Once he is released, Clint decides that he can’t stay at home- not with journalist and fans and just crazy people in general out there to get to him. Sharks, he thinks, sitting in the dark on the side of the bed in the same house is spy friend had gently offered him. Clint hasn’t slept since what had happened with Bruce; he is still dressed, jeans and a t-shirt that he should have definitely changed at least a couple of days before, his head between his hands; he hasn’t eaten anything at all since the whole ordeal, he barely drinks water or juice if someone leaves them for him, but besides that… nothing.
Chris sighs as she enters in the room, without turning the light on- she knows it would just upset him- and, the trail on the nightstand, she sits close to her long-time friend. They aren’t so close they are touching- that’s not what Clint needs right now, after all- but enough that, were to move her right knee a little, it would brush his tight, and he would know she is there for him, no matter what.
He has seen me at my worst. Been there for me through some of the most difficult times of my life. That’s the least I can do for him
Clint lifts his eyes, and he looks at her, and Chris would cry- would even scream- do anything to make the pain stop, because if her own heart breaks at the sight of Clint’s crying, she doesn’t know how he could feel. How much he could hurt.
And the fact is… she wonders if he knows. She is mad with him- and Kate too- because he made a choice and now they are going to live with the consequences. They all feel guilty because of what he did.
She is mad with him. And mad with herself. Because… she should have been there. saw that coming. She should have known it.
She is fisting her hands so strongly that it almost hurts, she is leaving half-moon indentations in her creamy skin, and she doesn’t notices it until she feels his hand on her own, big and reassuring and strong and yet delicate.
“You are thinking so loudly you are hurting my brain.” He half-jokes, because he knows that after the Terrigen Mists hit the world, she hasn’t been the same; after the skies turned red, she woke up one morning in her bed, and the Endacrion was back on her arm, like it had never left to begin with, but then the mists hit, and her powers… well, magic could protect her up to a certain point, and she could broadcast herself through the world thanks to the Iron Man armor and Stark’s satellites, but her telepathy wasn’t any longer what it used to be.
And yet, she could have been there. She should have been there.
“Do you think I made the right call?” He asks her, and she wonders if he expects her to answer at all- she knows that he wish for absolution, one not even his lawyer, Matt Murdock, could give him, despite the State and the People saying otherwise.
She bits her lips, and takes a big breath, tries to start to talk many, many times, but the words never leave her mouth.
“He was about to Hulk out, Chris. I know it. He knew it. We all saw it.” He knows. And yet, it doesn’t make him feel any less guilty.
“Do you know what the Books of Truth are?” She asks tentatively; Clint turns to look at her, and doesn’t answer. “Irene Adler- Destiny- wrote them. They were a collection of her visions. When we discovered they were out there in the world, we – the X-Men- went looking for them.” She pauses. “We went looking for them…. so that no one would ever read them. Not even us. So that we wouldn’t be tempted to change the timeline.”
“I knew what I saw. And he asked me, damn it….”
“I know.” She tells him, reassuring him in the same way he did before with her. “You think Bruce came only to you? He had gone to Logan, even Ares in the past, asking the same thing. But…” she pauses, closes her eyes. “But Bruce was my friend, Clint. Not like you are, of course, but… he got me. He didn’t underestimate me. Didn’t mock me or put me in a corner like Pym or Reed used to do, and… and I can’t help but think that, hadn’t you been there, hadn’t you listened to a kid that’s been having his powers for five minutes, none of this would have happened.”
She holds his hand strongly, a sweet, sad smile gracing her features. “But it doesn’t matter. You made your call, Clint, and it doesn’t matter what I think- you are my family, Clint, and family sticks together, no matter what.”