1964-11-16 - A Little Chat Over a Drink
Summary: Clint comes to Tony's office to discuss Bruce Banner.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
clint tony 

Tony is available when Clint stops by because he cleared his schedule but forgot to tell the receptionist that new people were to be turned away. Clint slips through the cracks on this one. Tony stands by the wall of windows looking out over the city. When he's informed over the intercom that a Mr. Barton is here to see him, he grunts and takes another drink of scotch from the tumbler he holds in one hand. For a drunk who's given up, he looks damn impeccable.

Clint's whole life is based around the premises of good luck, bad luck, and acting like you know what you're doing. It seems to be working so far. Sort of.

In this case, it works out for him. Clint hits up the receptionist's desk like a man on a mission, first, casually lying that Tony called him, personally, and it was a matter of national security, a flash of the badge, a couple smooth and personable words to smooth the hasty advance, his smile is a marriage of gratitude and satisfaction when he's allowed in. Hell no, he didn't get called up. Hell no, he didn't have an appointment. But everyone knows Tony Stark, and if he can track down double agents while Dark, he can hunt down one prissy playboy.

Stark looks impeccable, and Clint looks like he's on permanent vacation, complete with mirrored sunglasses. A couple butterfly bandages on the bridge of his nose and a small strip on his jaw, he's got rough and tumble sold with a swagger that doesn't look like a soldier or merc. Still, he automatically looks like he /belongs/ there, or so says his attitude, immediately at ease and scanning the office for details. "Mister Stark." Direct route to the man…though his head turns toward the City of Tomorrow. Clint's mouth twitches. Facing forward again to meet the man.

The office is staggeringly neat, and very little space is wasted. That wall over there? The wood panels are all pretty much concealed cabinets. And some more over there. There's one that might be big enough to contain a suit on the other side. The desk is quite sturdy, and the chair… well, it looks comfortable.

Tony turns his head the barest amount to get Clint in his sights. "Barton, is it?" he says. One look conveys annoyance at his getting in while being equal parts impressed and inconvenienced." He tears himself away from the window and heads toward a sideboard, where scotch and glasses reside. "Would you like a drink?" He'll just freshen up his own.

"All day long," Clint affirms his name as he makes generally for the sideboard, but slows his pace to allow Tony to get there first and refresh his drink. "I wouldn't say no to one." God, hair of the dog sounds good right about now, not that it shows outwardly on him and any redness in his eyes is hidden by the sunglasses. "Whatever you're having is probably better than what I'm used to."

"Good man," Tony says, and he pours a generous splash of scotch so fine it must've cost a month's pay. He offers it to Clint. "Then treat yourself," he says. It's got a smoky flavor, with a smooth burn on the tongue, and the aftertaste is sweet, but not too sweet. Smoky-sweet. "So what can I help you with?" he asks. That's what he does, isn't it? Helps people with their problems. It's a damn good thing he doesn't have any of his own.

"Let's not go too far," Clint shoots back smoothly at the accusation of being a good man. Drawing himself up to the sideboard at a casual clip, Clint slides to a halt and wrests one hand out of his jean pocket to take the glass offered, and hold it there a moment in an offering toast to the man about to give him the most expensive hang over cure he's had in a while. "Cheers." If indulged a little clink of glass on glass as two tiny, well-groomed Tonys stare back at the millionaire, upside down in the mirrored glass. "I ran into someone who works for you the other day and I wanted to come talk to you about 'em. Not that you know every name on your roster, but does 'Bruce Banner' ring a bell?" Clint indulges with a sip and tries his hardest to not cuss in front of the man, but he pulls the glass back with visible mild surprise and mutters anyway. "Holy shit."

Tony clinks the glass, and he smiles crookedly when Clint rebuffs the accusation of being a good man. He takes a sip of his refreshed glass, and his eyes lid. That sweet, smooth, smoky burn. "It's good stuff," he says. No need to brag overmuch about it, where it comes from or how long it's aged, or any of that nonsense. It's good scotch. It speaks for itself.

"I think I have a Bruce," he says. "Bruce Baker? Banner doesn't ring a bell, but I can't keep all of these names straight." He meanders toward the window again, and if turning away hides his expression, that doesn't necessarily mean anything. What did he do? Steal from the company? Try to sell proprietary information?"

"It does," Clint responds over the drink, turning as Tony strides past and returns to looking out over the city, keeping polite visual on his host. "It just hit on me, asked me out, invited me back to its place and cooked me breakfast in the morning." Speaks for itself an understatement as Clint takes another sip, then lets the glass dangle down by his hip, hanging on by his fingers around the wide mouth.

