"So... you're a Bat?"
"No, I'm a Super, and I like to put the Bat on my chest because I really like people shooting at me."
"I'm not a Super."
"You really shouldn't say stuff like that, man."
Clint Barton sighs and glances down at the street below.
"No but really, I thought, with the bows and arrows and things, you'd be like. An Arrow."
"Huntress uses a bow!"
"A crossbow," Grills points out reasonably. "And she's not running around with a bat on her chest."
"Listen! I'm from Gotham, I put a bat on my chest, I'm a Bat, okay?"
"What, so you have to wear a logo to be a bat? Is this some sort of branding thing?"
"It's not a branding—Batman gave this to me!" Clint jerks his finger towards the logo on his chest, feeling vaguely insulted.
"Hawkguy isn't a Bat-name," Grills insists. "Shouldn't you be like. Batboy, or something?"
"Neither is—oh, forget it," Clint sighs, and knocks an arrow to shoot a tracksuit Mafia guy in the kneecap.
Stop me if you've heard this one before:
There's a circus, right? It's called Haley's. And there's this family, the Flying Graysons.
There's also this other family, called the Barton Brothers. Well, no one actually calls them that, because they're not actually an act together, but they will be one day. Maybe. If they survive that long.
The Graysons die in an accident that isn't an accident, and the circus moves on, leaving Richard Grayson, called "Dick" to his friends, behind as a ward of a random rich guy named Bruce Wayne. It's probably better than foster care, and the circus is under heavy scrutiny about labor regulations because of the whole "doing high wire acrobatics without a net" thing, and as it is Barney and Clinton Barton as well as a pair of sisters who ride horses while standing on their hands from Guatemala are hiding beneath the tiger cage.
They can't hide Dick Grayson beneath the tiger cage.
The circus leaves Gotham and eventually, a man named Tony Zucco is arrested for the murder of the Graysons, and life moves on.
Eventually, so does Barney Barton.
Clint Barton, aged twelve years old by now and with a keen eye for details, has noticed a few things over the years.
Namely that there's a kid named Robin hanging around in Gotham, and he likes to wear the Grayson colors and seems to know some pretty familiar tricks.
Without Barney, there's a lot more… fuss, in the circus. People are starting to feel weird. One kid who was plausibly-deniably-almost-eighteen and his kid brother were one thing, but an actual, honest-to-god kid is another.
Social services or somebody was going to figure it out eventually, and Pa Haley still wasn't letting Clint be in the ring, so he figured he'd take his chances elsewhere.
He goes to visit Dick Grayson, and to meet this Bruce Wayne guy for himself.
Clint is like a brother to Dick. They're almost exactly the same age, with Clint being just a little older, but it's a good time, even during the three months that Clint is a year older than Dick.
Hawkeye and Robin even fit together as a theme, and the two of them have a good time of it. And even Bruce, once he settles down and learns to adjust to having two young teenagers in his house, instead of only one, handles it pretty well, all things considered.
The next step is this: the Teen Titans.
The fact is, they're really more Dick's friends than his. Don't get him wrong, Wally's cool the moment you convince him to get off Reddit, Roy might actually be a better shot than Clint, Donna is quite possibly the most wonderous person on the planet (pun intended) and Garth is a chill guy, but they're definitely first and foremost Dick's friends.
That's the problem with being Dick's brother, Clint decides. The guy has so much charisma that everyone else looks like a human disaster next to him. He radiates so much charisma that other people don't realize that he's a human disaster.
Maybe not as much as Clint is, but still! That's not the point!
"Back so soon?" Bruce asks.
"I think I'm a Gotham kind of guy," Clint says, with a shrug.
Clint doesn't like using Bruce's money. Dick's the same way, except whenever he abruptly remembers that their father is a billionaire who likes to fund their heroic tendencies and asks Bruce to buy him a series of properties in Manhattan for superhero reasons.
Clint tries not to ask Bruce for arrow supplies too often, but he does do it when he has to, because otherwise Oliver Queen will have better arrows than him, and he's not going to let that happen.
