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Hurt The One You Love

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You tucked a bottle of water under your arm and kicked the fridge closed as you started double checking the bandages you’d wrapped tightly around your hands. You managed to make it half way towards the elevator before it opened and Natasha stepped out, her face brightening when she saw you.

“Hey, I was looking for you,” she said, stepping out of the elevator.

“Didn’t know I was popular all of a sudden,” you muttered, undoing a knot so you could tighten the bandage up again.

“You training again?” she asked with a slight frown.

You looked up at her. “Yeah. That a bad thing?”

“No. It just seems like you’re always training.”

You grabbed your bottle and let your arms drop to your sides as you stared levelly at her. “So is Steve. I don’t see any one busting his balls about it.”

“No need to get defensive, Y/N. I only mention it because you never used to be this closed off. I haven’t seen you in five years, it makes me wonder what’s happened to you,” she defended.

You roll your eyes and push past her. “This isn’t Dr Phil, Natasha.”

“Could you stop for a moment?” she demanded in frustration. You sighed and turned to her. “I don’t want you to tell me about anything that you don’t want to talk about. I just came up here to see if you wanted to grab some lunch. I haven’t seen you in a while, and you’ve just been keeping to yourself.”

You watched her for a moment, but cracked a small smile when the corner of her mouth started to curl up in a smirk. “Fine,” you replied.

“Alright then. Oh, hey Clint. You want to come with us?”

You pivoted on the spot to see Clint strolling out of the elevator. You felt your heart start to hammer against your ribs and you swore you could almost hear the blood rushing through your veins as it reddened your skin.

“Where are you going?” Clint asked, giving you a warm smile. You began fidgeting with the bandages around your hand again rather than responding to the gesture.

“Lunch.”

“Sounds great.”

“You know what?” you said suddenly, looking up at Natasha. “I just remembered I’ve got some stuff to do with Fury.” You skirted around Clint, careful not to touch him as you walked into the elevator and pressed the button that would take you to the training room.

“Y/N!” Natasha cried out in exasperation.

“Sorry, Romanoff. Maybe next time,” you said. You tried not to let it, but your gaze landed on Clint and you had to refrain from shivering when you realised that he was watching you closely. Then the doors closed and the trance was broken.

****

“God, I can’t believe you convinced me to drink tonight,” you giggled. Leaning heavily against Natasha, who was just as tipsy as you and nearly everyone else in the room. Well, except for Thor, he was pretty much plastered.

“I needed to get you talking somehow. All you ever do is train and do missions,” Natasha giggled back, using you to hold herself up as well.

“I think,” Tony said, as he stomped into the room fully suited up from the neck down. “We need some music.”

“Yes!” you called out, holding your bottle up in the air. Everyone laughed and joined in with the cheers.

“Jarvis. I think we could do with some beats to liven up this party a little,” Tony said.

“Of course, sir,” Jarvis replied. Music began pumping through the room a moment later. It wasn’t anything that you’d heard before, but you could dance to it, and that’s what mattered right now.

You and Natasha began swaying your hips and moving your body to the beat. “Come on guys,” you said cheerily. “Someone needs to get up and dance with me!” You twirled around and took another swig of your beer.

Natasha laughed. “There’s the Y/N that I remember.” She went over and collapsed down on the couch, trying to convince Thor and Steve that she’d teach them how to dance.

Tony came over and began dancing with you, in fact, you were in the middle of a drunken dance off when Pepper came in and distracted him. You went over to Bruce next and grabbed his hands, pulling him to his feet.

“No, I’m – I’m not,” he began objecting with a laugh and shake of his head.

“Come on, Banner, have a little fun,” you said with a hopeful look.

A hand landed on your back then and deep voice in your ear said, “I’ll dance with you.”

You sobered quickly and spun on the spot, jerking back away from Clint hard enough to collide with Bruce. He was taken off guard and stumbled back into the table, causing a couple of the bottles and glasses to tip over on the table. Natasha, Steve and Thor scrambled to stop any further mess and the music cut off suddenly, Pepper looking over with a concerned glance while Tony tried to convince her to put the music back on. A moment later you felt all too aware of the eyes that were watching you and Clint.

“Don’t touch me,” you grumbled, angry that he’d been able to draw such a response from you.

He held his hands up in surrender, his eyes watching your every move as though he were expecting you to attack him. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to frighten you.”

“You didn’t frighten me,” you snapped, a little more vindictive than you’d intended.

Silence fell throughout the room and you suddenly felt out numbered. You pushed your bottle roughly into Bruce’s chest and he grabbed it to stop it from dropping to the ground. You mumbled something about being tired before pushing past Clint and storming off to your room.

****

“I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong,” Clint mumbled around a mouthful of cereal.

“Have you said anything wrong? You know how sensitive women can be,” Tony said, digging through his own bowl of cereal.

“Don’t let Natasha hear you say that,” Clint said. “Or Y/N for that matter. In fact, don’t say that around any women.” Tony shrugged with a what-are-you-gonna-do look. “I don’t think I’ve said anything wrong. She hasn’t really spoken to me long enough to give me a chance to say anything. Besides, she doesn’t seem the type to hold grudges over an insult.”

“No, she tends to just punch you in the face. Believe me, I’ve been there.” Tony shuddered in memory at the last time he’d insulted you.

“Maybe she just doesn’t like me,” Clint offered.

Tony thought about it for a moment and then shook his head. “No. It’s not that. You’ll know if she doesn’t like you. She hated me for years when we first met.”

Clint chuckled. “Yeah, your company is an acquired taste.”

“Maybe she has the hots for you,” Tony suggested.

Clint looked up with a surprised scoff. “I don’t think so, she grew up with Natasha. Women like them don’t just … get the hots for a guy.”

“Exactly,” Tony said. When he didn’t elaborate, Clint put his spoon down on the table and gestured for him to continue. “I just mean that, maybe she likes you and doesn’t know how to express it. Hell, if she grew up with Natasha, then she probably doesn’t even know what she’s feeling. That would explain her lashing out at you.”

Clint shook his head. “This isn’t high school Tony, she’s not a kid on the playground teasing me because she likes me.”

“Do you have a better explanation?”

“Yeah. She just doesn’t like me. It’s that simple.”

“If Y/N didn’t like you, you’d know about it.” Clint and Tony turned at the sound of Natasha’s voice as she walked over to the fridge.

Tony spread his arms wide and gave Clint an I-told-you look. Clint just rolled his eyes and turned back to Natasha. “You know Y/N the best,” he said. “What’s her deal?”

