Noelia (noelia_g) wrote,
Noelia
noelia_g

Fic: If at first you don't succeed (it could be a conspiracy) (Clint/Phil)

Title: If at first you don't succeed (it could be a conspiracy)
Fandom: The Avengers
Characters/Pairings: Clint/Phil
Wordcount: 5490
Rating: PG-13, for language
A/N: "Coulson gets released from medical on Monday, and on Wednesday Clint is ready to fucking murder his new teammates."
In which Clint wants a quiet moment to confess his feelings and Avengers are fucking cockblockers.


Coulson gets released from medical on Monday, and on Wednesday Clint is ready to fucking murder his new teammates.

Unfortunately, that would be frowned upon, and he probably used his shot (pun not intended but nice) on the Helicarrier. He can’t very well go on a murderous rampage now. Yet another thing he blames Loki for (not like there’s a shortage of that.)

On Monday he and Natasha pick Coulson up from the HQ. He argues weakly, saying he can drive himself (with his arm in the sling, sure), or have one of the newbie agents drive him, but they insist. Clint tells him to shut up and get in the car before Natasha womanhadles him inside and Tasha glares for good measure. Coulson relents, but not without rolling his eyes at them fondly.

Coulson’s place isn’t exactly small, it has one bedroom and a living room slash kitchen open area that’s quite spacey, but it looks smaller with all the bookshelves, and boxes of what Clint has always suspected to be paperwork, and things.

If you looked at Coulson at work, or in his office, you’d think his apartment would be as spotless and uncluttered as his desk, as succinct as his reports, nothing out of place and nothing beyond necessities.

But if you worked with the man for a while, you’d figure out that while he was nothing if not efficient he also liked old fashioned things, that he could be warm and comforting.

(Yeah, Clint is head over heels, you might have noticed. Which is the whole point here, and the root of all his current troubles.)

“You have everything you need?” Natasha asks after they practically force Coulson to sit on the couch and she fusses with the pillows to make him comfortable. Clint folds himself into the armchair and she perches on the side of the couch. “You have the meds for the next few days, Clint is going to fill your prescription for later. Do you need groceries?”

“I’m fine,” Coulson lies, like he has anything in the fridge other than icecubes. The last time he was here must have been before the Western Division assignment, and that was months ago.

Natasha glances at Clint and they silently agree on a grocery run, otherwise Coulson would just go for take-out Chinese for the whole week.

“Alright,” she says, standing up. “You, rest. And by that I mean actually rest,” she tells him when he follows her up, her tone bordering on gentle threat, like she’d know, and there’d be consequences, if he as much as looks at paperwork. “We’re really glad you’re not dead,” she adds, leaning in to kiss Coulson on the cheek.

He seems puzzled and pleased, knowing this is as much as a declaration of love coming from Natasha, and he pulls her into a one armed hug. She makes a startled sigh, but it’s for show, Coulson knows enough to telegraph his intentions and she simply plays along, acting surprised.

You don’t live very long if you really try and surprise Natasha Romanov with physical actions.

Clint watches this with amusement, he doesn’t think he knows many more people more unlikely to be going around and dispensing hugs. Maybe Fury, because well, but there’s that part where Fury’s rumoured to have some kids somewhere and maybe possible grandkids (no one knows for sure, but the very thought of there being more Furys somewhere is terrifying. Clint can’t stop imagining little kids in black coats and eyepatches.)

Tasha moves to disentangle herself and Coulson lets her go easily, with a small smile tugging at his lips. He glances at Clint over Natasha’s shoulder, hesitating as if he’s wondering whether he should hug Clint as well.

Clint freaks out.

It’s not that... yeah, okay, this is how it is. He promised himself that when Phil wakes up, when he gets better, when he gets out of the hospital, Clint was going to confess his feelings.

That sounds so incredibly cheesy he wants to shoot himself with his own arrow, but that’s a bit hard to do logistically, so he would have to probably just stab himself with it.

Maybe one of the exploding ones, for the effect.

