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:
http://youtu.be/WWJfsGoc6fw
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:
http://youtu.be/T4QaSWHWmqo

Thanks for reading :)

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2. Two

 

That night in bed, I don't sleep. I don't share with Clint anymore, because if I move the sheets in the night, and make him uncomfortable, he might seize up, and be unable to fix them. It's trivial, but he has to sleep. If he stops sleeping, it'll get worse.

I lie there and I think about how well I am handling this. I think about how I know it's not showing on my face, because it never shows on my face, and I wonder if the rest of them might think I don't care. I keep myself distant, none of them really know me, none of them but Clint.

It HURTS, thinking like that. There's one person in the whole world that knows me, one person I trust, and he's going to die. Soon.

My insides hurt, but my face doesn't show it. I think it's forgotten how. 

My chest goes tight, I exhale further than the air in my lungs can reach, and they rise up in my chest and get tight, and it's so satisfying, I do it again and again. Then my stomach muscles tense too, and my diaphragm shifts upwards and my whole body goes taut, and it happens again and again and I recognize that I am having a panic attack. 
My breaths are short and shallow, and I'm dizzy, and it feels like I'm going to die. 

I keep going until I pass out, because othwerwise I will not sleep, and I have to sleep for Clint.


o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o


The next day, Bruce ambutates Clint's legs as a favour.

It seems kind of strange, but after the few days it takes to get over the operation, he's moving a lot better. He can climb a lot easier now, because he's not carrying the dead weight of his legs. He seems happier. His arms are even stronger, and he's still shooting ever better.


o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o


Three days later, his left arm is dead. It stops working.

I'm concerned that he'll panic again, but he doesn't. He works with Steve and Thor to develop a technique for pulling back his bowstring with his teeth, and he's very good at it. He can't shoot as well as before, but that's just how it goes. He's happy with the new method, and he says he's working to strengthen the muscles in his jaw and neck, so that he'll be able to shoot just as far.

I know a little better.


o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o


That afternoon, I round everybody up, and tell them he's not got long left. It's not entirely true, because there's still quite a lot of him that works just fine, and he might be paralysed but alive for weeks, I suppose. What I really mean is we won't have long left when he's still like Clint. He'll still be Clint, but he won't shoot arrows, and that means he probably won't make jokes or laugh or anything. If he doesn't think he's Clint, he won't be like Clint. So I warn everybody, that maybe it's time to start 
thinking about saying goodbye.

I tell them to be subtle, because I'm still pretending it's not really happening.


o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o


On Tuesday, Bruce talks to Clint, in private except for me. I'm going to be there for all of it. Clint is mine, I am Clint's and I won't leave him.

He doesn't say very much, but he does rather a lot of looking, like he wants to remember Clint in his everything. I think it's weird, but then I realise that I am doing the same. I just have longer to do it.

He tries talking about his work, but that doesn't work, because it's so damn complicated that I get lost too. Clint laughs and tells him he should "Go nerd it up with Tony!"

Bruce laughs too, and that's nice. They end up watching Doctor Who, because that's nerdy AND Clint can understand it. Bruce points out all the techno babble that makes no sense, and then tries to think of ways he and Tony might be able to actually make the stuff work. He gets so into it that we can't hear the programme, so Clint starts whining, and pokes Bruce's nose, and Bruce wrinkles his nose, and they end up having an all out poke-war, and Clint's pretty good, considering that he's only got one arm. Eventually the two of them just collapse, giggling. 


And I think that they did a very good goodbye.


o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o


Steve talks to Clint on Wednesday. They talk about fighting and stuff. And then they talk about loosing friends in combat, and Steve starts to cry. He says it's about Peggy, and Clint rolls his eyes, because he's the one dying, and he probably knows that's the real reason. This goodbye is much more messy, and emotional, and it's one step away from Ice Cream and Love Actually. The one step is Love Actually, because I get them a couple of tubs of Ben and Jerry's out of the freezer. 

Eating ice cream and talking things out tearfully is something that Clint thinks is icky and pointless. He's good about it though. Steve's got the good sense to hold it together and not talk about why he's really crying, and we manage to all pretend that everything's fine.

I begin to get concerned about how he's ever going to stop crying, but Clint cheers him 
up by trying to eat ice cream from the tub with one hand. Then Steve tries to do it. 

And then I try to do it too.

It's really hard.


o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o


I was a bit concerned about Thor's goodbye, because Thor is an obnoxious fool, most of the time. But he actually does rather well. 

He takes me and Clint to see the stars.

We meet him on the roof of Stark tower. I carried Clint, because he can't do much by himself anymore. He takes Clint first, then comes back for me, because he can't carry us both at once. 

He flies us to the top of a mountain, I think. It's bloody freezing, but it's really high up, and it's a bit brilliant. We look at the stars a lot. Nobody says a lot of anything.
Eventually, Thor sits down and talks to Clint. They talk about their brothers, because both of them had a brother that turned into a supervillain. Clint does not like to talk about his brother, so I never asked, and that's fine. 

He talks about Barney now. Barney Barton... that's a stupid name.

I think about how I would probably have loved his brother. I think about how if I'd met Barney first, I would have loved him the way I love Clint.

The means that I would still be a killer.

I find myself wishing I was, because then this wouldn't hurt, because I'd be somewhere else, anywhere else, laughing over a body and trailing after Barney Barton, and that would be fine, because it wouldn't be this.


