sam_storyteller: (Slash Fic)
sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2013-11-21 10:12 am

Avengers: If I Don't Wake Up Dead 4/4

Chapter Three

***

Clint wakes to find Steve has shifted while he slept; he's sitting up now, broken leg dangling off the bed, one of the oatmeal cups from earlier in his hand.

Clint's head is resting on his other leg, one arm thrown over his knee. Steve seems content, but Clint can't imagine his leg's not asleep. Still, when he goes to move, Steve stills him with a hand on his head.

"Eat," he says, setting the oatmeal aside and breaking off a chunk of banana, holding it to Clint's lips. Clint accepts it quietly. He's not quite down anymore, and the chills and anxiety he generally gets coming out of it should have hit by now, but he's not going to question why they haven't. Steve hand-feeds him banana, some broken-up bits of pop tart, a careful sip of coffee. Clint sits up eventually, since Steve doesn't stop him this time, but he stays close.

"Feeling okay?" Steve asks.

"Sure. That was great."

"I thought so. Though I don't really pretend to get why," Steve says, handing him the rest of the pop tart and going back to the oatmeal. It's the third cup; the other two are empty on the tray. "Never appealed to me, your end of things. I like control. It helps...iron things out in my head. Maybe just because I never had much of it before…" he gestures at his body.

"Is that why you stop eating?" Clint asks softly, tactlessly he knows, but he can't help it.

"I don't stop," Steve replies defensively.

"JARVIS says you cut what you eat sometimes."

"But I don't stop. I wouldn't, that's not good for anyone," Steve says. "I just -- sometimes -- I need to know I control something. I didn't even control what I ate back when. Too poor at first, then the Army was telling me what to do. Now I can have as much of anything as I please, so...if I need to be in charge of something, if I feel -- "

"Lost," Clint supplies. "Weak. Flawed."

Steve gives him a sharp look on the third one, but nods anyway.

"I know I can control what I eat, that I get to, now," Steve says. "I make sure I get enough. I just need something nobody can make me do."

"I get that. Kind of," Clint offers.

"Good. I mean, I figure you would. I was worried -- when I told you to drop, I didn't think about Loki -- "

"It's fine," Clint says. "I didn't know if it would be. But I think it is. Loki...that was something different."

"I'm glad it's all right." Steve stirs his oatmeal aimlessly. "I didn't think before I spoke. I mean, I've done this with a grand total of three people ever. I wasn't even in a place to give them anything other than a good time."

Ah, there it is, the gentle let-down. Clint knew he'd be kind.

"But I am now," Steve says, and Clint goes still. "I...like...I liked that. I think we fit. I think you need to give it up as much as I need to take it. So I dunno if this is just because I've been hurt -- it's fine if it is -- but if you'd care to try for more...I've got nobody in my life like that, and I'd like to have you there. If that's all right."

Clint stares at him, uncertain what's going on. Steve stares back, looking equally confused.

"I'm not sure what you want," Clint says.

"Well, seems a little silly to call it being sweethearts," Steve says. "But that's really what it'd be. I'd like to...see you. Do this, but...all the usual stuff too, like movies and dinner and such."

"You want to date me," Clint says.

"If you'd like that."

Clint can't help it. He blurts, "Why?"

Steve sets all the food aside and then turns back to him, drawing his leg up on the bed. He leans in cautiously, but Clint doesn't move as he kisses just under his jaw.

"Why not?" he asks against Clint's skin.

"You're Captain America," Clint points out.

"Captain America's allowed to have a sweetheart," Steve says, leaning back.

"Not a kinky male ex-carnie spy he's not."

"Well, I'm Captain America and leader of this team and as a kinky male ex-dancing-girl soldier, I get to say who's my sweetheart. And I don't want any lip about it -- just because I ain't had much experience with a switch doesn't mean I ain't had any."

Clint shivers as Steve lays a very possessive hand on his chest.

"If you're not interested, that's fine and I won't make a racket. But if you are, and you just think you shouldn't aspire, well. You have the right to swing at any pitch you like, and I'll fight anyone who says otherwise."

