sam_storyteller: (Slash Fic)
sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2013-12-03 10:31 am

Avengers/AoS: The Best Bad Ideas 3/3

Title: The Best Bad Ideas 3/3
Notes: See header in Ch1 for rating/warnings.

Chapter Two

***

"Well, that was exciting," Clint called, as the EMTs unloaded Quire's unconscious body from the ambulance at the airstrip. "Love it when you improvise, boss."

"Kinda cute. He could be your kid," Skye said, studying the unconscious Quire being rolled up the cargo ramp. "He has that whole square nose thing going on."

"Square...nose…?" Coulson asked, squinting, and then said, "Nevermind," because he didn't actually want to know. "Simmons, get him sedated and keep him sedated until I can break out the Helmet of Shame; Barton and Skye, go with her and stand guard. Ward and May, preflight perimeter sweep; Fitz, get a clear comm through to SHIELD and let them know we have Kid Omega."

Clint pushed the gurney through to the lab, keeping one hand on Quire just in case he woke up before Simmons could run an IV. Once it was in, he perched on a nearby workbench, one leg drawn up, eyes on the prisoner.

Skye was staring at him with big huge humanitarian-activist anime-heroine eyes.

"Worried about him?" he asked, nodding at the kid.

"No, I uh." She looked away. "Sorry, I've never been part of a hit squad before."

"You haven't been part of one now. If you did, we wouldn't need to keep him on sedation," Clint reminded her.

"I know, I don't mean to -- it's just...you ran an operation, you sat up there until you could shoot this guy -- "

"Dart him, actually."

" -- dart this guy, then without anyone giving you an order you just sh -- darted him, and then you came down to ground level and now you're standing guard. I don't know, I can't explain, there's just something super-weird about that. Does it keep you up at night?"

"No," Clint said.

"See, and that scares me a little," she replied. Clint shrugged and turned back to his contemplation of Quire.

"Human brains are adaptive. You just get used to it. If the volume of times I've killed someone long-range in order to become desensitized bothers you, then your problem is with the military-industrial complex, not me."

"Well, no, 'cause you took the job, and if nobody took the job it wouldn't happen."

"True. But I tell you what -- when the bad guys start operating that way, the good guys won't need guys like me."

"Are you so sure we're the good guys?"

Clint grinned, not looking away from Quire. "Yeah, I am. If you aren't, consider your future here carefully."

"It was here or prison."

"That's what the Axis soldiers said, too, or so Captain America tells me."

She whistled. "Godwin'd. I think I automatically win, don't I?"

"I've borrowed the pants of Godwin's Law personified. I wasn't concerned with winning. I don't need you to like me, Skye. Wouldn't mind if you did, but I'm not seeking your approval. I know who I am and what I stand for and I'm at peace with what I do."

He saw a flicker of something out of the corner of his eye, an expression crossing her face. Hurt, maybe. Shit, he'd probably dug in some tucked-away wound he didn't know about. Coulson did like the broken ones. After all, Clint was one of his.

"You didn't really need us for this mission, did you?" Skye asked, surprising him.

"Nope. I could have used any team."

"Then why us? Was it to get to Coulson?"

"Nobody gets to Coulson. Man's a force of nature."

"Then why us?"

"Why not? You got a sweet ride and the boss owed me one," Clint said, just as Coulson walked in. He was carrying a helmet that looked like it had been hand-hammered out of steel.

"Bus is secured," he said, strapping the helmet onto Quire, securing buckles above his eyes and under his chin. "Skye, FitzSimmons is going to get dinner in town, you should go."

"I should?"

"May's doing preflight and I want Ward and Barton close by in case we have any trouble with Quire," he said, adjusting the feed of sedative in the IV. "Go on. Have fun. Bring me back some inarizushi."

"Fine by me," she said. "Later, Godwin."

"Bye, Skye," Clint called.

"Godwin?" Coulson asked.

"I cited Nazi Germany at her, she took it personally," Clint replied.

"People sometimes do," Coulson said, coming to stand in front of him. Clint, sitting on the edge of the workbench, cocked his head.

