Clint remembers Loki teaching him to kneel, to serve, to obey. He remembers the order being given – "Kneel for me, Barton." He remembers shivering and wanting to blindly obey but something at the back of his mind arguing against that. He says on his feet, his hands clasped behind his back.
"On. Your. Knees," Loki says slowly, walking towards him and making sure that every word is pronounced slowly and clearly. And then Loki's hand is on his shoulder, cold fingers brushing over his neck. "Now."
"S-Sir-," Clint goes to stammer but he doesn't even get a chance to finish his sentence before Loki kicks his legs from under him and forces him to the ground and he's scared, he's so scared. But at the same time, part of this feels so natural and safe and he doesn't want to argue. His resolve weakens even more when he feels Loki tug his head up by his jaw and forces him to meet his gaze.
"You belong to me now." Not a question, not anything he can argue with.
Loki wants to own Clint so Clint belongs to him.
Clint Barton remembers telling Loki everything. He remembers Loki ordering him to sit down - or more to kneel on the floor in front of him - and Clint does so without protest. "Tell me everything, Barton." It's a simple order and this time, Loki's fingers are in his hair, gently massaging his scalp and luring him into a (false?) sense of security. The harshness has left his touch for the moment and Clint almost trusts.
Clint just looks up at him quietly. "About what, Sir?"
"Everything, Barton... Everything."
And Clint does. He tells him all about his own past and feels Loki pressing into his mind and drawing up the memories of everything he was so painstakingly describing aloud - almost like a film with audio description now. The god digs into every memory Clint has carefully suppressed for years and years and he brings up every burning emotion - fear, resent, loneliness, terror, anger, hatred, desperation... Sheer pain... Everything that made Clint who he is now but everything he does not want to be.
It's then that he stammers, whimpering aloud as the words trip over themselves. He's too distracted by the images flashing in his head and focussing on how much that hurts. He finds himself tugged closer, rough fingers in his hair, dragging him forwards. "Keep. Talking." Another order. Harsh. Cruel. The tone has changed, the words are like ice and all at once Clint knows he's disappointed Loki and that hurts too but he doesn't understand why. The feeling tears into his mind, burning through every inch of his body as he realises he's let down the man who had saved him, shown him the truth.
He doesn't pause in his narrative after that - he tells Loki everything - his parents car crash, the orphanage, the circus, the archery, the fighting, SHIELD, Phil Coulson, Natasha Romanoff... The names fall from his tongue and he can't stop them. He tells Loki everything with pained tears falling down his cheeks.
Loki wants Clint to talk so Clint talks.
Clint remembers Loki coming to him in the middle of the night when the nightmares were bad and soothing him. He remembers gentle hands on his face coaxing him back into consciousness. "What troubles you so, pet?" Loki asks him, forcing him to sit up and wiping the sweat from his brow as the archer quite simply trembles in his grip. "Tell me, darling..."
And Clint does. He tells him all about how he could remember bits of his old life and how much it hurt because he couldn't make sense of it through the influence of the Tesseract. He couldn't make anything add up in his head and it scares him more than he wants to admit. But he does admit it. He tells Loki everything. "I don't really belong to you – I work for S.H.I.E.L.D."
And he watches the scowl cross Loki's face and knows once more that he's disappointed his ruler, his master, his ruler. That's why he's not entirely surprised when Loki forces him down onto his bed again, forcing himself into his head and burning every connection to his real life right out of him despite his agonised screams.
Loki wants Clint and so Clint gives him everything that makes him Clint.
Clint remembers crying the next morning and not knowing why. He remembers curling up on his bed and sobbing and not being sure why he's crying so much. Somewhere deep in his mind he's very much aware what happened the night before wasn't right and he's very much aware his mind aches. But it's hard to find fault in the man who's showing you what it really means to be free and one who is making all of this feel so ...right. His words, his dangerously warm words ("You deserve this, Barton. Let me. Trust me... Good boy, yes, there's my good pet, ssh, don't fight, don't struggle, you belong to be, you are mine..." ) still linger in the air, in his mind... ("Good boy...") And Clint no longer has the capacity to question this. ("That's right. Just let me.") He just accepts. ("Is this not better?" )So he can't remember why he's crying. He needed it, after all. It was his duty to serve his Lord, was it not?
Loki doesn't want anything now though, so Clint cries alone.
Clint remembers making a mistake again – saying something he shouldn't have said. Loki has him in bed, holding him close while the nightmares make him cry and sob and scream into his chest and all he wants to do is run away but of course, Loki will never allow that "Don't fight me, Barton," he whispers quietly, brushing a hand over the archer's face and wiping away hot, fearful tears.
"I-I don't want this..." Clint stammers and he immediately regrets it when he finds himself pushed onto the floor with such a sudden movement that it stops him crying. He stares up at Loki with wide frightened eyes and the God doesn't care at all. Why should he? Why should Barton mean a thing to him? He laughs coldly and kneels down beside him and takes his face in both hands, making him meet his gaze. "Yes you do, pet," he snarls and when Clint goes to protest again, he smacks him hard across the face.