Clint swallows, working on the right words for this. Steve lays his head against Clint's, eyes electric blue, patient.

"Don't say no on my account, don't spare me because you think you aren't good enough. Don't say no unless you mean it," he says softly, and Clint twitches and gives up, edging into the warmth of him, pressing his face into Steve's shoulder. Steve pulls him over and curls up in a tangle with him, sliding them both down into the blankets.

"Well, I'll take that as a yes," Steve remarks, and Clint laughs into his skin.

They do get up, eventually, clean up a little and wander out into the kitchen again, where the "breakfast soup" has been abandoned and Tony is asleep at the kitchen table.

Clint feels warm and satisfied; he keeps waiting for sub-drop to kick in, but the warm feeling just slowly rumbles through him all day, throughout the afternoon and into the evening. He's functional, he's lucid, he's just...settled. Happy. Natasha notices, and pats his head affectionately, and he can't even summon the negativity to be annoyed at her.

It occurs to him that maybe he won't drop this time. That's never happened before -- he always drops, usually alone, but he knows how to handle it, so he could. He finds himself hoping he will because at least right now, Steve is actually pretty close by. He has been all day. Clint finds himself gravitating back to him, accepting casual touches he wouldn't from anyone else (except possibly Natasha) and Steve doesn't seem to think this is at all extraordinary.

And Steve eats -- a giant sandwich and a fruit salad at lunch, peanut butter on crackers and apples in the afternoon, double helpings at dinner. Clint smiles as Steve beats Thor to the last spoonful of casserole, and Steve catches him doing it and give him a rueful grin in return.

After dinner, he hauls Clint into the kitchen to do the dishes with him. Elbows-deep in suds, he hands Clint a clean plate and says, "Stay with me tonight."

"Of course," Clint says, drying it.

"Not on the couch this time."

Clint nods, setting the plate aside. Steve ducks his head to look at him.

"This isn't normal for me," he says. Clint frowns. "I'm not. Forward? I don't normally invite people this way. But I want you to. Very much, Clint."

Clint almost points out that he said yes, but the look in Steve's eyes...it seems to be more about making sure Clint understands than any personal insecurity.

"You are a choice," Steve says quietly.

"So are you," Clint replies, and that seems to satisfy him.

***

When he follows Steve to his room later that night, with probably less discretion than he could employ -- maybe he wants to show off a little, subconsciously -- Steve waits until he's in the bedroom and then shuts the door with a certain air of finality. He comes up to Clint, who is standing in the middle of the floor, and Clint's knees bend to drop without even waiting for the command. Steve catches him around the waist, though, and holds him up with his good arm.

"Not yet," he says, steadying Clint on his feet. He steps back and tugs Clint's shirt over his head, then gestures for him to strip out of his pants. It's not like he didn't see him naked just yesterday, in a shower no less, but Clint is aware that Steve was probably at that point just trying to maintain what little dignity a naked man can have.

Now he examines Clint minutely, hands drifting over his skin, lingering on every scar and bump of muscle. Clint feels dissected -- examined. Like a belonging, something Steve is inspecting for scuffs or dents. He feels hyperconscious of every mark on his body. He's not ashamed; they were earned, every one of them. But maybe Steve doesn't agree.

"This is beautiful," Steve murmurs. Clint shivers. "Didn't expect anything less, though."

He rests a hand on Clint's waist, the other over his heart.

"Say stop, and we stop," he says, a repeat of that morning. "Tell me now if there's anything you need, anything you want. You asked about pain -- whips and chains," Steve says with a smile. "Do you like that?"

Clint shrugs. "Usually it's all that'll put me down."

"Surprising. You went earlier, no problem."

"That was unusual."

"Well, we'll see. You can talk to say stop or to tell me if you need something to get you there. You can…" he stumbles over the word again. "Come, you can do that any time."

