Day 11

Title: Day 11
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Marvel MCU (Hawkeye)
Rating: PG
Pairing: Canon? You decide?
Disclaimer: Not my characters. I wish they were mine. I definitely don’t get paid for this.
Summary: Clint is definitely allergic to cats.
Notes: Written during my 12 Ficlets in 12 Days in 2020-21 project project for smokeycat_430.

“It’s my aunt’s place. She’s in Florida for the winter,” Kate said as she sprung the lock and opened the door.

“Right.” When the lights were switched on, Clint could see the apartment definitely wasn’t a fortress, but it was otherwise empty, off the track suit mafia’s radar, and defendable. That would be enough to keep her safe for a night. He would have to put up with the strange B-movie posters, the clutter on every flat surface, and… oh no… that smell. “Sniff!” He wrinkled his nose. “S’there cats in here?”

“Mm,” she replied from the kitchen. “Just cat hair.”

He sniffled again. Cat hair was enough to do it.

The dog had already made itself comfortable on the couch in the living room, but Clint had no intention of doing likewise. If he stayed in this place any longer, it was going to trigger his allergies, and that was the last thing he wanted. The girl was safe and he had a suit to retrieve. Once he did that, he’d be able to head home and have Christmas with his family. Wasting time having a sneezing fit was out of the question.

So he placed the bow on the kitchen counter and then dropped the bags next to them. “Okay.” He was going to be efficient and expedient about this, even though his dad instincts were kicking in. “Here. I need you to clean your wounds. Use this.” He indicated a tube as he unbagged it. “Use soap, this, and disinfect it.”

He could feel the tickles starting in his nose already. It was time to leave now. “All right, I’m going back to your apartment to get that suit.” He headed back toward the front door to leave. “And then I’m going back to my kids.” 

She called after him. “Why yes, Clint, you may enter my apartment. Don’t you need my keys?”

He smiled at the door. She seemed to think she knew it all, but she definitely had a lot to learn still. But that wasn’t for him to teach her. He was retired, and this was the last loose end he needed to wrap up. If she wanted to be a superhero, she wasn’t going to get that training from him. And he wasn’t going to need keys from her. “Nope,” he replied. He turned around as he pulled the door closed behind him. “I’m good. Stay here. Lock this door.” He pointed to the door for emphasis the way he did when he wanted to make absolutely sure his kids got the point.

Clint made it exactly halfway down the hallway to the stairs before he had to stop and bury his nose in the crook of his arm. “Ehhtchahh! Hehptshhhh! Ehhhkshhhh!” He wondered how many cats Kate’s aunt had and how long ago they’d gone to Florida. There was an itch at the back of his neck and a tickle in his throat in addition to the irrepressible urge to sneeze. “Hah-EHPshhhh! Ehhshahh Ehhtshihh! Ihhhshhahh!

A door down the hall opened, and someone looked out, blinking. Oh great. If someone had heard him from inside their apartment, that meant Kate might have heard him. He glanced back at the door to her aunt’s place, but it stayed shut. He hoped she’d locked it immediately after him like he’d told her to, but he was in no position to check now.

He flipped the hood of his hooded sweatshirt up to hide himself as best he could. He was instantly recognizable as Hawkeye, so the last thing he wanted were rumors of sightings of him in this building. Pinching his nose and holding his breath, he managed to keep the sneezes back until he got to the stairwell.

Once there, he managed to make it down two flights before he leaned back against the wall at a landing. “Ehhh… Eh-IHshoo! Hihshoo! Ehh-Hihshhh!” Good. They were easing. He tried to take slow, even breaths of the air where there were definitely no cats to be found. “EHShuhh!” That was easier said than done. But he’d be alright in a few minutes. He’d have to wait it out. It wasn’t like he’d never done that before…


“I don’t understand why you didn’t tell me about this.”

“It’s… ehh… ehh-Chshhhh! It’s not exactly heh hehhh… hehh-IHshhhh! Sniff! It’s not the most interesting topic of conversation.” In fact, it was kind of embarrassing. His S.H.I.E.L.D. training had taught him it was best to hide any weaknesses, lest they be exploited by an enemy. He wasn’t about to advertise his cat allergy to the organization.

“But I’m your handler. This is precisely the sort of thing I should know about.”

