sirona_fics: (clint/phil)
[personal profile] sirona_fics
Title: And I'll cross oceans like never before
Pairing: Clint/Phil
Rating: NC-17

For Warnings, Summary and Notes, please see [PART ONE].



Clint wakes up in Phil's bed again. He knows that's where he is, because he faintly remembers Phil carrying him there in the middle of the night, shuffling not unlike a zombie. He remembers cool, smooth sheets, Phil's arm resting over his middle, remembers metaphorically shrugging and slipping into a deeper sleep with Phil's breaths gently ruffling the fur at the back of his neck.

Phil's still there, face pressed between his shoulderblades, almost like a kiss. The difference is that there's nothing between Phil's face and the skin of his back, no fur, nothing. He raises a hand, looks at it blearily in the dim pre-dawn light. It is unquestionably a hand again, five digits, familiar notches over the skin. He's back.

Phil hums and presses in closer, lips touching his skin softly, sweetly, completely unintentional. Clint swallows painfully, closes his eyes in despair for a moment before he starts the long and finicky process of extricating himself from Phil's grip without waking him. He hopes against hope for a break; Phil is nothing if not competent, and this could turn really ugly if he gets startled -- especially because Clint is human-shaped again, and by the feel of it, entirely naked in Phil's arms.

...God, why did he have to go and think that? There's an overwhelming ache in his chest that tastes a lot like a loss, one he doesn’t know if he'll be able to push past and forget. What’s worse, he's excruciatingly aware of the way Phil's body presses to his all the way down, the tickle of chest hair over the small of his back, the way one leg has insinuated itself between his, the top of his thigh pressing snugly against his ass, just touching his balls. He must have been half-hard already without noticing, because he can actually feel the head of his cock rubbing the sheets under him when it lengthens and fills all the way. Forget black ops training -- this is the most cruel torture he has ever endured.

He has to get away before Phil realises he's been spooning Clint the man, not Clint the dog, and everything between them turns awkward as all hell in the process. It physically hurts to lift Phil's hand away from his stomach, the reluctant flex of fingers against his skin obviously a case of mistaken identity; God only knows whom Phil is dreaming he's holding. Clint has never been so careful in his life as he is now, sliding away from the only place he wishes he could stay forever. His hips shift, driving his cock over the mattress again, and he bites his lip to keep back any kind of sound. He forces his breathing down into light, controlled exhales, creating the illusion of untroubled sleep while he uses every trick in the book to make this as smooth an extraction as he can.

Deep down, Clint knew it wasn't going to work from the start. He hasn't even made it halfway across his side of the bed when he's suddenly flat on his back, an arm pressing against his throat, just hard enough to make the threat unmistakable. Phil's hazy eyes blink down at him, still mostly asleep but rapidly clearing. They stay like that for long, dragging seconds, made worse by the way Phil's hip presses against Clint’s hard-on, which is unhelpfully refusing to dissipate, and Phil really can't miss that.

The wrench away is, yes, just as painful as Clint had anticipated. Phil lets go of him like he's scalded himself; in the blink of an eye he's at the other end of the bed, in a half-sprawl that leaves him looking vulnerable and rumpled and so breathtakingly gorgeous Clint aches for him.

"Barton," he rasps, taken aback. Somehow it sounds different when he says it now, all the now-familiar affection drained out of Clint’s name.

Clint shrugs. "I'm back." Get it together, asshole. He smirks, and if it feels like it's going to crack his face in half, well. "Back to human, at least, thank fuck."

Phil--Coulson, better get used to that again, the sooner the better--Coulson stares at him, mouth slightly open, a look in his eyes Clint can't hope to place. Then -- Clint watches as his expression shifts, his posture straightens, until it's no longer Phil sitting on top of the tumbled sheets, but unquestionably Agent Coulson of SHIELD, no matter how tousled.

"Good to have you back, Specialist," he says; God, the distance in his voice is crushing.

Normally Clint would be getting up and out of the bed as he is, naked and unashamed, playing the role of Clint Barton to the hilt; but he's feeling a little too exposed right now, too unsettled, not quite himself yet.

"Do you have a pair of pants I can borrow?" he asks, forbidding himself to cringe at the way it comes out, way too lost for comfort. He sets his jaw. He can do better than that.

Coulson's eyes flicker down to his chest and back up. He swallows, which Clint doesn't expect and isn't sure he didn't imagine. Coulson straightens, gets out of the bed with a sparsity of movement that is the truest indication of just how deadly he really is, if anyone's looking closely enough. He doesn't say a word, just opens the third drawer of the chest closest to the bed, takes out a folded t-shirt and a pair of pants indistinguishable from the ones he'd worn around the apartment the last couple of nights, tosses them to land in front of Clint. Then he excuses himself, perfectly polite, as bland as ever, and leaves the room.

Clint feels sick. He doesn't know if it's some leftover magic trace from the reversal of the spell, or another reason he'd rather not think about, but he doesn't let it distract him. He gets off the bed, too, erection mercifully gone without a trace, and pulls on the clothes. They are soft, and they smell like Phil. His eyes prickle, and there's a weight in his gut that makes it hard to breathe. Well, that part of his life is well and truly over now; he might as well get used to it.

