Summery: The trick in taking out a target at close-range in a riot is getting it done before things get out of hand. It also helps to plan for a riot. Clint-whump

So it took a little longer then I thought to get my next story out…lol. Leave the Lights On is currently being edited by the amazing Susan M. M Chapter 2 has been fixed up ^^ check it out if you have the time! We'll get through the other chapters as life goes on…hehe

I have two other Avenger stories in the works, but this one popped into my head and wouldn't let me go…so it ended up coming out first.

Hope you guys enjoy it!

Take Me to the Riot

It was packed out on the cobblestone streets of the city's town square. People shouted in unison back and forth, rallying together towards a common goal. It was some sort of protest in progress and Clint's target had decided to walk straight through it.

Cold grey clouds hung low in the sky overhead, accompanied by the bite of a sharp wind. None of the citizens paid any mind to the weather – they were as focused as Clint with their objective.

The situation was fine with Clint, even when someone's elbow shot back into his ribs. The agent let a grunt escape his lips as he glared, but didn't take his eyes off the back his target's head as they moved steadily through the growing mass of people.

In several ways this would make the hit easier. Chaos was a good way to mask a hit. The cops would more than likely assume the man got caught on the bad end of a knife and with so many suspects an assassination would be overlooked.

"Hawkeye, how's the vantage?" Natasha's voice sounded in his ear. Her voice hinted towards smugness – probably grateful that she was the one that got to watch things unfold from a safe distance this time. Especially under these circumstances – Natasha was badass and could handle herself in a fight, but even Clint would be in trouble if things went to hell with this many bodies.

The street was thick with angry people who screamed at and pushed one another. Some – like Clint and his target – hadn't planned on being part of the assembly. They walked against the crowd to find a way out of the growing violence.

"Shaky, but I still have Conroy in my sights." Clint answered before someone shoved him from behind. The momentum sent Clint into the chest of a red-faced man twice his side. "Crap." Clint hissed before he ducked out of the way of a meaty fist. Using his natural born agility Clint weaved his way out of the mini brawl that had formed in his wake.

"The riot appears to be escalating." Natasha unhelpfully informed her partner.

Clint glared in her general direction. "No shit, Sherlock."

The target, Dr. Charles Conroy, reminded Clint of Bruce in a few ways. Conroy was a skittish, thin scientist that looked breakable – just like Banner. The one big difference between the two men – overlooking the whole 'rage monster' split personality thing Bruce had going for him – was that Conroy was pure evil.

The scientist spent his days and nights in a secret lab developing bio-chemical weapons. Just the concept of some of the mixtures made Clint's skin crawl. While Clint and Natasha took out the scientist, Bruce and Steve would secure and begin to clean out Conroy's lab.

Due to the stealth nature of the mission Thor and Tony were held back 'on call' at the Avenger's tower. Bruce was joining the SHIELD agents only because of his scientific background and Steve would act as the doctor's backup.

Dr. Charles Conroy needed to be put down and Fury had asked his best SHIELD agents to see to it. Although not in their typical style – the hit was too be close range instead of distance.

The hit needed to be subtle, Natasha was always too memorable, but Clint was the master of invisibility. He'd be just another face in the crowd when this thing was over.

Like a shadow Clint pushed through the crowd and closed in on Conroy. If things were to break out into chaos he'd make his move, finish the job and get out of danger as soon as humanly possible.

"Clint." Natasha's voice warned in his ear.

"Yeah, I see it." Clint mumbled back. A roar rose up from the masses, things were about to get out of hand – this needed to be finished now. "Moving in."

Clint subtly tugged on a glove and slipped his hand in his leather jacket to pull out a knife as he moved forward to close the small gap between him and Conroy. The knife was coated with planted prints of a local drug lord – courtesy of Natasha's charming abilities.

If the police did look into the gutted man the drug lord would go down for the murder. Or at least enough evidence would be linked to the drug lord to start an intense investigation that would bring forth evidence of his other shady dealings. Either way, it would be a win, win situation.

