El has been with the site for nearly two years now and has continued to prove her value. Currently, she is heading up our site event, Battle for Liberterram, on top of keeping up with her own personal plots.
Lux's posts are all wonderful to read. She has done a wonderful job of grasping the new universe and incorporating Peggy into it.
It's good to see Spidey back on the site. Watching him deal with the universe shift in his own snarky way has been nothing short of entertaining.
Eight O'Clock on the Dot!
El and Lux are making magic in this thread. Straight up fireworks, and the way they've played with drawing out the reveal is top class.
Generally speaking, the halls of Shadow Province's elite university were bustling, but civilized. Today, however, was not one of those days. A pair of young recruits fresh out from one of the campus' many obstacle course areas seemed to be getting rather heated about something. Recruits were beginning to line the hall as their voices escalated further and further. By the time the first punch flew, a sizeable crowd had formed around the pair.
"Move! Get the --" Kate shoved at arms and shoulders as she fought through the throng of students to get towards the violence. "Get your fat ass out of my way!" Stamping down on the top of a young man's foot, she used his yelp and bounce to squeeze her lithe frame through the space. "Hey! Dillweeds!" she called out, finally breaking through to the center of the mess.
If either of them heard, they didn't turn. One of the men was currently stuck in a headlock, though even from a quick glance, she could tell it wasn't very sturdy. "Amateurs..." she grumbled, continuing forward despite the threat of getting some sense knocked into her. Just as the young man in the chokehold seemed to notice her, she lashed out to the back of the other's kneecap. His leg gave out against his will, and he lost the hold on his classmate instantly.
While he worked on recovering the footing he'd lost, she shoved them apart and got directly in between the pair. The one was back up on his feet again in no time, but they both slowed and finally stopped as they realized there was something in the way. Holding her arms out to either side, Kate turned her glare from the violent pair to the young men and women gathered around. "Don't you all have classes to get to?" she snapped, her eyes coming to rest on a bespectacled ginger near the front. "You'd better hope you're not late, Grady."
That seemed to do the trick for the ginger, and as if on cue, the rest of the students began to make their retreats. Feeling one of the chests she was currently touching begin to move, she balled both hands into fists around the front of the young men's shirts and began dragging them towards the side wall of the hallway. Only once they were both standing with their shoulders scrunched up against it did they begin to fidget more, though the glare on her face kept them in check for the most part.
"Now I don't know why you two decided to take whatever beef you have outside the sparring ring, but count your stupid blessings that I broke you up before one of the faculty arrived." The Academy President, Agent Melinda May, was a nice woman, up until you pissed her off - and fighting in the hallways was a good way to piss her off. Professor Banner also probably wouldn't be one they'd like to make angry.
After one last glare, she released both of her peers and watched in silent satisfaction as they departed the scene in opposite directions. "Losers..." she muttered darkly, turning back towards the other side of the hall where she'd left her bag. Movement caught the corner of her eye and she glanced over as she tugged the long strap up to her shoulder. One eyebrow arched almost lazily at the familiar form of her mentor. "How long have you been standing there? Long enough to have helped out, I bet, you jerk,” she mused as she stepped up to the archer, though there was no venom in her voice. “You're going to be late to your own class if you don't hurry up."
So one of the shitty things about Clint's job - and there were certainly more than one, that was for sure - was that he had to be, like, responsible. It was hard. He was not cut out for this whole role model thing, especially when it required him to be awake for the entire day and keep track of a schedule. He was bad at both of those things. But hey, he had coffee and it was a godsend. Also, he had Kate, who was perfect and amazing and pretty much his favorite person in the world, even if she was a pain in his ass.
On his third cup of coffee in the past hour, Clint slung his bag over his shoulder and carefully made his way through the halls of the University. He had a class that he was supposed to teach and it would be a good idea to be on time, considering that the last time he'd been late Kate had decided to punish him by being extra irritating the rest of the day. Being on time for his classes was a good habit to get into anyway; it didn't matter if his job here was mainly a front, he still had a responsibility as a Professor.
At least that was what people like Kate and Nat all said.
As he approached his classroom he frowned at the commotion in the hallway ahead, clutching his coffee closer to his chest as if that would stop it from getting spilled by the jostling of riled up passerby. A fistfight. In the hallway? Really? He grumbled to himself, debating whether he should step in when he saw Kate in all her angry glory storming through the crowd to break the fight up. He couldn't help the grin that spread across his face as he watched her work. She really was the best and he kinda loved that she was around.
