Tony paced the room, nervously watching as the doctor poked and prodded at Clint.
Here you go! This one is for tialli, fuzzyelf, phantom_75495, who all requested this be updated, and Windstorm124, who just left me a ridiculous amount of reviews and gave me so much inspiration to write again. Love to all of you!
Link to chapter 1 is here:
Tony stood in the freezing cold, surrounded by SHIELD agents, Coulson to his right….probably to make sure he followed orders and didn’t make a break for the building, try to reach Clint. His eyes were locked on the building, desperately waiting for any sight of the man. It had been mere seconds since they’d last exchanged texts but it felt like hours.
Suddenly, Clint burst from the building. Tony’s heart stopped, then began pounding so suddenly and so hard that he was stunned he didn’t have a heart attack. Clint was running towards them at top speed, but now others were emerging from the building, and they had guns.
That was it. There was no way Tony was going to sit by while people shot at Clint. He kicked into gear, the repulsors in his boots firing to life. He was vaguely aware of Coulson barking “Stark!” but he was already gone, flying towards Clint, faceplate still up. His missiles were locking onto all enemy soldiers, any heat signatures he could find, firing, taking them all down.
And then, before he could even register it was happening, Clint was on him, hitting Tony with the full weight of his body and they were falling to the ground, Tony landing on his back in the snow with Clint atop him, kissing him full force. Tony pressed desperately into the kiss. He believed in Clint more than anything, trusted him to extract himself from any dangerous situation he was put in, but that didn’t stop him from worrying….especially when that situation was one that resulted in Clint asking about his last meal.
The kiss ended at last, Tony pulling away and looking at Clint as though he couldn’t believe he were real. His hands were shaking as they cupped Clint’s face, and his eyes roved every inch of Clint, hungrily taking him in. “You’re okay,” he breathed.
Clint smiled, his own hand coming up to stroke Tony’s cheek. “I’m okay,” he affirmed.
“Barton!” Coulson’s voice was loud, cutting through the crisp, cold air.
That stirred Tony, reminding him where they were. “C’mon.” Tony shifted, pulling Clint gently to his feet and into his arms. “Hold on tight.” And then they were off, Tony holding Clint tightly in his arms as he flew them back to Coulson’s side, back to the quinjet.
Coulson gestured towards the quinjet with a jerk of his head. “Get him aboard, Mr. Stark.” Tony nodded, moving to help Clint aboard.
“I don’t need to be carried.”
“Until I get to look you over, and a doctor gets to look you over, you’re taking it easy. Probably even after that.”
Clint heaved a huge sigh but didn’t argue, which Tony counted as a small victory. He carried Clint up the ramp and into the carrier. There was another slight struggle once they were inside, but Tony still didn’t let Clint go.
Clearly Clint didn’t agree with this decision. “Really?”
“Yea really. You’re not getting down till I’ve got you to a bed. Or a chair. But preferably a bed.”
“I am not.” But Tony could see the tiny smile curving up the corners of Clint’s lips. Despite his protests, he liked that Tony fussed over him so much. Tony wasn’t sure exactly what it was….he knew Clint didn’t like him to actually worry, but he enjoyed the overprotectiveness. It was a strange balance but one Tony understood, for he himself felt the same sort of way with Clint’s worries over him.
He glanced over his shoulder at the agent who had called his name. “Yea?”
“Um….we need…..Agent Barton has to….” The man was very young….probably just out of training. He gestured vaguely towards Clint as if he wasn’t quite sure what to say. Tony honestly wasn’t sure what the man wanted to say, either, but he didn’t care. He scowled. This was wasting time.
“I’m taking Clint to his room. Find a doctor and send him in right away.”
“Yes, sir.” The formality left the man’s lips as naturally as if he were speaking to a regular SHIELD agent, to the surprise of not only himself but both Tony and Clint. But Tony didn’t have time to think about it. He was already heading down the hallway with Clint held close.
Clint snickered. Tony looked down at him. “What?”
“He called you ‘sir’.”
“I think you scared him.”
“Me?” Tony was surprised. He thought back on it. Well, he supposed he had sort of given the agent a bit of a death glare. Clint needed to be in bed, being looked over by a doctor, and the kid had slowed down the process.
“He was slowing us down.”
“Hey, no need to get all defensive. I think it’s hilarious.”
“You would, you sick bastard.”
“Me?” Clint did his best to sound innocent.
“Yea, you. You get your kicks out of scaring the new recruits.” They had reached Clint’s room. The door was already open, which Tony was exceedingly grateful for. He hadn’t been looking forward to putting in the passcode while he had his arms full of Clint.
