When they came for him through the snow Clint was shocked. He’d lost track of the time, and feeling in his extremities. He’d fully accepted that he was going to die out here in the endless, cold nothingness.
When he’d heard the sound he was sure he was hallucinating; he’d done it enough once his body temperature started dropping. But then the voices didn't go away, and the shapes got sharper, and suddenly he was being picked up.
“Hawkeye not allowed to die,” the voice said, and he realised it was the Hulk, cradling him in his giant hand.
“Careful there, buddy,” came another voice behind him, and Clint caught a flash of red before a huge shadow was passing over them and descended, turning everything black.
When he woke up again, he was under a mountain of blankets with a tingling in his fingers. “Am I dead?” he asked the dark ceiling.
A face swam into focus above him and smiled. “No,” Bruce said, “you are not dead.”
“You sure about that, doc?”
“Pretty certain,” Bruce replied, “we’re almost home.”
“Home,” Clint repeated, and closed his eyes.
There was a lot of yelling. He couldn't make out the words. He knew he should be able to but he was so tired. Bruce had promised they’d go home but this place looked different. Distantly he wondered if they had remembered to bring his bow. It was his favourite, but he couldn't remember when he’d last seen it.
He reached out a hand and grabbed at the nearest person. The yelling stopped as Steve’s face came into his line of vision.
“Did you remember to bring my bow?” he asked.
“It’s with Tony,” Steve said, reassuringly.
“Good,” he said, “that’s good. When can I go home?”
“Soon,” Steve said, “we’ll get you home soon.”
As he closed his eyes the voices started up again.
When he opened his eyes this time he was in his own bed. He could feel his toes for the first time since he could remember, and his fingers were almost warm.
He could feel a small body wrapped around him, and another, more solid one pressing into his side. He turned his head to the small form and the soft smell of flowers overtook his senses. “Am I dead this time?”
“Not this time,” Natasha said. Her voice was soft, but he could hear the smile.
“You keep asking that like you’re surprised,” another voice said behind him. He finally opened his eyes to see Natasha smiling softly at him, and he turned to see Bruce propped up on the pillows with a laptop over the covers.
He pulled himself up some more and saw that the topmost blanket was actually Thor’s cloak, with Thor still attached. His head rested on Bruce’s calves, one hand dangling over the edge of the bed, the other wrapped around Steve’s ankle, which was resting on his chest. Steve was lying right across the bed, his head where Natasha’s legs would have been if she wasn't curled up the way she was. Then there was Tony, lying right on top of Steve.
“We ran out of space so they had to get inventive,” Natasha explained.
“They wanted to keep you at the hospital but...” Bruce paused, “we were convincing.”
“I bet you were,” Clint said, still unable to take it all in. “I didn’t think-” he started, “I thought-”
“We don’t leave people behind, Barton,” Tony said, eyes still closed, “even archers who get lost on top of snowy mountains.”
“I didn’t get lost,” he said, almost petulantly, “I was carried away and dropped.”
“Some of us are sleeping,” Steve said, “and some of us should be resting.”
“Aye,” Thor said, “t’was a daring rescue mission.”
Clint laughed. He couldn't help it. He was squeezed into a bed with five other people and he wasn’t dead. They’d come back for him.
“Idiot,” Natasha whispered, but she was still smiling.
“Yeah,” he said, shifting and pulling the covers up to his chin, “but you came back for me.”
“Of course,” she said, “we had to bring you home.”
“Home,” he repeated, and closed his eyes.