Title: He's Our Captain
Fandom: Avengers (movies)
Author: MusicalLuna
Rating: M
Characters/Pairings: Clint Barton, Steve Rogers, Ensemble
Genre: Hurt/Comfort, Drama
Warnings: Violence, Language
Complete: Yes
Summary: None of them is invulnerable. The second in a series of hurt/comfort fics featuring the Avengers team.
A/N: Finally the Cap installment is ready! I had to write two versions of this to finally get what I wanted! This one's pretty gory and explicit with the whumping, so if you're at all squeamish, be cautious.
Disclaimer: Do not own.

He's Our Sniper | He's Our Captain | He's Our Deity | She's Our Spy | He's Our Heavy | He's Our Genius

Clint's standing on top of the arch at the Hollywood & Highland Center with his back to the Renaissance, doing what he does best—namely picking off the half-men half-bird guys as they come through the portal between the first floor walkway and the ground directly below him—and feeding the others information like, "All right, these guys are flightless everybody. Shouldn't be a problem to keep them hemmed in. ...what's the point of being half-bird if you don't even get the wing part?"

“Says the flightless Hawkeye,” Tony replies dryly.

"Guys," Captain America chastises, but Clint can hear the glint of amusement in his voice.

"No commentary," Clint says agreeably and it's neither the first nor the last time. "I've got three flying the coop toward Highland," he says and fires an arrow into the bulging bird eye of a guy coming up on Tasha's back.

"On it!" Tony says with an unholy amount of glee and there's a roar that echoes off the walls of the courtyard all the way up as he hits the thrusters and takes off in pursuit.

"Cut me off again, Barton, I dare you," Natasha growls and Clint grins.

"Hey, I'm just doing my job."

Tasha snorts derisively in his ear.

Clint scans the courtyard, noting the positions of his teammates and eliminating six more of the bird-men. Listens to Captain America asking Tony for an estimate on the portal, Tony replying, Ten minutes, give or take, my inter-dimensional math is a little iffy. He sees Thor go still out of the corner of his eye, following through absently with a swing of Mjölnir that flattens two more of the invaders. He's staring at the portal, a look of surprise on his face. Clint's eyes narrow.

"Thor?" he says, wary, and then Natasha's eyes lock on the portal, too, her jaw tensing.

Clint throws himself down on his hands and knees, stretching out over the edge as far as he dares, trying to see what's caught their attention so fully.

Something huge and furry and winged—of course it is, of course—is coming through the portal. It lets out a noise somewhere between a lion's roar and the scream of a bird of prey.

Hulk turns and roars right back. A grin is spreading across Thor's face.

"And now the battle is truly joined!" he cries and Clint barely resists the urge to roll his eyes. Thor always likes it when things get more dangerous.

"What is that?" Tony says as he comes soaring back into the courtyard.

"Don't let it get out of here!" the Captain orders and Tony calls back, "You got it, Cap!"

Thor joins him in the air a moment later and Clint's hair stands on end, his nose burning with the smell of ozone as the demigod calls down a lightning strike.

Clint starts systematically slinging bolts at the six guys on the back of the lion-bird. It's nearly level with him when Thor swings Mjölnir and breaks its left wing.

One of Clint's greatest skills is his ability to see the whole picture even when it's at its most chaotic, so long as he's got a good vantage point. So he's aware of Natasha cutting her way through a dozen of the bird-men in a calculated flurry of movement; of Thor dishing out the final blow to the lion creature, collapsed on the fountain in the center of the courtyard; of Tony picking off more of the men with his energy blasts; of Hulk bellowing at the portal as another winged-lion bursts out, claws flashing. He sees the look of surprise that flits across the Captain's face, sees him reach for the shield that's still finishing a loop around the courtyard, sees him lunge to the side, too late.

Clint's seen Captain America disappear under much worse, but there's a little sickening wriggle in the pit of his gut that Clint knows all too well and he watches with his heart in his throat as the monster plows forward across the courtyard, letting out a muffled roar-scream as it goes. Captain America is nowhere to be seen.

Clint's got this horrible feeling he knows why the thing sounded muffled.

"Hawkeye!" Natasha howls, breathless, and confirms his worst suspicions: "That thing has got the Captain! Stop it!"

Clint starts, realizing he'd frozen and curses himself. He fires off three, four, five arrows, calling, "Cap, come in. Can you hear me?" but the huge wings are batting the arrows aside like they're made of toothpicks and the lion-bird darts into the space between Sephora and Fossil, its tail whipping out of sight. "Fuck!" His gaze darts over the others, but they're all engaged, shit. "Tony!" he barks. "How long until the portal shuts down?"

