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Clint's apartment stinks. The wet dog and old pizza, and as much as Clint loves his dog and really has no shame about eating sleepless pizza, he's not really loving the scent his apartment gives him. Simone likes it even less and this is proven when she comes at six in the morning to complain about how it is stinking all over the hallway.

Clint only knows that there is someone at the door because Lucky alerts him, with a gentle bite on his ankle and a tug on his sweatpants that has been on the archer's body for two days. With a snort, Clint gets up and fits his appliances, crawling to the door to open it and lean against it staring at the angry woman on the other side. Simone wrinkles her nose at him and Clint knows, not only is his apartment stinking, he probably smells of death too, but hey, being a teenager, almost an adult, thank you, running away from social work attracts a lot of attention and This is not good in a neighborhood like Bed-Stuy, so the hood mafia decided that Clint was a threat to be eliminated. This earned him some bloody bruises that Clint was ignoring and hoping they would heal on their own by magic. Yes, idiot, but he's a self-conscious idiot.

“Boy… you need a shower,” Simone says instead of the beautiful scolding she had probably prepared for him. Simone was a single mother, living in the apartment opposite Clint's and since he had been able to live there, the woman had tucked him under her wings like an exemplary hen mother. This earned Clint many slaps on the back of his neck for eating nothing but pizza and hard looks for his poor hygiene. Clint loved her. "What happened to your face?"

"Those jerks in sportswear caught me in the alley," Clint answered, knowing full well that even though his lying ability was rudely good for a seventeen-year-old, Simone could always see through him. Clint didn't know much about having a mother, his only maternal examples being his mother prematurely killed by his father and Jacques's girlfriend in the circus, but he knew enough to name Simone's abilities as maternal instincts.

"Clint they did ... For love, are you okay?" She questioned, her fingers gently touching the cut on Clint's forehead, as if she'd done it a thousand times, and well, maybe she hadn't done it a thousand times, but was next

“Yes, yes, I will live. They only hit their faces before some braver residents pushed them away. ”He said, smiling and swallowing a hiss of pain as Simone's touch tightened somewhat. The woman moved her hand away from Clint's face and let her shoulders fall with a tired sigh.

“I'm going to take a nap, yes? I'm dead, I'll enjoy it while the kids are still at school… You, clean this place, bathe the dog, bathe yourself and clean those wounds. ”She put both hands on her waist, so that Clint knew it was not a request but an ultimatum. He nodded, agreeing with her. “Buy some aromatic candles, right? Aimee said a magic shop opened around the corner, these quacks have some good candles most of the time. Then come and join us for something besides pizza, it might do you good. ”

Clint nods, the idea of having dinner with Simone and his brats is always welcoming, making him think he doesn't have one. just Lucky in the world. Simone walks away without another word, turning her back and entering the apartment in front of her and Clint closes his door, propping it for a moment before turning his gaze to the large golden ball of hair on his couch staring at him. tongue hanging out of mouth.

"Don't look at me that much fun, you're going to take a shower too, idiot." Clint snorts and can't contain a laugh when the dog whimpers and puts its paws over its muzzle. "Yes, I know"

**

Clint takes an entire hour to bathe Lucky, the damn stubborn dog had fled the tub at least twice, leaving wet trails around the house as he ran and Clint chased after him. When he finally finishes, he manages to convince Aimee to keep an eye on the dog while he cleans the house and hopefully cleans up. But it takes two and a half hours.

There are more pizza boxes than Clint's physicist would betray, there are arrows stuck to the ceiling and sheltered under the furniture, his bow is behind the couch, and Clint totally doesn't know how he'll get there. One of the cushions on the couch smells like dog pee, and Clint sighs, too tired to even think about washing, so he simply throws it into the pile of trash that was built in much more than just pizza boxes; there were boxes of Chinese food, pierced socks that weren't really usable, broken Lucky toys, little balls of paper that Clint used to target for his arrows, broken arrows and of course, the pizza boxes and now the old cushion.

