Chapter Eleven

Two days later...

Natasha and Thor scrolled through another page of information on the computer screen, trying to match the insignias and designs from the machine parts of Clint's photos to other manufacturers.

"This is far we've managed to track down who makes these machines and where they're located..." Black Widow spoke aloud as she continued clicking through various items on the page, "...if only we can find out where they were shipping them to."

"Indeed," Thor agreed, "...these were activist against your home land, so they were probably not headed to come here. The shipments were most likely due to ship further east."

Natasha frowned worriedly before bringing up another site to have JARVIS hack into, knowing that Thor's words were right which provided them another problem.

"But where?" the lone female Avenger voiced aloud, "...they could be anywhere by now and..."

"Try Germany..." Steve announced his presence as he walked towards the pair, his face drawn and serious as he continued, "...east Hungary...around in that area."

Thor and Natasha looked at each other before turning back towards Captain America as he stood behind them and looked over their research.

"That's where HYDRA was located the last time I butted heads with them...that'd be a good place to start," Steve explained, clipped and somber as well as quite grieved as he glanced between the two of them before focusing on the monitors again.

" got it," Natasha agreed as she turned back towards her computer and began typing in the orders for JARVIS to search Germany.


Meanwhile, at another part of Stark Tower...

Clint Barton winced slightly as Doctor Bruce Banner unwrapped the last of his bandages from his hand, allowing the archer to flex his fingers for the first time since he had come back from his mission.

"So, uh...any pain? Tingling? Numbness? Things like that...?" Bruce asked the younger male before him, clicking a pen and jotting down a few notes on his clipboard for later reference on Clint's condition.

"No, not really...just a little sore," Barton reported, flexing his wrist a few times before waving his arm, testing just how much of his strength had returned to him already.

"That's normal. Knowing you, you'll probably shake that off in no time," the shy doctor commented with a lighthearted smile as he used his free hand to push his glasses up higher on his nose.

Clint chuckled at the good doctor's humor and lowered his gaze, seemingly thinking on something else despite his best efforts.

"Um...your uh...injury aside, can I ask you something?" Bruce asked the seated master assassin, gesturing to his recently healed arm that only required a few bandages now before lifting his hand to his face and removing his glasses whilst they spoke about a non-medical topic.

Hawkeye raised his spiky, blonde head in surprise, his storm-grey eyes peering up at the older male before him.

"Sure...yeah...go ahead," Clint agreed after a beat, genuinely curious as to what Banner had to say to him...but also hazarding a fairly well-educated guess at the same time.

Bruce held the clipboard in both of his hands, looking off to a side for a pregnant moment before turning his attention back to his patient and someone who was becoming a personal friend of his, sitting down back in his chair that faced Clint.

"...might as well just give it to you straight," Bruce said more to himself than to the black-clad male sitting silently in front of him before continuing evenly, "...I think you know how smitten Tony has become with you lately. I don't think I need to tell you that..."

The blonde-haired male could feel his cheeks turn pink in an instant, as the marksman swallowed hard and then looked down at his hands in his lap, thankful that he did still have all of his fingers in tact after his latest mission and quickly becoming embarrassed to reply right away.

Clint remained silent and Bruce took it as an opportunity to continue.

"Tony always kind of wears his heart on his sleeve, I guess...but what about you?" the timid but wise doctor posed such an insightful question back towards his charge, watching as Hawkeye slowly lifted his gaze back up as he pondered his words, "...where's your heart at?"

Clint took a deep breath and faced Banner, his embarrassment gone.

"To be honest with you..." the archer began speaking his inner-most thoughts aloud about the matter, things he had not even admitted aloud to himself but was now confessing to the man sitting just across from him "...Tony...scares me. I'm scared of what our relationship together might mean. I mean...up until a few weeks ago, I thought...I thought everyone hated me."

"Why would you think that?" Bruce asked quickly, puzzled, even though his voice was kept pleasant and calm while speaking on such topics with the typically reclusive young man.

"...because of Loki...because of what he made me do...I thought..." Clint admitted with weight in his voice, these words obviously being a lot harder to say than the last, and Bruce smirked sympathetically at the way Barton's shoulders seemed to drop and his blonde head hung low upon recalling such events.

"Cheer up, kiddo..." Bruce chimed with a growing smile, ruffling his hand through the marksman's messy locks of hair and prompting the latter male to lift up his head in embarrassed confusion, "...I can see why Tony likes you so much."

"Uh...r-really?" Clint had to give his head a few shakes to make sure he had heard Banner correctly, watching him with his naturally intent and keen gaze as the doctor stood up from his chair, replaced his glasses on his face and then took a few steps towards the door of the examination room.

"Sure," Bruce affirmed warmly, "...and it's not just me. Everyone is really glad that you're back, Clint. You have people here that care about you...namely the guy with his name on the side of this building."

