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 Desperate times call for desperate measures, March 18//12:47am//Clint
Pride
 Posted: Jun 2 2018, 10:19 AM
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It had only been a few days yet it felt like weeks. Wait, no, that wasn’t exactly right. The memories he couldn’t get out of his head were so clear he might have sworn they happened minutes ago, but the time since he’d last slept felt weeks back. But it had only been days...at least Bongani was pretty sure it had just been days. The hours were all starting to blur together so he wasn’t 100% sure about that. What day was it now? And what day had it happened? More importantly, what time was it because that would affect how many days it had been.

With a groan, Bongani kicked the sheets tangled around his legs off and rolled over to gaze at the little glowing alarm clock sitting on top of his dinged up dresser. 12:47 A.M. flashed brightly back at him, a pathetic 30 minute different since the last time he’d checked it. So 12:47, that would make it...today? Wait, no, tomorrow. Except if it was tomorrow then it would be today, just a new today and--

God, he couldn’t even think straight anymore.

Frustration and despair made so much worse because of his exhaustion welled up inside Bongani so that he took in a shaky breath as he reached up and rubbed the heels of his palms into his eyes. Like every other time when he closed his eyes, images of blood and gore, of lifeless eyes and mangled throats, burst to life in front of his vision and he quickly pulled his hands away, opened his eyes, and sat up with a gasp. Nausea threatened to rise up in his gorge as the images then led to the tastes and smells from that day that were equally as strong and the shifter quickly reached over to grab the glass of water he’d started keeping on his bedside table. A few quick gulps fought the nausea down but did little to help everything else.

Bongani started to lie back down but what was the point? He couldn’t sleep, he just couldn’t, and trying and failing was almost more distressing than doing stuff while exhausted to his bones. Maybe he should just get up and tidy up the apartment or go for a walk or watch a movie. Bongani groaned again. No, he didn’t have the energy for the first two and the second...well right then the thought of doing that alone made him feel very alone despite the warm, furry body that would hop off the bed and join him in the living room the moment he got up and walked out.

As he turned to sit on the edge of his bed, Bongani looked to the clock again and bit his lip. Would Clint be asleep? Of course he’d be asleep. It was late- or early depending on your view. He was probably snug in bed and already drifting through dream land. It would be selfish of Bongani to wake him. Selfish and childish. He was a grown man, damnit! He didn’t need somebody to hold his hand. He could get through this on his own, he could!

With a determined snort, Bongani jerked the covers back and slipped back under them.
Twenty minutes later he was at Clint’s door, Rafiki at his side. Bongani, a big fan of sleeping nude, had slipped a Natural History Museum T-shirt on over his chest and grabbed the first set of boxers he could find- which happened to be green with black paw prints all over them. The nerdiness of it didn’t even register as he, with eyes gone red and a face gone pale from lack of sleep, reached up and knocked lightly on Clint’s door.

Hawkeye
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Hawkeye
 Posted: Jun 2 2018, 11:51 PM
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The soft sound of the TV was the only thing that Clint was paying attention to at the moment, it was after midnight, and he was staring at the flickering shapes moving across the screen. Eyes tracking the subtitles as they moved and changed but he was not really reading them; instead he was just staring. Being that the archer was used to doing stakeouts, he was used to sitting for long stretches of time absolutely still. The only things that moved were the soft rise and fall of Lucky's chest under his hand and the occasional drip of sweat from the glass he was holding in his other hand.

He'd been home for hours already, not having plans because he'd headed up to a school for mutants for what he planned on being a leisurely evening with someone he enjoyed spending time with and instead of enjoying his evening he'd ended up coming home early with his tail between his legs. He was not angry about any of it, mostly he just felt foolish. He never should have said anything, should have just kept his stupid thoughts under wraps. He was not usually a soft or gentle person, but he'd gone out of his comfort zone because he'd wanted for a moment to be sweet. To be tender and comforting when he'd felt like he was needed, and he was not upset that it went poorly- just embarrassed. Ashamed that he'd put his own desires before a friend who apparently was in a vulnerable place who needed Clint to be a supportive friend instead of someone with his own agenda.

