|The burdens we bear
Author: Alias-vendor PM
Movieverse. SPOILER ALERT full summary inside : Hawkeye blames himself. No one realised it would hit him that hard. Involves everyone but centres around Barton.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Humor - Hawkeye/Clint B. - Chapters: 5 - Words: 20,471 - Reviews: 73 - Favs: 85 - Follows: 152 - Updated: 06-01-12 - Published: 04-30-12 - id: 8072867
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Summary: Hawkeye blames himself for Coulson's death. No one realised it would hit him that hard.
Disclaimer: I've been told by the government to claim I don't own them to avoid raising suspicion…guess I screwed that up, huh?
It had started somewhere amongst the chaos of the battle. Someone had made an innocent comment, a reminder of what they were fighting for. Not just for New York, for Earth, but for the memory of Phil Coulson – whose death had been the impetus needed to spur them into action. It had probably been Rogers; dedicated, in his role of leadership, to keeping them motivated even when the odds seemed insurmountable. It hadn't clicked when Stark had told Loki he'd pissed Coulson off – not many could, he was a perpetually calm man, but if someone stood a chance it would have been that lunatic. Hell, that lunatic had a natural talent for pissing people off. He enjoyed it. It hadn't clicked when Thor had expressed his sorrow that the 'Son of Coul' could not be present for the battle as he was a mighty fighter and a noble man. But Steve's words he just couldn't misinterpret. He had nearly dropped his bow. It was only years of training that kept his fingers clenched around the grip, immeasurable hours of honing that kept his arrow pointed straight at the target. He didn't falter, not physically.
'What?' His face was blank, his hands steady. He never missed a breath, and he never missed his targets.
'You did not know?' Thor sounded genuinely concerned, his voice crackling through their communication line.
'No.' Clint said shortly. He twisted to shoot something that had the drop on Iron man. He nailed the driver straight in the throat.
'I had that guy,' Stark protested.
Clint didn't bother to respond. He waited for someone, Rogers or Thor or anyone, to pick up the conversation. His eyes were darting around the battlefield, his brain whirring as he calculated distances and angles, as he observed patterns and formulated strategies. He left barely an inch to absorb the new information, he couldn't afford any more.
'Barton…I'm…Loki stabbed him,' Rogers said after dithering over how to put it. 'After he escaped the…cage.' His words were punctuated with the vibrations from his shield. 'Thor was trapped…Agent Coulson was the only one there to stop him…'
'I am sorry.' Thor, a red and silver blur to his left, seemed truly upset. 'It was my fault.'
'No, it wasn't.' Clint brushed his words aside. Phil Coulson. Dead. The words should never have needed to be used in the same sentence.
'I can close it,' Natasha's voice filtered through the communication link. 'I can close the portal.' She was unreadable, as always. He knew though, that she had known. She should have told him. He'd had a right to know.
'Do it!' Rogers yelled.
'No,' Stark countered. 'Guys, I've got a nuke coming in and I know just where to put it.'
They fell silent. Watching. Waiting. He'd run out of arrows. He set his controls to 'grappling hook' and waited until the quiver whirled and changed the head before grabbing his last arrow. He'd only get one shot at this. He dived off the edge of the building, twisted in the air, nocked the arrow, and shot it. He didn't miss. The hook crunched into the concrete and he swung down and smashed through a window several stories down. He landed hard on his back, shattered glass spread out around him. Some of it had lodged in his uniform, some of it in his arms, but for the most part it was only his back he had to worry about. The shock of the collision sent the bow clattering from his grasp, his fingers unclenching instinctively upon impact. The quiver was digging into his back, and fire was racing down his spine. It wasn't the pain that knocked him out. It was more the rather forceful way his head was introduced to the floor.
Something – or someone – was assailing his ears; one of the few body parts that didn't currently hurt like hell. He bit back a groan as he slowly rose into a sitting position, and then regretted his hasty movement. The room wavered as his eyes refocused and he dropped it onto his knees to prevent himself from keeling over. His back was aching but he doubted he'd seriously injured it, he could move all his limbs after all. Shards of glass dotted his arms, most of them miniscule but a few cuts were bleeding steadily.
'Agent Barton?' He recognised Rogers' voice. 'If you can hear me, please respond. Has anyone seen Barton?'
His mouth was dry. His first attempt to produce words yielded nothing even remotely audible.
'Who's worried about Barton?' Stark sounded like hell. 'Now me, I fell out of the sky.'
