Disclaimer: I do not own the Avengers
a/n: I don't normally use some of the language I use in here but I figured that it fit with kind of the attitude of the characters. Still I'm rating it T just to be safe.
There were several incidents that led to the plausible conclusion to everyone to believe that the Hulk had a soft spot for Clint 'Hawkeye' Barton. It was like he had a big giant green rage monster as his guardian angel... great. Tony had deemed the whole situation weird but if that meant Clint had a decreased likelihood of being shot then no one was really complaining. Bruce had tried to explain the situation once by saying in more complex and confused words that while he was present in the Hulk's consciousness, he was more like a small usually unheard voice of reason and he never remembered most of what happened.
"They're like dreams that… that you remember how you feel but you don't…. remember them." Bruce explained in a low dark tone only a few had heard from the soft-spoken doctor.
The first time anyone had noticed, although come to think of it there had been smaller indicators before, the Avenger's team had been in full on battle mood, attacking some form of alien race here and there and everywhere. However, the aliens seemed much more interested in killing buildings than the Avengers themselves and had already compromised three of Hawkeye's perches. Debris was flying across the sky and having to avoid fleeing civilians and exploding police cars was starting to make Clint's job very difficult.
Taking out three, Clint jumped to the roof an abandoned taxi firing off eight successful kill shots before he was suddenly lifted from behind. The sharp whizz of the alien's hovercraft informed Clint that it was not Tony playing a prank. He spotted Natasha running to give him some back up before there was a loud monstrous battle cry. Then Clint was falling landing right into the Hulk's large green palm. The green rage monster looked at him before grunting and putting Clint onto his shoulders.
"You ok there, Hawk," Natasha, asked over the comm., years of experience allowing Clint to recognizing her tone that she would intervene if he needed it.
"I feel like a rag doll." Clint grumbled holding onto the Hulk's skull as he ran through the streets. Five aliens were raging for the Hulk in his blind spot and Clint tightened his legs to keep his grip before taking them out with his arrows. He shrugged.
"This works, I guess," he mumbled to himself.
"How come he gets to ride," Tony whined.
The second time was a tad more obvious. Clint never missed, never. But sometimes he miscalculated where exactly the falling dead alien/monsters would land. To make a long story short Clint may have sent five slime monsters down knocking out several power lines leaving a good chunk of New York in the dark, Stark Tower aside of course. Fury was only slightly madder than his usual self but the dirty looks from several field recovery agents being sent in his direction were enough for Clint to at least look a tad remorseful. Not a lot but the effort counts.
"Don't suppose you're going to help us clean up your mess are you, Barton," a voice said bumping his shoulder as Agent Fuller passed him. Clint pulled a smirk onto his face in full because he hated Fuller and he knew it would irritate him. Phil once told Clint he was incorrigible.
"Not really my department there, Fuller. I'm much too pretty to be a garbage man like yourself."
"Oh yeah," Fuller said stepping up to Clint challenging. He looked much more irritated than he usually was and Clint wasn't one to pass up a good opportunity to ruin this man's day. "What is your department again? Oh that's right, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fuck ups."
"That right," Clint said his smirk still in place. He was above taking to Fuller's bait. Phil would have been so proud.
"Yeah. It's sad enough that Coulson took you in like some long lost puppy but now you suddenly think you're actually an agent." That however was not something Clint was above reacting too. He stood perfectly still his eyes sharp and shoulders dangerously taunt. Fuller smirked seeing he had hit a nerve with Barton. "How's it been being the Avengers' cheerleader? I mean every team needs a mascot I guess. Makes sense that a bunch of freaks would have a useless damaged washed up puppy that nobody wants anymore to put on banners and stuff."
"You listen to me," Clint said in a low tone his smirk replaced with a scowl. "You say whatever the hell you want about me but Coulson was a better man than you'll ever be in your lifetime, you got that."
"The only one disrespecting Coulson's memory is you," Fuller hissed. Before Clint could lunge at the man a deep growl made both Clint and Fuller balk. They had been keeping the Hulk around for an hour or two at the scenes to help with heavy lifting before Banner juiced out somewhere with a fresh batch of clothes waiting for him. Following Clint's gaze Agent Fuller turned around to see the agitated Hulk staring at the agent murderously, his face like a ticking time bomb.
"Fuller," Clint said, wetting his lips and standing very still. "Back up."
Fuller took a step back but the Hulk stomped one foot forward and another.