Steps follow Tony, no pretense in sneaking or doing anything other than walking up beside the well-groomed man, inviting himself casually inside that space to look out the windows. "Fair enough. You know anything offhand about this Baker guy? Anything that stands out in your mind?" Testing the depressed man's lushing memory. But hey, he's a genius, right? "The guy I'm looking for didn't do anything. No offense, but if he stole from your company, that's for your attorneys to handle, not me." Clint's mout twists wryly into a crooked smile. "you in the habit of hiring people you expect to steal from you?"

Tony raises his glass to Clint again and takes another drink. "I was wondering why he'd caught your attention," he says. "Though some of the things my people work with are a matter of national security. Still, it's not anything too exciting, I take it?" He shakes his head, then. "Firing," he says. "Is the general plan, but no, we don't have a problem with that, generally speaking." People in certain fields are falling all over themselves to work for Tony stark's company. They can afford to take that extra time for a background check.

"So what about this… Banner, you said his name was?" So glib with his lies, or at least the omission of truth. If he didn't do anything, what do you want to know about him for?"

Clint's lips twitch slightly. Oh, it's been a while since someone bantered with him who wasn't a complete hot head about it. Smooth as silk, Tony Stark was. That's fun.

The archer casually banters back. "It's pretty much a personal matter, but if you'd like to know, he has my favorite sweater." A beat of dry pause, trying to knock Tony just slightly off kilter with that blunt comment.

Tony's brows lift, and he says, without missing a beat, "Good for you crazy kids. It's about time he got out more and met people. Just don't look forward to getting it back. He's got the kind of build, I suspect, that stretches sweaters out. Still, that was awfully nice of you." He smiles as he lifts his glass to his lips. Yeah, he'll imply to a virtual stranger he's sleeping with one of his male employees. Because if it's funny, it's worth a beating. Pity he couldn't just wear the suit all the time.

He slants a sidelong glance at Clint. "So are you here to get comped for the sweater, or…? You don't actually need my permission to date him."

The lift of his brows is enough, but damnit he answers too quickly for Clint to be truly satisfied by the reaction. AND he moves to one up the comment with his own insinuation. Fuck. Clint nods and shrugs idly regarding Bruce's build. "Yeah, there is that, but oversized things are the most comfortable anyway." Phrasing. "And eventually with some work you can usually get the stretched out look to normalize." Phrasing. "But to be fair, he already had a cold," Clint sways his free hand to one side, and then the other, his tone leading and drifting. "And he was half naked. It just seemed like the right thing to do."

A smooth half pivot in Tony's direction when he glances sidelong toward the archer, there's a crooked twist of a smile on his mouth. "I'm not here to ask 'Daddy' if I can date anyone. I'm more of the 'sneak out after dinner' kind of boy on the sly, personally." No shame in that claim, whatsoever. Not for miles and miles. I do what/who I want. "I'm here because I want to know what his deal is."

Phrasing indeed. That gets another glance from Tony, full of side-eye. "Wandering around half-naked. What will our competition think?" He clucks his tongue, and it might take someone with a SHIELD agent's observational skills to see the knowing in Tony's eyes. He's damn good at glib, but he's not impenetrable. Phrasing.

"Man, it's been ages since anyone called me Daddy." He tilts his head as he regards Clint. Then he says, "Why didn't you ask him what his deal was when you were talking to him?" No shame is expected, by the way. He's not that big of a hypocrite. "I can tell you he's a brilliant scientist. One of the best."

"Your competition's going to think 'Holy shit, that green guy is huge. I wonder what he uses for rubbers?'" Clint supplies helpfully over the rim of his glass, voice hollow a moment as he takes a drink and lets that smoke melt on his tongue. "Or maybe that's just where I went with it." He shrugs.

"Pretty boy like you strikes me as the sort who'd be doing the calling, not the other way around." Because if it's funny, it's worth a beating.

"He was a little exhausted and embarrassed, worried about getting out of there after the fact. Didn't want to push." Clint glances at Tony. "I'm not completely void of emotion. I'm not the FBI, for fuck's sake." Damn FBI boyscouts. "So he's got some Jekyll and Hyde type stuff going on. Did he do it to himself? Smart guys getting too smart is half the supers' stories around here."