Boomerang arrows are way better than boxing glove arrows, fight him Queen.
That's pretty much how Clint ends up becoming a bounty hunter hopping guys who skip their alimony payments and multi-million dollar bonds.
He finds it satisfying, though, occasionally dropping that his dad is Bruce Wayne to a skeeze-bag who's trying to bribe him into letting him go after being caught ordering his goons to burn down a city block so he could build a new high-rise.
Their "oh shit, this guy isn't in it for the money," faces are pretty much always worth it.
Bruce hates it, but then again, Bruce hates most of the life choices that Clint's made, so Clint's pretty used to ignoring that fact by now.
Dick's a bartender and a personal trainer who keeps picking up odd jobs on the side, it's not like Clint's challenging the narrative, here.
Jason Todd is a good kid.
Not a lot of people would call him that, but they've been reading the wrong sorts of things.
He's a good kid. Being gutsy enough to try to rob Batman aside (and, okay, not going to lie, Clint nearly died laughing when he learned about the kid calling Bruce a boob before hitting him with a tire iron and running away), the kid wants to help people. He tries hard in school, he cares about the people they protect, and he's way better at picking up after himself than the rest of them.
Clint likes him, and he's happy enough to have another little brother.
He's around more than Dick—Dick is having a crisis, is working with the Titans, is trying to figure himself out. Clint still prefers Gotham, still works with Bruce, still keeps the fires going back home when Bruce is off with the Justice League and things like that.
It's not until Jason dies that Clint leaves, because something in him, in all of them, if he's being honest, breaks.
It's then, on his own, that he ends up falling into an entirely different life.
He doesn't exactly stop talking to people when he leaves Gotham. He makes his regular check-ins with Bruce, and calls Alfred once a week. He goes on missions with the Titans, and… well, that's mostly it.
It's how he ends up meeting Amanda Waller.
"Hawkeye," she says.
"Uh, you're… the Wall? Doctor Wall?"
"Doctor Amanda Waller," she says. "How would you like a purpose?"
"I know all about your Squad," he says, not having bothered to get out of his bed. "I'm not really looking to join up."
"Hmm. And here I thought you'd be excited to work with your brother again." He goes very, very still. "Barney Barton, right? He's nearly as good of an archer as you are."
"What do you want?"
"For you not to waste your talents, Hawkeye." Her eyes pointedly move around the disaster of a motel room. "You're adrift. You're grieving. But you have invaluable skills."
"I'm not going to kill people for you," Clint says.
"Principled too," she says, seeming to be amused. "Well, I can always use someone who I can rely on."
He scowls at her, but he signs on the dotted line.
Metaphorically, that is. It's actually multiple solid lines. And there's initialing, too.
The Wall likes her paperwork.
He loses his hearing.
One of the bad guys they're fighting ends up taking Clint's arrows and sticks them in his ears.
The doctors say it might come back. They say that hearing aids will help. They say a lot of things, and then they have to write them down, because Clint can't hear them say it.
He leaves the Suicide Squad after that, because Barney's already free, and there's nothing keeping him here anymore.
Amanda Waller seems like she might actually be genuinely apologetic when he leaves, but he doesn't bother to read her lips to see what she says.
And, of course, when he goes back to Gotham, he realizes that it might have been a mistake, because Gotham is currently a massive quarantine zone.
What the #*&% is a "No Man's Land," anyways?
Clint is the one who ends up teaching Cass sign language.
Cass can speak, but she finds it difficult, sometime, to figure out the order to put words in. She's not used to vocalizing her thoughts, and she hates the pauses she makes, as her mouth tries to catch up with her brain.
Sign language is easier, in some ways.
They pick their names. Batgirl is the letter B with both hands, placed behind her head, like she's imitating the ears on her own cowl. Cassandra is the letter C with the sign for punching. Hawkeye is the letter H and the sign for archery. Clint is the letter C and "brother."
Cass picked that one.