"Bruce," Clint said but it fell on deaf ears. The Hulk continued to stalk towards Fuller, each step growing faster and more aggressive until finally Fuller halted in his retreat and instead went for his gun. Clint grabbed it from his hand quickly disarming it and holding his hands out for the Hulk to see he wasn't going to hurt him with it. He ignored Fuller's expression of outrageous betrayal.
"Is there a problem?" The very well timed voice of Captain America cut through the tension making all three turn to him. The Hulk growled again placing himself between Fuller and Clint.
"No," Fuller said before clenching his jaw. "No problem."
The third time Clint refused to talk about with the team. Aside from the very vague details he put in the file only Clint really knew and at the time he hadn't noticed.
He couldn't help but cry out as the back spasms rippled along his spine. He would clench down the gag that had been worked in between his teeth but the taste of his blood would return threatening to make him vomit. His wrists were numb from the shackles attached to the wall so far up that Clint was forced into something of a kneeling position, his wrist high up his back making him hunch over his knees. He had been fine the first couple of days before the sweat invoking pain attacked his body. No, the worst was the thick blindfold leaving him in an isolating darkness. Sure his hearing was at equal level as his eyesight and he had been trained to handle the whole psych evaluation of isolation torture but being in the darkness for five days (he later learned it was actually six) was disorienting and cutting away his sharpest skill he had in his arsenal.
The room was hollow as the sounds echoed. The air was stale and damp. And Clint was utterly alone. Which was why he jumped forcing his body to move in ways it didn't agree with as he felt it before he heard it. Silence was replaced with an incomprehensible yell.
It hadn't taken him long to figure out that the drugs pumping in his system was what was causing the hallucinations. They varied with Natasha shouting in Russian at Tony and Steve in tutus, Thor skipping rope, the room flooding, and Phil Coulson's dead bloody body with his eyes staring accusingly at him. He thought maybe they had all ran their course because he hadn't had a hallucination in a few hours. Guess he was wrong. Another exerted scream and the room shook, pieces of the roof landing on the ground all around him. Another yell far more frustrated and angry. The room kept shaking. Another and another and then a flood of fresh air, breezing licking at his skin, so fast that he nearly passed out.
"Barton," Someone shouted. Great another Tony hallucination. His eyes were suddenly burning and he hissed slamming them shut. He ducked his head back down, yanking it from the hands holding his face, and tucked his chin to his chest. This one was weird. He had always known that his hallucinations were there but to see them was new. It hurt. Small hands worked skillfully at the knot behind his head and when the gag fell from his mouth he let a grunt of displeasure escape his lips, too tired to say much else. He didn't like these as much as the others. He could feel them, see them, and it made it much worse. The same small hands cupped his head forcing it to look up and he saw alluring fire red hair through squinted eyes.
"Tasha," he asked, his speech slurring. His arms dropped unceremoniously to his sides and he slumped forward. When did his body get so heavy to hold up?
Somebody was saying something and he suddenly felt weightless as his body lifted from the floor but he didn't pay too much attention. He passed out to the Hulk's pissed off yells.
The fourth time though was the kicker.
Hawkeye was carefully atop of his perch, a large corporate bank now surrounded by hundreds of alien forces swarming the streets. He raised a brow as he scanned the skies for any immediate threat while taking out the aliens out by the dozen.
"Hawkeye, you have eyes on Stark?" Natasha didn't even sound out of breath but he could hear her gunfire. Clint looked around, catching a free moment to jump up onto the ledge and search the streets. What Clint saw made him swear.
"He's going to need some help guys."
"I don't need help," Tony said through his comm. "I need a vacation. With Pepper. Not you. Well… Bruce can come. But the rest of you need to leave me alone."
"Thor, think you can lend a hand?" Came Steve's request.
"I don't need help."
"On my way."
Clint chuckled at the thunder, relaxing his stance as he looked out at the rest of the field. The sharp tip of a blade stopped him short.
"The only one who will be needing help is you." Clint froze, ice filling his chest and through his veins at the painful memories. The tip of the scepter was just barely touching his skin by his neck.
"Ah," Loki stopped him bring his scepter up high under Clint's chin forcing the archer to arch his head back. "Don't speak."
