Clint sat down on the bed in the room T’Challa gave to him. He had waited for about an hour before he disappeared to call and report. He grabbed he phone that had been hidden in the false bottom of his quiver. As he turned it on, he double checked that the door was shut. He wouldn’t put it past Wanda to try to come in to check on him. He had played the protector to make his position more believable and it seemed to be working. The woman, however, with her powers made him feel uneasy. The phone rang twice before it was picked up and it was FRIDAY on the line. “Mr. Barton.”
Clint laid down on the bed. He was the only one who got away from the airport without major injures mostly because he only fought against Nat. The two were pulling their punches since they really didn’t want to hurt anyone that was present. That was until Wanda called him on it and hurt Nat. He could still see Nat fly across the field after Wanda had hit her flash before his eyes. He almost broke cover that moment but he knew that Tony would take care of her. “Hey, Fri. Is Tony around?”
There was a beat before the AI answered him. “Boss has not checked in since he followed Captain America to Siberia. I have also lost contact with the suit roughly twenty-six minutes after Boss reached the facility.”
That grabbed his attention and caused Clint to quickly sit up in the bed. “Are you sure? Do you need me to go get him?” Clint had already started to go through what he needed to get to Siberia. If Wakanda’s tech was anything like Tony’s, he would be able to pilot it after he got permission. He might have to tell the king what was happening but he was almost done with the mission anyway. All he had to do was debrief and go grab Tony before returning to the farm. He had the evidence that he needed. The bonus was he also got more dirt on Ross and his shady use of the Accords and the US military.
“Vision is already on his way. He should be reaching the Hydra base in five minutes. Would you like me to direct your call to him?” FRIDAY answered.
“Either him or Nat. I want to get out of here soon. I don’t want to get Laura mad at me for leaving her to plan the party for Tony.” Clint said as he started to pace. Something didn’t feel right. How did Rogers and Barnes get back but Tony was stuck at the base? Did something happen after they nabbed Zemo and got rid of the other super soldiers? Did Tony get into the computers and just lost track of time? That sounded like something that could happen. Tony’s work area in the barn had an egg timer so he knew that he had to come in and at least give prove of life. It had been a joke at first but the kids started to use it as a demand for attention and Tony could never say no to them. But if it really was Tony getting lost in the data, how did Friday loose contact?
“Miss Romanoff is on the run. The Prince has informed the UN of what happened between him and her during the battle at the airport. Boss hasn’t had time to notify the right people about her status so she is not able to be contacted at this time.” FRIDAY stated. “Vision is on the line.”
“Hey Vis, what is going on there? Rogers made it seem like Tony was fine when he left.” Clint was starting to worry. The plan was starting to go off the rails. It was supposed to be a quick job, too. Three days at the most. Tony and Nat had both noticed that Rogers had been getting more and more erratic as the search for Barnes was extended. Rogers also started to pull away from the original Avengers and only called on them when he heard a hot tip but he never shared where he got the information from or what it was completely. This coupled with some of the research that Tony had uncovered after all the information SHIELD information was release made the three of them worry that they might have a ticking time bomb on their hands.
The three normies (as Tony liked to call them) had bonded after Nat told Tony about his father’s death being a hit rather than an accident. It had been a few weeks after the major data dump that Tony had to fix since Nat and Captain America didn’t think about the innocent agents on the ground that would be affect by their secrets being out in the open. The dress down that Tony had given Nat must have been epic since the Russian crashed at the farm for two weeks before she even talked about what happened.
Clint knew about the dump since he had been visiting Tony when Jarvis first alerted him about what had happened. He was stunned that Black Widow had done something so reckless that could not only have endangered him but also many of their friends who were good agents. Tony’s mistrust of SHEILD had saved most of the agents and their families since he had an alert set up for just this kind of event. Hell, Tony had gone above and beyond by helping many of them get jobs. That was one of the reasons why Maria was working for Tony. That and she said that herding scientists wasn’t as hard as herding agents. Tony almost fell over laughing when he heard that statement and wanted to see her deal with a whole floor of overly excited, hyper-focused scientist, who all were a little full of themselves. Rightfully full of themselves at that since Stark Enterprises only hired the best. He set up a private viewing channel to watch the formal agent try to get them corralled without lethal force.
Ultron had been hard on everyone for many different reasons. First, Tony wanted to take the blame for the whole thing himself. He had started going in front of the cameras and telling whoever would listen that him and his company would be helping pay for the repairs. In the eyes of many, that looked like a guilty man trying to sooth this conscience. Clint had been so worried that Tony had been mad at him for not telling him about Laura and the kids that he didn’t even notice the depression the man had sunk into after they returned to New York. Luckily after a few days of moping around the house that his work husband (Laura’s words) was mad at him, he finally called Tony to invite him over for dinner. That was when he heard FRIDAY’s slightly voice saying that Tony had passed out on the couch for the fourth time that week. Clint called Nat and rushed over to his friend’s side. When Tony woke up, he had to deal with three very angry spies, who aggressively mothered him back to health.
