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Title: The man with grey hands smiles
Fandom: Avengers movieverse
Disclaimer: not my characters; title from Sylvia Plath
Warnings: torture; trauma; control issues; improperly punctuated dialogue due to stylistic choices
Pairings: Loki/Clint
Rating: PG13
Wordcount: 2390
Point of view: third
Notes: thanks to pprfaith for discussing a few things with me.

Clint is sent on a solo mission and is captured. He spends a long time in captivity, enduring terrible things. As the time goes by and no one comes for him, Clint starts to believe that the rest of the team and SHIELD have forgotten about him/doesn't care. (Would like the rest of the team to actually be searching, or Fury being a bastard and doesn't tell them what happened to Clint.)

So, seeing no way out, Clint gives up and resigns himself to his fate.

Enter Loki.

When Clint wakes up, he is clean, warm, not hurting and feels safe. And Loki can't be a bad guy when he just rescued Clint from hell, can he? And Clint has no idea how to repay his former enemy for that, but he sure is going to try.

He doesn’t know what day it is. He knows he’s felt worse pain in his life, but he can’t remember when or why, and it’s dark and cold, and he hasn’t seen anyone in forever, and he knows he’s going crazy, he has to be, alone in the colddark, whimpering every time he shivers because he just hurts so much.

He doesn’t know what day it is, but nobody has come for him. Someone should have – he had a family, an actual family, a team, the greatest in the world, geniuses and gods and soldiers who never left anyone behind and – and – Tasha? He had a Tasha, red hair and dangerous hands, Tasha who wouldn’t forget him, who would never leave him. But Tasha isn’t here.

He can’t even recall his name, but he knows, deep in his aching bones, that Tasha would never leave him. But she isn’t here. She hasn’t come for him.

She must be dead, Tasha with the red hair and dangerous hands. She’s dead, so the rest aren’t coming for him.

He’s alone in the dark, every bone in his hands broken, blinded by the people he hasn’t heard in – what day is it? He doesn’t know doesn’t know doesn’t know – and he’s never getting out of here. No one is coming. No one cares.

He doesn’t know the day or his name, and he’s alone, and Tasha Tasha Tasha – she’s dead dead dead.

Up above his head, something explodes. Screams. Heat soaks through the ceiling.

Has Tasha finally showed up? He cranes his neck, trying to see anything, but his eyes are still useless, if they’re even in his head anymore. He can’t tell. His bones creak, the ones that aren’t shattered, and he lets his head hang, shoulders slumping down. He’s tired, but he can’t sleep in the dark. He can’t remember why not.

He can’t remember why not, but the heat feels good, and the screams are the only music he’s had in however long, and the explosions, oh, they’re lovely, and then there’s a hand on his brow, lips against his skin, and nothing else but bone-deep relief as all his aches fade away. Sleep, he hears, unsure if it’s real or not, but he’s cradled in something warm, something strong, something gentle, and he’s so tired, and this dark isn’t cold. So he lets himself sink into it.

Tasha must have come for him. They’re both dead now, but he’s not cold and he’s not alone.

It must be Tuesday. Good things always happen on Tuesdays.

He sleeps.


When he wakes up, he’s on something soft and he can see again. Hello, a gentle voice says from the side, so he turns his head and it doesn’t hurt, and there’s someone there, dark hair and bright eyes, hands clasped on his knees, pale skin – he looks nothing like the people who put him in the hole and left, who stole his eyes.

This man gave his eyes back, and he made them scream, and he blew them up.

Hello, he says back.

Do you know who you are? the man asks, placing one hand next to him.

He shakes his head. The man says, You’re Clint. You’re my warrior hawk, but I – I must ask your forgiveness.

Why? he asks, wondering if he can touch the pale, strong hand, and then he does. He does and the man smiles, turning his hand so that his fingers wrap around Clint’s – and yes, that sounds right, he’s Clint. He’s Clint and he’s not cold, and there’s so much light he can see everything.

I allowed someone else to utilize your skills, Clint, the man explains, and they lost you. They allowed the enemy to take you.

Yes, he remembers. He shudders, shaking his head. But you got me back, he reassures his master.

Of course I did, his master says, smiling. Sleep some more, Clint. We’ll talk again after you’re caught up on your rest.

Clint tightens his grip on his master’s hand as he stands. I can’t – please, sir, he says. I can’t remember your name.

