You know… you would think that it would hurt-being inside the car, feeling the bite of the it crumbling, both glass and metal, and maybe even the breaking of bone. Or… maybe I did feel it. I remember pressure-the pop in my ears, the way I couldn't breathe, feeling weightless. I probably should remember the way the ground rose suddenly… violently up to meet me. I'm sure it was something similar to smashing into a wall at terminal velocity. Really… I don't remember much of anything about the actual crash.

I remember trying to COM Fury. It was FUBAR. There was a rip in the page, a glitch in the system. Swinging in and out of consciousness makes it hard to keep track of everything-I probably should have tried harder. I never was any good with that stuff though; that was always Clint's job. Thinking about it now… if he had been with me… I probably wouldn't be here.

Right. You have no idea what here is, do you?

Have you ever come alive in the middle of a nightmare?-your mind waking and chasing the colors, lines and shapes off into the recesses of your mind? When all at once you're plunged into the dark and you know you are asleep, but your body won't wake-the place that seems endless?-Where voices of the past echo off the walls you can't see, vulnerable and blocked in from all sides, yet unable to find anything solid to press against. Nothing solid.

That place where the air is so thick it presses in, a heavy blanket of constant pressure. It's kind of like having someone pressing down on your chest… just… from all directions. Hard to breathe. My mind wills my body to move… but I can't really feel anything. Like when you lay in one spot for too long and you can't feel where your body ends and the ground begins. It's disheartening. I have relied for years on my ability to move and know I was moving.

Clint. Do you know what it's like? To be trapped in the dark... just... floating? It's unusually warm. I don't like warm...but you know that already don't you? The more I think... the more I wish you would have been with me. Why did Fury insist on sending me on my own? We work better together.

Would you laugh if I told you I could hear someone familiar? Someone who died when Loki forced us to join up... when Loki took you from me unwillingly. I call back to him... but I am not entirely sure he can hear me. Sad right? I have always been so sure of myself but here... just floating around in this void, I feel like I am should question everything.

You know... I think I am losing my mind. Agent Coulson is getting closer. He tells me I don't have to stay in the darkness. I try to run to him... but I don't really know if I am running or laying down or sitting. I can't tell. Disorienting. Reminds me of vertigo. Though... I don't really remember what that feels like anymore. I can't help but wonder what's happening right now. Sometimes I think I am laying out in the field trapped under some pile of rubble... maybe you are searching for me... maybe you don't even know yet. No. Wait. I called for pick up. Right?

Clint... can you tell me if my eyes are closed? Sometimes I think they might be... but others... other times I think I catch a glimpse of some light. When I try to focus on it... it goes away. I want to hear you. I want to hear from you. Tell me what you see. I remember I used to ask you that on missions. We would be curled up together sitting side by side and you would explain everything in breathtaking details. You could paint it so vividly for me that I could actually see it too... if only for a moment. What's happening?

Talk to me again, Clint. It's lonely here. I know I was always one of the few who enjoyed my solitude... but I grew accustomed to your presence. I got so used to you being near me. The way you always seemed to pick the right times to appear at my side and let me know you were there without even speaking. It was like I chose to ignore the fact that you being near me was considered as keeping me company. Now... so suddenly I am alone again... and I find that I miss you so much.

Sometimes I can see you. I am pretty sure it's just in my head. You are always kind of... translucent... but it's you... your eyes are the same. I remember how your eyes changed when Loki poisoned you. Milky and glowing and rimmed with dark rings like you never slept. I like your eyes. Blue. So blue. I like how you watch me on missions. It was always a thrill to know that those denim blues were tracking me as I danced with a target. I enjoyed the fact that you would focus on me in the middle of Tony's parties. You could read me. We shared words no one understood with our eyes.
We spoke with our eyes.

When I woke today...there was light. I don't know if you could actually consider it waking... since I don't know if I actually sleep anymore. It's more like... a computer turning on. Like when you take your laptop off sleep mode. Blankness and then suddenly I am talking... or... thinking? I'm not really sure, I still can't feel my lips moving...or anything moving for that matter. Off topic. Anyway, There was light. It was foggy... sort of muted... but it was there.

Coulson's voice is closer than it has ever been. He told me it was alright if I stayed. I don't understand this, Clint. What does he mean? I shouldn't ask that question. I am asking a lot of questions, aren't I? Sorry. I can see you... and the weirdest thing? I can see me too. At least... what's supposed to be me. Was my hair always so bright against my skin? Perhaps it's that my skin looks too pale. I am floating... Still can't feel shit but I know I am floating because I am looking down at us. You. I'm looking down at you.

