Bruce loved to work late at night. It was quiet in the tower and since Pepper had ordered Jarvis to lock Tony out of his workshops in the night he actually went to bed. So usually only Bruce was awake most of the time.
Sure, sometimes one or the other had nightmares but they usually stayed somewhere close to the communal rooms and not in his lab. And that’s why he startled so heavily that he almost dropped the test tubes he carried when he realized that someone was here.
He looked around but couldn’t see anyone, but his Hulk-senses told him he wasn’t alone.
“You better come out!” he called and managed to subdue the shaking in his voice. It was quiet for a long moment but then the cover panel to the ventilation shaft moved, vanished and a blond head appeared, followed by the owner of the blond hair, Clint Barton.
“Oh god, I almost got a heart attack,” Bruce breathed and put the test tubes on one of the tables. He went over to where Clint sat now, his back leaned against the wall and he seemed to sway a bit.
“What are you doing here?” Bruce asked when Clint didn’t move and didn’t say a word. He hunkered down beside him and could smell the alcohol in his breath immediately.
“Sitting on the floor?” Clint said and looked around. Bruce closed his eyes for a moment. He was more intoxicated than he had thought.
“Yeah, I can see that,” he sighed. He took his arm and pulled and reluctantly Clint let him drag him to the couch he had in his lab. “But why are you here? Shouldn’t you be at home? In your bed?”
“I have no home anymore,” Clint slurred and hiccuped only a moment later. Bruce pinched the bridge of his nose, sighed, went to the sink and filled a glass with water. He pressed it in Clint’s hand and sat down beside him.
“Tell me,” he said. Clint shook his head but at least he took a sip from the glass, winced and took another sip.
“Okay,” Bruce nodded. “Then let me tell you a story. Did you know that I tried to kill myself once?” He turned to look at Clint who furrowed his brows. “I’ve been on a really low point and I just wanted everything to end. I took a gun and shot in my mouth.”
“What happened?” Clint asked and Bruce shrugged.
“The other guy spat it out,” he said.
“Why you tellin’ me?” Clint slurred and hiccuped again.
“See where I am now. I live in Stark Tower, I have friends around me and a team and the most awesome lab I ever worked in,” he said and gestured around. Clint looked at him for a long moment, hiccuped a few times and then put the glass aside.
“You should’ve tried harder!” He said out of the blue.
Bruce blinked a few times, opened his mouth, closed it, opened it again and then asked, “Come again?”
“That was what he said,” Clint said now. “You should’ve tried harder.”
“Who said that?” Bruce asked.
“Phil!” Clint spat. “We… Loki… he said I should’ve tried harder and…”
“He… he didn’t mean it like that…” Bruce said slowly. He knew that Phil was still frustrated because his recovery went so slow and he couldn’t do anything since he got the go from his doctors. He knew that he loved Clint and that he would never intentionally hurt him.
“Yeah? It sounded like that,” Clint said and hiccuped again. Bruce nodded slowly, rose and went to his phone. He sent a quick text to Natasha to look after Phil and he would take care of Clint.
“Come on,” Bruce said and grabbed Clint’s arm again. He hoisted him up and steered him to the door.
“Where’re we goin’?”
“You need to sleep. And when you’re sober again you need to talk to your husband,” he said. He shoved him in the elevator and pressed the button to his own apartment.
“I don’t wanna talk to him,” Clint muttered and tried to get out of Bruce’s reach.
“No,” Bruce held him. “Bed now. And believe me, you want to talk to him tomorrow.”
“He hates me,” Clint said and Bruce sighed again. He steered him to his guest room and opened the door.
“No, he doesn’t,” Bruce said and sat Clint onto the bed. “Now sleep.” He gave him a shove and Clint fell onto the mattress. He muttered something unintelligible but turned around and Bruce threw a blanket over him.
“Jarvis, please call me when he wakes up,” he said and went to his living room. He could work from here as well. And tomorrow he would find out what happened between Clint and Phil that evening.