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Title: Tangled Up In Blue (Chapter 2: I am a man of constant sorrow) (WiP - Ch.2 of ??)
Author: im_ridiculous
Fandom: Avengers - Clint/Natasha
Genre: AU, angst!crack
Rating: MA - for mature audiences. (Adult themes, lots of angst, vague-ish references to alcoholism and physical abuse, a smattering of f-words (not gratuitous, in my opinion. I swear they're earned!)
Length: ~2400
Disclaimer: I own nothing and no one. ... Except for Phil's bitchy little sister, and I don't think anyone else would want her anyway.
Thanks: You guys, themonkeytwin is the most amazing beta. Let's just all be very clear about that. This chapter was a freakin' nightmare and she stuck with me regardless and for that I am eternally grateful. Her suggestions are judicious and kind, and she is always right. Any and all remaining issues are all my own fault. Also, thanks to anillogicalmind for her encouragement and sympathy! And I think I've *just* squeezed this in in time to make a birthday dedication to anuna_81... because she's been one of the biggest cheerleaders for this stupidly slow series and I love her for it :)

Soundtrack: 'I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow' - Soggy Bottom Boys
Summary: It's a masochistic rite that insists on being observed. So he sings, and he remembers.
A/N: This is the slowest-written fic in the history of the interwebs. It's also a crazy, angsty, AU crack!fic, where Clint is a boozed-up country/folk musician running from a past that includes Natasha. Running to a future that includes her too? ... Time will tell.

It's been a long time between drinks, so here are some links:
The Prologue
Chapter 1

TUIB: Chapter 2 - I am a man of constant sorrow

He sits in the corner of the ballroom and seethes, cracking his neck against tension that’s turning flesh into stone.

He craves the camouflage of darkness and stale haze, protection from stark white cloth and overwrought bows and glittering centrepieces. He tries to focus on his guitar, straining to tune it over clattering cutlery and clinking glasses and strangers who talk their way through generic steak and chicken.

But there’s nowhere to hide. And when he looks down at hard-worn jeans and a least-gray t-shirt, at calloused hands ingrained with sweat and dust, he sees what they surely do: a stain and an intruder. Bad luck.

Someone calls out a toast to the bride and groom, and he raises his fifth beer in mocking salute to a happy couple whose open bar didn’t stretch to hard liquor; thinks that if Phil had told him that “you’re going to do me a favor” meant “you’re going to play at my little sister’s wedding”, then no debt and no loyalty and no hungover disorientation could ever have been enough to make him agree.

Of course, not telling him was all part of the plan, because for Phil, there could be no surviving this wedding on his own. Not the wedding of a younger sister who’d never forgiven him, who called him ‘her abject failure of a brother’. A sister Phil would never stop trying to make it up to.

And so Phil hadn’t said a word about any wedding. Not until they’d pulled into town and he’d been installed in a motel and Phil had taken his keys and driven away, muttering “you owe me” and “you think I’m feelin’ good about this?” and “but if she thinks I’m gonna play Pachelbel’s-fuckin’-Canon she can forget it...”.

And he couldn’t say he was happy about it, but maybe he could have sucked it up if only that’d been all.

“The one thing she asked of me,” Phil had started, breaking a tense silence as they drove to the fancy hotel, “the one thing she wanted, on her wedding day, was that I show up, that I look respectable, and that I get the old band back together to play the party.”

...The band.

The whole band.

“My baby sister, Clint. The one thing she wanted.”

Friend or not, he would’ve let Phil have it then, would’ve told him he was so far out of line... Would have, if he hadn’t seen Phil’s face, pale and pleading, his knuckles white on the steering wheel. Hadn’t seen him look like that for a long time.

“Look, I can’t fuck this up, Clint. I just... I can’t. Please.”

And so he’d taken a deep breath and resolved to try: to be a man, to be a friend, to repay some of his debt.

And he’d got to his feet and offered his hand when the last member of the old trio had walked into the ballroom. And when it was shaken without comment he thought that was probably about the size of it and as good as could have been expected.

They used to say Ol’ Nick Fury hadn’t stopped drinking or scowling since the day he lost an eye in Vietnam. The drink had run dry long ago, but the scowl remained; so did the khaki, army-issue fatigue jacket, the black patch over an empty left eye socket, the banjo slung across his back. He played a mean banjo, did Ol’ Nick. Held a mean grudge too.

