Summary: *Sequel to Gemini Protocol* Six months ago, Avenger and SHIELD agent Clint Barton and former IMF agent, William Brandt, learned that they were only the living subjects of a genetic experiment meant to replicate the original super soldier project. Six minutes ago, they learned that their dead brother wasn't quite dead. And he's had some added enhancements. There was never just two.
Pairings: Clint/Natasha, oblivious!Will/Jane, some Aaron/Marta and Tony/Pepper. Nothing major is really going to happen in terms of romance. This story is mostly about the boys and their adventures…. So bromance all around!
Warnings: Language, I guess, because I have a potty mouth damn it. Also a strong possibility for crackish behaviors. Spoilers for The Avengers, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and The Bourne Legacy. Oh, and whump because… I write fanfiction for The Avengers. Apparently that's reason enough!
Disclaimer: I own nothing!
Author's Note: Hey everyone. If you're reading this, then yay! You're sticking with it. Sorry for the delays. It's just safe to say that 2013 has not been my year. I suffered yet another loss. This time it was completely unexpected and really upsetting. My mom who has always been my inspiration and biggest cheerleader passed away in August. So needless to say my inspiration and motivation to write was a little low. But I've finally started to process and so my interest in writing is making a comeback. Hopefully this chapter will be enjoyable. It's a little uneven. I started some of it before my mom and then I finished it this week. So if it's disjointed, forgive me. I hope you enjoy!
Tying Up Loose Ends
Once Aaron settled the issue of his name, another equally as pressing concern made itself known. Marta told him she was staying and working for SHIELD. Both his brothers worked for SHIELD. It seemed like a logical conclusion that he should also work for SHIELD. But at the same time, did he really want to tie himself to yet another government agency with another handler making his decisions for him? Could he really live through that again? Could he really place control of his life and his choices in the hands of someone else? Did he really think he was able to trust anyone like that after everything he went through with the Army and Outcome.
"Ah, Aaron, I was just coming to find you."
Aaron jerked his head to the left, not surprised to see the Suit… Phil approaching him. To say that he was a Suit, Phil was surprisingly difficult to read. The few Suits that Aaron was forced to interact with through his time with Outcome were all just bureaucrats. They weren't soldiers. They were fancily dressed liars that used people like Aaron as pawns. But Phil was different. Aaron saw from his interactions with Agent Sitwell and the rest of the Avengers that Phil definitely didn't think of any of them as pawns. He especially did not think of Clint as a pawn. That seemed to extend to Will. At first, Aaron thought that Phil favored Will because of his attachment to Clint but as he observed them over the past week, he realized that it may have started that way but Phil seemed to adore Will on an equal level as Clint. And it was becoming increasingly more obvious that despite the walls Aaron tried to desperately construct between him and anyone that didn't share his face, Phil cared about Aaron the same way.
That was evident in the way the older man was simply standing in front of Aaron, silently and patiently waiting for the conflicted super soldier to collect his thoughts enough to reply. Though Phil's face was blank as always, his green eyes were kind, patient and caring. It was foreign concept to Aaron. He didn't understand how that look could come from anyone wearing a suit. He didn't understand why he believed it coming from a Suit…. But he did.
"I, uh, was actually looking for you too," Aaron finally mumbled. He watched as Phil arched one eyebrow gracefully.
"Well, for starters, I wanted to apologize to you."
Now Phil's brow furrowed as if he couldn't possibly imagine what Aaron would be apologizing for. Aaron smiled faintly, knowing that Will was most likely on the receiving end of that look very often. They were only back together a few weeks and Aaron already remembered (and witnessed) Will's particular brand of self-induced guilt and martyrdom. Will seemed determined to take the blame for all the ills of the world… especially ills perpetrated by his twin. The most glaring example was the morning that Will spent apologizing almost endlessly to Ethan after Clint pushed his wheelchair out the infirmary window and straight down onto Ethan's car. Aaron probably would've felt bad as well if he wasn't so busy marveling at Clint's aim. They were 65 stories up. That was amazing. Oh, yeah and bad. Very bad. No wonder Will had that complex. Really needed to work on that.
Aaron shook his head as if trying to physically dislodge the circuitous thoughts going through his mind. Phil gave him a faint hint of a smile. Aaron shrugged. "I wanted to apologize for the way that I've treated you since you recovered Marta and I from Manila."
