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Respawn

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Day 1

Clint wakes up to the Avenger’s alert going off and scrambles to grab his gear. Once on the jet he notices Bucky with them on this mission. Clint can’t help but feel relieved for the extra pair of eyes. It helps to have another sniper looking out for everyone. Clint doesn’t actually have eyes in the back of his head so sometimes the extra pair is helpful in covering all of the Avengers. Between the ground team and the sky team, Clint was starting to get over whelmed.

The battle is in full motion when Clint lands the jet and sets up his perch. He is already calling out robot positions and flight patterns when the building his perch is on starts to crumble. Shit. Clint starts to scramble to the jet, hoping to get in it and off before the whole building is gone. He can hear his team in his ear, yelling. Clint can see Ironman, a flash of brilliant red in the sky, streaking towards him.

Clint feels the roof give way and knows two things with absolute assurance. 1) He isn’t making it to the jet and 2) Ironman isn’t making it to him. Clint falls for what seems like forever, he gets bashed and bruised by other falling ruble. His eyes and mouth are already closed, to avoid dust and maybe just because he thinks he will lose all hope if he looks. He can hear shouting in his ear piece, he can hear his whole team begging for a response.

When Clint wakes, it is to agony. There is silence in his ear but dimly he can hear the ground moving. He wishes more than anything that he had a way to say something because the rebar that is poking through him is going to end him. Every breath and a struggle and his eyes fight to close.

He whispers, “Sorry,” to the dust and darkness and lets his eyes fall shut.

 

Day 2

Clint wakes up to the Avenger’s alert going off and assumes at first it is a hospital monitor. He feels elation because he thought for sure he was dead. How bad would “sorry” have been for his last words? He definitely needs to think up something cool and memorable. Tony probably has something all planned out, Clint scoffs in his head. Tony probably paid someone to write something great. Maybe he can get the guy’s number.

Clint knows something is wrong because the beeping is still going off and no one is moving to stop it. Also, he isn’t in pain, which he would normally take as a sign of great drugs but he doesn’t feel groggy.

“Mr. Barton, Sir has requested your presence in the jet.”

Clint opens his eyes and he is in his bedroom at the tower. Huh, must have been one crazy dream.

This time Clint grabs his gear and heads to the jet, he notices Bucky is there having a heated conversation with Steve. When the two men see him their conversation abruptly stops. Clint asks Steve where the battle is and a chill shoots down his spine at the answer. It could just be a coincidence OR maybe he became a mutant and now has clairvoyance. Whatever the reason, he chooses a different building today.

The battles is in full force when the building he was going to land on, the building he remembers landing on, collapses. Clint hears Bucky swear in his ear but it sounds more relieved than anything but before he has time to ask a question there are more robots and arrows to fire.

The battle takes too long, its hours before Clint figures out that the quickest wat to destroy them is to hit a small spot on the back of the bots. After this discovery he and Bucky take care of the bots quick enough but the team is tired when they all clamber onto the jet, even Stark is too tired to fly back in the suit.

Clint settles into the pilot’s seat and begins the startup procedure, Bucky drops into the seat next to him.

“Good choice on the perches,” he says.

Clint looks over in suspicion but Bucky’s face is blank.

“Yeah, lucky too,” Clint answers.

Bucky swallows and doesn’t answer. Clint may be imagining it but he thinks Bucky looks ill.

“You okay?” He asks.

Bucky nods, pats his shoulder and then stands to go join Steve at their seats before liftoff.

Clint shakes his head. Weird guy.

On the way home, everyone is mostly quiet. The day had been long, and almost the whole team is nursing some minor injury.

“Who wants Indian? Pizza? Oh, or maybe curry with pizza,” Tony says when they get back to the tower and no one argues.

“Hey J-man, get some curry ordered from Memories of India and our pizza order from Marcos.”

“Of course, Sir.”

Clint is sitting on the communal couch, dipping his pizza into curry sauce and watching an action movie. The whole team is gathered round and while everyone is eating pizza or curry, Clint and Bucky are the only one dipping their pizza into the curry sauce. No matter how good they claim it to be, no one else is budging on trying it.