By the time he'd gotten home a few hours ago, he'd been angry enough with himself that he wanted to just hit his punching bag until he couldn't feel his arms anymore, but decided to just hit the treadmill until he couldn't run anymore. He'd hit his stride somewhere around mile five and just kept doing until he was sure he'd be tired enough to just fall right to sleep, but it didn't happen. After a shower, he'd ended up with a stiff drink in hand as he parked himself in front of the TV. He was deaf enough and deep enough in his thoughts that he didn't hear the gentle knock on the door. Lucky, however, snapped awake, suddenly alert in a way that had Clint quickly setting down his drink and rolling off of the couch his hand darting to the magnetic holster stuck to the underside of the side table next to the sofa. He strained to hear what was on the other side of the door, whatever it was had Lucky doing one hell of a happy dance so the archer felt confident enough that he could leave the weapon where it was and answer the door.

Had he known it was Pride he might have put on some pants, but he assumed that the only person who'd come to his door in the middle of the night was Wanda, but he was supposed to see her in the morning. So he opened the door wearing nothing but a pair of snug-fitting briefs, "No offense but you look like shit," He told the other man, surprised by the exhausted look on his face. Glancing away from his visitor he looked down to Rafiki where he was tap-tapping his paws upon the floor, "Well hello handsome boy, did you come for a visit too?" Crouching down he petted the excited dog, scooping him up when he launched himself into Clint's arms so that when he stood, he was cradling the large dog like a baby. "Come on in Bongani, you look like you could use a drink." Taking a step to the side so that the shifter could pass by, he just kicked the door closed behind him before carrying Rafiki into the kitchen. He didn't really care if he looked stupid, standing there in his own kitchen in his underwear holding a full grown dog curled in his arms.

A moment later, however, once he'd put Rafiki down and sent both of the dogs off with a treat and turned on the kitchen light, he could see just how destroyed his friend looked. Reaching for the tumblers, he took one and poured a two fingered serving of whiskey into the glass before sliding it across the counter to Bongani, "Gulp that down, it will burn but the quicker you drink it, the quicker you can have one that tastes better." He waved his hand to urge Bongani to drink up before he grabbed an ice tray from the freezer and started to fill another glass, whiskey and cola was for sure nothing fancy, but it was decent tasting enough that it helped the liquor go down. Not that he thought the Kenyan needed to get plastered, but a drink or two could probably loosen him up, so he didn't look like he was going to keel over at any moment. Once he was done he slid over a second drink, "Sip this one, you don't want to drink it too fast and give yourself a brain freeze." Propping a hip against the counter as he fixed his own drink he glanced over to Bongani, "So how come you're up so late?"
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Pride
 Posted: Jun 3 2018, 10:15 PM
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Some little part of Bongani hoped, despite clearly hearing the TV on inside, that Clint would be too deep asleep to hear his quiet knock. It was embarrassing to need help like this and given half a chance he’d probably scurry right back to his room. The shifter felt like a child wanting to climb into his parents’ bed because he’d had a nightmare, and that little part of him argued how Clint must surely have been through worse before and come out fine- hell, the fearless man probably came out stronger and tougher. Did he really want to show how weak he was in comparison?

Footsteps padded quietly up to the door and when the archer opened it wearing nothing but skin hugging briefs, that little part of Bongani shut up very quickly.

“You look great,” almost tumbled from the Kenyan’s lips in response to Clint’s comment on how terrible he looked, but what little part of his brain was still functioning after days with no sleep managed to pull back on the reigns just in time so all he uttered was a slightly squeaky “hi.” No words could be found beyond that as the older man greeted Rafiki in that charmingly adorable way of his, scooped the dog up in his arms as though he weighed nothing (proof that those toned arm muscles weren’t just for show), and turned to lead the way inside with an offer of a drink. More speechless than before, Bongani simply nodded to Clint’s retreating back as his eyes fell and glued onto the perfect butt walking shamelessly ahead of him. Hypnotized- and he’d blame that on his exhaustion later- he followed after it, barely remembering to shut the front door behind him. Well, Bongani thought to himself as he puffed out his cheeks and blew the air out. I wanted a distraction. And there was no part of Clint’s honed and well displayed anatomy that reminded Bongani of that day in the diner.