For a little while, years ago now, Phil had convinced himself that he could hold them together; that by sheer force of his will, the trio would actually amount to something. He’d called them ‘The Constant Sorrows’ and booked every slot he could find and told his surly bandmates they couldn’t say the name wasn’t appropriate.

And they were good. Real good, as a matter of fact. But no two men were ever less built to suffer each other’s constant company than the Old Man and him, and an optimistic violinist was never going to be enough to hold that storm at bay.

He hadn’t seen or heard from Ol’ Nick since it all fell apart.

Not until today.

And so he sits in the corner of the ballroom and seethes, downing another beer and pretending he can’t feel the Old Man’s disgust, breaking over him in waves like the high tide.

*****

Later, with music and beer swirling in his veins, he’s bulletproof.

Phil calls out song after song from a list the bride taped to the floor by his microphone. Each one’s familiar, many are old favourites, but he’d forgotten just how good they are, how full of joy they could sound, how they could make him feel even now, after everything.

They feel their way through the chords on instinct and muscle memory, his driving melodies against Phil’s soaring fiddle, the banjo running rings around them both. And it’s like the old days; those brief, truly good old days, when everything fit and the music was grace come to save them all.

The closing chords of ‘Chattahoochee’ fade and the wedding guests collapse against each other, laughing and whistling and catching their breath. But the bride marches up to the stage, grabs her brother’s elbow and pulls him aside. Her vicious stage whisper carries easily in the lull: “This is my wedding and it’s my husband’s favourite song! It’s just a song, Phil! A song he is famous for, by the way - what is his problem?! Just play it!”

Phil looks over at him, stricken. His expression is enough to confirm which song she means, and that skipping it was no accident.

He looks back at his friend, at the bride turning to her husband with a too-bright smile, at the crowd peering expectantly at the stage. Hot blood is throbbing in his ears, adrenalin surging, heart pounding, itching fingers already starting to trace the chords.

And he’s bulletproof. He’s bulletproof, and what the fuck is she? Nothing. No one. A million years ago.

The crowd is clapping now, slow but building, bored of waiting.

He drinks them in, their adulation. Gestures like he can’t hear, makes them scream louder.

And... fuck it.

Fuck it, and fuck her.

He smirks at Phil, frowning and concerned. At Nick, scowling and indifferent. It’s just a song.

He starts to play, picking out notes until the others find the key and join in, and for a clear, shining moment it’s ok. He turns to grin at Phil in triumph...

But then Nick starts up that banjo riff and the crowd howls in recognition. Triumph twists into bitterness and the tight-locked door deep inside of him is thrown wide open and he realises, too late, what he already knew. He’s wrong. It’s not just a song. It never was.

The rush of images starts, and this time there’s no stopping them.

It’s a blade he pulls across his own flesh, a litany of everything that ever mattered and was lost, a masochistic rite that insists on being observed.

The ballroom dissolves around him, and he surrenders to a black fog of grit and heat that billows up to surround and consume him, to carry him back there.

And he sings, and he remembers.

I am a man of constant sorrow
I’ve seen trouble all my days


Long days on the road and campfires at night. Worn, smiling faces of the circus crew lit up in soft shades of green and red and yellow and blue. His heart singing when they echo the last line of each verse, tossing the words off their tongues like they were nothing.

The place where I was born and raised
The place where he was born and raised


The old man taught him the song, but hated to sing it. He’d laughed like a young man buzzed on beer will laugh. Pity in the old man’s eyes, trying to make him understand: be faithful in your sorrow when that’s the only way you have left to be loyal.

And he wants to tell the old man he’s sorry, that he understands now. But colored lights are shifting and swirling and the words pouring out of him, unbidden now, conjure another bar and another stage and another crowd.

For six long years, I’ve been in trouble
No pleasure here on earth I’ve found


An unremarkable open mic night, an unremarkable bar, an unremarkable town whose sheer lack of distinction made it the perfect location for a movie that eventually made a lot of money.

For in this world I’m bound to ramble

A man bought him a beer: how’d he like to be a star? Cruising through Manhattan in a flashy record executive’s custom red and gold convertible. A glass tower and a crystal tumbler of well-aged bourbon. Signing his recording contract with a pen worth more than everything he owned.