Clint tilts his head. Steve clearly doesn't know what a safeword is, even if he knows enough to establish one, and he's barely able to articulate anything about sex. "How much do you know about the way we do things now?"

"Not a lot. I'll learn, though. Whatever you like."

"Just curious." Clint draws a breath. "I like...serving. Being useful. Doesn't have to be sex. Like with the shower yesterday. And the food and stuff."

"Providing what I need," Steve says.

"Yes," Clint answers, relieved he understands. "Stuff like -- needles, whips, restraints, all that's good, I do like it, and I'll show you how. But really I -- "

"Want to be cherished," Steve says.

"Well, I wouldn't -- "

"You want to be loved. You want to be able to offer something and get love back. It's hard when you think you can't just be someone that someone else likes," Steve says. Clint hurts, like a knife sliding right between the ribs. "You want to give it up to me," he adds, voice lowering. "Because you know if you're a good boy I'll protect you. And if you're bad, well." He smiles. "There's an old saying about punishing out of love."

Clint heaves in a breath, and Steve catches his chin in one warm hand.

"Down," he says, and lets Clint drop to his knees this time, pulling his head forward. "Breathe."

Clint focuses on his breathing, on the smell of Steve, on the solidity of his leg against Clint's chest. His face is pressed to Steve's groin, and with a fraction of a movement he can nuzzle into the bulge of his erection, warm even through his clothes.

"When I tell you, I want you to stand," Steve says gently, ignoring the caress. Clint strains to anticipate what he'll want. "Undress me. Get my pajamas from the drawer -- the top drawer, the blue pajamas. And a handkerchief -- they're in the second drawer."

His hand rubs the back of Clint's head, and Clint works hard to focus on what he's saying.

"I want you to get me off, any way you want," Steve continues. "I liked what you did last time. That was nice."

Clint snorts against him. Yeah, it was. Steve scruffs his hair warningly.

"Then clean up with the handkerchief, dress me, and we'll sleep," Steve says. "That sounds nice, doesn't it?"

Clint nods.

"You remember it all?"

Blue pajamas, handkerchief, any way he wants. Clint nods again.

"Good. Screw it up, and I will punish you," Steve says.

The man's a damn genius. Go down easy, or I'll put you down hard.

Clint rises when Steve tugs on his hair, and sets about stripping Steve down with care and attention. Shirt, undershirt, belt; he kneels again to take his socks off, then tugs his pants down. His boxer-briefs are obscenely distended, cock erect and straining against the fabric, and Clint feels an answering tug of arousal in his own body as he pulls them down as well. He ignores it, folding the clothes and setting them aside carefully.

He stands, feeling Steve's eyes heavy on him as he goes to the dresser. He takes out the blue pajamas, right on top, and then turns -- then quickly turns back. Handkerchief, right, but he can't remember where they were --

"It's almost like you weren't listening," Steve says, and Clint stiffens. It's so close to the wrong thing to say -- Pay attention, you stupid little shit and Just how dumb are you that you can't even do this right but it's not. It's right, and it knocks the breath from him, makes it easier to narrow his mind down to -- yes. Second drawer. He opens it, grasps a crisp white handkerchief, and turns back to Steve laden with his treasure.

Steve smiles approvingly as Clint returns, tucking the clothing to his chest to angle Steve back against the bed, pushing him down to sit. Steve goes obediently, and there they are again -- this strange reversal, where Clint is serving but Steve is the one getting guided around.

He finds he likes it.

He sets the clothing on the bed, going to his knees and pushing Steve's legs apart a little. Steve catches his chin again and leans in to kiss him, sweet and easy, something they haven't yet done.

"Couldn't resist," he says, shy as a schoolboy. Apologetic, like Clint might not have wanted it.

Clint can feel himself sinking, a part of him wanting to fight it, the rest waiting for that moment when the world outside goes dark and quiet. He bends to his task, figuring that one way or another, this will take care of the dilemma.

Steve is hot on his tongue and Steve's breath comes in short, catching bursts. His thick thighs cord with muscle under Clint's hands as his head bobs, eyes drooping shut.