"Problem, boss?" he asked.

"Didn't want to let it interrupt the op," Coulson said. "But you and I need to discuss your behavior on the Bus."

"Yeah?"

"I'm not sure what your goal is, here," Coulson said. "With the Captain America t-shirt and the hips thing you keep doing."

"The hips thing," Clint repeated, pretending like he had no idea what Coulson was saying.

"Yes, the hips thing, you know what I mean," Coulson said. He sounded almost...almost flustered, which was close to blasphemy for Clint. "Suddenly you act like you want to take a bite out of me. I want to know what's going on."

"What if I just want to take a bite out of you?" Clint asked. Well, here came the third point of the three point plan. Apparently Coulson got to pick what it was.

"Then this should be as easy as me telling you I'm not interested, and you stopping," Coulson said.

Clint took out his phone, cleared the lockscreen, and turned it around to show the photograph of him in uniform with Coulson smiling at him.

"I don't believe you," he said.

Coulson squinted. "That's the picture you took."

"Steve sent it to me after I sent it to him," Clint said. "I was going to put it on this year's Christmas card, but it seemed a little intimate."

Coulson's eyes flicked up to his. "Trick of the light."

"I don't think so, boss," Clint said. "Look, I get it. Is it about the costume? I mean, the way I see it, either it's about the costume, which, hey, if you want a roll in the sheets with Captain America I'm not gonna say no to standing in -- and if it's not about the costume…" he grinned. "We could have some fun, Phil, you know we could."

"You can believe what you want to believe," Coulson said. "This is me telling you unequivocally that you are a valued asset in my portfolio but that I am not interested in a relationship with you."

"Why are you getting all HR-talk about this?" Clint asked.

"Why did you come into my team and use a mission as a way to make a pass at me?" Coulson said. "It's hurtful, Clint."

"Hurtful?"

"I don't want sex with you, or with Captain America, not in these circumstances. I'm not a prize you get to win."

"Okay, I'm sorry, I was yanking your chain a little with the shirt, but -- "

"Why would you do that?" Coulson asked.

"Because I didn't think I'd ever have an actual shot with you!" Clint yelled, losing his patience. "I thought either you'd laugh it off or we'd have a little fun, no strings, no hard feelings. I didn't expect srs bznss Coulson," he added, sounding petulant even to his own ears.

Coulson just stared at him.

"Look, there's a difference between finding someone hot in the Captain America uniform and wanting to date him," Clint said. "I'm pathetic enough to take option one if that's all I get. I figured if you were smart enough not to act on whatever it was you felt, you were distant enough not to care if I waggled my ass at you, which meant you were too distant to actually want something of substance."

"Oh my God," came a voice from the table behind them. Both men froze. "Did I seriously get tranked and wake up in the middle of a relationship fight? Is this my life?"

Coulson gave him a warning look and brushed past him to where Quire was testing the restraints on his wrists.

"It must be very quiet in there right now," he said. Quire stilled. "Can't hear much, can you?"

"I can hear just fine, asshole, and what I hear sounds like grand theft person."

Coulson clicked his tongue. "That's very strong language for a young man in your position. The reason you can't undo the velcro or command me to do your bidding is that we've put something on your head we like to call the neural inverter. It's basically just a sheet of dense alloy that seems to prevent telepaths from activating their powers."

"Jesus, the Men in Black arrested me," the boy muttered.

"My name is Coulson, and you're on a SHIELD transport heading back to the United States," Coulson said.

"And you and your boyfriend are in a fight, yeah, I got it," Quire retorted.

"Permission to maim, sir?" Clint asked, while Coulson rubbed his eyes.

"Denied. The Professor gets annoyed when they show up with bruises."

"The Professor?" Quire asked, suddenly going very still. "You're taking me to him?"

"You know about him?" Coulson asked.

"I know he shows up at peoples' houses and then they disappear," Quire said, sounding genuinely scared now. "Only reason they didn't get to me is my parents freaked out and threw me out after he showed up, and I got away before he came back. What is it, does he do experiments? Is he keeping us in a zoo? This seriously isn't cool -- "

"Professor Xavier is a teacher," Coulson said. "He likes to give the speech himself but in this case I think perhaps we'd better explain. You're being taken to a school for gifted young individuals."

