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Title: Repeat the Sounding Joy
Author: jedibuttercup
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not
Rating: T; mild het
Prompt/Prompter: pixieinthedark, who asked for: "Buffy/MCU, Buffy/Clint please. Xmas cuteness between the two. Maybe presents exchange or just chilling :)"
Spoilers: B:tVS post-"Chosen"; post-Thor 2 and pre-Cap 2 in the MCU timeline
Notes: Now that I've finally figured out how I want to deal with the rest of Phase 2 (and not deal with Phase 3) in the Best Job Ever 'Verse, and the requester was okay with this being part of it: a continuation. Warning: fluff inside!

Summary: Clint looked slightly perplexed as he opened the door of his tower suite to Buffy, three days after Christmas. 2500 words.

Earlier parts in this series are at the AO3: Cat-Herding for Fun and Profit



Clint looked slightly perplexed as he opened the door of his tower suite to her, three days after Christmas. Perplexed, but pleased; Buffy couldn't help but beam back as she greeted him. They'd been flirting practically since they met, but even after more than a year, most of which they'd spent as a couple, the shiny still hadn't managed to wear off.

She wasn't optimistic enough to think it never would, but she planned to cuddle the feeling to her like a warm sweater as long as possible. Or a warm tray of cookies... it had been awhile since she'd talked to Angel about still being cookie dough, but she felt a lot more settled in her identity now than she had then. Was she ready to think about being baked yet?

Wait; not baked, but... never mind, the analogy was starting to get away from her. It might be worth revisiting later, though, when she wasn't busy surprising her boyfriend.

"Hey. JARVIS said you were back from the farm already; I thought I'd check in?"

"Yeah. Did the gift exchange, got to read Christmas stories to the kids, but Fury sent out a low-level alert so I figured I'd better get back just in case." Clint stepped back out of the doorway to let her in, already well trained into the nonverbal invite. "It's probably better that way, anyway; Laura's wife doesn't mind her being ex-SHIELD, but she always gets this pinched expression when I stick around too long. Doesn't want me setting a bad example for the kiddos if I'm going to keep discovering the plural of 'apocalypse', probably. What about you, though? I thought you were with your family for the rest of the week."

She set her bags down on the coffee table inside, then gave him a wry expression as he closed the door. "Would have been, but your one-eyed friend called my red-headed friend a couple weeks ago to consult on something-- I think to see if she could figure out how to keep Tony and JARVIS out of SHIELD's systems-- but she found something else that really alarmed her while she was in there. She wasn't ready to tell me what when she called to cancel for Christmas, but I'm guessing her issue and your alert are probably related."

"Well, that can't be good." He frowned slightly, fingers twitching as if wishing he had his bow in hand.

Buffy shrugged, then moved to meet him, threading her arms around his neck. He was probably right, but they'd have plenty of time later for ominous doomy foreboding. "We'll see. The rest of us did tree-day, but Xander went to join her yesterday, Faith's with Robin, and Dawn's busy, so...."

"Nothing better to do than drop in on the boyfriend?" He relaxed a little as he settled his hands at her waist, pulling her in close against him.

"Join the Avengers, they said. Save the world, they said." She smirked up at him. "I'd rather be... mmm."

Of all the ways she'd ever been interrupted mid-sentence, the Slayer slash Personal Assistant slash part-time Avenger vastly preferred a kiss. Pity it could only apply in a very narrow range of circumstances... much like all the other pleasant things in her life. At least there'd been a lot more room for that, lately; one more reason she'd never regret taking Fury's offer, regardless of what other consequences came of it.

Once they'd shared a proper hello, she led Clint over to the couch and gestured toward the larger of the two bags she'd brought. Buffy had stuffed a big plastic shopping bag from one of her pre-Christmas trips to the mall with a variety of wrapped packages; they'd promised to exchange gifts after their respective family celebrations, and when her sister had found out about that plan, the collection had sort of... multiplied. "So. It might not be an actual holiday with the Scoobies, but still... it's the second time we've been apart over Christmas. They said they didn't want you to miss out."

Clint's eyes widened a little as he stared at the bounty. "Really? The only one of them I've spent much time around is Dawn; and every single one of them I've met has threatened my life if I so much as looked at you funny. I didn't get the impression they liked me all that much."