So there was that.

Bongani would have liked to have woken up from his daze the moment Clint turned back toward him- standing there so cute and adorable with Rafiki in his arms like a baby- but the exhaustion slowed him down and he looked back up with a start a half a beat late. He blinked, flushed (thanking God for his dark skin), and promptly slapped both palms against his cheeks to try to wake himself up enough to avoid doing something stupid. “Sorry,” he apologized as Clint began pouring the promised drinks. It hadn’t helped before but he rubbed at his eyes again. “I think I zoned out on the way from your door.” Which was true and hopefully the blond would think that was all.

The little glass slid toward him and with memories of why he’d come here beginning to push through his hormone driven thoughts, Bongani grabbed it and tossed it back without hesitation. It burned and he let out a sound halfway between a cough and a laugh. “I guess it has been a bit,” he admitted, voice slightly wheezy. A bit? Probably something more like a year, if he could get his brain together enough to do some simple math. Bongani had drank like all Uni students back home- where it was legal to do so at 18- but between being poached and kept as a pet, trekking through the wilderness, trying to find a place for himself, and, oh yeah, being too young to drink here, he hadn’t had a sip of alcohol in ages.

And not a single part of his brain was awake enough to realize how dangerous this could therefore be, so when Clint passed him another drink, Bongani took a big gulp of the cool liquid despite his friend’s warning. “That is much better,” he said as he ran his tongue over his lips. The little bit of amusement that had started to shine through his dark eyes died the moment Clint asked why he was awake, and he dropped his gaze, preferring to look at the drink in his hands than at Clint’s gently inquisitive face.

“I can’t sleep,” he admitted. “I--” He took another drink. “I did something bad- very bad and I can’t stop thinking about it.”

Hawkeye
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Hawkeye
 Posted: Jun 7 2018, 01:26 AM
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There was no need to apologize, so Clint just shrugged a shoulder as the Kenyan patted his cheeks and apologized for zoning out. The archer had not really paid much attention to it, he had a dog in his arms, what more was there really that needed his attention?

A moment later and Clint was having a sip of his own drink, the half-melted one he'd had on the couch was probably still in the other room sweating all over the coffee table but whatever he was happier now with a drink in hand. Instead of saying anything he just watched as Bongani wheezed at the burn of the alcohol, a smile quirking at the corner of his lips, "I wasn't going to say anything, it was better to watch you be surprised by the burn." He'd often heard the strong stuff referred to as liquid courage, seemed fitting that when something was going on you'd have a drink to try and bolster yourself. Propping his hip against the counter he watched the younger man, waiting while he took another sip, this time of the mixed drink.

It was almost like watching a knot slowly be worked out of a string, as the moments passed Bongani quietly untangled himself, so he wasn't standing there taut. "Oh." As soon as Bongani dropped his gaze, Clint expected the worst. Not being able to sleep was common, there was a reason why Clint was still awake so late in the night. "I've been there and being ashamed of what you did only makes it worse. You just have to get to a point where you can accept that you've done something you think is wrong now, but it might not actually be wrong, or you might have done a bad thing for a good reason." He shrugged again, almost like he was trying to shake off his own bad decisions but he stayed there watching Bongani.

