I’m not sure why this chapter ended up so much longer than the last one. I just found that I had a lot to write about with Clint since he’s not as obvious a candidate to be able to lift the hammer as Steve. Anyway, hope you all enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing this. Who would you like to see next? I already have an idea of which Avenger might follow, but I always like hearing what you think. :)
Chapter Two – Clint
The second time someone other than Thor was able to lift the hammer it was in a solitary moment of personal victory. There had been a fight outside of a covert military base, Clint mused that there was always a fight when the Avengers were involved, so this was really a moot point. They had been formed to fight the battles the rest of the world could not, as Fury had termed it.
While never one to shy away from a fight, Hawkeye felt oddly proud of the fact that, most of the time, the Avengers did not instigate the conflict against others, but fought back to defend people across the world.
In the case that was currently occupying his thoughts, this was exactly what had happened. They had been sent in to investigate a large site where they believed an organisation creating and selling illegal nuclear weapons was using the face of a technology company as its cover.
Being the most experienced, and fully trained, in this area, Clint and Natasha had moved in and infiltrated the building first, while the four remaining members of the team positioned themselves around the perimeter. The archer blamed himself for the fatal error that caused the whole mission to slide towards its endgame. Instead of maintaining radio silence whilst Stark muttered cheeky pieces of sarcasm through their communication channel, Clint couldn’t help but emit a witty retort that blew Tony’s comment out of the water. It also blew his cover.
The passing patrol guards overheard the assassin’s remark and attacked him in earnest. While Clint’s quick reflexes were enough to win him the two-against-one combat, their surprise attack cost him an injury to his striking arm. The one he released his arrows with.
“I’ve been exposed.” He almost yelled as an alarm went off somewhere, most definitely a result of his indiscretion. “I’m hit too.” He mumbled gruffly, knowing Nat would be rolling her eyes in disappointment, and not liking the trail of deep red blood he was leaving behind him.
They had agreed on a meeting point if anything went wrong, which was where he was heading for. If they could regroup without any further agents seeing them, they would have a chance of completing the mission on another occasion. He could minimise the damage he had caused.
Unfortunately such a hope was about was not to be realised.
The archer made it to the closest exit, staunching the blood flow from his arm by ripping up part of his sleeve. After shutting the door behind him, he knelt down to assess the best route to their rendezvous point. He was sheltered by the alcove of the building, but would have to cross the open expanse of the loading bay to make it to the perimeter fence. It seemed pointless to maintain radio silence now, so he touched the earpiece to contact Thor, who he knew was closest to his own position.
Before summoning any words he looked to the roof on instinct, and then reflexively dived forward to avoid the falling gunfire from a guard aiming down at him. Having no other choice, Clint sprinted into the open space, bestowing messy deaths upon the rooftop guard and two others at ground level. The arrows hit their targets, but not with the usual finite precision. The wound in his upper arm was distorting his aim, and more blood seeped through the improvised bandage with each arrow fired.
Another large group of agents appeared in his long-distance vision line as they came out of one of the loading bay hatches. Clint began taking them down two at a time, although much slower than usual. They were each armed with a variety of close combat weapons. As they closed in he knew he wouldn’t be fast enough to shoot them all, but then suddenly Thor was landing beside him and sending them all back in the direction they came from with streaks of lightning. The bolts seemed toned down in order to send the men into unconsciousness, but not toward death.
“I saw you coming.” Thor said by way of answering the question indicated by Clint’s raised eyebrow.
“Thanks for the backup.” Clint acknowledged as they proceeded to take down a few more opponents.
Without any other warning than “Barton!”, Thor suddenly spun the archer round so they had switched positions and threw Mjolnir off into the distance. As the hammer landed a solid hit on what Clint could now make out as crossbow firer, something buried itself in Thor’s neck. He pulled it out brusquely, but not before the contents had emptied into an artery.
“A dart?” Clint asked, studying the small object in the blonde’s outstretched palm, before looking for signs of damage.
The Asgardian though wasn’t looking back at him, but instead had his right hand raised to call for the hammer which was beginning to fly back over the distance it had travelled from them.
“Thor, are you-”, but before the assassin could finish, Mjolnir dropped out of the air mid-flight and the God of Thunder stumped back a pace, raising his hand to his head.
“Hey, are you ok?” Clint was mildly alarmed that something could be having an effect on the tall Asgardian, since they were pretty much immortal. Thor turned to him, as if to answer, with a confused expression flickering across his face, before inexplicably dropping to his knees on the ground. Clint managed to catch some of his weight as he fell, letting go of the dart in the process.
It was at this moment that the rest of the team arrived. Clint grappled for the dart and examined the contents in order to work out that it had been filled with cyanide. They then had to grab Thor unceremoniously and head for the rendezvous point, where a jet was waiting for them, with Iron Man holding back the swarming agents.
It was only as the engine geared up to take off that they realised Mjolnir had been left behind, in the open area of the loading bay. Clint wanted to go back for it, but Natasha pointed out that only Thor could lift it so there was little point. Tony then interjected that Steve managed it, and Steve countered, in a modest tone, that he had been saving Thor’s life and that was the only reason he had been worthy.
