A/N: So most of this story is already roughed out, but a few alterations need to be accomplished along the way. For now please enjoy the first chapter!
Synopsis: So, after a wonderful prompt by Avengers Fanfiction Guidelines. In it was mentioned the intriguing reality that Clint is 80% deaf, so prepare your pants kids for PeechTao's version. Also included: a SURPRISE appearance by someone we all know and love, and who i have NEVER included in my stories. Please enjoy! Other prompts from Byakko Loki will include Clint's random appearances in high places.
The long lasting implication of a single act is the basis of the Butterfly effect. One decision, made hastily, could alter the course of one's history. For the better, or the worse, these moments of decision come without warning. It is at this moment we are tested to the very extent of ourselves and the human condition is measured against a scale of selfishness or self-sacrifice. It is at this time, that critical period that may only be a few fleeting seconds, where a true brother, friend, leader, is gauged for his worth.
Clint Barton had two such moments in his life. One occurred in a Dunkin Doughnuts over a morning bagel. Clint was only a kid, straight out of three different circus acts and causing trouble with a few of the shadier underworlds. He expected that the appearance of a man dressed in a black suit and tie meant he was on his way to getting arrested. Somehow the man convinced him to sit down, finish eating, and let him explain.
That man was Phil Coulson. He represented SHIELD and Clint was officially recruited if only he said yes. So in that Dunkin Doughnuts shop over his salt bagel and Pineapple cream cheese, Clint's life would change. Therefore, so would Thursday mornings. Forever after, Clint and Coulson would go on to share that private time every Thursday, no matter where they were, whether together or apart. It was always Bagel Thursday.
Clint Barton's second moment came in the midst of a firefight. It was Egypt. The heat was enough to peel tar off the pavement, crack rocks in half and break any man of his will to move. It was the middle of the day. The sun was heavy above them, beating against their backs. Tony in his Iron Man suit was probably baking from the inside out. He had suffered enough damage to knock out his cooling jets.
Steve was covered in sweat. His own uniform did little to wick the moisture from his back and chest. His shield was over his head, keeping off the sun and deflecting the random gunfire at the same time. Clint was pressed against a crumbled wall directly beside the Captain. His quiver was on the other side of the wall and out of reach. The strap had broken while reflecting a bullet meant for Clint's chest.
Across from them was the line of assailants. Twelve strong, typically not a match for them, but there was a singular advantage. Somehow the men had gotten their hands on a sonic destabilizer. Upon first introduction to the weapon, Clint, Steve and Tony were all sprawled across the ground, ears bleeding in utter pain. A modification of Tony's own device originally meant to paralyze but now manipulated to kill.
SHIELD caught first wind of it on the recent mission in Palestine. A village, deemed not even a target, was found dead from what looked like nothing short of their brains being scrambled. One look at the file Tony "just happened" to intercept, and suddenly he knew exactly what they were dealing with. After all, it had been done to him once before. Tony also knew the device had been modified, so he upgraded their equipment just for the occasion. Apparently those upgrades weren't enough. The only saving grace was the impromptu malfunction the machine experienced. The insurgents were working to fix that now while the Avengers took the opportunity to get back on their feet and fight.
"Tony, we've got to destroy that thing!" Steve called over to Iron Man.
"Yeah, trying here." Tony told him. He fussed with the cuff on his arm, pulling a small rocket from the malfunctioning launcher, he tossed it toward the group and fired a repulsor which set the explosion off. Unfortunately the insurgents replied to his attack with their own RPG.
Clint felt himself tumble through the air. The world was spinning. The small wall he was hunkered behind blasted around them until it was left to dust. Across from him Tony was stretched across the ground. He wasn't moving. To Clint's immediate right was Steve. His face was bleeding down him chin. He moved slowly, trying to get to his feet. A long piece of rebar was sticking through his side.
Clint got up. He grabbed his quiver. It had fallen at his feet. The arrows were scattered around him.
The insurgents were shifting. The sonic machine was working again. They pressed something into their ears, protecting themselves from the sound.
Clint knew it was coming. This was the moment his life could change forever. He looked at Steve. The world was moving at a crawl around him. Steve had made it to his feet but just barely. He meant to rush the line. He wouldn't be fast enough before that device had him flat. Tony. Tony was fighting with his own suit, peeling away armor that had superheated in the sun and blast. He was baking. He was helpless. He was trapped.
The sonic device wrenched through their skulls. Clint's hand was on the arrowhead he searched for, but the overwhelming paralysis was beating through his very brain. His body was catatonic. His mind rapidly tried to solve some way to save them.
It was either him, or everyone, he realized with a groan. Either Clint was going to be damaged, beyond recompense, or all three. Could he live, if he lived, with that on his conscious?
He couldn't. The decision was made. The moment passed and he was already fighting against the pulses through his brain. Clint would do this to save Tony, to save Steve. But doing so would leave him changed forever.
He held the arrowhead in his palm and dragged his body until his head and his face were together. His consciousness was slipping. He was dying. But at least he had enough strength for this. His other arm came up over his head and his body squeezed together against the arrowhead. Fight fire with fire, he thought. Sonic with sonic. If he couldn't hear, he couldn't be hurt. He'd be free. He'd save the day. He had to cover the arrowhead enough, to make sure Steve and Tony weren't deafened when the trigger was pulled. Squeezed into a ball, the arrowhead pressed between his teeth, Clint flicked the trigger.
There was no going back.
End chapter one! hope you enjoyed. If you did: tell me!