What would you like? I’d like my moneys worth
When they find him, Clint’s covered in blood, his quiver empty. He’s fighting tooth and nail now, punching pulling hitting any agent that gets close enough to him. His nails are cracking, his vision is fading with red.
Finally, finally, with a gun to his temple he hears “We’d like for you to work with us,”
It’s a kind voice. Calm, smooth, gentle. At odds with their surroundings. Clint had taken out two of their agents before they had confirmed a visual on him. Top ten on the terrorist list; his mentors would have cut the articles out of the newspapers and framed them, hung them up inside their trailers.
“We’re the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division,” The voice said, cocking the gun and flexing his fingers. “You’re on the terrorist watch list. We’d like to make that disappear.”
“You’re going to need a better name,” Clint said, smoothly. In the next breath he threw an arm out, cracking the arm holding the gun to his temple, and rolled onto his feet, the gun in his own hands.
“I work for myself. And I’m going to need some more arrows,”
Try explaining a life bundled with episodes of this--
swallowing mud, swallowing glass, the smell of blood
on the first four knuckles.
The first time he picked up a bow he was 12. He was 12 and cleaning horse shit out of a trailer in exchange for a bed (sometimes) and three (one) meals a day.
When they had first shown up, they sat him and his brother on soap boxes, handed them a piece of paper and told them to read it to the crowds, sell them tickets to the side shows.
Clint squinted at the words until they started to squiggle around the page. He closed one eye, and then the other. Tilted his head to the side. His brother was laughing. When Barney started shouting Clint repeated everything he said. Now he cleans the trailers.
Barney gets into a fight with some locals, claiming that he stole their money. Clint knows his brother did, Barney has fast hands. When Clint stepped in, somebody knocked him to his knees with an elbow to the back, and left him trying to gasp for air through the mud. They heaved him up, pushed him up against a wall, and the first punch to his face knocked his head back through a window.
The first punch he landed broke his knuckles.
Clint picks up a crossbow the same day his brother steals a handgun from one of their customers. They laugh at him.
When he hits the target right in the bullseye on his first shot, he flexes his fingers, works out the strain in his broken knuckles, and tries again.
We pull our boots on with both hands
but we can't punch ourselves awake
Phil is quiet, careful when he touches him. His hands slide up under Clint’s knees, and he keeps a hand against the side of his face. Clint scratches with his nails and bites down on the skin under his mouth, pushes his legs against Phil’s hips and whines.
They’re in the back of some rental car, the back tires blown out on the side of the highway in Bosnia. There’s a van a few hundred miles down the road ready to explode at any minute, the driver with an arrow in his chest.
A name and a picture, that’s all they had gotten this time. Clint likes it better that way. He doesn’t want to know. He wants a plane ticket and a paycheck.
Phil pushes a hand up against the side of his neck and Clint groans, pushes his feet against the door to gain leverage. The next time Phil fucks up into him, Clint drops his head back and reaches up to grab the back of Phil’s hair. “Please,” He whines, and his breath catches in his throat when Phil kisses him.
After, Clint sits on the roof and smokes a cigarette, looks down as Phil pulls his boots on and scrubs a hand through his hair, straightens his tie. It’s dark, but Clint watches Phil’s face when he catches his eye.
and all I can do
is stand on the curb and say Sorry
about the blood in your mouth. I wish it was mine.
Clint doesn’t remember much about Loki.
He remembers the tesseract. He remembers it misbehaving, remembers Fury’s lecture. He remembers sitting in his post and being so fucking bored, longing to be out in the field again.
He remembers Loki’s face, remembers “You have heart.” After that, his mind was blank. Blissfully, gloriously blank. He knew the building was crumbling, he knew that something was happening, and he was behind the wheel of a truck, gunning it out of the parking lot.
He hesitated, for half a second. Phil . The voice at the back of his head said, and before he could react bright red flashed behind his eyes and he screamed. And that’s when he stopped remembering.
After Natasha wipes his mind, she tells him what happened. Tells him about how Loki unleashed the Hulk. Tells him how Coulson had stolen a gun, had aimed it at Loki, only to be stabbed through the chest. He walks towards the med bay before she can finish her sentence.
His comm is going off, he can hear Fury’s voice. Can hear Stark and Rodgers voices. There’s a white bed with a white body on top of it, and Clint walks out of the door as quickly as he walked into it, holding onto the door frame and emptying the contents of his stomach onto the floor.
He’s pale and gasping when he comes up for air, and when he looks back through the door they’ve moved the body.
I couldn't get the boy to kill me, but I wore his jacket for the longest time.
Clint doesn’t go back to their apartment.
He does unlock Phil’s car in the SHIELD parking garage and takes his wallet and phone from the glove box, a jacket from the backseat.
He takes a taxi to LaGuardia and uses Phil’s credit card to pay for a business class ticket to Bosnia.
He stops at an ATM and pulls the rest of the cash out of his account, tucking it into Phil’s wallet. He buys a coffee, and an apple, and a book of poetry.
On the plane he reads the first few pages and sets the book down on the empty seat next to him. He orders a whiskey coke, and another, and he shoves his hands deep into the too small jacket, before he turns his head to the left and falls asleep.
Gone, I say and walk from the church,
refusing the stiff procession to the grave,
letting the dead ride alone in the hearse.
It is June. I am tired of being brave.