"Oh, you mean the part where you only refer to me as the Suit?" Phil asked with a huff of laughter. Aaron flushed. "It's okay. Did Clint ever tell you how we first met?"
"Yeah, he told me that he met you guys at a HYDRA cell when he was sixteen. Then he was with Deadpool for a year and then he was back at SHIELD."
"Did he ever happen to tell you the charming little nickname he came up for me and Nick during our first meeting?"
"No," Aaron replied slowly. Clint never spoke of either Phil or Nick with anything other than complete loyalty and admiration. But he also knew how the youngest twin's brain worked. He could only imagine what the sixteen year old, justifiably angry and defensive version of his baby brother could come up with. He wasn't left to imagine for long.
"He called us Secret Agents Thing 1 and 2. He was never clear on which one of us was 1 or 2," Phil's lips twisted into a faint smirk. "He kept it up for a few months after we brought him in full time. I never really minded, to be honest. I don't think Nick even registered it. Even now I'd take that over Wade's weird nicknames. He keeps calling me Cheese. I have no idea where he got that one from or why he insists that it should be my codename." Aaron felt a smile form almost against his will. "And for the record, Will was just as bad as Clint. I told him to call me Phil pretty much the day we met. I think he's only recently stopped calling me Agent Phil."
Aaron snickered. He could almost picture that and if he actually gave it some thought, he could see Will struggling to get used to talking to a superior agent in a non-formal setting. While he was more inclined to give respect than Clint (and Aaron), Will was just as much of a smartass as his brothers. The Agent Phil name was just his way of both rebelling and showing respect for the rules. His brothers were so bizarrely adorable and damaged.
"I guess I'm not too off then, huh?"
Phil shook his head. "Not at all, Aaron. You're not off at all."
Aaron couldn't help the warm fuzzy feeling that spread through him at Phil's firm, no nonsense response. He tried to ignore the smile he knew was on his face and instead cleared his throat.
"Well that wasn't the only reason I wanted to talk to you. I also wanted… I wanted to say that… I want to stay."
"Really?" Phil crossed his arms over his chest. The tablet in his hand was now flush against his chest. "Why do you want to stay?"
Aaron swallowed. "Them, mostly. Being around them feels… right. I've felt more like who I'm supposed to be with them around than I have in almost thirty years. But even more than just them, I was created, literally, to be a super soldier. It's in my blood. I don't think I could be an accountant or a paper pusher. None of those sound even remotely interesting to be honest."
"Please tell me that you don't have the same allergy to paperwork that Clint has."
Aaron widened his eyes in a terribly failed attempt at innocence. "I have no idea to what you're referring."
"Of course you don't," Phil smirked. "So you've obviously given this some thought. Any place in particular you were thinking of applying those skills?"
"I was hoping there might be a spot with SHIELD. I don't really think the Avengers need another super soldier, not to mention they see some things…." Aaron shook his head as some of the stranger cases his brother faced came back to him. "Besides, SHIELD is so secret, I could be in front of Byer and he probably wouldn't see me. Maybe he'll give up eventually."
Phil's grin grew a little more genuine. He motioned for Aaron to follow him. The fact that Aaron did move after him without hesitation was surprising to both of them. Aaron let the older man lead him to one of the many television lounges in the building. Aaron made a mental note to be concerned about the amount of televisions they had access to in this building. Who was really watching that much TV?
Aaron snapped out of his thoughts when he felt Phil guide him to a seat while also turning on the widescreen, too damn big television set. He watched as Phil channel surfed with seemingly no pattern until he finally settled on a news program. Aaron opened his mouth to comment on that when he finally saw what captured Phil's attention.
'Shocking news out of DC. Top secret information has been leaked to news sources across the world detailing government funded experiments on human beings. It appears that there have been numerous attempts at creating so called super soldiers. Earlier this week, CIA Deputy Director Pamela Landry and a man identified only as Jason Bourne brought similar information to the attention of the world. Government officials were quick to dismiss the testimonials as unfounded rumors and lies. But the documents that have come to light shared even more gruesome details about the scandal and the lengths they have taken to cover it all up. Several high ranking government officials have been detained for a more formal inquiry. But sources are reporting that the information leaked has been verified and is solid proof against these individuals. More on this story as it develops."
