Title: Long Way to Fall
Fandom: Avengers (movies)
Author: MusicalLuna
Rating: M
Characters/Pairings: Clint Barton, Ensemble
Genre: Hurt/Comfort, Drama
Warnings: Violence, Language
Complete: Yes
Summary: Clint's never been forsaken by his go-to position—namely, the highest point above a fight. Never until tonight that is.
A/N: Straight-up action whump, just because it's fun! Lots of injuries, but only described from the pain-standpoint and not the lookatit-standpoint. Written as a thank you to windscryer for writing me the fic I slaver for.
Disclaimer: Do not own.



Clint's never been forsaken by his go-to position—namely, the highest point above a fight.

Never until tonight that is.

One of the flying things they're fighting—seriously, he has no idea what they are because they're so fast and dark they're just flying shadows—plows into his back and things go abruptly pear-shaped. It's enough to startle a cry out of him and then he's over the edge, falling, Cap saying, “Hawkeye? What's happening?”

Only by the time Cap finishes saying “what's”, Clint's slamming into the metal floor of a window-washing platform that's in just the right place to keep him from becoming a smear on the sidewalk. His vision erupts with stars, everything going silent and fuzzy for a moment. When his senses fade back in, it's to the sensation of the entire platform swinging violently, his torso hanging out off of one side under the railings that are supposed to prevent this kind of thing and the rest of him trying desperately to follow.

Clint?!” Cap is yelling in his ear and he claws at the bars of the railing, trying to force himself back onto the platform, slurring, “Yessir, Cap'n.” The pain in his head is excruciating, so, yeah, he's almost definitely concussed, that's great.

“Clint!” Cap yells again, only this time he sounds painfully, painfully relieved. “Thank God!”

“Don't thank him yet,” Clint mutters and hangs on for dear life as the platform swings and thunks into the glass.

“Do you need a hand?” Cap demands. “Are you hurt?”

“I think I'm okay,” is what Clint starts to say, but then one of the speedy black shapes envelops the rail on the opposite end of the platform and Clint discovers that they're long-legged lizard-like things with narrow eyes that glitter like rubies in their scaly faces. He cuts off halfway through “okay” and says, “Shit. Yes, yes, I need a hand, I need it right now, now now nownownow!

Clint scrabbles at the bars of the rail, trying to get to his feet, but the world's rocking and swaying and kind of doing a slow spin around him at the same time and it's not like he has anywhere he can go to, so he just tries to dodge when the thing finally lunges at him.

There's not a lot of room to dodge on a window-washer's platform.

He winds up face-down with his hands over his head and the creature lands on top of him, heavy enough to force the air out of his lungs. It starts tearing at either side of his waist and Tony's special Kevlar is tough shit, but it only takes a few vicious bites before Clint feels sharp teeth graze his skin. He grits his teeth and grunts, tries to elbow it. It snarls and bites down on his bicep. Clint howls a very nasty curse word.

“Hang on, I'm coming!” Tony says and he's panting, sounds almost frantic. What the hell is Clint missing out there?

He jerks his body up, slamming the thing back against the bars of the platform and it squeals in fury. Then Clint loses a second as his vision grays out, the pain in his head flaring like someone's driven a railroad spike into his frontal lobe. So his body totally wasn't ready for that.

“—ffa him you little bastard!” is the next thing he hears, and it takes a second for him to place Tony's voice. There's a high whine and then a blinding flash of light and heat that Clint barely notices. He's gasping and the pain in his head has been joined by a vicious stinging in his left side, which he discovers is because something there is pouring blood through his shredded Kevlar vest.

He only has a moment to think about that, however, because Tony's repulsor blast has gone straight through the chain holding up the other end of the platform and Clint is suddenly sliding and going flying out into open space for the second time. His heart has just enough time to cram itself into his throat before his boot or his pants or something catches on the metal frame, and tears a line of hot agony up the side of his thigh.

Clint jerks to a stop, momentum such that his weight twists his whole body around and his ankle gives a shriek of almighty pain.