Eh-Choo!” Clint pressed the back of his hand beneath his tickly nose and rubbed. It wouldn’t do much more than buy him a little time. “Well, now you know.”

Phil Coulson rolled his eyes. Clint could tell he was trying to keep his cool, and that was amusing in and of itself. Phil Coulson was always cool and calm, even when they were in the thick of what appeared to be an unwinnable situation. Seeing him nearly undone because Clint had a case of the sneezes was actually pretty hilarious. If he weren’t busy sneezing his head off just now, he’d be laughing at this.

“The point is, it would have been nice to have known before the mission, that’s all. It should be in your file.”

“Why, is there… ehhShoo! Is there someone better you’d have… have… ha… hah-EHSchuhh! Sniff! you’d have sent instead?”

Coulson didn’t answer right away, as if he were going through a mental catalog of every possible S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and their qualifications. When he finally shook his head, Clint couldn’t help feeling proud. No one had skills like his. He’d been perfect for the mission, right up until having to hide in a room where two cats had been napping.

Coulson scrubbed a hand over his face. “All right. This isn’t the end of the world.” His fingers dug into his forehead, massaging his temples where it seemed a stress headache was beginning to form for him. “We can get you on allergy medication.”

ehh-IHSchhhhh! I’m already taking some.”


“I take one allergy pill a day. I get allergy shots, too. I’m on maintenance levels. Or, I was. I had to skip my last one because of that job in that remote part of Tibet. Maybe that’s why I’m so… so sn… snehhh ehhh-EHShooo! Hehshooo! sneezy now?”

Coulson buried his face in both his hands and shook his head back and forth.


“Um… boys, we have a problem here.”

Having just pushed off from the ledge to repel down the side of the building, Clint leaned forward, tugging the rope, and course corrected. He landed as elegantly as possible, which still meant slamming onto the concrete on his hands and knees. Wincing from the pain, he asked through their communications link, “What’s the matter, Nat?”

“This lady owns cats.”

Clint’s heartrate sped up just a little. After years in the circus and years as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, there wasn’t much that could rattle him. But this was something completely out of his control that had potentially problematic consequences. 

“Negative,” came Coulson’s voice over the comm. “Our advance surveillance team found no evidence of that last week.”

“Well, either they missed something or the cats are a recent acquisition, because I’m standing in the kitchen staring at three of them right now. One’s on the counter and two are on the floor by the food dishes. I think they expect me to feed them.” In the background, Clint could hear the sounds of meows.

Clint swore to himself. Three cats? Three cats were three cats too many. With one, he might be able to keep his arm over his nose and mouth and breathe through his sleeve as a filter. It wouldn’t be great if he needed to defend himself, but he might be able to get through his part of things without sneezing too much. Three, however… he would be a goner.

“There are eight food dishes here.”

Clint’s eyes widened. The presence of just one cat could set him off on a sneezing fit, but eight? His mouth felt dry and the rest of him broke out in a sweat as he asked, “Any chance they’re a hairless breed?”

“These three are Persians, the fluffiest cats I’ve ever seen. Bet they get fed expensive fish instead of canned cat food or kibble.”

Eight long-haired cats? How would he even breathe? There was no way Clint could do his part of the mission now. There was just no way. And Natasha couldn’t do it on her own.

Coulson seemed to have come to the same conclusion. “All right. This mission’s scratched. Retreat immediately, Romonov. We’ll regroup and come up with a new plan.” Clint was filled with a mix of relief and frustration at that declaration. As glad as he was not to have to face that many cats, he hated not being able to carry out a mission he’d trained for.

Minutes later, Natasha was back on top of the building and Coulson was sending over a retrieval helicopter. Neither of them looked happy about cancelling the mission, as they’d been preparing for it almost nonstop over the past three weeks. The intelligence they could have gained tonight would have been so beneficial to S.H.I.E.L.D.

Clint smiled at Natasha, trying not to look as disappointed as he felt. “Who the hell goes from no cats to eight in the span of a week?”

She shrugged and walked over to him to help gather up their gear.