Adding to Tony’s misery during that time was his loss of JARVIS, his first AI. His AIs and Bots were his family and it was like he had lost his child and created a monster. (Ultron. Not Vision. Tony had no idea what to do with Vision at the time.) Tony had already told them a long time ago why Jarvis was so important to him. He was the only one that was always by his side just like his namesake. For a man who had to look at the motives of everyone around him, having one person who he could depend on even if he was an AI was grounding. Now, Tony was floating away without an anchor. Or at least that is what he felt like until he was bundled up and taken to the farm to get his bearings. Laura took one look at Tony and some how adopted him into that family that night. Clint didn’t even have to ask her to help as she grabbed some extra blankets and remade the guest bed. She even moved the rocking chair into Tony’s room because she knew that one of the spies were probably going to keep a close eye on the genius for the next few days. With Tony’s history of depression, it wasn’t an option to let him stay by himself.
Slowly, the man came back into the world. It also showed Tony’s biggest weakness. Kids. He didn’t know what to do with them. The first time Lila had found Tony under the covers she decided that he needed to be snuggled. The adults found him later that day debating Harry Potter in a way that only a child and Tony could. Coop managed to get Tony into the barn to help with the tractor when he heard that Tony was an inventor. Coop had always been a tinker and having an adult who actually knew what he was doing was amazing for him. The barn slowly became the place to be as Nat pulled a couch into the corner to watch and Lila would talk to Tony as the boys played with spare parts. Even after Tony was better, some days he would magically appear without warning in the barn so randomly that the kids would knock on the door when they came home to tell Tony that they were back from school just to check.
It was on one of those visits that Laura went into labor. Tony’s face when he was told that he was babysitting the kids with no help was priceless. Since it was their third time at this, Laura was calmer than Tony about the whole thing. Actually, Coop was calmer than Tony about it. Lila too. The genius seemed to forget that there was a little person inside of Laura. By the time the third-time parents came home, Tony had baby proofed everything and added FRIDAY into anything that he could so she could help. Clint almost fell over laughing when he saw that the crib had been re-baby proofed. Apparently, he should have left his kids in charge of Tony. The man also hovered over the new member of the family. It had taken Lila yelling at him to actually pick up Nate. The look of complete awe and horror didn’t leave Tony for weeks whenever he was handing the baby.
By then, Nat had found footage from the Hydra base that they had first met the twins. It showed Wanda going into Tony’s mind. Clint had almost been sick at the sight. Between the staff and the witch, Tony probably didn’t know what he was doing. Tony explained that Ultron was just a program to detect hazards and save humans but no one wanted to listen to him after the disaster. He also hadn’t finished it and the days after going to the base while he had the scepter were a little hazy. He knew he should have listened to Bruce but he let his fear got the best of him. Even as a part of him screamed to stop, he finished the program. On reviewing that tape of Ultron’s first appearance, Nat had found an odd spark timed in the holding area that house the robots timed when Mjolnir sparked as well. The news stuck Tony hard that were other factors into Ultron being created. Later that night as he drank with Nat, he confided in her that he was worried that Ultron was really his darkness. Nat smack him hard stating that the reason she never blamed him was that Tony’s heart was so kind and forgiving that she knew he couldn’t have been the only hand in Ultron’s creation. What worried Nat more was that he wasn’t mad that a God held him by the neck and could have killed him. Nat said revealed that it was the first time in a long time that she was truly scared of her team members especially the enhanced ones.
That statement was the beginning of Tony paying attention to the Accord talks. Clint and Natasha had both been spies so idea of rules chaffed them naturally but they could see how there need to be accountability or at least the appearances of it to make everyone feel comfortable. Also, if one of them could do that to a co-worker what was stopping them from doing it to the general public. He knew that they needed some accountability to each other and to the world as a whole. Tony increased the time he was working in Sokovia to help build back the town. He knew that he couldn’t save those that died but he wanted to do what he could. His need to repent had caused him to forget about his health again so Nat started to shadow him and Clint demanded that he come to the farm at least once a week. The other side effect of Tony’s need to make amends lead the media to cement the idea that Sokovia was Tony’s fault. Tony’s self-worth being what it was allowed them even though he knew that there was evidence that it wasn’t him. He wasn’t going to be seen as making excuses for what happened. He did forward Nat’s intel to SHIELD and the UN so they could have a clear record of what had really happened but he knew the media didn’t care about fact just what sold. Being traded out of the Avengers for Wanda didn’t even register to Tony until it was too late to really make a fuss about it and by that time he was too tired. Instead on his time off, he drifted to the farm whenever he could. He fixed tractors, installed lights and helped with homework. On his time off, he just wanted to be Uncle Tony which felt more real and more satisfying than running around after Rogers most days.
