, like try and tackle her to the floor.

"Hey." Bobbi replies in greeting, starting to move inside the apartment now that she's certain he recognizes who she is. Although, her other hand is tucked behind her back holding something. So it could be some elaborate joke.

"Nice flowers," He says, pointedly looking down at them, then back up at her blue eyes. Clint quirks an eyebrow curiously, but then thumbs the gun's safety and drops it into the metal urn sitting on the end table near the door, right next to the ash tray where he puts the decoy set of keys.
He then steps back and gestures inside, motioning with the sweep of one hand. "Come on in," He offers, though as he turns away he wipes at his brow with one forearm, still perspiring from the recent workout.
While she's dressed rather well, Clint… is not. He's got on sneakers and white socks, loose grey sweat shorts, and a white SHIELD t-shirt that's sweated through and pitted out though it clings to the contours of his chest rather well.
He stops and grabs the towel nearby, shooting a glance at her. "You clean up pretty well, Morse. What's the occasion?"

"They are for you." Bobbi points out with a tone that practically screams a silent silly behind those words. When she steps inside and closes the door she moves towards the urn, fishes the gun out and replaces it with the flowers, which then get tucked under an arm while she heads for the kitchen. Urn and flowers under one arm, the gun in her other hand.

"I came by to see you. Am I not allowed to do that?" She sets the gun on the counter before going to fill the urn with water, which, hopefully there wasn't anything else in there.

She likely can get a vibe for the decor, the way the place is handled. Definitely a woman's touch though she might not realize it was his protege that handled it. Then again… there is something definitely not /of/ Clint about the place. It has no touch of his own beyond the daggers in the wall, and the punching bag. Like it's a hotel that he's just staying in for an extended period of time. Which is how he thinks of it.
But as she says the flowers are for him he smiles sidelong to her. "Yeah?" As if he doesn't quite believe it, or is waiting for the punch line. Just a hint of wariness there.
He stops and then instead of moving away he's walking after her, toward that kitchen with all the appliances that… likely have never been used. Beyond the fridge at least.
"I mean sure, you can…" Then his blue eyes lift to meet her gaze and he asks, "What's going on, Bobbi?" A small hint of a laugh there, but also a touch of nerves for whatever reason.

"I won't stay long…I'm sure your…" Bobbi pauses, uncertain about how exactly to put it that doesn't sound bitter or accusatory. Instead she just leaves it there as she finishes watering the flowers, then she sets them down on the counter before a hand reaches up to slide through her hair.

Then she moves away from the counter, avoiding looking at him as she starts to try and move past him, "Nothing is going on, just thought I'd drop in."

"Hey," Clint does stop her as she starts to move past, gently though in part because well… he does care for her. But also because if she got the inclination she could knock him down nine times out of ten. But she'll feel his warm hands upon her shoulders, just enough to stay her departure and to perhaps, if she wishes, to get her to look at him.
He lowers his head slightly, eyes seeking hers as he murmurs with that hesitant half-smile he wears when he's trying to reach through to her, "Feels like we've been talking around each other since you got back, Bobbi. Not so much with each other."
A hand slips away to lightly touch the center of his chest, "Take a second and talk to me. Ok? Really talk to me. I'll start?"
And if he gets some hint, some semblance of agreement or acknowledgment he'll say with a smile. "Thank you for the flowers, they're lovely."

There is a stiffening at the hands on her shoulders and she almost reacts by knocking him down anyways. But she doesn't, although that tension doesn't go away as she looks up at him. It's an expression he knows. It's one that she'd wear sometimes during the bad times, when there were arguments and things that never got said.

"I thought we had talked, Clint. We had a nice conversation both times we've run into each other…caught up and everything." No they didn't. But even with that said she doesn't keep pushing for the door, instead she offers, "You're welcome. Hope I didn't interrupt something."

