Fic: Scars We Wear Clint/Darcy FRM (1/1)
Clint didn’t have time to think about what happened to him when Captain America told them to suit up. He just grabbed his bow and ran into the fray. This was something he knew how to do. Take down the enemy, don’t think, fight. It wasn’t until afterwards, until they’d had their schwarma, until they’d made their way back to Stark’s broken down tower and Fury’s set a debrief for the next day that Clint even dared to have thoughts about what happened to him, to Coulson.
He woke up the next morning, choking on a breath, sweat pouring down his face. He rarely dreamed but this was a bad one. Faces that he couldn’t focus on now, bodies falling with arrows in them. The laugh of a false god. He shook it off and went to the debrief. Fury offered him the services of a SHIELD psychologist.
“No, I’ll be fine, just need a few days to heal up. I need to get back in the field.”
Fury looked like he wanted to debate, so does Nat, but they said nothing. Clint got through the rest of the meeting with a vague unsettled feeling. He headed for the training room, needing to get his hands on his bow. You can only be the world’s greatest marksman with practice. He remembered wrapping tiny hands around a specially made bow, fingers bleeding as calluses formed, grudging praise the first time he hit the bull’s-eye followed by a command of “again”.
As he reached for the weapon, he ignored the prickles along his skin. His hand touched the smooth metal and began to tremble. He broke out in a cold sweat. He reasoned with himself that he’s tired. He can practice tomorrow. He helped save the world; he can take a day off.
The next day was spent welcoming Jane and Darcy into the fold. Darcy saw the footage and showed Jane who was super pissed off no one told her Thor was back. Darcy sidled up to Clint and smiled as Jane chewed Fury out.
“Miss me, soldier?”
He grinned. “Yeah, saving the world just wasn’t the same without your sarcastic commentary.”
They’d almost had a thing back in New Mexico. Maybe they could pick up where they left off now she was in New York. He took her to lunch, telling himself he’d go and practice after that. Lunch was great, ending with a chaste kiss and a promise to meet for dinner. Clint sauntered off to the training room, a grin on his face. The grin slowly faded as he approached the room. This time he actually managed to get his bow off the rack and began reaching for his quiver when his stomach recoiled. He barely made it to the bathroom across the hall. Natasha was standing there when he came out.
“Must have been something I ate,” he said, trying to give her a sheepish look. She just stared at him. “What?”
“Clint, you know you can talk to me.”
“About what? Really, something I ate.”
They stared for a while before Nat nodded and left.
He and Darcy didn’t go far for dinner. Just a small out of the way Italian place where the owner knew Clint and treated them well. The conversations consisted of catching up, though he actively avoided any mention of Loki. They walked home, her arm linked with his. He insisted on going with her right to her door.
“You know you don’t have to,” she said with a smile.
“I do,” he said as they waited for the elevator. “Rogers isn’t the only gentleman around here you know.”
Darcy shook her head. “I can’t believe you know Captain America. Our lives…..”
He grinned and followed her into the elevator. Darcy sidled up next to him, leaning into him as they rode up.
“Thanks for a great dinner. We should do this again.”
“Yes, we should. Darce….” Before he could say anything else, she pulled him down for a not so chaste kiss.
He backed her against the wall, ravaging her mouth, hands caressing her waist. She ran her fingers through his hair, whimpering as he lifted her up and moved her into the corner of the elevator. He had one hand on her ass, the other moving up under her shirt, fingers teasing along her ribs. Then Darcy pulled back, panting.
“Whoa, soldier, hold on.”
Clint stopped, lowering her to the floor. “Darcy, I’m…I don’t….”
“Look, I know it’s probably been longer for you than me, and don’t get me wrong I really do want what you’re offering, but I like you, Clint. Really, really like you and I kind of don’t want to ruin whatever this is that we’ve started.”
“You’re right,” he said. The elevator dinged. “Your floor.”
“No, let’s go to yours.”
He stared at her, confused. She laughed.
“We don’t have to do anything but sleep. I’ll get more if I’m somewhere other than this floor. Jane and Thor,” she reminded him.
