I own none of these characters, settings, or fandoms. They are the property of their respective creators and companies. A/N:
Based on the inspiration prompt from coppersinger
to use the song Fast As I Can
Years of missions in unfriendly locations had turned Clint into a light sleeper, so when he felt the air of the room change, his eyes opened automatically. His body remained motionless on the bed as his eyes roamed the large bedroom in Stark Tower as he assessed the possible threat level. A flash of blonde hair told him all he needed to know and he relaxed the muscles that had tensed up to be prepared for an attack.
He shifted to better watch the woman he was becoming strongly attached to move about their shared bedroom as she readied herself for bed. Whether he wanted to admit it or not, he worried every time she went out on patrol. He was more than aware of just how capable she was in taking care of herself, but as a field agent he also knew that being capable wasn't always going to win the day. That sometimes the luck ran for the other guy and your days could come to a rapid end.
His chest squeezed painfully at the thought of losing her at the hands of a demon or vampire. A physical ache that signaled strong feelings that he continually refused to acknowledge. He was perfectly happy living in denial of any feelings stronger than attraction and extreme like at this stage of the game.
Two perfectly good emotions that anyone could easily experience when in the presence of the oldest living slayer. She had him hooked the moment she had said hello and he couldn't help but smile in her presence or if someone mentioned her name. Even Stark had the nerve to hit on her several times, before taking the hint and leaving her be.
Buffy was smart and witty, and that she could handle any weapon placed before her was hotter than any one person had the right to be. She kept him on his toes and pushed his every limit.
Except for one.
Stories of his less than happy childhood flowed easily from his lips, the hardship of getting to where he was now tumbled painlessly forth. And yet words that should have been so easy to say remained stubbornly stuck in his throat. Whether it was the pain of loss from the past or the possibility of it happening in the future, something kept holding him back.
He could see the love she had for him shining in her beautiful green eyes, and right along with it was the understanding that he wasn't ready to say I love you. She hadn't once pushed for more, nor offered the words to him, but let him set the pace of their relationship.
A fact that had him falling just a little deeper.
Buffy finished her nightly ritual and crawled into their bed. She snuggled in close to rest her head on his shoulder and he wrapped his strong arms around her deceptively delicate body.
“Good hunting?” He asked softly.
“Slow and boring,” she said with a soft sigh. She pushed up slightly and angled her head to give him a light peck on his lips. “You didn't have to wait up,” she said, settling back down.
“Didn't, fell asleep actually,” he said, sleep already threatening to pull him back under now that she was safe and in his arms.
“Sorry, about waking you up,” Buffy countered softly, her body relaxing against his.
“No worries. Just happy you're safe,” he mumbled.
Maybe tomorrow he'd fess up to what he felt in his heart. And even if he didn't, she would still be with him, loving him despite his ability to say it.