He… he likes it.
Clint's not good at sign language yet. They're learning together.
It makes it… easier, somehow. To do it for her, rather than to do it for himself.
They sit on the rooftop together.
"Clint, fight crime with me?" She's eager, she's so eager, and she loves signing, loves being able to express herself without words.
He laughs, and nods. "I'd love to."
It's nice, having a sister.
"Tim, I need you to help me set up my TV."
"I promise, it's not like the time I asked you to help me with my internet."
"I don't believe you."
"You're the tech guy!"
"Yeah, but my apartment's not wheel-chair accessible yet, I'm still working on getting the elevator up to code. So you've gotta help me. I'm almost a full season behind on Dog Cops."
"Wait, so you haven't seen the episode where Krypto—"
"Hey, your girlfriend's the one named Spoiler, you keep your mouth shut." Clint pauses, realizing that it's not nice to insult your little brother when you're trying to get them to help you untangle a gigantic mess of cords. "If you help me, I'll let you look at the new arrow-specs that Ted's helping me with."
"… Ted Kord."
"Yeah, he's coming over for movie night and beers tonight," Clint says, both completely truthfully and also full of shit, because he knows about Tim's fanboying tendencies, and is not above weaponizing them for his own advantage.
"I'll be right over."
Clint punches the air, nearly losing his balance on the satellite dish that he's balancing precariously on, but he does get the arrow out, so he's counting it as a win.
Stephanie Brown is amazing, and if Bruce doesn't want her to be his sidekick, Clint will take her.
He tells Bruce this.
He goes so far as to buy Stephanie Brown socks with arrows on them before Bruce takes the point and starts training her.
Steph gives him a fist-bump for it.
"Eggplant solidarity," she says, her eyes glittering with a familiar kind of mischief.
"Eggplant solidarity," he says, even though he's pretty sure he can't tell the difference between eggplant and purple.
Things were getting better. They were.
And then Sue Dibney dies.
And then Stephanie Brown dies.
And then Jack Drake dies.
And then Jason Todd comes back to life, and shoots a bullet through Clint's hand.
He leaves Gotham, after that, angry and hurt and grieving, and unsure of what he's supposed to do.
He meets Maxwell Lord on the plane—Alfred had bought him first class tickets, despite the bandages on his hand and the broken nose and the bad haircut, because Alfred is the best.
"I remember you from my days with the JLI," Max Lord says, and he smiles.
"Your nose is bleeding," Clint says, in concern.
"It's the altitude," Max says, dabbing at it. "How would you like a job, Hawkeye?"
Checkmate is like Suicide Squad, only… different. Everyone here's on the same side. There's a mission, a plan, and it's… soothing.
He meets Sasha Bordeaux, who he remembers having had a thing with Bruce, back in the day. He meets lots of good people, and he gets the rank Black King's Bishop, because everything in Checkmate is an elaborate chess metaphor that he doesn't quite understand.
"Hawkeye," Max Lord says, standing next to him. "Take the shot."
Clint draws his arrow back.
"Send a message," Max says. There's blood trickling down his face. "Make it lethal."
"Are you sure about Checkmate?"
"Of course, I'm sure, Bruce," Clint says, lying on his bed. "Max is your friend. If you trust him, I trust him."
"Max is a good man. But I don't like you playing spy games."
"Bruce. You raised me to be a detective. This isn't that different. How many people can shoot a USB arrow into a port from across the street through a tiny gap in a window? I'm useful, here."
"Be careful, Clint."
"Say hi to the others for me."
"It's not Clint," Dick says flatly, staring at the photos. Arrows, in lethal places. "He wouldn't."
"I know." Bruce steeples his fingers together. "They're not his arrows. You know how much he likes his trick arrows. I can count the number of times on one hand I've seen him use traditional arrowheads."
"So someone wants us to think it's Clint?"
"There's a lot of dangerous archers in the world, Dick," Bruce says.
Dick swallows, staring at one of the shots in particular, towards the bottom of them.