That was also when they noticed the cracks in the team. Bruce had disappeared, Thor went home, Clint retired, Tony was working, Nate was on missions and Rogers was God knows where. Fury had stopped by one of many times Tony was at the farm and they talked about what was happening. He knew that the team that he had put together had fallen apart but he wanted to know why and if it was salvageable. Fury said they needed a spy on the inside and they all knew who he meant. Nat didn’t like the idea so spying on the other half of the team but she knew that she didn’t want to fall victim to her own blind spot. (Also it never really felt right that Rogers still hadn’t told Tony about his parents even though he was using Tony’s money to find his friend.) They were official part of the CIA in deep hidden back corner due to a favor that Fury used from a contact. They all felt uneasy about what was happening but if something went wrong, Tony demanded that Nat and Clint were taken care of. He didn’t want them in jail because this wasn’t sanctioned by some government letter group. CIA to him was just the same as SHIELD who also knew but weren’t as trust. (Which is saying something about what Hydra did to the organization’s reputation.)
They all knew the Avengers were where stereotypes of all enhanced people were coming from in the media. If the Avengers saved the world than maybe the lady with who tinged green could help out too. If an Avenger destroyed a building, the whole enhanced community was seen as the problem. Maybe we should report the weirdo with the green skin. People were fickle and could change at the drop of a hat but it was hard to erase fear from a person’s heart. Tony, Nat and Clint were smart enough to know that if they didn’t control the narrative that they were going to give someone else enough rope to hang them. If that happened, they would be taking innocents like the children at the Professor Xavier with them. Tony had been spending an increasing amount of time with policy makers and victim groups to find a happy medium for everyone but he knew that if the public saw the Avengers as the threat then it could go down the tubes quickly.
When Lagos happened, it was as if all Tony’s prediction had come true. The public got their pitch forks and their torches for Wanda. Tony tried to intervene but since he was barely with the Avengers anymore, he was thrown for a loop with what had happened. Ever since Wanda because an Avenger, Tony’s role was scaled back until he was in the sidelines looking in just like everyone else. To protect Wanda, he asked Vision to stay with her at the compound until he could deal with the fallout but he didn’t have time to talk to her about why she was stuck indoors. Maybe that was his fault but he had hoped that she would listen to Vision when he told her to stay at home for her own safety.
It all happened so quickly after that. Clint, Tony and Nat had to change their strategy as they went since Nat had sided with Tony publicly on the Accords. It would make it hard for her look like she supported Captain America now. When Clint got the call from Rogers, he immediately called Tony to tell him about the change. Tony liked it even less when he heard that Clint was going to be the one to pick up Wanda. Yes, Tony had figured out how to make a damper for Wanda’s powers but he wasn’t sure how well it would work. It was never field tested. It, however, was their best bet.
So here Clint was pacing in a beautiful guest room, waiting for Vision to tell him how this plan went to hell. “Are you there?”
“Yes, I just arrived. The doors are wide open. There doesn’t seem to be….” There was silence on the line. “I see the five dead Super soldiers and they seem to still in the cyro state. There is some evidence of a fight but… No.” The last word was filled with shock and a bit of anger.
Clint stopped pacing. His hand opened and closed quickly since it should have been wrapped around his bow. He hated being on this side of coms. He felt useless being away from the action. It was one of the reason why he retired. He knew he wasn’t as quick and agile as he had once been. Soon, he would be aged into working behind the scenes like Coulson had been. That just wasn’t him. He couldn’t take the wait. “Vis? Vision, what is going on?”
“Mr. Stark? Mr. Stark, Sir?” Vision said as he ignored Clint. The archer knew that this was a bad sign. Tony would have acknowledged Vision immediately. Tony knew that Vision still was unsure of their relationship and was trying to keep himself open for the new life form. He hadn’t always been great at it when Vision first appeared but the two had fallen into a pseudo father- son relationship. “Mr. Stark isn’t responding.” The worry bled into the android’s voice. “FRIDAY, I need medical assistance.”
“Vision, what is going on?” Clint was getting frantic. “Just tell me something.”
Vision finally responded to Clint. “Sorry, Clint. Sir, Tony, is still in his armor. He is breathing weakly and his pulse is thready. I believe that there is blood loss but I am worried about removing the armor in case that it is holding a puncture closed.”
