Clint knew it was a stupid move from the beginning, but he’d never been the considerate one: a soldier doesn’t think, he executes, and he took a little pride in his ability to act quickly and regardless the consequences. So when he got his hands on information concerning data exchanges between a former SHIELD informer and Hydra agents, going alone seemed like the smartest thing to do.
He was stealthy, he was quick, he was used to doing dirty jobs on his own, he could handle it just great… yeah, that was an arrogant and incredibly stupid assumption.
Clint was hidden on the top of a warehouse by the docks, inwardly laughing at how cliché the situation was… like it was taken directly from an old noir movie. If he stopped actually thinking for a second, that would have rung a bell of some kind.
The wind was sending chills to his spine, but he was trained to ignore them, and to ignore the cramps making his muscles ache. Fingers ready on the string of his bow, he waited patiently, until finally his targets were in sight.
And when his eyes laid on them, he finally noticed that something was awfully off.
Too many people for such an operation, too many vehicles.
He didn’t even have the time to reach for his infrared binoculars, he just felt the sole of a boot directly on his face.
How come he didn’t notice there was someone else? That was everything that went through Clint’s mind as his hand reached for an arrow, shooting it where he caught the glimpse of a figure moving in the dark.
Target missed, surprisingly, and his attacker came at him again, pushing him off the roof with the strength of a truck.
Luckily his reflexes weren’t as dull as his smart ideas, and rolling on his back, he had an arrow ready and eyes set on his target before the Hydra agents could even understand what happened.
He was outnumbered and with no real chances to make it out alive, he had to get as far as he could from there, as fast as his legs were able to go.
Throwing a smoke bomb arrow to the floor, he began running with all he had.
“Avengers Assemble!” he shouted, pressing a finger on the communicator badge on his chest, praying to every god he could recall the name of that someone was listening.
Then he loaded a new arrow, ready for his enemies… not ready enough.
He caught again a glimpse of movement, to his right, and shouted. He was sure he didn’t miss this time, but then he felt the flesh of his left arm tearing, cut sharply by claws.
He didn’t scream, it wasn’t necessary, not appropriate. He bit his lower lip and took another arrow, wielding it like a dagger, trying to hit his assailant.
But it was quicker than him. It was quicker than a normal human being. It was nothing close to a human being.
Fangs and claws, a rattling noise coming from its throat, its eyes were green like envy, and the Hydra uniform the thing was wearing wasn’t enough to mask anything of its feral appearance.
“What the fuck are you?” he hissed, loading the arrow, ready to shoot.
The thing growled, and Clint was ready to swear it smiled. Then he attacked again.
He could feel its claws deep in his flesh, and there was nothing he could do to stop it.
The footsteps of the other Hydra agents, running, were clearly audible now… soon it would have been over.
Clint kicked the creature, trying to get away, but he found himself biting the dust once again, the smelly hot breath of the thing on the back of his neck.
Was this the end? Was he doomed to die in such a silly way? Was he doomed to have his body disposed of in the bay, lost forever?
He didn’t want to.
He rolled on his back, desperately attempting to get free from the beast’s grasp. Kicking and punching, all his training meant nothing against such a feral strength, he looked more like a kid struggling to save himself from a bully.
What a pitiful sight.
His fingers met one of his arrows, and closed around it. Then, with all the strength he had, Clint dug the point of it into the creature’s neck.
The beast didn’t seam to notice.
Opening its monstrous mouth, it tilted back its head, ready to deepen his fangs into his throat.
Clint closed his eyes. So it was it?
But the growl he heard wasn’t the beast’s.
It was a familiar one.
Giant green hands closed around the body of the thing, every single bone in its body snapping and crumbling, strangled and compressed.
The thing yelped, before the light in its eyes died out.
Shooting sounds, laser beams crossing the air and hitting the jade giant, useless like fly bites.
Clint felt like that was the right time to pass out.
When he opened his eyes, the air was stinging against the bare skin of his arms, wind blowing fast and filling his ears with a roaring sound.
It took him about two seconds to notice what was happening.
“There’s no need for you to stay hulked up, big fella, we are ok now… just stop,” he whispered to the creature carrying him, but a rush of pain running from his arm made the whole world go back to black again.
And when he regained consciousness for a second time, he was on a dirty couch, way too familiar.
He rolled on his side, to stand up, and wore his best cocky smile, trying to not let the pain show through his face. Another failure, needless to say.
“Clint, lie down or I’m going to make you.”
Bruce was back to his normal form, and his normal, boring clothes. He laid the first aid kit on the little table in front of the couch, and reached for the other man.
Before Clint was able to open his chatty mouth, he was captured in the other man’s embrace. And he had no will to fight back.
“You stupid little fragile thing” whispered Bruce, holding him close, blood slowly soaking the sleeves of his shirt. Clint didn’t say anything, there was nothing to say; he just closed his eyes, letting the arms of the other man harbor him. It was all that it mattered.