Day 1

Title: Day 1
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: The Avengers/Marvel
Rating: G
Disclaimer: Not my characters! I make no money from this.
Summary: The Avengers invade Clint’s room when he comes down sick.
Notes: Written during my 12 Ficlets in 12 Days in 2012 project for Symphonyflute

Clint shivers violently, goosebumps standing out along his arms. He always runs hot, and so he’s glad for his uniform when on a tough op that requires running at top speeds when under fire. And it is a whole lot easier to aim and fire his arrows without fabric getting in the way. A uniform without sleeves had seemed like a good idea originally, but he hadn’t counted on Stark Tower being so damn cold all the damn time.

Or, sorry, Avengers Tower. Clint wonders how long it’ll take him to get used to calling it that. Probably not as long as it’ll take him to start thinking of it as home. ‘Cause he hasn’t had a home in almost as long as he can remember, not since he was a kid and look how well that had worked out for him. Home comes with all sorts of obligations and ties, and Clint doesn’t like being obligated or tied down to anyplace or anyone. But he doesn’t like being alone, either. Maybe that was why he’d joined the circus. Or S.H.I.E.L.D. Or the Avengers. For someone who doesn’t like to be linked to people, he sure is doing a damn good job of it.

He heads into his room and inspects his wardrobe with a frown. Looks like he can either keep his uniform on or put on a tux. Those are pretty pathetic options. His shivers make the call for him, and he grabs the blanket off his bed. He wraps himself up into a superhero burrito and flops down onto his bed. He buries his face in his pillow and is asleep before his body even stills on the mattress.


When Clint wakes up, he jumps, startled. And then he shivers again as cool air seeps between his body and the blanket that had been fused together as he slept. He coughs and, damn, that hurts like hell. So does the rest of his body. Especially his head. And he’s sure it’ll feel better if he just shuts his eyes and goes back to sleep. But he can’t sleep. Because his room is full of Avengers.

Bruce is leaning over him, fingers pressed to Clint’s forehead. And everyone else is right behind him, apparently watching him lie there, stunned. “Uh, what are you all doing in my room?” His voice is hoarse, deep, like he’s been using it all night, when he knows he hasn’t. And his nose is running. He tilts his head and rubs his nose at the blanket.

“We’re not.”

Alarmed, Clint looks around without moving his head. It’s his bed. His walls. His ceiling. His room. “It’s my room.”

“Right,” Bruce nods, distracted as he stares at Clint’s forehead. “But we’re not all here.”

Clint raises himself up on one elbow and focuses on the others this time. There’s Bruce in flannel pants and a tank top, Natasha in slinky black lingerie, Steve in nothing but boxers, and Thor in his normal outfit. It takes Clint a moment to realize Tony’s missing. He’s not sure if he should be glad about that or not.

He feels his breath catch and, for a second, wishes the tickle were just in his throat. Instead, he brings a hand up, cupped to his nose and mouth. “eeyehSchhhhhh!” He flops back down, pinching his leaking nose between thumb and forefinger.

Bruce looks over his shoulder. “Thor, would you get a box of Kleenex from the closet down the hall?”

Thor flinches as a confused look passes over his face. “I do not—”

“I’ll get one,” Steve volunteers, disappearing out of the room.

“Fine,” Clint says. “Maybe not all, but why are you here?”

Natasha speaks up. “You were screaming in your sleep. It woke us all up.”

“Who is Barney?” Thor asks.

Not wanting to answer, Clint rolls over, curling halfway beneath the covers, shivering as little wisps of cool night air make it between his body and the blankets.

Bruce presses his hand to Clint’s forehead. Clint tries to pull away, but his head only goes a little deeper into the pillow. “You’re hot.”

Clint tries to smile, but all his mouth does is twitch a bit at the corners. “That’s what I’ve been told.”

“I mean you’ve got a fever,” Bruce chuckles. He glances over his shoulder. “Thor, would you get him another blanket?”

“You just stated that he was hot. Should you not remove one of the blankets?”

“He’s chilled, needs a little more to feel warm.” At this, Thor disappears and Clint closes his eyes.

“Have to sneeze again,” he says, more of a complaint than a warning. His breath catches, body rocks. “heh-heh-Eh-yihshhhhhhh!” His nose and had are wet. This is so humiliating that he almost refuses the blanket Thor brings and the tissues Steve holds out to him. He rips two roughly from the box and wipes at his nose. He isn’t sure his ego can withstand this.

Bruce tucks the blanket tightly around him. “Don’t worry about this. We all get sick.”

“I don’t.” All eyes turned to Thor.

He shrugs. “Gods don’t get sick. Illnesses like the common cold are for… mortals.” It sounds as though he had come close to calling Clint a ‘common mortal.’

“Actually,” Steve pipes up, “I haven’t come down with a cold since those scientists pumped me full of gamma radiation.” Realizing this isn’t very reassuring, he adds, “Oh, but before that I used to catch them all the time.”

Bruce looks thoughtful. “I haven’t gotten sick since before… Him. I knew there were certain healing properties. I would have to run some tests on our immune systems to prove any hypothesis of course. Natasha? You probably get sick occasionally?”

She glares, so strong and unblinking, that they all look away from her. “Point is,” Bruce picks up the trail of thought, “it’s okay you’re sick.”

