Title: Together or not at all
Characters: Tony DiNozzo, Danny “Danno” Williams, Clint Barton
Content: Non-Canon Compliant: NCIS, Non-Canon Compliant: Hawaii 5-0, Non-Canon Compliant: Avengers, No one is a Superhero, There’s More AU than Canon, Everyone’s Backstory is Altered, Sentinels and Guides
Word Count: 3,666
Author’s Note: Written for the Forever Angst Valentine’s Day Challenge. Challenge was to write two fics, one romance, and one friendship based. Word limit on each fic is 5K. I did two sets. Seriously, there’s more AU here than Canon. That isn’t just a cute tag.
Summary: Unbonded Guide Tony DiNozzo grew up on the same street as his best friends Danny Williams and Clint Barton. As the got older they swore that they’d stick together no matter what. Now, if he could just get his friends to listen to him when he says a potential hook up is bad news. However, maybe this time Danno’s stubbornness leads them all to a place they’d never have gone otherwise.
Note 2-24-18: Edited and added some tiny bits here and there totaling about 400 words to make some things more clear. Nothing major changed, but I wanted to resolve any future confusions that came to mind as I work on a snippet for Tony & Tony’s meeting.
Together or not at all
Anthony Dominic DiNozzo, Jr was standing in a bar looking around for his friends. He’d gone to the restroom, and when he came out neither one of them were where he’d left them. In all honesty, it wasn’t really that unusual for any of them. They all had healthy sexual appetites and were having a hard time finding their mates. So, their eyes tended to wander when they went out for the evening.
Tony was probably the only one of them that was somewhat selective in who he chose to bed with for the night and felt like he was forever chasing bad choices away from his friends. It didn’t help that even though he was still unbonded, he had the use of more of his Guide abilities than usual for someone of his status. He felt like he was destined to be some kind of lousy matchmaker because he couldn’t see any other use for his so-called gift.
Like now, for instance, Tony could see that Danny was at a table doing his thing, trying to get himself a temporary bedmate for the evening. The problem was the woman he was hitting on was… Well unsuitable was one word for it. Potential stalker material was another. Probable serial killer was a third possibility. He didn’t understand how Danny was continually drawn to the worst possible mates he could find. Take now for instance.
There was a perfectly good match who would be a fantastic temporary mating for the trio of friends’ only Sentinel, not three people away. Did he go for her though? Of course not. He went for the chick that resembled a human black widow. In fact, Tony wouldn’t be surprised if that was her Spirit Animal.
Wondering if there was any chance that he could chase the woman away before they ended up with a dead rabbit boiling in a pot in their kitchen, Tony ambled over as he sipped on his drink. He had no idea where Clint was, but he could only hope that he’d made a better decision because he wasn’t up for doing this a second time that evening.
“I know that your Spirit Animal is a Bear, Danno, but that doesn’t mean that you need to look like one,” Tony said immediately upon joining the couple earning a pair of glares for his trouble.
“Go away, DiNozzo,” Danny growled before turning back to smile at his companion.
“Does she know that you’re just a lowly cop?” Tony asked ignoring Danny and turning to look at the woman. “He’s a cop. He doesn’t make much money.”
“Does he have a pair of handcuffs?” She asked purring, and Tony was pretty sure she actually leaned closer to his friend revealing even more of her cleavage than before. “Lock me up, officer. I confess. I did it. I think I need… hours of… hard… labor.”
Danny grinned before turning to glare at Tony once more. “Since you won’t leave, we’re going to.”
“She’s not the one, Danny,” Tony said even though he knew that his friend wasn’t listening.
“I don’t care,” Danny shot back as he moved around the table so that he could steer the woman through the crowd. Needing to make one more chance, Tony stepped in front of Danny.
“This is a bad idea!” He insisted, only to have his friend push him aside.
“I don’t care,” Danny snapped and led his newest attempt at finding a mate away.
“You always care,” Tony said quietly to himself knowing that in the loud club no one would be able to overhear him. “And, Clint and I always have to fix it afterward.”
“Come on, Tones,” He heard from behind him and turned away from where Danny had disappeared into the mass of bodies to find his other best friend standing there. “You can’t do anything for the hopeless.”
“Like you’re one to talk,” Tony grumbled, and Clint shrugged before grabbing his hand and pulling him away towards the back door.