"You're always welcome to stay over, the guest room doesn't get much use." Mostly Clint just used the extra closet to keep additional gear, he didn't need a home office since he did his actual paperwork in the leasing office on the ground floor, so he had a guest room with a made up bed that pretty much sat empty and unused to look nice. "Or you can stay with me if you want, sometimes its hard to sleep alone when you've got stuff like this on your mind. Lucky is kind of a bed hog, but I'm sure he won't mind one more in the bed." He'd never actually cared much about having people sleep over in his bed, he'd always been the type to kick out a romantic partner before actually going to sleep, so he'd only ever shared a bed with friends. Actually, he'd shared a bed with his brother when they were younger, they'd run away to join the circus, and they'd bunked together for months, each of them leery of the situation and unwilling to part. Old memories of Barney has a pain of bitterness stirring up in his chest, even after the betrayal he still missed his brother.

Old habits died hard apparently.

Reaching out he politely topped up Bongani's drink before putting the bottle away, his curiosity getting the better of him as he closed the fridge door, "So what is it that has been keeping you up at night?" The shifter didn't seem like the type to go out and kill a man, but Clint knew that the first time you took a life, it stuck with you. It was not something he was willing to talk about or ever mention, but it was something he'd lived through, so he supposed he was a decent enough resource. He was no therapist, but he figured he had some excellent suggestions on how to clear a conscience.

Pride
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Pride
 Posted: Jun 9 2018, 01:46 PM
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“No hesitation from me, funnier for you, hmm?” Bongani wheezed, his lips quirking up in a ghost of a smile as he felt the burn that made his throat itch move down to settle pleasantly in his stomach (strange how that worked). The second drink was indeed much better and the shifter nursed it, taking some small measure of comfort from the warmth it brought him as well as the opportunity to do something as he struggled to figure out how to talk about what happened. At Clint’s words, Bongani glanced up but from the way he pursed his lips it was clear he was skeptical of what he heard. Yes, part of what he’d done had been driven by a “good reason” but the second part...just happened and there was no excuse for it, that he knew with certainty.

The offer to stay surprised Bongani and the desperate hope that flared in his eyes showed exactly how he felt even though he didn’t immediately answer. Had the offer just stayed to the guest room, the younger man would have accepted it right away. The offer to share a bed, not surprisingly, was what gave him pause...and made him gape a little. He wanted to, oh yes he did, and more for reasons that didn’t link with the staring he’d done earlier (although there was that). Bongani enjoyed company, took comfort from it, and he didn’t doubt just having a human body (sorry Rafiki) near him would help to make him feel less alone which would make the memories less likely to fully occupy his thoughts and keep him up or awaken him with nightmares.

But look at Clint. If that was how the man greeted guests in the middle of the night Bongani couldn’t picture the blonde sleeping in more clothing. To have that next to him in bed… Heat crept up the shifter’s neck all the way to his ears and he took another drink as that heat threatened to move south. To be honest, he hadn’t thought of Clint like that before, not really, mostly because he’d refused to let himself. Clint was his landlord, his boss, and his friend, and Bongani had precious few of the latter here. He couldn’t risk ruining that. “Um...the guest room would be great, thanks,” he replied before adding “I-I really appreciate it.” Because he did and maybe just knowing Clint was in the next room over would be enough. “Sorry for the trouble.”

Bongani held his glass out when Clint moved to top it then immediately took yet another sip. He could feel the alcohol beginning to creep into his system. Well, maybe. The exhaustion made it difficult to differentiate the two. Things had certainly already been a little fuzzy around the edges, they were just feeling a little fuzzier. It wasn’t enough to get through the story he needed, more than wanted, to tell so he drank again as Clint asked.

“Did you hear about the restaurant massacre on Union in Brooklyn?” he asked, referring to the story flashing across the news for the past few days. “Happened a few days ago? Uh, well, I was there. Well not there when it happened there but I-- well Merry and I went in minutes after it happened, when some of the people were still--” Bongani closed his eyes and grimaced as images flashed across his mind. “Alive. God, Clint it--” Emotion- fear, disgust, horror, pity- welled up so suddenly the Kenyan felt them push the English words right out of his head. Swearing softly in Swahili, he pressed his back against the cabinets and sank down to sit on his butt on the kitchen floor. He pulled his knees up and slipped his head between them as he pressed the cold glass to his forehead. Then, the shifter simply focused on breathing. In and out. In and out.