Tony chews the inside of his lip briefly, then says, "I wondered that, too." He snorts then, shaking his head. "I like you, Barton. You're crude." He takes another drink, closing his eyes as the burn hits all those right pots. He sighs softly. So the green guy got out. This will have to be managed ahead of schedule. Crap. But. He can do this. He is literally a rocket scientist. Too bad it's not rocket science.

"You know how it is," he says, looking into his glass. "Stuff happens, then here we are. It didn't happen on my watch if that's what you're wondering. I hired him because he is one of the few people I can talk shop with on the same level." He's quiet a moment then asks, "What did the green guy do?"

"When it doesn't look like it's going to come back and bite me, I can be," Clint explains regarding his blunt personality. He's just an earthy kind of guy. "I was expecting someone who wasn't able to take it, so I was on my best behavior until you dropped that joke." A bit of gratification for the surprise that he's not dealing with a complete starch-shirted cardboard person. His head was pounding too much to deal with too much double speak this afternoon.

Absorbing the details on what Tony knows about Hulk and Bruce and that whole ball of wax. "Honestly, I wanted to know if you knew that you hired someone who could go nuclear every time he has a sniffle. Was my main concern." Clint's baseline for concern is far more grounded in people than it is for a lot of folks in SHIELD with their eyes on the world stage. "So thanks for not making that my problem." Clint lifts his glass and takes another sip while Tony ruminates over his next question. Both men looking out the window—one in faded jeans, the other probably in silk dress socks that cost more than Clint's whole outfit.

"He yelled, grumbled, flailed around and generally tried to look scary." Clint recounts casually. "Grabbed me like a rag doll and sniffed me like a dog or something. Then demanded water." The archer shrugs, turning his head to look at Tony. "I'm kind of all right at handling big problems. Nobody got hurt, nothing got destroyed. He, you know, shrunk back down after a few minutes."

Tony inclines his head to Clint and says, "You need a sense of humor or this place will eat you alive." He gestures out over the city sprawling out below them. He nods slowly, then says, "I knew. I didn't know he was such a wuss about having a cold. I'll have to adjust his sick leave accordingly.

He grins. He can't help it. The big, scary Hulk with a cold. "Good," he says at the news that no one got hurt. "I have a theory the green guy can be reasoned with. The fact he didn't hurt you makes me think I'm on to something. If he can be brought around to the side of good and good-doers, can you imagine?" He looks at Clint directly. "Imagine having that many ways at your disposal to improve the world."

Clint does think about it. He might not think too hard about it because his brain might start leaking out of his ears, but he does think about it and will likely think about it some more later on. Meeting Tony's look head on, though one can only assume as much considering the mirrored regard that meets Tony, the blond nods, brows popping upwards. "It's a hell of a lot better than some folks end up." Science projects rarely get to be so multifaceted without seriously going wrong.

Clint drops back another drink, his cheeks puckering while he holds it on his tongue, holding the glass up to eye-level to check out what he's working with here. A little swirl of his wrist and the glass is brought back to his side. "Mm, yeah, the big guy's got a temper, but I didn't see any signs that he /wasn't/ smart enough to reason with." His brows furrow together, tugging on the cut on his forehead. "Like with an animal, if you get all worked up and start screaming, acting scared, it's going to rile them up. You gotta stay cool and in control." Clint shifts his free hand to gesture calmly across his own chest in a cool motion. "That's all I did. All about body language. Almost nothing about what we say is the garbage coming out of our mouths." Speaking with his free hand, Clint casts the idea of words away with a coarse dash of his hand. "He's a handful, though. But if you think that's funny," Clint begins and shifts on his feet, leaning into Tony's personal space by his shoulder in order to note with low amusement. "I helped him to drink out of a water fountain." He smells like liquor, pomade, and cigarettes. Amused as he leans away again. "That was pretty funny."

"Good call," Tony says, tipping his glass toward Clint. "He doesn't like sudden moves or noises." Tony not only doesn't mind the intrusion into his personal space, he grins at what Clint says. "That mental image is going to cheer me up for months to come," he says. He smells of scotch, a faint trace of cigarettes, and some expensive aftershave that really works for him, since he doesn't marinate in it.

"Anyway," Tony says, when Clint moves away again, "my role in this is trying to help him get control over it, and to help the green guy get his head on straight. Not just because he could be an asset, but for Banner's own good, you know? Going around afraid of and hating part of yourself is no way to live." His gaze drops to his drink.

Watching as Tony looks down at his glass after that thought, Clint lingers for half a beat, then nods and looks back at the view. "So what do you hate yourself for?" Asking up ever so casually of the man who supposedly has everything.