Buffy laughed. "It's not that they don't like you, it's that I have a terrible track record, and they've been waiting to find out what your deal is. But at this point, you've outlasted Riley without turning out to be a demon or freaking out that I don't need you and running off to be manly on another continent, so they've decided you're worthy of encouragement after all. Go on; they didn't tell me what they got you, and I'm kind of curious to see."

"Seriously? Any guy worth his salt should know your badassitude is a feature, not a bug," he grinned at her, then lifted a finger. "Which reminds me. Just a sec."

He went over to the coat closet, digging around behind his bow cases and leather coat collection to excavate what looked like another shopping bag of nearly equal size to hers. It was stuffed with a similar number of packages, though most of them were wrapped in newspaper rather than brightly-colored commercial stuff. Mostly comics sections, even; were those really....?

"From the kids. And at least one from Laura. I didn't ask, either," he said, setting the bag on the other end of the coffee table as if they were a pair of festive present-y bookends.

Warmth welled up in her at the unexpected gesture. "I haven't even met her yet!"

The corners of his eyes crinkled mischievously. "She said she knows what it takes to put up with me this long on a regular basis, so you deserved a little compensation. And the kids wanted to know if they were going to get a third mom-figure yet. I told them not to push their luck, since I already brought them an Auntie Nat, but...." he gestured to the bag again. "They're determined little critters; insisted on sending along some bribes."

Was that a sneaky backhand way of hinting at, well, the subject of cookies? Heat rushed to Buffy's cheeks, mostly prompted by nerves but more than a little giddiness too. It wasn't out of the question for normal people to start thinking about that kind of thing after this much time together, right? Not that she was actually all that concerned with being normal anymore... maybe it really was time to stop being afraid of her future?

"That was thoughtful of them," she managed to reply, teasingly. "Though it really doesn't say much for their faith in your badassitude, if they think you'll need extra incentive to close the deal."

"Excuse you, they have every faith in me! They just thought it couldn't hurt to get a head start on making a good impression," he objected, still smiling.

"Well, color me impressed," she replied, then took a seat on that side of the couch. "Age before beauty?"

"You are just determined to puncture my ego today, aren't you," he scoffed, but took a seat next to her and pulled the bag to him with every impression of eagerness. "But there are times when it's just not worth the argument."

A brief orgy of paper-tearing followed. Buffy turned to watch him, pulling her feet up on the couch and wrapping an arm around her knees as his smile deepened with every gift revealed, and thought about what it would be like to actually take him along next year, and maybe go with him out to the farmhouse, too; about one year together turning into two, and three, and more. Maybe she really could be cookies, now.

Xander, it turned out, had made him a bunch more wooden arrows, each one carved with an array of tiny runes; definitely a sign of acceptance, if he'd broken out his practical woodworking skills. Willow had contributed a new enchanted archery glove, and what looked like a photo album that Clint peeked into with a delighted smirk and then hastily tucked behind his back before she could reach for it. Dawn had added... a recipe book, and a fancy high-end pizza cutter? He laughed at that one. A variety of candy, Tupperware-sealed baked goods, and other arrow-themed presents rounded out the Scooby gifts, leaving just hers for him to open.

He stared at the palm-sized box with the fat gold ribbon around it for a moment, turning it around and around and shaking it next to his ear to make a production out of it; Buffy finally nudged him with her toe to get on with it, suddenly terribly nervous about what she'd got him what with all the hinting going on.

She'd always been really terrible with gifts in general, but there was this one gift she remembered her dad talking about back when she was little, when things had still been good between him and her mom: a practical thing, but secretly sentimental where no one could see it unless he showed them. A memory milestone kind of gift, and when Tony had asked if he could do something to make up for the Mjølnir incident, that had been what Buffy thought of.

Clint finally opened the box, then stopped and stared at the object inside. It was shaped sort of like the standard titanium watch you might see in a department store, but the resemblance ended with the silhouette; rather than silvery in color, the linked metal band had been enameled in a deep violet color, and the watch face itself wasn't the usual big bulky disc, but a silvery matte digital face, flattened to ride very unobtrusively on the wrist with several buttons around the edge to handle the features Tony had undoubtedly crammed into it.