I have no friends to help me now

A tiny desert town shimmering before him as if through a heat haze, obscured by time and memory now. Arriving high on possibility and promise at the home of a famed and reclusive producer. First steps on the path to greatness.

Pretended reluctance in the bar that night. Teased and taunted, then gave them what they all wanted to hear.

Sweat and smoke and screaming girls. Heat from bodies rushing forward, pressing against the stage.

On another stage, in a ballroom a thousand miles away, he looks above the crowd to a bar that isn’t there.

And sees her, again, for the very first time.

So, it’s fare-thee-well, my own true lover
I never expect to see you again


Pale exposed arms and denim-clad ass and dark red hair tumbling in waves to her shoulders, glowing like flame in the reflected light. Elbows leaning on polished timber, right hand cupping her chin, face turned to him. Ghost of a smile on full lips.

Her eyes on him; the only girl in the bar not singing along.

Sidling up to her and asking why. Looking deep into those green eyes and turning on the charm and smiling the smile that should have been enough to make her melt, that had always been enough before.

It didn’t work.

“I don’t sing. It’d be something very special to make me sing.” She smiled, sickly-sweet. “And sadly, I just don’t think you’re that special.”

Turned back to her drink like that should have been enough to get rid of him, like it had always been enough before.

That didn’t work either.

For I’m bound to ride that northern railroad
Perhaps I’ll die upon this train


And he’s dancing with her again; hot, smooth skin under fingers, hips under palms, breasts against his chest. Swinging her around. Laughing in spite of herself. Pulling her close.

Tumbling and fracturing images: her face flushed - no - pale and falling. Fleeing. A barman steering him out into pale morning light. Leave well enough alone.

You can bury me in some deep valley

Heat and dust and agonisingly slow hours in a soundproof box. Songs worn out of meaning. Music bleached of all feeling. Mounting frustration and the inevitable explosion. Loading up his newly restored pickup for the escape. Pulling into a truckstop on the town limit. Finding her there in a greasy, butter-colored uniform. Changing his mind about leaving.

For many years where I may lay

Pieces of her. Dreams of Europe and South America and poetry and writing and life, all of it, out there, just waiting. Smart and interesting and overwhelming. Conversations over cold coffee long after midnight, a forgotten tray resting on her hip. Words and their weight, her sympathetic smile: you just can’t feel everything every time or you’ll wear it out; pretending gets you further, mostly. An album emerging out of the dirt.

And you may learn to love another

Out of town, hidden from the road by a towering mesa, a ridge looks out over the desert plateau.

He walked to the edge as the sun broke the horizon; sky like liquid gold, sand like hot coals.

She was beautiful and terrible and aflame, bathed in the red dawn. Achingly close, fingers digging into his shoulders. Green, green eyes.

When she kissed him, he was lost.

He knew it then: that like fire, she would consume him and he would let her. He wanted her to.

While I am sleeping in my grave

She flinched and he saw the bruises. His mouth pulled desperately to hers, like she was drowning and he was air.

He promised: if she’d let him, he’d take care of her. No one would hurt her.

He would never let her down.

The look that damn near broke his heart.

Maybe your friends think I’m just a stranger

She was frightened and that made him afraid. Held her. Told her he was almost finished in this godforsaken town. That he couldn’t leave it without her. That he wouldn’t.

That he loved her.

My face you never will see no more

Lightning spears overhead, the heavy sky splitting open in relief for the monsoon.

She stands on the ledge facing the desert plain, arms out wide, head thrown back to greet the oncoming storm.

But there is one promise that is given

Soaked and shivering in his arms, telling him, yes. “Yes I’ll come.”

I’ll meet you on God’s golden shore

Bile in his throat.

Through black fog, he can see it: night torn open by a crash louder than thunder, a flash brighter than lightning, a car flipping over and over before coming to rest against ancient, unmoved stone.

She had stilled against his chest. Fate sure had one helluva sense of dramatic timing.

He’ll meet you on God’s golden shore

It’s a shock to feel the dying note in his throat, and as suddenly as it started, the spell breaks and it’s over.

Phil and Nick beside him, but it’s a few seconds before he can remember where he is.

The details of the ballroom start filling back in, the bride and her groom whirling around the dance floor, wine flowing, people smiling, laughing. It’s all he can do to make it to the bathroom.