'Shut up Stark,' Natasha, though fierce, sounded a little less snappy than usual. He'd known she had a soft spot for the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist. It was there, if you knew where to look. 'Clint?'
'Where's Loki?' He rasped once he'd gathered enough moisture to do so. He could smell the metallic tang of blood, could taste it where he'd bitten his tongue.
'We're going to get him now.' Rogers answered instead. 'What's your position?'
'Same as before,' he reached over to grab his bow and checked it for damage. 'About half-way down.' His quiver was intact though it had taken most of the force of his landing. He thought he probably had an imprint embedded in his back.
'I will retrieve him,' Thor volunteered.
He usually would have protested, but he didn't intend to miss apprehending Loki. He wished he had a least one arrow left, but knew he would never have been given the chance to use it. Thor would never allow him, or anyone, to kill his brother. No matter what he'd done or who he'd killed.
Less than a minute later the glass shards were rattling on the ground as a wind swept through the building. Clint shielded his eyes from the debris until it died down as the demi-God landed, his hammer spinning to a halt.
'Friend Hawk, are you unharmed?'
Clint rose to his feet, ignoring his back's protest, and rolled his shoulders gently.
'More or less,' he watched as the other man's eyebrow rose.
'You are bleeding.' He pointed out, sounding as if he actually believed Clint hadn't noticed.
'Flesh wounds,' Clint held back his annoyance. They were wasting time. 'Let's go.'
'As you wish.' Thor pulled something out of his belt. 'I retrieved this for you.'
'Thanks,' he accepted the arrow and slid it into his quiver. He changed the tip to explosive. Maybe he'd get a chance at Loki after all. Thor grabbed him by the neck of his uniform and began to spin his hammer rapidly. They took off, and Clint slid his fingers a little more securely around his bow. He wasn't sure he wholly approved of this particular method of flying. He preferred to be in control.
'Where is he?' He asked quietly, knowing Thor would hear him through the communication link. From his vantage point the city looked like a Lego play set that someone had smashed through and then set on fire for good measure.
'My brother had an unfortunate encounter with our friend Hulk.' Thor explained, his tone grim.
Though there was nothing even remotely funny about the situation, Clint felt the corners of his mouth twitch. It wasn't a laugh, or a smile, but the beginnings of satisfaction. Loki would get what was coming to him and, as far as he was concerned, the Hulk was an excellent place to start. Frankly he didn't care who had a shot at the guy, as long as he was just conscious enough for him to extract his revenge. Slowly, painfully, vengefully. It would never be sufficient, he wasn't naïve enough to believe that everything would be better, but it would be something.
They landed on Stark tower around the same time as the rest of the Avengers. Stark looked a little worse for wear and there was blood on Natasha's face, but all in all they had come out of it remarkably intact. He turned his gaze to fix on his target. Loki had his back to them, but he no doubt knew they were there. A primal rage was brewing in his chest, something that he had to work hard to control. He had, over the years, learnt to master his emotions. He'd never wanted to succumb to them more than in that moment. It would be so easy. It would take him seconds. The others probably wouldn't have enough time to react. He could have an arrow embedded in Loki's eye before they even realised he'd set his sights on him. Except that Natasha had turned her calculating gaze on him the moment they'd landed. There was knowing in her eyes and she was tense with anticipation. He returned her look with nonchalance, but tightened his grip ever so slightly. She shook her head; don't. His finger twitched. He saw her eyes follow the movement, though she did nothing.
'Come,' Thor clapped him on the back with enough force to inflame his injury. He winced but shook him off and strode toward the doors. He didn't realise he'd grabbed the arrow from his quiver and nocked it until he was staring down the shaft, his unwavering gaze fixed on his target.
'Are you going to shoot me, Agent Barton?' Quiet laughter followed the amused question as Loki turned to face him. He was sitting on the ground, bruised and battered but smiling as if he'd somehow engineered the fight so that he would lose. He always seemed to be in control, as if every single thing occurred by his design. Well, Clint wasn't playing his games anymore.
'Well? If you are, perhaps you'd better do it quickly. I can't see my sap of a brother letting you kill me.' His voice was light, conversational. They could have been talking about the weather. 'He's rather sentimental that way, the fool.'
He could hear raised voices behind him, hurried steps.
'Stand down Agent Barton!'
Loki continued to smile as if he already knew the outcome. He obviously didn't think Clint would actually shoot.
He had mere seconds to make the shot. He only needed one.
His fingers twitched.