"So...what do I do...?" Clint asked in a hurry once he saw that Bruce was already opening the door and taking a step outside to leave Barton alone to collect his things and exit as well, his check-up being completed.

Bruce smiled his natural, handsome crooked smile before replying.

"You'll figure it're a pretty sharp guy." Banner answered simply, a friendly smile still in place before he closed the door behind him and left the archer alone.

Barton relaxed his tense muscles now that he was by himself, a sigh escaping him as he thought on Bruce Banner's words and parting advice to him.

"They all care about me, huh?" the archer spoke aloud to himself, thinking of Natasha's smiling face, of Steve, Bruce, and Thor; and finally, he thought of Tony Stark, the way the billionaire genius would smile so handsomely at him with his hazel eyes nearly sparkling with allure and mischief and possibilities...

Clint smirked.

"Then...I won't disappoint them!" he announced, grabbing his black, S.H.I.E.L.D jacket and racing out of the medical room to find them.


A little while later...

"Alright...let's expand image one-forty-three please..." Stark commanded his personal artificial intelligence system, which instantly made the selected photo-still zoom wide and flood the surrounding screens that flanked the large research room.

"I'm ready to go destroy something. Anyone with me? Huh? Who's with me?" Tony commanded the room with his effortless charm even though each attentive Avenger knew that the secretly distraught Tony Stark was serious in his suggestion.

Iron Man had been on edge ever since Clint had returned from his mission covered in blood and needing time to heal his wounds, and everyone knew that they could not blame the oftentimes loud-mouthed billionaire one bit.

Tony cared a great deal for Clint, possibly more than he had for anyone else in his life, and it had frightened him when he had rescued Barton that day on his mission, seeing him lose consciousness and going lax in his arms.

Tony dropped his hands, having wanted to help out the reconnaissance team to keep himself busy but was clearly not needed at the moment as Natasha and Thor had already gathered a surmountable amount of facts from JARVIS about territory out east.

They had looked into suspicious cargo movements and possible manufacturers out near surrounding countries, finally able to see where the two paths collided, which would be the team's next moves.

Just then, Clint rounded the corner and entered the room at a brisk pace, his black jacket left open as he first looked towards his left and then straight at Stark who was standing out ahead of him.

"Clint! Your bandages are off!" Tony exclaimed, his eyebrows raising in amazement as Barton continued walking towards him until he could wrap his arms around the stunned older male.

The inventor welcomed the embrace gladly, resting his chin against Clint's temple as he encircled his arms around his lover's shoulders carefully, wanting to squeeze him but knowing better not to so soon after Clint had just came out of the recovery wing.

"I missed you," Hawkeye admitted into Tony's shirt, his murmured words sounding as clear as a bell to the relieved Avenger as he looked towards a few others in the room who were casting a knowing smile their way at the scene.

"Aw...sweetheart...I've been right here," Tony cooed down to the handsome bundle in his arms, loving the fiery look still present in enchanting, silver-colored eyes as Clint lifted his head up and peered at the man of iron.

"...can we go somewhere more private...please," the marksman whispered to the taller, dark-haired man before him, his strong arms still holding onto Stark as he posed such a dleightfully loaded suggestion to the other.

Tony blinked once in awe, his knees having weakened for a split-second upon hearing Clint practically purr the word 'please' to him about going to his room, before he had to literally shake his head to focus again.

"Everyone..." Tony turned around with his usual gusto, addressing the rest of the team as he and Clint began to both inch towards the door, arms still wrapped around each other and Barton smirking devilishly, "...we're just going to...we'll be right back...don't wait up or anything; I mean, if you have something to do...yeah, okay...later!"

The door clicked close as they both pulled the other outside.

"Finally," Natasha rolled her eyes and looked back upon her work, not even having to notice the questioning look Thor was expressing beside her to comment to him, "...I'll explain it all later."

Steve smirked at the situation and ducked his head down.

At the same time, on the other side of the door, Tony had Clint pressed up against the wood-paneled and glass accented wall, their lips melded together in a passionate, building kiss that was quickly leaving the both of them breathless.

Stark's hands pushed Clint's black shirt up, Iron Man dragging his fingers along the muscled grooves adorning the younger male's smooth flesh, as he sucked on the archer's tongue.

"...mmh...I can't wait to get you alone..." the wealthy philanthropist growled against his lover's lips, lightly scratching his nails down Barton's toned abdomen, making the blonde male shiver and purr in cotton-soft pleasure as mercury-colored eyes, darkened slightly by the climbing intensity behind them, sought out sultry hazel.

" more waiting..." Clint's naturally velvet-laced voice felt like fleeting satin against the inventor's heated cheeks, capturing Tony's avid attention as the latter stilled immediately against the length of his lover's body so he may hear him continue, "...give me all of you, Tony...I want all of you..."