Flood Me Where I Sit.

This is an entry for the battle of the fandoms competition. It was originally intended as one, long chapter, but the Movellas chapter limit got in the way (Grr!)

It's an Avengers fanfic (so that's in the superheroes and comic books category), in which Clint Barton (Hawkeye) is very sick, and Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow), is very scared.
And just in case you didn't pick up on it already- this is angst, pure and unadulterated (because I simply don't know how to write anything else!).

If anybody was wondering, the title is from this song by The Narrative:
Although that's not really relevant. I just liked the lyric. This song I actually had in mind while writing this was this one by The Civil Wars:

Thanks for reading :)


1. One

On the 18th July, 2012, I go to the Doctor's with Clint. I go with him because he is scared. He's always been afraid of the Doctor's. It's why he never told anybody when he went deaf, and it's also why we always have our standard S.H.I.E.L.D physical assessment on the same day, rather than "because if somebody else is going to see my girlfriend shirtless, I'm damn well going to be there...", which is what he likes to tell people. I don't know why he is afraid of the Doctor's, and I have never asked, and that's just fine.

He has more reason than usual to be scared, though, because this is not a standard physical, nor is it a gunshot wound, put out back, kick in the nuts from Tony,  or kick in the face from me. It's not even any kind of intense cranal trauma. He's not in a coma, or in any kind of critical condition at all. Yet. His body's just gone a bit...wrong.
And I find that more terrifying than anything. 

I don't let on, because I'm not supposed to be scared, because I am never scared, and that's why I can keep up with the other lunatics that make up the Avengers. I am fearless. Clint is scared all the damn time, but that's a secret. I don't see why it should be a secret, 'cause if he's afraid, but still fights, that makes him brave, and that makes him perfect.

He's a pain in the ass, but he's perfect.

I watch him as he explains, to a disconsertingly quiet physician, all the symptoms that have brought him here. I hate when people are too quiet, particularly when a doctor is too quiet. When a doctor is too quiet, that usually means there is a problem, as they are all too quick to chastise you if you've shown up and it's nothing. 

This doctor is silent as a morgue.


Of course, because he's Clint, he doesn't bother with any of the specifics. That's my forte. But I don't pay attention, because I can't pay attention, because this is my whole world and you've just set it on fire. I am rigid and unmoving and I think I'm going to throw up. I just stand there and I don't move. I don't even know if I'm blinking.

Of course, also because he's Clint, and he's perfect, he is very brave. He seems loose and relaxed and content. He nods in all the right places, makes the right sort of sounds when he's asked questions. He's remarkably okay with everything.

Enough of me is still in here that some of it sticks. Something up with his brain, and it's making his nerves go wrong, and that's what's making his leg act up. It's going to spread to his other limbs. 

But it's in his brain- a degenerative condition or he hit his head really hard and it's going to keep getting worse, something like that, I wasn't listening. 

Degenerative, I remember that. 

It's going to get worse.

And worse. 

And then he's going to die.

They give him two months, at the outside.


We take a taxi back to the tower, which is a bad idea because it's rush hour, it's 
raining, and anybody who knows Manhattan would be able to see from a mile off that it's gridlocked to buggery, but we do it anyway. Clint hates the subway because it's underground, and underground is the furthest thing from the sky. He hates the sea for the same reason- the sea is as far as you can get from the sky without being under something. That's why we never go to the beach, even though I love to swim. 

When we get in the taxi, the driver tells us that it's going to take about three hours to get us where we want to go. I am fine with that, I tell him, because I am going to bill it to Tony anyway, and sitting in a taxi in silence, trying not to shoot anything, is basically the same thing that I would be doing at home, only if I was at home, I would not be in a taxi, and I would probably stop trying a lot sooner. 

I expect the journey to be made in silence, but Clint is pretty chirpy, and engages in an animated conversation with the driver, who has recognized him. Clint likes it when people recognize him, because people don't recognize him usually. I remember for his birthday last year I paid a lot of people to recognize him. I didn't tell him that I'd done it. I pretended I'd forgotten. They're talking about arrows, probably, if this guy knows Clint he's bound to be an arrow nut. 