Usually those arguments, those moments, they'd go one of a few ways. with her not saying the things she wanted to say, with her holding them in, bottling them up. Or he'd talk to her, and they'd wheedle back and forth, the night would grow long as things would grow heated or serious or sad.
But there was a third way.
It's when she says that she wasn't hoping to interrupt that he stops her. Just with a hand lightly lifted to her cheek. For an instant he searches her eyes, gaze flitting back and forth between them. And then his own close as he leans close and there's just enough time for her to realize as he brings his lips to hers. A soft kiss, stolen in that instant, a featherlight brush and caress as his fingertips slip to the supple curve of her neck.
For his part it's something he had been wanting to do since she'd returned, something he'd wanted since he saw her eyes again, heard that wry amused voice.
Sometimes it worked. And others… he ended up thrown to the floor, or worse.

Is there a middle ground? There might be a middle ground. Bobbi doesn't throw him when he leans in to steal that kiss, instead she takes a step towards him into the kiss, some of that tension seeming to leeching out of her at the touch.

And while she returns the kiss, she can't let it stay there. Not without the risk of it going further, and going further isn't something she's so sure about.


One hand reaches up to briefly brush against his cheek in return before she moves her hands quickly to his shoulders to start to push him back from her. It's not nearly at full strength, not even at half-strength. More a reluctant push like her heart isn't quite in it.

It had been a lovely shared moment, the warmth, the shared breath, the intensity. There had been the familiar smells of each other, the faint taste, the remembered touches. It had been a nice thing, and a little glimpse of eternity though as he's eased away it's like being only able to see such a view through a hazy window.
And, to his credit… he keeps his distance though his breath is a touch heavy, perhaps just the efforts exercising earlier. Or the kiss. Either/or. The smile reappears, a hint apologetic as he asks her, "Did you come over to ask me to dinner? If so, I'd love to go."
The infuriating presumptuous bastard. But she knows, despite his feigned bouts of oblivious frat boy acting out… he's a fairly shrewd judge of situations. And people. Perhaps not in this case, but he may well believe he's right.
Then he adds, "If you… don't mind waiting for me to take a shower."

There were flowers. And she is dressed up. Presumptuous he might be, but he's probably not wrong. "Yeah. I can wait." Bobbi replies after a moment spent looking him over, taking in the fact that he's sweat. Stinky. And wearing clothes that probably weigh twenty pounds because of captured sweat.

"I'll just be over on the couch." Or looking through everything in the apartment.

For a moment he looks like he's about to say something else. But instead he just nods a little, a few times before he turns around and heads back into the hallway that leads off and away from the living area. Down the hall as lights flicker on, until he reaches the bathroom itself
"Gimme twenty, thirty minutes or so. There's some beer in the fridge." Just… in case she wanted beer?
But then he disappears from view as the light in the hallway decreases with the closing of the bathroom door. She'll likely hear some rustling from inside there, and the sound of the shower engaging as a harsh cold patter at first but then the tone shifting as the hot water fully kicks in.
And then she's alone. In Clint's apartment.
Time to snoop.
Though it might be infuriating how little of the place actually speaks of the archer. Oh she might well find no less than six firearms hidden in fairly easily accessible places. She'll find one of his earlier mechanized bow and quiver sets leaning against the wall in the bedroom. There are those daggers in one wall. The heavy bag and mat beneath it seemingly installed decently but not exactly looked after too well.
In the office she'll find some notes in Barton's rather horrible hand-writing, mainly to do with some cases he might well be working on and all written in that weird short-hand he uses. The bedroom is immaculate, the bed barely slept in though it's made. His clothes are in the closet though also in there are old cardboard boxes… dating back from when they were together. Mementos most likely, left unpacked.
But as she snoops around, she might get a vibe that he does live there alone. The times he's actually there. And small tell-tale facts such as in the bathroom (if she manages to sneeeeak inside there effectively enough without Clint hearing her) there are no other overnight articles or the like save for what she knows he himself uses…

Is she brave enough to sneak into the bathroom? Not until it is nearing that twenty minute mark. And only after she reads the notes, and looks into the contents of the boxes. But also helpfully pulls out something for him to wear and puts it down on the bed for when he's done.

Only then does she let herself into the bathroom, turning the nod as quietly as she can so that she's not just sneaking in then out. She's lingering, hopping up onto the edge of the counter to wait on him to turn that water off.