He dresses quickly and shuffles out, goes into the kitchen. Everything looks strange from this height, nothing like what he'd gotten used to -- it's a lot smaller, for one thing. The coffee-maker looks reassuringly simple, but he can't remember where the coffee is in the cupboards, he hadn't really been paying much attention the morning before, what with watching Coulson dress. He clenches his hands into fists over the counter, pushes back the urge to slam them down. It's not going to help a single thing.

Coulson emerges after a while, already buttoned-up and pristine, just like always. His eyes are hard, and there's a tick in the muscle of his jaw. Clint sighs quietly to himself. The next however-long-it-takes isn't going to be pleasant.

"Medical bay first, so you can get checked out. Then, depending on the results, you should be free to go back to the Avengers mansion," Coulson says.

Clint nods -- it's all there's left for him to do.

The drive in is the quietest yet. They don't speak, and there's no radio to distract Clint from his brooding. Coulson won't even look at him; his hands rest at ten and two on the wheel, fingers wrapped around the leather. Every now and again, they flex out of the corner of Clint's eye, but his hands don't move from their position.

They don't speak to each other when they get to HQ. Coulson tells the medics that they woke up this morning and Clint was back to being human-shaped, and the medics fuss and poke at him and make him take utterly unnecessary tests that Clint complies with anyway because it's easier than complaining when Coulson hovers in the corner of the room, as far away as he can get from him without leaving altogether. He smiles at the nurses and agrees cheerfully that yes, it's good to be back, all the while fighting hard to keep the easy grin on his face from slipping away.

He's given the all-clear after a few hours that feel like an age, and he's pulling his t-shirt back on when Coulson speaks to him at last.

"I'll arrange for a car to drive you home. Be outside in ten minutes," he says, and before Clint can respond at all, Coulson is out of the door without looking back. Clint swallows down his bitter disappointment, and gives the doctors another pleased smile, a shrug.

He's not disappointed when he finds a nondescript black car waiting for him outside, a junior agent at the wheel. That would imply expectations, and he learned a long time ago not to make that mistake. The result is always the same.

The mansion, when he makes it through the door, is quiet, almost too much so. It's barely nine in the morning, but Steve and Natasha at least ought to be up by now. Clint wanders the downstairs, pokes his head in the rec room, but it's empty and dark. The kitchen is also deserted; so Clint decides to look in the one other place he's pretty sure there ought to be at least someone.

Even before he pushes the doors of the gym open, he can hear thumps from the inside that make his bones ache in sympathy.

Steve sees him first, which is not lucky for Steve because he's sent flying a second later by a well-placed kick in his side. Steve rolls when he lands, though, so the knee aimed for his head smacks against the mats, not his skull. Then Natasha turns to look at the door, too, a relieved look passing over her face.

"Hey, you're back," she says; it's kind of sweet how warm she sounds.

"Clint, hello! Good to have you back with us," Steve adds. It's not his fault that his choice of words sends a jab of misery through Clint's gut. He smiles, fights to make it unforced, pleased. He should be ecstatic that he's back to normal; he doesn't know what's wrong with him, with his stupid head, that it feels like a prison sentence instead.

"Yeah, thank fuck," he says, what he told Coulson, too, because it's good to have his arms, his hands and fingers back. First stop is going to be the firing range; he's gone two weeks without the feel of it, he's dying here.

He avoids the piercing look Natasha throws him, asks after the others, nods when he's told they're still in bed, taking as much advantage of the strange lull in supervillains as they can squeeze in. Steve lopes after him when he makes a beeline for the kitchen, because he still hasn't had coffee, chattering happily as he brings Clint up-to-date with the past couple of days. When they get there, the coffee pot has started brewing already, which means Tony is either waking up or coming out of his workshop in search of it, they'll find out in a minute. It's a routine, as much as they can have one, something familiar and grounding.

While Clint drinks his coffee and continues to dodge Natasha's relentless attention, Steve makes himself a pan of eggs, slides most of it over toast and drenches them in ketchup, then digs in heartily. Tony appears when he's halfway done, eyes narrowed to almost closed, hair all over the place. He pours and drinks his first cup of coffee without looking around, and he's halfway through his second when he sniffs his way over to the leftover eggs in the pan, a fork placed thoughtfully next to it -- Steve knows Tony well. Tony scarfs them down, mouth still full when he looks around properly for the first time. His eyes widen and he swallows, making a startled noise.

"What, no more puppy? That's a shame, man, I'll miss the little guy."

Clint huffs, but at the same time he can't contradict the sentiment. He's going to miss being a puppy very much, too. Life was easy, then.

He leaves them in the kitchen, getting on with their morning while he makes a beeline for his room, where he strips out of the borrowed clothes like they're on fire. His skin tingles all over; he leaves them where they drop, hates himself when he decides against a shower because that will mean washing away the phantom scent of Phil's skin. He is so, so screwed he doesn't know what to do with himself. In the end, he climbs into a SHIELD-issued jumpsuit, jams his feet into a pair of sneakers and heads for the shooting range.