Once they had a medic on board check Thor’s vitals and confirm that he was just unconscious, they all relaxed somewhat and settled for the journey back to the S.H.I.E.L.D base.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen him unconscious like this, except from sleeping.” Steve murmured from his position leaning against a cargo net, watching the peaceful visage of his teammate.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything have enough strength to knock him out.” Clint returned.
“Kind of scary isn’t it. That the most deadly poison known to man can only knock this guy unconscious.” Something in Brice’s tone hinted at a kind of warm acknowledgement that he wasn’t alone, and that maybe someone else could match the other guy.
The rest of the journey was spent exchanging a few quiet words, with most of the team not being able to stop glancing back at the Asgardian. Even Steve, who had seen this once before, though not for long, found his eyes drawn back to Thor. He looked somehow vulnerable as a reflection of the blue sky and white clouds overhead rolled across his armour.
Clint lent against the wall of the main corridor in S.H.I.E.L.D’s medical wing of the helicarrier. With his arms crossed and one boot propped against the bottom of the wall, anyone passing by would think he was waiting for someone. But he wasn’t. From his vantage point he could observe Thor through the glass in the door of his hospital room.
The God of Thunder was still unconscious, though the medical team didn’t think it would be long before he woke up. They also said his regenerative powers meant that there wouldn’t be any side-effects.
Although this was all positive news, the archer still felt a mild sense of unease. Like something was missing. Clint knew of course that he was tossing this thought in a circular motion round his mind because they had left Mjolnir behind. It didn’t seem right. Thor lying in a hospital bed without the hammer sitting conspicuously somewhere close by, and drawing almost as much attention from those of civilian status, as the Avengers themselves.
It wasn’t that Thor was nothing without the hammer, on the contrary, his array of abilities meant that he didn’t always need a weapon to take down an opponent. But Mjolnir was a part of him. Only Clint, with the eyes of his name-sake, had noticed that it seemed to thrum with not just any energy, but Thor’s energy. Almost like it were alive.
So to Clint it felt like they had left more than simply a weapon behind. This was why he found himself strapping into the pilot’s seat of one of the smaller jets, and disengaging communication as several voices asked him to state his intent, and sternly told him he was not authorised for take-off.
“I don’t give a damn…” He muttered as the engine shuddered into life and he manoeuvred the metal body smoothly into flight. He didn’t know how far Thor could call the hammer from. This just seemed right.
Upon touching down in the woods surrounding the base, he immediately killed the engine. Stealth, as it always was for an assassin, was top priority here. Finding the place where they had come through the perimeter fence in their hasty exit heavily guarded, he had to find another weak spot to slip through. Several metal storage containers shielded the spot from view and were obviously the reason no-one had checked this part of the fence in a while.
“Amateurs.” Clint mumbled, pleased that they were. As he had suspected, nobody had been able to move the hammer from the place it had landed. It was now, however, like the perimeter, safeguarded by a dozen agents. He had taken four of them out before the others even noticed something was wrong, and another four fell, arrows lodged through their silent hearts, by the time they began shooting at him. He had cover, whereas they did not, so within another few moments the whole group were strewn across the tarmac and Clint was sprinting for the hammer.
His position behind the crates had been close enough that he was standing over it, before any more opponents came his way. The archer knew he had maybe thirty seconds at best. He bent over and gripped Mjolnir’s handle. Pulling with one hand, he grimaced in disappointment and pain as it failed to move. Clint then slid both hands around it and tried again. Still nothing.
He began to feel desperate as he heard an alarm sound from within the building.
“Come on,” he murmured intently, “I need to take you back to him. You’re part of him.”
Something changed beneath his fingers and he felt a tingling sensation on his palms, as though the hammer was coming to life to acknowledge his plea. Suddenly he was lifting Mjolnir out of the cracked ground up to chest height, and it was humming underneath his grip.
He took only a moment to take in its majesty, and feel stunned and awed, before he was sprinting back toward the fence, bow strapped across his back, both hands around the intricate handle.
When he arrived back on the helicarrier, various officers tried to apprehend him, but all stopped when they saw what was still clutched valiantly in his hands.
A dazed foot soldier told him Thor had woken up and was no longer in the medical wing, so he headed for the central control room. As the main doors clicked shut behind him, the whole team, from different positions seated or standing around the conference table, turned their eyes on him. He could see Fury was just about to launch into an angry tirade, when he too noticed the item in the archer’s palms, and, surprisingly, fell silent.
The bustle of the large room slowed down until it would have theoretically been possible to hear individual breathing patterns, Clint mused.
Since no-one else was making a move, the marksman ventured towards Thor. For a moment they looked at each other in understanding and then Clint offered both hands out.
“Thought you might be missing this. It didn’t seem right to leave it behind.”
In that short utterance, Clint managed to communicate everything that needed to be said, and as Thor grasped the cool metal, so they were both holding the hammer, a new sense of companionship passed between them.
Thanks for reading. Any thoughts?