"Six minutes!" Tony calls back immediately. "Did I hear that right? That thing grabbed—oh, shit!" There's a squeal of rending metal as yet another goddamn winged lion rears up and claws at Iron Man as it emerges from the portal. Thor smashes Mjölnir into its flank and it lets out a scream as it collapses. "Watch those claws, guys," Tony says breathlessly. "Nasty." There's a huge sparking gouge in the metal encasing one thigh. Then he says, "Going after Cap, hold down the fort, Thor."

"With pleasure," Thor says, bracing himself directly in front of the portal to take on anything that comes through.

"We can handle this," Natasha says. "Go with Iron Man, Hawkeye!"

Clint gives the scene one more swift look-over and then nods, and activates the grappling head for the next arrow. Tony swears, louder, angrier, and Clint fires the bolt, jumps. He hits the ground hard, tumbling, barely missing getting gutted by the short sword one of the birdmen has, and tumbles again, and then he's up and running, shouting, "You know what to do!" at the others.

The hall leading to the escalator is full of writhing fur and the electric whine of Tony's suit powering up and firing off blasts of golden energy. It smells like singed hair and burnt flesh.

Tony explodes out from behind the wall of fur and feathers and a huge lion-like head snaps after him. "Hold still you fucker!" Tony growls, frustrated. Clint's jaw goes hard and he steadies himself, breathes, starts firing a volley of arrows. The roar of fury the thing gives is almost as mind-numbing as Hulk's. It whips around, baring teeth as long as his forearm and roars again. The sixth arrow goes straight into the roof of its mouth and the creature goes slack, crashing to the ground and smashing into the window front of one of the shops, showering the area with shards of glass.

Clint doesn't wait for Tony to join him, just darts around, eyes searching the corners for blue and finally spotting it when he rounds the seriously huge bird-lion and finds the Captain at last, curled up in the tight space beneath the escalator, the only thing even resembling cover in here.

Steve's face is ghostly under the shadow of the overhang, his eyes unusually vivid.

Clint has seen a lot of hellish injuries—inflicted many of them—but seeing Captain America sprawled against a wall, his chest a gory parody of the flag he wears so proudly...

It turns Clint's stomach, makes his hands shake. "Cap?" he says and his voice sounds rough and scared even to his own ears.

"Where the fuck are you, Barton?" Tony demands.

Clint ignores him, straining forward when the Captain's mouth opens. "You need to call Phil," he says and his voice is weak, but he somehow still sounds utterly in control. "Need med evac. Lost my comm."

"What's going on Agent Barton?" comes Coulson's voice, equally calm and come on, he's got to be keeping some kind of psychic power on the downlow. "Do you need back up?"

"Med evac," Clint tells him and then adds, "Make it snappy."

Cap gives him an admonishing look, but Clint barely gets a glimpse of it, whipping around at a noise behind him so fast his bow arm gives a stab of protest. The bolt is aimed directly at the center of Stark's forehead. He holds up the gauntlets of the Iron Man suit, his eyes wide.

"Whoa, Twitchy, it's me. Deep breath."

It takes Clint a second to breathe again and ease the bow out of the firing position. Meanwhile, Tony's eyes have moved to Captain America. "Oh, fuck," he says quietly. "Christ, Cap."

“Tony,” Cap says, weary, but reproving and Tony automatically replies, “Yeah, yeah, sorry, my apologies to the big man, do you have any idea how you look right now?” His eyes are huge, almost manic with what Clint knows is fear.

This time Clint knows it's Tony's tone that Coulson responds to. "Is there something I need to know?" he says.

"Fuck, yes, there's something you need to know!" Tony says heatedly. "Cap's a technicality away from evisceration!"

And Jesus, it's true. Five jagged cuts have been torn from the left jut of Cap's jaw all the way down to the belt around his waist. At the center where the cuts are deepest and widest, the pale bones of his ribs can be seen easing in and out as he breathes. Clint's pretty sure he can see at least one organ. He realizes with a jolt that he should be doing something. Anyone else would have been killed by the blow, but that doesn't mean the blood loss might not still get Steve.

"The Captain of America has been wounded?" Thor cuts in incredulously, but Clint's not listening anymore.

"Tony," he says. "Tony, I need something—"

"What are you doing, you idiot!" he hears Natasha snap from behind him and gets hit in the back of the head with a wad of what he finds are t-shirts. "Did you pay no attention to your training?"

Strangely enough, having Natasha verbally bitch-slapping him somehow dials back the panic. This is just like any other battle wound. Nothing changes because this is the Captain.

Except it absolutely does because he's their Captain.

Clint spreads the t-shirts out over the wounds and tries to ignore Tony saying, “What the fuck help is that going to be? I can see his stomach.”

Cap's eyes track over to Tony, his eyebrows raised in vague surprise. “That bad?”

Tony makes a strangled noise. “You can't feel—”

“Adrenaline,” Natasha tells him. Then: “Shut up.”

“Hey,” Tony says, turning a cranky look on her. “Nobody tells me to shut up.”

