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  • Writer's pictureAmelia Sides

Losing my Religion – Ch. 8

Ch. 8

The next few days were some of the best that Clint could ever remember. Yes, he still had nightmares and moments where he lost himself in painful memories but Phil somehow made everything better. He had resigned himself years ago to never being allowed to have Phil in the way he really wanted and yet now he was allowed to touch, to hold and cuddle. It was amazing.

He was allowed to kiss, which was even better. They had stuck to gentle presses of lips and a few light make out sessions so far. Clint knew Phil was trying to see what his limits were but everything had been good leaving him feeling better than he could remember in a long time.

They went walking through the park after lunch together or spent the afternoons curled around each other in bed while Phil read and Clint studied or programmed. It all felt so strangely normal. Of course it had to go to hell on Friday morning.

“Please tell me you brought the flash bangs?” Natasha asked, gesturing him into the huddle.

“Always, Nat.” Clint said with a small grin pulling a wrapped package out of his gear and tossing it to her.

“What flash bangs? Who made these?” Tony asked, plucking one of the small devices off the table.

“Who do you think made all those trick arrows before you took over, Stark?” Natasha asked with a smirk.

“What do the colors mean exactly?” Steve asked, pulling two of each color out and tucking them into a pocket.

“White is smoke, green is flash bombs, red is small explosives. Yellow is the big bang, be careful with those.”

“How big a bang are we talking about?” Steve asked, eying the small stacks of devices that Natasha was portioning out.

“Won’t take down a building but it could take out a room or two.”

“Huh.” Tony mutters, eying the electronic timers.

“Enough fiddling people. Let’s get into position.” Sitwell said, coming over with four overflowing quivers for Clint.

“Christ, planning on taking over the Kremlin or something?”

“Always be prepared.” Clint muttered shouldering his gear and taking off at a jog for the chopper that would take him to his perch.

“When did you become a boy scout, circus boy?” Tony snarked, laughing when Clint flipped him off with one hand, not bothering to look back.

Almost two hundred arrows later, Clint finally let himself relax. Who the hell decided that they needed to create radioactive sparrows anyway? At least the last hour they had been too big to fly, even if they did more damage on the ground. After almost six hours of shooting and sun, Clint was trying to not pass out from heat stroke. Maybe he should ask Sitwell to get his uniform made of something more breathable than leather.

“You turned off your coms.” Natasha said, tossing him a bottle of water once he made his way to the conference room they were debriefing in. Bruce was passed out in a corner but the rest of the team was still out.

“Yep.” Clint replied, rinsing out his mouth with the first mouthful of water before chugging the rest.

“Threw up?”

“Wearing black on a roof in a heat wave is never a good idea.” Clint pointed out, trying to ignore the ranting conversation between Barney and Trick in the back of his head. He’d had a running commentary for most of the fight pointing out every tiny error, bad shooting form, and moment of weakness. Add in a pounding headache and he was ready for this day to be over.

“Phil mentioned that you’re coming back on Sunday?”

“Yeah, I was going to track you down once you got back from your mission. When’d you get in?”

“This morning. We wrapped things up early.”

“That’s always good. Easy in and out?”

“Not even a single explosion.”

“Sitwell must have been thrilled.” Clint murmured as Thor and Steve came in and took a seat.


“Stark, get in here so we can debrief and go home!” Sitwell yelled down the hall before moving to toss out packets to the rest of the team.

“I’m wounded, Sitwell, I really am.” Tony said, dropping into a chair. “So Hawkeye, who’s your supplier for the flash bangs? You order those in bulk or something?”

“Can we get started?” Sitwell asked, glaring at the inventor. “Some of us want to go home at a reasonable hour today, Stark.”

“Aw, the little missus complaining, Sitwell?”

“Stark. Shut up.” Natasha snapped, glaring at the man until he huffed and sat back.

Clint tried to listen to the rest of the mission debrief and chime in when he could but all he could hear was Tony’s comments on his gear. A looping track of “Stupid, freak, retard.” left him tense and twitching to move.

Clint had built his own weapons and gear for years, working with Shield R&D to mass produce his designs. Now Stark thought he was buying his bombs. He probably thought he was too stupid to understand the weaponry he used every day.

Hell, Tony hadn’t even realized that Clint had been the one to hack his appointments, thinking Pepper had paid someone to do it. Clint had laughed when Phil told him but now it just pissed him off. Maybe he should be trying to run more Shield missions, get some distance between him and the team.

“Are you coming back to the tower?” Natasha asked as the meeting was breaking up.

“Nah, I want to go back and help clean up. Think I can get a lift back, Sitwell?” Clint called out, catching the Agent before he could leave.

“Collecting arrows? Sure, you can head back out with me.”

“Seriously? Leave them. I’ll fabricate you more.” Tony said with a snort.

“Most of them weren’t explosive. They can be reused.” Steve pointed out.

Clint ignored the discussion that started up and strode off with Sitwell. He felt Natasha’s gaze on his back but he kept walking. He just could not win. No matter what he did, someone ended up disappointed in him.

It was full dark before he was dropped off at his hotel wearing a generic pair of Shield sweats. He went straight to the elevator but saw the two people at the desk glancing back and forth between him and the TV. Great, he’d been made. Time to move.

He took a quick shower and started packing, ignoring the burn of overused muscles. He would have to take a muscle relaxer tonight if he wanted to be able to move in the morning. Funny that he had arrived with the clothes on his back and was leaving with two large suitcases and a bag full of suits. Phil came in as he was zipping up the last bag.

“Heading out?”

“The front desk staff made me. I need to change locations.”

“Do you want to find a different hotel or go to the tower?”

“I don’t know.” Clint said with a sigh, scrubbing a hand over his face. “The tower makes more sense.”

“I still have a small apartment in town if you don’t want to do either.”

“You kept your apartment?”

“I thought I could use it as a safe house if needed.” Phil said with a shrug. “I still have some furniture and things there so we should be okay to stay a few days. We’ll just have to pick up some food if we want to cook anything.”

“Don’t tell me you’re going to make me cook like Natasha.” Clint said with a teasing grin.

“She does say your cooking is very good.”

“I might could be convinced to make you breakfast.”

“That would be up to you. I will freely admit to being a horrible cook. I don’t have the patience for it.”

“As long as you’re better then Natasha, she can burn water.”

“I’ve seen her make toast so I know that’s a lie.”

“Toast is not cooking.” Clint said with a grin, tugging on his jacket.

“Does oatmeal count?” Phil asked as he gathered up his scattered books from around the room.

“Only if it’s on the stove.”

“Then I am officially not a cook. You’ll just have to teach me.”

“We can try that.” Clint said with a snort. “I’ve never been the best teacher.”

“You do wonderful with the rookies on missions.”

“They were following me around like puppies, Phil. I just gave them something to do.”

“Which was exactly what you needed to do and you did it without talking down to them or making them feel stupid like many of our agents. There’s a reason Natasha doesn’t go on those missions, Clint.”

“Yeah, right.” Clint muttered, shaking his head. “I didn’t want to go through your things so you still need to pack. I’ll meet you downstairs.”

“We’ll continue this conversation once we’re moved. Have you decided where you want to go?”

“Your apartment if you don’t mind.”

“No that sounds good. I’ll be down in a minute.”


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