The litany complete, his miserable rite ends as it always does. He grips the porcelain near hard enough to break it and vomits beer and bile into the bowl, retching again and again until his muscles give way, as if his body could purge itself of the memory, of her.

He slumps to the floor. Wishes it could be that easy.

Comments

( 71 comments — Leave a comment )
workerbee73
Jan. 11th, 2013 02:42 pm (UTC)
gorgeous fucking prose.

i wish i had all day to dissect this, because there is so much to be had. layers upon layers to unfurl and i know you planned it that way. what a great way of giving us their history-- interspliced with a song and delivered by an unreliable narrator (my favorite kind).

and good lord i love your clint. he's flawed and angst-ridden without being a woobie little boy; he knows the score, he's lived quite a bit and he jsut feels like a man. a real-deal, no bullshit dude. pure cowboy in the best and worst ways. (and omg i'm still working out comparing our different versions of him-- so similar in some ways but i'm still trying to nail down the differences. i almost feel like they could be the same guy, just in different circumstances, different 'verses. he is, in a very real way--and maybe moreso than other characters i've run across--the sum of his experiences and that really shows here.)

and i'm going back to the language b/c that's kind of my one true love so deal. it's effortless and well-crafted and yet there is so much dark wisdom to be had in each and every line and i love that. every wrod is weighted and given weight and presses down in return. this isn't like falling so much as being led down a long winding staircase. damp, cold air all around; darkness, a sense of impending claustrophobia but in the best possible way. (all the earth metaphors, just for you babe. can you smell the black soil? i sure as hell can.)

i think what i'm meaning to say is... i love this.

Edited at 2013-01-11 02:47 pm (UTC)
im_ridiculous
Jan. 11th, 2013 08:29 pm (UTC)
Because I haven't talked at you NEARLY enough in the past 24 hours, here: have another long comment
:O ...

\o/ \o/ \o/ \o/ \o/ \o/

Honestly, this chapter has been such a BASTARD of a thing, I had no idea - NO idea - whether I really like it anymore, or if I could just live with it because it was just acceptably better than the clusterf(&% it was before, and so this comment? This makes me teary. Legit tears. And also squeeish at, like, dog-hearing levels of squee.

Thankyou. So much. I just... am thrilled and so, so excited that you like it. *ridiculous seal claps of joy*

there is so much to be had. layers upon layers to unfurl and i know you planned it that way.
Yay, I'm so glad that worked for you! This is literally half the length it was originally, and so much had to be stripped out and remoulded that you always worry that if someone didn't see the first overfilled draft, then this is just going to be too vague. Phew. And if, y'know, you ever want to discuss or speculate about any of those layers (in all your enormous amounts of space time. snort.) you know where to find me. :)

And dude. Yes. Unreliable narrators FTW.

and good lord i love your clint. he's flawed and angst-ridden without being a woobie little boy
.....is it ok if I get a little woobie? Cos it's happening now... I love him too, and I think you might be on to something re: similarities and differences being down to different circumstances. Because you're so absolutely right: he is the sum of his experiences. Yes. Just... exactly. And Clint here, while knocked around by life, has never actually had to kill someone. And I think maybe it's THAT hard edge that he doesn't have here. More lost, less dangerous, maybe? It's hard to put your finger on, but I think the same man/different 'verse thing is at the heart of it.

And honey, I'll deal with you liking my language any old time. Aaaaaaany old time *basks* :)))

a sense of impending claustrophobia
EXACTLY. ... EXACTLY!!!!!!!!! And you brought the earth metaphors... *shakes head in amazement*

Bee? All the twirls. ALL OF THEM.
Thankyou.

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Edited at 2013-01-11 08:39 pm (UTC)
workerbee73
Jan. 11th, 2013 08:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Because I haven't talked at you NEARLY enough in the past 24 hours, here: have another long comm
WE CAN NEVER TALK TOO MUCH IN ONE DAY. YOUR ARGUMENT IS INVALID. ;P

And Clint here, while knocked around by life, has never actually had to kill someone. And I think maybe it's THAT hard edge that he doesn't have here. More lost, less dangerous, maybe?

i think that's it. and bob and i have written him intentionally dark, innately so, as in killing became an outlet for that clint just like music became an outlet for this one. (he has talent, and on some level he enjoys it-- all the things that make for a good hobby; there's a lot of dark buried in that earth.)

i'm still thiiking the abyss/earth stuff are pretty much first counsin metaphors. after all, a chasm is just simply the ground flayed wide open. it's all dirt just the same. ;)

Edited at 2013-01-11 09:04 pm (UTC)
angela_n_hunt
Jan. 11th, 2013 04:04 pm (UTC)
Bee beat me to it. Pretty much everything she says here and then some. Wow.

a) I love that song. LOVE.

b) The way it flows in and out of this chapter is just amazing.