Anyway. Confessing, and all. Phil’s near death experience had been fucking scary, especially the time between Stark telling him about Phil’s death and Fury admitting it was just for show.

It was a very long time. Or, if it wasn’t, it certainly felt that way. Long enough for Clint to count all his regrets, and the biggest one was never telling Phil Clint might have just gone and fell completely in love with him. Never kissing him. Never... okay, you get the point? Clint does. So, he resolved to tell Phil.

Except now is just the worst moment to do this. Coulson needs rest, he’s on painkillers, his arm is still in the sling, and besides, most importantly Natasha is in the room and Clint is not doing this with her in the room.

She probably already knows all about Clint’s feelings, she’s annoying that way, but he needs this moment to be just him and Phil, he needs this to be calm and quiet and...

“We should be going,” he says and reaches out, patting Coulson awkwardly on the shoulder. Yeah, he knows. “Call us if you need anything.”

Okay, so he chickened out. How are your New Year resolutions going?

“Thank you,” Coulson says. At least he doesn’t promise to call, all three of them know it’d be a lie. “Don’t get into any trouble while I’m not there,” he adds.

“Like we ever would,” Clint says and gets a level look he probably deserves. “Come on, Tash, we don’t have to take this kind of abuse,” he says and heads out, knowing she follows him even if she’s eyerolling so hard her eyes might fall out. He doesn’t need to look to know that, he can tell.

The moment the door closes behind them, Natasha hits him on the back of his head. It could be considered as friendly if she held back just a little.

“Ow, fuck,” he says and reaches out to inspect it. “What was that for?”

“I’ve discovered hitting you on the head works when you’re fucked in it,” she says serenely and sidesteps him, cutting off his way of escape and forcing him to either retaliate or back against the wall. “What was that?”

“Nothing,” he says defensively. She arches her eyebrow and he had seen this exact expression directed at Stark a few times and it never bodes well. “I just... nothing.”

She tilts her head and must see something in his face because she steps back, shakes her head at him, and then reaches out and pointedly pats him on the shoulder, her movement robotic and awkward, clearly on purpose. “There, there.”

Sometimes he wants to request a transfer. Except she’d kick his ass and drag him back, and possibly tell on him to Coulson.

You just can’t win with Natasha Romanov.

*

On Tuesday morning he gets a well worded text from Steve Rogers, who has apparently taken to using a cellphone, telling everyone to please be at Coulson’s address at noon, since they’re going to do team lunch.

Clint doesn’t know what the fuck.

He blames Stark, for introducing team food events.

He blames Rogers, for his insistence on team integration (the moment he starts on trust exercises, Clint will quit. He doesn’t care Fury would get out his rocket launcher to hunt him down, he’s out.)

He blames Natasha, whom he hoped to be the voice of reason in this band, for not telling everyone that, something, whatever, Coulson shouldn’t have visitors yet.

He blames Banner, for... something. He hasn’t figured out what, but he’ll find something. Except he’ll probably keep quiet about it, because, well, Banner.

Generally, he blames himself for not figuring out a way to both get out of the group lunch and find a way to visit Coulson anyway. He had nice plans. He planned on going there on the excuse of checking up if Phil’s resting and staying away from paperwork. He planned on bringing lunch. He planned on...

Not on sitting on the floor by the coffee table because the couch is occupied, with Coulson in the middle, and Steve and Tony flanking him from both sides.

Phil looks like he might pass out from the Captain America proximity and like he wants to taze Stark into oblivion, except for the part where he seems somehow bemused. He hides most of it well, under his usual calm expression, except for the slight flailing around Steve and fond glares aimed at Stark.

And the thing is, Clint can’t even bring himself to be pissed. Tony brought pizza and a packet of some fucking expensive coffee for Coulson (chosen, apparently, by Pepper Potts, who “sends her love” which seems to freak Tony out as much as it bothers Clint), and Steve somehow unearthed one of the rarest Captain America cards from somewhere and presented it to Phil, signed, with a sheepish smile and a promise he’ll work on reclaiming the whole collection.