'He disobeyed a direct order,' Nick Fury was, uncommonly, as furious as his name suggested. Not a lot could rattle the director of S.H.I.E.L.D but nothing roused his temper as much as disloyalty and insubordination. At those times he conveniently forgot his own, frequent, deviation from the orders given by his own bosses – most recently his refusal to authorize the firing of a nuclear missile into the Island of Manhattan. In any case, this was different.
'He was compromised,' Natasha countered. She glanced over to where Clint was lying, unconscious, on a pristine white bed. She wasn't sure who had knocked him out. It could have been Rogers, Thor, or, most likely, the Hulk. They'd been too late. He'd already released the arrow by the time someone sent him sailing across the room to slam into the wall. He hadn't missed, but he hadn't killed Loki either. The guy was immune to bullets and, it seemed, arrows as well. He hadn't managed to snatch it out of the air, but the wound had healed almost instantly after Thor had pulled it out. The pained scream though…her lips curled at the memory. It was a pity Clint hadn't been able to hear it.
'Then he should never have been there in the first place. He knows that, you both do.' Fury dropped the volume, resignation colouring his words. He wouldn't punish Barton, not when he would have done exactly the same thing in his place. Still, he had a position to maintain, rules to follow, and at the very least he had to give him verbal hell for it.
'He didn't know…at the time.' She brushed her red hair behind her ears, her fingers dusting over the small cut in her forehead. It had stopped bleeding, but a bruise was forming.
'Didn't know what?' Fury was already moving on to something else, namely the negotiations with Asgard. He knew he'd never get what he wanted –which was Loki surrendered as a war criminal and delivered to S.H.I.E.L.D to be judged for his crimes – and, really, the world was that bit safer if the unhinged demi-God was off the planet anyway. He just didn't want to get off on the wrong foot with the Asgardians thinking they could have anything they wanted.
'Coulson.' She said simply.
A shadow fell over the director's face, his expression tightening. It made sense. He couldn't blame Barton for wanting to avenge Phil, he even approved of it. If there was one thing Fury really wanted to see Loki made accountable for, it was the death of his right-hand man. His one good eye. It was a loss that had shaken each and every one of them, but he could see why it might have affected Barton most of all. Phil had been his mentor, had originally brought him into S.H.I.E.L.D and the two had been close ever since.
'Damn.' He sighed and waved his hand. 'Alright, Romanov. He'll be suspended from active duty until we can assess his mental state, but there will be no disciplinary action. In the meantime, Stark has offered his mansion as a temporary living space for the team until we get this whole mess with Loki sorted out.'
She nodded as he turned and walked away, his trench coat wafting around his shins. It was something Clint had never failed to point out and mock until finally all he had to do was raise an eyebrow and she would be unable to stop the slight twitch in her lips. A faint sound caught her attention and she turned to see Clint beginning to stir. She couldn't see it now, but his entire right side was pretty much one giant bruise. It was a fairly impressive one, too, and she could tell it would be around for weeks. She walked through the glass sliding door and up to the corner of his bed. His eyes were closed, but the slight wrinkle in his brow suggested he was very much awake and very much in pain. The air was stale and sterilized, it smelt like a hospital. She despised hospitals.
'Clint?' She shifted her weight slightly, her arms straight against her sides. Situations like the present one often made her uncomfortable, even though she knew Clint better, sometimes, than she knew herself. He didn't answer, didn't open his eyes, but his breathing changed almost as if he were trying to convince her that he was still asleep. Where before it had been just that little bit laboured, now it was deep and steady. She wondered how much effort he had had to put into his little façade.
'I know you're awake.' She made no attempt to mask her annoyance. He was being childish, and she didn't take well to being ignored.
There was still no response. He continued breathing steadily and didn't as much as twitch. She brushed aside the hurt she felt at being shut out by her closest, and only, friend.
'Fine.' She turned on her heel and left.
His breathing stuttered, almost inaudibly.
'So,' Tony looked between the silent archer, and the agent who'd dropped him off. The agent shot him a sympathetic look before jumping into the driver's seat of the black BMW and hurrying away. Tony was left standing awkwardly in front of his mansion, facing a man he didn't know particularly well and who didn't seem inclined to say anything at all. Barton was wearing causal clothes with dark sunglasses, and had a simple knapsack slung over his shoulder. There was no sign of his bow or any other kind of weaponry, a fact that Tony was just a little grateful for. The man was, after all, suspended from active duty because S.H.I.E.L.D was afraid he may have lost his coconuts. Either that or Loki had stolen them, either way the result was the same. Possibly crazy and weapons weren't an equation he was particularly fond of.
