Disclaimer: I don't own The Avengers. Sadly enough.

Warnings: Language, Spoilers!

AN: And I'm pretty sure that Hawkeye is now my favorite Marvel character.

His fingers twitch for days afterward.

He was so close. It would've been so easy. To let go. To shoot Loki. To put an arrow through his eye.

He could've done it. He should've done it. He's done far worse than shoot a man in front of his brother.

But Clint doesn't, and he isn't sure what the hell stops him. Not then. Not when Loki sits in a cell while they get their shit together to send Thor back home. Not as he watches over the security feed and can all but feel his bow in his hand.

Clint isn't okay.

No one really knows but Natasha. Fury suspects. Fury always suspects. But he doesn't know for sure.

Coulson would've, but Coulson is gone. Dead. Beyond helping or needing help in return.

And Clint doesn't know what to do. How to make this right. How to sleep the night through and not wake up believing he's back there. How to stop thinking about it every moment of every day. How to make his hands stop shaking.

Life goes on around him, but he can't stop imagining it. Can't stop thinking that all he had to do was relax his fingers just a little. To let it all go for only a second.

Would it have killed Loki?


Would it have hurt him?


But not nearly enough.

Tasha buys him a drink three weeks, seven hours, and fourteen or so minutes later. It's not the best beer ever, but it's the first he's had in months, and it goes down cold and smooth.

"Want to talk about it?" she asks as if she doesn't already know the answer.

Clint gives her a look, but she just lifts an eyebrow.

"Let me rephrase," she offers. "Do you need to talk about it?"

He sighs then and toys with his bottle. It's still half-full. Maybe even more than that.

"Probably," Clint finally admits.

"But you won't," she counters, and Natasha knows him so well that she doesn't even have to think about it.

His fingers tap against the glass.


She lets out a breath and shakes her head. Sips her own drink.

They sit in silence, but it's welcome. Comfortable even.

Until her phone rings.

She looks at the screen and says something in Russian that'd make Agent Hill blush and Fury roll his eye. The following conversation is short, to the point, and entirely too familiar.

"You've got five minutes," Tasha mutters as she closes her phone and rises to her feet.

He smirks despite himself and quickly follows.

"I'll make it in three."

Ever Hopeful,