“Jeez, go and give him a coronary, Cap,” Natasha muttered under her breath. “Not like he just got out of a hospital or anything.”

Clint elbows her but he can’t help a smile, because yeah, Phil looks like he’s five and someone just gave him a pony.

And the pony was all in America’s red, white and blue and sang Star Spangled Banner.

So, he’s not angry, can’t quite bring himself to it. He stretches on the floor and pretends not to notice when his ankle touches Phil’s foot, and watches the movie they put on, even if it’s one of the Captain America war flicks, one Stark has found somewhere he refuses to say where (his closet, probably. Or his hope chest.)

And then when they’re all moving to leave and saying their goodbyes, Clint can’t quite come up with a valid excuse for lingering.

“Barton,” Coulson says when Clint’s the last one to leave and he hesitates in the doorway. Phil shrugs before he speaks, like he’s uncertain of something, the smallest hesitation in his voice making Clint’s stomach clench painfully. “Thanks.”

Clint doesn’t know what for. He wasn’t the one to bring collectible vintage cards, or pizza, or make excellent coffee (that was Bruce, who didn’t even use Phil’s ancient coffee maker but brew it himself, and it was fucking brilliant), or be the one to notice Phil was hiding a yawn and subtly attempt to kick everyone out (Natasha, not all that subtly, on the second thought).

Clint was just there, useless and uncomfortable.

“Yeah, anytime,” he says. Really, anytime there’s need for him to come by and be fucking awkward, call him. He nods at Phil and hightails it from there, joining the others on the stairway.

The worst part is when Bruce gives him a knowing look and Clint actually expects him to be the one to pat him on the shoulder now.

Fuck.

He found something to blame Bruce Banner for, though. Fantastic.

*

On Wednesday, he finds the nerve and goes to visit.

And by finding the nerve Clint means standing in front of the door for full ten minutes and giving himself a mental pep talk before he goes to sit on the roof for a while, figuring out all the escape routes from the building.

And then when he finally goes back to Coulson’s apartment and knocks on the door like a grown-up, it opens to reveal Tony fucking Stark.

And he brought Pepper with him.

This is the exact moment Clint starts to consider the universe is against him. What has he ever done to the universe?

The whole aiding and abetting in the opening a portal to bring forth an alien army doesn’t really count. He has an official note from the medical, the mandatory shrink, and his file is signed off by both Coulson and Fury.

(It doesn’t quite help with the nightmares but paperwork never does. It has been known to made them worse.)

“I just,” he starts, and goes through the list of available excuses. This is why they pick Natasha for espionage and him for shooting people from tall buildings.

“Clint!” Pepper smiles at him and tugs at Stark’s sleeve to pull him out of Clint’s way. “Come on in. Phil, Clint’s here.”

“Yeah, Phil,” Stark draws, clearly still not over the first name thing. Guy needs to get a grip.

Shut up, Clint has a good grip. Maybe not on himself, but definitely on the doorknob that he’s holding onto right now.

“Aren’t we over this by now?” Pepper asks, and if you ask Clint, she sounds like a cheerful kindergarten teacher scolding a pupil.

Stark is apparently way into this, judging by the way his eyes light up as he goes to argue with her petulantly. Coulson is standing by the kitchen counter and obviously trying to hide a smile, looking down before he looks at Clint.

Something warm unfolds in Clint’s chest and he kind of understands why Tony seems to light up from inside when Pepper’s bemused attention is on him.

(Light up more, he means, since the reactor is pretty bright to begin with. Yeah, fine, this was bad, he realises.)

“I don’t think Pepper believed Stark when he told her I was fine,” Phil says in a way of explanation.

“I have no idea why, I’m the poster boy for honesty and truthfulness.”

“When most inconvenient,” Pepper agrees. “Like press conferences,” she tells Clint. Something beeps from the kitchen. “I think it’s ready. Are you joining us, Clint?”

“Why is he “Clint”? When have you two even met?” Tony asks, following her into the kitchen. “You should stay, Barton, I made pasta.”