Well, at least there were no rats here, or at least Clint hadn't found one yet and prayed he didn't, it would be really unpleasant. When he finishes, his apartment looks completely different, it looks ... livable. It no longer stinks of old pizza, it smells like fresh pine, unlike Clint who still stinks of old pizza and he takes what can probably be classified as the longest bath of his life when I came out of the bathroom wearing clean, crisp clothes. properly stitched and covered bruises, Clint once again feels like a 96% functional human being. After three large cups of coffee, he is finally a 100% functional human being.

Aimee definitely gives you an appreciative look that says '' how was all this hiding under so much dirt? '' And yes, Clint, even with his great self-destructive tendencies, knows it's ... acceptable, physically speaking, but still can't help it. to blush and roll her eyes at the girl while thanking her for taking care of Lucky. And he definitely didn't notice her look on his ass, God, he hated her.

Clint walked out of Aimee's apartment with Lucky by his side, his hand trapped in the dog's guide, knowing exactly how excited he could get to see someone he liked and sincerely, Clint didn't want another incident like last week's, where Lucky nearly threw Deke down the stairs, bouncing him if he repeated himself. His grip remained firm even in the street, God knew how agitated that dog was.

The shop that Simone had talked about was actually around the corner, down the street. Clint remembered running past her last night as he fled the hooded mafia idiots, but he was too busy trying to stay alive to stop and admire the colorful display case with countless crystals trapped in faux leather strap necklaces. It was a beautiful store, Clint had to recognize. It was next to a small old library that Clint frequented, he never went there and rented any book longer than thirty pages, much to Simone's disappointment, but he always had new editions of Clint's favorite comics, because yes, he was a big geeked by superhero stories and became an excited teenager for the new Marvel series. "Avengers Academy" was a teenage version of the most powerful heroes on earth, in a boarding school where they learned to deal with their powers, dramas and even saved the day, all under Nick Fury's supervision, because of course he would be the boarding school director. Clint was definitely a fan, no matter how ridiculous Aimee found it or Simone said he should go find a way to study instead of wasting his time reading comics.

And if Clint was totally harboring a crush on the teenage version of the Winter Soldier, no one had anything to do with it. Judge him, but the guy was definitely hot in the usual comics, all that evil face and bionic arm was doing things with Clint, but the teen version definitely had his heart. And well, it was better to fall in love with a fictional character than with a real person who would most likely break your heart.

Lucky dragged him straight to the library, yet the issue of the month had not yet come, to Clint's sadness, because God only knows how curious he was to know who would be the mysterious new student about which Fury had commented on the issue. Okay, he needed to stop talking about fictional characters as if they were real. He emerged from the library with an apologetic smile to the owner, a gentle-haired gentleman with a gentle smile, heading straight for the magic shop. The store's name was certainly a reference to Harry Potter, but Clint didn't know enough to recognize clearly, so he just ignored it and pushed open the door, hearing a melodic choir of bells as it entered. There were no signs over the animal entrance, so he took it as carte blanche to drag Lucky inside him. No one showed up immediately, but Clint heard a vague '' already '' coming from the back of the store, his hearing aids barely picking up the sound. He shrugged and set about exploring the place, half fascinated by all the supposedly magical items. Her heart stopped for two seconds as her hand touched a flower and she squirted a green liquid toward her, which Clint succeeded in dodging, but the fright was still valid and Lucky's gaze told him how stupid he was. Damn smart dog.

Clint stopped at the end of the corridor that stood in front of a large illuminated glass ball that contained what appeared to be smoke inside; there were two colors, strangely unmixed; purple and green danced in perfect sync around each other, mesmerizing him. The ball seemed to glow more and more and suddenly Clint found himself standing with his face almost glued to it and his hand ready to land on the round thing.