"Fucking Juvie, are you kidding me?"

"It's not juvenile detention. It's a boarding school. For people like you."

"Do you need me here?" Clint asked, as Quire renewed his struggles.

"Don't think so," Coulson replied.

"Then I'm gonna -- "

"I'll catch up," Coulson said, nodding. Clint glanced back at Quire and left the room.

Outside, out of view of the lab, he bonked his head against the wall gently.

"Stupid," he muttered. "Nobody gets to Coulson."

***

"So, what's your boyfriend's name?" Quire asked, as soon as Clint was out the door. Phil set about checking his restraints.

"He's not my boyfriend," he said.

"He wants to be, though," Quire replied. "Don't need to be a telepath to see that."

"Just how long were you awake?"

"Long enough. Interrogation not going how you expected, is it?"

"Oh, there's no interrogation," Phil said. Quire frowned. "Well, I suppose I could question you about any national secrets you may have overheard from government officials during your stay in Japan. I don't know, intel acquired by telepath doesn't carry much weight at the DoD. At least, not yet."

"Do I get leniency in exchange?"

"Nope," Coulson said cheerfully. "Sorry, you're going to an expensive private school with an eight to one teacher-student ratio on the taxpayer's dime whether you're good or bad."

"Not much motivation to be good, then," Quire replied.

Coulson smiled at him. "We're going to get to know each other, Mr. Quire. We've got a few hours until we hand you over to Professor Xavier, and I think I can probably manage to motivate you by then."

***

Clint mostly sulked in the cargo bay, sitting up in the rafters above the SUV, until takeoff. If Coulson sulked, he did it while counseling Quire on his options.

By the time FitzSimmons and Skye returned from the butler cafe (Skye had a souvenir portrait of herself with a bunch of butlers; apparently the lecture Melinda had anticipated could wait) Quentin was sitting up in a chair in the interrogation room, handcuffed but reasonably compliant, and definitely not getting mocked by anyone looking at the security feed for wearing a bucket on his head.

"Okay, boys and girls," May said over the intercom. "We're taking off at 8pm local time, and we'll be landing in fourteen hours at 8pm local time. Lights are going out shortly."

"We just gonna keep him there for fourteen hours?" Ward asked, when they'd hit cruising altitude and Coulson emerged from the interrogation room.

"No, we'll let him up to use the bathroom and walk around a little. Eventually. That'll be your job," Coulson said, mock-brightly. Ward sighed, heading for his room. FitzSimmons were already in theirs, as was Skye. "Barton, I don't think we've finished our discussion."

"Frankly, sir, I think it can wait," Clint said, because he wasn't even sure what discussion they were having anymore, but it definitely wasn't the fun one he'd been hoping for.

"Well, fortunately, that's my call and not yours to make," Coulson replied. Clint pushed himself out of the chair, glaring, and headed for his office.

"Now, where were we?" Coulson said, once the door was shut. "Were you implying you wanted a relationship with me?"

"Well, this is humiliating," Clint observed. "No, I said I wanted to fuck you, and was desperate enough to say I'd wear a Captain America uniform if necessary."

"But if a relationship were on offer."

"You've made it pretty clear it's not," Clint retorted.

Coulson leaned back on his desk, arms crossed. "I'm your supervising agent. I literally can't offer you that."

"Come on, really? You're quoting SHIELD regs to me right now?"

"Clint, I have spent years quoting those regs to myself over this."

Clint felt himself deflate, the righteous indignation replaced with shock. "Years."

Coulson ran a hand over his face. "You think I saw you in the uniform and it just flipped a switch?"

"I -- I thought maybe -- "

"Well, it did cause a reaction," Coulson said. "Clint...you are the most valued person in my life. You are an enormous piece of it. And yes, to pet your ego, you do look exceptionally nice in Captain America's uniform. But I don't get to have you, Clint, which is something I have accepted for, yes, years. That's the ultimate outcome of all of this. That's why I am asking you to stop, because to keep doing what you're doing, that's just cruel to me."