He grinned. “I see. I’m a few floors up.”
Clint woke in the night to her clutching his arm, making soothing noises at him.
“Wanna talk about it?”
He took a deep breath, relaxing against her touch. “Not right now,” he said.
“I heard about Phil, I’m sorry.”
“He…he died fighting. That’s something.”
“Is there a memorial or something? I’d like to be there.”
“Day after tomorrow. Tomorrow we send his killer home.”
“Jane’s not going to like Thor leaving like that, right after he came back.”
“Someone’s got to take Loki back. Anyway, judging from the noises I heard yesterday, she’s got plenty of incentive to keep working on her research to get him back.”
Darcy rolled her eyes. “Don‘t remind me, I nearly walked in on that. Talk about your major trauma.” She pulled him down, cuddling close. “Come on, I need sleep if I have to deal with moping Jane in the morning.”
Clint kissed her head and lay there as she fell asleep. He kept trying to remember what woke him, but Darcy’s warmth lured him into sleep.
The second Loki and Thor disappeared into the ethos, Clint’s phone rang. He nodded to Tasha who went with Steve, grinning as Bruce went off with Tony.
“Fury’s office. ASAP,” Hill said without preamble.
She hung up without an answer. Clint frowned wondering what the director could want with him, other than a mountain of paperwork filled out that he was going to cajole Darcy into helping him with. He called Tasha, making sure she didn’t need the car they’d both taken to the site.
He was back at HQ in ten minutes. Fury motioned him in while still on the phone. Clint stood at rest waiting to see what was going on. Fury hung up and fixed a glare at him. Clint shifted subtly, standing straighter and shifting his gaze to the wall behind Fury.
“What the hell am I going to do with you, Barton?”
“Did you think no one would notice?” Clint tried to answer, but Fury went on. “Agent Romanov is worried about you. As are others. I’ve had the psychologist watching you. She seems to think you might be suffering some PTSD.”
“Sir, I’m fine, I just need to get back into the field.”
“Not going to happen, Barton. I’ve seen the footage myself. You can’t touch that bow of yours without going paler than Rogers’s ass. You will report to her office at fourteen-thirty this afternoon. Understood?”
“Yes, sir,” he said, bristling at the order.
“Dismissed,” Fury said, waving a hand and turning his attention to the pile of folders on his desk.
Clint nodded and walked out before swearing under his breath. It wasn’t that he didn’t believe in shrinks, he’d been to a few after missions. They’d helped him but this time….he just couldn’t talk about it to some…some…stranger. What he’d done, the lives….. He took a few deep breaths, trying to calm the racing of his heart. He glanced up at a clock, lunchtime. He’d go see Darcy before his appointment. Being with her always made him feel better.
“You know that anything you tell me will be kept in the strictest confidence Agent Barton,” the shrink, call me Angie, said.
“Unless it pertains to national security or ongoing investigations,” he replied. “I’ve read the SHIELD manual.”
Angie sighed. “Yes unless something comes up like that. I know that what happened with Loki very well might fall under those conditions. But talking about it will still help.”
Clint had spent all of the session giving monosyllabic answers when he answered at all. Two more minutes and he was out of there.
“Fury won’t clear you for duty until he gets my say so. So either you can talk, or you can be silent. But you won’t be going out until I’m satisfied that you’re able to function normally again.”
Clint glared. There was no way Fury would hold him back from Avengers missions. He was too important to the team. The clock ticked loudly until the big hand swooped up to the twelve. He just got up and left, leaving Angie sputtering at him. He headed for his room, he had a date with Darcy to get ready for.
He was surprised when he opened his door and found her standing there. Even more so when she leveled a punch at his arm.
“OW! What the fuck was that for?”
“For not telling me that you were having problems. Like can’t function as an Avenger problems! I had to hear from Tony that you were seeing a doctor! TONY! You can tell some fancy pants PhD your problems but not me?!?!?”
“Actually, I didn’t tell her anything,” he said quietly, rubbing his arm. “You got some power in that arm, Darce.”