Kate made quick work of the issue, sending the idiots on their way and the crowd with them. He continued to grin as he moved towards her now that the risk of spilling his coffee was mostly gone. "Yeah, maybe. But you looked like you had it handled," he replied, sipping from his cup.
Of course, then she pointed out that he was almost late to his class again. "Aw, c'mon, Katie-Kate. You know I was out all night. I'm tired. Being a little late is perfectly reasonable," he poited at her, though he started moving in the direction of his nearby classroom again. "These kids are idiots, anyway. I don't even have a GED and I manages to grasp physics better than them when I was their age. There's no helping them," he complained.
He had a point. Her frown stayed in place all the same, though there was a hint of pride shining in her bright eyes. Sure, breaking up two students wasn’t akin to saving the world, but the fact that he had enough confidence in her to manhandle two people considerably larger than herself (with nothing save her bare hands, no less!) was nothing short of an ego boost. “Yeah, okay… I did kind of make those punks my you-know-whats,” she grinned, putting one hand on a jutted hip.
She could see the protestation beginning before it even slipped past his lips. Lifting her chin, she at least waited for his voice to break past his lips before shaking her head. “Excuses are for the weak, Barton,” she intoned. Being a superhero took hard work, sweat, and the occasionally long night. “Besides, I was out just as late as you. And I’ve already been to one class this morning.” Leveling her gaze on him, she lifted one eyebrow expectantly. Fight me, her look said.
Unable to stop the slight chuckle at his insult to the other students, she draped one lanky arm over her mentor’s shoulder as they walked - careful not to jostle him too much, lest he lose some of his coffee. “These guys are the best of the best. Maybe physics isn’t their forte. Maybe one of your students is the next Bruce Banner. Or… okay, that’s probably a bad example because science… but my point stands. Just because they’re incompetent when it comes to the laws of nature, doesn’t mean they’re useless.” Stopping just outside the classroom door, she turned a gentle smile towards her mentor. “Not all superheroes are super, remember?” she murmured, shooting him a quick wink before slipping in.
The class was mostly quiet already, but as soon as she entered, all of the conversations hushed. “Turn to page 394,” she called out, waving her hand up at them without actually looking at the students gathered. Snickering quietly as she heard a few people begin to flip through the pages of their textbooks (had any of them ever read Harry Potter?), she slid into the little desk off to one side of the room and pulled out her own materials. She wasn’t a part of the class per se, so she mostly just worked on her own stuff on her laptop.
Glancing up as her mentor entered, she shot him a quick grin and sat back in her chair to see what he had on the agenda for today.
"Dude," Clint replied, "You gotta actually say it or it doesn't count." He rolled his eyes a little bit. Honestly. Kate was an adult. She could say 'bad words' on occasion. In fact, he'd heard her say some things that could even make him blush before. It wasn't like it would be new to these losers' ears. "Proud of you, kiddo," he added, just to be irritating, as he patted her on her head.
He stuck his tongue out at Kate as she pointed out that she'd been right there with him. "Yeah, but you're a girl. You people are built to not sleep," he grumbled in response before taking another sip from his coffee cup. It was the kind of thing that he knew he would get hit for before saying it - but he said it anyway because he was an idiot and a glutton for punishment.
"Kate, this is stuff that I could grasp when I was, like, twelve. It's simple," he protested, "Like, okay. Yeah. I didn't know it in the proper terms or even really know that I was doing physics when I did my trajectory calculations, but I still understood the concepts." He huffed a bit, shaking his head as he watched her walk into the classroom. Honestly, he wasn't sure what he'd do without her. If he was being honest, she probably was the reason that he was able to do his job, period.
Taking another sip from his cup as he followed her into the classroom, he dropped his bag on his desk before turning towards the collected students, taking note of the few that were missing. There were always a some, and they were usually the same ones over and over. He shot Kate a wink before turning on the computer at the desk that connected to the projector to get his slides on the wall. He liked the slides because they meant that he didn't have to write everything over and over.
"Today we're going over something else that I'm sure you'll fail to understand," he started, since he didn't have all that much faith in them, "You'll need to know it before the test in two weeks, so you better pay attention."