"That's -- you're so good at this," Steve breathes, audibly straining, probably to keep still. "Never had anyone who could -- "

Clint free-falls for a moment, but the hand at the back of his head steadies him, anchors him down.

"You make me think things," Steve murmurs. "Dirty things, I don't...know how to say them, but -- " he breaks off with a grunt, hips almost bucking. "We'll do them together. It'll make you happy, I know it will."

Steve shifts then, pulling him forward and a little to one side, his good leg swinging over slightly until his ankle bumps against Clint's body. He's almost surprised to find he's hard, to find the nudge of Steve's leg against him feels good.

"That's it," Steve says, as Clint's body rolls against him. "Rub off if you want. You look awfully nice like this, Clint. Doesn't that feel good?"

Clint can't help the thrust of his hips, the deep vibration of a groan in his throat as he sucks. Steve, for all he says he isn't good at the dirty talk, keeps up a stream of encouragements, endearments, rough words at times. Clint feels himself come, almost distantly, and goes lax for a second as it thrills through him; he feels Steve take hold of his head and finally buck into his mouth, coming down his throat with a choked-off groan. Clint swallows, then slumps against Steve's leg to catch his breath for a second. When he looks up, Steve is looking at him expectantly.

Right; the handkerchief. Clint reaches for it, fingers thick and fumbling, and cleans come off his chin and Steve's leg, his spit off Steve's softening cock. He enjoys the simple task, petting Steve a little -- when Steve huffs, apparently sensitive, he stifles a smile. Sir did ask for this, after all.

He's at least steady on his feet by the time he stands, shaking out the pajama pants for Steve to step into. Once he's dressed, Steve pulls back the covers himself and gestures Clint into the bed. Clint hesitates; he doesn't usually sleep nude.

"I want you undressed," Steve says in his ear, his hand sliding down the curve of Clint's ass. "Easy access if I decide I want you in the night."

He can tell from Steve's voice it's an idle remark -- they definitely aren't at that stage yet, and they both know it -- but it reminds him that right now he doesn't belong to himself, doesn't have to worry about himself. Steve will do that.

He goes into the bed, followed so closely by Steve that he doesn't even get to figure out how to lie. Steve just arranges him how he wants him, asks "Comfortable?" and then nods when Clint does. "Good." His arm tightens around Clint's waist, pulled back against him, practically buried in the warmth of Steve's body. "You were so good for me, Clint. Exactly what I wanted."

Clint's body hums with the praise.

***

He wakes in the middle of the night, mind awash with terror, body shivering with cold.

For a second, he's not sure where he is or why he's naked; it flits through his mind that he might have been captured, but then sense reasserts itself. He's in bed, a brawny arm thrown around his waist. Steve's bed. Steve's arm. Steve behind him, breathing softly in sleep. He's pulled away just slightly, a little space between their bodies, and the free-floating fear asserts itself.

He was a fool to do this. Stupid to trust a secret of this magnitude to anyone on the team. Stupid to even try and be the guy who gets Captain America, the living legend, a national icon. He should slink away before he does any further damage, it's just he's so cold…

Steve huffs behind him when he tries to move. His arm tightens around Clint's waist and then his hand slides up to his chest, registering his hammering heartbeat. There is nothing more humiliating, nothing more painful than what's about to happen.

Steve wakes fully, and Clint steadies himself for the confusion, the disdain, the inability to cope with how fucking crazy Clint is, what a headcase Steve just climbed merrily into bed with.

Steve moves quickly, propping himself up, rolling Clint onto his back. He leans over him, but not all the way, and looks down worriedly.

"I've seen this," he announces, and moves one hand back to Clint's chest. Light, not pinning him, just touching him. "It's all right, Clint. You're here, this is my room, nothing's going to hurt you here. You're safe, I'm here. I won't let anything happen."

Clint shudders with the cold, uncontrollably, and panics at the idea Steve might try to warm him physically. Steve doubles his own half of the blankets back and lays them over him instead, moving his hand to Clint's face to anchor him.