Clint’s vision seemed to narrow as he lost his breath for a second. Tony was on the brink of death again. This was getting to be too often. It seemed like every other year Tony almost died and Clint was never there to help. “But you saw the soldiers. Who could have done this?”
There was a pause in the conversation. In a soft, regretful voice, Vision answered. “I believe it was Captain America who did this.”
“WHAT?!!!” Clint exclaimed not caring who heard anymore. This is why Nat should have been here and not him. Clint couldn’t control his emotions as well as she could. “Say that again.”
“Sir has a mark through the armor that could only be made by a structure with a sharp edge and the shield is 1.5 meters away from him with blood on it. There is no one else here and if it was anyone else why would they leave sir here and not take him for either kidnapping or just for his suit.” Vision explained. “Also, the metal arm that Mr. Barnes has been seen with is laying a few meters away from us. I am guessing the three had a fight and they beat Sir unto submission and left him.”
Clint stumbled onto the bed. “He didn’t. He couldn’t…. I mean we knew that he was acting odd but he… I thought he said they were friends…. I can’t… I mean he didn’t say anything to Thor but I thought that was because of the scepter. I mean I was shocked that Thor would do that but actively try to kill Tony…” Clint felt numb. Tony had become one of his closest friends. The people only he trusted more were Laura and Nat. “He’s not the man we thought he was, is he?” Before Vision could say anything, Clint continued. “I’m going to find a way back to New York. Take him to the tower and make sure that Dr. Cho is there and knows about the extent of the damage. I’ll get in contact with Nat through back channels and she should be back within the next two days if she can help it.” He took a deep breath. Vision for all his wisdom and strength was still young. Clint knew that he needed to hear that Tony was going to be okay whether it was true or not. The kid shouldn’t be facing losing his dad by himself. “He’ll be fine. Stark men are made of Iron. We will take care of him. Just get him home.”
Vision’s voice was choked as he replied. “Yes, of course. FRIDAY has sent for medical. She was clever enough to have sent them as soon as she lost contact with Sir.”
Clint relaxed a little with that news. At least, they should be with Tony soon. “I’ll be in touch. Call me if there is any change.”
“What about the mission?”
“The mission has always been about keeping us safe and now one of us is in grave danger. It might even be by one of our own. I have proof that we need the Accords and that there is something fishy going on with Rogers. I am coming home.” Clint said as he grabbed his bow. “I’ll contact you with an ETA. Take care of him.”
“Be careful.” Vision replied before cutting off the call.
Clint took a deep breath and put a smile on his face. He didn’t need to give anything away to the rogue Avengers. If anything, that would make it harder to escape. He really didn’t even them know that well and he wasn’t going to let them delay getting to Tony’s side. He met Wilson a handful of times and he seemed nice enough but he had blinders on when it came to Rogers. This was the longest he had ever spent with Wanda and thankfully since she tried to pull the same manipulative crap that Nat did on marks which rubbed Clint the wrong way with his family that she knew about. And really, a kid? She was twenty-five for god sakes. Also, she loved playing with people’s mind. After Loki, Clint couldn’t tolerate that at all. Lang, he didn’t know and could be a major problem if he had to fight his way out. And last but not least, Rogers. The whole fucking reason he was there. No, he needed to get out of there before this den of snakes realized he wasn’t one of them.
He moved out of his room and was almost to the main door to the suite when Lang saw him. Luckily, he was the only one watching the large TV in the main hall. “Hey, where are you going?”
Clint gestured with his bow to the door. “There was a practice ground on the way in here and I want to work out some of this energy.”
Lang nodded as he flipped through the channels. He wasn’t paying much attention to Clint. “I get it, man. I get a rush whenever I put on the suit. It’s great know that you are really making a difference.”
Clint ground his teeth and turned away. The asshole had gotten into Tony’s suit and almost killed him. Clint still didn’t know what was happening with Rhodes. It seemed like Lang was just a yes man to whomever asked. They were lucky that Hydra didn’t get to the man first. “I’ll see ya.”
Clint was out the door before he could get a response. There was a woman standing a few feet away. At the sight of Clint, she raised an eyebrow. Clint knew that this was a guard for the safety of the Wakandan people and not the people in that room. Wakanda was one of the first countries to see the need for the Accords. Clint had heard rumors that the country had quite a few enhanced people within its borders and that they were trying to protect them from persecution as well as trying to make sure those in other countries were in check. It was sound logic but that made Wakanda into a very gray country to be in as far as the Rogers and his crew was concerned. Clint walked up to the warrior and pointedly kept his hand spread to show no hostility. “I need to talk to your King. Now. Please and Thank you.”
