He was sound asleep when someone decided to call his phone. Bucky decided to ignore it and was already falling asleep when it started ringing again.
Grunting, he picked up his phone and read the caller ID. It was Clint. Bucky rolled his eyes and considered not answering. Then again it was Clint, and he would do anything for that idiot.
“Clint?” Bucky muttered. The only thing on the other side of the line was hard, difficult breathing. Maybe Clint had made the call asleep?
“Buck...” Clint trailed off, but it sounded strained. Bucky sat up now, worried because Clint sounded all but fine. “Please come,” he panted quietly after a while. “Alone.”
“What?” Bucky said. “Clint you’re talking nonsense. Come where?”
Clint didn’t answer, the only thing heard from the other line his heavy breathing.
“Jarvis, track down Clint’s location,” Bucky said, already standing up and putting on his hoodie and some shoes. His phone showed him a place in Bed Stuy. “I’m going out, Jarvis, don’t tell anyone.”
“As you wish, Master Barnes.”
Bucky left in his motorcycle. He didn’t like going out alone, but Clint seemed to be in trouble, so he was going to go and get him.
Without traffic, he quickly arrived at the location. It was an apartment building, and after checking his phone, he noticed Clint was supposed to be on the alleyway to the side.
Bucky frowned as he observed the alley. There was no one there. He called Clint’s number again. He heard its ringing and went into the alley.
Bucky felt himself go pale at the sight. Next to a garbage can, Clint was slumped, barely conscious and badly hurt.
His left eye was swollen shut almost completely, his upper lip was busted. Clint was bleeding and bruises were starting to appear all over.
Clint was also hugging his arm to his chest, which was stained of blood. He had a long gash on the upper part, but thankfully no other wound that Bucky could see.
Kneeling, Bucky carefully took Clint’s face in his hands. Clint seemed to react at that, and he jolted away from Bucky slightly.
“Hey, hey it’s just me,” Bucky said softly. Clint seemed to recognize him then, and he sighed.
“Bucky,” he whispered, closing his eyes again. Bucky wanted to ask a thousand questions then, but Clint was barely conscious, and he needed a doctor right now.
“Clint I need to take you to a hospital,” Bucky said.
Clint weakly shook his head. “No,” he said after a while. “Apartment... please, Bucky... nowhere else.” He patted his pant slightly. Bucky carefully searched his pocket and found a key with an H on it.
Bucky groaned. He wasn’t going to be able to take care of Clint, not with how much blood he had lost and in serious need of stitches and who knew what more.
But Clint was trusting him with this, not Nat or the team, so he was going to trust Clint with this.
“Okay, I’m going to pick you up now,” Bucky said. “Sorry if it hurts.”
Bucky made sure Clint’s arm stayed upright as he picked him up bridal style. Clint cried out loudly at the movement and Bucky winced at making him hurt more.
A tear rolled out of his good eye, and Clint groaned as Bucky carried him carefully up the stairs.
“It hurts to breathe,” Clint muttered against Bucky’s chest. “Bucky, it hurts.”
Probably broken ribs, Bucky thought worriedly. He hurried up the stairs now. He needed to tend to Clint’s wounds before something else happened.
He opened the door to apartment H. Bucky hadn’t known Clint had an apartment, but he would ask about that later.
He realized there was a lot more he didn’t know apparently.
Bucky took Clint upstairs to his room and laid him down on the bed.
“Clint where do you have a med kit?” Bucky asked, but Clint wasn’t answering. “Hey, hey, I need you to stay awake,” Bucky pleaded as he gently tapped Clint’s face. He slightly opened his eye. “Talk to me Clint, where’s the med kit.”
“Underneath the bed,” Clint answered after processing the question. Bucky wondered why such an uncomfortable place to have it, then wondered how many times Clint had barely gotten to his room and found it easier to get it there.
He laid the kit on the bed next to Clint. Bucky decided to start with the gash on his arm.
“I’m going to clean your arm now,” Bucky said. Clint nodded faintly and tried to keep his eye open as Bucky worked.
Thankfully, the wound seemed to have stopped bleeding sometime before, and now Bucky could see that the blood staining Clint’s shirt wasn’t too much as to need a transfusion.
“Hey, Clint,” Bucky said. Clint hummed in answer.