"I wouldn't do that if it were you." A male voice with a heavy French accent made him jump back, away from the ball, which lost half its luster. Turning to find the owner of the voice, Clint came face to face with a short, pot bellied man in a sweater and trousers, nothing like the other magical vendors Clint had come across. Usually they wore heavy dark tunics, trying to force a mysterious air that the man Clint's phrase projected into wearing damn plaid sweaters. "This little thing is treacherous, I never know what it can do to the one who touches it, last time I ended up on the other side of town." The man snorted, staring at the ball almost in anger.

Well, he was definitely a good actor, because Clint was really inclined to give him condolences for the event. To his happiness, the man smiled slowly and held out his hand, which Clint easily accepted, receiving a shiver as he clapped his hands together, the shiver gone shortly after Clint had his hand to himself. What the fuck? Lucky remained cautiously still and quiet beside him, which was really strange, he wasn't ready to attack as if the man were a threat let alone wagging his tail at a possible new friend. Definitely weird.

“Welcome to my store, what can I help you with, boy?” Clint wrinkled his nose at the 'boy' but said nothing but sighed and thought for a second, what the hell had he been doing right here? Ah yes, candles…

“Uh… I need some candles? Aromatic candles, it's ... Maybe, smelling like coffee? Not those weird lavender things, ”he said and saw the man huff in amusement, his face falling in almost disappointment.

"Of course it's candles, it's been the time when young people went into stores like this after true knowledge of magic." The man shook his head, looking genuinely disappointed, as if Clint had kicked a puppy. "Alright, Mr. Barton, I'll get your candles," he said and then walked away.

Clint took a second before noticing that he had never said his name, let alone his last name, to the man. Ignoring the chill that ran through her body, Clint squeezed Lucky's guide and the dog whimpered rubbing its head on its leg.

"Yes, friend, I know, the guy is weird," he muttered to the dog and then his attention turned back to the shiny ball, a fun smile crossing his face. “Across town, pff” He snorted and approached, watching closely as purple and green danced inside the thing. "Idiots, they think they can fool someone with these tricks, I bet this is a damn hologram, and you boy?" Clint turned his gaze to Lucky, who just whimpered again. "Yes, yes, hologram" And then, Clint put his hand on the ball just as the man returned carrying a small box of candles.

"Shit I told you not to play, Mr. Bart--" The man's voice faded, the store faded, everything became a great dark vacuum and Clint had a feeling of falling. All he could hear before he was unconscious was an excited Lucky bark. Aw, magic, fuck.

**

Clint woke up, causing him to fall off the couch. Lucky barked and Clint knew the bastard was laughing at him, not that it was important, only his dog hating him, what's not new? Glancing around, he noticed it was his apartment, but without all that garbage and stink. Ah He must have slept right after tidying up the apartment. Shit was just a dream, no magic balls and no vacuum drops. Clint got up and ran a hand over his face in exasperation before stopping. Her eyes locked on the table between the couch and the TV, but specifically what was on her. A notebook, which apparently was a) state-of-the-art and b) military or something, was next to a gun and some arrows. The computer screen displayed the message '' access denied '' flashing in an unhealthy red that made Clint's stomach sink, he was sure he was hallucinating when he saw the logo behind the message, because it was identical to the SHIELD logo, but hey ? SHIELD was a fictional super-secret organization that only existed in the comics Clint loved so much, and he didn't have a military notebook and a damn weapon either.

His incoherent thoughts were interrupted by a knock on his apartment door and even if it was hallucinating, Clint grabbed his notebook and gun that was locked to his relief and tucked them under one of the couch cushions, which Clint could swear he had. thrown away. He shook his head and ran to the door, feeling much heavier than usual, and then he noticed that his clothes were not his purple shirt and his brown-striped trousers near his ankle. He wore black trousers full of stuffed pockets, his shirt was black, too, but there was a purple stain that was vaguely reminiscent of an arrow, the notes on his feet were definitely made of lead, and in all that cluttered, messy clothes. non-clint, he may have appreciated the dark gloves that were in his hands.