Aaron was grateful that he was sitting or he was pretty sure he would've hit the floor. Phil muted the television and continued to stand next to him. He never got too close but just close enough that Aaron could feel the quiet support he was offering by simply being there.
"I think you'll find that Mr. Byer and his associates will no longer be a concern for you. They've been exposed on a world wide level. It's probably easier to say on a Stark-wide level."
Aaron's eyes widened. "Tony did this?"
"Yes, well Tony with a little help from Nick no doubt. But I'm sure Stark will take full credit for this one."
"I assume that you're not asking why Tony would take full credit. You've been around him for over two weeks. I would hope by now that you figured out that he's an attention seeking brat at times," Phil grinned. Aaron nodded with a smile of his own. "Well to answer your question, it's because what they were doing was wrong. Because we care about you, Aaron. Because you're their brother. There are probably at least a hundred good reasons why Tony did this but I think the most important for him, and for all of us, is so that you could be free."
"Free," Aaron whispered around the sudden lump in his throat. He had no idea what that even felt like. He never really gave it much thought. Before the Army, he thought he would be trapped at Berwin or places just like it. Then after the Army, Outcome happened and he never thought he'd be free of the chemicals that finally liberated his mind and body. Even when Marta told him about the process to rid him of his chemical dependence, he felt certain that he would always have a target on his back. But now…. Now Outcome was gone. He was truly free. For the first damn time in his life he was free.
"It's over," he said, although it sounded slightly like a question even to his own ears.
"You are free to go where you want, whenever you want. So you sure you don't want that accountant job after all?"
Aaron gave a startled laugh and shrugged. He didn't know what to think at the moment. This definitely wasn't anything he ever expected but it was happening. He could go anywhere. He could do anything… yet…
Aaron raised an eyebrow as he heard his brother's name bellowed from outside. He and Phil walked to the window. From where they stood they could see into the courtyard just outside the infirmary. As they were only two stories above, Aaron could clearly make out his youngest brother's smirking features. The reason for his amusement, as well as the source of the irritated yell, was none other than Clint's usual target for his occasional displays of juvenile amusement and torture, Jasper Sitwell. Aaron watched as Clint wheeled around the courtyard in the Stark modified wheelchair they used to replace the previously discarded model. He was somehow managing to dodge Jasper's attempts at grabbing him. Aaron would be worried about what that said about the agent's skills but Aaron had enough experience at this point to know that the things that Tony built sometimes defied logic and the laws of physics and nature. Frigging science.
Aaron's head tilted to the side as he felt a spark of amusement that was not his own. He wasn't surprised to see Will perched atop one of the courtyard tables, hunched over and blatantly laughing as Jasper failed to catch the smug archer. Aaron took a moment to study the middle brother. Will was dressed casually today. Benji told Aaron that Will almost never wore anything other than a suit until he and Clint found one another. And even then he was still almost always wearing a suit and tie. But ever since the three brothers reunited and were back at the Tower, Aaron had yet to see Will in anything other than jeans. Fall was coming to an end and there was a slight chill was in the air though the sun was shining brightly. Will was wearing the same purple hoodie that he claimed to hate. He looked happy. Aaron found that he liked this version of his brother. For once Aaron didn't see the shadows in Will's eyes. He didn't see the metaphorical weight of the world weighing him down. For once Will looked his age. It was a good look on him.
"Barton, wheel your ass over here!"
"Hell no! Do I look stupid to you?" he paused to jab a finger in Will's direction. "Keep your comments to yourself and just remember that we're identical, jerk!"
Will held his hands up in mock innocence but Aaron felt his sarcastic glee. The smirk playing on his lips didn't lend much credibility to that innocence but Clint was oblivious as he resumed dodging Jasper once again. Aaron felt Will's emotions even stronger as the middle brother looked up to meet his gaze. The smirk turned into a genuine smile that Aaron knew was matched on his own face. Will gave a little wave before gesturing towards Clint and Sitwell's bizarre chase. Aaron smiled wider.
He was free to do or be whoever he wanted to be wherever he wanted for the first time in his life. And right now all he wanted to be was a big brother. Everything else could be filled in later. All he really wanted to, no, all he really needed was to be right here, right now. Smiling wider than he had in years, he opened the window. But first he turned to Phil.
"So yeah, I was serious about that job. Can't wait. Really."
