Two SHIELD agents walk into a bar

Summary:
January 10, 2015: Kate and Hunter have a little chat about love.

O'Connelly's Bar

A generic dive bar near the SHIELD workplace.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[*<http://insert.video.or.music.link.here>]


Much of the staff of the Triskelion works odd hours. And besides, this is New York. So there's a whole selection of bars around the Triskelion that cater to a variety of crowds. There's one with 24-hour news stations playing from around the world at all times, for the people who just can't leave the office. There are a few more trendy spots, for people looking to escape the work day and live a little. And then there's this place.

O'Connelly's bar is more of a dive, honestly. It's the sort of place where world-weary field agents usually go to get a few drinks without having to worry about what they'll need to do the next day. It's one of the places Clint usually likes to stop, which probably explains why Kate is hanging out at the bar, cracking the whole peanuts the place keeps out for its patron, with a bottle of beer in front of her.

A dive. Perfect for Lance Hunter, military contractor extraordinaire. He turns up, like a bad penny, his hands in the pockets of his jacket as he strolls towards the bar, his expression goodnatured, "One beer, mate. With a chaser. The ex-she-devil turned up." Comments for the barman, his good humoured voice accented in a rough British. Despite the distractions of Bobbi turning up, he does glance at Kate, giving her a grin, a wink, and a toast of the beer. "Still, its not all bad." A barstool claimed, he settles in. Probably for the evening.

Kate looks up at the mention of an ex-she-devil, a rueful smile curving as she shakes her head. "You know, when I was younger, I completely idolized her," she laughs, reaching for her own bottle. "I mean, Clint, too," she adds. "But she was up there." She takes a sip of the beer, then cracks open another peanut, digging out the nut itself. "But man, she seems to have done a number on you guys."

Hunter's grin turns rueful. "I don't call her sh-devil lightly, but yeah…" He turns, resting an elbow on the bar, studying Kate, "Clint too? Husband two. Poor bastard." The sympathy in his voice is mixed with something else, something much more complex. Clearly the flirtatious mercenary is so not entirely over her. "Still, she aged well…" That is a murmur, a faint grin beginning in his lips, making it to his eyes.

Kate quirks a brow, grin growing in response. "Aaaaand that's another reason," she chuckles. "That's a woman who knows what she's doing. All around," she waves a hand in a circle. "On the other hand, she sort of crushed Clint, so I feel like there should be some solidarity there and I should hate her or something. Except that's not usually a thing I really do." Drink!

He lift his beer, toasting Kate with a rueful smile. "A woman that is hard to get over. But we fought, all the time, never could trust her." Spy! Lies alllll the time! "He and I should swap war stories." Only half joking, and he reaches for his chaser, tossing it back, the grin widening as he shakes his head. "Ah but he has you now. Best way to get over a woman is to get under another…" A man, in expectation of a slap..

"Oh my god, I can't figure out if that would be exactly what he needs, or cause him to actually implode," Kate laughs at the idea of Hunter and Clint trading war stories, though she rolls her eyes at what follows. "We're a little bit more complicated than that," she replies, holding up finger and thumb about an inch apart. "He's not, necessarily. The combination, though. We're still sort of…figuring it out. Also, did May tell you?" she asks, eyes narrowed.

Hunter lifts his eyebrows, tilting his bottle to point it at her. "Luv, if you want to cover a relationship, you need to talk differently about the man." He winks, waving a hand at the barman, "Two more, and chasers." A cheerful assumption that another drink is what they need. "Complicated. See, this is why I don't do relationships. Complicated. Who wants it to be complicated?" He takes a swig of his beer, paying for their drinks. "The Calvary never tells me anything." Something there amuses him deeply.
"She threatened to kill both of us," Kate wrinkles her nose. "Which is kind of a lot of pressure, you know? Don't screw it up, or the Cavalry will get you. Worst. Boogeyman. Ever." Another drink is definitely what's needed here, yeah. She shrugs then, looking back to Hunter with a crooked smile. "We'll figure it out, or we won't. It's kind of my biggest goal to avoid completely crushing him, though. For what that's worth."

"No pressure at all, luv." He pulls a face, clearly trying to smother a grin, and the reason for it slips out, "I suppose that puts a one night stand out of the bounds of reason? No?" He is clearly teasing her, his eyes twinkling. "Hey I barely know the guy. Don't look to me to be protective. I'm busy holding my hands over my bits to stop Bobbi ripping them off." Half joking, and he gestures, another round on the way.

"Uh, so far as I know, right now, Bobbi doesn't want to scratch my eyes out," Kate snorts at the invitation. "I'm not going to open that up as a possibility by getting involved with both of - or two of? - her ex-husbands, thanks." She salutes with her bottle, taking another drink and pushing the basket of peanuts in his direction. "Still sort of idolize her. For the record."