I can hear you breathing. Clint, I still don't know what's happening. How did I get there in that bed? What happened? Why are my eyes closed? Why the hell am I up here and down there at the same time? Why can I hear a dead man in my head... or out of my head? I don't like this. Please. Clint. Say something. Of all the times for your smart ass mouth to be shut. I need to know I am not crazy. I need to know I am not completely going insane.

On missions I couldn't shut you up. You were always telling me some wild story about your time in the circus. Or you would tell me your favorite memory. They were always things we had done together. We traded barbs and verbal insults and rude jokes and you always had something to say. Why aren't you talking now? Is this all in my head?

It's always been a scary place. At least that's how I remember it. You changed that. It still had its cavernous pitfalls and dark crevases that threatened to swallow me up. I don't think I can ever be rid of those after what they did to me in Red Room. They dug out huge portions and left them blank and empty. I kind of think those holes are growing. I feel like my mind is diluted. I don't want to go back to what I used to be. Clint, don't let me turn back into the monster that I was.

Time must not matter... and I am pretty sure I don't like this floating thing. Sorry. Off subject again. I still can't feel myself moving but I am following you home. That's where I want to be. Home. You are my home, Clint. Wherever you are that is home. Always has been. Through the door. You toss your keys on the table, and they almost slide off the other side. You are going to lose them one of these days. Toss your jacket over the chair. You never hang it up like you should.

You kick your boots off. Left foot first, tucking your right toe against the heel and just walking out of it like it doesn't even slow you down. Then repeat for the other. One a few feet from the other however they fell. I want to say you always leave them scattered like that. You fall down into a chair at the desk. I try not to touch you as you draw out a paper and begin to scribble across it in your messy chicken scratch. I don't want to disturb you. I am curious. Didn't you tell me it would get me in trouble some day?

August 4, 2012

Is that really the date? God your hand writing really is terrible, Clint. How do you expect me to read this? You know more than anyone what I have done. Horrible things, Barton. I think I might have told you once, I deserve the worst for the sins I have committed. Comatose. Can you explain what happened? You are changing the subject, Clint. You aren't thinking straight. You know what I have done. How do you know I can't hear you? Stark was the know it all. Wake up. I am asleep?

Wait! Clint, where are you going? Get back here, damn it. You aren't done! I don't know what's going on! Fine. Sit there. If I talk will you listen? Can you hear me? If this is a dream shouldn't I be able to touch you? My hands pressed against your chest and I can't feel you. Where is your heart beat...? It should be there. Why can't I feel it? Is my hand cold? You trembled. How am I supposed to know these things if you don't say anything?

Coulson is calling again. I still don't know why I can hear him. You are getting farther away. I guess that's all I get for now. I feel like I am talking just to keep myself anchored to something. There is nothing to hold onto anymore. Nothing I can grab onto. When I try to remember why I am staring down at myself again... I only get flashes. Memories are deteriorating. Are you hurting? Am I hurting? I don't know. I can't tell.

Ok. I am getting tired of this jumping around thing. I black out and then I am back here. Watching you sip slowly at a tumbler of amber. Bourbon? Come on, Barton... what happened to my Vodka? Are you writing again? That's right, you said you would write every day. I guess it just doesn't feel like a day has gone by.
Say you miss me. Don't write it down. You put words in my mouth, and my voice is not high-pitched and annoying. You act like I am gone. I am right here. Look at me. Look at me with those denim blue eyes. Why can't you see me? But you won't, will you? You will glare down at that page until you have finished your drink and then you will get up, fold the paper over three times, and settle it in the drawer next to the other.
Your keys are on the floor again. Were you visiting that body? Did you sit by the bed of that person that looks like me? That imposter that can't possibly be me. That's not me right? I would give anything for you to laugh right now and tell me I am being an idiot.
Just laugh. Smile.
The way I like. The smile that flashes your teeth, and wrinkles the corners of your eyes. Tip your chin to your chest and laugh. Let your shoulders tremble with it. I loved that laugh. Clint. I don't know if I can find my way back. I suddenly feel like the path is hidden. There's too many things obscuring the way. The only thing that seems clear is Phil's voice... and he's calling me again. Why does he keep calling to me?

