“Clint!” Kate slammed open the door to the apartment and barged in. She absentmindedly rubbed at Lucky’s ears when he padded up to her, looking around to find her wayward partner. “Clint, I need help! Advice! Whatever!”
Clint’s head appeared around the edge of the kitchen entryway, his torso positioned in such a way that Kate assumed he was sitting on a stool behind the wall and leaning backwards to see around it. His mouth was full of sandwich, most of which was visible.
She made a face. “Gross, Hawkdude.”
Clint rolled his eyes and disappeared back around the wall, presumably sitting up straight again. There were a few disgusting noises as Kate made her way over, and by the time she managed to make her way around to where she could see him again, he was washing the food down with some coffee straight from the pot, which was… well, she’d done the same on occasion. She wasn’t going to judge based on where he drank his coffee from.
(…not a lot, anyway.)
“I’m really not the best for advice, Katie-Kate,” he said when he put the pot down, rubbing the back of his hand across his mouth to clean it off.
“Yeah, but you can maybe point me to someone who is,” Kate insisted, hopping up onto a stool and swiveling back and forth a bit. “Like, that’s a thing that can happen, right? I tell you of my woes and you direct me to a kind soul willing to share some kind of help?”
Clint gave her a deadpan stare in answer. “Sure, kid.”
“Not a kid. And don’t call me Katie-Kate.”
“You’re like nine.”
“Meh. Details.” Clint took another swig from the coffee pot, one hand dropping down to rub at Lucky’s ears. He put it down with a sigh of gusto, and then gave Kate a look. “So, what’s the problem?”
“I may not be as straight as I thought I was, and I think I’m crushing on America, and I need help dude, I don’t know what I’m doing.”
“And you came to me because…”
“Because you’re one of the few people I know that isn’t friends with her too, so you can give a sort-of outside perspective on things without me having to worry that you’ll let it slip to her before I come to a decision on what to do.” Kate rushed the words, almost stumbling over a handful of them. “Also, you’re romantic history is almost as disastrous as mine, so at least we have a wide array of bad experiences to choose from.”
“…Your love life isn’t all that disastrous, Kate.” Clint said, raising one eyebrow.
“It’s… I’m not… I can’t do romance.” Kate finally settled on that as a descriptor for her situation. “Like… I really can’t do romance. Sex, sure. Friendship, sure. Romance… not so much? And it screws with my relationships. Mostly Eli and Tommy.”
“Not Marvel Boy?”
“The split with Noh was entirely his fault and I refuse to take responsibility for it, no matter how amicable we are now.” Kate crossed her arms and huffed out a breath. “You know why.”
Clint shrugged. He did. He’d heard the story enough times. “Okay, so… America. I thought you were still bitter about that comment from New Y—”
“I don’t know,” Kate groaned, dropping her head into her hands and groaning. “I don’t futzing know, Clint. It was just a joke, even if it was a kind of rude one, but also it’s part of what got me thinking and I don’t know, my dude.”
“I’m your dude?”
“You’re a dude, and you’re sort of mine, so yeah. My dude.” Kate lifted her head and stared at him with what might have been desperation. You know. Maybe. “Help me.”
Clint frowns down at his now-empty pot of coffee. “Let me call Natasha.”
“I’m not much better at relationships than Clint is,” was the first thing Natasha said, once Kate got around to asking her bluntly. “But I can try to help.”
Natasha tapped her fingers against the table, considering. “I’m also probably a bit more informed on the topic of healthy relationships than Jessica and Bobbi.”
“Drew and Morse,” Natasha clarified. “Jessica has trust issues, if for a good reason, and Bobbi had a tendency to test out mild chemical weapons on Clint when they were married.”
Kate thought about this for a moment. “Yeah, okay. I can see why that would be a little worrisome.”
“Just think,” Natasha said with a smile, “He could have asked Stark for help.”
“Oh my god, I can’t do this.” Kate gripped the bottom edge of her ugly holiday sweater with white-knuckled fingers. “I seriously, for-reals can’t do this.”
“You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this nervous about talking to someone,” Clint commented. He was sitting on a stool at the bar, sucking a cherry off a stick, because it had come with the fruity pink drink he’d ordered, and Kate hadn’t even teased him about it, because the drink in question was a damn tasty one, considering the alcohol content.
“I’m trying something very new, Clint. I have the right to feel awkward about it,” Kate hissed at him. “Okay. I can do this.”
“You sure she doesn’t already have a girlfriend?” He asked.
“Clint!” Kate whisper-shouted. “Oh my god. Seriously? Right now? Seriously?”
“I’m just saying—”
“To make me freak out more!”
“Well… yeah, a little.” Clint grinned, gesturing at her with his half-empty fruity drink. “You’re hilarious when you’re all nervous like this.”
“Fuck you, man,” Kate groaned.
“Ew, gross.” Clint made a face. “Anyway, go get your girl.”
“Right. I can do this. I can totally do this.” Kate squeezed her eyes shut and bounced on her toes for a minute.
It was New Year’s. She could do this.
She strode over to America and held out a rose. “So, Miss America Chavez. New Year’s is in thirty seconds, and I was wondering if I could have your New Year’s kiss?”
America stared blankly at her, mouth slightly open in what appeared to be shock.
Kate rushed to get the rest of the words out.
“And maybe a date afterwards?”
She was sure her cheeks were on fire, and the smirk that soon crossed America’s face was amusing as hell.
(Kate got her kiss and her date.)
(Natasha, in turn, got a basket of bath products as a thank you for her help.)