“It was horrible,” he finally spoke again, the words slow and enunciated as he dragged them back to memory. “It--” He didn’t get to finish. The dogs, somehow sensing that somebody had come down to their level, hurried into the kitchen and he suddenly had two furry, wiggly bodies careening with his own. Bongani sputtered as he held his drink up and out of reach.

Hawkeye
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Hawkeye
 Posted: Jun 18 2018, 02:04 AM
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In all honestly Clint didn't think too much of inviting Bongani into his home, he'd always been very welcoming to the shifter, taking him in right away on Shanes suggestion. He considered Bongani, a friend, so why wouldn't he open his home for someone who needed it right now?

it must have surprised Bongani because he looked like he couldn't believe what the archer had just said. "Are you alright?" Clint didn't understand where Bongani's thoughts had gone, just that the younger man suddenly seemed uncomfortable. Maybe the thought of sharing a bed was that distasteful? Not that Clint would have ever tried anything, Bongani was a friend, and Clint especially would not have crossed that line with someone who lived in his building. He had standards and lines that he wouldn't cross, no matter how he felt about anyone he would always be respectful of that boundary. "It's not actually any trouble, that's what friends do right?"

He'd asked what was wrong, but he didn't expect an answer right away, so he sipped his drink and waited.

Eventually, Bongani started talking, "I saw it on the news." Not that the news would ever give a full story but other than knowing vaguely about it he didn't know what happened, but he didn't think that the man standing in novelty boxers in his kitchen was responsible. "So you saw that mess." Clint watched as Bongani seemed to cycle through what he was trying to say, watching as the man started to break down. He didn't say anything for a moment, just swallowed down the contents of his glass, keeping his mouth occupied so he couldn't say something stupid. Not like there was anything he could really say at the moment because he didn't know the story.

As Bongani was accosted by the dogs, Clint took pity on him and plucked the glass from his hands to put it onto the counter before sliding down to sit next to his friend. He bumped his bare shoulder against his friends before letting Lucky scamper into his lap, petting his dog for a moment as he tried to find something to say that could help. "It was terrible, and it's keeping you up?" He reached out to quietly pat Bongani's knee before reaching out to scratch Rafiki behind the ears. "I wish I could fix this for you, but I got nothing," For a long moment he just sat there with his friend, not knowing how to help in any meaningful way so he just kept sitting because maybe being a familiar presence would help.

"You really look exhausted, come on," He patted Bongani's leg before patting Lucky and urging the dog off of his lap and standing up, "Get up, finish your drink, and then I'll put you to bed." He reached a hand out for Bongani to haul the shifter to his feet before pressing his glass into his hand, "Drink up and then come on." Clint waited long enough to let Bongani either drink up or decide to take the glass with him before putting his hands on the other man's shoulders and gently guiding him to the stairs of his loft and upstairs towards the guest room. Not that Clint had many visitors to use the room, but he still kept it up, it was at least better than having an empty room in his apartment. "You want some sweats or something to sleep in? Or an extra blanket?" He was turning down the covers on the guest bed when he looked up at the younger man, "You sure you're okay?"

Pride
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Pride
 Posted: Jun 19 2018, 10:57 PM
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Bongani already wished he hadn’t said anything. There wasn’t judgement in Clint’s voice, but he spoke about what the shifter had seen with such calmness that Bongani became even more certain that the archer would have come out fine had the blonde been there instead. Clint just seemed so unflappable and there he was, crumbling to pieces on the man’s kitchen floor. It was embarrassing, pride crushing, so the young Kenyan wasn’t entirely unhappy to have their excitable dogs interrupt the moment.

Especially since it helped to pull him out of the memories threatening to make him cry.