That's pretty much when his brain says fuck it and shuts off.

~

Clint groans when he comes to again because wow he's really in a metric shit-ton of pain. “He's coming to!” someone says and Clint's hands spasm, grabbing at what his fingers tell him is grass. The relief of being on solid ground is so intense he feels everything sway precariously close back toward being-unconscious.

“We've got you, Hawkeye,” the Captain says and Clint forces his eyes open. He's lying on his back with a view of the starry night sky and the Cap and Iron Man on either side of him and he can't remember what they're fighting, just that they're on a mission and he has got to get up now, dammit. He pushes himself into a sitting position and it takes only a second for the buzzing to start in his ears, but he resolutely ignores it. The team needs him.

“What do you think you're doing?” Natasha says from behind him then and one of her hands clamps down on his shoulder. Cap throws his shield and a dark blotch on the stars falls out of the sky.

“Getting up,” he says and reaches back for his bow. It's not there. He gropes for it again and again, panic seething up the back of his throat. “Where the hell is my bow?”

“Lost it,” Natasha says matter-of-factly. “Gonna need a new one.”

“You're shitting me,” he says.

“Nope.” He draws his gun and shifts to get up, discovering with a jagged bolt of pain that there's something wrong with his thigh. “Clint!” Natasha snaps. “Stay down!”

“We're in the middle of a fight,” he snaps back and grits his teeth, pushing to his feet. He realizes in retrospect that Natasha, being capable of remembering what's going on clearly, probably knows about his ankle, which it feels like someone has driven a knife into when he puts weight on it. It also refuses to hold him and he pitches forward into Captain America's back.

Cap turns in time to grab him and keep him from falling back onto his ass, or more likely onto his ankle, doing more damage, and Clint swears into the star in the center of Cap's chest. “You're badly injured, Clint,” Cap says, easing him back onto the ground like a child. “I need you to stay put.”

Lightning strikes nearby and Tony says cheerfully, “Thor's back. I think we can take it from here, Cap, if you want to take care of birdy's broken wings?”

The Captain looks around, taking stock of the situation. “All right,” he says after a minute. “Iron Man, I want you up in the air, tell Thor to keep it to the ground. You round them up and Widow, you and Thor will cut them down. Got it?”

“Aye, aye, Cap'n,” Tony says and blasts off.

Natasha glares down at Clint and says, “Let the Captain take care of you, or I will come back and make you.”

“You got it,” he breathes, letting his head drop back down to the earth and shooting her a thumbs up. He has to talk around a lump in his throat because his ankle feels like it's splintering in every direction.

“I told you to stay down,” Tasha says and bounds off to join the others. It feels like the pain in his ankle is doing the same, bouncing from there to his thigh to his arm to his head.

“She did tell you to stay down,” Cap says, rueful and amused.

Clint's head throbs like his brain is a balloon that's being filled and emptied and each time stretched further. He feels sick and doesn't realize he's throwing up until he's choking on it. Then he heaves and heaves until he's shaking, his limbs weak and barely holding him up.

“Breathe,” Captain America orders and one of his bare hands covers the back of Clint's clammy neck. A small voice thinks, He's not amused anymore.

Clint does as ordered and breathes, “Shit,” and, “What happened?” The pressure in his head is excruciating. He remembers swinging up high and his hands clench around fistfuls of grass.

“What didn't happen is a better question,” Cap says and he's staring into Clint's face, one hand on Clint's shoulder, shadowed by—are those trees?

“My head hurts,” Clint mutters and Cap abruptly pulls his cowl back and it's Steve looking down at him, his eyes huge and his eyebrows bowed in toward his nose.

“Hang on, Clint. Just hang on a little bit longer for me, okay? Coulson,” he barks, “I need that med evac now.”

Clint's stomach heaves feebly and he thinks, Get up Barton, they need you. Get. Up.

He can't.

“Talk to me, Clint. Clint—”

~

It smells like steel and antiseptic.