“And by “made” he means “tinkered with the coffee maker for an hour and turned it into something which presumably spews poison and lava and is certainly sentient,” while the two of us did all the work on the pasta,” Phil explains helpfully. “It’s been an interesting afternoon,” he adds.

Looks like.

This is roughly how he ends up on a weird sort of a double date with Tony and Pepper, and with Phil sitting opposite him with an expression that could actually be described as sheepish, if Clint didn’t know better.

The pasta is decent, if not spicy enough.

Towards the end of the meal Pepper makes his shitlist (except not really, because she’s lovely, and Clint kind of loves anyone who talks over Stark as if the man hadn’t spoken at all and gets away with it) when she asks Coulson how are things with the cellist.

This is something Clint has been wishing he had the right to ask for months, and if not the right then the guts to casually drop it into the conversation. He’s never met the woman and he both hates and envies her, the very fact that people knew Phil was dating someone spoke volumes as to how serious that was.

“The things are...” Phil starts and shrugs, stirring the pasta on his plate with his fork. “The things are in Portland. So is she, and I guess she’s better off there.”

Something about the way he says it, embarrassed but calm, with a quick, blink-and-you-miss-it glance at Clint, makes Clint’s stomach do weird things and his chest clench painfully.

He thinks about saying he’s not in Portland, he’s not going anywhere, but Pepper is already talking about the plans for two more Stark buildings powered by arch reactor technology, and besides, Stark is sitting right there, already giving Clint a weird, thoughtful look. Stark is too fucking observant for Clint’s comfort, so Clint has to opt for a distraction and say something about maybe adding two round buildings to the giant phallus of the Stark Tower.

It escalates a bit and ends up with Pepper sending Tony to do the dishes. It’s sort of fantastic to watch.

Clint helps to dry the plates, but that’s because Phil was close to reaching for the dishrag and hey, arm in the sling and all. Shut up, Clint isn’t whipped.

Sure, he could be, but this would entail having to establish he is interested in a relationship with Phil, and that is somehow not happening.

That’s fine, he has a good feeling about Thursday.

*

Thor comes back on Thursday.

No, really. Clint likes the big guy, but he really isn’t subtle. Thursday, seriously.

Also, he’s fucking with Clint’s master plan.

Don’t get him wrong, Clint loves Thor. The man speaks LIKE THAT, every sentence a benevolent proclamation, he dresses like he’s a Lord of the Rings character and has the facial expressions and enthusiasm of a labrador puppy, and he thinks archery is A NOBLE ART and, most importantly, brings gifts from Asgard.

He gets a bow that, sure, has a certain visual made-in-New-Zealand movie prop quality, but it’s the highly collectible prop quality, and it shoots like a fucking dream. It also does something like maybe kinda call to him, in ways other weapons don’t quite, and in his hands it feels like it belongs and he’s never partying with it, and...

All in all, he’s going to have to keep it away from Stark and those horrible R&D people who never give him his toys back, and when they do, they’re not the same.

He’s also going to keep all the “weapons speaking to me” comments to himself, some people could freak out.

Anyway. Thor comes back, and it’s awesome for five minutes, and then he installs invites himself over to Coulson’s, booming something about “Son of Coul rising from the dead, huzzah!”

In almost those exact words.

Coulson just stares at him like he doesn’t quite believe his life.

Clint doesn’t believe his own either.

*

On Friday, Clint has his last mandatory shrink session, which is such a joy and pleasure to go through.

It doesn’t make him want to crawl in the vents at SHIELD and stay there until he dies and then haunt the place for the whole eternity and make everyone’s life fucking miserable, no it doesn’t, not at all.

Afterwards he considers two options, buying a bottle of scotch (or stealing one from Fury’s office) and going home, or going to the range and destroying a couple of targets.

He’s close to making the decision (not really) when his cellphone announces a text, which almost never happens, except for when Steve takes to initiating team integration events. Which Clint is so much not in the mood for tonight you wouldn’t believe.