After a bit of time she'll hear the knob inside the shower twist, the water in the old building's pipes causing them to creak and thump slightly at the change of pressure. Then there's a metallic scrape of shower curtain rings as he draws it back, the plastic fabric slipping out of way and letting her see the archer bare from the waist up, the material still blocking the view lower.
At first his lips twist into a smile as he looks at her, dressed in that black dress and the heels. Then looking up into her eyes. Still that wariness there, as in the past… they have played spy games before.
For now, however, he says with a wry smirk. "Mind handing me the towel?" He nods over toward the one hanging on the wall beside her, a fluffy white one of course.

Speaking of games.

"This one?" Bobbi wonders, glancing over at the towel in question, "You sure that this is the one that you want?" She glances at him, which might be perfectly normal. But the lingering look is anything but quick and conversational. Then she reaches for the towel to pull it off the rack before she slides down to her feet. She holds it up, double-checking that this is the one that he wants before she starts to cross over to where he's waiting for it.

"Yes, that one." Clint's eyes light up with amusement though he hides it behind a facade of annoyance as he replies, "That one towel in your hands there. Yes." He does, however, draw up the curtain a little to perhaps preserve some element of modesty for himself…
Though, to be fair, she's seen him in such a state many times before. And the man she fell in love with a decade and some ago, he still looks good for his age. Still has the athletic form of a strong man who has worked hard for most of his life. His arms had always been well-developed, muscular. But she can see the glisten of the water upon the curve of his pectorals, and can see small beadlets of moisture from the shower wending their way down the taut firmly defined abs, slithering away below and out of view.
"Or if you're feeling ambitious there are some more in the closet." He offers, in case she might have /some/ kind of problem with that towel in specific.

"No, it's fine." Bobbi points out with a shake of her head, holding the towel out towards him. She could have thrown it at him, walked away. She probably SHOULD close her eyes. But she doesn't do any of those things. Instead she just watches him, and the path that bead of water makes.

"Uh…what did you want to eat?" Bobbi is being conversational! Nothing to see here.

With the towel gained he smiles at her… and then is stepping past. Partially covered and then moving out onto the bathroom mat he starts to dry off, giving his sandy blond hair a good working over and then running the fabric over his arms and legs, keeping himself facing away from her. Though, to be fair, there is the mirror.
But over his shoulder he tells her, "I'm in the mood for a good steak." He rarely eats such. Though then he says, "Or some seafood?" She might realize that's a concession to her as he steps out of the bathroom now and towards the bedroom, disappearing from view. He sorta hates most seafood.
"What did you have in mind?" His voice is heard from the bedroom, along with scrapes of wood on wood as he opens the chest of drawers. Then he pauses and catches the clothes on the bed. He smiles a little, shooting a glance toward the woman in the other room, then shakes his head to himself.
The towel drops and he pulls on those blue boxer briefs he likes to wear. Then calls out again, "But… somewhere nice." Since it's a special occasion.

He's allowed to move past her, and she doesn't follow right away. Giving him plenty of time to get into his room and start getting dressed behind she decides to follow him. It's probably just habit, but she shakes out the shower curtain and hangs it so that it doesn't fold over itself and risk growing mold. Then the lights are turned out and she's heading down the hallway to his room.

"I was actually thinking Italian." She stands outside the door, leaning across the hall from it so that she's not following him, but is easily heard.

The clothes she chose for him are laid out and he's putting them on, perhaps trusting her taste in such things. Since he did tend towards the… informal side of the fashion spectrum. But nice black dress pants work, white shirt, cuff links, a black jacket… and a grey tie of all things. It fits decently well, a clean silhouette and complementary to her own suit.
So much so that when he emerges he looks… rather good actually. Perhaps it's that lack of stubble now. The trimmed beard, the clean hint of an after-shave, and the way those cufflinks catch the light.
"How do I look?" He asks. Even as he's stepping down the hall and toward the door. He'll grab his keys, his wallet, pocketing them. And then the door…
"I was thinking Reynaldos." And with that he steps outside into the hall.

