Author: Lucky Gun
Summary: Avengers/NCIS/Supernatural crossover. Inspired by a dream. Clint Barton, Tony DiNozzo, and Dean Winchester all see life from different distances. In the aftermath of Loki's war, they come together to compare views. A bit OOC and some crack!ness.
A/N: I have no idea where this came from, but I'm pounding it out in the three hours between now and when I have to head to work. Blame insane amounts of stress and exhaustion for this bit of craziness.
None of them were surprised to find each other on the roof of the new Avengers Headquarters (formerly known as Tony Stark's monument to his own ego). Should they have been surprised? Probably. Clint, the sharpest marksman in the world, was the one that could be expected to sit at the pinnacle of the skyscraper. Tony must've flashed his badge. Dean must've flashed a similar (but completely fake) badge.
And the three brothers-in-arms found themselves sitting silently next to each other, high above the smoke and the building of life from death and order from chaos.
Dean was the first to speak.
"We were kinda shocked, Sam and me, when we saw the news. Ghosts and demons and vampires and werewolves, we can handle. Aliens? Well, we thought we could at least give it a shot. We were in Toledo. Trust you all to have it cleaned up before we can even get here," he sniffed, eyes straying to his friends.
Tony shrugged gently, a small grin on his features.
"I didn't have anything to do with it. Thank the god of the hunt, here," he said, but Clint's lack of reaction had them both immediately worried.
When it came to practical jokes, Hawkeye had them both beat, hands down. Tony? He was the master of surreptitious super glue application. Dean? There wasn't much he couldn't do with a bottle of Nair and some food coloring. But Clint was the undisputed master. With his vision, he could chuck a water balloon from a hundred stories up and put it where he wanted. The balloons were usually filled with pudding or jello, occasionally fruit preserves or honey. Usually it was some poor bastard's prized convertible (and most usually some poor, unsuspecting, horribly rude, antagonizing bastard), or some purse thief's mode of transportation. But it always hit true.
There weren't any water balloons in Clint's hands.
"You heard, didn't you?"
Was there really a question there? They couldn't tell. They'd been friends for years, ever since they'd met in New Orleans. Dean had been clearing out a solo hunt, taking on some weirdo hoodoo voodoo witchcraft dealer. Tony had been running the sting on the dealer's less than savory activities. Clint had been walking through the neighborhood (well, its rooftops, anyway). Something had gone wrong. Dean had saved Tony from the dealer's destructive spells. Tony had saved Dean from the subsequent collapse of the building. Clint had saved them both from the one lackey that had survived and was holding them at gunpoint. Tony and Dean had both saved Clint from the cops afterward.
You know, the whole boys-blowing-stuff-up, cowboys and Indians kind of meeting.
Since then, they'd kept in touch. The hawk had put a salted arrowhead through some crazy baddie in Houston one time, a vial full of holy water through another in Tuscon. He'd provided critical back-up to Tony's team on a number of occasions a number of times, twice saving Tony's boss and mentor Agent Gibbs. Tony had gotten Clint released from three different incidents of state custody before SHIELD could; he performed the same legal trick for Dean on a number of occasions, too. Dean had lent his expertise to an exorcism of one of Tony's childhood friends and a rogue hell hound on SHIELD's helicarrier. All in all, the system between them worked well.
And for as long as they'd all known each other, secrets and shrugs eventually giving way to bourbon and grins, they'd never prepared for something like this.
"We ran into Natasha downstairs," Tony supplied helpfully, quietly, words almost hidden by the wind.
But Clint heard them loudly, and he turned upraised eyebrows towards the men.
"And neither of you were castrated?" he asked bluntly, and Tony and Dean winced.
But the levity passed, blown away with the next strong gust. They all looked at the aftermath of the destruction below, and saw the world from their different views.
Dean, up close and personal, usually in that horrible moment between life and death and the world beyond.
Tony, from over the sight of a gun, between the decision and desperation that follows the worst choice of your life.
Clint, from a nest on afar, what you've done and what you're doing and where you'll go from there, if you don't get an arrow in your heart.
Together, they saw all of the world for what it was, start to finish, one closer than the others depending on the time, slowly shifting back to let another come forward. They were three cooks in the kitchen, huddled around one stove, one burner, with three different spoons, three different recipes, and one pot with one single set of ingredients. What could they do but help each other stir?