With that said, Aaron launched himself out the window, climbing down most of the way and jumping the rest to land in a graceful crouch next to the now stationary Clint (who was midway through attempting to use Will as a human shield). Jasper stopped, looking between the three brothers and then to the still observing Phil above.
"No," Jasper shook his head. "I refuse to deal with three of them, Phil."
"It's not so bad," Phil yelled back. "At least one and a half of them are somewhat sane."
Will and Aaron exchanged glances. "You're the half," they shouted in unison. Clint shook his head.
"So glad we all know that I'm the totally crazy one."
"Not something to be proud of," Will reminded him. Clint shrugged. Jasper blanched.
"There are three of them. I'm so done. I quit."
"You can't quit. You have a contract!"
"I'm breaching it."
"I swear to god, I'm going to shoot you, Barton! Cripple or not!"
Despite his ongoing hate affair with the wheelchair, Clint had to admit that there were some advantages the chair. For one, his still slowly healing leg didn't hurt as bad when he was keeping the weight off of it. And on that note, he was seriously campaigning for some of whatever Aaron got juiced with. They were shot at the same time in roughly the same place and yet the oldest brother was skipping around like nothing happened. It was so not fair. Then again the fact that he was practically healed and Clint was not was probably the reason that Aaron was usually the first to volunteer for the second advantage of being stuck in a wheelchair. That, of course, being that there was always someone volunteering to push the chair. Not that Clint really needed the assistance when he was in Tony's tricked out chair… but he was forced to leave that one behind when they went out in public. Something about not attracting more attention than they already did. Whatever that was supposed to mean. So he was back to needing someone to help him since he couldn't really get around as easily in a normal wheelchair with only one functioning arm.
The self-appointed Clint pushers for the afternoon were none other than his very own brothers. Shortly after Jasper's breakdown, Phil ordered them to clear out for a while and find someone else to harass. After sixteen years of dealing with Jasper and his rage fits, Clint knew that was just code for go hang out somewhere else until Jasper got over his little rage moment. Clint mostly agreed because he really did believe that the sight of all of three of them together was enough to finally cause the usually composed agent to mentally break down. This time he may actually need to bribe his way back into Jasper's somewhat good graces. Sadly, it was an all too familiar routine for Clint. He's had to do it before and he's sure that he'll most likely have to bribe him again in his lifetime. Hell, probably even in the next month. Fortunately, he knew exactly what to do. This time it was fixable by appealing to Jasper's weakness. Clint remembered one occasion where it wasn't that easy. But the less that was said about the whole super Nair incident of '05 the better. Clint would go to his grave stating that it was so not his fault that Jasper's hair never grew back.
At any rate, Clint knew that if he, or anyone that looked like him, wanted to avoid being shot on sight upon returning to the Tower, he needed an awesome bribe. And sixteen years allowed for excellent insight into the proper ways to bribe the man. Jasper had a sweet tooth like no other and had developed somewhat of an addiction to the cinnamon rolls from The Stand. Clint couldn't blame him. He was almost completely certain that the white powder sprinkled across the top wasn't sugar, it was pure crack. Those things were so damn good. And he knew that Jasper wouldn't shoot him with a box of those in his hands. So he cleared out and made his way to The Stand with Will and Aaron on either side of Clint's chair, each with a hand on one of the handles. Normally, Clint hated the wheelchair because it made him feel weak and vulnerable. But right now, he felt safe and comfortable. And he knew it absolutely had everything to do with the two of them. He felt surprisingly okay with that.
"Huh, I just realized something." Clint tilted his head back to get a better look at his twin on his left. He arched an eyebrow. "This is where it all began."
"Yeah, you're right," Clint murmured. Seven months ago, they had no idea the other existed. It was all a matter of chance that bought Tony and Thor to their favorite coffee shop at the same time as Will and Benji. But that meeting sparked a series of events that led to the three of them all being reunited after twenty six years apart. And it all started at The Stand with Delilah and her need to fuss over Clint and people who looked like him and….. "Oh, shit!"
"I can't go in there looking like this!" Clint gestured to his sling encased arm and the wheelchair. "Delilah will never let us leave again. I mean she's probably already going to want to keep us there for life when she realizes that there are three of us. But she'll never let me go home again if she sees this."
