The problem is, Clint thinks, that he’s too nice. And he made them breakfast even though this wasn’t his apartment. And Clint’s sweats are too long on him and they bunch around his ankles in a way Clint shouldn’t find even remotely cute.
That’s not really the problem though. They’re, like, minor.
The problem is that Bucky Barnes is a hotass and Clint is shallow and Natasha pretends she’s better than both of them but she’s really, really not. So they’d invited Bucky to Bed-Stuy to play Mario Kart, which turned into them shit talking each other’s pizza choices and drinking too much beer, which turned into them tumbling into bed together thanks to a stuttered admission from Bucky.
That was four days ago. And Bucky just… hasn’t left.
Instead he comes back to Bed-Stuy after his daily therapy appointments and collapses onto Clint’s couch each time. He curls up with his head in Natasha's lap, or Clint’s lap, or with Lucky sprawled over his lap and generally acts like this is his home now. He’s had conversations over the phone with Steve where he says things like nah I’m good and Barton’s looking out for me and Natalia cooks a mean lasagne within hearing distance of Clint, which means that Steve knows where he is and that… Clint can’t process that.
And then they just… curl into bed together. And fuck before breakfast, and something hot and essential in Clint’s chest winds tighter and tighter. A strange anxiety, dreading the beep of his Avengers pager calling for an Assemble because what if that breaks the spell? Clint doesn’t want anything to break this spell.
“What’s… what’s going on?” Clint asks Natasha one afternoon, in that half hour between Natasha returning from SHIELD’s NYHQ and Bucky returning from therapy.
“What do you mean?”
Clint flails helplessly. “Well – how many times do we have a threesome with the same guy before it becomes…?”
He trails off.
Natasha looks concerned. “Do you want to stop?”
“No!” The denial is almost ripped out of him; too honest, too true. But also terrifying because… what the hell are they doing?
“I just… don’t. Understand.”
Natasha smiles at that, and reels him in to sit next to her on the couch. “What’s to understand? I like him, you like him. He clearly likes us enough to not go back to the Tower for five days despite having none of his own clothes here. He needs to make choices, you need to know not all losses of control are bad and I need to…” She trails off. “Create better memories, according to my therapist.”
“You still go to therapy?”
Natasha shrugs. “Sure. My job is stressful and has a high probability of death or debilitating injury. Going to therapy is sensible.”
Clint pulls a face.
“Antonio would be really pleased to see you, Clint.”
Clint pulls another face but, before Natasha can continue, Bucky walks through the door.
“I went to the Tower,” he says. “Picked up some clothes.” He heaves an enormous duffle from his shoulder and the thump it makes against the floor somehow sends shockwaves through Clint’s chest. “Budge up,” he continues. “I wanna lie down.”
He squeezes between Clint and Natasha, toeing off his boots which land with heavy thumps by the coffee table, before turning to spread out across both their laps: head in Clint’s and feet in Natasha's.
Clint looks down at him. Bucky’s eyes are a clear blue, like shadows on snow. Clint feels he should be able to see the horrors of the ages curling around his irises in the same way he feels he can when he looks in the mirror, but they’re so clear. And Bucky’s hair is so soft. And his mouth is a perfect red O when he comes.
He wonders what Steve thinks about all this.
“Are we dating?” he blurts out, flapping in hand inelegantly to encompass Natasha as well as just himself and Bucky.
Natasha snorts and Clint, lightning-clear, knows he’s been ganged up on, that there was a plan. That it was Natasha's key that Bucky used to get into the flat. That it was Natasha who gentled the way. But he can’t find it in him to be mad.
A smile explodes across Bucky’s face. “Hell yeah, we’re dating, Barton. I’ve only been flirting with you for two months.”
Clint’s can’t really process that, eyes going unfocused as his mind sputters like a car failing to start. But – but Bucky’s hair is soft under his hand, and Natasha's palm is curled against his, and Bucky’s eyes are clear, clear blue.
“Does that mean I’m going to get the shovel talk from Captain America?” he asks, in lieu of anything better to say.
And both Bucky and Natasha burst out laughing.