'Welcome to my place.' He waved half-heartedly at the mansion behind him. He couldn't tell if Barton was looking at him, at the house, or just standing there with his eyes closed. The thought irritated him. 'Shall we?' The sarcasm slipped out. Oh well, he'd tried.
He turned and walked towards the door, fairly confident the other would follow him. If he didn't, well Tony didn't actually care. He could stand outside for the entire month if he wanted. He couldn't hear any footsteps behind him, though that probably didn't mean anything considering the other man's profession. He walked on. He went through the door and briefly contemplated letting it slam in the archer's face before deciding it probably wasn't the best idea. He held it open, and the man walked through without acknowledgement. He let the door go and headed upstairs. Best to just show the guy to his room and then let him stew in it.
Steve heard the distinct crunch of gravel as the car cruised out of the driveway and glanced out the window of his room to investigate. It looked like Agent Barton had arrived. He watched as Tony – Stark, his mind emphasised – walked out to greet both him, and the agent accompanying him. The agent reached out and shook Tony's hand, they seemed to exchange words, and then the agent got back into the vehicle and drove away. Barton, however, did nothing. Steve frowned slightly. He wasn't sure what was going on with the archer, and S.H.I.E.L.D hadn't told him much other than that the death of Phil Coulson had hit him hard. This seemed different, though, than simple grieving. He would know – he was grieving for everyone he had ever known. Something else was bothering him; he just wasn't sure what it was. He wanted to find out, though. He wanted to help if he could. He knew that he, himself, would have been in a considerably different place if S.H.I.E.L.D hadn't helped him come to terms with everything that had changed during his '70 year nap' as Tony - Stark -referred to it. He had heard that Barton wasn't talking to anyone – not even Natasha. They'd sat him down in front of numerous psychologists and he hadn't so much as sneezed in their presence. It was, frankly, concerning. He had locked himself away inside his head and refused to let anyone in.
Steve watched as Tony led Barton inside and wondered if he should go down and say hello. It was almost certain that Barton wouldn't respond, but maybe it was worth a try? He walked out of his room and saw Tony standing in front of the door of one of the other rooms.
'Where's Agent Barton?' His pulse raced, as it always did, as Tony turned to face him and suddenly it was as if Howard was there. In those brief moments he felt like none of it had happened. As if he had never crashed that plane, never ended up frozen in ice only to be defrosted and brought back to life nearly 70 years later. He had, very carefully, never mentioned this resemblance to Tony. He'd picked up on the fact that their relationship wasn't exactly stellar.
'In there.' Tony seemed thoughtful. It was the expression Howard had used to get when he was thinking of a new invention, or solving a complex problem…he had to stop doing that. He knew Tony wouldn't appreciate it.
'Already?' Steve frowned, how on earth were they going to help him?
'Yup.' Tony started walking away, that same distant expression on his face.
Steve walked up to the door and rapped on it gently.
'Agent Barton?' He waited awhile before he realised that he wasn't going to get an answer. 'Agent Barton? Can I come in?' He tried to turn the handle, but it was either locked or something was blocking it from the other side. He sighed, well he wasn't going to break down the door, and left the agent to his own devices. Hopefully Thor, Bruce, or Natasha would arrive soon. He was starting to get bored watching the television and listening to the kinds of songs Tony thought he should like. He didn't really like any of them, and Tony point blank refused to let any of the songs Steve actually wanted to listen to in the house because his father had also liked them. He really wanted to know what had happened between them to make Tony hate Howard so much. He'd been a good guy – a lot like Tony actually. Maybe that was why they hadn't gotten along.
It was the middle of the night when Bruce Banner arrived at the mansion. He'd just finished the last bits of his work with S.H.I.E.L.D – mainly studying the Tessaract because they had it in their possession for a few weeks before they had to return it, with Loki, to Asgard – and had been shipped off immediately due to some 're-furbishing' that had to take place. He wasn't complaining. He actually liked Tony, for whatever unfathomable reason, and was eager to see his lab and some of the projects he was working on. The agent escorting him stopped the car outside the mansion – which Bruce did not gawp at – and politely reminded him not to forget his bags. He thanked the man absent-mindedly, grabbed his bags, and slid out of the car. Everyone was probably asleep but Tony had told Jarvis to let him in – or at least, that's what Fury had told him. He walked up to the door and pondered how to proceed. Did he just…knock? Or talk to it?