"You look good." Bobbi offers before she follows after him, checking to make sure she didn't leave anything behind her other than the flowers. Then she steps out into the hallway with him, waiting for him to lock the door behind her.

Then, perhaps out of habit, she tucks her arm through his before they head out of the building and across town to Reynaldos. Once there they are shown to a table, and menus are left for them to look over at their leisure.

It's only once they're settled, menus set aside since Clint almost always orders the same thing at Reynaldo's, the chicken parm with pepperoni. Also a bottle of red wine is ordered since that goes well with that particular order. But with the waitress gone, with the peace of the decor, the faint hum of the crowd around them… it seems almost familiar. As if it's always been like this. Like they never missed a step.
It's /then/ that they fall silent. The weight of it hanging almost ominous in some ways. A moment and he looks like he's about to say something. Doesn't. He looks away. Looks at the dessert card. Looks at the drinks menu.
But then he meets her gaze again and says, "So. What brought this on, Bobbi?" He asks her, curiously.

What indeed.

Unlike him she doesn't always get the same thing, so she spends time looking over the menu while he goes through the motions of trying to decide if he's going to ask the question obviously weighing on him or not. "I wanted to see you."

It's almost a too easy answer, really. Too basic. To blunt. No games at all in it. The menu gets set to the side, tucked on top of his before she leans back in her seat, her eyes settling on his, "We were married once Clint, and it ended badly. But I still love you."

That… wasn't what he was expecting.
Clint had been nodding a bit with the first sentence, since that was… evident. It made sense. But then she tells him pointedly the other two, as if they had decided to meet together and test each other with a game of chess only for her to use her opening gambit to tip the king over and concede.
It left him with no play.
So in a moment of rare utter candor he asks, "But why?"
And she might well see a flush of color touch his cheeks as he smiles a little at the sound of his own question and he says. "I mean… why now, Bobbi? I mean…" He extends a hand toward her, resting it over hers and giving a gentle squeeze. "I love you too. I always will. You're the love of my life. But…"
He takes a deep breath and looks away, but only for a split second then looks back. "But I'm… I'm still me. Bobbi."

It's the ultimate move. Winning by losing. Something like that, at least. Maybe. No. Probably not. But games are games, and sometimes games are designed to be lost.

"I'm aware that you are still you, Clint. And nothing has changed, I'm still me." Bobbi shifts her hand to turn it around so she can give his hand a return squeeze. "Why not? It's the first time I've seen you in a while…and it's the first time I'm in a place." Emotionally. "To say it to you. It isn't going to make anything different, the reasons we divorced are still the reasons we divorced."

"I'm just…" Clint says quietly as he looks into her blue eyes and he smiles a little. "Where you're concerned, Bobbi. I'm raw. It's like… I exist in a state where there is no flow of time. I love you. I'm still hurt. I'm still happy. I still expect to see you every day, or wake up beside you. And I've still lost you."
His smile turns a little sad as he murmurs, "It's like all of that is happening at once all the time whenever you're there."
He looks away, still holding her hand though, still their fingertips touching as if it were a shared life-line. Then back to her and he says, "But you're not saying you want to be together, or date, or the like. Right?"

There is a pained expression that passes over her face when he mentions that it all feels fresh and raw, every time he sees her. Like she's reconsidering everything from coming back to town to coming to his apartment tonight.

"I hadn't thought about it." Bobbi replies, and her tone is quiet. Not because she didn't want to, but didn't ever think it was a possibility.