Natasha shrugged and pulled out a carton of juice. “We don’t share our feelings with each other. We didn’t exactly grow up the same way that other little girls did. Besides, this is the first time I’ve seen her in five years, she’s different. I’m actually surprised Fury managed to track her down.”

“Well,” Tony said with a Cheshire grin. “I can find that out easily enough.”

“Stay away from her file, Tony,” Natasha warned.

“Oh, come on,” he complained. “I’ve already seen her file anyway.”

“Yeah?” Clint said. “And how much of it was blacked out.”

Tony slumped down in his seat and blew out a sigh. “At least ninety percent of it.”

“There’s a reason for that,” Natasha said, putting away the carton and taking a sip out of the mug she cradled between her hands.

Tony gave her a mocking look. “Let me guess, you know the reason.”

“Nope. And I’m not going to ask. It’s her business. Anyway, why do you care Clint?”

Clint looked up in shock and pointed at Tony. “He’s the one asking all the questions.”

“Tony doesn’t know how to mind his own business. You, on the other hand, normally don’t care about what’s going on with other people let alone whether they like you or not.”

“I don’t care,” Clint said quickly, but he’d hesitated long enough to earn long glances from Tony and Natasha. He grumbled something incoherent and went back to his cereal, not bothering to try and defend himself. Tony wouldn’t believe him, and Natasha just didn’t care in the first place.

Chapter Text

A bolt of pain shot through your head as it collided with the wall of the helicarrier. The rogue agent came stumbling towards you when the ship tilted again. You lifted your leg and sent a hard kick into his chest, pushing him back so he wouldn’t fall on you when you sent a bullet into his head next. 

“Tony,” you growled into your earpiece, “if I get a concussion ‘cause you’re taking too long to fix that damn engine, then I’ll have your head.”

You missed Tony’s reply as you sent your next attacker over the railing to fall to her death and disposed of the third one in time to hear a door slam open behind you. You spun around and watched as the agent flailed his arms to keep from falling over the edge that he’d stepped out on. When he looked as though he were about to regain his balance, you stormed forward and sent your boot into his chest to send him over. You realised your mistake too late when his hand wrapped around your ankle and took you over the edge with him.

“Shit,” you exclaimed as you twisted your body in the air. 

You landed on your stomach, your legs hanging out in mid air with the agent still hanging onto your ankle for dear life. You’d wedged your fingers into the grate floor too keep from falling further. As you tried to pull yourself up, you noticed the gun just inches from your fingertips. You lifted a hand to reach for it and the agent began to try and claw his way up your body. Your grip slipped. You cried out as you flew over the edge of the opening. There was a second where you were sure this was the end, then you felt something cold beneath your hand and you took a hold of it without thought, haulting your descent. A sigh of relief slipped through your lips when you realised you’d managed to latch on to an exposed pipe. The relief was short lived. The agent hadn’t let go of you and was now proceeding to scale you again. You growled in frustration and began kicking at him roughly only to stop a second later when a bracket on the pipe popped and you dropped a few inches. You tried pulling yourself up but froze again when you heard another bracket creak in protest. With a shaky breath you realised that you had no way up without help and finally decided to respond to the concerned questions coming through your earpiece.

“I need help,” you said breathlessly. 

“We all need help,” Tony replied.

“Are you hanging over the edge of the god damn boat?” you growled.

“What? Where are you?” he asked. 

“Where - are you serious, Stark?!” you yelled as fear began coursing through your veins. “How many holes are in the side of this thing?”

“I’m just near the lunch room, Y/N,” Natasha said. “I’m on my way. Hold on.”

Clint’s voice was in your ear next, declining Natasha’s offer. “I’m closer.”

“Can someone just hurry? This thing won’t hold me much longer and I can’t pull myself up.”

“On my way,” Clint said. 

It felt like hours had passed before Clint fell to his stomach and leant over the edge to look at you. “What took you so long?” you muttered. He ignored your question and held his hands out to you. You shook your head at him. “You can’t pull me up. I’ve got a guy hanging off of me.”

“You can’t kick him off?” he asked.

“I tried. Everytime I move the brackets loosen.”

Clint strained his neck to inspect the brackets in mention before searching for the agent that caused the mess in the first place. 

“I can’t get a clear shot while he’s directly under you,” he said. “I need you to swing him out.”

“What?!” you exclaimed as he began preparing his bow.

“I need you to swing him out so I can get a clear shot,” Clint repeated.

“Maybe you didn’t hear me when I said the brackets loosen every time I move,” you growled. “If I start swinging like a monkey the entire thing is likely to fall.”

“I’ll catch you,” he said simply, as though there wasn’t a risk of death.

“You’ll -” you cut yourself off with a laugh. It was either that or cry. “That’s just great.”

“Hey,” Clint scolded as he put his bow to the side and leant back down so he was face to face with you. He buried his fingers in your hair and forced you to look at him. “I will not let you fall. You got that? I promise that I will not let you die today.” Your next exhale ended on a whine as you felt your resolve begin to crack. Clint gave you a single nod when he realised it too. “I’m going to support the pipe until you get a big enough swing,” he said. “When he’s in my view, I’m going to let go and take him out. When the brackets break you have to reach out to me so I can catch you.” 

You clenched your teeth together when they began chattering and squeezed your eyes shut to try and dull the nausea that clouded your thoughts. Clint’s hand was in your hair again and you forced yourself to look up at him.

“Stay with me, Y/N. I promised that you wouldn’t fall. I don’t break my promises,” he said softly.

“Clint,” you whispered, not entirely sure that he would hear you. “Don’t miss.”

He grinned. “Do I ever?” 

He pushed himself up and gripped his bow in one hand whilst supporting the pipe with the other. He nodded once when he was ready and you began moving your hips back and forth. Clint pressed his lips together as he strained with the weight that gradually increased along with the height of your swing. He began timing your movements as the agent came into the range of fire. He let go half way through your up swing and reached for an arrow. You felt the weight fall away from your feet and the last brackets gave way simultaneously. You squeezed your eyes shut again and did as Clint had instructed you. You reached out.

Just when you thought that he had done the unspeakable, that he had broken his promise and let you fall, a warm vise wrapped around your forearm. A quick glance showed that it was indeed Clint’s hand. He grinned at the shocked expression on your face.

“So little faith you have,” he said. “I’m offended.”

