Disclaimer: I own no Avenger related anything, trust me I started a club
Beta Read by Kitty29, whom without the help, this would not have made the light of your screen. Thank you!
I knew that voice, or at least I should. Yet it was distorted with pain, worry, and a hacking cough that hindered his next sentence. "Steve! Tony's still in the truck, are you awake? Steve!"
Something heavy hit down beside me and I felt something flutter over my neck, then steady for five of my heart beats. A heavy sigh of relief until whoever had just checked my pulse stood and began coughing again at once. I knew I should be trying to get up, helping whichever of my teammates were clearly in dire need of it, but this whole experience felt so unreal that I did not try to fight off the black void that consumed me.
"—are one of the most ungrateful ass rockets I know!"
"You know I don't actually have a rocket in my ass. That would have been kind of cool though, I could have made it look like I was sitting down in the air."
God did my head hurt.
"Stark, focus! Steve's still out of it. We got to try and get a hold of the others. You got a cell phone or anything useful on you?"
If only they would stop talking for five seconds so I could get through this pain and remember what happened.
"Well I had one, before I got blown up and lost it. So sorry it didn't occur to me to grab it before the car exploded."
Blown up? That's right, hadn't we been in a car? Stark and Barton had been arguing over...something. Much like they were now, except my head hadn't felt like it was caving in before the explosion.
"Do you have anything useful to say?"
Please say no, let the noise stop so that I can get a little more stable before you guys go on verbally abusing each other.
"Actually I do, are you worried about your girlfriend?"
"That's so not useful right now."
I could finally feel my body again, my fingers were starting to twitch, I think I groaned, but it was unheard by my companions.
"I find it very valid as you just turned an amusing shade of red. So now I'm curious. What do the tabloids call you two? BlackHawk or Widow's Eye? Personally I like both, as it means Tasha's probably the dominant one."
I opened my mouth to try and get something out, maybe steer this conversation in a different direction before it got too violent, but this attempt was as weak as the last one, leaving Clint to retort, "Stark I swear if you don't shut up now I'm going to shove this arrow so far up your—"
"Guys," I croaked out, and was pleased at the silence that greeted this, though not so much when this one lone word turned into a hacking cough. I tried to open my eyes and get my bearings, but seemed unable to do so. Someone was gently lifting me up and onto my stomach while still trying to support my weight, making it a bit easier to breath, and the coughing to die down.
"Hey, Steve's back, yee fucking haw! Maybe now we can get moving, I'm melting," Tony's voice sneered.
"Wish you were," I heard Clint say from right beside me, leaving me in no doubt who was the friend to support my aching body. As I was gently lifted upright I managed to breathe a bit easier, and also get out a decent sentence. "What happened?" Well half decent.
"Oh great, now the great Captain doesn't remember shit! We're going to have to drag his ass through this god forsaken place and—"
"Stark! Shut the fuck up!"
I froze for a moment for the response I knew was coming, but was amazed when I heard nothing. No retorts, no witty comebacks. Actual silence.
For a moment I wondered if aliens had come and replaced him, until Clint shouted, "Tony!"
I heard a distinct thud where I thought Tony's voice might have been coming from, and Hawkeye was no longer at my side. It was frustrating beyond belief not to see what was going on, so I raised my hand up to my still burning face to see if something was covering my eyes.
"Don't touch Steve! You'll get them infected." Clint shouted back at me, and my hands froze in place. What was he talking about? Get what infected? This whole situation was becoming so disorienting that I slumped back down onto the surface below me.
"No, come on Cap don't pass out on me again. Gah! I can't do this by myself!" Clint growled.
I was slightly alarmed at the sound of panic creeping into his voice, stopping me from passing back out. I couldn't remember Hawkeye ever sounding that panicked in the years we had worked together. So I laboriously hauled myself into a sitting position, and tried to clear my throat. This however resulted in another bout of coughing, leaving me about as useless as a kitten.
Even after I stopped trying to hack up a lung I did not attempt speech again at first. Mostly out of fear it would start the whole thing up again. Yet when the silence continued to linger on, I rasped out, "Clint?"
"Yeah Steve, still present." His voice sounded strained, and I started to panic again at this. Plus the simple fact that I still couldn't see. What was wrong with me? Not even a blurry focus of anything, had I gone blind?
I needed answers, but first things first "Tony?" Ugh, I sounded like a chain smoker after an asthma attack.
"That's a good question." Barton muttered so low I almost didn't catch it. Then in a clearer voice he announced, "I'm not a hundred percent sure; smoke inhalation is my best guess. He's got a low grade fever, probably that cut on his leg might be getting infected—"
"How long have I been out?" I demanded. It must have been at least a few days for infections to already be setting in!
There was a brief silence where I assumed Clint was hesitating on whether to answer me or not before admitting, "Two days, give or take a bit. Depending on how long we were all knocked out at the same time."
I tried to mouth the word "two" but was overcome by another coughing spell. My throat was horrible, like dried sandpaper being dragged across the Sahara Desert. There was something vaguely warm with a slosh to it being placed in my hand, and I did not hesitate after that realization. Liquid, a smooth substance that would help the ache to go away.
I downed the whole bottle before coming back for breath, and was pleased when I once again attempted to clear my throat and found it in almost working order this time.
"Two days?" I finally managed to get out.
"Give or take," Clint repeated.
"What happened?" I demanded again, proud that this time my voice seemed much stronger for it.
Clint hesitated again, and when he finally spoke he sounded exhausted. "Look, you just drank the last of the water, and it's getting dark out. I'm going to refill the bottles and move you over here beside Tony so that you can like listen to his breathing or something. God I sounded like a freaking pedo just now."
Shame was the dominant emotion after that. "How far is the nearest water source?" Then before he could respond, "almost night fall! God dammit Clint why can't I see shit?"
"Wow, Tony's missing out on the symbol of America cursing like a teenager. He's going to be real upset when he wakes up." I glared at him best I could since I couldn't see him, and Clint quickly responded, "Look, just let me run out and get the water, all right? Hopefully Tony will have woken up by then and I'll fill you in okay."
"Why did Tony pass out?" I demanded, but I could already hear movement. The soft, almost undistinguished sounds of Hawkeye's boots moving across the hard surface beneath us as he came towards me. He gently grasped my shoulder, and half carried half dragged me over less than twenty feet to drop me almost gently beside the prone form of what I assumed to be my unconscious teammate.
"Answers in fifteen minutes, promise," Clint declared before there was utter silence to match the lighting.
Sadly it's going to take longer than fifteen minutes for you guys, but I do promise to have the next chapter up before Monday. To all those who celebrate it, Happy Easter.