"Deep breaths. That's it," Steve says, as Clint does his best. "Warm and safe. I've got you. Hey, who's gonna mess with me, huh? Nobody. There you go," he adds, when Clint finally manages to go limp, sucking up the warmth of the blankets. He gasps in air, greedy for it.

Steve just watches him, eyes alert but not worried. Clint feels his pulse slow, his breathing even out. Steve slides the blankets back around, settling down to carefully pull him close.

"You're the second person I've seen do that," he says. "She didn't get quite as intense as that, but I'm familiar. Does it have a name?"

"Sub-drop," Clint says. "Usually it's not this sudden."

"This happens to you?"

"It has, before."

"Not this morning, though."

Clint shakes his head. "Sorry. Usually I get away for it, so I'm not bothering anyone."

Steve looks horrified.

"I mean -- it's not usually this sudden, so it's not a big deal -- " Clint blurts, before Steve pulls him into a bear hug and his face gets mashed against one (admittedly very nice) pectoral. "Steve. Need to breathe."

"Sorry! Sorry," Steve mumbles, separating them just enough for Clint to draw air. "Why would you do that?" he asks. "Why would they let you? Have you seen yourself when it happens?"

"Not their job," Clint replies.

"Did they tell you that?"

"Some did."

"Well, then clearly I'm not the dumbest guy who ever did this," Steve says fiercely. "It doesn't stop just because I got what I need, Clint, Jesus Christ. I may not know much but I know I don't leave my boy alone after."

He's holding Clint's head in both his hands, so Clint can't look away from his face, and the dismay and anger there frightens him.

"Look, I get if you changed your mind," he starts, and Steve's expression turns incredulous.

"You think I'm mad at you," he says.

"Well -- "

"Clint, I'm mad at them. What kinds'a people...I mean, that's just nuts. Doing that? Catching hold of someone like you and then dumping you off when they're done? You've been sleeping with idiots."

"It's...just the way things are, Steve, they don't have -- "

"Well, it's done now anyway," Steve says. Clint flinches. "Not us! Them! You're done with them now. I'm here." He looks fierce, like he's in battle. "Buncha fools," he mutters. "You cold?"

Clint shakes his head.

"Hungry? Thirsty?"

"No," Clint mumbles, shamed by all this attention.

"You want me close or a little further off?" Steve asks softly.

"Close," Clint whispers, barely a breath. Steve inches them together, tucking the blankets close as well.

"This is part of my job," Steve says in his ear. "I enjoy it just as much as the other parts. I like having something to look after, folks to care for. You think this is an imposition somehow. It's not. Let me look after you like I said I would."

Clint nods against his shoulder.

"I'm kind of a mess," he offers.

"Well, that's two of us, so I don't imagine it matters," Steve replies. He nuzzles at Clint's hairline, splinted hand stroking broadly if clumsily against his back. "Maybe it's more common now, maybe I just haven't got that much knowledge. But the way it is for me is, this kind of thing is pretty rare. Finding someone that fits like you do. It's strange to me that nobody ever held onto you before. I would. I intend to."

Clint keeps his face pressed to Steve's skin, unsure how to respond.

"Don't you want to keep me, Clint?" Steve asks, and Clint would accuse him of manipulation but this is Steve.

"Yes," he replies.

"Then don't ever run off when this is coming," Steve says. "You stay with me and I'll get you through it. I want to. You're my responsibility now, like I'm yours. We might not last but by God it won't end because I neglected my duties."

Clint smiles. "You sound almost patriotic about all this kinky sex."

"I take it seriously. It deserves the attention."

Exhaustion settles bone-deep, and he's warm and almost hypnotized by the sweep of Steve's hand over his skin. "I don't want you to go," he says, helpless, like a child.

"I won't," Steve promises.

***

The next time he wakes is much, much better. It's slow, for one thing, and he's warm, and aware of where he is this time -- he can hear Steve speaking and JARVIS responding.