Because he's been best friends with Clint since he was eight, brothers with him since he was twelve, and he's been friends with Roy Harper since he was a teenager. He knows how hard it would be to make certain shots.
He puts his gloved finger on that photo.
"How many archers in the world could make that shot, Bruce?"
Bruce's mouth is a dangerous line.
"Roy or Clint."
"… it can't be him."
They look at each other.
"When did you last hear from him?"
Clint feels like he barely has time to breathe, these days. Max has him running all around the world, taking out enemies, recovering data, and infiltrating top secret facilities.
He's got another kill mission tonight.
The Black Widow; one of the most dangerous assassins in the world. Formerly a state-sponsored one, now she's freelance, and the League of Shadows wants to recruit her.
Checkmate wants her dead before that can happen.
Clint carefully checks over his official Checkmate arrows. Tasers, a USB, a grapple, knock-out gas, and, of course, the barbed tipped arrows that he never would have thought he would end up using, but he seemed to be shooting more than anything else these days. He has only a few of his personal arrows in the quiver, because it's unprofessional, and he doesn't want to disappoint Max.
Max has helped him, has given him a purpose, has set him up on his own two feet.
Clint goes to the rooftops to look for his target.
"How's it going, my Bishop?" Max says, over his comm.
"Clear night. No breeze. It'll be an easy shot."
"That's what I like to hear!"
It's not an easy shot. She's good.
Thus begins days, weeks even of chasing her through the streets of Budapest, shooting arrows and dodging bullets, crafting and escaping traps by turn.
And he gets to know her. He sees how her traps are carefully set to avoid killing him. Sees her pass up several attempts to use explosives which would kill civilians. Sees the dark circles under her eyes and the frantic, desperate way that she's trying to stay alive.
Max is stressed out about this whole mission. Every time they call, Max gets nosebleed after nosebleed because of what Clint is doing, how the mission is going off the rails, and how Clint needs to put an arrow through her throat not.
Clint's got headaches like a mother#*&, and he's even had a few nosebleeds of his own, but in the end…
He makes the call.
He brings the Black Widow, AKA Natalia Romanova, AKA Natasha Romanoff, AKA "Nat, budge over, your hogging the blankets" in from the cold.
Max nearly goes nuclear.
But in the end, Natasha is so clearly an asset that Max forgives Clint in the end.
Max has mind control powers.
Max has been using his mind control powers to get Clint to kill people.
Max tries to use his mind control powers to get Clint to kill Natasha when she realizes what he's doing. He nearly succeeds, and only is stopped because Natasha knocks him unconscious until the danger has passed.
Max has killed Ted Kord, and used Checkmate to try to kill all of the metahumans on Earth, nevermind that he's a meta, because what the else is mind control powers, Max?
The Crisis happens.
Not everyone else is so lucky.
"So where are you going next? Back to Gotham?"
"Probably," Clint says, cradling his carafe of coffee against his chest, not meeting her eyes. "You're staying here, aren't you?"
Natasha shakes her head. "No. Not… not this time." Her fingers curl over the scar in her shoulder—a scar that Clint had left there, a scar that's his fault.
"I need to… I need to leave. I need to build my web. I need to figure out who I am." She pauses, staring at him. "You should come with me."
Clint wants to, he really does.
"I need to go home," he says. "I need to see my family. I need to… go back to something familiar. Just for a while."
"I thought you said that if you went back to Gotham, you didn't think you'd ever leave."
"That was… before."
"Clint. What happened doesn't change anything."
"No, Nat. It really does."
He comes back to Gotham and his brothers are gone—on some sort of wild adventure with Bruce, apparently.
He's killed people, so he's not invited. Or something.
Cass isn't invited either, but that's fine, they're going to make a party out of this. A sign language party. No talking allowed.
Deathstroke shows up and tries to kidnap Cass and brainwash her, and Clint's heard about Terra, he's not about to let that creepy #*& anywhere near his little sister.