Clint pulls the box of tissues out of Steve’s hand and under the covers with him. “Sorry for waking you up. But, I’d like to go back to sleep now.” He coughs and sniffles and wants to die rather than have then all keep staring at him, weak and in bed like this. “ehhhh! Ehhh-eeshuhhhh!

“I’ll get you some medicine first,” Bruce says.

Bruce goes to get the pills. Natasha gives him a look that warns him to not wake her up again. And Steve heads back to bed. But Thor stays put. “Because I don’t need to sleep, I’m taking first watch.”

Burrowing into his covers, Clint wishes he could be exposed to some radiation that would turn him invisible. It was hard enough getting into the Avengers in the first place; being the only one who got sick—or at least admitted to be sick—was a kick to the part of him currently nestled beneath blankets. He falls asleep just after Bruce doses him up, glad to have the extra drowsy medicine working on his system, as maybe that will keep him from screaming in his sleep again.


Clint wakes to find Steve sitting in a chair at the bedside, watching something on a tablet. Clint strains his neck and catches sight of the familiar characters. It was Tony’s idea for Steve to catch up on some of modern day pop culture, mostly so he’ll understand Tony’s jokes. But Steve looks more perplexed than amused. Clint has a feeling that in order to really get Seinfeld, you need to already have a sense of just what he’s missing.

Steve looks up and sees Clint’s eyes are open. “What’s salsa?” he asks.

Clint sneezes and coughs instead of answering and pulls the covers up over his head.


Bruce pulls them back down. He feels Clint’s forehead and forces more medicine into him. Clint knows Bruce probably has a hundred more important things he could be doing rather than babysit him, but as he falls back to sleep, he has to admit he is glad one of the Avengers at least has some basic medical knowledge. It comes in handy more often than he’d like.


Natasha sits in the chair when Clint wakes again. Clint isn’t sure what time it is, but it’s light outside the window, even though the curtains are all drawn for his sake. And though Clint is now awake, he’s the only person in the room who is. Natasha sits like she owns the chair, like it’s the most natural place in the world for a nap. She’s fast asleep and he wants her to stay that way.

But his nose itches. He rubs at it. That doesn’t help. He cups his hand over his nose and mouth and tries to smother the sound against his hand. That doesn’t work. “heeeeITChhhoo! Heh-eh-Yihshoo!

Natasha wakes up, eyes him, doesn’t offer a bless you.

He scrubs at his nose, the tickles gone for the moment. “Aren’t you supposed to be watching me, not sleeping?”

Her expression doesn’t change. “Do you need babysitting, Barton?”

He shakes his head. She crosses her arms across her chest and closes her eyes. “That’s what I thought.” She goes back to sleep and so does he.


When he wakes, his head throbs and there’s a tickle in his throat that makes him cough. And cough. And cough. He reaches for the glass of water on the bedside table but another hand gets there before his. Rough fingers. Warm fingers. Strong fingers. Tony’s fingers. Water spills in the handoff, but it gets to Clint’s lips eventually.

The water is cold enough to make him shiver. He retreats back under the blankets as best he can when he’s done drinking. But his nose brushes against blankets and already it’s so itchy and ticklish and sensitive there’s nothing he can do but sneeze. In front of Tony. “ehhhh-HYSchhhhhh! Ehtchhhoo!” He holds his hands over his nose and mouth, as if they could possibly hide what had just happened. There was no way he could pretend he was fine now. Tony would know for sure he was sick and probably kick him off the team for being annoying and germy and whatever else the eccentric man had a problem with now.

Instead of being disgusted, Tony leans to the side in the chair he’s sitting in so that he can dig a handkerchief out of his right pocket. It’s wrinkled and bunched up. He looks at it a moment in his hand, then shakes his head. “Not that one.” He stands and slides a clean, pressed, and folded monogrammed hanky out of his back pocket.

Clint feels awkward as he accepts it. He doesn’t exactly know what to do with it but it feels exceptionally soft against his nose—loads better than the tissues he’s been using. “Thanks,” he murmurs. “Guess you found out I’m si—”

He’s cut off by Tony turning away and burying his nose into that crumpled handkerchief. He sneezes four times in quick succession and blows his nose a beat later.

Clint props himself up on an elbow. He starts to ask if Tony’s sick too, but realizes he’ll just sound stupid after that. So he just offers a “Bless you.”

Tony nods and lowers the hanky, though doesn’t put it away. “Thanks. Been fighting this all day. They confined me to my room and drove me crazy watching me. I finally had to give them the slip.” He grins. “Had to phone in a fake skrull attack over on 6th and 42nd. They won’t be happy when they get there and find it’s just a pretzel… cart.” He holds up a finger, pauses with his mouth open for a minute, then pitches forward with another sneeze. “Damn cold. Sniff! Sniff! How’s yours?” He sniffles and looks at Clint over the folds of his well-used handkerchief.

“Not good. Got the chills and I feel like shit and… do you think they’ll bring back some pretzels?”

 “Probably not. You hungry?”

Clint shrugs. He’s a lot of things—cold, sniffly, sneezy, tired, achy—but hungry isn’t one of them.

“C’mon.” Tony letches onto Clint’s elbow and pulls him up. He makes sure that Clint’s got the warm comforter around his shoulders. “We’ll raid the kitchen.”

“Because you’re hungry?”

“No, because it’ll piss them off that we’re both out of bed.”

Clint grins and hesitates only to grab the box of tissues.