"I've been there. Mind control ain't a walk in the park, man. Bad guys suck like that," Dean growled, and he absently fiddled with a piece of debris that he'd pulled from his boot treads.
Tony leaned back on his hands and his nice shoes kicked the empty air as he shrugged, "Orders suck, period, especially if you disagree with them and can't even argue."
Clint ran his hand over his bow in his lap, caressing it, and Dean held back a comment about needing a room. Barely.
"I was a puppet. He was the one with the strings in his hands. He didn't even have to pull them – he just thought it and it happened – and now how many of my teammates are dead? How much damage am I responsible for? And Coulson..." Clint trailed off, unable to think of his late handler with anything more than overwhelming guilt.
Tony and Dean traded looks, and the hunter took the plunge first.
"It won't help if I tell you it's not your fault. Won't even dent the pain. I know that. But I also know that you're letting that son of a bitch win, and that's just not the sharpshooter I know. You hate to lose," Dean bit out, anger at the situation, his friend's situation, the death below him clouding his words.
Tony swallowed hard at the conviction he heard in the Winchester's voice and absently wondered why it wasn't hard to imagine his friend in a bar fight.
"Dean's right, Clint. You couldn't have fought against it. It wasn't brainwashing or torture, it was magic."
Oops, wrong words. Bad Tony!
Clint's sharp blue eyes swung their way, a bit of life flaring in their depths. He jumped to his feet, the other two scrambling to follow, and he gestured wildly as he spoke; Dean and Tony made sure to give the carbon fiber bow in his hands a wide berth.
"Dean, your brother was able to break Lucifer's hold on him! The pinnacle of evil, possessed by Satan himself, and he managed to get out of it! And you, Tony! I've seen you drugged to the gills, pumped full of truth serum and beat to within an inch of your life, and what did you tell your captors? The plot to every James Bond movie, in chronological order. And me?"
Clint's arms dropped, one hand running through his short cropped hair, the other mindlessly breaking down the bow's frame and shoving it onto his back next to his quiver. He held his hands out to the side for a moment and raised helpless eyes to his friends. His only friends outside SHIELD, outside the Avengers. Superheroes in their own right, but never anything more than mortal, all of them. Depressing.
"I protected him, killed for him, literally bowed before him. Knelt before him. Because that's our natural state. We desire to be ruled, to be rescued from our own chaotic struggle for power," he murmured as he dropped his eyes, parroting some of Loki's core beliefs.
There was nothing but the long, low, incessant groan of the wind, and then there was an explosion of sound.
Clint and Tony both snapped their gazes to Dean, who was apparently taking off the kid gloves. He was trembling.
"Just bullshit. I've fought demons, ghosts, poltergeists, angels, zombies, witches, three Big Foots – Feets? Feet? Whatever – and one majorly pissed off Yeti. I've fought the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and a virus that turns people into demons. I've fought a whole fudging lot of ancient and forgotten gods. I've fought Death and reapers and escaped from Heaven and Hell, both," he spit out in one breath, and Tony glanced carefully at Clint.
Wouldn't want the man to take a step off the building in his trance.
"And you know what? They've all wanted to kill. Or eat. Or maim. Or destroy. Let me tell you how many supernatural sons of bitches I've run into that have wanted to subdue the world's population. None. Not even Lucy. Because it's not our natural state. It's not the center of balance for us. It'd be a constant battle to keep us in line. Natural state, nothing. So stop beating yourself up over it. You didn't ask to become his Pinocchio. You got out of it. Done deal."
Tony frowned slightly and asked abruptly, "How did you break it, anyway?"
The expert archer absently rubbed a beautiful bruise at the corner of his temple as he responded, "Cognitive recalibration."
Tony blinked and got it first.
"You hit your head?" he asked faintly, a huge grin spreading over the agent's face as he thought of the ways to mercilessly tease the athlete for his misstep.
But Hawkeye shrugged and amended, "Hit my head on a railing. Hard. Had help. Lots of it."
Dean apparently abandoned his anger and frustration and switched gears smoother than his classic Impala.
"The Black Widow gave you a bite, I take it?"
"Or ten?" Tony supplied helpfully; his addition was as subtle as his brand new Dodge Charger's cherry red finish.