Buffy swallowed, then took a breath as he stroked a finger over the shiny band. "It's, um. You'll have to ask JARVIS about the features; I'm not sure what all it does. But one of the things, it's got a smart release feature; if you catch it on anything it'll unattach so it doesn't break your wrist, but it won't come off otherwise unless you deliberately unclasp it. I think it might have one of those auto-armor features, too, if you need a little extra oomph to punch somebody with. And, I sort of, well, if you don't like it...."

"No, no, it's just...." He lifted it carefully out of the box, then turned it over, almost like he knew what he'd see.

There, on the back of the face, Buffy had had her boss etch three things, and then threatened him on pain of Resolve Face if he ever teased Clint about them: the Scythe symbol she used on her uniform, the arrow symbol he used on his, and the date of their first hunt together in Central Park, all those months ago.

"It's perfect," he said, voice low and almost reverent, then turned and pulled her in for a lengthy kiss.

Buffy was starry-eyed again by the time they were done, and the watch had been clasped around his wrist; he stroked a finger over the enamel again with an appreciative grin, then nodded to the other bag.

"Okay, your turn now," he said. "Not that anything in there's going to live up to this, but...."

"I'll be the judge of that," she replied primly, then reached for the first gift.

The sight of a stuffed pink pig stopped her short before she even had it all the way unwrapped; she stared at it for a moment, then clutched it close to her chest and shot her boyfriend a wide-eyed look. "Where did....?"

Clint shrugged, looking pleased. "I sort of told Lila the vampires and Mr. Gordo story? And she knows you used to live in Sunnydale, and most of your stuff went down with it, so... I helped her do a little research."

"Tell her I love it; that was so sweet of her," she said, squeezing the pig again and setting it next to her on the table. The next gift was a Nerf sword and a bunch of matching ninja stars; she knew without even asking that those must have been from Cooper, because she'd heard he'd given Natasha the same thing last year. "And these will definitely see use at the next Avengers movie night."

"I'll tell Nat to bring hers," he replied, with an anticipatory grin.

A selection of cute shirts followed, all in her size, tagged from all the family together; the kids' other mom must have picked those out, as their official 'serious' gift, and the woman clearly had taste. Under those was the gift tagged from Laura... which turned out to be a selection of lurid-looking paranormal romance novels.

"Oh, these are going to be fun to critique," she promised; she thought she was definitely going to like Laura, too.

And last but not least, Buffy lifted one final small package out of the bag. It had a gold bow, like hers for him, only over several layers of purple duct tape-- probably so she'd have to ask Clint for a knife. She gave him an admonishing eyebrow as she tore it open with a slight application of Slayer strength, then gasped at the jeweler's box revealed inside.

It was too big to be a ring box, but too small for another watch; she teased it open slowly, a teary smile wobbling out of her at the sight of the pendant inside. A scythe made of rose and white gold, crossed with a golden-colored arrow.

"Great minds think alike, huh?" he said, then took the box from her hands and lifted the necklace out. "It doesn't have any fancy features, but I did have a tiny locator put in it just in case, and the chain's short and fine enough it shouldn't be a hazard in a fight."

She turned automatically, brushing the hair off the back of her neck so he could clasp it in place, then brushed her fingertips over the pendant where it rested just below the hollow of her throat. "I love it," she said, then turned back to more fully convey her appreciation. Not in a deliberately provocative way, though she did fully intend to wake up in his room the next morning wearing just the necklace, with him wearing just the watch; but just trying to convey that warm-sweater feeling she'd had earlier, that feeling of hope and joy that was as much about their relationship as it was the season.

"Merry Christmas," Buffy murmured a moment later, shifting to curl sideways on his lap.

"And a happy new year to us both," Clint promised back, pulling her close with a contented sigh and resting his chin on her hair.

-x-

Comments

( 4 appreciated — appreciate )
ffutures
Oct. 1st, 2017 08:38 am (UTC)
Cute!
jedibuttercup
Oct. 9th, 2017 09:26 am (UTC)
Thanks. :)
avamclean
Oct. 1st, 2017 02:36 pm (UTC)
You write the sweet domestic moments so well. It makes me a little jealous and love this ‘verse you’ve created. It meshes the two worlds nicely and neither is downplayed to make the other shine.

Edited at 2017-10-01 02:37 pm (UTC)
jedibuttercup
Oct. 9th, 2017 09:27 am (UTC)
Thank you! This 'verse is very much a happy place for me, and I'm glad that comes through for you.
( 4 appreciated — appreciate )

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