Stupid Cupid – Celebrities & Fan Fiction

Since the holidays, Kate Bishop had fallen into this lovely morning routine where she’d sit on the Barton family porch and watch the sun rise over the farm with a cup of cocoa.

Snow on the farm wasn’t like snow back home. Snow on the farm could lay out in virgin crystalline white for a few days before every asshole who ever lived in New York stomped and pissed it into a tacky gray sludge. No. When you walked out onto the snow on the farm, it was still stiff and made this satisfying crunch under your feet. Even days after.

So Kate wanted to soak it all in on her last day.

It certainly didn’t hurt that the cocoa was incredible. It reminded her of something or someone just on the tip of her taste buds. Like there was a secret ingredient or something. Kate had been determined to get it out of Clint’s wife, Laura. That seemed less likely now.

Despite the magnificence of her hot chocolatey beverage, Kate’s favorite part of this porch-sitting routine was most definitely the fact that she did it in her pajamas, and on the farm, Kate’s pajamas were mighty fantastic.

On her first night with the Bartons, she’d been digging through an old trunk in the guest room for an extra blanket and found this gray threadbare Guns N’ Roses sweatshirt she tossed on because it looked comfy.

And it was.

It was a little big on her, but it was soft and all the time just this right bit of warm. And it smelled like cedarwood, apples and ash. There was something about that musk that just made Kate feel better. Better about herself. Better about the people around her. Better about life.

When she showed up at breakfast wearing it the next morning, Laura told her the legend:

“Oh, so that’s where that was,” she said. “I stole it from an old boyfriend.”

“Lance Hunter counts as a boyfriend?” Kate remembered Clint saying.

“You’ve got to get over this,” Laura sighed. “We were barely a thing then. That was before you. And he’s got Bobbi now.”

“‘Barely a thing’ or ‘old boyfriend’?” Clint smirked. “Which one is it?”

Laura ignored him, turning to Kate. “I stole that shirt from a man I barely kind of knew a lot and have totally forgotten about it and him.” She looked at her husband. “But Thor borrowed it that one time he spent the night here.”

Kate dropped her spoon into her corn flakes. These jerks had buried the lede.

Maybe some minor marital strife was tied up in this shirt, but when Kate was a kid, she could hear all of her parents’ fights through the vents in their Park Avenue penthouse. She tried to tell herself the Bishops were still happy because she couldn’t imagine anything else, but she was old enough now to get the difference. Kate had known it since the moment Clint told her how much he just wanted to get home for Christmas.

“You’re saying Thor wore this shirt?” Kate asked the battling Bartons.

“I’m saying Thor slept in that shirt,” Laura affirmed.

The God of Thunder, slayer of Thanos, Thor Odinson his-own-self had slumbered in this very raiment! It was the sweatshirt of a living deity, and Kate was wearing it and that made her feel cool. Yes, she had a favorite old-school Avenger — that much was obvious, she was eating breakfast with his kids — but that didn’t mean she couldn’t love Thor, too.

“Kate, please consider that sweatshirt yours, and take it far, far away from this farm whenever you leave so my husband and I never have to have this conversation again,” Laura laughed. “My gift to you, but really, your gift to me.”

On her last day on the porch, sipping her coffee, Kate remembered that morning and smiled. Not just because that moment when she’d take that shirt away was happening now, but because that’s what she wanted someday. That thing the Bartons had. Someone she loved so much that even their dumb fights became these intimate inside jokes that made everyone else around them vaguely uncomfortable, but mostly out of jealousy.

Kate was really gonna miss this place.

Clint had trained her enough by that point that she knew he was coming. He didn’t say anything. He rarely did if he didn’t have to. He just walked out onto the porch and sipped from his own mug.

She looked up at him. “I have to go home, don’t I?” she said.

Clint shook his head. “You don’t have to go anywhere,” he told her. “Stay here as long as you want. It’s just…”

“I’ve been here too long.”

He let that sit for a bit before he said, “Katie, we love having you here, but you have a life to get back to…”

“It’s more like a huge mess to get back to, but I’m already packed,” she informed him. “And don’t call me Katie.”

“We can set you up wherever you want to go,” he told her.

“Like Budapest?”

“Sure, but I don’t recommend it,” Clint replied, not taking the bait. “Except for the Flippermúzeum. That’s pretty dope, as you kids say.”

Kate smiled despite herself. She wasn’t a kid, but she knew kids didn’t say that anymore. “Anywhere I want, huh?”