• Kate Bishop • notes: clint says kate is the biggest butt
“I can’t say it right now,” she argued. “There’s a child present.” The hall was empty, save the two of them. Grinning with pride at the diss she’d worked her way up towards, she waited for it to hit him. It should be sinking in soon enough. In 3… 2…
Her nose wrinkled as his hand found the top of her head and she leaned backwards, bending at the hip. Both arms flailed upwards, swatting at his arm in an effort to knock the irritating appendage away from her - well, up until her rush to break the fight up - nicely brushed hair. “Use your words! I just brushed this mess!” she complained, though there was no real fervor to it.
She waited patiently for him to continue his excuse as he began it. It was probably lucky for him that he’d grown up in a circus. Walking a tightrope was a skill he possessed, and he proved to do so just as well verbally when his second sentence was a compliment to her gender. “Should’ve used the age card, dummy,” she clucked, offering the archer’s shoulder - the one attached to the hand not holding his coffee; she wasn’t a monster - a light punch.
“You were also swinging on a trapeze at age twelve, dude. Physics had a real life application to your existence. It was straight up Fast ‘n Furious: ride or die. Except, y’know… with clowns.” She shuddered involuntarily at the thought of the creepy dudes with red noses. “They’re not all morons. I mean, hey, I got through your class well enough a few years ago, didn’t I?” By this point, she’d been through the class not as a student, but as a TA, enough times that she could probably teach it. And actually, she had taught it a few times, on days Clint was out of sorts.
Catching the wink, she offered her mentor a grin and one finger gun before zeroing in on the laptop in front of her. As the slides came to life, she glanced up for a moment. They were far better for him to use as a teaching method since his handwriting was such shit. Even Agent Romanoff seemed to have issues reading the chicken scratch sometimes. Ooh! She’d made these slides! To be fair, she’d made a large portion of the slides he utilized. They’d been put into use the year after she’d taken the class, at her suggestion. He’d fought her on it for all of about five minutes before giving in to her superior logic. It hadn’t been a victory for herself, but for all of the other students forced to take his class.
She couldn’t help but scoff a little at the vote of confidence he gave to the students gathered here today. Such a great role model, that Clint Barton. Grinning to herself, she gave Clint half an ear, but otherwise got to work on her own stuff for the time allotted. As the last student left the classroom, she heaved out a large sigh and lifted both arms in a large stretch. “Murphy fell asleep,” she called out to him, rolling her shoulders as she resumed sitting in a normal posture. “So, whatcha got planned for the rest of the day? Pretty sure that was our only lecture of the day.” And she’d already attended her only other actual class. “Range and food? I didn’t find anything terribly interesting, but the day is young. My schedule’s free tomorrow, so I can hang longer tonight if we do find something,” she offered, a grin reminiscent of a small child in a candy shop adorning her face.
WORDS: 646 TAG: Clint Barton NOTES: That honor definitely goes to Clint.
Clint nodded absently at her response before his brain caught up with it - mostly thanks to the shit-eating grin on her face. “Hey!” he sputtered. She totally deserved that condescending head-pat now. Completely. He had no regrets whatsoever.
Smirking happily at the awkward flailing that she had to perform to avoid the head-pat. “Aw, c’mon, Kit-Kat. Actions speak louder than words and all that jazz,” he replied - perhaps just a bit too smugly to be completely healthy.
He scowled as she landed a playful punch on his arm, hiding it behind his cup of coffee as he took another long sip. “I’m just saying. Girls don’t sleep. They wait and pounce,” he grumbled in reply, knowing without a doubt that it was true. It had been with Nat and with his ex-girlfriend and with his kinda-not-ex-wife. God, he and Bobbi needed to get on top of things and sign those dang papers. But he couldn’t be assed to track down the right documents and Bobbi was too busy, so here they were.
“Physics has a real life application to everyone’s existence,” Clint scoffed in reply, “It is the most applicable of things.” He rolled his eyes a bit. “I grew up in a carnival, not a circus or a rodeo. We didn’t have clowns.” He was pretty sure that he’d told her that multiple times at this point. There was no need for her Stephen King-related drama about his childhood, thanks.
And he read, okay? He did. He knew who Stephen King was.
He grumbled something about exceptions proving the rule as she made her entrance into the classroom and he followed behind. He didn’t have high hopes for any of his current students, really - he was hoping for a better batch next year. Clint could practically feel Kate preening off to the side throughout the lesson, but he refused to acknowledge it. That would just give her power, which was the last thing that he needed in his complicated life full of women.