And can I just say that the idea of Nick Fury as a glowering banjo player cracks my ass up? Even the bratty little sister. It's a fantastic mix. And OMG. Weddings. Poor Clint. Playing weddings is only ever wonderful or hell. (I've got a lot of musician friends.)

The language is amazing and wonderful. The pacing is wonderful. The imagery is also amazing and wonderful.

You keep on keeping on. This was totally worth the wait.

im_ridiculous
Jan. 11th, 2013 08:38 pm (UTC)
Ooooh Ms Q! Thankyou!
You KNOW I love that song, and well, I did promise you it had a bigger role to play - I'm glad it didn't disappoint!

The song and the memory and all that being mixed up was actually one of the very first ideas/scenes/bits of this whole fic. And so of course, actually writing it was a freakin' nightmare, just too, too much. And I was so sure I wanted that scene, but finding a way into it? Freakin' impossible, for some reason. IMPOSSIBLE!!!

can I just say that the idea of Nick Fury as a glowering banjo player cracks my ass up?
You absolutely, absolutely can!! Cracks mine up too, but just... I don't know, fits in my head :) And as for weddings... well, exactly my friend. Exactly. There was originally a whole beginning section about how weddings made Clint sick, but it was all just too much, and I figured people would probably know where he was coming from anyway :)

The language is amazing and wonderful. The pacing is wonderful. The imagery is also amazing and wonderful.
This is the most wonderful comment, because these are all the things that JUST WOULDN'T WORK for the longest time!
I'm so, so excited you like it. You're a hugely significant (both emotionally and numerically) part of its audience, after all!! ;D

This was totally worth the wait.
Meep. *clings*

THANKYOU. Also, YAY!!!!
angela_n_hunt
Jan. 12th, 2013 01:42 am (UTC)
Hee! Ms. Q! I like that!

No, you did not disappoint in the slightest! It was a perfect integration of the song.

Yeah, finding your way into a scene is sometimes murder. I've had that happen to me on more than one occasion. I usually end up beating my head into a wall into something jogs loose.

And d'aw!!! You're welcome! I was so thrilled to see that there was a new installment.
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alwayslera
Jan. 11th, 2013 04:49 pm (UTC)
This was AWESOME <3 Really beautifully written. Right amount of angst balanced with the right amount of evidence to justify it with the right amount of prose. Love love love.
im_ridiculous
Jan. 11th, 2013 08:44 pm (UTC)
...meep. Thankyou! So much! That's really kind and I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

(Meanwhile, I just (...I may have just done some stalking. I admit nothing.) discovered your 'Love you like a love song', except I'm an idiot who evidently doesn't titles properly, because I just read your last chapter first... *facepalm*

IT WAS GREAT! I need to go leave you a comment, and then, y'know, go back and read the rest now that I've spoiled the ending for myself :) )
alwayslera
Jan. 11th, 2013 08:45 pm (UTC)
hahahahaha, thank you! You didn't really SPOIL anything for yourself, I promise you. It was mostly an excuse to write chapters 1 and 8. Everything in the middle happened so the rest could happen.
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alphaflyer
Jan. 11th, 2013 05:11 pm (UTC)
Wow. That was ... a lot of angst to swallow over lunch. And man, did it go down easy. Wonderful piece, and I don't always cope well with A/Us. :-)

Oh, and is it just me, or is this wonderful fic the transcendental retribution for Jeff Bridges taking the 2010 Oscar over Jeremy Renner, for playing a drunken country singer?
im_ridiculous
Jan. 11th, 2013 08:51 pm (UTC)
Oh I'm so sorry! Maybe I should include a digestion warning? :)

I'm so glad you enjoyed it, and you know what? Until very, very recently, I would have said I was actually, actively, 'just not that into' AUs. So I know where you're coming from, and how I ended up here is really anyone's guess.