"Melodramatic but accurate," Will agreed. Aaron's brow furrowed. Clint could feel the question buzzing through their connection. Will met his confused gaze. "Delilah is like our unofficial grandmother. Of course our official but not really grandmother is Phil's mom. She makes awesome chicken dumplings by the way. Anyway, Delilah has decided that despite Clint's obvious full on crazy, she loves him and wants to protect him. I'm not quite sure what she thinks he does for a living because he constantly looks like he went five rounds with a meat cleaver but whatever. Looking like him gets us delicious goodies for free. So no complaints."
Aaron snorted. "And then sometimes it's beyond obvious that you two came from the same egg." He nodded at Clint. "So you want to stay out here? You sure you'll be okay?"
Clint narrowed his eyes. "Dude, you're parking me in front of a coffee shop in Midtown at one in the afternoon. I think I'll find a way to survive without you two."
"You want I should get you a cup or something," Will grinned. "You could collect some spare change or something. Maybe finally start earning your keep around here."
"I take back every nice thing I've ever said about this whole triplet thing. It's making his sarcasm worse," Clint groused. He complained even louder as Will ruffled his hair. He felt that he was completely justified in punching him in the gut in retaliation, even if Aaron didn't.
The oldest brother simply shook his head and separated the twins, pushing one in front of him and into the store and silently ordering the other to stay put. Clint rolled his eyes. Where the hell was he going to go anyway? He was pretty sure that Bruce would full on kill him if he managed to lose or damage yet another wheelchair. So he went where the chair went. And, as far as he was concerned, that meant that he was going nowhere. Unfortunately, he wasn't the one making that decision as he felt his chair moving backwards suddenly.
Clint snapped his head up and glanced over his shoulder to see who was moving the chair. His brothers were still in the shop. He could see Delilah pinching Aaron's cheeks much to Will's obvious delight. So if they were there, then who the hell was manhandling his chair? He frowned when he couldn't make out a face only a gun. He sighed and leaned back in his chair, resigned to let this play out as it would. He only had to wait a few short minutes as he was led into an alley around the corner from the shop. He rolled his eyes again. Really? How cliché. The dude was probably going to monologue at some point. Was there no creativity in the villains these days? He felt justified in calling his would be kidnapper a villain because really? Who else would take a seemingly helpless man in a wheelchair into an alley at gunpoint but a villain?
"So," Clint drawled as they finally came to a stop. "Are you in the habit of regularly kidnapping crippled dudes off the street or was there an actual point to this? And it better be good. You just screwed my streak. I almost made it three months without disappearing or being kidnapped. Now I'm never going to hear the end of it. Oh well, so who are you and why are you pointing a gun to my head in a dark, creepy alley?"
The man towering over him (still with the gun aimed at Clint's head) looked faintly surprised at Clint's outburst. His brown eyes were wide open and Clint could practically read the confusion there. But he could also tell that the man wasn't confused that he just kidnapped a man, more like just realizing that he most likely grabbed the wrong one. Judging from the way he was grabbed, Clint knew his new friend was expecting a certain person based off the face but now that he opened his mouth, the speech patterns were all wrong. Clint sighed, realizing that for the second time in the seven months he knew he had brothers, he had just been kidnapped because he shared a face with two other people. Damn triplet shenanigans working against him!
"You're not Aaron," the man finally said. His voice was awed and quiet. "You look just like him but you're…. you're not him."
"That's correct. Definitely not Aaron."
"So it's true. There really was more than one. I didn't think that it was possible. But Aaron really did have a brother."
"You know, I'd ask how you heard about that but if I've learned anything through my years as a superhero, it's that you bad guy types love to monologue about the evil things you do. And nothing could possibly be worse than actually experimenting on babies and/or the mentally ill. So yeah, the rumors are true. There are more than one of us running around. Imagine this beautiful face everywhere you see," Clint quipped. "Now tell me if I'm wrong here, Captain Obvious. But judging from the fact that you clearly know who Aaron is and from the gun still pointed at me, you want to shoot him, so I'm guessing you must be Byer."
"He talked about me?"
"Not exactly. Mentioned you once but I mostly know your name from Tony. You know Tony… Tony Stark aka the guy that ended your career and pretty much the careers of anyone associated with Outcome, Treadstone, Blackbriar and LARX"
Byer glared, his hold tightening on the gun. "And that's why I want to shoot you. Aaron and that flashy bastard Stark ruined my life."