You didn’t get a chance to respond before he was pulling you up. The bulge of his bicep and forearm drew your attention like a moth to a flame and you silently scolded yourself for thinking such thoughts at a time like this. It was the adrenaline, you reasoned. He’d just saved your life, of course the chemicals in your brain would be going insane for him. 

You slid over the top of his body, crawling forward to lean against the wall before you could think about how good it felt to be held against him. Clint joined you a moment later, taking the time to catch his breath as the adrenaline pumped through his veins. Did he have chemicals going crazy in his brain too?

“Have I ever told you that I have acrophobia?” you said breathlessly. You weren’t really trying to make conversation, just redirecting your brain. You would have gotten up and jumped straight back into the fight if you didn’t think your legs would fail you.

He looked at you. “A fear of heights,” you explained.

A moment of silenced stretched between you, then he laughed. You followed suite. You told yourself you laughed because it was funny, you weren’t willing to admit that his happiness was infectious.  That you laughed simply because he did. 

“I don’t know whether to hug you, or punch you in the face,” you chuckled, unsure of why you were still talking to him. 

It took him a few seconds longer to stop laughing, but finally he answered, “Buy me a drink and we’re even.” 

You almost said yes. In fact, you even opened your mouth to form the word. Natasha’s voice was your saving grace. “If you two are finished being all lovey dovey, I could use a hand up top. You’d think Fury would have learnt his lesson after the Loki incident,” she muttered. 

You began pushing yourself to your feet and stumbled slightly when your legs took longer to catch up. Clint was immediately there, hands burning your skin. You pushed him away roughly, suddenly. 

“I’m fine,” you snapped, because it was easier to feel anger than what your body was suggesting, what Clint was offering. 

“Y/N -”

“Just focus on the job.”

You forced yourself to storm off then, though you tried convincing yourself that your legs were making it hard for you to leave him and not the lost look in his eyes. A small voice in the back of your head said that you couldn’t lie to yourself forever.

Chapter Text

"So, run me through it again," Clint said as the two of you weaved your way through the sea of people bustling about the side walk.

You rolled your eyes skyward. "If you haven't remembered it by now, Barton, then you never will. You may as well just go home."

"Now now, Y/N. You know I can't do that. Fury himself wants me on this mission," he muttered in your ear.

"Ugh, get away from me," you spat as you shoved him to the side and took back your personal space. "Fury didn't tell you to tag along, Tony only said that he did. Judging by your source of information I'd say you've been duped. Besides, this isn't a mission, it's just my turn to get Starbucks."

"Haven't you heard? Starbucks is the most important part of the day. Too much for just one agent to handle."

He was back in your personal space again, sending your nerves wild and your thoughts fuzzy. You'd had enough. You could deal with him when he walked on eggshells around you. When he was unsure of how to act in your presence. But this? This familiarity, the casual touching, the joking. It was driving you insane, in a way that you dreaded.

You stopped abruptly and drew him into a nearby alley with a rough yank on his shirt. You took barely a second to notice that it was narrow enough to only fit two people before you had him backed against the wall. You looked up at him when you were sure no one was paying attention, only to find him staring right back at you with an amused glint in his eye. You couldn't decide whether the feeling in your gut was the urge to punch him or kiss him.

"What the hell is your problem, Barton?"

He stifled a smile. "I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about."

With narrowed your eyes and hissed, "Don't play coy with me. You've been acting strange all week."

"You mean nice," he stated, pushing himself off the wall suddenly and taking a step towards you.

Absent mindedly you took a step back. That was your first mistake. Now the tides had turned and all of a sudden it was your back against the wall and Clint was the interrogator.

"Stop playing games, Y/N. I know how you feel about me."

He was coming closer and you were pressing yourself tighter against the wall, the bricks cutting into your hands as you scrambled to find a hold that would anchor you to reality.

"I don't know what you're talking about," you gritted out.

"Sure you do."

He was right there now. Right in front of you. And despite all the openings that he left for you, there was now escaping the breath that carressed your face, or the hesitant touch that traced your arm and played cautiously with your fingers.
"Did you think I wouldn't work it out?" he whispered. His eyes met yours and your breath stuttered. "Have you even worked it out yet?"

"Clint," you breathed. And that one word was filled to the brim with both need and regret. Need for him, and regret that the life you'd led meant you could never really have him.

A soft smile put a sparkle in his eye and you couldn't help but ponder at the satisfaction you felt being on the recieving end of it.

"You know, that's the first time you've ever said my first name."

His lips were on yours then, but it wasn't what you had always imagined it would be like. The kiss was soft and hesitant, just like his touch. He pulled back after only a few precious moments and studied your face. It occured to you then that despite the confidence of his words he was still utterly unsure of you. He thought he knew how you felt, but he didn't know you. Not really. Even if he was right about his assumptions, there was no telling how you would react. You were too unpredictable. Admittedly, it was one of many things that attracted him too you, but it complicated things.

When you didn't react, he took a gamble and moved in again. He was too slow. You found yourself furrowing your fingers through his hair and tugging at his shirt so he was flush against you. He let go of all doubt and you let go of all inhibitions. He fed at your lips as though he'd been starving. Your hair was tightly wrapped up in his fist and he had a bruising grip on your thigh as he pulled it up against his hip. He didn't worry about whether or not he was hurting you. You were both all to familiar with physical brutality that a few bruises didn't bother either of you. And he was confident that you would speak up if he was being to rough.

A moan tore through your throat as he yanked your head to the side and moved his lips to your neck. Your mouth was at his ear and your eyes flew to the street as you vaguely remembered being out in public. People rushed past, either not bothered by the display or too absorbed in their own lives to notice. Just when you thought that the two of you were in the clear your eyes landed on a little girl. Her eyes were wide as she watched you and Clint. She couldn't have been more than seven years old. Your eyes met and all of a sudden you weren't in the alley way any more. Physically you were, but mentally you were in a darkened room far, far away from there. At least a year in the past.

There was a man on his knees in front of you. Your gun was pressed to the back of his head and his hands shook where he held them in the air. The headlights of a passing car illuminated the room, bringing to view the state of art furnishings before burying them in shadows again.

"Please," the man begged. Even the thick russian accent couldn't hide the fear in his voice. "Don't do this. Not in front of my daughter."

You looked up at the girl in mention. She wasn't the little girl from the alley way, but she was the same age, same height. She even had the same wide innocent eyes. The only things that seperated the two were the tear streaks on her cheeks and the blood stained teddy bear she clutched to her chest. You holstered your gun and the man breathed out a sigh of relief. He began sobbing his gratitude but was cut off immediately by the blade at his throat.