Hunter takes a handful of peanuts, tossing one up to catch in his mouth between sentences, "If she did, you would know it." A certainty from ex-husband number one. "Maybe I need a trophy girlfriend to show her…" That is a thoughtful comment, almost to himself, his lips curving with amusement at Bobbi's response. "Well, she is something." Complicated. That is what it is for him. A swig of his beer and he tosses down the chaser, shaking his head. "Definitely something."

"Hey!" Kate protests. "Who're you calling a trophy girlfriend?" She kicks a heel at the leg of his stool, just hard enough to give it a wobble. Another sip. Another peanut. "Aww, man. On paper, I am totally a trophy girlfriend." Which earns his stool another kick, this one desultory. "You, on the other hand, sound like you're still totally gone on her. No matter how much you call her your little hell-beast or she-demon."

Hunter slants her a grin, and a wink, and he comments wryly, "Now I can't win. If I deny it, you'll ask if you aren't good enough. If I agree, I'll get in trouble." He eats peanuts, taking a swig to wash them down. His smile fades at her other words, and he reaches for the new chaser, taking it without the beer in front before he replies, "She is a hard lady to get over. Can't live with her, can't trust her, can't…" He doesn't complete that though, shrugging.

"Can't get over her?" Kate completes for him, shaking her head. "You've got it bad, buddy." She cracks open another peanut, pensive. "I kind of feel like any advice I give you about this is self-serving. What with the whole, dating the ex thing. The ex's ex. Wow, why is this complicated? Anyhow. If you still like her, you could give it a try, you know. On the other hand, if you guys together are destructive? Not so much. I've lost track of how many times I've told a woman at the shelter that it doesn't matter how good it is when it's good, if people are getting hurt when it's bad."

Hunter turns back to the bar, leaning on it, nursing his beer now. The gesture goes with a fading of that good natured smile. "When things with Bobbi are good, they are amazing. Just… can't trust her." He sighs, reaching for another handful of peanuts, munching on them thoughtfully in silence. "Complicated." The single word sums him and Bobbi up. "What, you think it might help you guys if she was with someone? Wait ten minutes…" An unfair jab there.

Kate winces, hissing through her teeth. "Cold, Hunter. Cold. But no, not really," she shrugs. "Clint's Bobbi issues are way more complicated than her being available or not. Clint's me issues have more to do with his past with Bobbi than his future, so her state of single-ness or not doesn't really change that. Honestly?" She looks back to Hunter, wrinkling her nose. "I mostly hope she doesn't think less of me when she finds out."
The twist of his lips accepts the rebuke as fair, the man taking a slow swig of the beer before he speaks, "Yeah, unfair of me. If nothing else, she never cheated, as far as I know. The problem with dating a spy, see. She can lie without a flinch." He sighs and shakes his head, "Want some advice? Tell her first. Bobbi hates finding shit out that someone should have told her." A pause and he adds, baiting her a little, "Then all women do."

"Yeah, that's…not entirely how women work," Kate says, reaching out to pat a reassuring hand to Hunter's shoulder. "Guys, sure. Hey, just wanted to let you know I'm dating your ex. We cool, bro? Women? 'Hey, I just wanted to let you know I'm dating your ex' gets heard as 'mine now, mine now, neener neener neener!'" she sing-songs. "And then she knocks me out and dumps my body in the river where it will never be found because, you know, spy."

The touch finds tense muscles, surprisingly so for someone who looks laid back. "See…" He points at her with the bottle, adding softly, "Complicated. Life would be easier if I were gay." A good natured grumble, put on to lift the mood. "Nah, if she was going to kill someone, luv, it would have been me, or him." With a gesture, he orders another round… is it four? Or five? "And more peanuts, mate."

"If you were gay, I would so have the guy for you." If Kate notices the tension, she knows better than to comment on it. Though she does give the growing pile of bottles a bit of a look. "So I know I just finished explaining how women are complicated, but have you ever thought about just telling her how you feel? I mean, the spy thing with the trust is obviously a much deeper issue, but it starts with being honest. On both sides. Preferably about things that don't compromise international security."

He knocks back his shot, shooting her a look, his eyebrows arching up. "Yep, that would be one we tried. It goes.. " He changes his voice, deepening it, "Bobbi, I love you but I can't trust you, because you lie so well. Are you lying to me? Promise you won't." A falsetto, "Fuck you, Lance, how can you not trust me? You are fucked up!" He shrugs, reaching for the beer, taking a swig. "She has a point."

"It could be worse?" Kate offers helpfully. "You could be like Clint and reliably pick women who are pretty definitely lying to you." There's a pause as she considers that, then shakes her head. "I guess that's not really reassuring, though. Also, that kind of sucks," she sympathizes. "I mean, being accused of lying sucks, too. Especially if you're not. Kind of hurts. But you've got to at least respect when someone had the balls to say it to you."

"I find that, so long as they get it is only a shag, luv, we're good." Hunter, restricting women in his life to his bed. "See, honesty pays. Just… not the dividends I was looking for." Another swig of his bottle and he takes a handful of the peanuts. "Did you know, they did this study and found a hundred variants of urine on these things?" Still, he tosses them into his mouth.

