"Well it was nice of Stark to offer us a whole level of his tower." Clint Barton mused as he walked into the very much furnished level of Stark Tower.

Amazingly, it remained pretty much untouched in the aftermath of the arduous battle against an alien invasion. There were other perfectly fine levels as well. From what they knew, Stark had given Doctor Bruce Banner a level to himself as well.

The brightly lit area of their level went compatibly well with the colour scheme of basically everything.

The common area had a lengthy red velvet couch, along with a thin-screen smart TV. Light gleamed off the glossy surface of the counter of the kitchen area, the stainless steel of its appliances showing off the beauty of its simplicity.

"I guess it'd be easier for Fury to contact all of us at once." Captain Steve Rogers piped up from behind Clint.

"I call the room at the end." Natasha Romanoff brushed past both men as she approached the furthest room.

"So you're gonna be in your own bed. And I'm gonna be in mine. Sounds like one of us is in the wrong place." Clint joked as he rubbed his chin thoughtfully, trying to lift the atmosphere a little.

After the shawarma gathering they had officially warmed up to him despite his...earlier absence. He found it in himself to keep up the good mood, trying not to harp on what he had done. He just wanted to make the others more comfortable with him. And to keep them off his personal guilt party.

In his peripheral vision he could see the Captain turning slightly pink. He stifled a chuckle at the sheer bashfulness in the guy. Objective accomplished. Of course, Natasha wouldn't be called one of SHIELD's best if she didn't notice that. Besides, she knew Clint well.

"Relax Captain, he's just messing with you." She rolled her eyes, leaning against her room door.

Steve broke into a shy smile.

"Or am I?" Clint narrowed his eyes playfully at the Captain.

"Uh that's between you two. I'd rather not guess." Steve said uncomfortably.

"I'm just kidding. We're just partners. And friends."

"Ah. Well, I'm hitting the hay Agent Barton. Agent Romanoff." Steve rubbed his hands together.

"Just Barton is fine, Captain." Clint smiled.

"Well see you in the morning Barton."

"You too, Cap."

Both men took to their rooms, Clint's being directly opposite from his partner's. Right before he went in, he turned to his partner who was eyeing him intently.

"Can I help you in any way?" He asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Yes."

"Which is?"

"Stop blaming yourself."

"I'm not."

"Seriously, you wanna play this game? With me?"

"Nothing is just a game." His eyes hardened.

Why did she have to bring it up?

"Well I'm telling you to stop whatever it is you're doing to yourself." She had a menacing edge to her voice.

Natasha was just trying to help him. Self-pity didn't do anyone any good. She was trying to help him through it.

"I'm frickin fine." He snapped, taking a step towards her.

Surprisingly, Natasha found herself taking a step back in defense.

This made Clint stop in his tracks, and with a slight tilt of his head, he frowned.

"Being fine is overrated." Natasha mumbled quickly and slipped backward into her room.

Her partner was rooted to the same spot, fighting the urge to knock on her door. Sure he was bursting at the seams with guilt, but knowing that the one person that really mattered anyway could see right through him was slightly assuring.

But as the door to his own room closed behind him, whatever remained of Clint's facade completely disintegrated away into a grim countenance as he dropped his duffel bag and fell onto the queen-sized bed.

He was far from relaxed, far from even the slightest hint of happy. He tried to maintain a jovial disposition for the sake of Natasha, while the guilt pretty much ate him from the inside out. He had agreed with her not to do exactly this to himself. But he did it anyway. And she saw it at first glance.

What a failure.

He couldn't help overwhelming himself with guilt. He had killed his fellow agents, and now he could do nothing as their innocent souls haunted him in sleep or in consciousness. The only comfort he had was knowing that his partner cared, and she was right across the hallway.

But she had been a little weird too. She was taking the fact that her partner tried to kill her and was damn near successful, surprisingly well. Clint had a nagging feeling deep inside, but he pushed it away. As long as he knew she was alive and there, things could get better.

He didn't bother to change out of his clothing, letting sleep overtake his fatigued body in an attempt of recuperation.


It wasn't long though before his eyes snapped wide open, his breathing heavy as images of the broken bodies of previous comrades assaulted his mind.

Clint got up slowly, and dragged his tired body albeit so ever silently to the kitchen for a glass of water to calm his nerves. He was a man of emotions. Although not commonly shown, they were ever present. Not many saw this side of the master marksman.

The hallway was dark. The whole place was dark. It had some lulling effect on Clint as he sat himself by one of the stools at the counter, sipping at his water as he looked out the glass doors to the balcony, where he could see the skyline of the city.

The only light source came from the neon lights outside, as well as a bluish glint from the mystic moonlight. Clint was caught up in his wandering thoughts and burgeoning guilt as he slumped against the countertop.

TBC


HAHAHA I'M OBSESSED WITH THE AVENGERS AFTER THE MOVIE (Y)