Natasha glares at him though and he shuts up, at least until, presumably, an alert goes off in his suit and he says, “The portal should be closed now. Thor?”

Clint's finally figured out what he's going to do. “All right, Cap,” he says, trying to sound more confident than he is. “Ready for this?”

He gets the tiniest nod in response and Steve meets his eyes, calm and absolutely trusting. Clint takes a shaky breath, and this is going to be awkward as hell, but the other option is letting the Cap bleed out more than he already has and that's just not fucking happening. He shuffles forward and tucks his left knee in, settling Cap's left leg over it, and then reaches around Cap's back and basically pulls him into his lap, wrapping him a bear hug, trying to put pressure against every part of the wound he can.

Cap goes rigid, catches a shout between his teeth, and Clint grips him tighter, until his muscles are aching with the strain.

“The portal is closed,” Thor reports, but he's panting and he adds grimly, “But the battle is not yet won.”

“'Not yet won'?” Tony says incredulously. “What do you mean it's 'not yet won'?”

Clint's head snaps to the side as several screaming roars sound from the courtyard, followed by the Hulk's answering bellow.

“Oh, hell,” Natasha murmurs and whips around, crouching between Clint, Steve, and their exposed left side. “Tony, get their right!”

Tasha,” Clint yells, but it's Thor who answers.

“They are coming through to you!” he cries and Clint's heart starts hammering against the wall of his chest. His back is exposed and there's not a damn thing he can do about it while he's trying to hold Cap's body together.

As usual, Natasha seems to be reading his mind. “Just maintain pressure, Clint. We've got you covered.”

So naturally that's when something slams into the escalator over their heads. It groans and the wall behind Cap's head cracks, broken bits of plaster raining down on them.

“Tasha!” Clint shouts.

“Hang on tight!” Tony yells at him in answer and Hulk's feet appear, his hand groping under the escalator for them.

“Shit,” Clint mutters and a second later the Hulk catches a finger in the gap between Clint's bare shoulder and his vest and drags them out. Cap lets out a muffled noise into the Kevlar padding over Clint's collarbones and Clint yells, “Gentle, gentle!

Hulk rumbles at him and then the two of them are wrapped in the crook of Hulk's arm. Clint can barely breathe. He smacks Hulk with a fist, which is a terrible idea, but he doesn't care because if the big guy doesn't loosen his grip he's going to squash Captain America's guts right through his ribs. “Ease up!”

He gets a dirty look and Hulk obstinately squeezes a little tighter until Clint really can't breathe. Then Cap groans and Hulk immediately dials it back, looking contrite.

“Cap safe,” he says insistently and Clint pats his chest awkwardly with the back of his hand.

“I know,” he croaks. “Thanks.”

Hulk nudges Steve's head with the tip of one enormous finger, Bruce's distorted features twisted in a familiar expression of concern. “Okay?”

Steve's eyes flutter open, the blue stark against the white of his skin. He manages half a smile for Hulk. “I'm...okay,” he breathes. “Just a little...tired.”

Panic flares up in Clint like a brush-fire. This is Captain America. One of the primary selling points of the super soldier serum is that it prevents him from getting fatigued. “Coulson, where the fuck are you?”

“ETA, two minutes,” Coulson responds immediately.

“Cut that in half!” Clint demands.

“There's not much I can do until the threat is neutralized, Barton,” Coulson says.

“Consider it done,” Thor says darkly and Natasha barks, “Stark, get back!”

Tony—astonishingly—doesn't question her, just hits the thrusters and blasts himself over, ducking behind Hulk. Natasha follows right behind him and Hulk seems to get what's going on, too, because he turns and dumps Clint and Steve next to Tony and Natasha and then spreads his bulk out over all of them. Thor lets out a bellow to rival Hulk's and then electricity is singing through all the hairs on Clint's body and it sounds like a hurricane making land as the building comes down around their ears.

After fifteen full seconds everything goes still and quiet, Hulk's chest bumping Clint's shoulder with each breath he takes, Steve shuddering inside the circle of Clint's arms.

Of course, Tony's the first to speak up. “Did that do it?”

Hulk peels himself away cautiously and the sound of rubble clattering down his back follows. He shakes his head and lets out a huffing growl. Thor appears over his shoulder a second later, gray from head to toe. “The battle is finished comrades!” he calls exultantly. “Let us get the Captain of America back to the ship of the air!”

Overhead, the ceiling is gone and daylight is streaming in through a smoking chasm. “Wow,” Tony says, “we're gonna be in trouble for this.”

“I'm assuming that took care of the problem,” Coulson says, dry. “ETA, thirty seconds.”

Clint pants, “About fucking time,” because it's a lot of effort to act like a human pressure bandage.

“You're gonna be fine,” he says in Steve's ear, while the others take over everything else. “You hear me?”

He feels Steve's feeble smile against his neck. “Is that an order?”

“You bet your ass it is,” Clint tells him.
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February 2014


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