Clint looked at the office that he was lead to for his meeting with the king. It was the over the top riches that he always imagined Tony’s office to be like when he first heard of the genius. In truth, until recently, Tony’s office was pretty bare. He didn’t have anything personal in there. It was whatever Pepper had decided to put there until she wanted it back or thought that it didn’t reflect Tony’s position well enough. Clint knew that Tony had gone into other people’s offices thinking it was his just because he rarely knew what it would look like week to week. It was now decorated with photos of the farm and Lila’s little creations. (Tony had gotten into the habit of expecting a present from the kids whenever Clint visited the tower.)
This room had a color scheme of gold and red. More red than gold but those were the colors. (Tony would have loved it. He would probably send Iron Man memorabilia just to show his love.) The floor was in red marble and the walls were red with flecks of what Clint was sure was real gold. Even the columns in the four corners seemed coated with the real gold plates. He knew that Wakanda was a rich country but this seemed bit much. The desk was oversized and in a deep red cherry and chair looked more like a throne again in red cherry but with gold upholstery. This was no question a room for a royal.
As he waited, Clint’s leg started to bounce. He wanted to get up and pace but he didn’t want to appear aggressive. He was hoping that he could make a deal and get to Tony as soon as possible. FRIDAY had messaged him saying that Tony was on a plane but since he was so unstable, they had to take him to Japan for treatment. There was no way for him to get there quickly without the royal’s help.
King T’Challa came in fallowed by two of his guards and a woman that Clint recognized as his sister. Clint stood and bowed to them. “Your majesties.”
T’Challa sat down behind the desk as his sister stood by his side. “Mr. Barton, I was told you needed to talk to me.”
“Sir, I’m not good at prettying up my words so I’ll just get to it. I need safe passage to Japan. If it’s a matter of money, I can promise that Mr. Stark or his company will pay for gas.” Clint said as he remained standing.
The princess responding. “Didn’t you just fight against him? Why would that man help you now?”
Clint shrugged. “I was here to keep an eye on Captain America. Mr. Stark has knowledge of what my mission was.”
There was silence as the T’Challa gave Clint a measured look. “I do remember that you didn’t seem to have your heart in the fight at the airport.”
“Black Widow and I were both trying to figure out Captain America’s end game. We thought that it would have ended when Barnes was back at Captain America’s side. Tony had even tried to find middle ground before the fight started. When he still didn’t surrender, we knew that there was more going on.” Clint said as he tried to keep his findings close to the vest. He didn’t know if he could trust the monarch with the information he had.
“Your Black Widow assaulted me. If she was in my country, she would be put to death.” T’Challa stated as he leaned forward.
Clint smirked internally as he thought about Nat getting one over the King. His face did not reflect his amusement. “Sir, we needed to know what Captain America’s next step was so we had to let him go. I later found out about the five super soldiers after we were taken to the RAFT. I couldn’t break cover since I still didn’t know what the end game was but Rogers seems pretty content with staying here. I have received intel that Mr. Stark is going to a hospital in Japan and I need to meet him there.”
“How was Stark injured? He was fine when we left the facility.” T’Challa said as he looked at his sister. It seemed like he was getting an uneasy feeling from his dealings with Rogers.
Clint took half a step closer to the desk in his eagerness. “So you saw Tony before you left?”
Shaking his head, T’Challa answered. “No, Captain Rogers told me he was fine when I inquired about him.”
Clint tried to control his temper by taking in a deep breath. “I have reason to believe that Rogers and Barnes assaulted Tony and left him in Siberia with no way to get home.”
T’Challa stood up quickly. “What?”
“Sir, there was no contact with Tony from the time I’m guessing you left to roughly thirty minutes ago when Vision was able to put eyes on him.” Clint said. He took another breath and hope his next statement would help his case not hurt it. “Sir, I work for SHIELD and the CIA and I can have the Director of SHIELD on the phone to verify my mission if you want but I ask if you could make your decision quickly because I would prefer to be with Mr. Stark before he wakes up.”
The Princess answered. “Use our phone to call your director.” She handed him a state of the art phone. Clint knew this was also a ploy to get more information on SHIELD but he knew Coulson won’t mind having a direct line to the Royals of Wakanda. It was access that SHIELD had always wanted.
Clint dialed the number followed by his access code and a sequence that would signal the importance of the call. A few seconds later Phil Coulson appeared projected from the phone’s surface. “Barton?”
“Coulson, I broke cover and am currently with the King of Wakanda. He wants to talk to you.” Clint stated as he put the phone on the desk.
Without missing a beat, Coulson greeting the nobles and asked what they needed. T’Challa answered. “Is what Mr. Barton saying true? You had your eyes on Captain America and Mr. Stark is injured because of him?”