"Shooting you would be a mercy. She wouldn't get to watch the life drain from your eyes then. She wouldn't get to watch you choke on your own blood."

The words were cold and calculated. Meant to instill fear. They didn't sound like you, but then you weren't really you any more. You hadn't been for four years now.

Before the man could protest any further you dragged the blade across his throat. Grabbing a handful of his hair so he wouldn't fall forward. The little girl sobbed out a breath as she struggled to drag her eyes away from the atrocity before her. By the time she managed, her father was already dead. She looked at you then and your mind was torn back to the present.

The little girl was gone and Clint's hands were on your shoulders, shaking you back to reality. You turned your eyes to him slowly, as though you were coming out of a trance. It all came floooding back to you then. What you had been doing, why you weren't supposed to be doing it. You shoved Clint away from you and he stumbled back in surprise.

"Y/N, what just happened?" he asked.

"Stay away from me, Barton," was your only answer.

****

You stepped out of the elevator, anger coursing through your veins. You were furious at yourself for letting Clint get to you like that. After all the effort that you had gone through to put distance between the two of you and it turned out that one little kiss was all it took to bring your walls crashing down.

"Where's the Starbucks?"

You looked over to where Tony and Bruce had entered the room, obviously having just been down in the lab if the state of their clothes was anything to go by.

You pinned Tony to the spot with a look that you normally reserved for your enemies. It was all his fault, he was the one that had been causing all this trouble. Planting ideas in Clint's head. At least that's what you told yourself when you stormed forward and slammed him against the wall. Bruce stepped to the side and watched as you pressed a blade to his friends throat.

"I guess I should have seen this coming," Tony croaked.

"You really need to learn how to keep your mouth shut," you growled.

"So I've heard. My father tried to teach me how once. It didn't go over very well."

He let out a strangled sound as you pressed the blade tighter against his delicate skin.

"You've screwed with me for the last time, Stark. I'm not some experiment that you can toy with and make dance at your will. I will kill you. That I can promise."

Tony opened his mouth but Bruce intervened. "Tony, don't," he said. "She's not playing around. Y/N, listen to me. I know what it feels like. I know how tempting that anger is and how much relief it holds when you just give in. But you need to resist. You need to control it. Because if you don't, then you'll have the power to tear the entire world down around you and you'll have nothing left if that happens."

"I am in control," you snapped, eyes still fixed on Tony.

"Really? Because it doesn't look like it from where I'm standing," Bruce replied.
His voice was calm and steady, as though he were talking you down from a ledge. You supposed that in a way he was. If you killed Stark you would be sealing your own fate.

"You can't kill him, Y/N," Bruce said. "Fury won't let it slide. He'll want your head and he'll send us to do it. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life running?"

The silence stretched between the three of you. Tony thought that this was it. The look in your eyes had him doubting that he'd ever get out of this mess alive. Bruce, on the other hand, knew he'd gotten through to you. The lack of Tony's dead body was a big tip off, but it wasn't just that. The two of you were more alike than anyone had ever cared to notice. Despite the fact you both willingly sought out isolation, you were scared of being alone. You were scared of having to run for the rest of your lives just so you could have a life to begin with. But most of all, you were scared of yourselves. Of what you were capable of and how easily your monsters came to the surface.

You were both just scared.

So when you took a step back from Tony and let your arm drop to the side it didn't come as a surprise to Bruce. He knew you would let him go, just like he knew everything else about you. He wasn't unsure of you. You weren't unpredictable to him.

Chapter Text

Bruce was tidying up a mess in the lab when you cautiously entered. It had been a couple of weeks since your outburst. Everyone had made an effort to either avoid you or treat you as a ticking time bomb.

Clint had taken a mission the same day of the incident and you hadn't seen him since. In fact, the only person who hadn't actively avoided you was Bruce. Though he spent most of his time in the lab so he wasn't around you much anyway. Neither of you had ever sought out each others company. Originally you'd thought that a lack of common interests was the reason. Now you weren't so sure.

Bruce gave you a welcoming smile when he noticed your presence. It was a breath of fresh air after having suffered through wary glances and fake pleasantries the past weeks.

"I'm not interrupting anything am I?" you asked as you came to a halt in front of the desk that he was working at.

"Not at all. I'm always working so you can't really wait for me to get free time," he said in that ever gentle voice of his. You nodded once and pulled over one of the stools so you could sit down.

"I never got a chance to thank you. For talking me down I mean," you said, watching as he merrily went about his business. It was a lie. You'd had plenty of chances to thank him. The problem was building up the courage too.

"You don't need to thank me. You would have done the same if our positions were switched," he said.

"Yes, but that would have been for the safety of my own life. You had nothing to gain. It's not like I was going to come after you next."

He gave you a small smile, and in the face of his compassionate gaze you couldn't help but tense up and wait for the other shoe to drop.

"You're always looking for a secret motive," he chuckled.

"Aren't you?"

He shook his head. "It's a waste of energy."

You didn't say anything more and he didn't bother to fill the silence. Not that it was uncomfortable, in fact it was the most comfort you'd felt in a long while. For you, silence was the ultimate siren, signalling the abuse that was moments away. Giving you time to brace yourself. But down here with Bruce? It just meant there was nothing more to say. It felt safe and normal. It made you uneasy, so you broke it.

"Do you ever feel the need for revenge?" you asked quietly.

"Revenge?" He looked up at you. "Who could I possibly get revenge against? I did this to myself."

"But you didn't know what was going to happen when you sat in that chair. You didn't know it was a weapon you were working on. You were lied to."

He nodded, wiping his hands on a dirty rag though they weren't dirty themselves. Gathering his thoughts. "Yeah, I wanted revenge," he confessed. "Once upon a time I wanted to make someone pay for what happened to me."

"And?" you pushed.

He shrugged and removed his glasses, carelessly tossing them onto the table. "I let it go."

"Just like that?"

"Just like that."

You fell silent again and Bruce studied you carefully. Finally, when it appeared that you weren't going to get to the point of your visit any time soon, he pulled a stool up in front of you and perched atop it.

"Why are you down here, Y/N?" he asked softly.

"Now who's looking for a secret motive?"

He smiled. "You're not the kind of person who just wants to chat. Well, not when you're sober."

You laughed and his grin widened. He watched closely as your smile faded away but he didn't push you any further. He'd paved the way for you to talk, now it was just up to you to get the ball rolling.