Tony looks up, out at the city, not at Clint. He's quiet a moment, his jaw working as he thinks. Talk? Clam up? Throw Barton out? All of those is an admission of guilt, and a plea of innocence would only insult the man. He takes another drink, and a place of desperate loneliness inside wins out. He talks. "Gosh, take your pick," he says. "I sell death machines for a living. I'm the least common denominator in every failed relationship I've ever had. I drink too much." He takes another drink, because it's there. "Doesn't matter in the end. You get up and you get to work, because that's all there is."

Oh it is a fun game, isn't it? Barton might be hell at chess, but these conversations are just as challenging. Seeing which way that they're going to spin when he throws something with a spin on it their way. And hey, who doesn't want to pick Tony Stark's brain just to see what will happen?

Barton, this may be your worst idea yet.

Listening to Tony's laundry list of problems that make him hate himself, Clint waits a moment to see if there's more to it than just that. Silence waits heavily for a beat, then pushes his glasses up on his face, nestling them into his hair. The two little upside down Tonys who were staring at the man now replaced with stormy blue eyes. Clint laughs, low and rough. "Wow." The single word spoken with incredulity as he looks out over the city.

Tony studies Clint's face, those eyes. Nicer than staring at two upside down versions of himself. He looks away, inscrutable, and his shoulders hitch in a single, silent laugh. "I doubt it's an unusual list, minus the death machines. I'm of the opinion most people, deep down, don't like themselves. There are a few glaring exceptions." Finding his glass empty, he goes to the sideboard, bringing the bottle over in case Clint wants more. "So that's me," he says lightly. "What's your deal?"

Because Tony gets tired of staring at himself. Please. Clint stands beside him with humor coming off him in subdued waves, shaking his head slowly. "Yeah, no. That list sounds like every other person down there." Pointing a finger down to the ground below, then squints. "If you can make the out from here. There are people down there, right? This isn't just some enormous fake set that they've constructed outside your window to give you the optimal view at all times, is it?" Dropping back the rest of his drink with a smile curving across his mouth, the agent turns to watch Tony stroll back to the sideboard to drown his surprisingly common sorrows. "Me? I'm fantastic." The archer smiles and shrugs, cocky while he follows back to the liquor. Sweet, sweet liquor. "I get bored, and I do stupid things. Just your typical overly-talented, bored idiot working for the government, trying to make whatever kind of difference they can."

"No," Tony says of the elaborate backdrop, "though that's a good idea. I'll look into that." He raps lightly on the window. Looks like glass, sounds like glass. He sets the bottle on his desk and goes back to looking out over the city. "We have that in common," he says. "It can be isolating, being the smartest person in the room wherever you go. But, like you say, we try to make whatever kind of difference we can. That's why I believe in the Avengers, even though I don't believe in much else."

"The Avengers," Clint repeats with an angular slant to his mouth, the words dropping pretty smoothly, but there's a hum of humor in his tone. "Yeah…there's a lot of those kinds of groups popping up all over the place." Clint will follow after that bottle as it's brought back to Tony's desk. "So what makes the Avengers different?"

"Yeah, but there's only on Avengers," Tony says. To Clint's question, he says, "Resources. "We've got the tech, and we've got the finest people. Captain America, he's everyone's sweetheart, and let me tell you, PR goes along way." He gestures to the bottle. By all means, have some more. "We've got the means to make a difference on a global level."

He thinks for a moment, the adds, "And extra-terrestrial. Again, that comes down to resources, and we've got them."

"Bankroll," Clint sums up neatly as he sets his glass down on Tony's desk beside the bottle, slipping his hands into his pockets and leaving it up to Tony whether or not his glass gets refilled. He's not /that/ familiar with the guy yet. He'll at least pretend to not bogart the man's liquor before pouring himself another glass. "Okay, I'll give you your vast millions, Stark," Barton smiles crookedly. "And Cap. Sure. People change and move around all the time. Why /not/ SHIELD, eh? What burr got so far up your ass that you had to start your own rock band?"

Tony inclines his head. Bankroll, just so. "Oh, there's nothing against SHIELD. No bad bad blood there. We have the President's permission to act independently of the government, and that gives us abilities to do things SHIELD can't, and SHIELD can do things we can't. I would be all for a proposed partnership. I don't see that we have to be locking horns when we're both after the same thing: peace in our time."

