Clint trained his eyes on Tony as the other man spoke, noting how he tripped over his choice of words slightly, and wondering if the other man had just been about to call him a friend. That would be an interesting change of pace for the billionaire who surrounded himself with people he paid for their time. Clint envied a couple of aspects of Tony’s life, but that wasn’t one of them.
Besides, he considered The Avengers as his friends, and he had done since New York, since they’d trusted him enough to let him fight alongside them, ever since they’d sat in that shawarma restaurant, looking half like death walking. His line of work didn’t leave a lot of time for friends, but Clint had made do, befriending Nat and Phil and Wade in his own way. He could probably count Maria among his friends too, and outside of SHIELD there was Darcy and those other people in that rundown dump he called his apartment block. He didn’t really see them nowadays, mainly because he spent most of his time running around for Fury or mooching his way around Stark Tower.
But counting Tony as a friend didn’t mean he wanted the other man prying into his business all the time. People didn’t really make a habit of prying into his life. This was new and weird, and though Clint was irate at Tony’s prying, there was a part of him that was weirdly grateful for it too.
“Listen, it’s not your fault,” he started, his eyebrows twitching together. If anyone was to blame it was Loki and Clint himself for being stupid enough to get within striking distance. “So if we could avoid the Tony Stark pity party of one, that would be great. And as satisfying as it would be to say I told you so… I won’t.”
He sighed a little, watching the numbers above the elevator door rise slowly. He’d gotten defensive and edgy when Tony was just trying to help in his own way, and he felt a little guilty for it. “You’re my friend, Tony, god knows you drive me crazy, but I’ll tell you when I need your help. And I don’t, not right now.”
Subconsciously, Tony flashed a grin at Clint that didn’t quite reach his eyes- one of the hundreds that made an appearance over the course of a normal day that made it look like he didn’t really care about the situation when really everything about it was bothering him. “Okay. Fine. Whatever. Don’t ever say I never looked out for you in this time of… I want to say need? But you seem to have things pretty together. Seriously though? Don’t mention it. To anyone. Not even Natasha.”
He’d hate for people to think he actually cared for anyone else’s wellbeing that wasn’t his own. He had an image to maintain; it was better if people didn’t expect a lot from him… at least that way they couldn’t be disappointed.
And as much as Clint wasn’t going to say ‘I told you so’, the words hung in the air all the same. Tony couldn’t help but feel guilty because Clint had come to him earlier, and he’d pretty much waved him off and told him there was nothing to worry about.
Clint going missing from the tower for a day then returning with his arm in a sling, and Loki acting crazier than normal and asking to be locked up told him how very wrong he had been.
Watching as their elevator ride neared its end, he added casually, “So Loki’s locked up now,” as he hadn’t been around when it happened and he figured that was the kind of news Clint would prefer to hear. Tony trying to help him and talk about what happened didn’t seem to interest him.