[If Clint’s willing to drop it, Grayson is, and he dumps the shampoo and conditioner into his cart. It’s half-full of the paraphernalia necessary to function as an adult human, and half-full of delicious junk food that is the reason he has to fight so hard against the little pudge belly he’s slowly developing.]
Aside from raising a teenager, you mean?
[It’s a lame joke, but dads are supposed to tell lame jokes, okay.]
I’m a firefighter. [And that is, surprisingly, just about as awkward to talk about as his previous career as a superhero, so—] What about you?
[Clint smiles a little at that, just because he understands. Tommy’s only one, but there are days where he feels like he could keel over he’s so tired. It’s not easy by any means.]
Yeah? That’s cool, man. Good for you.
[He struggles for a second to identify any sort of job he could be doing, but ultimately settles for what is mostly the truth.]
I — stay at home. Full-time dad and all that.
Oh, shit. Sorry.
I actually know how that goes.
[He’d dated Maddy for six years, been part of hers and Dallas’ life longer, and he considered himself every inch of Dallas’ father. Why had he assumed that Clint was married?
The guy isn’t even wearing a ring.
Well, it’s nice to know he can still fit his size twelve foot in his mouth.
Wow, he’s made this awkward.]
Nah, it’s no big deal.
[It’s a little awkward, for more than one reason, but Clint’s willing to overlook it, or at least try to.]
So, uh — what is it you do for a living?
[Grayson hesitates a second before taking his hand, because the texture of his palms is — strange, to say the least — but he doesn’t want to see rude.
He keeps the handshake brief, smile easy, and snags the conditioner to match the shampoo. He hopes you’re actually supposed to match them.]
Grayson. Pleasure to meet you.
[The brief hesitation before Clint says “dad number two” stirs a little bit of anger in him, but none of it for Clint.
He grew up with two fathers, and he got more than his fair share of shit for it. It still pisses him off that it’s an issue.]
See, so what you do is, you blame it on your husband before he can pin you with it. Flawless victory.
[It’s — one of the stranger handshakes he’s had. He tries to be subtle about checking the guy’s hands out, but it’s not like the guy’s done anything, so he lets it go for now.
Instead, he’s left focusing on the ‘husband’ and the weird squirm he gets in his gut at the word.]
We’re, uh — just dating, actually. But I think I could get away with blaming him first.
"You, too, sweetheart."
"Go ahead. If you have the stones, pretty boy."
- frank castle 2 clint barton
[Grayson glances over to the offered shampoo, and without even hesitating, he puts both of the ones he was considering back on the shelf and flips it over in his hands. He rises, knees popping, and flashes the stranger a brief smile.
Decisions are much easier when someone else is making them.]
Wait ‘til he starts saying the fun words. [He recalls, vividly, when Dallas had flipped and entire bowl of cereal over her high chair and gleefully shouted “SHIT!” across the kitchen.
He’d thought Maddy was going to blow a gasket.]
Nothing like explaining to your parents that you’ve got no idea where your toddler learned the F bomb.
You helped me out. Seems only fair.
[He realizes, somewhat belatedly, that they haven’t introduced themselves and sticks out a hand.]
Name’s Clint, by the way.
[He can’t help cringing at the thought of Tommy cursing.]
Well, at least it’s just me and — dad number two.
[It’s about the best description he can think of, okay?]
No one else to blame, but no one else to explain it to, either.
i’ll kick anyone’s ass. i’ll kick your ass. i’ll kick your dog’s ass. i’ll kick my own ass
Rougher. [Grayson toggles the two shampoo bottles, frown increasing, and then Hello Hydration. Does hair frizz because it’s not hydrated enough? Is that how that works?
Why can’t they just have “shampoo” and “conditioner” and call it good?]
You know what it’s like to catch yourself singing Taylor Swift at work?
[Does she complain more about the frizz in her hair or the color fading?
He honestly has no idea.]
One’s fun. Everybody says two’s terrible, but Dallas wasn’t bad until she hit six.
[He makes a sympathetic noise in the back of his throat as he puts the tear-free shampoo back on the shelf.]
I get a lotta Disney stuck in my head these days.
It’s been good so far. He’s walking and sorta talking and that’s — different. But good.
[He tucks the bottle of lavender shampoo under his arm and reaches out to pull another bottle from the shelf. It’s one of Natasha’s favorites and judging by the two the guy’s been deliberating over, it ought to be a good bet for his daughter.]
Try this one.
She’s fourteen and constantly embarrassed by me.
[He crouches down low, replacing the Color Me Happy and picking up the frizz fighter.
Dallas will probably throw it at him on principle, but it’s probably a better bet. Maybe?
What do you do if they have frizzy and colored hair?]
Teenage girl, huh? As rough as they say?
[H’s heard it’s rough, but he can’t really conceptualize it, and trying to imagine the women he knows as teenagers… Well, he’d rather not have nightmares.]
He’s one and constantly impressed by me.
I think it sells better if you buy the line.
[He’s holding Herbal Essences’ Color Me Happy shampoo and conditioner in his hands, but he leans over agreeably, scanning the aisle.]
When mine was a baby, her mom used the calming lavender one.
As long as it’s not a bar of soap.
[The guy won’t get it, but Clint still finds it funny enough to smile to himself.
At his suggestion, though, Clint reaches out for the lavender shampoo and inspects the back.]
How old are they now?
Benefits of having OTPS that can double as brOTP:
Always together (platonic or romantic)
Nobody can deny they aren’t important to each other
Their fucking friendships are a precious thing
A good relationship
Communication comes relatively easy
Simple things can’t shake their unbreakable bro-ship