The atmosphere of total, heart-subduing silence was broken by the shattering glass of the window that Hawkeye was now hurling himself out of. The drop was only a couple of meters or so, but the impact was enough to knock the wind clean out of him. Out of raw adrenaline, he managed to pull himself up and quickly took off in a dead sprint down the dusty streets, away from the building. For a stealth mission, he hadn’t been so stealthy, and neither had his escape gone so smoothly. But he had what he had come for clutched firmly against his chest, and that’s all that mattered.
Finally running himself to near exhaustion, he found himself in a narrow alleyway, leaning against the cold bricks of a building. Struggling to take in gulps of precious air, he slid down to the damp ground and coughed—a hollow, hoarse sound. Eventually catching his breath, he let his prize—a small notebook—slip from his hands and began to assess the damage. A few bruises, but nothing felt broken or too horrible. He began to relax. That is, until he spotted the large, slick shard of glass protruding from his left arm. Damn. How had he not felt that? Must’ve been the adrenaline, Clint thought bitterly. Taking a large breath of air, he exhaled and braced himself as he began to slowly remove the splinter of glass, grunting with the pain.
With a clatter, the red-stained glass was tossed upon the ground, where it came to rest in a grimy puddle. Clint closed his eyes and rolled his head back, his chest heaving with fatigue. He ran a hand across his sweat ridden brow, hesitating to look at the wound. It was bleeding profusely and it was deep—too deep, in fact, to simply be wrapped up. He would need to cauterize it and seal the skin, or he could easily bleed out. It would involve excruciating pain, but it was his only option.
Working quickly, the archer removed two arrows from his quiver. He put one to his mouth and bit down, holding it so. The acrobat then grabbed an incendiary head and quickly attached it to the other arrow to use as a handle. “I made these to light fires, not to seal wounds,” he grumbled to himself. He twisted the head on, knowing that he would have to do the actual cauterizing in two second intervals, and since it was a fairly large wound, it would take a few rounds. He swiftly smacked the arrow onto the ground, and the force of the hit activated the internal thermal agent. As soon as it was just hot enough, he untwisted the top only slightly to deactivate the agent.
He positioned himself and held up the arrow, just barely hovering above the wound. Bracing himself, he bit down on the arrow in his mouth to help cope with the pain. He then pressed the searing metal against the wound as carefully as he could. His face contorted with agony and a muffled, choked groan escaped his lips as the smell of his burning flesh flooded his nose. …And that had only been the first round.
Clinton ambled reluctantly down the corridor, muttering to himself. What the hell did Hill know about wounds? What gave her the right to tell—no, order—him to get his self-treated lesion looked at? And especially since he had only been back from his damn mission for two days. It was ridiculous! However, although he would never admit it, the supposedly sealed wound had been bothering him. His arm was wrapped in a thin layer of gauze, and he peeled it back from his bicep as he walked to steal a peek at it. He immediately regretted the decision and quickly wrapped his arm back up. Okay, it didn’t look good. Obviously he had cauterized it for too long and burned some of the healthy tissue, and since he hadn’t possessed any alcohol at the time, he ran a very high risk of infection.
The cut was bruised and swollen, and the fact that Clint had been continuing his rigorous, daily archery training didn’t help, either. Only when the pain had become too unbearable to loose an arrow correctly had he decided to stop by the medical bay to have the wound checked out.
Stepping up to the infirmary, he reluctantly rapped loudly against the door before rudely shoving the door open (without an invitation) and calling openly, “Hey, any docs around?”