“Murphy sleeps more than Lucky,” he replied, referring to the one-eyed mutt that had adopted the two of them at the range some time last year and now spent his days sleeping on Clint’s bed and getting it all dog-y. He finished shutting down his program and slipping the flash drive back into his bag, along with the assignments that had been handed in as the students left. He hated grading. He’d put it off for at least three days.
He shrugged a little. “I could definitely eat. But after that I have a short little thing up just across the border,” he replied, “Should only be about a day. Wanna come with?” He didn’t really have approval to be taking Kate along with him on all his missions, but he didn’t have disapproval either, so he figured it was okay.
The head pat was not terribly appreciated, but after that wicked burn she’d got on him, Kate honestly didn’t care. It had been worth it, one hundred percent! Any chance she got to poke fun at the older archer, she’d seize it and act upon it with near-reckless abandon -- kind of like the way he lived his entire life. “Yeah, well a picture’s worth a thousand, so maybe let’s find a happy medium, yeah?” she sputtered, her words peppered with a chuckle.
“You do realize I’m taking mental notes on everything you say, right? Next time I find something for us to do,” See: find us a chance to save the world! “I’m going to withhold the information until you’re least expecting it and pounce on you.” That was a lie. She was far too lazy to actually do something like that. Mostly, though, she got excited when an opportunity to be a hero arose and going out on her own was a big no-no according to Clint (even though he’d done it for years before she’d showed up). They worked better as a team, anyways.
He saved the day; she saved his ass.
“Until I picked up archery, the only real life application physics had to me was whether or not I should take it in high school,” she retorted. His correction of her statement earned the archer a smug grin from his protege’s lips. She knew precisely what she’d said, but constantly forcing him to make the distinction was a matter of amusement for her. “They had you, didn’t they?” Shooting him a wink, she brushed past and into the classroom, content at her level of snark.
“Maybe if you proved to him how physics has a real life application to him personally, he’d keep his eyes open a little more,” she grinned, calling back to their conversation from before the class. “How is my favorite canine? I haven’t seen him in a few days. Puppy hog.” She added a quick show of tongue to the end of her statement while waiting for him to finish packing up his things.
Her eyes lit up as he agreed to snag food, and she bounced up onto the balls of her feet in anticipation. More excitement found her bright orbs at what he said next, though, almost to the point of bursting out from her. It was smart of him to invite her because she had been on the verge of doing precisely that anyways. “Yes, yes, yessssss…” she grinned, already mentally trying to decide which arrows to take. “What kind of gig is it? Net? Explosive? Boomerang? Why do you have those, by the way??” she asked, setting a casual pace as they set out towards the cafeteria.
"Like what? A picture of me giving you a thumbs-up?" he snorted at his mini-Hawk’s retort. He loved Kate, but she had the weirdest ideas. Rolling his eyes at her next threat, he decided not to even respond. Like she’d be able to keep anything from him. She always bounced with eager excitement at the chance to go into the field, giving herself away long before he felt the need to ask. Her enthusiasm was equal parts irritating and endearing, really. It was impressive.
Clint shook his head as she claimed physics wasn’t applicable to her everyday life until archery. "Every time you ride in a vehicle or exercise or, hell, even pour a glass of milk. Physics," he countered, perhaps a little smugly, in return. He might not be a genius, but he certainly knew what he was doing. Kinda. Maybe. Once someone had explained to him that all those things he calculated were Physics, he’d felt the need to research it and found himself actually liking it, weirdly enough.
Grumbling about rude TAs and how they needed to mind their mouths as she scampered to the other side of the room, he focused on the lesson nonetheless. There were more important things than Kate’s snarkitude.
"I’m not gonna waste words on him unless he suddenly seems to gain interest in… well, anything other than the inside of his eyelids," Clint replied. The sad thing was that the kid would probably be incredibly intelligent if he ever actually tried anything. "He’s fine. And I’m not a puppy hog. You can come see him whenever you want," he replied, tongue poking out in return. She had a key to his place. She could see the dog if she wanted.
Her excitement at the prospect of tagging along on his mission brought a grin to his face - stupid infections Katemotions. "Boomerang arrows come back to you, Kate. They’re useful. And this is more a smoke bomb and tear gas kinda mission," he replied as they walked, "Also, you’ll need to pack something slinky and sexy. Just in case." He sent her a wide grin, completely joking on that part but not bothering to make that entirely clear in his tone.