Clint scoffed. "I feel bad about that. Really. I do. My heart bleeds for you, dude."
"No, it doesn't. Not yet anyway. But you will. You will bleed before this is over. I'm going to use you as bait to lure your twin out. And then I'm going to kill you both."
Clint nodded slowly, his lips pursed in thought. "Hmm, solid plan, aside from the whole ridiculous movie villain monologue. Just three not exactly inconsequential issues with the plan."
"Oh yeah. And what would those be?"
"Well, one it's pretty safe to say that you're screwed without backup. I assume you know what Aaron is capable of and I hope you don't think that you or that gun is going to be able to take him down before he gets to you. And please don't bother pointing out that you did bring backup because those pathetic wastes of flesh shouldn't count as backup for anything seeing how easy it was to take them out. That bring us to number two which is that Aaron is already here and he's pretty pissed off,"Clint grinned. He felt a more incessant buzzing in the back of his head. And one day he would actually try and understand how and why he knew how to identify his brothers simply by emotion in only a week but that was neither here nor there. Now, he was going to enjoy watching them kick ass and take names.
"You said there were three problems. What's the third?" Byer asked, eyes darting around the alley.
"Oh, that's the real kicker there. See the thing is Aaron is not my twin. Will is and he really has this thing about people pointing guns at me. It bothers him. Makes him all twitchy and aggressive."
Clint looked to the shadows beyond Byer. "You could've mentioned that the dude you were that paranoid about really isn't that bright."
"Well, in my defense he seemed a lot smarter than me at the time," Aaron's voice sounded somewhere above them. "But I guess unemployment and world wide blacklisting has made him a little desperate." There was a noticeable pause. "And stupid."
"Aaron?" Byer asked. He looked around as if trying to glimpse the oldest triplet. Clint resisted the urge to laugh. Did the man know absolutely nothing about Aaron? The oldest brother was the only one who came close to Clint's level of stealth. He wasn't seen unless he wanted you to. The archer didn't fight the urge to sigh though. Really? This was the guy that Aaron was so afraid of?
"Show yourself, Aaron, or I swear I will shoot your little twin here."
"Damn, you really don't listen," Aaron laughed. "He's not my twin."
"He's mine," Will chimed in as he appeared beside Byer. The man swiveled to point the gun at the new threat. He was disarmed in less than ten seconds. Will grinned training the man's own gun on him. He was also holding another gun he no doubt grabbed off one of Byer's lackeys. Or he had it on him. Clint really didn't know… or ask. Will had a thing for guns. It was a lot like Natasha's thing for knives. It was oddly endearing and adorable. Will's grin grew. Clint smirked as Will handed him one of the guns.
"So what were you saying about shooting someone?"
Byer gulped and took a step back only to run into the solid wall of flesh that was Aaron. Clint dragged his chair forward so that the previously gloating former man was surrounded. Byer glared at them, still failing to understand that he was totally and completely screwed. Again. This was the man that Aaron was running from?
"This isn't over," Byer threatened. "You think you did something big in shutting us down? You haven't even touched the tip of the iceberg here. You might have stopped us but more will come."
"Awesome," Clint nodded. "And when they do, we'll shut them down too."
"For every one of you that pops up, we'll be there to cut them down," Will promised. "As far as you're concerned, this is over. You think that Tony screwed you, wait till you meet the rest of our team. That would be the Avengers in case you missed the giant clue by four."
"And you probably did," Clint chimed in. "We have a Hulk. Not to mention a Black Widow." Byer paled. "Yeah, her reputation precedes her as usual."
"Aaron," Byer pleaded, whirling around to face their older brother. "It wasn't that bad, was it? Think about where you were before we came along. You were a retarded nobody. And now you're better than you ever would've been."
Aaron's jaw tensed as he lowered his eyes. "I wasn't a nobody. I've never been nobody. I was and I still am Kenneth. I'm their brother." He looked up and met Byer's gaze with a glare that made Clint happy that none of them could shoot lasers out of their eyes (though that was something to explore with Loki in the future). "If I even think I see you near my brothers again, you'll regret it." He lashed out with a punch that sent Byer crumpling to the ground.
"The bigger they are... well, the bigger they are," Clint laughed, looking at the unconscious figure on the ground.