Simone scowled at his clothes as he opened the door, but there was no surprise on his face, just disapproval. Clint frowned.

“Clinton Francis Barton, what did you steal this time? Tell me it's not big, tell me the cars out there aren't for you, ”she asks, and Clint didn't expect those words, but at least he always thought that if they were to come, they would come with a little more drama and I cry, but Simone just looks tired and ... used to it. As if Clint stole things all the time and cars came after him every other day.

"I don't know what you're talking about, Simone," replied in all honesty, the notebook and the gun wandering in the back of his mind. The woman raised both eyebrows at him, as if to say, 'Do you really expect me to believe this?' and she looks more like Clint's mother than ever. He doesn't have the opportunity to bounce her gaze, however. Five men appear at the edge of the stairs, all dressed in black and heavily armed, Clint's eyes immediately widen at the sight and his body goes into automatic mode. He closes the door and locks it, jumping back on his heels. His eyes go straight to his bow on the wall, along with his hands and in the blink of an eye Clint has the bow and his quiver on his back. He runs over to the couch and grabs notebook and gun and stuffs them in a backpack that he definitely has no idea where it came from, at the same time the door gets the first impact. Lucky also seems to know what to do, because at the sound of a knock on the door, he jumps off the couch and they both head to Clint's window that leads straight to the fire escape. The dog jumps first and Clint goes right behind. Lucky falls into the trash bin at the bec and Clint rolls with his back to the floor, something he'd only seen in action movies on TV. What the fucking muscle memory was that anyway?

Lucky leaps out of the bin and gives Clint a canine smile two seconds before turning to the alley entrance and starting to growl. There is no one there, but still Clint finds himself taking off his backpack and pulling his bow and arrow. A man appears not long after, wearing a black overcoat and therefore a really cool eye patch. Well, when did Clint sign up for an rpg? Not that he's complaining, of course, after all the Nick Fury cosplay guy is definitely a loyalty-clad motherfucker, because if Clint didn't know better, he'd say that was the real Nick, but he doesn't exist and all that is. a weird joke Clint doesn't remember agreeing to participate in ... right?

"Mr. Barton, there's no need for that, I just want to ... talk." Fury's dressed-up guy says and that looks exactly like something Nick Fury would say. Fuck, Clint really wants to be his friend.

But, Clint is too panicked for that, so his grip around the bow and his fingers tighten against the arrow aimed at the man's head. What the fuck? Clint doesn't want to shoot him, but he has this fear coming and making him sick, a survival instinct for no reason. It probably came along with all the murky thoughts of running and grabbing the notebook and that gun and running away from those men, jumping off the fire escape with their incredibly trained dog overnight. And Clint doesn't know where it all came from, he doesn't know how he did it all, he's in a panic, but at least now the panic is really his.

“Mr. Barton? Can you hear me? “The man questions and he looks almost worried. Clint takes a deep breath, closes his eyes, and takes a deep breath again. Focusing on his arms, his hands, his willingness to lower his bow. When he opens his eyes again, the bow is lowered. Great, it's a start. “Good” The man hums appreciatively and Clint acknowledges the feeling. "I have no intention of hurting you, it will be done if you must, of course, but I just want something you got from me, and of course, I want to talk."

Clint doesn't answer him, because he is no longer seeing the men. His eyes are flooded with images of another, burly man with a knife in his hand, throwing himself at him. The flash shifts and then Clint has the man trapped between his legs just moments before locking his right heel into his left calf and turning his hips to the side. The man stops fighting Clint's grip at the same time there is a sickening crack. Then Clint's vision takes focus again and Fury's cosplayer is in front of him, kneeling on the floor with his hand on his shoulder. Clint has his back pressed against the wall. What the fuck? When did he kill someone? What the hell was going on?

He sees the man's mouth in front of him move but doesn't hear him, feels Lucky poke his leg with his muzzle and can see out of the corner of his eye what appears to be the Black Widow. Only younger. This is how he goes back to unconsciousness