Clint smiles to Bucky and lifts his pizza in comradery then takes a big bite.

“Buck I always knew you had an iron stomach and Clint will eat floor pizza,” Steve says. “You two saying something is good, is not a glowing recommendation.”

“Floor pizza is still pizza, also every heard of the ten second rule?”

“It was a solid 3 minutes,” Steve says.

“God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt?” Clint says with a shrug and dips more pizza in the curry.

“Poor adult supervision his problem,” Tony said pointing at Clint, “What is your excuse?” motioning to Bucky.

Bucky shrugged, “Grew up and there was a war on, learned to not be picky.”

“So, did the good Captain and I would bet my fortune that he has never dreamed of eating floor pizza.”

“Well, Steve has always been a bit prissy.”

“Jerk,” Steve says with a playful shove to Bucky.

Clint falls asleep on the couch, and briefly wakes to the feel of a blanket being placed on top of him.

Day 3

Clint wakes up to the Avenger’s alert going off and he starts swearing. Another freaking alert? Really? He stands and expects to feel soreness from yesterday’s bruises but nothing hurts. He looks down and nothing but clear, healthy skin. What the ever loving hell is going on?

Clint goes to the jet and the whole team is there. No one looks freaked out, in fact Bucky looks bored.

Clint grabs Nat and motions to speak to her outside.

“Does this seem familiar to you?” Clint asks, trying not to sound crazy.

Natasha quirks an eyebrow but says nothing clearly waiting for Clint to explain.

“I mean the alert, robots, all of it happened yesterday.”

“Are you well?” Natasha asks, clear concern in her voice.

“I’m fine Nat but I swear I’ve done this before. Twice. Oh my God, I died. The first day I died,” Clint says and now he is trying to not freak out. Because holy shit he died two days ago.

Steve leans out of the jet, “We need to go.”

Clint almost calls out to him because clearly someone is fucking with them. It’s probably Loki. Asshole. Natasha stops him with a hand before he can say anything.

“We will discuss this after, for now, I think it is best that we keep this between us.”

Clint is off for the whole flight and into the fight. He still does his job and points out the vulnerable spot on the back. The fight starts to wind down much earlier, in fact they are doing clean up when the building collapses. Clint breathes a sigh of relief to know he wasn’t on it. Maybe this is hell?

“Widow?!” He hears Steve yell. Clint watches as everyone heads to the ruins of the building.

“Nat? Nat are you okay? Nat” Clint knows he is screaming. He feels like he can’t breathe.  

The rest of the battle, the flight home, the day, all passes in a blur.

Day 4

Clint wakes up to the Avenger’s alert going off and rushes out of his room. He takes the elevator a floor down to Tasha’s rooms. He sees her leaving her room and alive. Beautiful and so alive. She is a mother fucking champion breather right now.

“Tasha! You’re here!” Clint exclaims, and he can feel himself choking up. He knows he is already crying. She is best friend and he knows she died but here she is just fine.

Day 5

Clint wakes up to the Avenger’s alert going off and groans. He isn’t fucking doing this again today.

“Hey JARVIS, tell Steve I’m sick,” Clint says and rolls back over.

He wakes up two hours later and walks out into the communal living area to watch a movie and eat cereal straight from the box, which Steve never lets him do.

He does not scream like a girl when he sees Bucky on the sofa, thank you very much. He was startled.

“Shouldn’t you be in a battle fighting robots and calling shots?” Clint asks.

Bucky does a one shoulder shrug, “If you get to blow off class then I do too.”

Clint wants to feel guilty, wants to feel bad about how long that fight will be, about the possibility of death but chances are it will be the same damn thing tomorrow.

He Bucky spend the whole day watching James Bond flicks, starting with Connery. They make fun of the effects, critic the shots, share war stories of better missions and Clint doesn’t think he has ever laughed this hard. When Bucky looks over at him and smiles, well Clint thinks he could give Bond a run for his money.