Just because she can look after herself doesn't mean she has to. She deserves to be looked after, because it wasn't her fault, what happened to her, and she deserves good things.
She punches him after that and keeps signing his name at him over and over again, which probably mean she thinks he's being stupid, but he's just lucky that Cass doesn't know how to sign the word "hypocrite," yet.
(She's started attending Community Events, though, so she's probably going to learn it soon, so Clint should probably enjoy it while it lasts.)
The word that his psychiatrist uses is Major Depressive Disorder, which is bullshit. There's nothing major about it. He's fine. He's functioning.
Leslie doesn't agree. She always tries to talk to him about depression and PTSD and surgery for his ears. She talks about brainwashing like it's something she can even remotely begin to understand.
He doesn't want her to understand. He doesn't want any of them to understand.
He goes to the pharmacy and picks up the pills that Leslie or the doctor she sends him to tells him to buy, and then he stashes them under the floorboards, because apparently flushing them is bad for the environment.
When it's really bad, he'll take one or two, but he doesn't like how they make him feel, so he usually just ignores them.
He's not depressed. He's just fucked up, and tired all the time, and wasting everybody's time.
Bruce, Dick, and Tim come back. Jason shows up again, and he apparently was on some really weird parts of the internet while he was gone, because he tries to convince Dick that he was a tentacle monster.
But they knock him out and drag him back to the Bat Cave so they can have a proper sit down and talk through their feelings. Or at least Jason and Bruce can. Clint's not about to do the "feelings" thing.
Because if he does, Bruce will probably realize he's been skipping his therapy appointments and tattle on him to Leslie, like the #*& hypocrite that he is.
The point is, Clint's fine.
Clint accidentally becomes a landlord.
He really didn't mean to, it just… kind of happened?
Also, he kind of pissed the Tracksuit Dracula Mafia off in the process.
And got a dog.
These things happen, okay? It could happen to anyone.
Barbara Gordon is the coolest goddamn person that Clint's ever met. That was true as Batgirl, and it's even truer as Oracle.
"I'm sorry, is that dog eating pizza?"
"His name is Lucky," Clint says cheerfully.
"Did you name him that because he only has one eye?"
"What? No! He's Lucky because he got shoved into traffic and survived."
"Please tell me. That I am misreading this dog's microchip, and you did not, in fact, steal him from Ivan Banionis, the guy who's been trying to kill you for the past few months."
"Clinton Francis Barton!"
"What? He threw Lucky into traffic! I'm not allowed to tolerate animal abuse!"
Babs looked like she was seriously reconsidering all of her life choices.
"I could have stayed a librarian. Or a congress woman. I have three master's degrees."
"Wait, three? Isn't that really expensive?"
"You are missing the point."
"What, that I make your life more interesting?" Clint says, before handing her a plate of pizza.
It's from her favorite place, which she can't get very often, because they don't do delivery, only carry-out.
"You're a disaster, Clint," she says, but she accepts his peace offering, and even ends up offering Lucky part of her crust by the end of the night.
Kate Bishop is an absurdly wealthy heiress to some unholy combination of a dot-com fortune that actually stuck around and money old enough to look down its nose at Bruce Wayne.
She also happens to be the best damn shot that Clint has ever seen, except maybe Roy Harper, but in a few years, Roy better watch himself.
She's not his side kick, because he's learned that lesson, thanks Bruce, and also she's kind of better at this adulting than he is.
(She's sixteen, that's practically an adult, right?)
She's Hawkeye too, and she's amazing.
Anyways, she swings by his apartment, steals his leftovers, tries on his sunglasses, and absconds with his arrows before going to team up with Batgirl and Spoiler and Robin.
He couldn't be prouder.
Natasha comes back to Gotham, because she's reinvented herself as some sort of benevolent freelance superspy and she wants his help with a few missions.
And, sure, why not, it's not like he's too busy. He can lend a hand every now and then.
"You're not a Bird of Prey," Barbara Gordon tells him flatly. "It's a secret organization—why are you trying to get a discount card?"