If it’s shawarma again, he’s going to puke on Stark’s shoes. Just because.

Turns out it’s from Coulson, who never texts, preferring e-mails for job related business and calls for emergencies. You alright? it reads.

Clint blinks at it owlishly for a long moment before pocketing the phone.

“I’m great,” he says some time later, when Phil opens the doors on the first knock.

Phil doesn’t seem at all surprised to see him and he steps to the side wordlessly, letting him in. “I have two days old leftover pasta,” he offers.

“I stole Fury’s booze,” Clint tells him.

“By all means, then, make yourself comfortable,” Phil says without missing a beat. He gets glasses and coasters, easily balancing them with one hand before he places them on the table. Clint rolls his eyes at that, it’s not like the table had not seen bloodied bandages and weapon parts, but no, you get coasters for the drinks.

Phil reheats the pasta in the microwave, and Clint thinks it’s actually a bit better now, if still not spicy enough.

He sprawls on the couch and doesn’t talk for a while. It’s a nice change from earlier. Phil switches on the tv, flicking through the channels for a while before he settles on some horrid British reality show, but he turns the noise down to the low murmur, the whole thing more for the background noise and an excuse not to talk than anything else. Clint is grateful for that.

He’s no longer surprised Phil seems to know what he needs, this is part of what he... This is part of it.

He lets his head roll to the side, his eyes half closed so he can watch Phil without giving himself away. Well, not really that, because Phil is probably pretty well aware Clint’s eyes are on him, he’s not a senior agent for nothing, and besides, he’s always had a pretty good ability to read Clint.

Except for the one thing, Clint thinks. Except for the thing he wishes he could say now, into the quiet of the evening, into the comfortable silence between them. But his eyelids are heavy and he’s had enough of his own voice for the day, and somehow he thinks saying it now wouldn’t be right, would come out too needy and tainted. Phil deserves more that a therapy weariness effect.

He’s not quite sure when he starts drifting off but he’s vaguely aware of Phil’s movements, of the blanket placed over him and the hand briefly on his shoulder. It almost shakes his resolve to wait but he lets himself fall asleep.

*

He wakes up to the feeling of being watched.

“Boss, Clint’s up,” someone says. A girl someone. Clint opens his eyes and, much to his horror, stares into the big eyes of Darcy Lewis.

“Oh, god,” he mutters.

“Nope, Thor’s out. Jane’s showing him around town. If you listen carefully you can probably hear him all the way from Upper East Side,” she grins and Clint can’t quite keep himself from smiling back.

It’s not that he hates Darcy, it’s just that he sometimes he really hates Darcy. She’s like the younger sister he is glad he doesn’t have. Except not really like a younger sister, because she keeps staring at his ass all the time.

“Boss,” Darcy says again, and only then does it connect.

“God, no. You hired her?”

“Technically, Fury did,” Phil shrugs, carrying in a mug of coffee he hands to Clint. “Apparently someone told him I could use some help with the paperwork for a while.”

Clint is pretty sure it wasn’t him. It might have been Natasha, or Hill. Clint just told them he agreed with the necessity. He ought to be shot.

“Yeah, hey, check this out, Barton,” she says and holds up an id pass. “Clearance. I am looking into being certified for carrying a weapon.”

Clint gives Phil a long look, which is not met with the necessary understanding and shared horror. Phil actually seems amused. Then his cellphone rings and he excuses himself to pick it up, talking to someone in a matter-of-fact tone about some report or other.

“So, any progress on getting into his pants project?” Darcy asks, not even bothering to keep all that quiet.

This is why Clint hates Darcy. He’s not sure how the hell did she figure it out. No one else did. Well, apart from Natasha, maybe Bruce, probably Pepper, could be Stark, and definitely Fury. Oh, and his shrink.

Okay, this is getting ridiculous.

“Shut up,” he says and Darcy salutes him.

“Be nice to me, I’ll be managing his schedule. And I’ll get out of your hair now, so you can, you know,” she makes a gesture that is not quite vaguely obscene, because there’s nothing vague about it.