Every beat of Clint's heart is met with an answering throb of his head, which feels swollen and strained, a sharp splitting fissure just above the arch of his right eyebrow. There are similar, duller, slower throbs in his ankle, his thigh, and his arm.

The smell tells him he's in a medical facility of some kind, but he can't remember much aside from shadows in motion and the sensation of falling and he can feel people all around him.

Then he hears Natasha's voice: “He's awake.”

“Clint?” That's Darcy. He pries his eyes open, squinting into the bright lights overhead. It takes a minute for them to focus on the figures surrounding him, but when they do, the entire team is looking back at him, plus Darcy and Coulson and—

“Director Fury?” he rasps, his voice sleep-thick.

“Only partially brain-damaged then probably,” Fury drawls, but he looks kind of weirdly soft around the eyes. Eye.

“Can you tell us what year it is?” Steve asks from his left and he looks earnest and worried.

“Uh...” Clint frowns and thinks. “2015.”

A sort of quiet audio-visual sigh moves around the bed and everyone eases back from him ever-so-slightly.

“And your name?” Natasha asks, staring at him intensely.

“There's a boy on the trapeze.”

Natasha's face smooths, her lips curling at the corners. “He can't fall, he's asleep.”

“C&R a minute after waking up from a severe concussion, wow,” Tony says, his head nodding and looking mildly impressed. “You really do have him trained well, don't you, Coulson?”

Coulson's mouth twitches. “He's the best we have for a reason.”

“Thanks, but I'm still in the room,” Clint tells them and rubs his hand over his forehead. “What happened?”

“You didn't answer the question,” Bruce points out, his expression apologetic and Clint sighs.

“Clint Barton. My brain is still functioning. Can we move on to why you were all worried it wouldn't be?”

“You fell on it, you big, stupid, idiot,” Darcy says and then scooches forward, curling her hand around his jaw and pressing her forehead to his cheek. “God, you are such a jerk.”

Clint turns his face toward her, relishing the feeling of her smooth skin against the roughness of his cheek. “Never said I wasn't, sweetheart.”

“What, so I can't call you on it? Bullshit.” The words are harsh, but Darcy's voice is gentle and he slides his hand into her hair as she lays a kiss on his eyelid.

“So. Should we stay and watch or what?” Tony says and Clint can feel the heat of a flush sweep across Darcy's face. She leans back and flips Tony the bird. Clint grins at her like the idiot he is.

“As for your question,” Steve says, using just his voice to quell any further diversions. “You fell. Then you were attacked—”

“By dragons,” Tony puts in helpfully.

“These creatures did not look anything like dragons,” Thor says, frowning at Tony. “They were much too small.”

“Baby dragons?” Tony tries.

Thor shakes his head. “Dragons are more...” He makes a gesture Clint's not even sure he could replicate if he weren't concussed.

“Then you fell again,” Steve continues as though no one has spoken.

“Concussion,” Clint says, then points vaguely down at his ankle, “Broken?”

“Severely strained,” Bruce says, business-like. “Plus the bite wound to your flank,” he gestures on himself, “the bite wound on your arm, and the laceration from the washer's platform. You lost a lot of blood.”

“Washer's platform,” Clint echoes, raising his eyebrows.

Tony claps his hands together horizontally. “You didn't kiss pavement, but you kissed steel—and after a pretty spectacular swan dive, if I may say so.”

“You may not,” Coulson says.

“It was an impressive series of events which have brought you to this medicinal facility,” Thor says. “Though I am sorry I could not have spared you some of the agonies you have been through these past nights.”

“Sounds like I should be glad I can't remember this one,” Clint mutters.

“It was pretty embarrassing for you,” Tony agrees. Everyone glares at him.

“We're just glad you're okay,” Steve says, eyes warm and soft.

“I'm glad I don't have to do more paperwork,” Fury says, obstinate, and Steve glares, but it's okay, Clint knows that's as close as he's probably ever going to get to I'm glad you're not brain-dead from Nick Fury.

“I'm sure I'll find something I can do about that, sir,” Clint says and settles back with a smile.

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February 2014

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