Once they’d gotten outside, Clint checked the parking lot presumably to make sure it was safe, before he turned in the direction of their favorite greasy spoon that was open all night. Some combination of the trio frequently stopped there for a bite to eat on their way home from whatever bar or club they’d been in that evening. “I am now. Have been after that last bad one. I learned my lesson. Danny will, too. How bad is this one?”
“Really bad,” Tony replied as his mind was already working on the possible escape paths that would let all three friends leave together. Because, if this was as bad as he thought it was going to be, they were going to have to move away from Newark. The possibility of Danny leaving on his own wasn’t even an option that occurred to him.
Tony DiNozzo, Danny Williams, and Clint Barton had all grown up on the same block. Danny had lived there his entire life, but both Tony and Clint moved in at a young age. Tony after his father murdered his mother, and Clint after he was transferred to his latest foster home.
When Tony was eight years old, his father killed his mother in a drunken rage. Then, deciding that he could cover it up, put both her and Tony in a car and tried to push the vehicle off the cliff at the end of the driveway at their oceanside home. Fortunately, the man passed out before he could finish, and the servants managed to get the cops to the house there shortly after.
With his mother dead and his father in prison, there was some dispute between the DiNozzo side of his family and the Paddington side as to who would raise young Anthony. In the end, the Paddingtons agreed to give up their custody suit that would have moved Tony permanently to England as long as they got visits during the summer and alternating Christmas breaks. His Uncle Vincenzo DiNozzo, who only wanted the best for Tony and had no desire to completely cut him off from his mother’s family, was happy to agree to these terms and therefore was granted custody of his brother’s only child.
Clint Barton, on the other hand, was put into Foster Care with his brother after their parents died. His older brother ran away when Clint was 10, and not long after that, Clint was moved to a new home where he’d remain until after he graduated. While they were friendly people and Clint loved them, they weren’t his parents. The one time they’d offered to adopt him, he’d turned them down. Fortunately, the couple was understanding, and even though Clint turned 18 before he graduated, they let him remain in the home until he went off to college.
If he hadn’t met Danny and Tony, he might have caused more of a fuss at the home or even run away to find his brother. However, meeting the two other boys might have been the best thing that could have happened to him. Not wanting to risk being moved away from his friends, Clint settled down and gave the new foster family a better chance than he’d given anyone previously.
Like Danny, he’d mocked Tony’s warnings about people most of his life, and especially so once he got old enough to be interested in girls. Roughly a year prior though, he’d met his own horrible decision. After his friends had managed to get him free of the mess he’d gotten into, he swore to himself that he’d take Tony’s warnings more seriously. Clint had always wondered what their lives would have been like without each other and hoped that he’d never find out.
When Danny Williams first met Clint and Tony, he was this constantly afraid 7-year-old who worried about everything and had no one around him who understood enough to take his concerns seriously. Being a Sentinel in a family who had never had either a Sentinel or Guide on either side, the young boy often felt like he was dealing with urges that the rest of his family just didn’t understand. While neither Tony or Clint were Sentinels, they at least knew what it was like having urges and feelings that you couldn’t explain because of their Guide halves.
Danny was one big ball of worry when they’d met, but Tony was small, quiet, mostly shy, and really damned angry. He’d spent the first eight years of his life with two wealthy drunken parents who only remembered he existed when they wanted to use him for something. While it seemed that his mother at least regretted her actions in her occasional moments of sobriety, Anthony Senior had been nothing more than a lecherous conman who hated his only son and if he hadn’t wanted to shut his wife up, would have made her get rid of him.
Clint shuddered to think what would have happened to Tony if Senior hadn’t run into a Detective and a Judge that he couldn’t pay off. As it was, the conman who was used to sweet talking his way out of sticky situations hadn’t been able to buy his way out of what he’d done as he’d been able to in the past. When the DA tacked on child abuse charges, the father found himself with a prison sentence long enough that he’d never see freedom again.
Once the two friends were seated in their favorite booth and ordered their late-night meal, Clint took another shot at getting answers from Tony. “You didn’t really answer me. How bad?”
Tony sighed aggravated as he thought about the predicament that he believed Danny was getting himself into. The blond was the youngest of the three of them at 29. Clint was the oldest at 32, and Tony was 30. Clint and Danny had only been a year apart in school because of their birthdates, and Clint getting held back a couple of times before he settled down with the Petersons who were his foster family. Tony though was incredibly smart.
While Vincenzo had initially not wanted to separate his nephew from his friends, before long, it became apparent that his nephew was incredibly bored in school and needed more of a challenge for his sharp mind. Because of this, Tony had been moved up and then started college well before the other two graduated.
