Tony was all his life an agnostic. He had no idea if there was a god and it didn’t matter. And the fact that he met Thor – a being who was considered a deity by some people – confirmed his beliefs. Thor was powerful, true, but he wasn’t a god, he was an alien with an enormous lifespan. And so Tony also didn’t believe in a life after death.
And that’s why he was all the more surprised when he was hit by a bullet and found himself hovering over his own body. Natasha was the first one beside him. She pressed both her hands onto the entrance wound and called for someone, probably a medic. The next moment Clint and Steve arrived and Clint slumped down beside him. He leaned down and for a second he thought he would kiss him, but it was actually mouth-to-mouth respiration, while Steve started to massage his heart. Tony could see everything what happened around them. Thor and Bruce, no, Hulk, took care of the HYDRA goons around them, together with Sam, Wanda and Vision.
“You’re not gonna leave me,” Clint hissed between two breaths. “Do you hear me?”
Tony descended down to him, sat beside him and watched his own body being handled by his friends. Natasha looked over her shoulder every two seconds, waiting for the medics to arrive. Steve pressed his lips tight together and resolutely continued to massage his heart.
He didn’t feel pain, quite the contrary. For the first time in years all the pain, all the doubt, all the fears were gone. He was warm and content and ready to go.
“Please, Tony,” Clint muttered behind him, “You have to fight!”
The light changed, became brighter and warmer and so, so inviting and a smile appeared on his face. Only a few inches and everything would be fine forever.
“Please, Tony,” Clint repeated. “Don’t leave me!” He breathed in his mouth and Tony saw his own blood trickle through Natasha’s hands. “Please! I love you, Tony,” Clint whispered between two breaths and this made Tony stop and turn around.
Clint kneeled beside him and tears ran over his face. Yes, sure, they had had a friends with benefits relationship but Tony always thought that Clint wouldn’t want more from him.
“You can’t leave me now, Tony,” he whispered again. It was difficult because the light was so tempting, so appealing. He forced himself to turn around, to look at the man kneeling beside his head. The pain in his face, the tears, the fear to lose him… they were real. Clint… Clint loved him, he truly loved him.
Tony reached out, touched Clint’s head with his disembodied hand and all the feelings hit him like a freight train. He couldn’t go, not now, not just yet.
“Come on, Tony, please, you have to fight,” Steve said now, too, and Natasha called for a medic again He had to go back, he had to tell Clint that he loved him, too, and that he wanted to be with him for the rest of his life. He fought against the pull from the light behind him and it became more and more straining the more he moved away from it. But then he could touch his own body and…
Pain! Red, hot, searing pain! Pressure at his chest! And it hurt so, so much!
“He’s back! He’s back!” Clint called and a tear fell on Tony’s face. Another man appeared in his focus – a paramedic – and shoved Clint away. But before he finally lost consciousness he looked at Clint and mouthed, “I love you, too.”