There are so many letters. I don't think you have been so adamant about something so quizzical before. I am sorry... that I haven't kept up. It's hard. I think the numbness is going away. As I hover here in the corner of the living room watching you torture yourself every day I can feel something. In my head and in my chest. You talk. It's so quiet and soft but you talk. Just before you slip into sleep you call out for me and beckon me to join you.

August, 20
August, 31
September 10

I don't know why these are the ones I want to read. Read. I guess I have resigned to the fact that my accident had left you silent. That's what I am calling it since I don't remember how I ended up in this situation in the first place. Budapest. The last time you were there I was with you. I don't want to lie to you... I don't remember kissing you. What was it like? Did I reach up and cup your face against my palm? Or did I grip at your shirt, tangle my hands in your hair, suck your bottom lip between my teeth and press it there?

You know when you say that, I settle next to you. I wonder if you tremble from my presence? I still can't feel you, but I can feel me. Do you miss the way we would cling to each other? Have you given up on me? I wonder if you spoke that out loud if I would be able to hear the resignation there. I never needed a home. I had you. Something constant. I like your rambling... it makes me feel a little less broken.

What do you dream of, Clint? I like to think this is a dream. No. Not a dream; it's a nightmare. Can you hear me? Listen close. I dreamed of you. I used to dream of how we first met. I used to dream of my knight in shining armor. Your blue eyes. Your smile. Seeing you at the end of a long walk wearing your best black and white. I dreamed of life... and, Clint... it wasn't life if you weren't there.

I can't pretend to care about threats right now. I guess you could say I am tired of drama. There will always be something for us to fix. There will be something wrong to be set right. It's human nature... isn't it? That's how it works. Loki. He took you from me right? I don't remember where the gardens were but I remember the flowers. Why is Autumn my favorite? I got that uneasy feeling in my chest again. Like someone has their fingers dug into my chest and they are crushing my heart. I don't like it.
You loved children... right? I never saw myself handling that well... but I would have done it. I like the thought of spending my life with you. Clint, I want to spend my life with you. Clint... I am trying. I can't see the way any more. It's blocked to me. I never had the good eyes remember? That cold you feel, that is me. Don't you realize it? That is me. When your skin rises in goose flesh, I am touching you. Brushing my fingers through your hair, tracing your lips, curling into your side. I don't think I did these things enough.

September 15
September 30

I have... resigned to the fact that I am in a coma. I still don't remember how it happened. Were you there with me, Clint?
There's a lot that's missing. I have faces but no names to go with them, or names but no faces. My mind is deteriorating. I can feel it. The longer I am here the harder it is. I can't recall you asking me to marry you. I can sit here and watch you look at that ring in the little black box. You do it often. I know it's for me. Supposed to be for me... but I don't remember you actually asking.
I should. Right? You would have done it the right way. Got down on one knee somewhere and took my hand in yours. You would have whispered something to me... something that would have smoothed out the creases in my features with realization. You probably would have smiled a little, tucked your head down. Was I in such a rush to leave you without an answer?

I try to give you anything, any sign. I can see how you are breaking inside. I can see the way your tremble when you hover over me. So quiet. Why are you so quiet? I thought that maybe I could just... like... settle back into myself. Twitch a finger... make the heart moniter jump... murmur, something. I can't. It's not that easy, is it? Nothing is ever easy when you are concerned... when I am concerned. You ask me the same things I ask you, Clint. I wrap my arms around you. Press my face against your shoulders, kiss the back of your neck. I whisper to you. Tell you it's okay even though... I know it probably won't be. That's what people want to hear right? They want to know it's alright. I never was any good with this stuff.

Please, Clint, don't beg. I am trying. Please, don't beg. You never beg. I am lost. I can't find the right way to go and Coulson won't help. I cry out to him. Ask for help. It's below me. I don't need help. No. That's a lie. I need it desperately right now. Where are you, Hawk? Where are you when I need your guidence? I'm being foolish. You are here. It's me who is missing. Isn't it?

Clint. It's not easy. I try. Fuck, I try so hard because I can see just how much it breaks you. I don't like to see you like this. It's not you. You were never so affected by something. When I think about it, I get flashes. Cuts and blood and bullet holes. Pulling in blue thread stitches in the middle of a war zone to keep you alive. Please, Clint. You can't be like this. Be strong for me. I need you to be strong for me. Don't call me Darling... it makes my chest hurt. Makes my throat close up and my eyes burn. I am trying, but somehow I don't think it's doing me any good.