His master smiles again, leaning down to kiss his forehead. I am Loki, he murmurs into Clint’s skin. You are my warrior hawk, the greatest of all my men. Sleep now.

Thank you, Clint whispers, letting the dark have him again, because it’s warm and soft and Loki has said it’s alright.

For just a moment, he wonders if Tasha belongs to Loki, too. But no – Tasha is dead. She never came for him, and she would’ve, if she were Loki’s.

Tasha is dead and Clint is Loki’s, and he’s safe and warm and has his eyes again.


It’s a Tuesday. Loki gives Clint a bow and a quiver and stands at his back as Clint studies them. Show me what you can do, Loki says. Show me what they couldn’t take from you.

Clint hits everything he aims at. Loki touches his shoulder and says, Well done.


Clint does not need to know Loki’s endgame or his plans, beyond what is required of him for Loki to succeed. He’s safe and he’s warm and he shares Loki’s bed, offering everything he is to his lord and savior. Loki could take – it is his right, as Clint’s master, to take whatever he wants.

But Clint wants to give it all to Loki. As thanks. All he has is his eyes and his heart, and he offers them both to Loki.

And Loki caresses his skin, kisses him, whispers how wonderful he is, Loki’s wondrous warrior hawk. The best of all his men.

Loki tells him to lead the next team, when they break into a SHIELD storage facility. You’ll know what to take, Loki says. It’ll call to you.

Clint has not left Loki’s immediate vicinity since Loki wrapped around him in the colddark and carried him away. But he will see to it that this is the most successful mission of any Loki himself didn’t lead.


Clint orders his men to strip anything of value, as well as make sure to get everything on Loki’s list. He looks around with his careful eyes, trying to gauge what Loki might want him to see.

And there. On the far wall, away from anything else. A gorgeous, high-tech bow. It does call to him. His hands ache to hold it.

He takes it, of course. And when he presents it to Loki, Loki smiles and drops a deep, warm kiss on his lips.


What do you remember from before? Loki asks, watching Clint eat a pb&j. Loki had tried some, when Clint offered, and declared it not displeasing, but he didn’t want any more of his own.

I remember no one came for me, Clint replies, licking his lips for stray peanut butter. He remembers a team, people he would’ve died for – geniuses and gods and soldiers. Tasha. He remembers days alone in the dark, shivering in the cold, shattered bones and eyes that burned. He remembers killing people for money, being small and always hitting his target, shouts and bruises. I remember, he says, meeting Loki’s gaze, I remember you.

Loki smiles, stretching his arm across the table, palm up for Clint.

Clint puts his hand in Loki’s and knows that he’ll do anything Loki asks. Anything Loki orders.

He is Loki’s warrior hawk, the best of all Loki’s men, and all he wants is to obey Loki’s command.


The first time he sees the Avengers, he knows who they are. Geniuses and gods and soldiers, and a red-haired woman with dangerous hands.

Tasha is not dead. She still didn’t come for him.


“Oh, fuck,” Iron Man says, staring at him. Thor and Captain America are both speechless, and Hulk roars.

Tasha lowers her gun, eyes wide. None of them have ever seen so much emotion on her face.

Clint’s hands are empty, his bow with Loki.

I will come retrieve you in three days, Loki promised. Gather all the information you can and be ready.

These people left him alone in the dark, eyes burnt out and bones broken.

“You’re… you’re alive,” Tasha whispers.

Clint knows how to act, how to pretend, how to fake. He used to be so good at it. He pulls on a dozen masks now, because he has to do this for Loki.

“I,” he says, letting himself sway in place. “I. Tasha?” He goes down hard, like a man who just can’t stand anymore.

Thor and Captain America catch him before he hits the ground. Natasha puts her gun away.

They left him alone in the dark, but they welcome him home.

Loki had warned him they would.


The first day is spent sequestered in med-bay. He lies to the doctors, medical and head-shrinking, and then to Fury, before his old team is allowed in to see him. He lies to them, too.

He tells them about the dark, and the cold. There are scars on his body – but there have always been scars on his body. Loki is a benevolent god and healed Clint of everything, so he explains, in a tired, hesitant voice, about being alone. Alone for days.

“You’ve been gone for two years,” Natasha tells him, as close as she can be without touching. He reaches for her and she clings tightly.

Tasha had been the one person he never shied from.

But Tasha never came for him.


The second day is spent curled up with Natasha wherever she drags him to. He hasn’t been cleared yet, by the doctors or Fury, but all of the Avengers follow them around, determined to spend as much time with Clint as possible. He’s been missing for two years, after all. And he was either let go or escaped (that’s still unknown), and found his way home.