They were standing about three feet apart. Clint sighed.

"Okay. I quit," he said.

"Excuse me?" Phil asked.

"I quit SHIELD. Effective immediately. You're no longer my boss, problem solved," he said. "Or I can just quit your teams. Or you could stop handling the Avengers and me 'n Natasha. But I can quit, if you want."

"That's ridiculous."

"No, what's ridiculous is you clinging to some regulation as an excuse not to do anything, and then when you realize you can totally do everything, putting the regulation in the way. I'm not coerced, Phil, I just offered to quit SHIELD to be with you because this guy -- " he held up his phone, and Phil looked down, away from the image, " -- this guy looks like he could be the best thing that ever happened to me. There I am, dumbfucking around, and there you are being perfect and cool and just -- ugh, you frustrate me."

Phil paused before speaking. "That was a lot of emotion for twenty seconds."

"I know!"

Phil rubbed his eyes. "Okay. Let's just...take Quire to Westchester and get back to HQ. We'll find a bar, we'll talk this out."

Clint took a step forward. "Actually talk it out. As in, consider options other than cockblocking."

"Actually talk," Coulson said, gentler now. Clint took another step, putting them very close together.

"Boss, if you don't know what I'm about to do you're losing your edge," he said quietly, and Phil tilted his head a little, ducking forward. Clint met him before he got all the way, overbalanced slightly, and grabbed Phil's shirt to steady himself as they kissed.

"Goddammit," Phil said into his mouth, but he grabbed the back of Clint's head and held him still, so Clint figured he probably didn't actually mean it.

The kiss got a little aggressive after that -- Phil nipped his bottom lip and then grazed his tongue with sharp teeth when Clint even tried to get the upper hand. Once he settled down and stopped trying to push, though, Phil gentled to a warm, open press of lips, slick tongue, soft huffs of breath. When Clint crowded in, Phil hitched up on the desk and tugged him forward, his other hand in the small of Clint's back. Clint's hands went to Phil's thighs, pulling their bodies flush. Phil was as hard as he was, and he made a soft, startled noise.

"This isn't talking," Phil said, as Clint buried his face in his shoulder, inhaling -- the wool of his suit, aftershave, soap.

"Fuck talking," Clint replied. "I mean, no…" he rested his forehead on Phil's shoulder. "Can we do this and then talk?" he pleaded.

"That is not a wise decision."

"No, but it would be so much more fun -- " Clint started, then broke off because Phil had tipped his head back up and kissed him again.

"I died," Phil said, and Clint froze. "I died, and when I came back -- I don't know how to do things, sometimes, anymore, I don't…"

"Boss. Come on. I mean it's pretty simple anatomy, if you don't remember how I can show you -- "

Phil huffed. "Not that, I remember that. I just don't...sometimes I don't connect right. Sometimes there's something...missing, negative space. It's hard to explain. I don't want to be -- I don't want to go into this with something missing, I don't want you to find out down the line that I'm...incomplete."

Clint leaned back. Phil looked a little destroyed. Worse than he had in a long time.

"I am tired of feeling defective," Phil said wearily. "I only have one shot at you, so I don't want to be defective when I take it."

"Okay, well, first, we're both defective, that's why we work for SHIELD," Clint said. "But even if you are outside-of-SHIELD broken, what, are we assuming I'm going to cut and run? Because you sent me to kill Natasha Romanoff the murderface spy and when I found out she had problems I led her into HQ without handcuffs on. I am not known for my good sense or my ability to walk away."

Phil regarded him thoughtfully.

"Did you just call Natasha a murderface?" he asked.

"Not the point."

"Clint…"

"Look, I swear to God, I will reassure you later, can I take your pants off now?"

He reached for Phil's belt, and found his wrist caught in Phil's hand.

"Shirt stays on," he said.

Clint nodded slowly. "Fair enough."

