A/N: So I've re-watched Clint's entry to the Tower like, fifty times now on YouTube since seeing the movie this morning. It finally struck me that he was just doing what any dad would do upon confronting their budding young daughter's overly-manipulative boyfriend… Not that I don't totally ship Wanda and Vision, but DaddyHawk is SO CUTE!
Clint was driving. Wanda was sitting in the passenger's seat. Scott Lang was in the back of the van, snoozing away after the long trip to their mutually-agreed-upon pick-up location.
The two up front sat in silence.
For three long hours.
"You can go to sleep if you want to," Clint finally, out of sheer, fidgeting desperation from its being so quiet, broke the standoff.
"Thank you for your permission," Wanda replied dryly, staring straight ahead.
"Gee," Clint's brow wrinkled, "I thought you'd be happy I rescued you from a basically lock-down situation back there."
"I am happy to be out of there, yes," she replied tersely. Then she swallowed hard. "But did you really need to electrocute my boyfriend and then purposefully allow him to attack you just so I'd lash out at him?"
Clint's jaw dropped slightly. "Wait—is he your boyfriend?"
"Well, he certainly isn't going to want to be now!"
"So… he's your would-be boyfriend?" he was still just as incredulous.
If Wanda wasn't so mad she would think it was funny. "He's my 'person of interest'. Or WAS. So he was being a jerk, and keeping me locked up in my room," she acknowledged with a shrug, "but he was doing it to protect me and because Stark told him to. You didn't need to make me bury him under five thousand tons of rubble."
"I don't think, if we're talking about tons, that the number would be anywhere near the thousands in that particular situa…"
"Really, Clint?" Wanda interrupted, eyes flashing.
He gave her a blank stare.
She sighed heavily. "I'm glad you came and got me out. You're right, I did need to get up off my ass…"
"I'm really sorry I taught you that word in English," Clint muttered under his breath.
"Ah, actually, my brother did," she replied with a saucy smirk. "And I am glad to see you again after you've been gone all this time, and I'm more than happy to being going with you to help Cap—"
"Just keep laying it on," Clint raised his eyebrows.
"—But I really can take care of myself, and it's hard for me to show you that when you're being so protective of me," she finally finished in a huff.
Clint's lips twitched. He idly messed with the controls for the rear windshield wipers for a second before answering. "Well," his voice was quiet, "I already said, I owe you a debt."
"Natasha says all the time that she owes you a debt, and you say all the time that you owe me a debt, and that is the biggest bag of bullcrap I have ever heard!" she exclaimed.
Clint's eyebrows shot up and he looked over at her. For a moment, even though they were going sixty miles an hour down the highway, he could swear there were crickets chirping in the background.
"If this was about a debt, you would do things I asked you to do," Wanda continued. "Not things I never even dreamed of you doing for me."
Clint's Adam's apple bobbed slightly as he swallowed, thinking carefully before replying. "Well, it's something your brother would do, isn't it?"
She stared at him.
"Electrocuting your would-be, maybe, possible, boyfriend of interest?"
Wanda looked down at her fingernails, biting her lip.
Her voice, when she spoke again, was low.
"That is something he would probably do, yes."
"Look," Clint sighed, "When Nat and I talk about owing each other a debt, what we mean is that we've made such unprecedented sacrifices for one another that we're basically family. We don't keep track. We're just saying that we'll always help each other out whenever the other needs it, even if they don't always have our back in return. We've invested in each other, so we care. We don't want to see anything bad happen to the other person if we can possibly help it." He exhaled through his nose, turning to look at her briefly. "That's why I want to protect you," he admitted quietly. "I know what it's like to not have a dad growing up."
Wanda's eyes shot up, studying him as he spoke.
"And what it's like to manage that, and a hidden talent. I know what it's like to lose a brother, although you were a lot closer to yours than I was to mine," he added, with a tangible sound of regret in his tone. "But your brother saved my life, and I care about you all the more. Because of that, I'm always going to hurt anyone who tries to come after you or treat you like you aren't the amazingly wonderful, talented young woman you are. And I'm gonna do that whether you like it or not."
Wanda gulped, her throat feeling strained from the huge lump she was trying to swallow. She grabbed a tissue from the glovebox and blew her nose loudly, only to find she was crying into it, and not very neatly.
"Oh—okay," Clint heaved a slightly panicked sigh when he saw she was crying. "Okay. Sorry. You—ah, you okay? I shouldn't have said that much, I guess."
Wanda nodded straight ahead, busy trying to clear her nose and eyes both at the same time.
Clint, unknowingly, just made matters worse by watching her the entire time until she was finally more in control than before.
She cleared her throat loudly. "Sorry," she managed to croak out.
Clint's features softened as he continued to drive.
"Clint?" she sniffled again. "can I—uh— can I maybe call you 'Dad'?"
At first, there was no response. Clint was processing.
Wanda allowed for that time, which she chalked up, internally, to his being really old.
Then his chin started to work a little, just wrinkling up a little bit, and he started to squint and scrunch up the rest of his face a couple of times. "You got any more of those tissues?" he finally sniffed.
The van continued to power down the dark highway, taillights lighting up the path behind them.
"We might need to make a detour."