“I’m awake,” he said weakly. Bucky cleaned the wound while he made small questions to Clint. He proceeded to bandage it correctly once he was sure the wound wasn’t infected.
Bucky put Clint’s hand down and observed him. Clint’s breath was way too shallow for his liking, and it was obvious it was labored.
“Imma have to cut your shirt open,” Bucky said. He wanted to check Clint’s ribs first before cleaning the wounds in his face.
Clint grunted in answer. “Aw, shirt,” he mumbled as Bucky took it away.
Bucky grimaced as he observed Clint’s torso. He had had enough broken ribs before to know Clint had maybe two broken ones on his right side and multiple bruises of different colors all over, as well as swelling.
“I’ll get you bagged ice for the swelling,” Bucky said. “I think your ribs may be fractured, but there’s not much we can do about it.”
“No, don’t leave me,” Clint whispered faintly. Bucky noticed something like fear pass by his features.
“It’s quick,” he assured, leaving the room. The only thing Bucky could find were some bags of frozen peas, so they’d have to be enough.
“Hey, I’m back,” Bucky said. Clint let out a small sigh of relief when he saw him which turned into a wince. Bucky wondered what had happened to him to leave him so scared of being alone suddenly.
“This is gonna hurt,” Bucky started, “but it’ll help with the swelling and the coldness will keep you awake.”
Wrapping the bags of peas over some cloths so that it didn’t completely burn Clint, he put them carefully over his torso, making him hiss in answer.
“I’m gonna clean your face now,” Bucky said softly. He sat on the other side of the bed now, careful not to hurt Clint, and leaned near.
He observed Clint’s features as he tenderly cleaned his wounds. Even like this, Bucky couldn’t stop thinking Clint was stunningly beautiful.
Clint was more aware now, his good eye slowly watching Bucky’s work. He was careful cleaning the wound on Clint’s lip, treating the open skin tenderly.
He huffed a bit of hair off his face, and suddenly a soft, calloused hand was gently putting it behind his ear before pressing his fingers slightly against the side of his face.
They were barely inches away from each other and the only thing it would’ve taken for Bucky was to lean in and softly press his lips against Clint’s.
But he didn’t want it to be like this, and he knew Clint didn’t either.
Bucky cleaned Clint’s eye now to distract himself. He wanted so badly to kiss him right there and then, but Clint was hurt right now and whatever this thing they had going on for a while could wait.
“Done,” Bucky said. He picked all the bloodstained rags and cotton he used and threw them away before turning back to Clint. He was giving him a small, tired smile.
“Thank you,” Clint whispered softly. Bucky nodded in answer, smiling back at him. Clint seemed to take a deep breath and winced, taking hold of his torso slightly.
“Can you sit up?” Bucky asked. “I’ll get you some painkillers.”
Clint groaned but nodded. With Bucky’s help he carefully managed to raise himself enough to drink the meds.
Bucky stared at Clint and sighed. He had worried so much when he had found him bleeding out, but he was fine at last. That didn’t mean he wasn’t worried whatever had happened might happen again.
He took a seat on the empty side of the bed and put his hand over Clint’s to call his attention.
“Clint what happened?” Bucky asked. Fear shattered Clint’s face again, and he closed his eyes before bitting his lip anxiously.
“I... I was caught off guard. They appeared out of nowhere...” Clint trailed off. “They started beating me and I—I was so disoriented and scared. Bucky I was scared I was going to die in that pathetic alley. I’m so damn stupid.”
Clint was trembling slightly now, so Bucky took away the bag of peas and covered Clint with a warm blanket.
“Hey, you’re fine now,” Bucky assured softly. He combed Clint’s hair to help him calm down. “You’re safe now, and no one will hurt you here. I promise.”
Clint stared at Bucky for a long while before nodding, although he still seemed altered.
“Would you prefer if I slept with you today?” Bucky asked.
Clint nodded again. “Please,” he whispered. They had done this a couple of times, but never when Clint was this hurt, so he turned off the light and lied down, letting Clint get comfortable around him.
Clint settled down with a sigh over Bucky, and Bucky threw an arm carefully around him, wrapping him protectively.
“Thanks,” Clint mumbled after a while, almost asleep, “for taking care of me.”
Bucky smiled as he felt Clint’s breath even out. “I’ll always take care of you.”