"If your requirement for women is 'it's only a shag,'" Kate smirks, "I've got a feeling you've been coming into contact with worse than a few types of urine." She finishes her first beer, then reaches for the second, taking her time with nursing her drinks. "Just out of idle curiosity," she muses, arching a brow at the man, "How long ago did the two of you break up?"

He laugh, shooting her a grin, taking a swig of his beer, a sidelong glance at her thoughtful. "I'm a careful man, Kate." The grin is brief, and he considers his reply, before settling for an answer, "Which time?" The dryness of his voice hints at humour, but somehow his eyes give that the lie. "Before your man got together with her." A nice vague timeline.
"Well, that's good, at least. In the sense that it would be super awkward if you'd gone all bigamist." Kate pauses, tilting her head. "Bigandry? Whatever. The whole thing is weird enough without the two of your having been married to her at the same time. Not super reassuring for Clint's timeline on the Bobbi Blues, though."

"Technically, only she would be…" The brief musing is thoughtful, failing to cover a response to the thought of her with Hawkeye. "Different every time, I suppose. You could be married to the same person and be screwed up from it in totally different ways." Hunter's version of reassurance.

"Also, key here: Clint's got me." There might be a little bit of bluster to Kate's confidence, but it isn't entirely hollow. Maybe it's more hope than certainty. But it's there. Then again, she's young. "Besides, you're pretty cool yourself, you know. You're fun, you kick ass, and in case no one's mentioned it, the accent is adorable. Now all you've got to do is aim somewhere other than at 'easy and available.'"

He tilts the bottle, using it to point at her, "And that is the key. See, getting under another woman does it every time." He is teasing her. Her compliments bring a grin and a shake of his head from him, and his reply is soft, "The trick is, you have to really want to get over someone to get involved with someone else. It'd be unfair…" And he does as he often does, offering a joke to defuse his seriousness, "To all the other women in the world."

"Oh, man," Kate says sympathetically. "You've really got it bad." She leans over to swat at his shoulder. "Stop screwing around, dummy! If you've got it that bad, then go get it! Look, Clint's not perfect. God knows- Oh, hell, God knows everything, but everyone knows Clint isn't perfect. But you know what? That's okay. That's Clint. Blood can only flow in one direction at a time. Shiny objects, by which I mean boobs, are incredibly distracting. He has the luck of someone who's crossed a coven full of voodoo priests and six carnivals full of gypsies. At some point, he is going to do something stupid. Because he's Clint. But he's Clint." She leans back again, twisting her bottle between her hands. "He'd also kill himself to help someone he never met, because it's the right thing to do. And he'll walk through fire for the people he cares about. So when he does that stupid thing? We're going to push through it."

She gets a look, a thoughtful one, listening to her Clint rant with the faintest of smiles, his beer bottle lifted to his lips frequently during it. "And I've got it bad?" The wry comment brushes aside the instruction to go get Bobbi, stepping over it as a gentle hint. "I'm glad, kiddo. You keep trying, don't end up alone." He reaches for the shot, tossing it back, before he pushes it across the bar. "I'd think his luck has changed, if he has you trying to keep it together with him."

Kate snorts. "Oh no. His luck has definitely not changed." Another sip of beer. "Within five days of deciding we should do the dating thing, there was the whole naked in Times Square thing, which was followed by an encounter with a woman who does woogie mind-control things and caused him to shoot me. With a taser, at least, but still. Luck has definitely not changed. Also," she pokes at him with the bottom of the bottle, "I'm allowed to have it bad, I'm going for it. You're just sitting here. Trying to decide if you're hiding from her or waiting for her to show up."

Hunter takes another swig, considering his reply, his voice even, soft, "Kate, she and I… we've been here before, a dozen times. It never works out. Ever. I'd be crazy to give it another go." He lifts the bottle in a toast, giving her a faint smile, "And no amount of starry eyed hope will change that." He signals the barman, speaking more softly, "Can you give that redhead down there a glass of whatever she is drinking, on me?"
"Yeah, but you're already crazy from beating yourself up," Kate points out. "Might as well be crazy and a little bit happy. Anyhow." She drains the last of her beer, hopping down from her stool with a swift smile. "Whatever makes you happy. So long as it actually makes you happy." She leans over to get a look at the redhead. "She definitely looks like the make you happy sort, at least. Just take it easy on the self-loathing in the morning," she winks, nudging at his shoulder with one knuckle.

He returns the smile with a grin, as the barman hands the glass to the redhead. The smile he sends her, meeting the woman's eyes, show make it clear to Kate why the man can hop from bed to bed. "Happy for now, Kate, that is all there really is. After all, we could all be crushed tomorrow. Self-loathing? Me?" He spreads his hands, giving her a look, as he rises from his seat. "Tell Clint I said hi." Then he is strolling towards the redhead, giving her that smile.


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