Clint gritted his teeth raising his hand and throwing the scepter away. He spun around with an arrow flying from his bow before Loki could blink. The god smirked however as the arrow sailed through him sending the illusion into a mist of air. Clint sensed him from behind before he saw him and swung his bow around but Loki just dodged his attempts with ease, that damn smirk still in place. It was the definition of a dance as Clint attacked and Loki merely sidestepped, back stepped, and ducked from all of the archer's thrusts. It was only because of Clint's training that his movements were so controlled and not wild or messy but the anger surging through him, the memory of losing all power to his own body, made him miss the mischievous glint in Loki's eye before it was too late. His bow swung through Loki's illusion again leaving Clint off balanced. He felt a hand grip the base of his neck and his body froze on Loki's command, stuck in place.
"So much spirit my little pet," Loki said in his patronizing tone. His eyes gleamed dangerously as he moved around Clint. Clint tried to move but his body refused to move on his command. He tried again but nothing happened. He couldn't raise his bow, couldn't rush forward, he was stuck in his stance with Loki staring at him appraisingly. Clint was a proud man and very confident agent but he was more than capable of being able to recognize when he needed to call in for back up something Phil Coulson had drilled into him early on. But he couldn't speak, his jaw locked and the only sound leaving him was a strangled gasp from his throat. Loki chuckled.
"I've picked up some new tricks." Clint looked around but Loki grabbed his throat forcing him to look at him with a leer on his face. Clint tried to move to fight back but it was useless with Loki's hand squeezing the breath from his throat.
He couldn't help it. Panic started to fill him as the ghost of ice blue that felt like fire on his skin came racing to his mind. He tried to hide it but Loki caught it before Clint could shove the emotion away.
"You still fear it." The god smiled in earnest now. He raised the scepter into Clint's eye line. "Do you not see what you have lost? Burdens placed on you now that you have been forced to carry. All those emotions that I took care of for you. I carried for you."
Black dots started to cloud Clint's vision and he couldn't do anything to stop Loki from raising him off the ground and towards him. His cold breath brushed the side of Clint's cheek that sent a shiver through him.
"Listen well brother," Loki said into Clint's comm. "Listen to the screams of your team mate."
He dropped Clint into a heap on the ground but before he could get up searing pain pulsed through his skull sending him back to the floor with a scream. All the memories. All the emotions locked away. Coulson. The explosions. Whip cracks. Pain. Fear. Sadness. He was alone. He was completely alone.
Do you now see what I sacrificed for you? All of that. I took for you.
"Loki!" Thor shouted as he dove into his brother sending the gods across the roof. But the pain didn't lessen and Clint couldn't help but let out another scream as it rippled from his head all the way through his body.
He could vaguely hear Thor's yells at Loki or Steve's voice in the comm. It hurt. It was too much.
Get up. Clint grunted as he stood. He couldn't do it. Loki's control was too strong for him to fight. Walk. He took a step, tried to stop and the searing pain sent him forward again. His leg stepped forward and he dug his heel into the ground fighting for control. Taking a step backward only made the pain worse. He gritted his teeth trying to stop but his foot moved forward and then the other and the other before he was on the edge. Jump. He locked his knees.
"No," Thor shouted before shaking Loki. "Release him from your trickery, brother! Release him."
I said, jump!
"Clint," Natasha's voice rang in his ear. He was shaking. "Fight him, Clint."
"I… can't…" Clint gasped tears pricking his eyes.
"Tony get to Hawkeye's position," Steve ordered. But Clint could see Iron Man was swarmed with enemy forces now that Thor had left him.
It was too much. It overwhelmed him and swallowed him whole so that he couldn't breath. He was drowning in emotion and blood and icy blue water that froze his blood. The sounds around him were sucked into a vacuum of silence and he couldn't feel a thing except for the steady beat of his pulse in his head.
Clint had jumped off enough buildings with one grappling arrow to know that the whole "feels like your floating" thing was just a bunch of shit. Your heart raced faster than ever before. Your body was too tense to scream as the ground came closer and closer. He squeezed his eyes shut knowing that Tony wasn't going to make it in time and sent a silent prayer to Phil before he slammed right into what felt like a truck. But it wasn't the cold unforgiving ground. He jerked in the Hulk's arms gasping for breath as the giant green beast grabbed a piece of the building, covering Clint from falling debris before jumping to the ground.
He could feel the blood flow from his nose but he didn't care. He could hear him. Feel his fingers in his mind. Clint screamed, fighting against the Hulk's arms. He was in him again, taking over his mind. He was being unmade again. He cursed violently towards everyone, screaming so long and so hard that his face went red. The Hulk stared down at him before sending up a roar that shook a nearby tree and caused windows to shatter.
"Crush punny god!"'