"Bruce is a billionaire!"
"What's that got to do with a discount?"
"I think you're being derailed, Babs," Dinah Lance says, eating Clint's Chicken Lao-Mein like a traitor. "You're not a Bird of Prey, Clint."
"A Hawk is a bird of prey!"
"That doesn't make you a member!"
"It should! I'm more on-brand than a canary! And what kind of bird is a Huntress, anyways?"
"We don't have discount cards, why would you want to be a member?" Helena asks. Clint likes her in theory, because arrows and solidarity over the fondness of the color purple, but in practice she kind of scares him and he's pretty sure she thinks he's stupid. And like, well, he kind of is, but that's mostly the human-disaster-energy talking.
Clint considers her point. "Don't you guys fly around in a private jet?"
"Again, Bruce is a billionaire!" Babs points at him. "And I know you stole all that money off the mob—"
"I didn't steal it—"
"So don't act as if you're broke!"
"… didn't you steal your money from Ted Kord after he died and left all of his money to his domestic partner, who died under mysterious circumstances right after?"
Clint and his big fat mouth.
And Dinah hadn't given him back his takeout, either.
Duke Thomas is way too smart to be involved in this mess, and especially Clint Barton's mess.
"Stop saying bad things about my big brother," Duke says. "The self-deprecation is funny sometimes, but I'm pretty sure you've taken it to a pathological extreme."
Clint opens his mouth, and then closes it again.
"Oh, I like him," Natasha says. "I knew I'd enjoy meeting your family."
"You're still not allowed to meet Bruce."
"It's cute that you think I haven't met him already."
"Lalala, not hearing this!"
Duke glances between them. "Aren't you two supposed to be like. A super-professional superspy duo?"
"Soviet propaganda," Clint says at the same time as Natasha says, "American bullshit."
"… oh God," Duke says, realization dawning. "There are two of you."
"He is the smart one," Clint tells Nat.
"I'm going to shove you off a bridge," Duke tells Clint.
"That means nothing in this family, we're immune to gravity."
"Didn't you fall from multiple stories and collide with a car recently?"
Clint turns to Natasha. "Okay, I know this sounds bad, but—"
"You always say that, and it's always just as bad as it sounds," Duke calls over
"You're an idiot."
"As you say, kid."
"Don't call me that."
"Why not? You are one."
"I'm not a child—"
"You're literally ten. That's everyone's definition of a child." Clint lowers his binoculars to look at Damian Wayne. "Anyways, why am I an idiot?"
"Grayson says you're one of the world's greatest archers. He says you were an accomplished secret agent, and…"
"An assassin?" Clint finishes. "I'm all of those things. Doesn't mean I'm not a gigantic screw up. I've got scars and therapy appointments that I keep skipping to prove it."
Damian frowns. "What does therapy—"
"It's a joke, kid." Mostly. Leslie certainly wouldn't think his unfilled prescription or his refusal to go to therapy or how he's been skipping going to ASL classes with Cassie. But the new hearing aids work fine, and the pills make him too sleepy to go on missions. Besides, he's pretty good at lip reading these days.
"… why did you join Checkmate? Grayson refused to tell me."
"It's a long story, Dee." He squints. "We've got movement. Want to help me stop some bad guys?"
Katie-Kate and his siblings hold an intervention.
"I'm fine," he says.
"You're not," Cass signs, her expression fond. "But that's okay."
"What she said," Steph says.
"You can't even sign, you don't know what she said! Maybe she said that I'm perfectly fine!"
"She didn't," they all say together, the traitors.
"Clint," Dick says. "You're our brother, okay? We just… we want you to be okay."
"I killed people, Dick," he says. "I didn't even think about it."
"I fought him off, Dick," Clint says, cutting him off. "He wanted me to kill Nat, and I fought him off, and I saved her, but I—"
"I fought him off once, why couldn't I—"
"He did it. Not you," Duke insists. "He was a mind controller, he controlled Superman—"
"He was lucky that Wonder Woman killed him before I had the chance," Damian says, crossing his arms like a murderous little toddler.
