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Valium's No Damn Good

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Valium was on Tony’s no-list.

Right there on his file. ‘No Valium/diazepam’.

So why was he curled up in the corner of Medical 6, hoarding an oxygen tank?

Clint, first port of call, locked the door and pulled the blinds. The nurses were great, seriously, but Tony was paranoid right now, it’d be easier if he didn’t feel watched. He rummaged in the suture kit still laid out and covered the camera with a solid chunk of cotton, taped in place.

Tony whimpered at the ripping sound and Clint ground his teeth.

"Hey buddy, you got something better for the lock?" he asked, still not looking at the crumpled figure in the corner.

"JARVIS, but…" But JARVIS was down on this side of the planet; satellites had been blocked. A lump of something rolled across the floor, and he stopped it with his foot; a portable thermite weld.

"Where do you even keep this shit…" he muttered, pushing the plasticized lump into the gap between bulkhead and hatch. The reaction went off with a white-hot glow, sealing the bolt in its socket. It’d take Steve to get it down, which was the whole point. Tony trusted Steve even when he was hopped up, just like he was trusting Clint right now. It...could get bad? The time concussion was in the mix, for example, and Tony didn’t recognise them. Being called an alien imposter in today's climate? Not good for your health. Clint and Nat had done some correlating after that, stealing Tony’s medical records and going over them for possible causes.

Movement in the corner of his eye and Clint froze, letting Tony do whatever in his own time. “There’s a backpack.”

Voice was weak, breathy, Clint noted; Tony got breathless on morphine, let alone morphine and diazepam, and he had torn off his cannula in favor of the straight, 100% O2 mask.

"In the suit? Handy."

Tony didn’t respond, but Clint unfroze at the nudge of a bare toe against the back of his boot, slumping slightly and rolling his shoulders. “You should lie down, Tones; help your breathing.”

"…’s’ safe now?" Tony asked, very dubious.

"It’s your thermite; you tell me," Clint said, shuffling ‘round carefully. Tony was standing close, bit too close for comfort, what with Clint’s steel toecap boots in the mix. He had the O2 tank in one hand, and the mask held over his face in the other, but he was still gasping. There was something about it being a brain thing, not an oxygen thing, and if Clint could get him resting, it’d go away.

If, if.

Tony was staring at the door, eyes narrowed, but when Clint touched his biceps, for a bit of stability, he went wide-eyed and frightened. “It’ll hold, but—”

"But you still don’t feel safe. I know." He grimaced apologetically and looked away, skimming the room for resources. Clint couldn’t look at that face for too long; he’d already welded the door shut, who the fuck knew what else he’d do if Tony got his hooks in him properly. "Most defensible position?"

"…behind the bed?" Tony asked, looking ‘round and almost falling over completely. Clint shored him up by crowding in close and pulling Tony's shoulder against his chest. A quick glance down the back of his gown showed a neatly stitched incision down the line of his spine, midribs to lumbar, where the rigid spine guard in the suit had been crushed by a spell. Too neat to be anything but completely deliberate. The diazepam was keeping his damaged back muscles from spasming, but Clint really really wished they’d found something else. Tony was maxed out on his pain meds, if his breathing was anything to go by, and a sedative was a bad idea for the same reasons.

Tony was leaning against him now, limbs loose but keeping him on his feet, and picking at his admission bracelet.

What was it Bruce did? Something to do with getting Tony close to the spine of the ship, where, and don’t fucking let this one slip, where JARVIS’ presence in the engine controls could be felt. It was some fucking skynet level benevolent god shit, right there. Clint shuffled Tony forwards, and, reluctant to lose contact, flipped the mattress off the bed with one hand. Tony made a surprised noise, small and grouchy, but stepped onto the foam and blankets. The floor was steel; not warm, not even a little bit, not ever. Steve hated waking up in helicarrier medical; Clint personally thought the Docs withheld socks from Steve as a way of keeping him in bed. It didn’t work, exactly, and it made for one grumpy-ass Captain.

Tony wriggled his toes on the waterproof casing on the foam, then shuffled unsteadily onto the haphazard sheet and wriggled some more, making a happy nose this time. Clint twitched the sheet to cover the mattress and, one hand on Tony’s elbow because stumbling was not good for Tony right now, bent down to tuck it in place.

"Better?" Clint asked, helping Tony curl up on the mattress and keeping out of the way of his poisonous glare in the door’s direction. When Tony was down safely, Clint grabbed a blanket and the pillows Tony’s sent flying before Clint turned up. He dumped them on Tony’s legs, pushing IV poles out of the way, and consolidating Tony’s meds onto one stand. He didn’t expect an answer to his question, but Tony was pulling the blanket over his legs so, there was that. The IV bags were still mostly full, so that was a bonus, but Tony would be in serious pain once this stunt caught up to him. Clint tapped his earpiece to ask for instructions, but the intense garble of angry doctors put him off again. He switched to sending only, which today meant Nat.

"Get them under control, honey."

The radio clicked twice, and then switched to two way relay, letting him hear Natasha’s hand muffling her mic while she yelled.

"I knew it," Tony croaked, shoving his back against the wall in a very inadvisable way.

"Knew what, man? Details, details." Clint made sure the meds were in reach, then kicked the metal-framed bed over to the door, as an extra visual barrier. Tony was finally relaxing, the last vestiges of that wide-eyed deer look fading away.

"You’re married.” Tony jabbed a finger at Clint’s chest, who feigned affront.

"No way, no way, Nat and I are platonic knife-buddies."

Tony seemed to consider this, his finger wavering with exhaustion. “You can still… Civil partners. You could adopt.”

Clint blinked, because this was not the direction he’d been expecting. Tony usually— but then, he was a bit stripped down… who the hell knew, anyway.

"C’mon, sit forwards, you’re freezing."

"I’d help," Tony promised, overly sincerely, his eyes raw and naked with it. "You could be a s-stay at home dad. You’d—"

Clint wasn’t sure he could take this, right now; too many dad issues in the team. He pushed and lifted and rearranged Tony so he could slip in behind him. “Yeah, how’s that, Tony?” He asked, not expecting an answer and getting an incoherent mumble while Tony relaxed, leaning against Clint with his cold hands and feet tucked in and his back held straight by Clint’s chest. He could chase away a bit of the helicarrier’s chill like this, and Tony would maybe feel secure.

"You’d be a good dad…" Tony finished eventually, slurring.

"Hmmph. You want a bed-time story or some shit? ‘Cause I don’t know any. Could spoil dog-cops for you, though."

"…mm… soun’s nice…" Tony twisted around enough to snuggle into the crook of Clint's neck and went soft like a scruffed cat.

In his ear, Natasha's voice cleared as she took her hand off her mic. "--doesn't matter, we can get him to eat. Clint, read off his levels for me?"

He recited the numbers off the monitors that had made it through Tony's descent into paranoia and kept his voice low and smooth, almost intonation free. Tony didn't seem to mind, and Clint shifted him more upright, taking the pressure off his back.

Natasha's repeat of the numbers was 100% accurate, of course, but the doctor tried to argue that third hand was too unreliable while the network was down. Clint tuned them out and cleared his throat to settle in for the long haul.

"So Captain Bull right, he's completely thick about Pvt. Pup, still. It's been almost three episodes now, dunno how long that's going to last--"

Tony fell asleep somewhere into Clint’s diversion into animal rescue, between mumbles about sleepy-time drugged steaks and luring dogs in with bacon.