“You could go by Barnes, James Barnes. It would be awesome.”

“Better than Barton, Clint Barton for sure,” Bucky says with laugh.

“Watch it,” Clint says, “You know one thing MI6 did right?”

“What’s that?”

“Made an easy to pronounce name. Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement Logistics Division is horrible.”

“SHIELD isn’t so bad though.”

“You’re just a Cap fan boy” Clint teases. 

“I’m starting to like another Avenger even more,” Bucky says with a wink.

“Well, yeah. Who else will eat floor pizza with you and watch 13 hours of James Bond?”

Some days Clint fights the robots, some days he stays in bed. No one does. Clint spends an entire day walking around naked, despite his teammate’s protests. Another day, he flies to Dublin because throughout all his trouble he has never been. He still wakes up to the Avenger’s Alert. One day he fills the living area with play pen balls and spends the entire day in the ball pit.

The only constant besides the Avenger’s alert is Bucky. He never indicates that he remembers but he is always there. If Clint stays home, then normally Bucky will join him. He even sat in the ball pit. Clint has photos he wishes he could keep of the Winter Soldier surrounded by brightly colored balls. The only time Bucky doesn’t join him is his trip to Dublin, Clint doesn’t tell anyone at all. It was freeing to walk around with no strings or responsibilities.

Clint isn’t sure the exact day he fell in love with Bucky, isn’t sure if it was the jokes or the man’s amazing sniper skills. Doesn’t know how he will ever explain being in love with him in the event he ever unsticks himself from this time loop. Doesn’t know how he will tell Tasha he went from barely noticing him, from her perspective, to being madly in love. But loving Bucky and having all the ground they cover erased every day is a new kind of pain.

Clint knows Bucky must be confused, he can tell from the look on his face when Clint says something too personal. After all to Bucky, this is just two teammates hanging out. He has no idea about the things they’ve shared. The close calls they’ve had in that stupid bot battle. He doesn’t know about the stories they’ve swapped or the jokes they share.

Day 247

Clint wakes up to the Avenger’s alert going off and decides to go to work today. He picks up his gear, starts the jet and smiles at Bucky, who looks a bit confused but smiles back. Christ loving someone when they don’t remember sucks.

Clint can play out this battle with his eyes closed, knows just about every variation it can take. He knows at which points in time saying how to destroy the bots will make the most difference. Too early and no on believes him, too late and it’s a long day. Clint does tend to get careless during the battle. He is never careless with his teammate’s lives again, not after losing Nat but he does tend to disregard his own personal safety.

Right now would be a prime example of that, because he told everyone about the robots weak point about three minutes too early and now he has to jump off his perch before it blows up. Clint reaches for a grappling arrow and shoots. The arrow lands on the roof but isn’t secure to stop his decent completely, while it slows him, he still falls off a freaking building.

Clint groans and it feels like he is dying, which he has personal experience in now. He isn’t, he doesn’t think, actually dying but shit is seriously broken. Like is spleen.

“Clint?!”

“I’m fine guys. I’ll be walking it off by tomorrow,” Clint jokes.

“Christ Barton, what the hell were you thinking?” Clint hears Bucky say and shit he must be passing in and out because he opens his eyes and Bucky is right there.

“Mm I in hospital?” Clint mumbles.

“Clint, what were you? Why the hell didn’t you get someone to come pick you up?” Bucky asks.

Clint looks around and they are alone in the hospital room. Bucky looks pissed. More pissed than Clint has ever seen.

 “Don’t worry. I’ll be fine tomorrow,” Clint says patting Bucky’s hand.

“The hell you will. You broke your collar bone, among other things.”

“You won’t know. But it will be fine. You won’t remember, you never remember.”

Bucky looks into his eyes and Clint can see the love there, the fear at the thought of Clint dying. And how did he miss this?

“I remember everything. I don’t care if tomorrow is exactly the same, you don’t jump off a damn building,” Bucky says.

Clint will blame the drugs for the kiss.

The next day, he wakes up in the hospital and Bucky is still there, folded up awkwardly in the plastic chair.