“I’ve been sparring with Natasha.”
“No getting off the subject. You seriously didn’t tell her anything?”
“I just…couldn’t,” he said.
“Have you even cried for Phil?”
He tried to answer but it felt like something was stuck in his throat.
“Fine, forget the date,” she said. She pulled him over to his bed. “You and I are going to stay in. This is a safe space. I made JARVIS turn off all the cameras. You need to cry for him, Clint. He was your friend.”
He shook his head, wanting to tell her no, but he could already feel the first tear slipping down his cheek.
“Shhh, it’s okay, let it all out,” she said.
He shook with silent sobs as he let out the pain of Phil’s death, the guilt he had because he’d led the attack. Darcy rocked him, crooning nonsense words and stroking his back. She kissed his forehead, speaking softly to him as the tears eased off. Sleep claimed him as she soothed his aches.
“Yes, Miss Lewis, what can I do for you?” Fury asked.
Clint was standing there with her, wondering what the hell she was up to. He tried to ask her earlier but she gave him a glare that rivaled the man in front of them now.
“Clint’s not seeing that psychologist anymore.”
That got Fury’s attention. He looked up from the file he was reading to stare at the both of them. Clint was at attention, but Darcy just stared back.
“Miss Lewis, you don’t have the authority to tell me what my agents will and won’t be doing. He’ll see her until she clears him for duty.”
“As if. He sat there for the whole hour and said nothing. Then he came to me and cried his fucking eyes out over his friend and handler. Can she hold him and tell him it wasn’t his fault. Can she offer him the kind of support he needs? Can she tell him things will get better and that he’s going to be a better man for having something to fight for? Will she fucking tell him she loves him?”
Clint relaxed and turned to her. “You love me?”
“Men,” she sighed. “I wouldn’t have done that for just anyone, Clint. You need to have someone there who understands loss. And not just from a professional level.” She turned back to Fury. “He doesn’t need the psychobabble and technical terms. Clint here is a tactile kind of guy. Let me work with him.”
Fury seemed to think about that. Clint couldn’t get past Darcy’s declaration. Finally Fury nodded.
“Very well, but on your own time, Lewis. You’re still looking after Doctor Foster and we’re thinking of adding Banner to your schedule too.”
“I think I can handle two scientists and therapy for a secret agent.”
“You have a month, Lewis, if he’s not good for field work by then he goes back.”
“Deal,” Darcy said, holding out her hand. Fury shook it.
“Don’t forget to fill out the appropriate forms, Barton,” he said as way of dismissal.
“SHIELD has them for everything,” Clint said, guiding her out of Fury’s office. “So, you love me?”
Darcy rolled her eyes. “Not exactly the way I wanted that fact to come out, but yes, I do.”
“Good, because I might just be in love with you too.”
Her smile was the brightest and widest he’s seen in forever. “Great. I have to go check on Jane, but later we can talk some more.”
“I think we can do more than talk.”
Darcy just smiled and kissed him on the cheek before leaving him to his own devices.
They spent the next couple of days talking and doing…other things. Somehow on the third day he found himself in the training room with her. There’d been something about lessons and how the hell could she keep up with him if she didn’t know how to shoot a bow? Her hands were picking up the bow and quiver and he felt nothing. No tingles, no cold, no queasiness.
Then he was standing behind her, his hands over hers as she drew back the string, loosing the arrow. Darcy may have tackled him to the mat when she hit the bulls’ eye. Next thing she was shoving the bow into his hands, demanding he show her some trick shots. He grabbed arrow after arrow, pulling out every single trick he knew without the specialized quiver and arrows SHIELD had designed for him.
“Way to go, Clint,” Darcy shouted when he was done. The quiver was empty and he was breathing hard from exertion. But there hadn’t been a single sign of trauma. “I don’t think Fury can argue with that.”
He grinned at her. “I fucking love you,” he said.
“Yeah,” he said. “Care to celebrate?”
“First one to the room loses their pants!”
It was a tie.