The final chapter.
Riot Part Nine
It was a haze of pain mixed with ice and snow.
In his mind, Clint screamed in pain until his throat burned with fire. It kindled something within him, igniting a flame that threatened to eat him from the inside out.
He'd finally reached the point where he begged for death – for release into the painless darkness. No matter what words he choose, who he screamed to for forgiveness the end would not come.
The pain was too much, crippling. It held him down with barbed wire twisting around his soul. Replacing veins of blood with knives of agony and shooting fire.
Trapped in this world of torture Clint started to slip away.
For a while he drifted, floating in the calm waters of deep ocean. The pain was numbed, gone. The current pulled him along, gently guiding him from one place to another. Thoughts were gone, for the moment he simply existed.
Clint was cold, frozen, but starting to regain feeling once more. He shivered as his eyes fluttered open, breaking away from the darkness into too bright sunshine. Sunshine brought by…florescent lights? Where was he? Blinking Clint looked around his bright prison, trying to discover how much danger he was in.
"You're safe." A welcomed voice drifted to his sensitive ears. Clint's muscle's relaxed back into the comfort of the bed as Bruce came into sight. Natasha was there too, sound asleep in a chair next to the bed the archer was laid in.
"What happened?" Clint asked, or tried to. The sound got caught in the thorns embedded in his throat. At least it felt like thorns, thorns mixed with sand and gravel.
The doctor gave a sympathetic smile as Natasha stirred to the sound of their voices. Bruce held ha hand to silence Clint from trying to speak again. "Wait a minute, I'll get you some water." As Banner moved out of sight, Clint couldn't bring himself to follow the man's movements with his head, or his eyes. Barton was exhausted.
"Clint?" Natasha asked, voice fogged with sleep as she leaned closer to him. For a second Clint was sure she was going to kiss him, but the moment passed and Natasha moved back. "You're alive." She remarked, than smirked.
"Though you tried very hard not to be." Bruce added, helping Clint sit up and sip the glass of water he provided. "How are you feeling?" Banner continued, ever the doctor.
"Confused." Clint admitted when the water soothed the burn of his throat to the point where he could speak again. "What happened?"
Natasha and Bruce exchanged looks before Natasha spoke up. "What do you remember?"
"Answering a question with a question, well, that's not a good sign." Clint cleared his aching throat and sighed. Closing his eyes Clint thought back to his last conscious thought. It took longer than normal to zero in on the memory. "Something to do with Thor starting a fire in the den? Did the tower burn down?"
Banner sat down heavily in a chair and shook his head. "That's impressive." He spoke sarcastically. "You've managed to lose two weeks of memory."
"What?" Clint straightened a bit on his bed. "What happened?"
"You were poisoned." Natasha, one could always count on the redhead's bluntness. "You almost died."
"You did die. A couple times, but we brought you back. The antidote was a little shaky. You've been out for a few days."
Barton took a minute to absorb his loss. Two weeks of his memories gone. "Will I ever remember?" He asked Bruce carefully.
"Maybe, maybe not. Honestly I don't think you want to. I don't want to, but unfortunately I don't have a choice." Banner stood. "I'll let Natasha fill you in on the details. I know a few people who will be glad to know you're awake, and fully functional." Bruce tapped his forehead to emphasis what he meant before ducking out of the room.
Clint stared after the doctor for a moment before turning back to his partner. "Nat, what happened?"
Slowly, but surely Natasha gave a detailed account of his missing time. Of course there were still missing pieces, she could only tell him her side of the story.
When she was finished Clint remained silent, staring at his bandaged wrist. "I tried to kill myself?"
"You tried to get rid of the poison. You thought it was in your blood because of how cold it made you feel." Natasha tried to explain. Forcing the memory from her mind. "We stopped you. You're going to be fine. There was no real damage."
"I don't remember any of that. Not even a little bit." Clint whispered in awe. "I threatened to kill you?"
"You were tied to a bed being tortured by your own senses, we don't hold it against you." Natasha sat on the edge of the bed and shrugged a shoulder. "Trust me, Clint. You don't want to remember. Not even a little bit."
"I still feel cold." Clint told her as he met her gaze with his own.
The redhead frowned mutely, letting her eyes drop from her partner's face down to his hand. Slowly she reached out and gently took it in her own. "Does that hurt you?" She asked sharply, eyes watching Clint for a reaction. What kind of reaction Clint wasn't sure.
"Uh, no. You're barely touching me." It was Clint's turn to frown.
A smile spread across Natasha's face, "Then you're okay." She promised, seeming happy for some reason. Odd.
"Okay." Clint shrugged, "I guess I'll just have to take your word for it."
"Yes, you will." Natasha's smile suddenly vanished and her fist shot out and gently smacked the downed man upside his head.
"Hey! What was that for?" Clint demanded with a glare, rubbing where she had hit.
"For scaring me." The redhead stated firmly before pushing Clint. "Move over."
"Why?" The archer questioned lightly.
"You know why." Natasha glared. "I'm sick of sleeping in that damned chair."
Dutifully Clint scooted over giving her room to curl up against his side, using his chest as a pillow. "I'm glad you're not dead." She told him as his arm wrapped comfortably around her.
"I'm sorry I scared you." Clint offered softly.
Her eyes met his, her chin propped up on his chest as she looked at him. "I'm sorry I lost sight of you."
Clint just smiled back at her, eyes growing heavy with the lingering exhaustion left from his battle for life. "It's okay. I know it'll never happen again."
Thanks so much for all who followed, favorited and especially those who reviewed for this story. I've gotten so many kind reviews and I've loved them all! Thanks guys! Hopefully this wont be my last solo story.
In retrospect this would have been a nice addition to Leave the Lights On.
I vaguely have an idea for a sequel…but there is no guarantees with me and sequels ^^ Plus I have limited time to write…
Thanks for reading! I hope you all enjoyed.