The message of 'peace in our time' results in a knowing smile from Clint, tipping his chin down, eyes rolling up to remain locked on Tony. "That's a nice sentiment, I suppose. Peace." Though there's something about it that makes that seaward storm that swirls in his gaze slightly churn with humor.

Resetting himself after that moment, Clint straightens his posture and reaches over Tony's desk once again to pour himself a drink as invited when Tony doesn't do it himself. Hey, he waited for a minute. That's all he needs to do. Carrying the glass close to his chest, the blond walks around to the window, standing beside Tony. "It doesn't matter. It's not about Avengers or SHIELD or the million folks getting together down there. Does it work? Does it make you hate yourself less?"

Tony watches Clint, and up close, there's warmth and humor in those dark brown eyes, a glimpse of a man behind the armor. A smaller glimpse of weariness and pain, and a desperation held like a hostage mouthing the words 'help me.' The pouring of a drink doesn't even garner a look. It's on the desk for all to share. All two of them. He has more where that sweet, smoky smooth stuff came from.

"It makes me feel like my time here does some good, so I suppose it does." He half-smiles, and he turns his gaze away, down to the city. "It keeps me busy. When I'm working with the Avengers, I'm not drinking. I'm not spiraling."

Clint, bless his heart, is content drinking and bullshitting. Simple needs, this one. When he's not bored as all hell and causing trouble because of it. "You know, your version of spiraling isn't nearly as spectacular as I'd think. You know, assuming that this is it. Drinking too much—hell, I do that on my own." Clint jokes evenly with a bland smile tossed in Tony's direction. "But I guess that's the perk package I get down there on the ground," jutting his chin out to the people on the street beneath them.

"Oh, this isn't spiraling," Tony says. "This is brooding, except when company comes around. That whole 'human interaction' thing doesn't lend itself to a nice, good brood. I figure if I'm not blacking out, I'm keeping the booze at a functional level." He glances down toward the street. Mostly he can see rooftops. "No, spirals involve not knowing how you got to Berlin, but you've got someone's panties in your pocket." He takes another drink. Damn, this stuff is good. He never gets tired of it. On the contrary, he craves it, every second. "I'll be okay," he says. "I always am."

Clint listens. His lips quirk upward. Licking his lower lip, the bandaged blond turns his head minutely in Tony's direction. "Milan." A beat of pause, he clarifies. "I woke up in Milan once. And /my/ underwear was the pair missing." Taking a drink, Clint shrugs and shifts his weight between his feet back and forth a few times in order to turn in Tony's direction. "Yeah, we're all okay, until we're suddenly not." With a single swallow, he gulps down that liquor, head tilted back for an elongated second while he savors that smokiness, then shakes his head with a vicious shake. Walking back to Tony's desk, Clint drops the glass there with a light thud. His card stuck to the bottom of it; plain, no name, just a number. "Gimme a call when you get tired of drinking alone and brooding, or you feel like waking up somewhere with someone's underwear in your pocket. Oh, hey, and if you want help with the big guy. I feel like we got an understanding worked out."

Tony raises his glass to Clint when he says 'Milan.' Excelsior, friend. He smiles, an genuine smile that showcases that warmth as he turns toward Clint and says, "I will. Call me if you ever want the same." He glances to the card, nodding to himself. "I think I might take you up on that help. It depends on how we do next time we meet. There are few things I have hope for, but he's one on that short list." After a pause, he adds, "Thanks for stoping by, Barton. I also think we've got an understanding." Two people who do foolish things because their talents isolate them and make them bored. It's nice not to be alone in the universe.

Stark speaks and Clint slides to a halt again, pivoting around to glance back at the man. Dropping his sunglasses back down, there's a nod in response. Clint's lips pull taut into a frown that denotes contrarian affirmative. "I think so, too. Oh, hey, before I forget. I have a bet with a friend." Barton sets it up before a lurking smile smooths over his face, ridiculous. "Boxers or briefs? I won't tell the Times."

Tony lifts his glass to his lips, and he huffs a laugh, grinning despite himself. "I have a policy. You have to find out for yourself. It's more fun that way." He winks. Two men joking around, like men do. "I have to retain some of my mystique." He raises his glass to Clint.

C'mon. It wasn't going to be that easy, Clint. Still, he snaps his fingers. "I guess that ten spot will have to wait. I can almost taste it though. Feeling pretty confident after this." A lazy salute with curled fingers flicked in Tony's direction, Clint calls back as he leaves the man's office with a swagger. "Tell Bruce to enjoy my sweater!"

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