'Hello?' He wondered out loud, reaching forward and knocking lightly on the door. Nothing happened. He sighed. Fantastic, he was spending the night outside. He had just resigned himself to his fate when the door swung open, seemingly of its own accord. He looked around, and then shrugged. Stranger things had happened.
'Hello?' He said again as he walked through the door, thinking maybe Tony was up after all. Out of the corner of his eye he caught a fleeting glimpse of some kind of shadow, or black fabric, disappearing up the stairs. Weird. He followed it and ended up standing at the foot of a corridor with doors on either side. One of them had a piece of white paper stuck on it. As he got closer he could see it read 'Bruce & Hulk' in Tony's distinctive scrawl and had a green smiley face next to it. He pushed his glasses back up his nose, his mouth twitching in a smile.
'So, I'm wondering how you got in last night?' Tony asked casually at breakfast, waving his spoon in the air as he did so. It finally came to rest pointing at Bruce as he glanced quizzically at him. 'I mean, there were no holes in the walls and the roof was intact…'
'Didn't you tell Jarvis to let me in?' Bruce asked, confused, as he buttered his toast. He wasn't much of a breakfast person, but he did enjoy hot toast. And coffee.
'Yes, well, about that…' Tony crunched on a mouthful of his cereal. 'I may have shut him down, um accidentally, for a brief period of like twelve hours to implement some new programming…so…'
'Well someone let me in,' Bruce sipped his coffee. He peered at Tony over his glasses, his eyebrow raised.
'STEVE?' Tony yelled suddenly.
'YES TONY?' Steve's voice floated down from the above floor. He sounded resigned, like he was used to Tony shouting at him from anywhere in the house.
'DID YOU LET BANNER IN LAST NIGHT?' Tony drenched his cereal in milk, leaning back with a sigh of satisfaction.
'NO. IS BRUCE HERE?'
'NO. I WAS JUST WONDERING…YOU KNOW, FOR KICKS.'
'OH.' There was a pause in which Steve most likely assessed the probability of sarcasm, then 'HI BRUCE.'
'H-you know what, I'm not doing this.' Bruce shook his head and took another bite of his toast. He should have known any place occupied by Tony Stark would literally drip with crazy.
'BANNER SAYS HI.' Tony, finished with the spoon, lifted the bowl to his mouth and drank the leftover milk.
'Why doesn't he just come down?' Bruce ate his last piece of toast and sighed with regret. Maybe he should've made it last a little longer.
'I think he likes yelling,' Tony, having noticed, pushed another piece towards him.
'I think you like yelling,' Bruce corrected, eyeing the proferred toast. 'Steve obliges you.'
'Call it what you will,' Tony said airily. 'Me? I call it love…'
'Try insanity,' Bruce suggested, accepting the toast. 'I thought Barton was here as well?'
'He is.' Tony frowned. 'It's like the Phantom of the Opera around here.'
'What?' Bruce coughed; a piece of toast went down the wrong pipe. Whatever he had expected to hear, that definitely hadn't been it.
'Guy doesn't come out at all during the day, but I swear he's creeping around at night. I've tried to catch him in the act but…' he shrugged, 'Phantom of the Opera. Only without the singing…and the creepy white mask.'
'I know that movie,' Steve announced as he came down the stairs. 'I do. I saw it.' He was dressed in a simple t-shirt – which strangely looked out of place on him – and a pair of jeans.
'Congratulations,' Tony drawled. 'You're a real boy.'
'That…I don't get.' Steve sat down to Tony's left and helped himself to a few pieces of tost and a hefty bowl of cereal.
'Really?' Tony raised an eyebrow, 'because that was out in your time.'
Steve shrugged and dug into his meal. Moments later his blue eyes lit up as something occurred to him.
'Maybe Agent Barton let you in, Bruce?' He seemed somewhat excited by the prospect.
'Were you listening in on our conversation?' Tony affected mock disgust. 'And to think I let you in to my home.'
'Probably,' Bruce agreed, completely ignoring the melodramatics occurring across from him. 'Process of elimination would tend to agree. Unless there are any other guests I should know about?'
Steve shook his head. 'No, just us and Agent Barton. Thor's coming soon, and Natasha's away on some top-secret S.H.I.E.L.D mission. Are there any more knives, Tony?'
'In the draw. No, the other one. Left. Getting warmer…warmer…hot.'