The irrepressible urge to sneeze came over him almost immediately. He tried sniffing as his nose began to tickle, itch, and run, but sniffing only seemed to make it worse. He tried rubbing a finger under his nose and then alongside his nose, but the urge was just too damn strong. His breath caught. His eyes squeeze shut. His nose wrinkled at the bridge. “EHHTchhhh! Hehtchhhh! Ehhshooo! Ehhkkshoo!

Startled, Natasha took a step back. She’d seen Clint sneeze before, of course, but this had been so sudden and was already so violent. “Clint?”

One hand cupped to his face as he hunched over, sneezing, he waved his other hand at her, in a clear sign that she should move back further. “ehh-HIHSchhh! Ehtchhhh! Ehhh ehhhPIHShhhh!” But the damage had already been done. “D-did you ehh ehh-IHKShhhh! Ehhshoo! Sniff! Did you pet thehhh ehhhh-HIHShhhhhh!

“Of course not! But two did rub up against my legs a few times.”

“That’d ehhh that’d hehhhhh that’d do it ehh ehhh EHHIHShhoo!” This was going to be one fun helicopter ride. He hoped Coulson would have tissues waiting for him at the end of it.


“Truck’s good to go.” Clint wiped his hands on a rag as he headed into the kitchen, but they weren’t clean enough for Laura who pointed him to the sink. She kissed him as a reward as he dried his hands on the hand towel hanging from the oven door handle. He wasn’t sure whether that was for fixing the truck or washing his hands, but he’d take it either way.

“Hungry?” she asked. “You’re just in time for lunch. I was just going to fix the kids some sandwiches.”

“Mmm, sounds good. I’ll help.” He went for the drawer where they kept the chips, and Laura laughed. He loved the sound of her laughter, and he was about to open a bag and pop a chip in his mouth demonstratively just to hear it from her again when he froze in place.

He’d been perfectly fine all morning, and he didn’t feel sick now either. But his nose was strangely tickly. It almost felt like he was going to sneeze.


Lowering his hand and the chip, he cocked his head, confused and perplexed. This didn’t make any sense. As far as he knew, cats were the only thing he was allergic to. So unless he had developed another allergy or come down with an extremely sudden head cold, that meant…



Thanks to his hearing aid, Clint had no problem pinpointing the origin of the sound. In two quick strides, he had crossed the kitchen and opened the pantry to find both his boys crouching inside. Cooper had a ‘Crap! We’re busted!’ expression on his face, and Nathaniel had a tiny, gray and black striped kitten secured in his arms.

“Hey, Dad,” Cooper said. “Ah… how’s the truck?”

“A heck of a lot better than you two are going to be. Out!” He pointed to the center of the room with emphasis to prove he meant business.

Both kids obeyed. Cooper went, dragging his feet. Nathaniel walked normally, but as he passed by Clint, he held the kitten up for show. “I’m going to name her Tiger!”

Cooper scoffed, “I said we’d think about naming her that. It’s not very creative, is it?”

At that moment, Clint was less concerned about his son’s lack of creativity as he was about there being a cat inches from his face. His breath caught, eyes watered, and nostrils flared. He managed to cast a pleading, helpless look toward his wife before burying his nose in the crook of his arm. “EHTchphh! Eh-Shmphhh! Hehshphhhh! Ehshiphhhhh!” His nose twitched against his sleeve, the thick flannel holding up better than a tissue might have, though he couldn’t keep at this forever.

Laura’s hands gripped his shoulders as she steered him onto the back porch and helped him find a seat in a deck chair. “The fresh air should help. I’ll be back as soon as I can,” she said, kissing the top of his head before heading back inside to deal with the kitten.

Clint sat hunched over, switching from one arm to the other, wiping his eyes with his cuff, sniffling whenever he managed enough breath in-between sneezes to do so. “Ehshuhhphhh! HEHshphhhhhhh!” Miserable and sneezy, he couldn’t help but smile when he heard the sound of her laughter from inside the house.


Clint sighed and wiped his arm on his sleeve. There hadn’t even been a cat in Kate’s aunt’s apartment, but that hadn’t mattered to his allergies. No one used the stairs these days, not when there was a perfectly good elevator in the building, and Clint had been grateful for the privacy.

As the attack backed off, he pushed off the wall and hurried down the final few flights. There had been a few delays, but with any luck, the suit would be right where they’d left it. Then all this would be over.