Nodding, Phil answered. “Yes, the Avenger named Vision called me about Mr. Stark’s condition. He stated what he saw and I have a team going to the location for more information.”
“Brother.” The princess spoke only one word but it seemed to be enough for the King.
“Yes, of course.” He turned to his sister for a second and saw her nod. “My sister will take you to Japan. I would appreciate any information that you could tell me about Mr. Stark’s condition. He fought by my side and it was dishonorable of me to leave without checking if he was truly well.”
“The princess doesn’t have to go out of her way for me.” Clint stated.
T’Challa sighed and moved to the front of the massive desk. His guards mimicking his every move. “Mr. Stark is a good man who has been helping Wakanda come out from the shadows. He had been speaking with my father many times a week working on the details of the Accords. Though I have not been able to have the same relationship with him as my father, I know that he was one of the reasons my father thought that we should join the rest of the world. I will not let that friendship fall away now.” Looking back at the princess, T’Challa continued. “Plus, I know that Mr. Stark for all the media attention he gets is a private man. My sister is supposed to go to Singapore for a conference. A small shopping trip in Japan would not be seen as abnormal in her behavior. A Wakandan ship without a Wakandan in it would out of the normal.”
Clint bowed to the King than turned to the Princess. “When would you like to leave, your majesty?”
Vision was sitting in a chair outside of the operating room when Clint got to his side. The android was completely still, staring off into the distance. “Vis?” Clint said as he stood in front of him.
Slowly, Vision came back into focus. He looked up at Clint. “I can not come up with any other explanation than the one I gave you earlier. I have been sitting here as Sir is going through his third surgery to stabilize his chest wall trying to find a rationalization for why a man we trusted, a team member would do that to him. Sir, even when they didn’t get along, still thought of Rogers as a friend. As a good man. A troubled one that needed help but a good man. But he wasn’t, was he?”
Clint crouched down so he could look Vision in the eye. The Android only called Tony Sir was he was stressed. “First of all, we need to check what happened. Maybe Cap just left the shield for Tony’s protection. Maybe the arm was acting up and they asked Tony to get rid of it. We don’t know. Secondly, Rogers isn’t a bad guy but he might be a man who is out of his depths and doesn’t know how to ask for help. We don’t know what happened.”
Vision shook his head. “I do. I know what happened. After Sir was in the plane, FRIDAY found footage of the fight between Rogers, Barnes and Sir on the internet. It seems that Zemo wanted the world to see what he had done.”
“Fuck.” Clint said as he dropped his head. If it was loose on the web, there was no way to keep this locked down. The whole world would know what happened. Clint got up and paced up and down a few times before plopping down next to Vision. “Is it on YouTube yet or just the dark web?”
“It was on the dark web until thirty-seven minutes ago. FRIDAY tried to suppress it since we are sure that the personal nature of the fight would cause Sir distress but every time FRIDAY managed to delete one copy dozens popped up elsewhere.” Vision stated softly. “She did her best.”
Clint nodded as he pulled out his phone. “I’m sure she did.” He went to YouTube and the first video it recommended was the fight between Tony and the two super soldiers quickly followed by the fight with at the airport. Luckily, the airport fight looked grainy so Clint should be in the clear but the footage from Siberia looked very clear. It seemed that Zemo wanted one last stab at the Avengers. His finger hovered over the play button. He turned to Vision who had turned away. “Should I watch this?”
Vision stood and started to walk down the hall. “Yes, but I cannot watch it again.”
Clint took a deep breath and hit play. It opened with Tony looking at a monitor. The curiosity was clear in his features. The look on Rogers was wry as if he already knew what was on the screen. As Clint watched Tony find out about his parent’s death, he almost threw the phone against the wall. His last conversation with his parents was so scarring for Tony that he created B.A.R.F. and even with its help, Tony couldn’t move past the anger he had once felt for his father even knowing that he was murdered and wasn't drunk driving. There was still the cold dismissive way they had said goodbye the last time they had seen each other. Clint wondered if they were just so alike that they both didn’t know how to have a normal conversation. The chance to reconcile was torn from Tony and his father by an outside force but that didn’t make the emptiness of the connection fade. Now, he had a place to put all of the anger from that theft. The hatred from the fights there were never resolved causing Tony to hold back from morning his father had a face to it. The hatred that Stane used to keep Tony close all those years before stabbing Tony in the back had hands that fought back.
