A/N: This is my first ever Avengers fic and posting it is making me nail-biting nervous. :P I struggled with the characterization a bit, so I hope I got everyone right. Anyway, enjoy!
That's a good thing; it means I'm alive.
I can't see anything, so either I hit my head or the world's been struck by some plague of darkness in the last few minutes. I try to move my head—yep, definitely hit, and hard.
Yelling. There's also a lot of yelling.
I struggle to focus my senses for a minute and then I can start to make out voices:
"Clint, can you hear me?" Natasha.
"Back up and give him some air." Steve.
"What were you thinking?" Natasha's furious. I am so going to pay for this later.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
At least that's what I try to say; it actually comes out as a groan.
"Good, you're alive." She's still mad. I can hear that in her voice, but there's also a small note of relief no one but me might notice.
"Natasha," Steve's voice is gentle, "Let him breathe."
"Like a cat, he always lands on his feet."
I regain control of my voice and reply: "Are you seriously laughing at me, Stark? Right now, when I'm lieing here bleeding."
I manage to squeeze my eyes open enough to notice Steve giving Tony the look. It has the desired effect; Tony shuts up.
Banner sighs. "Ok, don't move. I need to make sure nothing's broken." Another disapproving sigh and he adds, "Nothing vital."
Nothing is more annoying than being told not to move. I settle for twitching my fingers and nose. It's almost still. It's even harder to stay still as Banner pokes and prods at me, his fingers catching on several sore areas. This results in several pained breaths from me, which, in turn, brings several worried tut-tuts from the air above me.
"A few ribs, definitely," Bruce reports, "And probably his collarbone. And that's just the broken bones, to say nothing of internal bleeding or other injuries. We need to get him back to S.H.I.E.L.D. for a proper x-ray."
His put-out tone tells me that he is taking all this very personally, like I did all this just to give him a headache. Which is sort of offensive. I usually make my stupid decisions to save my fellow soldiers, not annoy them. If that's how he feels about it, then... My moment of introspection is interrupted by a sudden jolt.
One minute I am lying horizontal and the next I'm standing—well, stumbling, actually—vertical. The sudden movement makes me dizzy and I puke—all over the god of Thunder's boots. Great.
There is a low rumble that is hopefully Thor laughing and not, you know, getting ready to blast me off the face of the planet.
I change positions again, this time completely suspended off the ground in Thor's arms.
I can feel Thor begin to walk away and I realize he is carrying me to the helicopter. How humiliating.
"I can walk, Thor."
I open my eyes, because I figure looking everyone in the eyes makes my argument look a little more convincing.
Great, now Steve's giving me the look.
I wouldn't admit this for the world—and will deny it, if asked later—but it's sort of a relief to be forced. I don't think I could have walked far, anyway.
Trying to save face, I lob a parting shot at Captain Valiant over there: "Well, I feel like a Disney princess, but as long as you're happy, Steve."
Steve's face starts to crinkle, but I am not about to let him play dumb. For reasons I don't care to go into, I do know that Snow White pre-dates Steve's ice nap.
"And don't you dare tell me you don't know what a Disney princess is, or so help me, Cap, I will make you watch a marathon of every single Disney film ever made."
"I could help with that!" Stark's back. "Pepper owns all the Disney movies."
Steve just pats me on the arm with a smile, like he's sure this threat is just a result of the head trauma.
We step aboard the helicopter and Thor lays me down, surprisingly gently, on a bench.
"Will he be quite safe here, Dr. Banner? It is best not to jostle broken ribs."
I am touched by his concern, but I am suddenly quite afraid that Thor intends to hold me for the whole flight back.
I close my eyes and leave them to figure it out. I really just want to rest.
A shadow falls over my face. I look up into Tasha's face. She gives me a small smile and sits down beside me. She settles my head in her lap and runs her fingers through my hair.
"You're an idiot," She whispers against my cheek.
I'm an idiot, but a lucky one. I have a whole family worrying over me.