His mortal body suffers from the blow more than another god might have. Clint finds himself whimpering in pain, but he's quickly pulled to his feet and slammed against the wall. Loki's hand is on his chest before he knows it and the God is in his mind, re-establishing his control and stumbling out any doubt that had been in the archer's mind until this point. "Trust me, Barton, you belong to me... You. Are. Mine."
Clint doesn't argue. He can't find the words to argue so he just stares at him, his jaw aching from the hit.
Loki smiles and steps back, letting him go. "Kneel, Barton," he smirks and Clint has no choice. He drops to the ground, still staring up at him with wide eyes. "Good boy. That's so much better is it not?" the god comments, brushing his fingers through the archer's hair and tilting his head up, one finger under his chin.
Clint just nods obligingly. Loki laughs then, gripping the man's face with an iron hand and laughing when he winces but Barton doesn't squirm away this time. There's no fight left in him. "Obedience is so easy, is it not, pet?" he asks quietly, his hand on the back of Clint's head now as he forces him to face the ground.
Clint closes his eyes and doesn't answer. He bites his tongue, shivering a little when he feels Loki's fingers tracing down the back of his neck while he circles him quietly. "Is this not better? Is this not easier...?"
Again, Clint doesn't answer.
This time though, Loki makes him, his hand closing around the back of the archer's neck and gripping tightly. He can still breathe but the pain is almost paralysing. "Answer me, pet," he urges calmly but there's cold venom in his voice that makes the other man nervous.
"Yes, Sir," he stammers without question. There is nothing much left in him to question. He is losing the will to query Loki anymore. Surely this is the best option? This blind obedience... It is easy though - so very, very easy just to kneel, to follow orders, to obey... It's mindless. Safe. It's nice letting someone else be in charge for once and the very fact that he's thinking that makes something in the back of his mind distinctly uncomfortable but he can't figure out why. He just obeys.
Loki wants obedience so Clint obeys.
But Clint remembers seeing Loki cry too. He remembers standing in the doorway of the man's room and just watching him for a moment, biting his lip in confusion. He doesn't know what to do or what to say but he knows it hurts seeing the other in pain – it's at the back of his mind, some connection he shares with Loki is burning into him. It tears at his stomach and he feels sick and... guilty... The guilt is back again and it destroys him. He shouldn't have let this happen. He should have ensured that Loki was okay... "Sir?" he prompts quietly from the doorway, his hands clasped behind his back. Professional.
Loki's head jerks up and he glares at him like a furious cat. "Get out of here, Barton," he snarls, anger replacing the misery from moments before. Clint flinches and does what he's told once again. He can't do anything else. "Yes, sir..."
Loki wants him gone, so Clint goes.
Clint remembers though; the moment is not forgotten by either of them and Loki tracks down the archer later on and takes his face in both hands, "We never shall speak of that," he says icily, the words burning into the archer. "Forget about it."
Clint nods quietly despite feeling vaguely curious. The feeling doesn't last long before Loki's slammed into his mind again and physically destroyed the memory, tearing it from him and leaving a burning, gaping ache in his mind. Clint cries and once again, he can't remember why.
Loki wants Clint to forget so Clint forgets.
He remembers that night though, when Loki just pulls him close in a surprisingly gentle embrace and kisses the top of his head. "I only do this because you need it, Barton..." he says quietly and Clint just watches him, big blue eyes and perfect obedience. This time it's different though and Loki cups his face gently and watches him. "I want you to stay, Barton. Tell me you're going to stay."
"I will," Clint replies because he can't say anything different. Part of him doesn't want to.
"Good boy," Loki murmurs, pulling the archer close and whispering into his hair, his voice a little muffled. "Good boy..."
And he owns Clint once again because the archer he needs that. He likes being told he's done well and Loki knows it. Loki uses that against him in ways that nobody ever has before. "Good... Well done... I'm proud."
Loki is proud and Clint is content.
Clint doesn't remember his friends. He fires arrows into the heli-carrier without even flinching and he doesn't recognise his targets. His eyes are blind to anything but Loki and obedience and the need to serve him. There is no question in his mind anymore, no doubt and he lives only to serve Loki and to make him proud and he knows it very well now.
He doesn't even flinch when he finds himself face to face with Natasha. He doesn't recognise her but he is aware of her – he still knows how to fight her but he can't feel.
Loki wants Clint to fight so Clint fights.
But now he's remembering all of it. A blow to the head and everything is knocked out of kilter. It hurts and he screams, trying to fight, knowing he's failed, he's disappointed, he's let Loki down. He can feel the other's anger at knowing his mind has been torn away from his control and the pride is fading.
Loki is gone and Clint is lost.