Clint nodded. “It’s probably not too late to go back to school,” he suggested.

“I’ve already got enough credits to graduate,” Kate told him. “I was actually looking forward to going back and goofing off around campus when I was just the girl who fucked up the bell at Stane Tower, but now I’m the daughter of a murderer, and that seems less fun.”

This got her nothing from Clint. He really was gonna make her figure this all out for herself, wasn’t he? All of a sudden, he expected her to act like an adult or something… It was almost better when he treated her like a kid.

“Guess I’d better go home,” she decided. “At least for a while. There are things to be straightened out. Mom’s trial isn’t going to be for a bit, but she actually got bail. I just don’t want to deal with it, Clint.”

Kate Bishop’s favorite Avenger looked out over his snow-covered acreage. “This is a great place to hide from your enemies,” he said eventually, “but you shouldn’t use it to hide from your real life.”

Two months ago, Kate would have shot back with, “Isn’t that what you’re doing?” But she knew better now. All the world-saving adventures were just a job to Clint Barton. This farm was his real life. “I’ll book a flight right now,” she said instead.

“Like I said, we’ll take care of all that…”

“No, Clint, you guys have already done too much,” she told him. “I feel like an idiot for overstaying my welcome, and the thing with Cooper–“

“Let’s not talk about Cooper any more than we already have if we don’t have to,” he insisted. “I’m embarrassed. He’s embarrassed. I’m embarrassed for him… But if there’s something more you do want to say, I certainly don’t want to imply you don’t deserve to say it–“

“No, no, we’re good,” Kate assured him. She really didn’t want to talk to Clint about Cooper.

“Well, in that case, if you’re really still trying to make one of those objections you love so much, I’m gonna turn off the hearing aid, because I literally won’t hear of it,” he told her. “We’re gonna help you out, Kate. This place is where me and my family are safe from the people who want to hurt us. You helped me keep it that way. It’s the least we can do.”

Kate fought not to cry. Not in front of him. “Okay,” she choked out.

They didn’t talk too much after that. Not really. She said her goodbyes to Laura and the kids, and yeah, the hug with Cooper was awkward, but shortly after, Kate and Clint were unloading at the departure lane of the Kansas City Airport.

“Tell Laura I’m sorry,” Kate said as Clint handed over her duffle.

“You already did that yourself,” he reminded her. “Way too much, frankly. And I’m gonna tell you what she did: Kate, you didn’t do anything wrong. I clearly need to have a conversation with my son about boundaries. This isn’t about you. It’s about you moving on. And in the interests of that…” He pulled a thick envelope out of his coat pocket and shoved it into her hand. “Here’s a little something while you figure things out,” he said.

“Clint, I can’t—“

His finger was actually at his ear this time. “I will turn it off.”

“Fine,” she relented. “Thanks.”

“That includes the keys to a decommissioned S.H.I.E.L.D. safe house in Midtown if you need it. Won’t be first-class accommodations by any stretch of that considerable imagination of yours, but a smart kid like you should be able to get by.”

“I don’t know,” Kate said, feeling the weight of it in her hands. “I’ve been pretty pampered in life.”

“No comment,” he smirked.

“Does this actually make me an official Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.?” she asked hopefully.

“S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t a thing anymore,” Clint told her. “It’s all S.W.O.R.D. now. All those conspiracy theories about Phil Coulson being alive are just bullshit. He died. We avenged him.”

“This is too much, Clint,” Kate said. “Really.”

“Just consider it a Christmas gift.”

“Christmas was six weeks ago,” Kate told him. “And my gift was that story about the best shot you ever took.”

“You mean the one I didn’t take.” He smiled. He could smile about it now in a way he couldn’t when he’d first told her. “Okay then,” he shrugged. “Let’s go with an early Valentine’s Day thing.”

“Ugh,” Kate groaned. “I hate Valentine’s Day.”

“Stupid Cupid”
A Kate Bishop, Hawkeye, Valentine’s Day Episode

“I think I’m gonna move out to L.A.,” Kate told the Boy Two Doors Down.

She just blurted it out, but she’d been thinking about it long enough, and it seemed like the best idea she’d had since she’d left the farm nine days ago. It was still the first time she’d said it out loud to somebody else. That made it real. Maybe there was something about nestling together nude in that post-coital afterglow that seemed to provoke weird bouts of naked honesty.

“Wow,” he squirmed beneath her. “I hear it’s really different out there.”

“Different is exactly what I’m looking for,” Kate sighed into his chest. He felt hot and sticky. “Have you ever just wanted to get as far away from your life as you possibly could?”