For a moment, Bongani thought he’d failed to hold onto his glass but quickly realized that Clint had simply taken it to place it safely out of canine reach. With both hands free, he tried to give both dogs attention before they smothered him in kisses and fur. Thankfully, when Clint joined him on the floor- sitting close enough for their shoulders to touch which Bongani found strangely comforting- Lucky split off to leave Rafiki to comfort his distraught owner alone. He decided the best way to do this was to headbutt Bongani playfully under the chin, clacking his teeth together and knocking his head gently back against the cabinets. Then he climbed in the shifter’s lap, acting far too endearing for even a bit of irritation.

Swallowing thickly, Bongani stroked his dog’s head while fighting the urge to just curl around the canine in a big, needy bear hug. The silence in the kitchen stretched on for another moment before Clint’s warm hand touched his knee. It was somewhat disappointing to hear that Clint had no wise words of wisdom, but then Bongani knew it was probably asking way too much of the man. “That’s ok,” he replied quietly. The hand returned to his leg and the shifter tried to ignore how it felt absurdly warm against his skin which continued to feel warm even once the hand left and Clint was helping him to his feet. As soon as the glass was back in his hands, Bongani tossed the rest back. This time, he was pretty sure the fuzz he felt settling on his brain was alcohol rather than exhaustion induced.

As he set the glass down, Bongani felt Clint settle his hands on his shoulders and allowed the older man to steer him toward the guest bedroom. The shifter’s spirits felt quite low- with embarrassment now tacked onto everything he’d been feeling before- so he simply stood quietly as Clint, like a good friend and surprising mother hen, pulled the covers down for him. “No, I’m fine,” he replied as haze crept further into his brain and he reached down to touch Rafiki who had, of course, tagged along. Although his response was toward the offer of pjs and a blanket, Bongani thought to let it stand for Clint’s other question as well, but his real answer- and the thing he hadn’t told his friend about- bubbled behind his lips.

“I--”

Instead of blurting it, Bongani swallowed and spoke slowly and clearly fearfully, his voice barely above a whisper. “I ate him.” Reaching up, he pressed the heels of his hands almost painfully against his eyes. God what he wouldn’t give for the rest of the alcohol from downstairs. Maybe he could down enough to just pass out right there. “The man who killed them,” he continued. “He was there and we fought him and I--I ate him...part of h-him.” The Kenyan took a shaky breath and waited, face still hidden, for Clint to hear and be shocked.

To be disgusted with him.
To reject him.

Bongani wished immediately that he hadn't said it but he'd had to. He'd had to let the poison roiling inside him out.

Hawkeye
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Hawkeye
 Posted: Jun 23 2018, 12:02 AM
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Usually, when Clint found himself with an emotional person, he found it was best to just keep his mouth shut. Sometimes what people needed was someone to be there more then they needed the perfect words. So instead of trying to say something that would magically fix everything, Cint just led his friend upstairs to bed.

He did find himself pausing as Bongani started to speak "You?" He asked quietly, standing there with the blankets still in his hands as he looked at his younger friend. A moment Later Bongani managed to squeeze out the words like they were lodged in his throat and slicing him with every syllable. Clint did manage to keep from replying with you did what?! but his heart ached for his poor confused friend. Hands twitching because all he wanted to do was reach out and give the other man a hug.

"Okay." Clint stood still waiting, like if there was more of the story that he was waiting for. He'd seen Bongani take down all sorts of creatures, seen him drag an antelope through the jungle of the savage land. He was not surprised that a man who could turn into a giant feline might eat a bit of raw meat here or there, "Come here," He coaxed before stepping close and tugging the smaller man into his chest. "I don't get why you're so upset over this, I've seen you eat raw meat before. A large cat cant know the difference, meat is just meat." Rubbing a hand over the shifters back he really could try to understand why he was so broken up about this, maybe it was his humanity fighting with his feral instincts. Clint didn't really care though, so what if Bongani bit a chunk out of some murder?