'Where? I can't see any…' Steve rummaged around in the aforementioned draw but, short of a few forks and some little spoons, there were no knives.
'Oh for-' Tony got up and joined him at the draw. 'Huh…I could have sworn I had more.'
'Here, you can use mine.' Bruce offered his knife up.
'Thanks,' Steve sat back down and used the knife to bury his toast in butter.
'You could have just dumped the whole tub on it,' Tony pointed out. 'The result would have been the same.'
Bruce picked up a newspaper lying at the end of the table and stuck his nose in it, hefting it up so it blocked the other two out of his vision. He needed a bit of normalcy in his routine, otherwise he'd probably go stark raving mad. He had a private chuckle at his joke and refused to answer when the other two questioned him on it.
'Yes, Jarvis?' Tony continued to sketch a new design on a piece of paper.
'You asked me to let you know when Agent Barton was in the shower. Agent Barton is currently in the shower.'
'Excellent.' He dropped his tools and hurried out of his workshop. He didn't know how long he'd have to snoop around, but he intended to make the best of it.
'Jarvis, initiate override on Agent Barton's door lock.'
'As you wish, sir.' Jarvis replied dutifully, but Tony could have sworn he heard apprehension in his tone.
When he reached the room the agent had been assigned he opened it cautiously, making as little noise as he possibly could. He tip-toed into the room and surveyed it. It looked…normal. So he could safely tell Fury that Barton wasn't holding cultish rituals in his room. Granted, that theory had been a little farfetched, but he prided himself on being extremely thorough – in all aspects of his life. In fact, very little in the room had changed since the guy had moved in – almost nothing, actually. One thing that had changed caught his eye. There was a piece of paper tacked to the wall with a face he couldn't quite distinguish drawn crudely upon it. What made it harder were the various holes clustered around the centre, where the figure's face would be. The glint of silver on the chest of drawers clued him in to what had happened - Barton had obviously been hurling filched butter knives at it. When he'd lifted them from the kitchen, Tony had no idea, but he was somewhat of a ninja so it didn't exactly surprise him. He'd have Jarvis pull up the security footage later; see if maybe he could intercept him next time. The guy was clearly stewing over something, and he was pretty sure he knew what. He decided to confiscate the knives to create the need for what was probably a midnight sneak around the house and, after brief contemplation, gathered up the few forks as well. He had a sneaking suspicion…he peeled the paper off of the wall and looked underneath it. Yep. He made a mental note to get some kind of short term archery range set up so the guy wouldn't keep putting holes in his walls. With butter knives. Thank God he hadn't found the steak ones. Did he even have steak knives?
'Have someone collect all the steak knives and hide them somewhere far, far, away.'
'Of course, sir. Shall I do that now, sir? Agent Barton is looking particularly murderous this morning.'
Tony turned slowly around.
'Oh, hey man. Rough night?'
Despite his tone, it was actually a genuine question. The archer didn't look as if he'd slept – or eaten, for that matter - at all...the whole week. He had dark shadows under his eyes; he was paler than usual, and looked about ready to collapse. It was the first time Tony had seen him since he'd moved into the house, aside from the very brief glimpse he'd gotten one morning when he'd uncharacteristically got up at three A.M with what he had genuinely believed was the solution to time travel. Turned out it was just a wildly fantastic dream and had absolutely no basis in scientific fact. In his defence, he may have been marginally drunk at the time. Or, you know, hammered.
Barton, who'd just walked out of the ensuite, said nothing. He simply leant against the wall and folded his arms as if preparing to wait the other man out. His expression wasn't murderous – he'd have to knock 'loose interpretation of facial expressions for own personal enjoyment' out of Jarvis's programming – so much as…vacant. The other man – aptly nicknamed 'the Hawk' or 'Hawkeye' would usually have stared Tony down rather than avert his eyes as he was currently doing. There was literally no expression on his face. He looked like a ghost.
'Okay, well, bye.' Tony took one last glance at him, and then left. He didn't really know the other man well enough to assume any kind of familiarity. Besides, he was out of his depth in any situation that involved feelings or psychological well-being. In short; he was an insensitive ass who would probably make whatever was wrong, worse. Someone needed to talk to the guy, but it sure as hell wasn't him.
A/N: This was supposed to be a one-shot but it's getting crazy long so I'm splitting it into however many chapters it turns out to need (hopefully not too many). Please let me know if the characters seem OOC as the only thing I have to go on is the movie and I've only seen it twice…