The hawk shrugged and the NCIS senior agent mimicked him.
"What can I say, Clint?" he asked rhetorically, returning to the topic they'd jumped ship on. "You were dealt a bad hand. You played it and lost your chips." He ignored Dean's whispered 'marbles' and continued, "You want us to pity you? We can do that. You want us to ignore it? Already are. But we aren't gonna let you sit here and feel sorry for yourself. You found a way to come up aces, man. Loki's caught, taken back to suffer whatever punishment gods give to gods. Nobody blames you, and those that do shouldn't even blip your radar screen. You got screwed. You screwed him over in return. Case closed."
Clint flexed his fingers in his archer's glove, and he found the feel of his wrist guard not as constricting as it had been before. He swallowed reflexively as he took in the triangle they formed.
A battered leather coat hid a sawed off shotgun filled with rock salt shells, a flask of holy water, and a shiv made of an olive tree branch dipped in lamb's blood.
A clean black suit jacket hid at least two Smith and Wesson handguns, three blades, and a set of lock picks.
And him? A simple leather vest. No hidden blades. No guns. No tricks. Just skill. Just grace. Just him.
And not Loki's any longer.
As he nodded, the first certain smile working its way over his face, there was a flutter of invisible wings and a wild trench coat appeared! Without thinking, Clint drew his bow, nocked an arrow, and fired it.
"That's not very effective."
The archer blinked as the man snapped the caught arrow in two. Dean rolled his eyes and groaned, "Cas! What are you doing here, angel wings?"
The man cocked his head and responded in a low, dry voice, "You are needed by the prophet Chuck. He has revelations. And...beer? And...women? He told me to add those. Said you wouldn't be able to resist."
Tony gave the two an amused look while Clint asked slowly, "The prophet...Chuck?"
The apparent angel looked them both over, his eyes as blue as the archer's and he answered slowly, carefully, "His mother didn't listen when we told her to name him John. Or Thomas. Or Samuel. She wasn't an easy woman to get along with. So the Winchester Gospel is written by Chuck, the Prophet."
Clint sniggered, Tony laughed openly, and Dean grumbled, "Freaking future Bible stuff."
Tony raised an eyebrow and the hunter rolled his eyes.
"All right, Cas. Hold your horses."
The angel looked around cautiously, brow furrowing, and Dean ignored his obvious confusion and walked up to the master assassin and clapped on hand on his shoulder, eyes level.
"You gonna be okay, man?" he asked simply, and there was very little hesitation in the SHIELD agent's responding nod. Grinning widely, Dean walked back to the still-confused angel, who said, "You've requested I restrain equines, Dean. Where are they?"
There was another eye roll, then the two disappeared. Tony stared at the spot they'd been standing, and his phone rang, the Mission Impossible theme trilling over the deck. He silenced it without looking at it and gave his friend an apologetic glance.
"Duty calls. I left Gibbs in the car. ...Without coffee."
Clint winced appropriately and wondered if the wind had suddenly gotten colder or if it was just him. The agents shook hands and Tony gave him a single, serious glare.
"I'll call you if I need you. Both of you," Hawkeye promised, and the Italian grinned.
"Hold you to it, Legolas."
He turned and fairly skipped to the exit door, his back pelted mercilessly with bits of roof drainage rock. He didn't try to dodge; there would be little point. So he gave a backwards wave and disappeared into the tower.
Outside, alone again, Clint stared at the sky, his features momentarily conflicted before they shifted to resolve.
No, he could be this. He could. He would. He was no one's Pinocchio, lying or otherwise.
So he spun on his heel and followed his friend slowly, completely involved in his own thoughts.
And two minutes later, he perched lightly on the corner of the building's edge, bright eyes grinning in the sun, his gaze tracking the men as they exited the building.
One beautiful, black, classic muscle car was covered with honey. And mayonnaise (damn, and it was a hot day). One sleek, breathtaking, gorgeous red Charger was sufficiently doused with lime green jello and sprinkles.
Twin curses reached his ears at the same time, the wind stilling long enough for him to catch the words, and he smiled.
Loki could go to hell. This was worth living for.
(And the Pokemon reference was the following:
A WILD TRENCH COAT appeared!
Clint used ARROW.
It's not very effective...
Sorry to all those who didn't get it, because I thought it was pretty damned obvious...)