Despite this, the trio’s friendship had been easy to maintain because Tony’s Uncle had ensured that he went to a local college for as long as possible. They’d discovered that Rutgers and Berkley both had regional campuses in Newark, which made it reasonably simple for Tony to get whatever degrees he wanted and still see his friends. It wasn’t until all four were in college that they left New Jersey.
Even then, the trio had chosen someplace that they could all attend, which ended up being four years spent at Stanford. After that, they moved back home, with Danny and Clint both going to work for the local PD. Danny as a beat cop and Clint ended up with a spot with SWAT thanks to his fantastic sniper skills. Tony meanwhile had settled in with a local tech company in their R&D Department, where he regularly got all kinds of job offers from other companies.
His contract had been worked out by the Paddington family lawyers, and it allowed him to take whatever in-progress projects that he’d created himself with him if he left while leaving anything finalized with the company. He also had no rights in any projects others in the company designed, but they all knew that wasn’t really an issue. He’d feel guiltier about leaving if the company wasn’t owned by pompous windbags and run by offspring that didn’t seem to have a tenth of their father’s vision and work ethics let alone intelligence. The founder had died within the last two years, and Tony had been coming to the realization lately that it was time to move on because things were getting dicey.
“How do you feel about Hawaii?” Tony asked, as an indirect answer. When Clint just lifted an eyebrow but otherwise remained silent, Tony huffed. “You know I don’t have access to my full Guide abilities, and I’m not fucking psychic. I can tell you though that I’ve never seen the emotional map that worried me more than that chick Danny headed off with. She’s… there’s something really not right about her, and I’m a little worried that I shouldn’t have told her that he was a cop.”
“OK,” Clint replied when Tony fell silent but wasn’t sure what to say beyond that. It wasn’t like either he or Danny did undercover work, or that they’d ever kept what they did a secret. Clint didn’t straight up tell people that he was the PD’s top sniper and that he on occasion was loaned out to the surrounding PD’s including NYPD, but it didn’t sound like Tony went that far either. So, he didn’t see what there was to worry about there.
“I can’t help but get the feeling that this is gonna end up really bad, and I might wanna give Stark a call and talk to him about that offer,” Tony said before shoving some loaded fries into his mouth.
“I thought that you said you didn’t wanna move to Hawaii alone, and would never go to work for that, I think it was, oversexed playboy, pretending to be reformed,” Clint said confused as to how Tony leaving them would help and worried what would happen without him. He also didn’t like the idea of Tony going off alone. Even though they were both Guides, Clint, and Danny as well, had always been extremely protective of Tony. He was just more sensitive all around than Clint was and needed regular reminders that people gave a fuck, or he’d get lost sometimes. They’d never fully been able to silence the sound of Senior’s voice in his head telling him that he was nothing.
“Who said I was moving alone?” Tony asked looking up from his plate, and Clint sat back in his bench seat as he considered the possibility of leaving the place that had gotten him back on track. Danny was getting so much fucking crap if that turned out to be a necessity. So. Much. Crap.
A few months later, on Valentine’s Day to be exact, found Tony and Clint sitting on a couch in a safe house glaring at Danny, who was pouting in a chair across from them. “Ok, maybe I should have listened,” Danny finally threw out throwing his hands in the air. Across the room, the random FBI agent guarding them until a team from Ironman Aviation and Engineering, otherwise known as IA&E, came to get them and escort them back to Hawaii. Apparently, the company had a Security division that Tony wasn’t aware of.
Not long after Tony realized that things with Danny and his new pick up were going to turn out not just as bad as he thought but worse, he initiated contact with the self-made millionaire and requested a meeting. Tony Stark leaving the company that his father built had been a surprise to people around the world. Being a self-proclaimed playboy, everyone assumed that he didn’t have the social awareness to take notice of anything beyond his own needs.
However, when Howard Stark’s only child realized that his father’s best friend Obadiah Stane was willing to sell the company’s weapons to anyone that would give him money, he’d taken action. When he tried to put his foot down and demanded that the company moved away from weapons and onto things that could help the world though, he was met with an overwhelming amount of disdain not just from Obadiah but from also the Board of Directors. Never one to take the word no lying down, Stark immediately set about separating himself from the company and opening his own.
Obadiah had been more than gleeful to get Howard’s son out of his hair and put everything he had on the line to buy him out. Foolishly, all that he demanded was to restrict Tony from entering the weapon production business. Quickly, Stark had built his own business, which he based in Honolulu, Hawaii and was known for its cutting-edge Research and Development Department in a wide range of areas that had nothing to do with weaponry.