Still, he thinks he might not hate her that much right now.

“I need to check in at the office for a while,” Phil says, pocketing his phone.

“You’re on medical leave,” Clint says, at the same moment Darcy asks “Don’t you have time off?”

“Nothing strenuous, I am perfectly able of sitting in during the meeting. It’s been my project from the beginning, I don’t really want Fury to hand it over to somebody else.”

So, Clint hates Fury now. That’s always fun.

“Clint will drive you,” Darcy says, her tone decisive and firm. “I have an errand to run.” At Phil’s suspicious look, she grins. “It’s a female issue, I could draw you a diagram.”

The thing is, Clint doesn’t believe her and he can tell Phil doesn’t either, but neither of them asks. It doesn’t seem worth the effort.

“I can drive you,” Clint agrees, prompting Darcy to shoot up to her feet and be out of the door with a cheery wave before anyone can argue. She turns in the doorway and winks at Clint, not only not bothering with subtlety but actually playing it up.

“I don’t want to know,” Phil says, his tone a little questioning nonetheless. Clint shrugs and sticks his hands into his pockets, looking for a quick way to change the subject. He doesn’t have to look far.

“That’s what you are wearing?” he asks. It’s not that Phil’s slacks and t-shirt are wrong in any way. Quite the contrary, Clint kind of likes the way they make him seem more approachable (not that he isn’t a great fan of the suits, because, well, suits.)

They wouldn’t even be much out of place at the headquarters. While the Helicarrier personnel usually favours the spacesuits (because no one working on a flying superbase would give up their Star Trek fantasies), at the ground level headquarters you can see people in suits, in PT gear, in various civilian clothes they were wearing during an assignment (and those have a really significant range. Agent Jacobs was seen in a clown suit a few weeks ago.) The thing is... Phil wears suits. Phil wears suits when he’s driving across states for a good few hours to a backwards smalltown in New Mexico. Phil wears suits when they’re freezing their assess off at a stakeout in Warsaw. Phil wears suits in HQ, on the Helicarrier and on the assignments.

They are different suits, from the ill-fitted ones he dons when he plays a hapless bureaucrat trying to schedule a meeting with Tony Stark. They are Dolce and Gabbana when the choice is left to him (even if it’s for the stakeout in Warsaw. Seriously.)

All Clint is saying, Phil walks into SHIELD like this and people might be a bit surprised. Fainting couches might need to be fetched.

“Are you saying I look bad?” Phil asks, and it’s not quite what Clint expected. The expected question was “what’s wrong with it” and for that he had a prepared answer. The question he’s presented with isn’t much different, but somehow it is.

“No, it’s fine. You look good,” he adds before he can stop himself, because in this matter he’s apparently incapable of lying, or even of joking. His tone is a bit too open on those words, a little too reverential, he has to hold back the automatic “you always look good,” and “to me.” “Let’s go, I thought you were in a hurry,” he says and ignores Phil’s questioning look.

*

It’s actually Sunday when Phil’s ready to leave the office. This shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Their arrival in mid-afternoon does cause a stir, much as Clint expected, but it’s only half due to Phil’s sartorial choices. The rest of it is because everyone is so fucking relieved, and glad, to have Phil back. Clint makes a crack about everyone’s paperwork skills, but one, he doesn’t think it’d be sufficiently appreciated and two, Phil looks equal parts embarrassed by and pleased with the attention, and it’s a good look on him.

And so he wanders off, leaving Phil to his fans, figuring he’d be called when needed, and if not, someone would certainly volunteer to play the driver in his place.

No one does call him and he tells himself it doesn’t matter, and it really is only a chance that his way out happens to go by Phil’s office. He stops and contemplates the fact that there really shouldn’t be light coming from under the door.

“Seriously, how come Fury didn’t kick you out?” he asks, leaning against the doorway.

Phil looks up and shrugs. “I didn’t exactly tell him where I was going. It’s possible he thinks I’ve left hours ago.”

