4 – Shaking hands
He looks down on his hands in disgust. They're shaking.
The worst thing is, he can't even blame it on fatigue or the cold – he's not even been in his perch for a whole day yet, and it's sunny without being hot, no strong winds. The weather is in his favor, and he's slept a solid four hours, which is more than he usually manages most of these days. He should be fine. Has to be fine.
But he's very much not and now his hands are shaking. So much that he can see the rifle in his hands moving in a erratic pattern and how the fuck is he supposed to make a clean shot like this?
Clint is breathing carefully in and out, but he feels like he can't get nearly enough air in his lungs. He's closing his eyes, trying to get a grip on himself, but he's starting to panic and the shaking in his hands only gets worse.
'Get it together, get it together, get it together' his brain keeps repeating and all he can do is hold on tight onto his weapon.
His comms are muted. No one can hear his ragged breath, and it's all he can do to hold onto the rifle in his hands until this is over.
When the kill order comes, he misses. Not enough for anyone but him to notice, still a kill-shot and the mission is accomplished.
Clint fells sick. How is he supposed to be useful if he can't even shoot straight anymore?
That night, he lies awake while the scene plays in his head over and over.
Useless, useless, useless! His brain hammers the whole time, and Clint can't stop shaking.
Clint spills coffee all over himself. His hands are shaking bad enough that he can't even handle a fucking mug, and the useless-mantra inside his head starts all over again. He doesn't even realize how badly he's shaking by now, until he spills more coffee, and then gentle hands remove the mug out of his deathgrip and then take his hands hands in their own warm and dry hold.
His head is spinning and faintly, he realizes he's sliding into a full blows panic, but the warm hands don't disappear (he doesn't want them to.)
A soft and calm voice keeps talking to him, and although his vision is blurry and his hearing shitty enough as it is, he doesn't even try to find out who it is. When he leans forward until his forehead rests against a soft, sweater clad shoulder, the hands start running through his hair.
It's been a long time since someone did that, and he goes boneless under the touch. Selfishly hoping they will stay.
He doesn't want to be alone anymore. Apparently he vocalizes such a thing, because there is the warm tickle of breath next to his ear, and he can clearly make out the words and who the soothing voice belongs to.
“I'm here, I'm not going anywhere. You need help.”
And yeah he probably does. So he just nods, and holds onto Bruce.
Just like promised, he's not going anywhere.