All I can say about it is this: fandom slope is damn slippery. :D

Oh, and is it just me, or is this wonderful fic the transcendental retribution for Jeff Bridges taking the 2010 Oscar over Jeremy Renner, for playing a drunken country singer?
:O ... I am actively channelling so much Crazy Heart in this fic (seriously, The Weary Kind has its own chapter all sketched out *whistles innocently*), so HOW HAD THIS NOT EVEN OCCURRED TO ME?!? BECAUSE HENCEFORTH, YES, THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THIS IS.
alphaflyer
Jan. 11th, 2013 09:05 pm (UTC)
Glad I could get that straightened out then ... :-) 'Cuz much as I like Jeff Bridges, the Best Acting award is NOT a lifetime achievement thing, and Renner was BETTER. (Same thing happened to Ralph Fiennes, when they gave supporting actor to Tommy Lee Jones for phoning in his performance in The Fugitive, instead of Fiennes for being the most gorgeously creepy Nazi EVER). But I digress. The Oscar nominations came out yesterday, and I'm sulking. Again.
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anillogicalmind
Jan. 11th, 2013 07:51 pm (UTC)
Okay. So. First off, I am so ridiculously happy you posted this flipping gorgeous piece of work - honestly, it's brilliant, and the narrative perspective you're working from here is beautiful. AND I LOVE YOUR ANGSTY CLINT, SO STICK WITH HIM.

It's all just so well done, so... well done :)

I'm so excited for what's to come in this work, but take all the time you need, because it is so, so worth it.
im_ridiculous
Jan. 11th, 2013 08:53 pm (UTC)
Awwww thankyou lovely one :D For this comment, and for holding my hand through the early days of 'here. *shoves overwritten fic at you*... what the hell do you think I should be doing with that then, huh?'

:D

ALL THE TWIRLS TO YOU MY FRIEND. ALL OF THEM. <3
anillogicalmind
Jan. 12th, 2013 04:35 pm (UTC)
You are so welcome my friend.

TWIRLS YOU BACK.

*skulks off to go read all of the incredible meta that has appeared on this gloriousness in my absence, and to gawk.*
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anuna_81
Jan. 11th, 2013 08:54 pm (UTC)
Oh God, you're going to kill me with this story and I am going to love every slow and painful moemnt of it (wait. you promised it will get worse before it gets better, so I'm hoping it will, eventually, get better) Ahem.

Bee said it perfectly, and I will probably echo her thoughts - this version of Clint is dark, or maybe more worn out and tired, and disappointed. He's like a country song, one that you sing and it makes yous ad at all the same spots, every time, and that's because it rings true (you know it's true). I love how you write him, how real his pain feels,and my heart is truly breaking for him. (I miiiight retaliate with my world - worn, slightly cynic, but content in his skin cowboy Clint? I'll try,l as soon as I can!)

Can't wait for more, baby! Thank you, thank you so much for the dedication and your messages and everything!!! *hugs*
im_ridiculous
Jan. 11th, 2013 09:03 pm (UTC)
Yay, I so hoped you would like it!! ... I mean, that you like it, not that I'm going to kill you... that is not my intention! Apologies! ;)

....and yes, I promise. I promise you, it will. Because I am HappyEverAfter Girl and I know no other way. Hang in there... there's a way to go yet.

worn out and tired, and disappointed
That is exactly what he is, poor baby. Also kinda hmm... rudderless? purpose-less? if that makes sense? He's just kind of drifting, with no goal, no purpose, nothing to aim for... only all the time in the world to reflect on what once was but isn't anymore. Sad face.

(I miiiight retaliate with my world - worn, slightly cynic, but content in his skin cowboy Clint? I'll try,l as soon as I can!)
And I look forward to that, whenever it might be! It'll be a relief!! As you know though, I have no problem with fic being written really, really slowly (*facepalm*) so believe me when I say: no pressure though!! :D

Happy birthday lovely, and so, so pleased you liked it :D
anuna_81
Jan. 11th, 2013 09:08 pm (UTC)
You know, the fact that he's purpose-less is the hardest thing, for me at least. (And I appreciate it. I feel sad for him, but I want to see him struggle out). Everyone has a phase like that, one when you're drifting, when you see no light, no goal, you just... carry on, swept up by the motion.