The Hulk was holding Clint like his own personal teddy bear and try as he might Clint couldn't get free. There was low rumble in the sky before lightning shot across the sky, rapid bolts hitting all things on the street. A lone car was the victim of Thor's wrath and the sparks were enough to send the wrecked metal into a ball of fire. The Hulk dove down covering Clint from the flames. The big guy meant well but his chest and the concrete where enough to knock Clint unconscious for the rest of the fight.
That one had really messed Clint up for a while.
The fifth time was when Tony of all people began to notice.
Anyone who thought it would be funny to see the Hulk "freak out" would be highly discouraged by Tony, Steve, Thor, and Clint in a heart beat.
"I do not understand the use of such binding material. Why is it so sticky," Thor asked staring at Steve's wrists as he unwound the tape from his latest date with seven punching bags.
"It helps keep the joints and muscles from snapping or bending the wrong way," Steve replied holding up his still bound wrist for the god to see. Thor merely raised a skeptical brow. Bruce clearly out of his element, Steve had insisted on giving him some self-defense techniques to help him without the other guy, in sweat pants and plain t-shirt was staring at his rather botched job of taping his wrists.
"Yeah, I haven't really gotten the hang of it either."
"You cheated," Tony said with a glare at Clint as they entered the locker room. Clint smirked running his towel along his face.
"Do we even want to know?" Steve stared at the two expectantly, knowing the two would be squabbling about it later.
"I beat Tony up the rock wall."
"Cheated, he means," Tony said still glaring. "And that is the last time I let you con me into an ego boosting session for you. I'm busy building stuff and doing Avengery…things."
"I have seen this wall of rocks which you speak and it is nothing more than plastic with no rocks at all," Thor said rather dismissively.
"Still doesn't explain why you couldn't beat me, Tony," Clint said with his smirk tossing his water bottle into his locker.
"In Asgard we climb mountains of fire in our youth."
"Yeah sending children up to volcano is normally frowned upon here buddy," Tony said with a pat to the god's shoulder. Clint chuckled as he pulled off his sweat-ridden shirt. An awkward silence filled the air and Clint looked over his shoulder to see what had caused the tension. All of them were staring at him or more at his torso with all hints of humor gone from their faces. Tony looked up at him with an expression that was so serious he almost didn't look like Tony at all.
"Where did you get those?"
And then Clint remembered. He had forgotten and unlike what most people thought he didn't have some post traumatic angst story about them either. To be perfectly honest he thought the bullet wound on his shoulder held a much more interesting story than the several criss crossed hair thin lines ghosting his skin. Clint looked down at the scars with as much disinterest as he could muster before shrugging and pulling his shirt into his hands. They kept on staring though, Steve with a horrified look, Tony with that still serious expression, Bruce looking as if he was in pain, and Thor tracing each one with an interest that only a god with a love of war wounds could uphold.
"I got them when I was a kid," Was all Clint said. They were still staring and Clint began to feel uncomfortable, twisting his shirt in his hands and shifting his weight from one foot to the other. But before he had to explain further Bruce hissed grabbing his head.
"What's wrong," Steve asked catching Bruce as he fell forward.
"He's…" Bruce fell to his knees pushing Steve away as a hint of green tinged his skin. "He's screaming…in my head…I don't…"
"Bruce, calm do-" But Steve didn't get a chance to finish before Bruce's shirt and tape ripped off his skin, large green muscles revealing themselves. They all jumped back. Clint ducked as the arm that swung over his head took out Thor who hadn't been so quick. The Hulk roared before he turned to look at Clint stepping closer to the assassin before he could get back. The monster looked at the scars on Clint's chest raising a finger that was the size of Clint's chest to graze over the skin. He let out a low whine and Clint dared not move, his team mates to stunned to do anything. The Hulk howled as he took out the row of lockers before he busted through the concrete wall and promptly destroyed the gym. The giant was destroying anything and everything in sight shouting out at no one in particular. Clint looked down at his torso again before back up at the beast's temper tantrum.
"Huh," he said.
"Alright, does anyone else notice what's been going on," Tony said ordering JARVIS to lock the room and fill it with enough of Bruce's knock out serum that the good doctor would be sleeping for the rest of the day. He pointed at Clint and then the direction where the Hulk went before declaring, "Weird."
a/n: Alright first Avengers fic. It was something to kind of keep the stress of graduation at bay and I think it came out pretty good. I hope I got the characterization down a little bit since I've seen the film three times now. REVIEWS MAKE THE HULK HAPPY!