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Gosh, I Love Heroes

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"Do you need help?"

With one leg up on the edge of the dumpster, bare arms covered in worse than scratches but better than gouges, and he was pretty sure another dislocated shoulder and a few cracked ribs, Clint froze. He was covered in rotten cabbage and used paper towels, he could taste blood and wasn't quite sure which of the aches on his head the flavour was coming from, and he was pretty sure that was someone's dead pet mouse sticking out of his left boot, but it wasn't like him to miss someone walking up to him even with those sorts of distractions. He was pretty positive that there'd been nobody in the alley when he started to haul himself out, but the portly blond peering at him from three feet away with a briefcase in his hand clearly indicated otherwise.

"Okay... this looks bad," Clint began.

"Yeah, yeah it does," the blond agreed. "Which is why I'm asking, do you need help? I've only got a bandage roll and some disinfectant in my bag, but my apartment's like three minutes away walking and my bathroom's basically a pharmacy. You look and smell pretty terrible and you're holding your arm funny, so you might have a rough time getting back to wherever you're going without a little clean-up."

As he babbled, Clint felt a trickle of amusement as a grin slowly spread across his face. He finished pulling himself over the edge of the dumpster and landed deftly on his feet. "Wow. Uh. Why are you carrying—you know, nevermind. Better question is, didn't your momma ever tell you not to talk to strangers?"

"Yes, but she'd also ground my sorry ass from her peach cobbler for the next three Christmases if she knew I'd found someone having issues and didn't try to help," the man shrugged. "And besides, this—" He gestured in Clint's and the dumpster's general direction. "This? Is not actually that weird for me. To see, not to do. Pretty sure I couldn't climb out of a dumpster like that without some major damage to my everything, but you're actually not the first superhero—"

Well, there went any hope at not being recognised.

"—I've picked up out of the literal trash. Also, there's a dead mouse sticking out of your shoe, so I think you win the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Award." Clint hesitated. "Also, I've got 190 proof Everclear."

"I'm in," Clint replied instantly. He lifted his left arm automatically to shake before—ow, shit, fuck, no, bad idea, awww, arm!—offering his right instead. "I'm Clint."

The blond shook it with a kind smile. "Foggy Nelson."


"So, you mentioned knowing another superhero..."

Clint and Foggy were in the latter's apartment, Foggy on the couch and Clint perched on the back of the couch. They were now plus Everclear and minus bleeding wounds, and after Clint had assured him that he didn't have a battle to run back to, decided they needed some pizza in their lives. Pizza made everything better, after all.

(This had led to storytime about pets, and Clint had fought with his fancy StarkPhone until he could locate the picture gallery to show off a hundred some odd shots of a yellow lab before Foggy told him about the adventures of his pet hermit crabs as a kid.)

Over the last two hours (and where had the time gone?), Clint had already gotten used to the man's warm, welcoming smile, boisterous laugh, and ready quips. The smile Foggy gave him now, however, made him uneasy: for all that the corners of his lips lifted up, the rest of him immediately sagged down. "Yeah... a fr—a guy I know. Kind of know. Massive hero complex, less massive sense of survival, and a penchant for dark leather and darker danger. No, I'm not going to tell you who," he added quickly.

Clint's mouth twitched. "You know I could find out pretty easily already."

"Hey, come on, at least give me the illusion of privacy!" Foggy complained.

Spreading his arms open wide, Clint gestured around at Foggy's living room, soundlessly mouthing, Privacy?

Foggy pointed at him. "Shut up and eat your pizza, or I won't let you have any booze next time."

That one threw the archer, and he lowered his arms, blinking. "Next time?"

Foggy blinked back. "Yeah, dude. You know where I live and that I have everything short of a surgical suite, so you're welcome anytime Hell's Kitchen bangs you up. Or, you know, if you're not banged up. My window's always open."

Clint snorted, but he couldn't help the pleased smile spreading across his face. "What, I'm good enough for the window but not the front door?"

"Based on past experiences, I just assumed you superhero types were allergic to doors."

"I'm not really a superhero," Clint protested automatically. "I'm just a guy with good aim who runs around with superheroes. No magic, no government experimentation, no mutant gene, nothing."

"Okay, no—no selling yourself short in la casa de Foggy," Foggy retorted.

"I'm not s—"

Foggy cut him off, waving a hand impatiently. "Running around with them implies you can keep up with them, and good aim kind of counts for a lot in your line of work. And hell, the fact that you go out there and do the things you do to begin with—you don't need to turn into a fireball or the Jolly Green Giant to be a superhero."

"Yeah, let's not compare me to Johnny Storm," Clint drawled, smirking. "I think I'm a little more put-together than that punk."

"I found you in a dumpster."

Clint winced. "Okay, you... fine! I concede defeat."

Foggy patted his knee. "Yeah, you're going to be doing that a lot, pal."