By the time Clint could focus on the video again, Rogers, Barnes and Tony were fighting. He rewound the video until the beginning of the fight only to hear that Rogers knew for two years and didn’t tell Tony because of Barnes. That he used his friendship with Tony to find the Starks’ murder. Clint was proud when Tony threw the first punch. He would have killed Barnes and he knew that Tony had more than enough ammo in that suit to do that. Yet even faced with what he saw, Tony tried to stop the fight. He tried to get them to turn themselves in. Sure, he was punching them but Tony has laser that could cut through a dozen robots much less two people. No, Rogers fought to win and he proved it when he drove the shield into Tony’s arc rector. With the footage from motion sensors and high-quality cameras, Clint could even see that the arc wasn’t where Rogers had been aiming just seconds before his shield came down. He had almost cut off Tony’s head. He could see that Tony tried to hold back a scream as it went in his suit. Clint wondered how far it actually cut into him.
Clint held the phone numbly as he thought about what Tony must have been going through. He wondered if he had a panic attack like he did if he was restricted for too long. If the facility reminded him of the cave in Afghanistan. Clint snorted at least the cold should have helped Tony realize he wasn’t in the desert. The last time Tony had a panic attach Laura…
Fuck, Laura. Clint quickly dialed his wife’s number. When she answered, it was clear she has seen the video. “Clint, is he okay? God please tell me Tony is okay.” She was almost sobbing into the phone. He could hear the kids crying.
“Babe, I don’t know. I’m at the hospital and I haven’t had time to ask. He’s in surgery right now. I’m hoping that Dr. Cho is here. She can help but I don’t know what is happening.” Clint said as he listened to his family’s pain.
Laura took a deep breath. “Clint, it’s all over the news what they did. I didn’t know to keep the kids away so they saw it. They saw Tony get hurt. I don’t know what to say to them. They keep asking if you and Tony are okay?”
This was the problem with having a family. Not only did you have people to lose but people could lose you too. How do you explain to your kids that their uncle was hurt by a man who stayed at their house once? How do you make this alright with them? “Babe, I’m fine. Put the kids on so they can at least hear me.”
There was a second before Clint knew he was on the speaker. He heard Lila and Nat sobbing. Nate was probably only crying because of Lila and his mom. He was too little to understand what was going on. He knew that Coop would be trying to be strong so he couldn’t hear his son. “Hey, guys. I’m okay. And Uncle Tony is with the doctors and they are trying to make him better.” He wasn’t going to lie to his kids and tell them everything was going to be alright..
“Captain America and his friend hurt Uncle Tony. Why didn’t you help him?” Lila asked between sobs.
If that wasn’t a dagger in Clint’s heart, he didn’t know what was. “Baby, I wasn’t with Uncle Tony. I was elsewhere and I didn’t know that Uncle Tony was in danger. If I knew, I would have never let him go.”
Coop interrupted. “Are you with him now?” His voice was soft and scared.
“I’m in the hospital. Vision is here too. We are waiting for the doctors to come talk to us.” Clint said as he tried to keep a hopeful tone in his voice.
Lila spoke again. “Can you… can you give him a hug? Uncle Tony always looks like he needs more.”
“As soon as he gets better, we’re going to take him to the tower and you can give him a hug.” Clint said. “Now let me talk to your mom for a little bit. You guys behave and I’ll make Uncle Tony call you as soon as he gets up.” If he gets up, Clint privately thought.
“Clint?” Laura said as she took the phone off of speaker.
“I want you to go to the Tower. If this goes south, I want everyone in a safe location and if it doesn’t, Tony will need to be in New York for treatment. The kids being there will help him feel better and them know to know he’s okay. Please Laura, can I call Pepper and ask her to send you a car?” Clint pleaded with his wife.
“I’ll get the bags pack and I’ll call you after we are in New York. Don’t worry about calling Pepper. I’ll do it. I’m sure she needs someone to talk to.” Laura said her voice becoming determine.
Clint knew his wife was trying to push everything down since she now had something to do. His wife was amazing when the chips were down. “Thank you.”
There was a pause. “Please, be careful.”
“Rogers isn’t here. Only FRIDAY, Vision, me and Coulson know where he is.” Clint frowned. “Actually, I’m surprised that Pepper isn’t here already.”
Her voice full of regret, Laura spoke. “Clint, Rhodes is still in the hospital.”
“Fuck.” He took a deep breath. “You have to call Pepper. She is probably losing her mind.”
“I’m on it. I love you.” Laura said.
“Love you, too. Take care of the kids and keep them the fuck away from the TV. I don’t want them to see what the coverage on this is going to be.” Clint said as he had flashes of what the media had said about Tony before this.
“Coop already took care of that…. He threw the remote at it.” Laura said with a little bit of cheer.
“I would probably do the same. He’s got the Barton temper.” Clint looked up to see a man in a white jacket come towards him. “I have to go. The doctor is here. I’ll tell you what happens. Bye.” Clint listened for his wife’s goodbye and hung up the phone. “Are you the doctor for Mr. Stark?”