"Some people did some very bad things to me when I was child," you said so suddenly that you shocked yourself. You'd gone to him for some insight, but you hadn't meant to begin blurting out your issues. You almost left then, unwilling to go through with it, but the look of compassion he gave you kept you glued to the seat. No one had ever showed you any kind of compassion before, and that simple little thing is what kept you talking. "Not when I was with Natasha, I could handle what they did to me there. Before then. What they did to me was unspeakable."

"I'm sorry, Y/N," Bruce said. "I'm sorry for all the pain that you've suffered. I'm sorry that no one was ever there for you."

You looked up at him and marvelled at the sincerity in his face. It baffled you that anyone could ever care that much about what happened to you, let alone feel regret over it.

"I wanted revenge on them," you continued, keeping your gaze fixed on his. "I wanted to hurt them the way they hurt me. I wanted to tear apart their families. I wanted to make their children feel the same fear and pain that they inflicted on me." You swallowed thickly and dropped your eyes to your lap where you were tugging at a loose thread on your shirt. You couldn't look him in the eye. The confession caused you too much shame and guilt to ever be able to look this man in the eye. "I'd planned it out. Went over it in my head again and again until it consumed me." You forced yourself to look back up at him. "What do you think would happen to me if I did it? If I followed through with my plan?"

He took a moment to take in everything you said, but not once did he make you feel judged or codemned. It wouldn't last very long so you made the most of it.

"It think," Bruce started, "I think that you would be going to a place that you can never return from."

Your breath caught in your throat for a moment and your eyes were drawn back to your lap in shame. This time your hands were wringing together.

"What if I already did it?" Your voice cracked and you had to force your eyes up again. You were petrified of what you might find.

Bruce closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. He looked tired all of a sudden and you felt dreadful for dissapointing him. "What did you do, Y/N?" he asked. His voice was still quiet, still gentle. But you'd been here before. Maybe not with Bruce, but in the end everyone was the same. It was just the quiet before the storm.

"Something unspeakable," you answered brokenly. Bruce stood up suddenly and you followed his actions just as quickly, knocking your stool over in the haste to get away from him. "I'm sorry," you cried out, your hands flying up in defense.

In a split second you'd gone from a woman back to the little girl that got beaten for speaking, all because you'd opened up and allowed yourself to become vulnerable. You suddenly remembered why you were as cold as you were.

Bruce looked at you in shock as he witnessed the sudden change, then pity as he watched you struggle to mold yourself back into the cold, calculating woman that everyone was used to seeing. He moved towards you. And though you stood your ground and had your blank look back in place, the tremor in your hands had him slowing his steps and holding his hands up to show he meant no harm.

"Relax. I'm not going to hurt you," he soothed.

"Do you know how many people have told me that?" you said. You didn't mean too, but it had slipped out anyway. Bruce pressed his lips together. The pity in his eyes making you sick to the stomach.

"I'm not telling you, Y/N, I'm promising you. I will never hurt you like that." He was right in front of you now, cupping the side of your neck gently in his hand.

"I'm a terrible person, aren't I?" you said. Again, you had no control over your words. You had to wonder what exactly it was about Bruce that made you want to put this trust in him.

"No, of course not. You're just ... lost. You are not a bad person," he answered.

"Which one of us are you trying to convince, Bruce?"

He didn't have an answer for that. It was all the proof you needed.

Chapter Text

A bunch of little weird things colliding together. That's all that you could make of whatever it was that you were studying under the microscope. You sighed and sat back.

"What exactly is this all for?" you asked Bruce.

He looked up from the bunsen burner that he'd been tinkering about with. "The explanation contains a whole bunch of 'big sciency words' as you like to call them."

You pressed your lips together in a tight smile and rose from the stool you'd claimed since allocating your free time to Bruce. "Right. Don't bother then. I'll just use my imagination."

Bruce smiled and went back to work. You dawdled about the lab for a while, hoping to satiate your boredom. But you'd been over the trinkets a thousand times in the past month. You'd committed them to memory and they no longer stirred the wonder inside of you that they had before.

"Are you okay, Y/N?" Bruce asked when you finished your third lap and ended up at his table.

"Fine," you stated, plonking down in his seat. He studied you for a moment. He'd been taking note of your restlessness the past few days, hoping you'd deal with it yourself. Your history of sweeping things under the rug suggested otherwise.

"Y/N," Bruce started. You lifted your head from where it had been resting on your palm and he smiled at the imprint it left. "I like having you down here. You know that, right?"

You gave him a look of confusion and shrugged your shoulders. "I've never thought about it. I mean, you haven't kicked me out yet."

"Right, I, uh, I really do though. I like having you down here. You don't get in the way. It's easy to talk to you."

"If you want me to leave than just say so, Bruce," you said, rising from the stool. Bruce gave you a shocked look at hearing the coldness in your voice. It had been a while since you last talked to him like that.

"Y/N, that's not -"

"I'm not a child," you snapped.

The two of you stared at each other. Your teeth clenching together as you tried to reign in your anger. It wouldn't do you any good to burn bridges with the only person who didn't think you were a complete and utter psycho. But then you already had. You'd clung on to Bruce too tightly. Now he was trying to pry you off.

"No, you're not," he said calmly. "But you still have feelings. No matter how hard you try to bury them they're still there." You shifted on your feet and began clenching your hands into fists. "My point is," he continued, "I just want you to know that I'm always going to want you sitting across the table from me."

"But?" you ground out, feeling vulnerable in the face of his rejection. A rejection that you should never have let yourself feel in the first place.

"But you need to talk to the others. You need to spend time with them again."

"They don't want anything to do with me."

"How do you know what they want? You've been avoiding them for over a month."

"I haven't -"

"Then what are you doing down here?" You snapped your mouth shut and looked down at the floor in shame. "Because as much as I'd like it to be, it's not because you want to spend time with me," Bruce finished.

Your eyes shot to him then and you took a step forward. "Bruce," you breathed. "I ... I do ... I'm just ... jesus, why is this so difficult for me!" You slammed a fist down on the table, the tools jumping and rattling. You breathed out a heavy sigh and sank down on the stool, running a hand through your hair. Bruce watched you calmly, letting you work through your own tangled emotions.

"Being around you is the only thing I look forward to when I wake up in the morning," you finally mumbled. His breath caught in his throat and he began wringing his hands together, unsure what to make of this confession. "I feel ..." you paused again and tried to gather your thoughts. "I don't need to pretend with you. I don't have to put up so many walls and analyse everything you do because you don't want anything or expect anything from me. I can just ... be."