As Clint moved in for the kill, Dr. Charles Conroy turned and faced his pursuer. A second too slow Barton noticed the glint of intent in the doctor's eyes and the dangerous flash of silver in the doctor's hand. Another knife was suddenly in play.

It was impossible to move freely in the crowd, impossible even for a man like Clint to avoid the short blade completely. In the shifting crowd the scientist made quick work of his knife. As Clint efficiently gutted his target the scientist slipped his own silver blade into Clint's side.

"I will not die alone." Conroy smiled cruelly. Both men were pushed further into one other as the riot erupted with renewed force around them.

"Damn it." Clint cursed softly at the quick change of events. It didn't hurt at first, but Barton was aware the pain would catch up with him soon enough. Lucky for Clint the scientist hadn't aimed for an artery or even anything vital – unlucky for Clint the movements of the crowd made it impossible to free himself from the danger of the blade. If Conroy wanted to, he could go for a second hit with the knife.

The scientist laughed into Clint's face, a wicked smile twisted on the man's thin lips. "I will die fast, I can feel it, but you – you will suffer greatly before you meet your end."

It seemed like a promise as the color of life drained from the doctor's face and the blood poured out of his body.

The crowd shifted again and Clint was ripped away from the scientist. A last minute thought left Barton barely able to grab the hilt knife in his side before he started to look for a way out of the riot. With a grunt Clint pulled the blade free and slipped it into his hidden sheath – something about the dying doctor's words made him believe he'd need the knife later.

It wasn't exactly the best idea to pull the blade out, but if Barton kept the knife in his side one of the rioters might accidentally gut him – and then he'd be dead. Losing a bit of blood seemed like the better option.

"Status? I've lost visual on your location." Natasha's frustrated voice chimed in Clint's ears. "What's happening?"

"Target down." Clint announced to his partner through gritted teeth. A deep wince echoed in Barton's features as he pressed one hand against his bloody wound.

There was a short pause before Natasha gave a response. "Why does it sound like something went wrong?"

"I got him." Clint assured her with a grumble over the connection. His side burned as he moved through the angry rioters. Every step he took felt like a red-hot branding stick was being shoved into his side. Elbows, fists and full bodies made contact with the archer as he made his way through the crowd. Clint's focus was to get free of the mass of people as fast as possible – things would only get worse in this situation. "But, he might have gotten me too."

"What?" Natasha barked loudly.

"Knife." Clint grunted when his body got caught in between a tight group of people. They pushed together and crushed the archer's body in the middle of their circle. With a sudden shift in direction Clint was unable to keep his feet underneath him. Though Clint struggled to stay vertical he hit the ground hard. Boot clad feet made contact with Clint's body as he fought to recover from the devastating fall.

"Crap, damn it. Nat, I need an exit." Clint barely avoided a foot aimed at his head and quickly started to grab at whatever he could to climb back his feet.

"I still don't have a visual." Natasha sounded strained. "Where are you?"

Once firmly back on his feet, Clint automatically rolled his eyes at his partner's words. "What do you want me to do? Wave my arms around?"

"If you think it will help." The Widow shot back, voice hard with tension.

This was the down side of taking down a target in a crowded space. Riots were violent and quickly got out of hand – it was important to get out of the chaos as quickly as possible or you ran the risk of becoming a casualty.

With a firm hold on his side Barton pushed through the people that surrounded him on a blind search for a way to slip out of the chaos. He headed towards the nearest building in sight – it might be further away from his partner, but right now he just needed to get somewhere safe.

"I'm headed, uh," Clint flinched when something sharp hit the right side of his head. "North-East."

"Negative, local justice is flooding in from that direction. Head South-West." Natasha rushed her response. "Copy?"

"Crap. Copy."

The rhythmic pop of gunfire opened up on the crowd. In this country the police didn't appreciate protesters freedom. Screams followed and more panicked movement shifted through the crowd. It was a small area that was too packed with too many people moving all at the same time.