"You okay?" Will asked, kneeling in front of Clint, eyes roaming over his twin carefully.
"Will, I'm fine. You know that."
"Yeah, I know," Will huffed. He shifted his weight so that he was in a more comfortable crouch. "What do we do with him now?"
"I guess we should call it in," Aaron suggested.
"Ugh," Clint grimaced. "Please call anyone other than Tony, Bruce, Steve, Thor, Phil, Nat, Darcy, Jasper, Jane, Dr. Jane, Benji, Maria or Director Fury."
"So basically don't call anyone that works for SHIELD or is affiliated with the Avengers. Got it. Why now?"
"I'll never hear the end of it and they'll probably try to lock me up for my own protection or whatever. Or they'll never stop making fun of the fact that I got grabbed by a dude in front of a coffee-shop."
"Right, about that. How exactly did that happen? You could've got up at any time. You're not actually confined to that chair. So, why did you stay?" Will asked.
Clint shrugged. "Curiosity?"
"Why the hell were you curious about a guy with a guy waving a gun in your face?" Aaron asked, incredulously.
Clint raised an eyebrow and stuck his hand out. "Hi, my name is Clint Barton. Have you met me?"
Will laughed at the look on Aaron's face. Clint didn't bother to elaborate. He knew Aaron would figure it out eventually. And if he didn't, Will would explain it. And sometimes it really did pay to be the younger brother. Aaron gave him a look like he knew what he was thinking. Clint paused. He probably did.
"You have issues," Aaron said, confirming that he did in fact know exactly what Clint was thinking. The archer grinned. "Anyway, so who are we going to call?"
"Ethan," Will replied. "He's the least likely to have a heart attack about all this."
And that would've been true if Ethan was alone. But it seemed that luck was not in their favor as Ethan was most definitely not alone.
"So which one of you got kidnapped this time? Tony and I are betting that it was Clint as usual. But Bruce seems to think that Will attracts trouble just as much as his twin. Darcy seems pretty convinced it was all three of you."
"Really?" Clint and Will exclaimed in unison as Benji and Jane stepped out the van that Ethan pulled up to the front of the alley they were waiting in. "You bought them both with you?"
Ethan frowned. "Have I ever mentioned how creepy it is when you two dress alike and start talking in unison?"
"Several times," they answered. "Pretty much the only reason we do it."
"Okay," Ethan sighed. "Look I know you didn't want to bring anyone else but they were already with me. I couldn't exactly get away without explaining what happened. Just be happened that we weren't back at the Tower or we'd have the whole crew."
"And again I ask which one of you got kidnapped this time?" Benji repeated.
Clint glared at the wheelchair that was now occupied by Byer. After calling Ethan, they realized it would be better to secure Byer somehow. The only question was to how they were supposed to do that while standing in the middle of an alley. The answer came when Will sheepishly handed Aaron a roll of duct tape. Clint honestly had so many questions and he could feel Aaron practically biting his lip not to ask but he kept it to himself. So they used the duct tape that none of them wanted to know why Will was carrying around to tie Byer down. They would've secured the other men as well but a quick check showed that none of them would be moving any time soon. Will really didn't like it when people waved a gun at his brothers. Like at all.
"I wouldn't say kidnapped so much as wheeled into a dark alley by a desperate paper pusher that wanted to execute me because he thought I was him," Clint retorted jabbing a thumb in Aaron's direction. "By the way, I'm officially done with that wheelchair. The next person that suggests I use it ends up like Byer over here."
Ethan and Benji both rolled their eyes but set about hauling the bodies of Byer's backup into the waiting van. Clint was about to comment on the fact that Will and Aaron were totally capable of helping when he noticed that Will was very much occupied at the moment.
"You're sure you're not hurt?" Jane asked, standing way closer to Will than was completely necessary… per the usual. Clint smirked.
"Yes," Will smiled softly. "You know it wasn't was me that was 'wheeled into a dark alley', right?"
"No, but it was you taking on at least four armed men," Jane countered. She tilted his head from side to side, silently examining him. She smiled when she found no trace of any damage. "You need to take care of yourself."
"I try," Will murmured. "But I'm fine, okay?"
"So why didn't you want me to find out?"
"Because I knew that you would worry and I'm fine."