Your gaze was anxiously fixed on the table, so you didn't see when Bruce ran a hand down his face. What you did notice was his hand suddenly pressing the side of your head into his chest and his other arm wrapping around your shoulders. You tensed up in shock. At first you had no idea what he was doing, you'd rarely been hugged before so it felt strange to be engulfed in his warmth. But then the comfort set in - the safety - and you were leaning into him. You even dared to tentatively wrap your arms around his waist.

You'd never known what it felt like to be hugged like a parent hugged their child. You'd never known what it felt like to be held like a husband holds his wife. You'd never known what it felt like to be loved or adored or cherished. But if you had to guess, it felt a little like what you were feeling now. So you clung to him. You clung to him like a child would cling to their parent. Like a wife would cling to her husband. You clung to him as though he loved and adored and cherished you. Because it was the first time you had ever felt something that didn't terrify you.

Bruce's lips were pressed to your forehead then. You squeezed your eyes shut and desperately held on to the moment, but the sound of a clearing throat broke through the sacredness of it and you found yourself cold and alone again.

"Hello," Bruce greeted with a casual smile as Clint stepped further into the room. You looked at his calm facade and wondered if at all he'd felt anything that you had. It was doubtful, but you wished for it anyway. You couldn't bare to be the only one that felt this vulnerable. You'd been down that road once before, it held nothing but monsters and suffering.

"Could I talk to, Y/N? Alone?" Clint asked.

"I don't think I'm the one you should be asking," Bruce replied.

"Right. You can hardly blame me. You seem to be the only way to get a message to her. Everyone is starting to think that you speak on her behalf," Clint retorted. The barely concealed rage behind his eyes had you perking up in interest. "I'm guessing you didn't pass on any of my messages."

Bruce frowned and stepped around the table. "I told her you wanted to talk to her. What she did with that information was her own business. But if you have something to say to her than tell her yourself. She's not a child."

"She's sitting right here," you cut in. Your blank face was back and you were giving off the cold emotionless vibe again. Bruce was expecting it, but it seemed to anger Clint even more. After seeing the intimate moment that you and Bruce had just shared he couldn't help but jump to conclusions. Yeah, he got to kiss you, but despite all the passion and lust, it held nothing that compared to the emotion he'd seen pass between the two of you in that brief moment.

"The next person that speaks about me like I'm not in the room will lose their heads," you warned.

Bruce turned to you. "Calm down, Henry." You cocked an eyebrow at him, but the amused glint in his eyes had you letting the joke slide. He turned back and gave Clint one last glance before moving to a bench on the far side of the room.
You rolled your eyes when you noticed Clint having a staring competition with Bruce's back. "You may as well talk. It's his lab. He's not going anywhere," you said

He moved over to you then, stopping only when he reached the other side of the table. "I just wanted to apologise for that day in the alley," he said. You just watched him, offering no response in return. He continued, "I shouldn't have ambushed you like that. I didn't know -"

"That's just it, you did know." Clint looked up at you, his apology dying on his tongue. "I told you, Barton. I told you to stay away from me. I told you not to touch me. I made it clear that I wanted nothing to do with you. But you did it anyway."

He dropped his head in shame and braced his hands against the table. "I'm sorry, Y/N. I just ... I thought that I'd done something to upset you. Then Tony suggested -"

"Maybe that's the problem," you snapped, cutting him off again. He managed to keep his cool despite the nagging feeling that pushed him to fight back. "You're spending too much time listening to Stark, and not enough time thinking for yourself."

"Look," he ground out through clenched teeth. "I'll admit that I shouldn't have done what I did. It was unfair. But don't sit there and act like you felt nothing. You're forgetting that you kissed me back."

You stood up suddenly. Slamming your hands down on the table and sending your stool skidding back. Bruce looked up at the noise, only to turn back to his work a moment later when he saw you taking back control of your anger.

"I'm only trying to fix things," Clint said softly.

You swallowed thickly and straightened up. Speaking only when you were sure your voice wouldn't quiver. "And it's taken you all of a month to do it. Bruce is right, I'm not some sensitive little child. If you wanted to fix things than you should have come to me rather than him. Now leave, and don't come near me again unless it's necessary."

A few ticks of his jaw and a hard look later and he was finally gone, leaving you to sink back down into the stool. Bruce made his way back over, watching you steadily as he fiddled with something in his hands.

"No, I don't want to talk about it," you sighed when he showed no signs of lifting his attention from you.

"I didn't say anything," he said with a shrug.

"You were thinking it,."

"Careful. Start saying things like that and Tony will want to dissect you."

You breathed out a tired laugh and pushed a hand through your hair, your eyes landing on the door that Clint had left through. You hoped it wasn't because you wanted him to come back through it.

Chapter Text

It happened fast. So fast that you were sure it hadn’t actually happened at all, but Clint’s body on the ground put a stop to that hope. You ran to him, and though your feet felt like led you made it to him in record time.

“Clint!” you screamed as you skidded to your knees at his side. The cold bite of the snow stung whatever bare skin touched it but you didn’t care. All you could register was the blood that covered Clint’s right side. “Clint, look at me,” you said. Your voice was calmer now that you could see his chest rising and falling. His eyes found you and you cupped his face when he smiled. “You’re going to be okay,” you whispered.

“Of course, this wouldn’t be considered a mixed signal now would it?” he croaked.

You pressed your lips together and moved your hands to put pressure on his wound. Before you could call for back up a hail of bullets rained down on the two of you. You flattened yourself against Clint, wrapping an arm protectively around his head whilst keeping your other hand against his wound.

“Someone take out that damn gun!” you growled into your radio. A distant crash signalled the turrets demise and you lifted your wrist to your mouth again to ask Steve for evac.

“On it,” the Captain replied.

All you could do was wait now, and though your previous dread had made your blood run cold, it was nothing compared to the heat you now felt from Clint’s gaze. You tried to ignore him, just as you always did, but his gaze held too much weight now. Too much knowledge. He knew how you felt and no matter how hard you tried to ignore the feelings they continued to persist. Of their own accord, your eyes shifted to Clint’s. Just as you’d feared, he was still watching you. Though neither of you said anything, a thousand words were exchanged in that one glance. With difficulty he lifted his hand and clasped yours, and as he squeezed it, you did the unthinkable and squeezed back.