“I didn’t want to,” he replied, “but that’s kind of what I’ve done, if that makes any sense.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I used to live in Queens.”

“Are you making fun of me?” she asked with a swat to his tight little tummy. God, he had a tight little tummy. Who grew this boy?

“No, I’m serious,” he assured her. “I know it’s just Manhattan and all, but it feels like a whole different world out here. I just feel like… like…”

“Like no one even knows who you are?”

He looked startled for some reason. “How do you know that?”

“Because that’s what it’d be like in L.A.,” she said. “I could be somebody new.”

“Or maybe just somebody nobody knew.”

Kate thought then if telling him about Los Angeles might have been a mistake. She’d made so many increasingly poor decisions since she’d left the farm, but she desperately hoped this wasn’t one of them.

Kate could think of exactly nine dumber choices she’d made since she’d decided that life in a shitty old S.H.I.E.L.D. safe-house apartment was preferable to binge-watching Arrested Development with her ankle-monitored mom in her dearly departed father’s ancestral penthouse.

That hadn’t been a mistake. No way.

But telling the Boy Two Doors Down just how far Kate wanted to flee from her shame without leaving the continental U.S. just because they were naked right now? That was probably dumb, but not the dumbest thing she’d done since coming back to New York. They weren’t even totally naked. She still had her shirt on.

Hell, she sort of almost killed the guy the day they met.

MISTAKE ONE: Up on the Housetop

“I will tell you anything you want to know that isn’t a secret that’s not mine to share,” Clint told her.

It was the day after Christmas and they were perched on the roof of the farmhouse, taking shots at numerous targets scattered around the back lot and a few up on the two barns about three hundred yards out.

“What kind of secrets are we talking here?” Kate asked, taking aim.

“I never knew who that kid in the gimp suit was,” Clint admitted. “And if I did, I’d never tell you who he was, if that’s the kind of thing you want to ask.”

She hit the target on the top of the second barn dead center. The Thanos-looking scarecrow.

“Who gives a shit about Spider-Man?” she scoffed. “Can you throw Captain America’s shield like he does?”

“Probably better,” Clint replied. He hit three targets at varying ranges with quick succession: The bullseye painted on the rusty old truck in the middle of the field, the oil-can painted to look like Iron Man’s helmet perched on a fence post, and yes, he split that arrow she’d sent into Scare-Thanos’ head. Hawkeye was obnoxious like that. “But Sam does it while flying, which is like Ginger Rogers doing everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards.”

“And in heels, no less,” she added.

Clint Barton was Kate’s favorite instructor thus far for one reason that had nothing to do with the fact that he’d helped save the world a few times: He let her talk while she trained.

So much of archery was about focus. Pinpointing your moment. Taking that breath after you found your anchor point. And focus was supposed to mean quiet, right? Well, as Clint explained it, real life was rarely so considerate, so he welcomed the distractions.

That meant that as she shot through quiver after quiver after quiver, he told her the secret history of the Avengers for days on end in the breathtaking Midwestern winter. If Kate had been clever and disloyal enough to record it, it would have made the greatest episode of that “This Powered Life” podcast ever.

Every tourist knew the shawarma place the Avengers went to after the Battle of New York, but now, only Kate knew that Tony Stark had meant to try this other joint three blocks over which had been closed because of, you know, the potential global disaster. And that place? Kate had tried them both in her time back in New York since she’d left the Bartons. The one they’d ended up with wasn’t as good. That’s why, three days after her return to New York, she’d been training up on the roof.

The S.H.I.E.L.D. apartment wasn’t as big as the one she had in the Village that had gotten Molotov-cocktailed and was sure to be seized in a federal investigation, and after a few days of doing little more than practicing her ASL, Kate was feeling so antsy she just had to do something.

That new TV she’d bought wasn’t doing her any good.

Besides, if Kate was gonna be the All-New Hawkeye, it was best to keep her skills sharp. The roof offered a lot more range and wind to correct, with the added advantage of the constant sounds of the city.

But when some guy burst out of the door into her little urban oasis, she was so startled she actually took aim at him.

He was about her height, which didn’t exactly make him the tallest drink of water, but that was just fine. He wore a well-worn woolen Mets cap — automatically marking him a hopeless romantic — which didn’t quite cover this shaggy mop of brown hair, and this heavy gray parka he clutched to his throat even though it really wasn’t that cold. Tragically, he had this scraggly almost-beard, more of a thick scruff, really, that almost worked for him, but not quite. She noticed the shiny blue thermals stuffed in thick calf-high yellow rain boots that crunched the snow with each step.