"Okay, too far," Steph says. "But no seriously, the guy was a monster, and what he did to you was messed up, and it's not your fault."
"Clint," Tim says, holding three of his little pill bottles, because he absolutely pulled up the floorboards to find those, because his middle brother is a snoop. "This isn't coping."
"I hate those," he says, and if he's garbling his words, it's because his hearing aids are acting up, not because he's crying or anything.
… actually, it might be both, he's pretty sure he's mostly lip reading by now.
"Then talk to your doctor about it, you dumb#*&%," Jason says, crossing his arms. "There's more than one kind of ************."
"Uh, what?" Yep, hearing aids totally on the fritz. Did he forget to charge them again?
… he totally did.
Jason signs, and then signs. When did Jason learn to do that?
"There's more than one kind of a-n-t-i-d-e-p-r-e-s-s-a-n-t," Jason signs, clearly struggling to be patient with him.
"Oh," Clint says. He shrugs.
All of his siblings look like they really want to smack their own faces. Or him. They're probably not picky.
Steph is jabbering something at him, but he really can't read her lips because the angle is wrong, and he's pretty sure she's just nagging him anyways, so he's not going to ask her to repeat herself, not when she's found his backup hearing aids, and hands them to him, along with a tissue.
She's pretty great. Not Katie-Kate great, of course, but still pretty great.
"I know," she says, when he tells her that.
He doesn't magically get better.
He still has bad days.
Kate keeps threatening to take Lucky and move to Los Angeles.
But he has his family.
That's… that's something.
As much as he hates it, Clint cleans up decently enough when the situation requires him to. The suit is uncomfortable, but at least it fits, and Alfred has him absolutely pinned down, so he doesn't dare wrinkle it or stain it for at least two hours.
Cassandra is the only one of the siblings that seems to be enjoying the occasion to dress up, living her best life in a blue dress and black opera gloves. She's dragged Stephanie and Katie along, who are gleefully matching in purple, but Clint isn't sure which of them are Cass's date, or if it's both of them, or neither of them, or if they're dating each other, for that matter. The details and rituals of teenage girls continues to elude him.
Dick's better at being the center of attention, lounging with the appearance of not caring, but Clint is comforted by the knowledge that he hates wearing the suit as much as Clint does.
Tim is mostly just mad that he had to cancel a "raid" for this, which Clint is pretty sure is a Dungeons and Dragons thing.
It's Duke's first public outing as a member of the prestigious and mysterious Wayne Family, and he looks like he'd rather be just about anywhere than here, as he tries to hide behind Bruce as best as possible. He'd be hiding behind Jason if he could, but Jason is absolutely not above using the "legally dead" argument in order to duck out of fancy parties, so that plan fell through.
Clint sympathizes with Duke though; the paparazzi are eager for a story, and Bruce's latest wards are always good for a front page and rampant speculation.
Damian is fiddling with his bowtie, muttering about how stupid American formal wear is, a sentiment which Clint enthusiastically agrees with, but he stops to help his youngest brother with his tie.
Bruce puts a hand on Clint's shoulder.
"It's good to have you home," he says, weirdly earnest and honest.
"Pff, see if you say that when I try to organize a game of Champagne Pong."
Bruce's mouth twitches. "I'll still be saying it. But please wait until a few rounds have happened; they serve the first round of champagne in the nice crystal, and I'd hate for you to break one."
"What, you think I'd miss?"
"Never. But the poor chum you challenge, on the other hand? Very likely."
It's rare to see Bruce genuinely smile.
Clint always likes to see it.
"Wait, Kate is a member of the Birds of Prey?"
"Sorry Clint, your signal is cutting out," Babs says, like a liar, because she's good at her job, and her signal doesn't just cut out unless the world is literally ending.
"You let the Batgirls in! Bats aren't even birds! This isn't fair!"
She hangs up on him.
Kate sips her smoothie and pets his dog.
Traitors, all of them.