“Well, yeah. It’s fun.”
“And you’re sick.” Tony gently set Clint down on his bed, kneeling in front of him. “Okay.”
“Okay?” Clint echoed.
“Yea. Okay. Time to get a good look at you.” Tony’s hands cupped Clint’s face, worry in his eyes as he took in the injuries. One of Clint’s eyes was sporting one hell of a bruise. That injury was one Tony had noticed the instant Clint had reached him outside the carrier; it had been impossible to miss it. But there were other injuries that he hadn’t picked up on quite as fast. Clint had a cut along his jaw (not especially deep, thank God), and his lower lip was split. Tony winced when he saw that. It looked as though the cut had closed some hours ago, but was reopened by their feverish kissing moments earlier. If only I had seen it before. It would have been hard to keep from kissing Clint, he had been so ridiculously happy and relieved to see the man, but if it had meant he could avoid hurting Clint even more, Tony was sure he could have stopped himself.
“…..what?” Clint obviously saw the guilt in Tony’s eyes.
“Your lip.” Tony moved as though to reach into his pocket and then realized he still wore his suit. He shook his head in irritation at the oversight.
“It’s nothing.” Clint watched the metal plates of the suit shift as Tony stepped out of it, let it fold itself back into its briefcase, kneeling before Clint once more.
Now Tony was able to reach for his pocket. He pulled out a handkerchief, shaking his head. “You shouldn’t’ve let me kiss you.” He dabbed at the blood on Clint’s lip.
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“Your lip, you idiot. It wouldn’t be bleeding right now if I hadn’t kissed you.”
“Oh, shut up. It’s fine.”
“It is not ‘fine’. It’s split and it’s bleeding.”
“That’s a totally minor injury. It doesn’t even hurt.”
“Yea. Minor injury compared to the rest of them.” Tony tucked away the handkerchief, sitting back on his haunches to get a good look at the rest of Clint. “……we need to get your shirt off.”
“Don’t argue with me, Clint, I’m looking you over whether you like it or not. So either you take it off now or you wait for the doctor, but I’ll still be here when he arrives. Either way, I’ll be seeing it.”
Clint stared at Tony, but Tony stared defiantly right back, and it was clear he wasn’t going to budge on the issue. With a sigh, Clint began undoing his uniform, wincing.
“Hey, stop. Let me help you.” Tony halted Clint’s progress, taking over and undoing the rest of the catches on his uniform. “I’m gonna help you take this off now. You tell me if anything hurts, okay?”
“Tony, it’s a shirt. I’ll survive.”
“Clint, you were wincing just trying to undo the buttons. So don’t give me crap. I know you’re hurting.” Carefully, slowly, Tony removed Clint’s shirt. “Oh, fuck, baby.”
Clint’s chest and stomach were riddled with bruises, a mess of mottled black and blue and yellowish-green. He had obviously taken one hell of a beating. Tony didn’t know how he had been able to run the way he did when he escaped the building.
“Tony….” Clint had that worried tone to his voice that Tony knew all too well, that tone he got when he was worried that Tony was about to start freaking out. “It’s not a big deal. I’m fine. Really. It looks much worse than it is.”
“Shut up. Fuck. Where’s the Goddamn doctor.”
“No, Clint, don’t try to calm me down.”
“You’re getting too upset over this.”
“No, I’m getting the perfect level of upset for this particular situation.” The doctor chose that moment to appear in the doorway, which was fortunate for Clint had been opening his mouth, about to retort, and whatever he was going to say got cut off by the doctor’s arrival. “Finally!”
The doctor blinked at them. “….I’m sorry?”
“You should be.” Tony rose to his feet, moving to the doorway and taking the doctor by the arm, steering him to Clint’s bedside. “He needs help.”
“Clint, so help me God, if you say ‘I’m fine’ one more time, you’re not getting laid for a month.”
Clint’s mouth shut with a snap; the doctor simply stared at Tony with wide eyes. Tony stared right back. “……what’re you waiting for? Don’t look at ME; HE’S the one who needs to be examined!”
“Oh. Oh, right.” The doctor turned his attention to Clint, moving to sit beside him on the bed. Tony paced the room, nervously watching as the doctor poked and prodded at Clint, examining the bruising, cleaning and wrapping the cuts on Clint’s back that Tony hadn’t even seen yet (he had a mini panic attack when THOSE were revealed).
“Now, you don’t have any serious injuries,” the man spoke up; Tony immediately interrupted.
“No serious injuries?!” He pointed at the bruising covering Clint’s body. “What do you call THOSE?”
