They take him to hospital to stitch up the wounds and bandage up the worst of the cuts, but Clint won’t stay for long. “He’s still out there,” he says when Natasha tries to push him back down onto the bed.
"He nearly killed you," she points out, her gaze flat and her voice questioning.
“‘Nearly’ being the operative word. He’s the Hulk. If he wanted me dead? I’d be dead,” Clint points out. “I’m going after him.”
"Bruce won’t like it." Natasha keeps a hand on her hip, waiting for the right response.
Clint shrugs, and winces as he carefully takes the line out of his arm. “Bruce isn’t home right now,” he says. “It’s just the big guy. He listens to me.”
"He threw you off a building."
"He listens to me sometimes," Clint amends. He looks at Natasha and pauses in his escape for a moment, sitting on the hospital bed with his feet inches away from the floor. "Tasha, I can’t let him ruin things for Bruce. He’s got the military off his back. If the green guy starts attracting attention, all that is gone."
She stares at him unblinking, and the scrutiny seems to last forever. Eventually, she nods and takes a step to the other side of the room. She fetches his clothes for him and places them on the bed beside him.
He nods his thanks. “Now. We got any leads?” he asks.
Natasha offers a smile. “I know exactly where he is.” He really loves this woman.
They land as close as they can to the mountain and decide to walk the rest of the way: the Hulk can be heard screaming even from here. If he sees a vessel, he’s likely to attack without question.
"Maybe you should hang back," Clint suggests as they hike together.
Natasha looks at him, looks at his wounds, looks at his limp, and doesn’t dignify him with an answer.
She lets him walk ahead when they approach the ridge where the sound is loudest. Clint creeps forward, light on his feet, until he ascends enough to see the Hulk down below - ripping trees from the mountainside and roaring at the sky itself. A forest of tree trunks litter the ground around him like an accidental fortress. This isn’t going to be fun.
He gestures for Natasha to stay where she is - distant but ready if his ass needs saving - and then he limps over the ridge. The Hulk hears him already instantly, and turns to growl in his direction. As soon as his eyes focus on who the intruder is, however, the growl turns far more hesitant.
His giant fists come to rest on the ground, crouched over and careful, as he twists and tilts to try to make sense of what he sees. Clint keeps walking towards him, even as every spark of pain reminds him of what happened the last time he thought trying to ‘calm the Hulk down’ would be a good idea.
"Cupid," the Hulk says, before he grunts unhappily. "Cupid hurt?"
"Yeah," Clint confirms. "You threw me off a building. Remember?"
He’s not sure if the Hulk does. Bruce has talked to him about being in the Hulk’s head before - a blur of anger and confusion, response and reaction. There’s not a whole lot of room for memory or reflection.
The Hulk twitches and grunts in anguish as Clint limps closer still, until he bows his head and glares at the ground. “Hulk sorry,” he grumbles, voice like a miniature earthquake.
For all the pain, for all the wounds, Clint smirks just the same. The Hulk is apologising? Bruce is going to have an identity crisis, once he wakes up.