"No, let's just filter out any of...of that," Steve says, thoughtfully.

"Including instructional videos, Captain?"

"There are instructional videos?"

"Most purport to be, but may not be entirely honest."

"Can you tell?"

"Generally."

"Then use your own judgment," Steve says. "Photos are okay. Well, I mean obviously more instructional photos would be better. Yes, like that."

"What're you doing?" Clint asks, coming into the living room of the suite, wrapped in the blanket from Steve's bed. Steve's only wearing sleep pants, and the broad bands of muscle in his back are better art than Clint's ever seen in a museum.

"Apparently, looking at blue pictures," Steve replies. He's standing in front of the big TV screen all the suites came with, watching JARVIS filter through --

"Whoa," Clint manages. "That's a lot of porn there, buddy."

"I am attempting to compile useful instructional material in the fields of bondage, domination, and submission," JARVIS says. "It is proving problematic."

"Don't tell me Stark never asked you to compile pornography for him," Clint says, joining Steve at the screen. Steve shyly puts an arm around his waist.

"Sir prefers a more hands-on approach," JARVIS replies drily. "Searches of the internet for an academic or at least nominally useful definition of pornography, as opposed to instruction or artistic expression, have been especially unhelpful. Apparently humans know it when they see it."

Clint laughs softly, leaning into Steve. "Why are we doing this?"

"Lots I don't know," Steve says. "Lots to learn. Internet's got to be good for something."

"You have hit upon one of the prime purposes of the internet," Clint agrees. "Sex and how to do it."

"Do you like rope?" Steve asks, pointing to an image of shibari that appears briefly on the screen as JARVIS sorts through data.

"Sure," Clint replies. A leather corset appears and Steve taps it to pause it, giving Clint a querying, half-hopeful look. That dancing boy in the club, seventy years ago, must have left an impression. Clint nods, and Steve directs the picture into the save folder.

"You know I can teach you just about anything you need to know," Clint says, as Steve nudges him over to the sofa. Steve lowers himself, the turns and slides one leg up onto the seat, tugging Clint into the fold of his legs, head resting against Steve's warm chest.

"Well, I don't mind that, but a fella likes to surprise his sweetheart sometimes," Steve says, kissing him on the temple.

"You still interested?"

"Do I strike you as a liar, Clint?"

"Nosir," Clint murmurs.

"I strike you as someone who puts up with something he doesn't want?"

"Nosir."

"Then if it ever comes to it I will tell you in clear and simple language, but until then how about you assume I don't ask folks to step out with me unless I mean it?"

Clint flushes, embarrassed, but mostly embarrassed that he's so pleased with this answer.

Steve looks down at him, delighted. "You're blushing."

Clint turns his face into Steve's chest. "Am not."

"You are. I've never seen you blush. Big bad hard case Clint Barton," Steve teases, nuzzling his hair. "Don't stop, I like it. Never get to see you like this. I bet nobody does."

"Not really," Clint says, but he can feel himself tense up. Steve huffs.

"What is it?" he asks softly. Clint is silent. "I can't help if I don't know what it is, Clint."

He lifts his face just a little, but forces himself to relax. Reminds himself he can let his guard down here -- Steve has, after all.

"I'm not used to it," he mumbles.

"To what?"

"I like what you say. I like that you think you want me. I just can't...I trust you, I do, but I can't trust...this. That easily. I'm sorry. I can't make myself."

Steve raises a hand to hold Clint's head against his chest. "I've got time. No reason to hurry. Long as you trust me, the rest will follow."

"How can you be sure?"

"It's my job to be," Steve says, a smile in his voice.

Steve scrolls idly through the knowledge JARVIS is compiling for them. From somewhere outside the room comes the sound of what is apparently a second attempt at Breakfast Soup. Steve seems unbothered, so Clint doesn't fret.

They lie like that for the longest time, Clint bracketed by Steve's body, Steve's arm over his waist, as Clint listens to the slow-even thud of his heartbeat and the sun rises over Manhattan.

END

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