It was about one in the morning, the stars were somewhat covered by clouds, and, of course, the city was still loud. The constant buzz of people chattering was audible even from the tops of the buildings, the honks of impatient drivers, it was all warm and familiar to anyone living in the city.
But Clint didn’t hear any of it.
He heard none of the planes flying overhead, none of the sirens from the outer corners of the city. He didn’t hear the kid crying straight down the building from him, didn’t hear the rooftop party two buildings away from him.
His hearing aids had been busted in the last fight. Tony was working on fixing them.
But that was all fine because he could see everything. He saw the flashing lights of the emergency vehicles which were now in almost a city away. He saw the baby being rocked in his mother's arms, saw the groups of families and friends walking in large enough areas to annoy people.
He, unfortunately, didn’t hear or see the man walking up behind him.
Bucky sat down next to him, legs flying over the edge as he kicked his feet against the building. He was sitting just far enough back, and Clint was paying just little enough attention that he didn’t notice that Bucky was sitting next to him until his kicks on the building become hard enough to vibrate under them.
Clint looked over and saw that Bucky was talking to him, but he wasn’t able to catch much until he was almost done talking. “-ering where you were,” Clint asked what he said, apologizing, and asking for it to be repeated so he could catch everything.
“I said, the team was a little concerned, and I was sent to find you since I was in the best shape and we were wondering where you were.” Bucky wasn’t looking at him, which made understanding what he said a little difficult, but Clint got the gist of it. He hummed a response but made no effort to explain himself.
The two of them sat in silence for a little bit, or, at least, Clint thought they were in silence because he had decided to look away, but when he looked back, Bucky was staring at him with a confused and almost hurt look on his face.
Then he started to do something that Clint didn’t expect.
He started to sign.
‘Can you hear me?’
It was kind of shaky and sloppy and a little slow but it was understandable. ‘No.’ he replied after a time to take in what had happened. ‘How do you’ he cut himself off. He could see Bucky chuckle. ‘How do I know ASL?’ Clint nodded. ‘During the war, it wasn’t uncommon for people to become deaf, guns right next to your head and bullets flying and all that. I figured it would be good to learn.’
‘Steve?’ Bucky laughed again. ‘God no, dexterity was never his strong suit. He’s better with his mouth than his hands.’ Clint responded with the sign for dislike more times than he could count. ‘I did not need to know that.’ Bucky waved his hand dismissively. ‘He may have gotten better, I wouldn’t know.’
The two boys sat in silence for a little bit, watching the clouds roll slowly towards them. Mostly because Clint didn't want to think about his leader and Bucky sleeping together. But then Bucky wave did hand in front of Clint’s face to get his attention. ‘how long have you been deaf for?’
‘I began losing my hearing when I was in my teens, but I became officially Deaf when I was in a battle and got stabbed in the ear.’ he pointed to his left ear. ‘my right ear is somewhat capable of hearing, but not a lot.’ Bucky signed a sympathetic ‘wow’ before responding with ‘so how come none of us sign with you?’
Clint sighed before shooting into his answer. ‘Nat knows, Fury knows and Coulson knew, Tony and Banner know because they helped to make my hearing aids, but only Nat knows ASL, which is broken, so it's easier just to talk. The hearing aids sort of help when cranked up to the max, but even then it's sort of like hearing under water. It helps my right ear more.’
‘I would think that Tony would be able to make something that would help more.’ Clint shrugged, really not wanting to get into the whole Deaf Culture explanation when he was already really tired. ‘There is only so much one can do. Besides, I’m fine without hearing everything perfectly. I don’t really need it.’
They sat in silence again, more so than before. Clint people watched a little more; the mother had taken her child into a convenience store a couple of doors down from where she was before. It looks like she bought a bottle of wine to take home. There was a homeless guy seated on a corner, sleeping. What appeared to be a McDonald’s bag was crumpled next to him. He could see what looked to be a power outage in a small block, but it didn’t appear to affect too many people. In the back parts of a dark alley, he saw what appeared to be someone attacking someone else. That wouldn’t do.
Clint slapped Bucky’s chest to get his attention ‘watch this’. He grabbed a piece of cracked roof that was a few feet away from him, pointed at the alley, and chucked it. He watched it hit the wall and then the perp, watched a kid (Jesus, he looked 15?) running out, but missed the kid exclaiming “GOD?”.
Bucky chuckled. ‘Good one.’
Clint has managed to get closer to Bucky. He’s warm and welcoming and Clint is so tired. He leans onto the larger man who, having not expected this, grunted and almost dropped Clint off the building.
“Shit, shitFUCK shit!” Bucky caught him and, as fast as he could, started signing apologies. Clint just laughs and says that it’s fine. “Maybe, we should go inside.” Bucky just nodds in agreement.
They look at each other while standing. “Let me help bandage you up, man. You being the best condition of the group concerns me.” Bucky cocks his head ‘why are you talking?’ A shrug. “We’re going inside. I can read lips. Everyone is tired, I’ll make their life easy. Besides, I’m going to bed soon. It’s whatever.”
“Okay.” he paused. “You know, I think I’ll take up your offer to help me bandage. I’ve got a few nasty cuts on my back that could use some attention.”
They entered the common area where Steve, Natasha, and Wanda were all hanging out. ‘Anything else need attention?’ Nat started to pay attention, assuming the signing was for her. ‘I’m sure I can find something that needs it.’ The two boys walked towards the elevator, Clint giving Nat and wink and a smirk.
The elevator doors closed and Natasha turned to Steve. “So, Bucky knows sign language?”
“Yeah, learned in the ’40s. Guess he still remembers. Are they going to-”
“Yes, absolutely.” Steve just smiled and leaned into his chair. “Took Buck long enough.” Natasha shrugged. “I’m surprised. From what I caught, they weren’t talking about anything funny out there.”
“Bucky has his ways of making people swoon.”
“Oh, believe me, Clint was swooning way before tonight.”