It was like Clint was stuck in the ocean, with strong currents and heavy waves pushing and pulling at his body this way and that. The movements were crushing and it felt like he was drowning in the sea of people. Clint wasn't claustrophobic by any stretch of the word, but everything felt too close together. He needed room to think, fight and move. Even for someone as focused as Clint it was hard to keep the growing panic under control.

"Clint, there's going to be a stampede." Natasha warned – Clint nodded. He had seen it coming. Smoke bombs went off tainting the air with a thick cloud of grey – teargas would be sure to follow.

Quickly Clint pulled his shirt up to cover his nose and shoved through any gaps he could see between bodies to get free from the crowd. His eyes burned when a cloud of something – probably teargas – fell over him.

His eyes burned instantly at the irritation and a cough built up in Clint's chest as he forced his already battered body onward.

Widespread panic erupted when a large explosion sounded somewhere North and the stampede started.

With gunfire the people in the chaos hadn't known which way to run to escape it. With the explosion the direction to flee was clear – everyone headed in the opposite direction of the immediate danger.

The current of people washed Clint away. He struggled to stay vertical and on top of the movements – keeping pace with the others.

"Clint?" Natasha's voice sounded in his ear – worried. "Are you free of the crowd?"

"Not quite." Clint gasped out, eyes burned and blurred with tears produced as a result of the teargas. He'd given up his fight with the masses and allowed himself to be dragged along. Eventually, he hoped, there would be an opening to slip away in.


"Alive." The pain spiked in his side and Clint groaned. "For now."

"This isn't the time to joke around, Hawkeye." His partner scolded.

"It's always time to joke around." Clint grinned just before he slipped and was shoved into a brick wall. "Sometimes you have to grit your teeth and laugh in the face of danger."

"How about you grit your teeth and get the hell out of there?" The Widow growled back.

"Working on it." He saw an alleyway and went for it, crawling and pushing through the bodies to get to safety. Clint reached for the opening only for it to be ripped out of his fingertips.

"Crap, crap, crap." The archer hissed as the alleyway was blocked from his vision and his feet left the ground again.

Someone's shoulder shoved into his chest, winding Clint as his heart went wild in his chest.

"Hawkeye, what's happening?"

A desperate inhalation of air tainted with teargas and smoke sent Clint into a violent coughing fit. When his feet found perches on the ground once again he dove in the direction he'd last seen the alleyway.

The risky and costly move got him close to his goal. Clint crawled army style the rest of the way, ignoring the sharp feet trampling over him. It was painful, but he was finally free. Rolling on the ground Barton moved further into safety.

"Hawkeye, Hawkeye come in." Natasha yelled into the comm. link. Clint doubted she had stopped calling for an answer during his ordeal, but he had been a bit distracted.

"Take a breath, Black Widow, I'm out."

Natasha allowed a sigh to escape her lips – it sounded like relief to Clint, but it could have been frustration over the situation. "What's your condition?"

"Not great." Clint didn't downplay it – he had been nearly crushed in the crowd and stepped on countless times. His ribs were definitely badly bruised, someone had stepped solidly on his right wrist and his knee felt sprained from someone kicking it just right. Clint's whole body felt like one giant bruise, but thankfully nothing appeared to be broken. "I have a brand new appreciation for the ground. Almost feel bad for walking on it."

His eyes and lungs were suffering from the teargas, burning. Clint's eyes were nearly blind with tears.

It was his side that worried him. The wound itself was small, but fairly deep and bleeding openly. The pain didn't feel right either. Clint had been stabbed before, this felt different – wrong.

Conroy's word's replayed in Clint's mind, 'I will die fast, I can feel it, but you – you will suffer greatly before you meet your end.'

That didn't sound promising.

"Hey Widow," Clint breathed out, voice pained as he held his side and leaned heavily against the brick wall behind him.

"I might be in trouble."

So, what did you think?

I wrote this while extremely distracted by the Olympics...which have been Amazing. If you haven't been watching you should!

Thanks for reading!