Mostly, they're talking about whether or not they should blame themselves. I know from 
hearing them talk that they are to blame, but they are not at fault. 

And then, all of a sudden, I feel wrong. I watch these two men, and they are discussing something, I know, I could never comprehend. I feel invasive. Alien.
I leave them and go into the forests, to watch from a distance. I go far enough that I can't hear them. It's dark and cold and I don't care. I sit in a tree, because I like trees, and I look at the stars and I cry. I cry and cry and cry.

Nobody is allowed to see this, because it is not me, and it is something I should hide, so I am scared when there is a voice from behind me.

"Beautiful, isn't he?"

I'm scared out of my mind, but you wouldn't notice, because I am good at not showing when 
I am scared.

"Hello, spider. Don't be frightened."

I know the voice, of course I do. Not like I could forget.

"What do you want, Loki?"

My voice is imaptient and weary.

"Same thing as you, darling. I want to say goodbye."

I don't like that. Not at all.

"You're not to go near him, Loki, you hear me? I won't let you."

Loki brushes my hair from my face. His fingers are so cold and soft, and it repels me. 
His laugh is gentle and kind, as it has no right to be. I am in the prescence of a 
killer, and he is beautiful. 

"Ah, it's endearing that you think you could stop me. But I know. I'm no fool... I will not approach him."

I look at him, and he is a very sad man. His eyes are soft and his mouth hangs open in 
that unrelenting pain I know too well. He is very pretty and very upset, just like me. 

"Why... why do you even care? You stole his mind, you tried to kill us!"

He smiles lightly and exhales, condescending, like he knows things I can't even begin to 
understand. 

"I didn't steal his mind. I borrowed it. There's not much I wouldn't give to keep it, 
though. It was glorious."

I don't appreciate the use of past tense.  Clint is still there, and he's still glorious.

"Was?"

"Yes, it was a glorious time. To share in such a mind... you don't go back. You'll know 
that better than anyone, Lady Romanoff... he shares it so willingly with you. I think it would be most accurate to say that it's... yours."

I just sort of nod, because I know what he means, and he's right. I know exactly what he means, and it scares me what he might know about me. About us.

"...I've been watching him, you know. For a long time. And now it's time to stop."

I'm still looking forwards, quiet and still. When I'm like this, people normally think I'm being thoughtful and pensive, but I am not. It means that my mind is empty. It means 
that I don't even know what I'm supposed to be thinking. I won't be surprised if Loki knows this.

" You're a lucky woman, Lady Romanoff. But I can't say I envy you this."

I still don't talk, because I don't want to and I don't need to and there's just nothing to be said. So I don't. And that's fine.

" Tell him goodbye from me. Tell him."

And he's gone like the wind, in green smoke and inscense, and I'm more than a little stunned. 

I wonder idly if he'll ever come back, but I realise I already know the answer, and that the answer is no.

I watch for a while, then hop in to save Clint from a weepy Thor. That is something nobody is equipped to cope with, and Clint shouldn't have to deal with it at the moment. Loki will probably be around to pick up the slack if there's a problem.
Just after Thor drops us back, I start to deliver Loki's message. I cut myself off halfway through. 

It's not like he'd believe me if I told him.


o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o


After Thursday, it's Friday. And then Saturday. Then Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday again, and Tony has still not spoken to Clint.

I'm pretty damn angry. This stuff is important, because Clint is fading fast. His arm is still working, god knows how because his jaw has gone wrong. He can still talk most of the time, but sometimes it goes taut or slack, and he's helpless. He can't really shoot anymore, because it takes a lot of jaw control to pull back the string, and for a lot of the time he just doesn't have that. When he can, he's brilliant. What he might lack in strength right now, he's making up for in aim. He could shoot through the eye of a needle, if you gave him an arrow that would fit.

I venture into Tony's workshop on the Thursday. I am just that furious. JARVIS knows better than to whine at me, and DUM-E gets a kick hen he tries to stop me. I find Tony at the back of the workshop, covered in sweat and oil and grime, looking like he hasn't eaten for days, or slept for weeks.

I want nothing more than to grab him by the throat here and now, and demand an explanation, but that's not my style. I perch on a workbench and try to look pensive, which probably doesn't work, because since Tony developed the ability to look higher than my chest, he's actually been pretty observant. His memory's freakin' photographic, so he knows all my faces, and what they mean, and he won't forget. I know he knows why I'm here. 

He doesn't look at me. He just talks.

"I can't do it, Natasha. You know I can't do this stuff."

"Try." I basically snarl. 

I am angry because I'm doing this, and I'm damn well doing it  better than everybody else is, and that doesn't seem fair, because Clint is mine.

"Can't do it Tash. I can't. I can't DO THIS STUFF!"

Tony's crying, now. He is angry as I am, and he is crying. He opens his mouth like he's going to say something important, but it just hangs there, and he says nothing. Not a damn word. 

Then he screams. A Tony scream is not like a scream, but more of a roar. A snarl. Pure fury. He kicks at his workbench, and he throws his tools through the windows, and has a tantrum, basically. He keeps screaming long after everything is broken, he keeps on screaming. He sinks to the floor and screams with his hands over his ears, like he's trying to hold his head together. 

Like he's falling apart.


o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o


That night, I sit in Clint's room as he's going to sleep. He likes that, even though I think it's kind of creepy of me. He says we're going to talk soon, and I say that's fine, because if we don't talk soon, we might never get the chance again.
 

 

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