Pulling away just a tiny bit, Clint cupped the back of Bongani's skull so he could tilt the shifters face to look up into his, "This doesn't make you a monster, you're just a wild little beast part of the time. Trust me, if we dropped some random meat on the floor the dogs wouldn't know if it was deer meat or people meat, they are going to eat it." He stood there for a moment longer, still sliding his hand up and down Bongani's back before quietly yawning. "Come on kitty cat, let me put you in bed." He murmured before reaching out to open the covers for Bongani once more, "Want me to tuck you in?"

Pride
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Pride
 Posted: Jun 23 2018, 09:13 AM
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Cannibal.

Bongani couldn’t think of another word in English- other than perhaps pedofile- that affected people on such a visceral level. Many things, many crimes or sins, could be forgiven or explained away but not those and now the former applied to him. He was a cannibal. A human flesh eater. He hadn’t even been able to throw it up when he’d realized what he’d done because Merry had needed him. His friend had needed him so he’d helped her and let his stomach digest it, take it in...

Cannibal.

A full body shudder wracked the Kenyan’s muscular frame.

“Okay.”

The simple word was calm and understanding- if maybe a little strained- and there was something about it that encouraged more. Bongani wanted to tell Clint everything, to try to explain it away and blame it on the feral part of himself that came out sometimes when he shifted, but that would just be making excuses and there was no excuse. None. He couldn’t excuse himself, not to make himself feel better, not even to save his friendship with Clint which would surely--

Arms slid around him and Bongani let out a breath perilously close to a sob as he folded into the embrace. Despite his guilt and self disgust, relief flooded into him because oh God Clint wasn’t rejecting him. Hell, the man was telling him it was alright, using the very arguments Bongani had wanted to make for himself. “But I do,” he argued against the older man’s shoulder. Although it was clear he felt he should have known the difference even shifted, there was a small plea in his tone that begged Clint to keep talking and make him feel better.

And the man did exactly that.

Bongani’s eyes briefly unfocused as Clint’s grip made him look up. The movement was small and slow, yet it seemed to take his brain a moment to catch up to it, a very clear sign that the alcohol he’d chugged was hitting home. So the shifter didn’t look as broken as he might have as their gazes met and he couldn’t find the will much less the words to argue against what he was told. He wanted to believe, needed to believe, and the alcohol opened him up to do so. With no words to give, he simply nodded (a movement he gently continued even though he’d intended to stop because oh the fuzz made that motion feel nice) and stood there. He didn’t, couldn’t, focus on his thoughts (which were all too happy to take the excuses and retreat) which left him little else to do but feel.

And boy was his body feeling.

The hands rubbing his back felt all out of proportion. Warmer. Bigger. Rougher- but not in a bad way. They left his nerves firing, made something feral stir inside him, and when Clint pulled away (taking with him the warmth and hard planes that had felt so nice against Bongani), called him that name, pulled the covers back and made that offer, it hit the shifter all in a rush.

He wanted Clint.

The person who had helped him without hesitation, who had taken him under his wing to give him a job and teach it to him. The man who’d become his friend, who’d joked and laughed and hunted with him. Who looked so damn adorable with dogs in his arms and baby talk on his lips. Who was standing there in nothing but curve hugging briefs asking him to bed. With as much grace as a zombie, Bongani shuffled forward, his dazed brown eyes on that rugged face, that dented chin, those blue eyes. He’d meant to stay standing when he reached Clint but the room swayed and he tilted-- or maybe the room tilted and he swayed. Either way, he found himself more falling than sitting onto the bed which put his gaze level with the archer’s toned abs. Bongani’s paw print boxers strained as he took in the hard and teasing lines, the scars and bruises that colored pale skin. It was beautiful, all of it. Powerful, strong, perfect. Without thinking, he reached out to touch because he could, right? Clint wanted him to, right?

“Stay,” Bongani breathed as he tilted his head back and looked up. His dark eyes were dazed from the alcohol and red rimmed from the lack of sleep and emotional shitstorm, but they were also blown wide with want and need.

And just a little uncertainty.

Hawkeye
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