Phil released his wrist and wrapped the arm around his shoulders instead. Clint got his hand between them and unbuckled Phil's belt, fumbled with the fly and tugged everything down in a mess while Phil laughed into his neck.

"Don't help or anything, I got this," Clint drawled, but he unbuckled his uniform pants (with their very uncomfortable built-in cup) and he went skins under, so it was at least a little faster. Phil sounded surprised when Clint got a hand around both of them and stroked just the tips of his fingers up lightly -- a warning before he got down to business.

Phil was quiet, seemingly by natural inclination, and Clint was conscious that they were in a prefab office with thin walls right down the hall from where their teammates slept. They didn't make much more noise than sharp breaths and muffled words as Clint stroked, hard and a little ruthless, though Phil muttered encouragements once or twice when he slowed down. When Phil rocked into his touch and tensed and kissed him, hard and sharp, Clint swallowed Phil's groan, coming about half a breath after, bright sparks behind his eyes.

He felt himself slouch, felt his shoulders drop and his head fall forward. He rubbed his nose against Phil's cheek, dopey in the afterglow, and tried not to think about the pants hanging around his thighs or the mess on his right hand. And most of his t-shirt.

He leaned back just long enough to tug the shirt over his head, cleaning off his hand and stuffing it into a pocket inside-out. Phil's hand came up and hovered appreciatively over his abs.

"God save me from superheroes," he muttered. Clint flexed. Phil laughed, putting out his hand and resting it squarely on his stomach. Clint leaned into the warmth.

"I really wish I was disciplined enough to resist doing what we just did," Phil said.

"It was the shirt, wasn't it?" Clint asked, reaching down to tug his pants up over his hips. "The shirt was the secret weapon."

Phil tilted his head.

"The Captain America shirt?" Clint reminded him. "When I wiped the floor with Ward?"

"No, that wasn't it. I...have just enough willpower never to have made the first move. I knew I wouldn't have enough to pull back if you did. Came so close...did my best," Phil said. He didn't sound at all sorry. Clint reeled a little while Phil made himself presentable. "I wasn't tempted by what you did. A little annoyed, a little perplexed, not tempted. I have a long experience of not being tempted by you," he said. "Did I like you in the uniform? Yes. Did that snap a very sensible and logical resolve? Please."

"Nobody gets to Phil Coulson," Clint repeated. "I told Skye that."

"Almost true," Phil said, lifting a hand to rest on the back of his neck. An emotion crossed his face, powerful and fleeting, and he said, "We just had sex on my office desk."

"I'm literally crossing it off my mental bucket list as I speak," Clint replied.

"My team is less than thirty feet away."

"Fast asleep, or piloting the plane."

"That is not making things less unsettling," Phil said. Clint moved to sit on the desk next to him, then flopped back and stared at the ceiling. He felt a hand on his thigh.

"Look, I'm not saying we won't be a clusterfuck of unaddressed issues and communication problems," Clint said, waving his hands in the air to illustrate their poor chances of a happy ending. "I'm just saying that we could be dysfunctional together, and at least we'd get smokin' hot sex out of it."

"You just gave me a handjob, with most of our clothes on, in my office," Phil said.

"Never say I'm not a fuckin' romantic," Clint replied. He sat up, rolling off the desk, and stretched. "I'm going to go sleep in Lola, unless your bunk's a double," he said.

"It is, but I think discretion is going to be one of those topics we talk about when we get a chance to talk," Phil said.

"Talk, and sex after?" Clint replied, and Phil said "Yeah, that's the plan," before he'd even finished.

"Yeah," Clint said. "I'll be in Lola if anything happens."

"Sleep well."

"Got a good start," Clint replied, and bent in to kiss him quickly before he took off for the cargo hold.

***

Phil had never actually been to the school at Westchester, though of course he'd been briefed on it. May had, something about having a friend who consulted there, nothing formal for SHIELD. FitzSimmons and Skye were under orders to stay on the plane; when May set them down on a 'tennis court' that probably shouldn't have been able to hold the plane's weight, they went to the windows to look out. Ward and Clint fell into formation on either side of Quire, Clint going from slouchy, inattentive, and lazy-grinned whenever Coulson looked at him to sharp, professional, and focused in an instant.

