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Small Gods: First Cup – 2

First Cup:  A Clint Barton Fanfic

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Character Pairing:  Clint Barton x F!Reader

Rating: E

Word Count:  1798

Warnings: none for chapter

Synopsis: Clint Barton has a coffee addiction.  One day that addiction brings him to The Elysian Fields coffee shop where he meets you.  Soon Clint feels like his addiction isn’t just caffeine-based.  But things are not as they seem.  With a store that only appears under certain conditions, no customers, and a dog the size of a Dire Wolf, Clint isn’t sure there’s not more going on with you and he isn’t sure how to figure out if his feelings are real or just a side effect of his addiction.

Chapter 2

“I swear to god, Nat.  It was right here!”

Clint had walked up and down the street with his best friend in tow a dozen times now.  He’d moved a block down on either side to make sure he hadn’t gotten the names confused and then returned to the original street again.

Your coffee shop was gone.

He was sure it had been here.  Right between the barber and the vintage clothing store.  But there was nothing between the barber and the vintage clothing store except a small row of bricks no wider than the average wall.  He was wondering if he’d walked further from his apartment than he’d expected.  He’d remembered that it felt like he’d been walking forever.  Maybe he’d made it down to the docks or god forbid, he’d walked all the way into Queens.

“I’m sure the amazing coffee shop that had all kinds of games and books, and the pretty barista with the massive dog you thought was probably some kind of timber wolf, and the best coffee you’d ever had, as well as bacon pecan cinnamon scrolls that tasted like they came from heaven, and yet somehow was magically empty the entire time you were there is completely real and not at all some kind of fever dream you had,” Natasha snarked.  “Can we just go over to that Chinese place and get dumplings?  I’m starving.”

He looked up and down the street again.  “Maybe I was further down.  I do remember there wasn’t a Starbucks and there’s one just there,” he said pointing.  “Maybe I walked for longer…”

“And there was another barber next to a vintage store,” Natasha finished.

“They weren’t next to each other, it was in between them,”  Clint argued.  “And maybe I was wrong.  Maybe it was just a regular hairdresser and a thrift shop.  I think I walked a bit down…”

“Clint, please,” Natasha begged.  “I don’t have the patience to go on a treasure hunt through Brooklyn for your imaginary coffee shop.  Let’s just go get some food.”

Clint pointed down the street and then sighed and dropped his hand.  There was no point in arguing it anymore.  Natasha had been as patient as she could be with him and if he pushed it much more he was risking being left to fend for himself.  “Okay.  We’ll get Chinese.”

He followed her over to the little dumpling house over the road.  The whole time they were ordering and waiting for their food to arrive, Clint couldn’t stop thinking about you and the coffee shop and what the hell had happened to it.  Even if it had closed down within a couple of days, there’d still be some sign of it.  At the very least an empty shop front and that was assuming that you could gut a store with no warning with only one full day’s notice.  He kept thinking maybe he’d dreamt it after all.  He’d been pretty tired when he decided to take Lucky on his walk.  Maybe he’d just sleepwalked around this city lucid dreaming about hot girls with cool dogs making him coffee.  It was a pretty great dream now he had time to think about it.

“Are you still hung up on the coffee place?” Natasha said as she picked up a dumpling with her chopsticks.  “Look, maybe you’re right – maybe such a wondrous and impossible place exists.   But it’s clearly not on this street.  We walked up and down it fifteen times.  I needed to eat.”

“No, it’s fine,” he said.  “I was just so sure.  And now you’re saying it, it does seem crazy.  Like even at the time I kept thinking ‘this is a front’, but even a front would have had some customers.” He sighed and brushed his hands through his hair in exhausted frustration.  “I swear it was real though.  If I dreamed it, maybe I need to go see the psych.”

Natasha reached over the table and rubbed his arm.  “You probably wandered down a different street not thinking. You remember the name?”

He shook his head.  “No… it was something to do with fields.  Can’t remember.”

“We can keep looking around.  I mean it has to be in Brooklyn right?” she said.  “But just, not while I’m starving and we have to get back to the city.”

“I get it, don’t worry,” he said. “I guess I’ll just keep my eye out for it.”

Clint was limping home in the early hours of the morning when he stumbled up the familiar black door and window with gold lettering.  The Elysian Fields.  He needed to write that down. But when he pulled out his phone the last of the battery died.  “Shit,” he cursed.  Maybe you’d have a business card he could get.  He didn’t want to lose this place again and in his half-asleep, slightly battered state, he wasn’t confident he’d remember again.

Lucky barked and wagged his tail as Clint stood staring at the door.  “You see it too, right?” Clint asked.