That was the other thing Kate liked about the roof. The snow up here was almost like the farm’s.

“Sorry,” the guy said when he saw her. He didn’t look scared despite the arrow trained on his chest. “Didn’t know anybody else was up here.” His face changed in some form of brand-new surprise. “Wait… Katie Bishop?”

“Just Kate,” she corrected. She’d stopped letting people call her Katie when she was fifteen. “Do I know you?”

“I’m… I’m a big fan,” he said. “The 2018 Junior Olympics? You were amazing. Heard you just won the U.S. Open.”

Holy crap. The Junior Olympics? Did people really remember that? After the Blip? “Who are you?”

He told her his name, but it was hard to believe. It was the type of name you heard in nursery rhymes or fairy tales. But she couldn’t keep aiming at his heart forever. Kate lowered the bow.

“I wasn’t going to loose the arrow,” she assured him.

“How could you lose the arrow?” he asked with an anxious chuckle. “Pretty sure you would have found it, right? Sticking out of my chest?”

“No, ‘loose,’ not ‘lose,'” Kate explained. “It’s a whole archery thing.”

“No, no, I got the subtle linguistic nuance, I was trying to make a joke?” he sighed. “Sorry, my casual banter’s still not that great? I’m working on that, though?” He had this weird way of ending his statements like they were questions when he was flustered. The whole time, he’d been staring at her in this way that seemed to speak to some knowledge of her that was something more than following her competitive athletic pursuits that she couldn’t find out.

“You sure I don’t know you?” Kate asked.

“I think we live on the same floor,” he said. “I didn’t know it was you, though. You’re the lady who played that old Wallflowers song on repeat that one night.”

“‘Lady’?” Kate was on the edge of twenty-three.

“‘Girl’ seemed like a mistake?” he shrugged.

Damn. He was right about that.

“The phrase ‘old Wallflowers song’ is redundant,” she informed him. “And ‘Sleepwalker’ is a classic.” It had been one of her father’s favorite songs.

“Well, I actually have a thing I need to do,” he said, heading back toward the door.

“Then why did you come to the roof?” she asked.

“That’s an excellent question,” he acknowledged. “Tell you later?”

Then he was gone.

Kate saw him a few more times over the next couple of days. Twice on the stairs, once in the laundry room. He did, in fact, live on the same floor as the safe house. Two doors down. The corner place. And the apartment between them had been closed off as a crime scene since she’d moved in.

He seemed nice enough, but there was something about him. Something she couldn’t put her finger on just yet. This strange vibe. He was weird and mysterious and probably a skosh too young despite the desperate beard. He was such a bad idea, because when things went wrong, he’d be impossible to avoid for as long as she stayed there. But there was still that strange vibe. Kate had never been a “strange vibe” follower, but this was different. Like a fog. The faintest sense of deja vu.

But the Boy Two Doors Down was just some guy, right? He had to be. And he never did explain why he’d come to the roof.

So obviously, it didn’t even take Kate a week to end up fucking him.

Actually, that made it seem simple. Like it was fated. Inevitable. It hadn’t been inevitable in the least. And Kate didn’t believe in fate.

She was only with the Boy Two Doors Down right now because of a mistake she made five days after that dumb meet-cute rooftop rendezvous.

MISTAKE TWO: Moose and Squirrel

Kate never should have answered the door, but the constant pounding was impossible to ignore. It was 3:23 in the morning and she’d been asleep, so it didn’t occur to her that nobody should have known where she was. So, roused from her less than restful slumber by the incessant knocking and in the fog of that recurring nightmare about joining her school a cappella group — Kate couldn’t sing to save her life — she just unlatched the chain, flipped the deadbolt and opened up because she was an idiot.

Kate certainly didn’t expect to see Yelena Belova, the All-New Black Widow, with two shopping totes in her arms, an overnight bag at her feet, and this crazy smile on her face.

“Happy Valentine’s Day!” the Russian grinned.

“What are you doing here?” Kate asked, flummoxed. She almost hadn’t recognized Yelena at first. The faux fur coat and “I Heart NY” T-shirt knotted to cinch at the waist of her torn acid-wash jeans were a fashion assault that dutifully dazzled and distracted. It didn’t help that the Russian had chopped and colored all that dirty blonde hair into this devastating platinum bob since Kate had last seen her.

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