You are WAY too kind to me! I need to get some musician!Clint words out of me, because I have FEELS about that. I have soft spot for worn out, looking for another chance people (Thunder Road by Springsteen? THAT. that is my tune. Ahem.)

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Seriously, you and everyone else have spoiled me rotten today!! *G*
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(Deleted comment)
im_ridiculous
Jan. 11th, 2013 11:34 pm (UTC)
Oh hun, as I'm sure you can tell from my comments over on your journal, I have ZERO issues with rambling. And that wasn't even rambling - you're concise and perceptive as always :)

It makes me so happy that you like this. I feel like I'm standing in your shadow, just trying to live up to the standard you both are setting. So. Happy. I can't even tell you. Thank you so much. (And I'm really excited that someone went and listened to it with the song, too - so thankyou for that <3 Incidentally, because you and I both apparently have the whole Clint-IS-Dylan thing going on.... 'I am a man of constant sorrow'? Turns out? Written by Bob Dylan. I didn't even KNOW that when I settled on it. Which just goes to prove. Clint IS Dylan.)

Oh god, I'm sorry for all the comment bombarding of you, too... It's just been really interesting for me - reading your Clint and trying to write mine at the same time. Because the similarities are so there, but I think we've really struck upon the differences now too, which makes me happy for reasons. :)

As for the snippets... well... Clint's told you almost (I haven't decided yet HOW 'almost') all he's going to tell you about that time... because the sneaky secret (which is not remotely secret) about this fic is that this story is ALL about each of their perspectives. Who owns what story, and what part of the story, and who is right? Is anyone? Clint's told you the bits of their past that are his to tell, that tell you almost everything you need to know as far as he's concerned... the rest of it? The car crash and - more importantly - what happened next?All hers. He's a participant in her story.

And it's coming :)

(red and gold limo; I see what you did there.)
.....so, I am just a little bit excited that SOMEONE noticed, yes :) We.... may not have seen the last of that record executive, either. Is all I'm saying. Bruce? Honestly, I haven't decided yet...which is to say, it depends on other things and I can't make up my mind :)

ETA - Oh! I should say, vaguing it up and making it a red and gold car, rather than explicitly Tony? One of themonkeytwin's brilliant ideas :)

And now I really am rambling at you... suffice it to say:

Thankyou. So much. <3

Edited at 2013-01-11 11:41 pm (UTC)
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Re: Clint-IS-Dylan feels - im_ridiculous - Jan. 11th, 2013 11:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Re: Clint-IS-Dylan feels - im_ridiculous - Jan. 12th, 2013 12:25 am (UTC) - Expand
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Re: Clint-IS-Dylan feels - im_ridiculous - Jan. 12th, 2013 12:36 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Clint-IS-Dylan feels - workerbee73 - Jan. 12th, 2013 12:03 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Clint-IS-Dylan feels - im_ridiculous - Jan. 12th, 2013 12:06 am (UTC) - Expand
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Re: Clint-IS-Dylan feels - im_ridiculous - Jan. 12th, 2013 12:21 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Clint-IS-Dylan feels - workerbee73 - Jan. 12th, 2013 01:04 am (UTC) - Expand
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Re: Clint-IS-Dylan feels - workerbee73 - Jan. 12th, 2013 12:12 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Clint-IS-Dylan feels - im_ridiculous - Jan. 12th, 2013 12:22 am (UTC) - Expand
themonkeytwin
Jan. 12th, 2013 02:51 am (UTC)
ALL THE HUGS. AND ALL THE CHEERLEADS. RAHRAHRAH! YAAAAAY YOU, IT'S MOTHERF#&*ING HERE!

Seriously, girl. This was one painful trek, but you stuck with it, and my gosh did it pay off. It takes a lot of discipline (and faith) to cut something back to the very bare bones like this, I'm so proud of you! And so proud of how it turned out! :):)


I love the imagery, how rich and evocative each little bit is. There's so much texture in (well, in all of it) the flashbacks, you can feel and smell it. Just gorgeous. And I love how the last chapter was just marinated in booze, absolutely swimming in it, and this one is not – not because the booze is gone, but because it's not enough. Everything's so damn sharp and there's not enough booze in the world to dull it.