“Of course,” Clint nods. “You’re an idiot.”

“Don’t hold back, Barton. Feel free to include this in your quarterly report.”

Clint moves to sit on the edge of the desk, unceremoniously picking up the papers Phil was going through and setting them aside, a little out of Phil’s easy reach. He gets an eyeroll for his trouble, but there’s no protest, and Phil turns his chair a little to face Clint.

Which is just about when Clint realises his tactical error, sitting on Phil’s side of the desk, the swivel of the chair making their legs touch, however lightly. It’s two layers of material and yet Clint feels the warmth immediately.

Did he mention recently how fucked he really is.

“It’s just paperwork,” Phil says, clearly mistaking the way Clint purses his lips for disapproval. “It’s not going to kill me.”

“I bet that’s exactly what you said about facing Loki,” he jokes and it doesn’t come out like a joke at all. He’s off his game, but there’s Phil, looking up at him with unreadable expression, the slight assessing look in his eyes, like he has in the field moments before making a decision. Clint usually waits for that patiently, but not now, not in here. “Come on, we should get you home.”

There’s just a moment of hesitation before Phil rises to his feet, and Clint breathes out with relief (except he really doesn’t, the relief is all internal, he’s not making rookie mistakes like showing that, okay?)

“Hey,” Phil tugs on his sleeve, and jesus fuck, Clint’s relief was way premature, because now he feels panic rising along with his pulse. “I wanted...”

“What?” Clint asks and it comes out in a whisper.

Phil shakes his head, the last moment of hesitation, swaying on his feet like he’s ready to step back, but he steps forward instead, into Clint’s space, impossibly close, and into a kiss.

“Fuck,” Clint says into the kiss. No one can say he’s not a romantic, you know. It makes Phil laugh, though, so it’s okay, and they’re smiling as they’re kissing, which becomes a bit problematic after a long moment. Phil’s smile is light and soft but Clint can’t keep himself from grinning like a loon, so it becomes weird. “Sorry,” he says when Phil pulls back, just an inch, still very much in Clint’s space. “It’s just, I’ve wanted to do this for the whole week. Promised myself I’d say something.”

Phil laughs again, harder, shaking his head, the puffs of his breath warm against the skin of Clint’s neck. “I’ve wanted to do this for months. Promised myself I’d say something,” he mutters and Clint looks at him for a very long moment. He thinks of saying that they’re apparently both pretty fucking hopeless and maybe should be better off with as little contact with other people as possible.

He keeps quiet and opts for kissing Phil again instead.

*

On Monday morning, Natasha knocks on Coulson’s doors. When Clint opens them, she raises her eyebrow at his disheveled appearance and calmly looks him up and down, clearly having opinions about his choice of underwear.

(He knows she knows he stole them from Phil’s drawer. It doesn’t make him pathetic, it makes him practical, as they were the closest. Not that she hadn’t seen all of him already, but she should be grateful he’s not opening the door in his birthday suit.

Not that he hasn’t considered that. It would have certainly got rid of most people pretty fast.)

(Natasha isn’t most people.)

“I came by to see how’s he doing, but I see you are here to take care of him,” she says. She should really leave making innuendos to others.

Not that Clint has anything against innuendos, quite the opposite, but she has a knack for making them creepy.

“Have a nice day, Natasha,” he says and shuts the door in her face. On many occasions that would have resulted in her knocking them down, but right now she just laughs and taps her fingers against the door in a friendly goodbye.

“Just so we’re clear,” Clint says, already heading back for the bedroom. “If Natasha asks, I totally confessed my feelings like an adult.”

Phil gives him a stern look. “You want me to lie to Agent Romanov?” Clint shrugs and waits, because Phil clearly has trouble fighting a smile. “I could be convinced to try,” he allows.

That’s perfect, Clint is awesome at the convincing part.

And as he locked the doors and disconnected the land line, bar an actual emergency, he might actually have the necessary time for the undertaking of this project.
Tags: clint/phil, fanfic, the avengers
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