The doctor seemed hesitant to answer as he looked down the hallway. Clint quickly realized he was looking for Vision and called out for the Android. He knew Vision wouldn’t have gone very far and was prove correct when he glided over to the two of them.
“Is he alright, doctor?” Vision asked as he stopped next to Clint.
The doctor nodded. “Yes, now that we know what the discrepancies between Mr. Stark’s chest and a normal chest and his blood versus normal blood, the surgery went much smoother.”
Clint saw Vision visibly relax at the doctor’s words.
“Dr. Cho is with him right now and is sure he will make a full recovery.”
Before the doctor could say anything else, Clint interjected. “Can we see him?”
The doctor nodded and started to walk towards the door behind him. “Yes, he is stabilized and has woken up for a few minutes. Dr. Cho asked for me to come find you as she felt that having friendly faces might speed his recovery.”
Clint and Vision stayed on the doctor’s heels as they went down the hallways to Tony’s room. Clint was texting Laura, Pepper, Fury and Coulson the news as they walked. Their replies of relief were instantaneous. He put his phone away as the doctor motioned them into Tony’s room and left. Even the video didn’t make him equipped to go into Tony’s room. The man’s right arm was incased as was his left foot. There were blankets on his lower body trying to keep him warm as Dr. Cho was looking at his chest. Clint could see exactly where the shield had gone into his friend even with all the surgical incisions. There was a line that went across Tony’s chest that had no reason to be there. It was in the wrong direction for surgery on the heart. It was in the wrong place to help his ribs. It was just in the wrong place.
“Oh God,” Clint exhaled.
Dr. Cho must have heard him since she turned to face him and Vision. There was a hopeful smile on her face. “He’s actually responding to the treatment very well. The doctors here didn’t know about Extremis and how to work with it rather than against it. As soon as I started to guide them, he started to heal properly.”
“Is he going to make a full recovery?” Vision said as he moved closer to the bed. After a few second of hesitation, he lightly touched the exposed fingers on Tony’s right hand. The clench at the touch making Vision smile slightly. It was a good sign as far as Clint was concerned
Dr. Cho placed a hand on Tony’s exposed shoulder. “Mr. Stark is a very strong individual. With Extremis in his body, he is ever stronger. That virus is the only reason that Mr. Stark is with us right now. The amount of damage that his body went through should have killed him. With the virus, Mr. Stark should be on his feet again in a few weeks. He is actually burning though the medication that we put him on so he should be awake soon.”
A muttering came from the bed. “See you guys shouldn’t worry so much.”
“Tony!” Clint exclaimed over Vision’s euphoric Sir. “Thank god. Wait.” Clint pulled out his phone to call Laura. “Do you think you can stay awake for just a few second? The kids want to say hello.”
Tony looked confused at Clint. “Why do the kids want to say hello?” He tried to sit up under his own strength but quickly fell back into the bed. He turned to Dr. Cho. “Give me the remote for the bed.” Once he was somewhat upright, he turned to Clint again. “Again why?”
Vision answered for the archer. “The video of your fight with the super soldiers has gone viral. The Barton family has seen it.”
Giving Clint a pissed off look, Tony uttered. "What the actual fuck?”
“Laura turned it off as soon as she could but it’s fucking everywhere apparently. Just say hi. Please.” Clint begged as he started the call. He was being manipulative but he knew if Laura or the kids were on the line there was no way Tony would say no to him.
Tony, however, sighed and made a grabby motion towards the phone. “Who knows what you will say to them. Those kids are lucky I’m around as much as I am.” He ranted much like most weeks that he got to see the kids. Clint knew better then to take it personally. Tony loved to tease about how the kids loved him. Clint knew it came from being worried about his place in their lives so he never said anything. “Hi Laura…. No, don’t cry. I’m fine…. Yeah, I mean I did… I mean we did but… I guess you are right. That’s not okay…” Tony replied as he sunk into the bed with a smile. “Of course, put on the kids. I’m going to put you on speaker too. Say hi.”
Clint replied straightaway. “Hi, kids. I told you I would get him to call.”
“Hey, birdie. They want to talk to me.” Tony said to the glee of the kids on the line. There were screams of Uncle Tony loud enough to make the men in the room wince. The kids talked over each other as they told Tony how much they worried and that they were going to come visit him in New York. Tony was excited as he was anytime the kids came over to his place. As time went on, Tony started to get tired. He managed to finish talking to the kids and called Pepper to let her hear from him that he really was better and that he was coming home.
Tony settled into the bed more comfortably as Clint sat in a chair on his left and Vision on his right. Clint knew he wasn’t going to get any sleep that night. He didn’t know if Vision even slept but he knew no one going to get near their genius for a long time.