October 17
October 31

Thank you for saving a place for me. It wasn't empty. I promise. I sat there even though I can't recall them. The blank spots are getting bigger. I am losing things. He looks familiar. I don't think I liked him at first. He looks pompous. They come into the room where that body lays so still, right? They visit the person in that hospital bed. I am pretty sure you would demand that the person in that bed... the shell, is me. I can't accept that. She's so pale... and her cheeks are hollow, her eyes look waxy and sunk in. The only thing I recognize is the tangled nest of red curls. Those are mine. They clash with her skin... She's so thin. Weak. That's not me in that bed, Clint.

I followed you on your mission. I followed you everywhere at one point didn't I? Like a stray you happened to throw a scrap to...trailing at your heels in hopes of getting something more to fill that space. Could you hear me? I told you to live. I know I have asked this so many times before. Sitting here next to your bed, I just need to know that you are alright. Tell me everything will be ok even though I am coming to terms with the fact that it won't.

My memories, they are just gone, Clint. I don't know our friends. They were our friends right? I hear their voices but I can't recall who they were. What they did. What we did. I need you to help me fill in these blanks again. Fill them back in like you did so many times before. It's like that place you saved me from. What was it called? Red... red something. It shouldn't be this hard to remember these things. Please. Help me.

November 15
December 25

Where am I? Why am I reading these? You look like you are in pain. You look tired. I feel like I should know you. Recognize you. Something. Your blue eyes are familiar. You are someone I knew once. Right? That's why you visit. That's why you bring me gifts. You were someone special, weren't you? Was I special to you? I wish I could remember these things. Your name. Our relationship. Anything. You are the only face that hasn't blurred and gone grey. Who are you?
The voice is calling me. I don't remember it either. What's happening to me?

January 3 2013

I remember. I remember everything. It's too vivid. Bright. It hurts my eyes. I know I used to tell you I didn't fear death. It was something that I knew waited for us. It would take us eventually. But, Clint, I am terrified. Death rides my coat tails. I can feel him. It's cold. The reaper has me in his grip. I can't get loose. No matter how hard I struggle and fight... I can't get free. This isn't how it's supposed to happen. We were supposed to go together. Remember? Like we did everything else. Together.

I'm not ready. I still need to give you that answer. I want to wear that white dress... I want to marry you in front of our friends. No, they aren't just our friends are they? They are family. Oh God I don't want to do this. You are right, I am going to die in my sleep, and that's horrible. I never told you. I want to be remembered. I wanted to go down in a hail of gunfire. Jumping in front of a bullet for you. Anything but dying in my sleep. What happened to being difficult? I fought life... why can't I fight death? Clint, please, this isn't how this is supposed to happen.

What have I done? Please tell me what I did wrong. I was trying to make it all right. I was trying to fix all of the wrong. I still have red on my ledger. I have done horrible things in my life, Clint. I don't deserve eternal peace. I don't know if I will reach the other side. I don't know if I have earned my wings.

I can't go yet. Not yet. Please don't let him take me away yet. I need to stay just a little longer. I will fight. For you. That's always what it came down to in the end isn't it? Fighting for you. You who saved me from my fate. You who taught me to be human again. You who made me feel what it was like to be so desperately in love with someone that it scared me. I'm not afraid of it anymore, Clint. Hold my hand. Hold it tight and give me something solid to keep me grounded.

January 10-13

Coulson came to me today. After all this time of him yelling from a distance he finally showed up. Clint... are you listening? You keep staring right through me. You are drinking all my vodka. Pay attention to me. I need you to pay attention. Just this once.
Phil is here with me. He told me I didn't have much time left to make peace. They say it doesn't hurt... he says they lie. It does hurt. It hurts a lot, Clint. Nothing like any pain I have ever experienced. Is this what it feels like to have a broken heart? I am pretty sure that's what has happened. Phil says he is here to take me home. There's that word again. I told him that it can't be home. He thinks I am still stubborn, but it's true. It won't be home without my archer there. I remember someone saying 'home is where the heart is.' That's why I always said anywhere you were was 'home' for me. You have my heart. You always have.