Two years in the dark, he tells them. Two years alone, and then he saw his chance, took it, and came home to them.

Natasha believes him. Because she does, so do the others, the geniuses and god and soldier. They don’t know not to.

Loki had said they’d be so relieved to find him alive and healthy and sane. They’d welcome him, arms spread wide, take him into the bosom of their organization. He’s watched so he can’t go anywhere sensitive, but he remembers everything he sees. He’ll be able to tell Loki.

Whatever information he’s supposed to gather, he has no idea. So far, all he’s learned is what happens when an agent appears after two years of being thought dead.

They didn’t look for him. They thought he was dead.

Maybe he should forgive them.

He doesn’t. They should’ve known. They should’ve known and come for him, but Loki saved him from the colddark, and he is Loki’s now.

He wasn’t always. He knows that.

Head resting on Natasha’s shoulder, listening to Tony and Thor discuss nothing, Steve and Bruce throwing in an occasional comment, he knows he used to be one of them. Loki’s enemy. All the memories are in his head – the first time Loki had him, the battle for Manhattan, laughing with Natasha while Loki was dragged away shackled and gagged.

But he was alone in the colddark and Loki wrapped him in warmth and returned his eyes, and these people, they left him there. They lost him.

Loki found him.

So he stores everything he sees and hears, and he’ll tell it all to Loki, because he’s not one of them anymore.

He’s Loki’s warrior hawk, and he’ll do whatever he can to make sure all of Loki’s plans succeed.


The third day is spent debriefing – in detail – with Fury himself. Clint looks around for Coulson twice – Coulson didn’t leave him in the colddark. Coulson was dead before that, for a year. Killed by Loki, the first time Loki had Clint.

Fury’s eye tracks Clint, and he waits for Clint’s full attention.

“Start at the beginning,” Fury orders. “Anything you remember.”

Clint tells the truth. He just doesn’t tell all of it.


Natasha takes him to the cafeteria for supper. Thor fills a tray for him, Bruce and Steve bracket him, and Tony rambles on about everything he’s missed. Apparently, Tony designed a dozen new bows that no one is as handy with as he would be.

Clint promises to try them out. He knows that Loki should be here for him any minute; he keeps glancing away from his ex-team, wondering what face Loki is wearing.

The alarm shrieks. He flinches and then Hulk is scooping him up, Captain America shouting for Hulk to keep him safe.

He struggles in Hulk’s grip, of course, and shouts to be let go, but Hulk hurries deeper into the complex as everyone scrambles to find the intruders.

Hulk turns a corner and collapses. Clint tumbles forward, landing in a crouch at Loki’s feet. Loki, he breathes out, relieved.

Come, my warrior hawk, Loki says with a warm smile. Time for us to be on our way. He holds out a hand.

Clint grips him hard, straightening up, and sighs with relief when, within an instant, they’re back in Loki’s bedroom, safe from the world.

Lay with me, Loki commands, efficiently stripping Clint’s SHIELD-wear away and letting it drop on the floor.

He falls into Loki, molding himself to Loki’s body, and sleeps.


A dozen missions happen before he sees the Avengers again.

I care not if they live or die, except for Thor. He must live, Loki had said. The rest - their fates are in your hands.

Clint looks at them all through his scope, weighing how he used to feel about them up against the colddark and being alone.

Geniuses and gods and soldiers. Red hair and dangerous hands.

Thor yells at his brother. Iron Man snarks, Hulk swats at Loki, Captain America tells him to surrender peacefully.

Black Widow looks up at Hawkeye’s nest.

He remembers when he had this shot before, and didn’t take it. When he brought her home to SHIELD, when Coulson went to bat for them both, when Fury threw up his hands and shook his head in disgust.

He owes her his life.

But she left him alone in the colddark.

Black Widow opens her mouth to warn her team about Loki’s warrior hawk – and he decides.


Jun. 3rd, 2012 05:06 am (UTC)
Nice. I loved the style of this, and Clint's stream of consciousness, and how he still calls it the colddark and he was gone two years... and especially the part where he was convinced that Natasha would come for him and must be dead because she didn't - wow. That hit me.

Edited at 2012-06-03 05:06 am (UTC)
Jun. 3rd, 2012 08:39 pm (UTC)

Thank you for reading!


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questioning in order to create

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