"Hey," Clint covers her hand with both of his as he leans a little across the table…
Only for the server to come by with a carafe of water and fills their glasses even while the sommelier tends to the opening of their bottle of wine. It's enough to stop the conversation, to get him to draw back and sit up straight in his chair, to paste on that polite calm smile he reserves for the public.
The man in the suit explains at length about the qualities of their chosen bottle, compliments their choice, explains some of its history and nature. All of this is tolerated decently well… though nothing is said to engage him or get him to linger. It's only three minutes at most, but with the tension between them… likely feels longer.
Then he looks back to her and smiles again, rueful, apologetic. He'll try and find her hand again as if when they touch things are easier.
"It's not a bad thing, Bobbi. It's love. I've never felt that way about someone. After you came to see me… I smiled the whole way home."
There's a little twist to his features as he adds, "I mean sure I was a little annoyed that I left my bow there and that you totally stole it. But I mean… for once. I was happy again. I /am/ happy. Right now. Seeing you."
He takes a deep breath, "But I worry. I worry if we did try something, I'd just fail you again. And I know I know…" He holds up a hand as if to stop her from interjecting as he just keeps on keeping on. "We said it was both of us. But you were so young. And I was the older agent world traveler Avenger guy. I feel like it was more on me. Ok?"
Another breath then he adds, "But right now. I feel like you could ask me and I would… I would spend the night with you. The week. The next few years. Our lives? But I still have that… that fear."

Clint is nice, and polite. But Bobbi might be staring at the poor man like if she could explode his head, she would. But it means that she looks even more relieved when he is gone and she can look back towards Clint.

Her hand is still there, easily grabbed if he makes the grab for it. Her eyes study his face, and she does start to protest when he starts to take all the blame, but she lets him finish.

And then she lets the silence drag on for a little while. "But…" She starts, then pauses, her fingers curling tighter around his hand, "You would. But do you want to…"

His free hand joins again, so he is clasping her hand between both of his. He looks across the way to her and that same gambler's half-smile lights the older man's features up as he says. "For an ex-husband and ex-wife to give it another go? It's probably unwise, Bobbi. It's impetuous. It's bound to be tough and difficult and no small amounts of crazy."
Those condemning words are uttered and then he says with that typical Clint charm. "So of course I want to."
He lowers his head, seeking her eyes. "I just… I want to try and do right by you, Barbara. And I worry that jumping into things might not be the right call?"
He takes a deep breath and then he says, "But it's hard for me to say no. Like… right now, I want nothing more than to just…" He shakes his head as he looks at her, biting his lower lip.
Then he adds quietly, as if not wanting other tables to hear as he murmurs. "I remember how good it was. With you."

The sheer amount of conflicting messages happening in those words is enough to kill a person. So she doesn't try to rush into making a response, instead waiting until he's done, and she's gathered her thoughts.

Sort of. "You're probably right that it is a bad idea." She sighs faintly, starting to pull her hand carefully away from his, "I remember how good it was, but I also remember how bad it got. I doubt that we could survive that a second time…so you're right. No, you're right. This was a bad idea on my part."

If she's conflicted… to get an idea about what conflicted really looks like all she has to do is look across the table at the man she's sitting with. She can likely see the war going on there, the way he looks between her eyes over and over as if trying to find some hidden message behind those blue irises of hers.
He exhales slightly, and on some level he feels that he should let her go. That he should let this sentiment… this idea die and that they should just enjoy the meal together.
And yet.
"We could…" He starts to say even as her hand slips slowly from his, and he draws his own back a little. But reluctantly. "Take it slow." He says, quietly. Gently.
"Go out. Get a feel for things. Cross the bridges as they come." It's a life-line. A small one. But he tosses it to her.

Someone has to be smart, don't they? One of them has to take the evidence and come up with what is possibly going to happen and put a stop to it. For a minute it looks like she might be that person, but then nothing happens.

Bobbi leans back in her seat, reaching for her glass of wine to pick it up as she stares at the liquid inside it before she shakes her head, "I doubt we could do that…but maybe. Maybe we could give it a few dates…see how it goes."

At that Clint nods and takes up his glass of wine and holds it aloft for her to clink should she wish. "Alright, a few dates." He affects a light tone, "Nobody can fault us that at least, right?"
And if she agrees… the glasses clink together.

"I don't know…maybe. I have gone out on a date with someone that seemed very interested since getting back." Bobbi replies as she reaches out to clink her glass with his, "Maybe I can date two guys like the young kids these days do."

"Maybe so." Clint smirks as she subtly clarifies terms. But he seems well enough to let it lie.

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