The man blinked almost owlishly at Tony. “I mean anything life threatening. I would imagine this is because they were seeking information. They didn’t want to injure him in a way that would inflict permanent damage….not until they’d gotten what they were looking for.”
Tony didn’t want to hear that. He shook his head as though doing so would shake away the image, the thought, from his mind.
The doctor wasn’t finished though. “However, your injuries are still extensive. I want you to remain on leave, mostly on bedrest, for a month.”
“A month?!” Clint sounded shocked. Tony was relieved. If a doctor ordered Clint to rest, Coulson and Fury would be forced to go along with it, and he himself could use his own past experiences of injured bedrest, enforced by Clint, to guilt Clint into listening to the doctor.
The man nodded. “You don’t have to stay in bed the entire time, though I would encourage you rest as much as possible, especially for the first week and a half.” He picked up his bag and rifled through it. “And you’re going to need something for the pain.”
“I don’t like meds.”
Tony had known this issue would come up. “Clint, you’re going to take the Goddamn meds.” Clint looked as if he wanted to protest, but there was no way he was going to win this fight. “I’ll be with you the whole time. You have no reason to worry.”
Clint still didn’t look completely pacified, but he accepted the bottle of pills that the doctor offered him. “…thanks.” He sounded less than pleased with the situation, but Tony knew that so long as he was there, Clint would take the pills. He simply didn’t like being on meds alone with people he didn’t know. But with Tony there, he would be fine.
“Well then….I’ll leave you two alone.”
“Thank you, doctor.” Tony walked the man to the door, shutting it behind him. He fell back against it with a sigh. “Thank God.”
Clint was watching him. “….what?”
“Nothing serious. No permanent damage. And you’re going to have a month off to recuperate.”
Clint smiled. “That makes you happy, huh.”
“Oh yea. Can make sure you recover 100%. No missions, no training…..nothing strenuous until you’re better.”
Clint pouted. “Sounds boring.”
“Hey. I’m sure we can find some fun stuff for you to do.”
Clint laughed. “Oh yeah?”
“For a whole month, though.” Clint’s tone was suggestive. “What’re you gonna do with me for a whole month?”
The response was immediate. “Baby the hell outta you.”
“Wow.” Clint laughed. “I was actually trying to make that sound sexual and for once you didn’t run with it and take it there. You really MUST have been worried.”
“Clint, I was scared shitless.” And it was true. Tony didn’t know the last time he had been so scared. He was nervous every time Clint went on a mission, on edge until the man came home to him, but this…..this was entirely different.
Clint’s expression softened. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry…it’s not your fault. I just…”
Clint reached a hand out. “C’mere.” Taking it, Tony sat down on the bed beside him; laying down, he gently tugged Clint into his arms, snuggling close together. “I’m really, really sorry, darlin’.”
“Shut up. I just told you not to be sorry. It wasn’t your fault. I guess it wasn’t even Tasha’s, as much as I’d like to blame her. It was an accident. I just…..fuck, I was so scared. I thought I was gonna lose you.”
“You’re never gonna lose me.” Clint stroked Tony’s cheek. “I’m always gonna come back to you. Always.” He smiled. “You’re stuck with me now.”
Tony laughed. “Can’t think of anything better.”
“Good. Because I need you.”
“I need you, too.” Tony tugged a lock of Clint’s hair. “No more ‘last meal’ phone messages. Don’t ever do that again, you hear me? If you’re in trouble, that’s not how I want to find out. Ever. You got it?”
Clint nodded. “Okay. I promise. I’m sorry.”
“Sorry.” They were both quiet for a moment, Tony running his fingers through Clint’s hair. “….hey.”
“You never did answer my question.”
“You said earlier that once I made it back, once you were holding me, you’d tell me what you’d choose for your last meal.”
Tony laughed. “Oh yea.” He stroked Clint’s cheek. “Normally I’d go with my all-American cheeseburgers….”
“…..but?” Clint prompted.
“But now I think I’d have to go with a pineapple/chilipepper pizza.”
Clint laughed. “What? Why that?”
Tony smiled. “Because that’s the first meal we ever ate together.”
Clint felt as though his heart stopped, then it began pounding fit to burst. “You…..you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me…..you know that?”
Tony smiled at him, stroking his cheek. “I’m glad….because I feel the same about you.”
Ignoring the pain in his back and chest, Clint stretched up and kissed Tony. “I love you so much,” he whispered.
“I love you too.” Tony kissed him again. “Sleep now. We’ll be home soon.”
Clint nodded. He really was tired after all he’d gone through that day. He snuggled closer, burrowing against Tony’s chest. “I love you, darlin’.”
He could hear the smile in Tony’s voice as he responded. “Love you too.”