"Of course I worry about you," Jane argued. "You worry about me, right?"
Will flushed. "Yeah, but that's…" he trailed off. His hand lifted to mirror her position hovering over his cheek. "Yeah, I get it. Sorry."
"It's okay. I'm just glad you're not hurt."
"Me too," Will whispered in response.
They trailed off as they leaned even further into one another's space. Any closer and they would be the same person. Not that either of them would've minded. Clint rolled his eyes. He would never understand why neither of those two idiots would make a move. It was beyond obvious to even the most oblivious individuals that they were both clearly interested in one another. Yet neither of them would act on it. It was frustrating and kind of annoying.
"And they say I'm the damaged one," Clint grumbled.
"You know," Aaron started, leaning over Clint's shoulder. "In the movies, this would be the part where they're supposed to be kissing."
"You'll learn. Those two have some sort of defective setting that prevents them from acting on their obvious unspoken sexual tension."
"Has anyone ever thought about just telling them?"
"We tried," Clint sighed. "It's hopeless. Benji and Tony even did a PowerPoint presentation once detailing all the ways in which they're pissing us off with their crap. It literally went in one ear and out the other for Jane. I don't think it even registered for Will. He's got some serious interpersonal relationship issues." Aaron raised an eyebrow, looking at Clint incredulously. The archer narrowed his eyes. "Yeah, I know what I just said. Now just try imagine how emotionally screwed up you have to be if even I think you have problems."
Clint could see the smile that Aaron was trying to fight. He could also see the moment where he gave up the fight. Clint beamed with pride as he watched his oldest brother giggling like a child. Aaron didn't laugh nearly enough. He made a mental note to fix that as soon as possible. But for now he could just bask in the fact that he reduced Aaron to a giggling mess while simultaneously annoying the heck of Will who was now glaring daggers at his brothers.
"I hate you two so much sometimes."
"It's not nice to lie to yourself, Willy," Aaron retorted. "You love us all of the time." Will rolled his eyes but his lips wouldn't stop twitching into a smile.
"You're both idiots."
"Yes, but we're your idiots," Clint countered. "Separately we're pretty great but together we're awesome. We're the Triad of Awesome."
"Oh, does that mean we get a secret handshake? I kind of always wanted a secret handshake," Aaron said.
"No," Will cut him off. "No, secret handshakes! Isn't it enough that we all look alike?"
"But…" Aaron trailed off with a pout in place. Will's left eye twitched. His mouth opened like he wanted to say something more but he cut himself off, chewing on his lip. Clint smirked. Will was such a pushover sometimes under the sibling induced pressure.
"We can get cool rings," Clint offered. He watched as his twin's resistances and determination to act like an adult collapsed. Clint would question why he even bothered, but honestly someone needed to be an adult and Clint firmly claimed 'not it' on that years ago.
"Okay," Will replied, a grudging smile forming on his lips. "Maybe we can have a secret handshake. But only if they're cool decoder type rings. I always wanted one of those."
"Oh my god," Ethan muttered, still loud enough for them to hear. "There really are three of them. The world is doomed."
"Aaron, remind me to drop another wheelchair on Ethan's car," Clint murmured. "Also remind me to use the one with Byer in it."
"But of course."
Yeah, this triplet thing was pretty awesome. It was made even more apparent when Will finally handed him a cup of still warm coffee. He also held up a large white box full of something sweet smelling that bore the words, 'sorry for earlier. Please don't shoot us', in Will's neat precise handwriting. There was even a smiley face next to the writing.
"Can't forget our bribe."
"He's not really going to shoot us….right?"
"It's Sitwell. He's like a postal worker. He'll put up with all the rain, sleet, snow and alien invasion crap only for so long. Then boom something like genetically engineered triplets falls on his lap and he's snapping. I for one am not getting shot. I've fulfilled my quota for the year."
"I would ask you why you even have a quota but I remember that you and Clint came from the same egg. That explains it all."
"How is it that I still get blamed even when it's Will being a weirdo?"
"Same egg," Will and Aaron repeated in unison.
Clint grinned. Yeah, this triplet thing was definitely going to work out just fine.
*So I hope that you all enjoyed. It's the end… pretty much for now. I think that I might add a couple of one-shots in here just to show how they're all coping with one another but I think I'm pretty much done with this particular tale of the triplet's lives.