Tony Stark had been headhunting DiNozzo, or AJ as the two agreed Tony would go by when Stark was around, since before he even thought about leaving SI. In the past, it had always been the distance from Newark that made AJ say no. However, distance was now one of the reasons for him to say yes.
When the millionaire, who was determined to get his billionaire status back, promised that he had a place for both Danny and Clint within the company, there was only one decision to make. The business meeting had gotten rushed from there, but the personal meeting Tony had with the enigmatic owner of IA&E the previous night made him more comfortable with trusting the man. It wasn’t until AJ called Tony panicked and asking for help when it became clear just how much danger Danny was in, that he found out about the mostly secret Security Division of IA&E.
“You think, Danny?” Clint asked sarcastically earning a glare returned. “Serious question. When have you ever known Tony to be wrong about this shit?”
“There’s always a first time,” Danny returned stubbornly, but Clint just shook his head.
“Not in this instance, and I think you know it,” Clint immediately shot back as Tony listened to the conversation mostly staring at the TV that was playing across the room without taking in anything he was seeing.
“So, the question then is why the hell do we keep having to go through this shit? I mean, I know that I haven’t always taken it as seriously as I should, but when shit really hit the fan, I got on board pretty quickly. You, on the other hand, are in about as deep as it gets, and are still being stubborn about this.”
“There’s nothing wrong with being single you know, Danno,” Tony said softly speaking for the first time in hours, and his two friends looked at him quickly. They hadn’t even really thought that he was paying attention to their conversation. Although both knew they should have known better.
“Maybe I don’t wanna spend the rest of my life with only you two asshats for company,” Danny snapped, and Tony cocked his head to one side as Clint sighed.
“You’ve gotta stop letting your mom pressure you about shit that she doesn’t understand,” Tony returned just as quietly spoken as before. “I love your mom. She’s an awesome lady, but she treats you as if you’re no different than your sibling. Sometimes that’s great, but sometimes it’s only detrimental to you and honestly her. Picking a Guide is one of them. You can’t just run off with any Tom, Dick, or Jane that you come across in a bar like the rest of your siblings.”
“I don’t wanna be alone for the rest of my life!” Danny repeated angrily as his hands slashed through the air, “and it feels like time is running out.”
“Just because you haven’t found your Guide yet, Danno, doesn’t mean that you’re alone,” Tony pointed out earning himself a glare this time, but stubbornly he continued. “It’s not as if Clint and I are in any different of a spot than you are. You say you don’t wanna end up with only us, but I think it’s more than that. I think you’re assuming that someday we’ll find our Sentinels and you’ll be left the odd man out. That’s not logical, though. First off, if whomever I end up with can’t accept the place you and Clint have in my life, then they aren’t really my mate.
“Secondly, you’re acting like there’s some time limit here. There isn’t. You can literally find your Guide at any time, but it’s not gonna happen if you’re wrapped up with some crazy bitch and miss that they’re there. We’re not gonna leave you alone with people who don’t understand you like it was before we moved in.”
“You’re stuck with us,” Clint echoed with a nod and Danno huffed, but the relief on his face was evident.
“Just my luck,” he grouched as he rubbed the back of his neck. “You’re right. I’m a jackass. I was just scared, and mom has been all over me about settling down and making her some grandbabies. It’s just… As much as I hate the thought of leaving here, there’s a part of me that’s looking forward to it. I feel like I’m never going to find what I need here, and it’s making me crazy. The more I look, the more I know that I won’t find him… or her I guess, but I always think him when I think of my Guide, in this place.”
“Then, I guess it’s time we blow this popsicle stand and see what the great Tony Stark has to offer us,” Clint suggested, and eventually Danny agreed.
Settling more comfortably on the couch, Tony smiled and looked at his friends. “Just remember, no matter what happens, it’s the three of us first. We’re a family, and no one gets left behind alone. We go forward together, or we don’t go at all.”
As the night wore on, the three friends eventually found themselves falling asleep in the family room of the safe house. While they’d make excuses about just being tired from the stress, the reality was they’d only needed to be together. It was something that wouldn’t change in the upcoming months and years.
End Note: I hope you enjoyed this! I’ve never written Clint before or anything in the Avengers Universe. Mostly, because I’m not comfortable enough to try writing that fandom in canon. That’s the reason this will stay firmly AU.