See chapter 1 for disclaimers and warnings.
This fic was written for a prompt by my friend soncnica, who asked for brotherly bonding after we watched The Avengers and The Bourne Legacy together :) I hope you like it, babe!
Lots of love to my betas! To anuna_81 for helping me figure out how the characters tick :D And to missm0neypenny, your lovely comments made me chuckle and your eagle eye was wonderful, thanks so much! :D And a special thanks to venitinmentem for helping me stay sane and cheering me on, and to frea_o for word wars and pointing out that I overused passive voice ;) Last but not least I'd like to thank inkvoices again for the gorgeous icons :) Thanks ladies, you are awesome!
Finally, a really big, big thank you to everyone who commented, kudo'd, favorited or in any other way let me know that they enjoyed this fic. I loved writing it, I love this verse and I love these boys. So if you enjoyed it, please let me know. Feedback from the readers is the only thing a fanfic author gets and I'd love to hear from you. Now I hope you enjoy the last chapter, it's a short one ;)
Thicker Than Water - Chapter 7
Clint wakes slowly. Nothing hurts, his brain feels like it's packed in cotton wool and that is his first indication that he's in medical. Again. The steady beeps of a heart rate monitor are his second, and if he needed more proof, the scratchy sheets would complete the picture. He sighs and experimentally moves his fingers and toes. He concludes happily that everything works, although he can feel a dull ache in his left thigh. Someone clears their throat to his right and Clint lazily blinks open his eyes as he turns towards the sound.
"Look who's back," Aaron says from the bed next to him. He's lying on his left side and smiles at Clint when their eyes meet.
"Whatcha doing here?" Clint asks, genuinely dumbfounded.
Aaron lifts his bandaged right hand, an IV port protruding from it.
"Dehydration. And I bruised my back when that brace fell on me," Aaron explains, his grin sheepish.
"You're an idiot," Clint replies as the door opens and Coulson strides in.
"He's a Barton, what do you expect?" Coulson says with that annoying smirk of his and Clint has to grin.
"I would be offended if I didn't feel so good right now," Clint throws back just as Aaron splutters a very dignified, "What?"
"Get used to the feeling, Clint, you're gonna be here a while. Doctor Webber patched up your leg and it should be good as new in a few weeks. But you've earned yourself a few days of IV antibiotics thanks to a nice infection setting in. Congratulations," Coulson deadpans. "You'll probably feel worse before you feel better, though."
"Anyone ever tell you that your bedside manner sucks?" Aaron asks.
Coulson turns to him and says, "I'm supposed to tell you that Dr. Shearing is stuck in the pressure chamber with an experiment until tomorrow morning. She sends her regards and you are to meet her in your quarters when you leave tomorrow."
"She didn't say it like that, did she?" Aaron asks.
"No, she didn't. But when I told her that you're going to be good to go tomorrow she stopped yelling immediately."
Aaron lets out a deep breath and Clint smiles at the look of relief on his younger brother's face.
Clint's throat is suddenly dry, as he wishes for Natasha to call him an idiot and other things while running her fingers through his hair.
Coulson's eyes find his and as if he could read Clint's mind he says, "Natasha knows and is expected back stateside within forty-eight hours. Well, knowing her, she'll be here by morning."
Clint grins at the accuracy of the statement.
Coulson turns to leave, already at the door when he seems to think better of it and addresses them both.
"One more thing. Should you ever consider procreating, please try to make sure your women's DNA is prevalent. I won't survive another generation of Bartons."
Aaron looks at Clint with big eyes and snorts out a laugh as the door closes behind Coulson. It's infectious and Clint can't resist joining in. His brother's eyes crinkle with laugh lines and Clint sees his shoulders relax as Aaron gives into the moment. A warm and fuzzy feeling spreads through Clint at the shared mirth. He laughs until his side hurts and exhaustion gently pulls him towards sleep. His brother's melodious chuckles are his lullaby and he dreams of three little boys laughing and playing catch in the prairie grass amidst large shade trees. He sleeps soundly that night.