For Every Sin, A Consequence.

Summary. . . . . . Barton feels guilty after events in Manhatten. Not able to face going back to S.H.I.E.L.D, and wanting to be alone he steals away from the others, but is he really alone?

Disclaimer. . . . . All characters belong to Marvel, I'm just loaning them from some fun and shameless Clint whump.


He was surrounded by the rest of the Avengers, yet he felt alone.

Empty.

Guilty.

Broken.

Barton walked into the battle scarred diner like an automaton, his mind blank, his body moving because everyone else's was. He didn't want to be here, he didn't want to do something that was so normal, so natural; didn't feel as though he had the right to do something so normal, so natural, but the other's had insisted, had refused to allow him to wonder off alone. They hadn't known, how could they, that all he wanted to do was find the nearest dark and high up place where he could retreat, lick his wounds and wallow in the giant vat of guilt that he felt was crushing him with its pressure. So he had blindly followed, telling himself that he was only doing so because he needed to, after all he hadn't eaten anything since the morning he was taken over by Loki's power, and he knew he needed to get some sustenance back into his body.

He must have mumbled out an order somehow, because the next thing he knew he was being ushered to the only table remaining standing amidst the chaos, and being forced to sit by Tasha; biting back groans of pain as his body reminded him of the hell he had put it through, and it had been put through. He eased forward taking pressure off his battered back, as the chairs wooden frame dug into the tender muscles and flesh that he knew would be sporting a colourful array of bruises; bruises that he also knew, when he got around to checking them later, would be shaped like the quiver he carried. His mind wandered as he remembered the battle, and it took a few seconds to register that his partner was talking to him, but the words were muffled, as if coming from far away, and held no meaning, until her cool hand on his warm face grounded him to the here and now.

"You okay." She inquired again, those two words asking much, much more, but long drawn out sentences had never been needed between the two of them.

Already feeling unworthy of the people surrounding him, he chose to reply in Russian back, not wanting to show anymore weakness. "Just tired."

"Injuries?"

"Bruises." He lied. "You?"

"Scratches" She also played down. "Want to go?"

He thought long and hard before replying, yes he wanted to go; he so desperately wanted to go, he didn't deserve to be here, he wanted to be alone; but he had fought with these people, they had trusted him, the least he could do was stay and eat with them. "No, I'm okay." He finally ground out.

He could tell that she didn't believe him, could tell that she wanted to ask more, could tell that, when she finally got him alone, he'd be in for a "mothering" from hell later, but she allowed him his lie for now, and Clint was almost glad that any further conversation was halted by the arrival of their food, the aromas of which was almost his undoing and it was all he could do from not fleeing once again as his rebellious stomach rolled and flopped inside him, as spicy meats, sauces, and the grease off fries assaulted his nostrils. Instead he propped a foot upon Natasha's chair, the toes of his boot resting just barely against her hip, needing the faint touch to once more ground him, and forced food that tasted and felt like course sandpaper down his throat.

After two bites he knew it was no good, if he forced any more down it would soon make its way back up, and as bland as it tasted going down he knew coming back up would be worse. He stole glances at the others, but nobody was watching him, each of them caught up in their own thoughts, so he pushed his food around the plate, played with it, breaking it up, tearing it, and hoped that by making a mess it would distract them from the fact he wasn't eating it. He just wanted to leave.

He wants to eat; it's been days, his body needs it, but just the thought of putting anything in his stomach makes it churn harder than a boat in the stormiest of seas.

He wants to sleep; it's been even longer since he's done that, but sleeping means loss of control, and loss of control means remembering, and remembering means nightmares. He doesn't want to remember, doesn't want to see the faces he slaughtered come back to haunt him in his dreams.

Natasha's phone vibrating pulls him from a place he doesn't want to linger in, and he instead halfheartedly listens into the one sided conversation, his eyes searching hers as he hears his name spoken.

"Barton? He's here." Natasha mouthed the words "where's your phone" to Clint, who shrugged in reply, before returning her attention back to the call, listening for a few more minutes before speaking once again. "Okay, we'll make our way back for debriefing, send someone to pick us up, Barton crashed our Quinjet." Clint watched as she hung up, a sense of dread clenching at his stomach even more. He thought he knew what was coming, but waited for Tasha to confirm it. "We have to head back to Stark's; Fury's sending someone to pick us up for debriefing with him and the Council." She turned away to finish the last of her food and drink, missing the way the colour completely drained from his face, and the way his breath caught in his throat.

The Archer struggled to regain control, struggled to get much needed air back into his aching lungs. He couldn't go back to the Helicarrier; not yet, hell not ever; too many memories; too many reminders; too may eyes staring at him with revulsion and hate. He could feel the bile start to rise, knew he had to get away before it overflowed. He rose sharply; hiding his aches, his pains, behind a stoic mask, and spoke quickly. "Okay, I'm just gonna use the washroom, I'll be right back." He could feel the Assassins eyes upon him as he walked towards the hallway that led to the men's, knew he had used too many words and that he'd worried her; but he kept his gait slow and easy, trying for an air of nonchelance, even though inside he felt like fleeing. He didn't look back as he turned into the room, locking the door behind him. Ignoring the urinals and stalls he made his way to the small window at the back, thankful for his circus training and slight frame as he jimmied the lock and quickly slithered his way through the small opening. Dropping gracefully and quietly into the alley, without looking he stole away into the night, oblivious to the eyes that tracked him.

To be continued.

A.N. . . . . To try and get back into the swing of writing, I thought I'd try a new community. I hope you all enjoy, more to come soon, and I'll attempt to make the chapters longer. Peanut x