Coulson led the way down the ramp, Quire escorted by Ward and Clint, and they were met at the bottom by a young man in pink-tinted glasses, a woman with white eyes and short white hair, and a man about his own age, bald and slim, in a wheelchair.

"Professor Xavier," Phil said, offering a hand to the man.

"Agent Phil Coulson, I believe," the man replied in a deep, pleasant voice. "I understand you've been recruiting for me."

"Something like that. Quentin Quire," Phil said, as Clint held out a flashdrive. "Copy of his file, birth certificate, immunizations. Previous report cards. Some surveillance from SHIELD."

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Quire," Xavier said. Quire looked like he was ready to spit nails. Xavier grasped his wrist between thumb and forefinger, turning his arm over. Quire started to jerk away and then stopped, perplexed.

"Omega-level telepaths are very rare," Xavier continued, apparently studying the veins on the insides of Quire's arms. "The joke is that there's only one born per generation."

"Joke?" Clint asked.

"There are only two known ever to have existed, you see; any prior to 1960 or so are anecdotal, unproven. Mr. Quire here, who I think holds great promise, is the second."

"Who's the first?" Ward asked.

"I am, Agent Ward. There now, you may remove his helmet; I've put a subconscious brake on his powers while he trains at the academy, just to keep him from wreaking too much havoc. Telepathically, anyway. He'll get over it in about, oh, six or seven years. Right around the age of twenty-one, I should say," Xavier said, as Ward unbuckled the helmet. Quire seethed, but nobody got a nosebleed or passed out and nothing exploded, so Phil counted the mission as a success.

"Thank you, gentlemen; we'll get Quentin settled in and send you an update once he's been sorted out. Good day, Agent Coulson, Agent Ward, Agent Barton."

"So he's a telepath," Ward said, as they retreated into the plane. "Xavier, I mean."

"Yep," Phil answered.

"He can read our minds?"

"He can," Phil said. "He has an ethical obligation not to."

"But he could."

Clint rested a hand on Ward's shoulder. "Grant, I have a hot date tonight. I have a date so smokin' hot I would quit SHIELD if they told me I couldn't go. I promise you, my thoughts in the last ten minutes were way more interesting than yours could possibly have been."

"Talking," Phil said under his breath as he passed.

"Hundred percent on board," Clint replied, as the cargo ramp began to close. "Wheels up!"

***

About six hours later, Clint toppled over onto the hotel bed face-first and grunted a muffled, "You win."

"I wasn't aware it was a competition," Phil replied, but he looked smug when Clint rolled over.

"No, no, you win sex. All of sex. All of the sex I've had, anyway. You win," Clint mumbled, turning onto his side. Phil pulled him close and Clint went limply, yawning.

They'd had every intention of talking. They'd left HQ after filing their reports, gone down to a bar Clint knew where they wouldn't be bothered, had a beer each in uncomfortable silence, and then Phil had said "The hotel I usually stay in is about a block away," and Clint had said "Yes," and here they were.

"We can talk," Clint said, struggling to stay awake. "We can. But."

Phil was smiling his "you can't tell why I'm smiling and it freaks you out" smile. (It was in common rotation.)

"But?" he prompted.

"But I don't really think I need to," Clint said. "My agenda items are one, sex and two, room service, and room service can wait. So I have a radical idea," he managed around a yawn. "Let's not talk about our feelings or our relationship until it becomes absolutely necessary or begins to imperil others."

"Can we do that?"

"That is all I ever do, have you met me?" Clint slid his palms under Phil's shirt, not even thinking about it; Phil twitched and then went very quiet, and Clint stopped moving.

He'd said fine to keeping the shirt on, though admittedly that was back on the Bus when he'd been trying to climb Phil like a monkey on a tree. He hadn't pushed it when they'd gotten to the hotel because really he didn't care that much how naked they were as long as there was enough naked to get the job done. And he hadn't meant to push it now.

"Gonna take my hands back slowly," Clint said, in a low voice. Phil took a breath.