Kate’s eyes rolled slowly so that Clint could see them. He was deaf, not blind. She knew that, of course. But sometimes she just liked pretending he was more handicapped than he really was. It occasionally made him easier to deal with. “How about a picture of me biting my thumb?” she responded, doing that exact motion in case he didn’t understand. Had he ever read any Shakespeare? She wasn’t entirely sure he’d even understand the reference. Whoops. “You roll your eyes now, but just you wait. I’ll do it, buckeroo!”
She wouldn’t. But she couldn’t not stick up for her own threat so soon after issuing it.
“I don’t need to be able to calculate how fast the milk is falling into my glass, though. Gravity is a simple enough law - even toddlers can understand it. I just mean you gotta give physics some kind of personal meaning to the students to get them involved. Bring in a baking soda volcano or something - that oughta keep ‘em engaged.” Everybody loved a good, old fashioned science fair volcano. She wasn’t entirely sure what it would have to do with physics, per se, but it would make for a fun class.
Kate contemplated biting her thumb again as she heard the mumbles of her mentor drift across the classroom towards her, but she refrained. If he thought her post-coffee snarkitude was bad, he should consider himself lucky he rarely got to witness her before the nectar of the gods.
Shrugging at Clint’s argument, she crossed both arms over her chest and let one hip jut out to the side. “I stand by my previous statement. Make it personal and you’ll have a lot more interested students. Or don’t and be out of a job in five years because nobody wants to take Boring Barton’s class,” she retaliated, offering him a glimpse of her own tongue.
“Whenever I want?...” Her voice lifted in pitch slightly as she fought to contain her excitement - not necessarily at seeing the dog whenever, but at the notion that she could just barge in uninvited now. Mostly, she’d probably use this to see the pup, though. Students weren’t allowed to have pets in the university’s dorms, but as a professor he… well, she wasn’t actually sure if he was allowed. But he did.
The grin on her face faltered slightly as Clint argued in favor of his blessed boomerang arrows. She’d yet to ever find a use for them, but he seemed to have his heart set on talking them up. “Holy aerosols, Birdman,” she murmured, nodding at his instructions. She’d have to pack a mask of some kind, too. And wait -- what? Slinky and sexy? Eh, whatever. Maybe it was a kind of undercover gig. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d had to fight crime in heels.
Nodding past that last comment, she tucked that info into the back of her brain and turned towards the direction of the dormitories. “Arrows, mask, dress. Got it. Meet you on the roof in twenty!” she called out, waving one hand and scurrying around the corner.
Kate slipped back around the corner to where they’d just been standing and offered Clint a sheepish grin. “Err…” she muttered, her cheeks stained a light pinkish hue. “Food first. Then crime-fighting…” As if in agreement with her statement, her stomach gurgled quietly as she fell into step beside him en route to the cafeteria.
"Whoa there, Sampson, hold your Shakespearean horses," Clint responded, rolling his eyes yet again at her insistence. She was so weird. He didn't even know why he put up with her. He could barely remember how he'd met her at this point - it just seemed like she'd always been there, really.
Clint pouted a little at her protests. "That's chemistry, not physics," he pointed out, "And it doesn't matter if you don't need to calculate. The point is that its effecting you. But maybe if I bring in other things they'll pay more attention. Do college kids at secret government universities still like sports?" He had no clue. Sports to him had always been a very different collection of things than those that normal people tended to consider.
He didn't even bother to continue the argument afterwards. There wasn't much point when Kate had already made up her mind about something, so instead he just sighed. She was gonna be the death of him - which could have been her plan all along, for all he knew. Kill Hawkeye, become Hawkeye. Or something.
Lifting an eyebrow over at his mini-me as she got excited over an old, one-eyed mutt. "Yes. Whenever. God knows you're always inviting yourself over anyway," he replied, "Might as well give you official permission." It didn't make much sense, but he kinda liked having her around to irritate him. It made him oddly happy.
Her abrupt departure caught him by surprise and he blinked at the place where she'd disappeared for a long moment before she came back around with a sheepish look that wouldn't have looked out of place on his own face. "That's what I thought," he replied to her with a small smile, "It's hot dog day, after all!" He loved hot dog day. It reminded him of the carnival.