****

Your steps slowed until you were rooted to the spot with a frown. Clint stayed where he was, an amused glint in his eyes. You gave him a questioning glance, trying to figure out whether he’d indeed had a giant hole in his torso just a few hours before. He lifted his shirt to show you the smooth, tanned skin beneath. You turned your eyes away in embarrassment but snapped them back to him a moment later at the sound of his stifled chuckle.

“Good as knew. Banner’s friend really pulled through,” he said.

You swallowed thickly and feigned indifference. “I thought I told you to leave me alone,” you grumbled.

Clint dropped his chin to his chest to hide his smile. “You know how when you say a word over and over again it loses all meaning? Well the same thing happens with sentences, especially when your actions contradict whatever it is you’re saying.”

You opened your mouth to retort in kind but was saved from doing so when Bruce rushed in. “I need your help,” he panted.

You smiled. “Forgot to do inventory again?”

“Please,” he pleaded. “Last time I forgot, Tony insisted on helping. He turned it into a therapy session. I can’t go through that again.”

“You owe me,” you replied as you followed him back towards the lab. Once again Clint was left with a sick feeling in his stomach as he witnessed just how right the two of you were together.

****

“Alright, I think that’s the last of it,” Bruce said as he looked around the lab, making sure everything was back in its designated place.

“’Bout time,” you sighed.

“Thank you for helping. For always being there to help,” he said, giving you a long look.

“Uh, no problem,” you replied, feeling a little breathless.

You wondered why all of a sudden apprehension began to bubble up in your stomach. You’d never felt nervous around him before. You’d always felt safe and comfortable. So what changed? The way he looked at you, that’s what had changed. He’d always shown you affection. In the way he touched you. The way he talked to you. But his expressions were a different matter. He only ever had a slightly amused look about him, and it had taken you weeks to work out that it was his version of a blank look.

Now, the blank face was gone and he was looking at you the way he talked to you. The way he touched you. Needy. Affectionate. Warm. You wanted to believe it was like coming home except you didn’t know what coming home felt like.

Before any conscious decision had the chance to cross your mind you were on him. Your hands were wrapped around his collar, giving you leverage to pull him against you when your lips met. His hands were on your shoulders a moment later and he pushed you back enough so he could see your face.

“I’m sorry,” you said quickly as you pulled away further. You turned your back to him and pressed your fingers to your mouth as you tried to collect yourself. “I just …” you spun around to explain, but your voice died off at the intense look he was giving you. You backed up when he slowly advanced on you but your retreat was sabotaged by the desk at your back.

“You just what?” he asked softly. He’d stopped directly in front of you, so close that you could feel the heat radiating off of him. He was watching your face. Searching for an answer. Neither of you could figure out what the other was feeling. You couldn’t even figure out what you were feeling yourselves. All the casual touches and long looks – all the secrets that the two of you had shared. It had all been leading up to this one moment. This one question.

“I just need to know,” you answered just as softly as he.

Know what it was exactly that the two of you shared. Know if you could do it. If you could choose the safe option. If you could choose what you wanted instead of what you refused to admit you needed.

“Okay,” Bruce said as he trapped you against the desk.

“What?” you breathed, his lowering head drawing all your attention.

“You need to know. Maybe I need to know as well.”

His lips were on yours again and you held your breath in anticipation.

Chapter Text

In hindsight, this probably wasn’t the best place to lose your cool and jump Bruce’s bones. It was cold, for one, and secondly, the bench was digging into your ass. On a list of awkward first kisses, this moment definitely landed high. Although – and you couldn’t decide whether it was fortunate or not – your body didn’t seem to mind much about it’s comfort. Your following actions backed up this theory quite nicely.

Bruce pulled back to gauge your reaction, giving you a moment that you would normally have used to backpedal out of the situation, but rational thought wasn’t calling the shots anymore. Insatiable need, on the other hand, had chained herself into the driving seat and thrown away the key. Your ass was sticking to the top of the bench, and various items were tumbling to the ground with clinks and clashes before your mind had a chance to catch up. His rough grunts filled your ears as he clumsily spread your thighs so he could fit his hips between them. Your needy mewls matched him grunt for grunt as you tore his lab coat off his shoulders, giving up on it when it got caught at his elbows. He could have easily dropped his arms so that it fell to the ground, but he seemed unwilling to move his hands anywhere that wasn’t part of your body.

You were at his shirt next. Ripping it open rather unceremoniously. Bruce’s breathing was coming out in pants and he finally managed to pull his hands from you and reach for his belt buckle. He fumbled with it for a moment but made up for it by dragging his lips to your neck – biting and sucking hickies into your skin. You moaned at the feeling and gripped a chunk of his hair between your fingers. He must have managed to get his pants open, because suddenly his hands were at your thighs again and he was pulling you to the edge of the bench.

“Bruce, wait,” you panted as you pushed against his shoulders.

“Is something wrong?” he asked.

“No, my – ” you cut off with a laugh when you saw how skewed his glasses had become. “Bruce, my shorts are still on,” you finished as you adjusted his glasses.

“Oh, right.” He paused for a moment and looked down at them thoughtfully.

“Bruce.”

“Hm?”

“It’s not a chemical equation. You just undo the buttons and pull them off.”

“Right.” The process was clumsy, and that was putting it nicely. He’d gotten the buttons undone easily enough, it was the ‘pulling the shorts off’ part that he had trouble with. You let out a little squeal at one point when he accidently pinched your skin. By the time he’d somehow managed to yank you to your feet, tears were falling from your eyes in laughter.

“Did you superglue these on?” Bruce asked. You laughed harder, so hard that you snorted. Then Bruce’s laughter was echoing through the room. “This wasn’t exactly how I expected it to go,” Bruce said when the laughter died down.

You tucked a strand of hair behind your ear as he pulled his lab coat back up to his shoulders. Both of your faces were reddening in embarrassment. “Me either. Sorry, I haven’t done this in a while.”

“It’s not your fault,” he said hastily. “It’s not every day I have a beautiful woman who wants to … um …”

You bit your lip with a smile as he trailed off. “I guess we’re both a bit out of practice.” He breathed out a laugh and looked down at his hands as he fumbled with his belt again. “Here.” You moved his hands out of the way and easily slid his belt back through the buckle. You didn’t move your hands away immediately. First you let them trail across his abdomen and brush against the seam of his pants. His lips were on yours again in an instant, but this time it was slower. He was more sure of himself as he snaked his tongue against yours. It was over quickly though and you knew it was time to face reality.

“We’re kidding ourselves trying to do this, Y/N,” he said softly as he ran the back of his fingers against your jaw.