I cried. Maybe that's why it rained. You just look so lost. Rain has always been our thing hasn't it? I will miss that. Rain is a cleansing thing. It always made me feel good, new. Clean. That's what I wanted. I wanted to be cleaned of the sins I committed. I found that in you. The light. You always were the light in my darkness. Clint, I don't want to say this. I am selfish and I don't want to give you up, but I need to. You have to let me go. I would give anything to caress your face one last time. Taste your lips. Just once more. The sound of the storm, the soundtrack of our lives. Clint, I want you to know I'm sorry. I didn't mean for it to happen this way.
Please don't cry. Clint, please don't do this. You are crawling up in the bed with me and you're breaking my heart, please. I can't feel you. I can't feel you. Stop. Please, I am begging you, Clint. You know, it hurts to cry right now. There is no release, no tears. Talk to me. Just once more, Clint. Just once more. I need this. Tell me you love me. Tell me you are going to miss me. It hurts so much. Don't leave me. Don't let me die alone. Just stay here. Stay with me and let me burn you into my memory.

January 14-17

I hope it's ok... that I don't read the letters anymore. You know...the hurt has numbed itself. Coulson and I talk. He says I will have to go soon. I guess the gatekeeper is impatient. You left me alone a few days ago. I don't blame you. It's alright. It's … scary. Clint, I hope when you go... you don't have to hang around and watch yourself break the people you care about. That's the hardest part. I can see how it hurts you. I am sorry about that. About everything. Not giving you an answer. All the times we fought... the times I should have spent curled up with you... but I was too focused on my papers to do so. I hope that one day you can forgive me.

It's kind of funny, in a morbid way I guess. I am going out the same way I came in. Alone... and into the darkness of the unknown. You saved me. You know that right? Of course you do. I told you multiple times. Clint... you can't save me this time. You have to let go. I am at peace with the fact that I am dying... I won't be waking up. I need you to understand that it's not your fault. Please don't spend the rest of your life regretting anything that involves me.
I know I don't regret anything involving you.

I remember... once. We were pinned down on the roof of a building. Wounded. You were wounded badly. You laughed and told me, " Hey Nat... make sure they burn me with my bow huh?"
I laughed too. I couldn't really swallow the thought of you dying. But you wanted to be burned on a pyre. I told you that day, "If you die, who is going to make sure they don't put me in the ground?"
Clint. Burn me. Don't let them bury me. If it's the only thing you remember... let it be that.

I'm going to miss the quiet times. The times when it was just us. One of my favorite things was after missions on the ride home. We used to sit close, heads bowed in sleep and pressed together. Knees touching, hands brushing. Those moments when we provided the comfort of human touch, warmth. I loved those moments. I loved a lot of things about you, Clint.
But most of all... I just loved you. I can tell it won't be long now. The goodbyes are coming.

January 26, 2013

I let go today. Coulson said it was time... and that I could stay around for just a little longer. So here I am. Standing over you. You look good in black... even if the occasion is less than appropriate for such a comment. Fury. As much as I disliked the man at times, he did good. He looked like he was feeling the reality settle a little too heavily on his shoulders.

There is nothing funny about a man crying. Clint. I couldn't laugh now even if I wanted to. It broke me. Even though I have come to terms with death... I wished one last time that I could gather you into my arms. I want to thumb the tears from your eyes. Kiss your face, and ease the shaking in your shoulders. People say it gets easier. It won't, Clint. I know it won't. You will numb. Eventually the pain won't be so sharp anymore. I would tell you to forget... but it would be a lie. I don't want you to forget. I have the ring with me. It's beautiful.

I want you to know that I appreciate it, Clint. I really do. You always did have a way with your words when you tried. I have been with you the whole time. I guess you couldn't feel me... but I have been here. Right here where I stood in life. Just close enough to reach out and brush my fingers against your arm. My place has always been right here.

I love you. I am sorry that it took so long for me to get over the fact that I was afraid of it. Coulson is waiting. I guess I have to go. Thank you for everything, Clint Barton. I earned my wings because of you. I will wait for you. I won't go in without you. Think they have benches up there? I wonder if I can be your guardian. It's my turn. You looked after me for years... I want to look after you. Hey Clint, I want hawk wings. Think they will let me have them? I will always be with you, Clint. I'll see you when you come home. I guess this is Goodbye.
I'm crying again...and it's raining... They really aren't that different are they?

(( Authors note: So everyone. I have finally finished the last one shot to go with this one and it's sister story Dear Natasha. It's called 'We Will Go Home'. You can find it on my page. It was written by request and has yet to be edited as my editor bailed on me. ))