"This is ludicrous, isn't it?" he asked, grasping Clint's wrists lightly.

"No. This is 'you got stabbed and I will deal with that however you like'," Clint said. Phil still had his wrists. "You're not deficient, boss. You're not less. Scars are not negative spaces. And I do not mind the shirt, however long you want to keep it."

Phil nodded and let go, looking determined. In a quick move he tugged the shirt over his head and sat up, knees to his chest. Clint, still lying down, saw the raised gnarl of skin on his back, the entrance wound.

"Not talking about feelings, Phil," Clint said. "But I'm having a whole lot of them right now."

Phil was silent. Clint sat up, hand sliding absently over his back, and tugged lightly on his shoulder. Phil uncurled. The scar on his back was one long wound, but on his chest there were two -- a y-shaped one where the upper prong of the spear had exited, and a shallow curve where the lower blade cut. It was brutal, and there was no romanticising that.

Phil rested the fingertips of one hand along the scar. It looked less like an urge to conceal and more like a compulsive action, something he wasn't aware he did anymore.

"Just a scar," Clint said. "Nothing missing. Nothing that mattered, anyway." He leaned on Phil's back, kissing his neck. "Let's get some shuteye."

"It won't be easy," Phil said, as he stretched out and let Clint splay all over him. "You're not actually on this team, and I'm out of country a lot."

"Sleeping now. Scheduling later." Clint murmured. After a moment, he said, "I was there. I mean….he got to me too."

"I never forget that. I haven't asked," Phil said. "I didn't want to pry."

"It's startlingly okay, actually," Clint answered. "Natasha's helped a lot, she's been there. I'm talking to a guy at SHIELD." He grinned. "Dating someone new, moving on, you know."

"Not brooding forever on your tragic backstory?" Phil asked.

"I got tragic backstory coming out my ears, I don't need any more," Clint said. "No. Not brooding. Working through it."

Phil's hand flexed in the small of his back, bringing them together. Clint could get used to the manhandling. He rested his nose in the hollow of Phil's throat, the line of the larger scar a thin presence against his chest. He felt Phil kiss his forehead, and then sleep pulled him down.

***

"So," Natasha said, as Bruce dealt out the cards. "They are probably literally having sex as we speak."

"I'd be surprised if they've stopped having sex since they got back from Japan," Melinda replied. "They defiled Coulson's desk pretty thoroughly before we got our wheels down."

"Thank you," Steve told them. "I appreciate hearing that about my boss and my buddy, I really do."

"I'm not sparing your delicate sensibilities," Natasha said. "Some of us have entertaining mental images to construct."

"It was pretty funny to watch them figure it out," Melinda said. "Could have destabilized the entire team, but I suppose all things in life carry inherent risk."

"It's a Coulson team," Bruce said. "I'm sure it'd take more than Clint deliberately doing the hip thing to break it apart."

"I did enjoy the hip thing," Melinda murmured.

"We all enjoy the hip thing," Natasha replied.

"Hip...thing?" Steve asked forlornly.

"It's okay, Steve, you do it too," Natasha replied.

"I don't do it on purpose! I don't know what it is!"

"Stop teasing the super-soldier," Bruce scolded. "But you do," he added to Steve. "Even Pepper commented on it."

Steve flushed crimson. "Just, just ante up, why don't you."

His phone buzzed, and he took it out of his pocket. There was a text from Clint and another thumbnail photo; this one showed him in a SHIELD t-shirt, arm around Coulson's shoulders. Coulson had his nose pressed to Clint's cheek, shyly affectionate. It was awfully sweet, Steve thought.

"Captain America gets his man," the text read.

Steve rubbed his forehead and put his phone away.

END

Sam: In one fic I had Fury considering putting Clint in the Captain America uniform as a figurehead, before they found Cap.
Foxy: Like a story where Cap is out of action for a while (he disappears to roam the country or has a delayed personal existential crisis since all his friends are gone) and they put him in the suit now.
Foxy: And then Coulson LOSES HIS HIS MIND WITH LUST.

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