I lean my forehead against the window and groan. 


When we arrive back at the tower, I head straight for the kitchen, and Clint follows me. I figured he'd want to just tell everybody, and get it over with, and if you're hoping to find everybody, the kitchen's your best bet. 

I hear a yelp and a thud behind me, and I see that he's fallen over. I don't pick him up, because he's a proud man, and I know he wants to get up on his own. When he doesn't, I get a bit worried, which is stupid. He's dying. Falling over is the least of his worries.

"Uh... Tash? My.. my left leg's going... As well...."

I don't know how to respond. I don't know how to breathe. I don't know anything.
I have to guess. I don't normally guess. I do it because it's Clint, and for no other reason. I opt for my default setting- snarky bitch.

"Geez, already? Lightweight..."

I offer him a hand, but it's quickly apparent that it won't be enough. His right leg is all rigid again, and his left leg has frozen up in the thigh, leaving it floppy and useless from the knee down. I pick him up and carry him for a while. We wait outside the kitchen door for his limbs to right themselves, because he won't want to be seen like this.

I'm right, because I'm always right, and almost everybody is in the kitchen, or on the sofa in the adjoining living room. There's something on the TV. Since Bruce is the one who's actually watching it, I know it must be an episode of Sherlock. Clint makes it to the sofa without incident, and flops there. He shuts off Sherlock with the remote. Bruce protests, and Clint responds by sticking a foot in his face and wiggling his toes.

"Shut your face Brucie, we're watching a film tonight!" Clint teases.

Bruce pushes the foot away, smiling placidly. He likes movie nights.

I'm not looking, but I can feel that Steve has gotten up to leave. Clint feels it too, and sticks his leg over the sofa, using his foot to point at the door, and protests.

"Woah woah woah, where do you think you're going? This is NOT an optional activity. Park it."

Steve looks at me pleadingly, because he's no good at movie nights, but I shake my head.
Everybody needs to be there. I won't make it any harder for Clint than it has to be.

"I'll buy you pizza, kay?" I offer him as a form of appeasement. 

Then I go to fetch Tony, and, of course, the DVD. I opt for X-Men.


After the film, I'm in stunned silence. I perch on the windowsill, and look idly out the window whilst everybody else finds someplace else to be. I know that Clint will be the last to leave because his legs have stopped working again. 

We both just sit there. I know he knows I'm pissed off at him, and I am, but I'm not really. I thought he was going to tell everybody, and then he didn't. But he did, and that's just the thing. He told everybody in a way that was just so damned Clint, that they didn't even notice.

"Oh hey, how was the Doctor's?" Tony'd asked.

"Oh, it sucked. They said I was going to die."
Had been Clint's reply, and he was so cavalier about it that everybody had laughed, and that had been a positive outcome for him, because he doesn't like a fuss. Hell, if I hadn't been at the doctor's with him, he'd have probably just gone off to die quietly in the woods, and we'd've known nothing.

I look out of the window, and at the lights of the city, and I want to see the stars, but I can't. All of the light from the city- headlights and floodlights and streetlights, goes up into the sky and gets reflected off particles in the atmosphere which means it gets bounced back down to Earth and gets in the way of the light coming from the stars, and that's called light pollution. I wonder idly if that ever made Clint feel boxed in. I know he loves the stars.

I mellow at the thought, and decide to go pick him up off the couch. I carry him over to the windowsill, and we sit there facing each other. 

"Are we going to talk about this?" He says.

"Hell no."


It takes about three days for the others to realise that Clint wasn't kidding, and, with the exception of Tony, they all come to me first. 

Steve's really intuitive, so he gets it right away. He comes to me first thing in the morning after the film night, and says he's sorry, and I tell him that now is really not the time. We should mourn when he's gone, not while he's here.

Bruce finds out from Steve, and he doesn't say much. He just tells me he knows, and I say good.