“I know,” you whispered back.

“I have nothing to offer you. Emotionally. Psychologically. I can’t even have sex with you. I was finding it difficult to keep my heart rate down towards the end. I can’t give you anything.” You nodded your head in resignation and stepped back from him. “Hey. We’re gonna be okay, Y/N. I still love you. I just can’t love you like that. And I know that you can’t love me like that.” You looked at him and he pressed his lips together at your lost expression. “Clint is who you should be with.” You began protesting but he cut you off. “I know how you feel about him, Y/N. I know he feels the same way. No matter how scary it may seem, you gotta give it a shot.”

“I don’t want to give him a shot, Bruce.”

“Only because you know there’s a risk.”

****

You had to give it to Tony. He sure as hell knew how to pick a good view. With Manhattan laid out at your feet you felt like you could rule the world. If only you could get rid of the breeze that was attacking your skin. Going out onto the balcony seemed like a good idea when you were feeling crowded inside amongst the party. But now the cold night wasn’t playing fair with your dress, and you’d forgotten to bring a jacket. Just as you shivered for the umpteenth time, a warmth fell across your shoulders, and you wrapped it around your body before you registered that it was Clint’s jacket. He didn’t say anything, just leaned his forearms on the railing and took in the view.

“If I had a dollar for every time you ignored me when I told you to stay away, I’d be rich enough to by my own view,” you said. Except this time it wasn’t a reprimand. It wasn’t said in anger like it usually was.

“That’s a bit dramatic don’t you think?” he replied as he shot you look over his shoulder. You tried to hide your smile, but you were certain he could see it in your eyes. “Besides,” he continued, “I was never very good at following orders.”

“You’re not one for small talk, Clint. What do you want?” you said.

He pushed off the railing and moved towards you. “I’ve been talking to Bruce lately. He told me everything, Y/N.”

“Everything?” you panicked.

He held a hand up and corrected his statement in order to sooth you. “Everything that involves us.”

“Oh.”

“Why do you keep running from this? I don’t understand what you want. Tell me why you don’t want this and I promise that I will stay away for good.”

“I do want this.”

“Y/N – wait, what?”

“I don’t want to keep running anymore, Clint. I want this. I really, really – ” His lips were on yours before you ever got to finish the sentence. This time was different to the last. He wasn’t trying to hide his lack of confidence with aggression. This time, he was utterly sure of what you wanted, and he knew exactly how to give it to you. His fingers bruised your hips and his teeth marked your neck. You were suddenly glad that the mark Bruce had left there over a week ago had finally faded.

Clint roughly spun you around so you were facing the Manhattan landscape once again and pressed your hands to the railing. “Don’t move,” he growled in your ear. It seemed like hours before he finally moved his hands where you desperately wanted them to be. His hands trailed all over your body. Yanking the top of your dress down and warming your breasts in his large hands. Lightly trailing his fingers up and down your arms and thighs. Breath in your ear. Every touch was dragged out until you were on the verge of tears. All you wanted were his fingers at your core and that seemed to be the one place he steered clear of.

“Please, Clint,” you sobbed.

“Good girl. I never thought I’d get you begging,” he said with a smile. His fingers were making their way back up your thighs again, but this time he didn’t stop at your panty line. Instead, he grabbed a hold of said panties and yanked then all the way down to your ankles in one swift move.

“Clint. We’re on the balcony. People are gonna see,” you breathed as the cold air hit you in the most intimate places. You made the protest, but you were positive that you were too horny to actually care.

“Then let them see,” he breathed in your ear, simultaneously cupping your naked core in his hand. You let out a loud groan at the sudden relief of his rough skin against you. “Keep your legs spread,” he demanded when you
tried to squeeze them together. You let out a sob as he continued with his slow, drawn out movements. His fingers delved into your heat and circled your entrance, before dragging your wetness back up to your clit and circling it steadily. You were finding it difficult to keep your hands on the railing, but you did what he had ordered and he rewarded you by not stopping. His breath was in your ear and his tongue and teeth were against your neck.

“You have no idea how long I’ve waited for this,” he whispered. You let your eyes drift close and the pleasure began to encapsulate your body. “Every time I see you all I can imagine is getting my mouth and hands between your legs. I just want to feel you explode all over me. I want you to be a trembling and sobbing mess in my arms.” You let out a breathless cry as his pace quickened. You pressed your ass back against his hardening crotch and delighted in the moan he breathed into your ear. “You’re even better than I imagined you would be. So much wetter, softer. You make the sexiest little sounds. And you smell so fucking goooood.” He ground out the last sentence through clenched teeth and he squeezed your body tighter against his and moved his other hand around to insert two fingers inside of you. You shot up on the tips of your toes with a squeal at the sudden increase in pleasure. Clint groaned again. “That’s it baby. I want you to cum all over my hand.”

“Oh, Clint,” you ground out as you thrust your hips against his hand. “Fuck. Yes. I’m gonna … ” Your breath left you before you could finish the proclamation. Suddenly your head was in the clouds and your body felt like it was soaring. You couldn’t feel your legs and a little voice in the back of your head told you that it probably wasn’t a good thing. You didn’t bother with it though. They could have been amputated for all you cared. Right
now you were in heaven. You crashed back down what felt like hours later, though it was probably less than a minute.

Clint’s arm was secure around your waist as your legs gave out. “Good girl,” he whispered in your ear, and you had a nagging feeling that he’d said it throughout your orgasm.

“Fuck,” you gasped out. He chuckled and you had the urge to smack the smugness right out of him. But if you were being honest, he had every right to be smug.

“How are you feeling?” he asked as he turned you around so you were leaning against the railing. You nodded mutely as he gripped your chin gently and turned it from side to side so he could inspect your face. “Nodding isn’t an answer, Y/N. Tell me how you feel,” he said again. This time he put a little more of a demanding note in it. You hoped he wasn’t going to get used to speaking like that, although, in this context you found it quite appealing.

“I feel great. And tired. And maybe a bit hungry,” you muttered as your eyes started to droop shut.

Clint smiled. “That’s better. I’ll grab you something to eat and then we’ll get you into bed, okay?”

You nodded and absentmindedly moved your hand to your dress to fix yourself up, only to find that your panties and the top of your dress were already back in place. You couldn’t remember Clint doing it. Or maybe it had been you? It didn’t matter, because at that moment you started to sway and your eyes closed shut when you felt your head be pressed up against something warm and solid. Clint’s scent was the last thing you registered before you drifted off.