I love the turn of bulletproof and "fuck it". That might be my favourite part (it's hard to choose!). Just how much he's denying he's standing right on the edge of such a very high, steep slope. And about to jump off it. :D


I hereby proclaim this chapter a triumph, and say pschaw! and begone with you! to any accusations of bias. Nailed. It. \o/
im_ridiculous
Jan. 12th, 2013 06:12 am (UTC)
Pls excuse me while I gush. (Look. You know already know bout me and the too many words...)
Hun. ... Just...

**EPIC STANDING OVATION** **THROWS HUGE BOUQUETS ONTO THE STAGE AT YOUR FEET**

You know it, and I know it, and I cannot stress this enough: This WOULD NOT have happened without you. I would have gone mad, for one, but even if I'd finished it, it would have been crappola. Seriously. The crap you had to wade through on this one.... *shakes head in astonishment and gratitude*... Boy, I don't know. I am so sorry.

I am so grateful that you seemed to know what was going on in my head, even when I didn't. ALL THE AWARDS and ALL THE THANKS. ALL of them.

There's so much texture
And in so comparatively few words! It's a miracle! ;D Seriously though - phew, and thankyou.

I love the turn of bulletproof and "fuck it".
Dude. Have we talked about this yet? We haven't have we? Let me fix that now.

I LOVE the bulletproof/fuck it moment, because during this whole sorry saga, that bit - getting from him seething to them playing the damn song - was the hardest by far. As you know, because it was all, yes, BUT WHY WOULD THEY PLAY IT??? And deciding that Phil wouldn't make him, and Fury couldn't give two shits either way, meant Clint had to choose to do it. BUT WHY THE HELL WOULD HE DO THAT??

...cue going back to the prologue and going, 'oh yeah, 'drunk and bulletproof'. He's allowed to enjoy being on stage. OK. That's step 1.'

...And then realising that I've been searching for a way to get Clint to say/think '...ahhhhh fuck it.' in a fic since, well, forever. Because I think it's the most Clintiest phrase of all. Because reasons. And it was just sitting there all this time, waiting for me to put two and two together.

AND WHY SUCH A SIMPLE SOLUTION TOOK ME TWO FREAKING MONTHS TO FIND I WILL NEVER KNOW!!!!!!!

...

I guess what I'm saying is, for the pain it gave me in writing it, I freaking love that too. A whole lot. Mindmeld strikes again. Thankyou for sharing my fic-brain. :)

<3 <3 <3 ALL THE HUGS. ... Actually, hugs just won't cut it.

**EPIC TACKLEGLOMP IS EPIC**
workerbee73
Jan. 12th, 2013 02:16 pm (UTC)
comment crashing b/c, well, that's what i do.
dude, the bulletproof/"fuck it" moment was my favorite too. <3
themonkeytwin
Jan. 13th, 2013 02:11 am (UTC)
Re: Pls excuse me while I gush. (I love your too many words!!!)
yes, BUT WHY WOULD THEY PLAY IT???

RIGHT? It's like the best, AND the most infuriating, part of writing, that little problem right there. That Doyalist/Watsonian This is what needs to happen ... BUT WHY DOES IT HAPPEN?!? And then how FREAKING SATISFYING it is when you find the key and it finally just falls into place and WORKS.

And I, for one, am thoroughly glad you kept searching for it and didn't just shoehorn it in "just cos". Especially because he's been basically passive in the story so far – so it's good to see him be capable of dynamism, even if this case it's essentially self-destructive! Because it also then paves the way for us to see in the flashbacks that he's not naturally passive, he's just burned. Which of course we could tell anyway, but it's nice to see that flare up right in front of our eyes, and confirm what could already be inferred about him. (It ALSO establishes a recklessness in him that can be useful in solving future snarls. Also, is dead sexy I am not attracted to the wrong kind of guy, oh no NOTATALL.)

So ... I guess what I'm saying is TWO MONTHS WELL SPENT, if that's what it takes to get us to your Clintesque ahhhhh fuck it. I very much enjoy this take on him, ohh yes.


**EPIC TACKLEGLOMP IS EPIC**

**LOVES TACKLEGLOMPS LIKE PIE**


(And in response to your email ... you may be getting a total brain-dump in reply. Just warning you now. I AM SO EXCITE. I am trying to be controlled and dignified but MEEP I WANT TO TELL YOU ALL THE THINGS. *flail*)
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