I decide to take out Thor to tell him on the second day. We go to "spar" in a forest, far away, and we don't come back until well into the evening. It takes that long to make him 
understand that this is not something to talk about.

On the third day, Tony figures it out. I think he saw me carrying Clint about in the corridor or something. He's really obnoxious about it, but I think that's for the best, because Clint's much better with that then with emotional stuff. He just comes out with it over pizza -

"Hey Legolas, you're really dying, huh?"

And Clints says "Yup."

And Tony says "Damn. Have a good one."

And that's it. And I think that Tony knows Clint best, but he'll never admit it, because they like to say that they hate each other.


It's about a week later that we have to give up on his legs. They're just not working anymore. Tony says that they've been not working for a few days longer than that, and we just don't like to give up, because the both of us are stubborn assholes. Like he can talk! 

I decide I really do have to talk to him about it now, even though we said we wouldn't, because arrangements have to be made. I can't carry him everywhere, and he doesn't want me to anyway.

When I try, though, he's not very helpful about it, so I just go ahead and get him a chair. Tony customises it a bit for him- he gives it a bow strap and quiver hold, and he even makes a special attatchment that Clint can put his bow into, so that he can shoot with one hand, and wheel himself with the other. It's really thoughtful. 

I suppose that it's how Tony says he cares, seeing as he can't do it in person. He can't even bear to be there when I give the chair to Clint. 


Clint likes the chair a lot- he uses it when we spar, and if anybody invites him out somewhere, but I can tell that he stops when we aren't looking, when we're not with him. I can tell because his legs get bruised all over, and his arms get even stronger, so I can tell he's been pulling himself about on his arms. He's a fighter, I'll give him that. He shoots better than ever, and that shouldn't even be possible, but it is.

We find ways to bring him into battle, because he loves it. He's a soldier at heart, and it would crush him if he had to stop fighting. It's a bad plan, but it's important. I have to keep him happy. These times should be the happiest of his life. 

Usually he can't be in the fray, but we'll station him high up- in a helicopter or on a roof, where he likes it. What he likes best of all, is when we get Hulk or Thor to carry him. That doesn't happen very often, and we only do it in the smallest fights. I have Fury assign us things that are well beneath us, just so that Clint can feel strong as always. He's getting weaker though.

One time, I find the chair abandoned at the base of a staircase. I laugh at first, because it's on the opposite side of the hall to the lift, and it's so typically Clint to get so fed up waiting for a lift that he'd claw his way up the stairs instead. Then I start to wonder if he's made it to the top, and I start to fret that he might have over exerted himself, so I run up the stairs screaming for him. He doesn't answer, and I panic. 

Blind panic. 

I get all the way to the top floor, no Clint. I'm in Tony's workshop, JARVIS is as close to yelling as an AI that can't yell can get, but I don't care. It's dark outside, and it's raining. A lot.

Clint's there, in little heap, lying down next to the spire of the tower, as high as the floor will allow him. I run over to him, and we're both soaking, soaking wet.

The rain just falls on us. It just falls, so I shouldn't be able to tell that he's crying.

I still can.

I hold him, and I'm shaking, I'm crying too.

He brushes at my hair, and he knows I hate that, so it must be so that I'll look at his face. So I do, and he speaks to me.

"I can't climb anymore, Tasha."

It's a feeble, soft voice. Like he's frightened.

Then, all of a sudden, he's angry.

"I can't CLIMB! And that's a part of me, Tash, it's WHO I AM!"

"You're still climbing, Clint, look at you, you're up here, you're still climbing, look at yourself, you're still going, still going, you're not done, Clint, you're NOT DONE YET!

"Oh yeah, well what about after this, huh!? What about when my arms go, what about when my eyes go and when my mind starts to go!? One day, Tash, one day SOON, I'm gonna wake up, and I won't be able to shoot anymore. And then who am I, Tash? WHO. AM. I!?"

"Clint Barton." I say. And I don't say anything more. I hold him until he sleeps, and then I carry him downstairs.

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