He barked again and Clint went and pushed the door open, the bell above ringing like crazy when the wood smashed into it.   The room looked the same, but this time overwriting the inviting scent of coffee was the delicious scent of fresh baking and sugar.

Hati was lying by the unlit fireplace again and he raised his enormous head a the sound of the jingle.  Clint swore the dog narrowed his eyes at him for a moment before he lay back down and fell to sleep.

You came out from the backroom and grinned at him.  “You came back,” you said.

“I tried to find you before,” he explained as he walked up to the counter.  “I swear to god I walked up and down the street so many times.  But I guess I got the street wrong.”

“It happens,” you said.  “We don’t really stand out.”  You moved behind the counter and wiped your hands on your apron.  What can I get you?  I’ve just made some fresh donut holes with cinnamon sugar.  We have a fudge sauce to dip them in.”

“That sounds perfect.  And – a strong coffee,” he said.

“You sure?” you asked.  “You kind of look like you’re on the way to bed.”

“Still got a few things to do,” he admitted.  “Something strong enough to get me through.”

You looked at him with your head tilted. “Okay,” you said.  “Do you trust me?”

“Yeah.  Okay.  Surprise me,” he said, getting out his wallet.  “And can I get a puppuccino and a dog biscuit for Lucky?”

“You sure can, but put your wallet away,” you replied.  “You can pay me if you decide you like it.”

“But -” he said, kind of wanting to point out he was the only customer here but also not wanting to be a complete asshole.  “Are you sure?”

“Yeah, go take a seat.  I’ll be over in a bit,” you said.

He reached down and patted Hati as he passed and the huge dog growled but didn’t move.   “God, you’re terrifying.  You know that right?”

His tongue lolled out and he wagged his tail.  Clint chuckled and took a seat.  He closed his eyes and for a moment he was pretty sure he dozed off because the next thing he knew you were putting a blanket over him in the chair.

“Oh, sorry,” you said.  “I didn’t want to wake you.  Your coffee and donut holes are there, but you fell asleep.”

“You were just going to tuck me in?” he said, his eyes softening as he looked at you.

“I mean, yes?  If you need sleep there’s only so much I can do,” you explained.

He wasn’t sure if what you said was slightly weird or if he was just too tired to make sense of what you’d said.  He picked up the coffee and blew on it.  It had milk.  Or some version of milk.  Which was fine, but not normally what he opted for first thing in the morning.  There was something to the scent – it was nutty and slightly sweet and when he finally let himself take a sip his eyes fluttered closed and he moaned as the rich complex flavors seemed to overwhelm him.  “Holy fuck,” he groaned.  “What is this?”

“It’s a flat white but I used hazelnut milk and there’s just a little bit of chocolate and cinnamon on the top, which is not done normally, but you seem like a sweet tooth,” you explained as you took your seat.

“It’s like heaven,” Clint hummed.  “God.  You’re like the perfect woman.”

You laughed.  “Well thank you.  That’s quite the compliment.”

“Hey,” Clint said, as he picked up a donut hole.  “Can I maybe – get your number?”

You laughed.  It didn’t sound mocking, just like you’d genuinely thought he’d just told a joke.  “Because I make such good coffee?”

“No,” he said, quickly.  “Well, partly.  I don’t want to lose this place again, so if you have a card?  That would be good.”  He stopped to put the donut hole into his mouth and every single other thought flew out of his head.  “Holy fucking shit,” he said with his mouth full.  “This is fucking amazing.”  He grabbed another donut hole and shoved it in his mouth.

“I can get you a card,” you said, getting up.  He watched you as you went behind the counter and grabbed a card from the pile and brought it back to him.  “Hopefully this will help you find your way back a little easier.”

He took it and put it in his wallet without looking.  “I was -” he said with his mouth full of donut – and stopped when he realized how gross it would be to ask someone out with food stuffed in his mouth.  He chewed and swallowed quickly and washed it down with some coffee.  “I also wanted to take you out.  On a date.  And hey – like I get you have to be nice to me because it’s your job so you don’t have to feel like you can’t say no.  I’m not going to get all pissy and throw a tantrum or come back and stalk you. But – I think there might be something here outside of customer service… or am I completely misreading this.  Oh god.  I am, aren’t I?  I’m so sorry.  Look.  I swear I won’t – just ignore me.”

You didn’t say anything as he talked himself into a panic and when he finished you laughed and put your hand on his leg.  “I would love to go out with you sometime, Clint,” you said.  “Give me a call.”

Clint grinned and ate another donut feeling very pleased with himself.  Now he just had to think of the perfect date.


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