He only realises his hands have been shaking when he grips his bow and they still, settle over the cool surface, fingers wrapping themselves around the frame. The bow sings in his grip, impatient, eager. He takes a deep breath, lets it out, forces the tension out with it until his mind is clear, calm, for what feels like the first time in forever. It helps a little with the awful yammer in his head, all these emotions he doesn't know how to deal with, that he's never allowed to get this out of hand before. He lets loose arrow after arrow, and uses each one of them to pin down the tangle of feelings that threaten to choke him.

He doesn't feel any better when it's over, but at least his head remains clear, issues compartmentalised until he can deal with them without losing himself. So what if he has somehow fallen in love with Agent Coulson? It's not the end of the world. He'll just pretend nothing's out of the ordinary -- he's good at that, had plenty of training over the years.

He can get through this. He will. This curling misery in his chest can't last forever.

---

Determination or no, Clint avoids Coulson's office after that. When, inevitably, they all get called into HQ for debriefing and training, he goes where he's told, sticks to the job. Doesn't take off on his own like he used to, certainly puts a stop to the fucking stupid habit of bothering Coulson on the flimsiest of pretexts. He makes a point of being loud and obnoxious like always, because even more than wanting to avoid thinking about it, he wants to avoid talking about what happened. He doesn't miss the way the others watch him, clearly seeing something's different but, thank God, attributing it to his transformation rather than the outcome. The one mandatory psych session had been bad enough; he's pathetically grateful that he'd managed to come out of it without raising any flags.

Eventually, however, something occurs to him that he'd missed at the start -- in order to pretend that everything is normal, he's going to have to bite the bullet and see Coulson, seek him out, even, take the familiar route to his office and confront Coulson in his lair. Because otherwise the discrepancy is going to be far too obvious to these people who are used to looking for the slightest thing out of place.

He gets his chance when he returns from a solo assignment for SHIELD instead of the Avenger initiative, and has to report to the agent in charge himself. Who is in his office. Of course. Clint takes a deep, cleansing breath, lets it out on a controlled exhale, and steps inside the elevator that will take him up to office level. He puts his back to the wall, on the other side of where Coulson's legs had shielded him once, because there's only so much he can put himself through, and he's not above admitting that some things are just too painful to remember. The cabin fills slowly the higher up he gets, agents who eye Clint warily and give him as wide a berth as they can in the cramped space. He smirks to himself bitterly as he remembers how the man in the glasses had cooed at him when he had been a Corgi, the feel of the lady in the green shirt's fingers through his fur.

Whatever. It's so far from what he wants it's on the other end of the scale.

He's almost grateful to exit the elevator at last -- that is, until he remembers why he's visiting this particular floor, and his relief dies a swift death. The corridor is familiar; it smells a little different, but his nose can't compare with his doggy counterpart's for sensitivity. It stretches before him like a route to certain ambush; he grits his teeth and sets his feet moving, striding quickly past open-plan cubicles and office doors to reach the end. The door is cracked open, signalling that Agent Coulson is inside and available.

Clint swallows dryly, pushes his shoulders back and knocks.

"Come," Coulson directs, which Clint hasn't heard before because he never used to wait for a response before barging in. Coulson looks up from his papers when Clint steps inside; his eyes widen a fraction for a moment before his back stiffens and his face sets into the usual bland mask.

"Barton," he says, nodding lightly. "I see you're back. Talk to me."

It's so normal, so... reassuring to hear the words that Clint's chest aches. If there's nothing else on offer to him, he'll take this, any day.

"Sir," he says, and proceeds to outline the mission outcome as concisely as possible. He doesn't trust himself enough to relax around Coulson just yet; he doesn't know what might come out of his mouth if he tries it. Coulson listens without interrupting, eyes only narrowing when Clint relates the junior agent's fuck-up when giving orders -- it's a good thing they're all soldiers with plenty of experience, or things might have gotten tense for a moment there. Coulson's frustrated exhale tells Clint plenty about the dressing-down in that agent's immediate future.

"No casualties, then?"

"No, sir. All present and accounted for."

"That's a relief. I notice you're favoring your right arm, Specialist."

Of course he does. "It's nothing, sir."

"Is that an 'it's nothing, sir, it's just a flesh wound,' or is it really nothing?"

Clint bites down on a goofy grin; he remembers seeing the Monty Python DVDs on the small shelf under Coulson's TV at his apartment. The thought is painful, but it doesn't feel like it's going to cleave his heart in two. Perhaps this is progress.

"I'm all right, sir. Nothing a few stitches couldn't fix."

Coulson's jaw ticks a little, which doesn't exactly surprise Clint, because his earlier revelation of Coulson's emotional investment in the team is still fresh in his mind. Clint doesn't let it mean anything more than that.

"Go clean up and get some rest, Barton," he's told, with an edge of warmth that Clint refuses to cling to, because he can't, he can't let himself hope like that.

"Yes, sir."

Just before he turns to leave, his eyes catch the edge of color under Coulson's desk, by his feet. It's the same muted red as his armor, and it looks soft--

--It's his doggy bed, he'd stake his left index finger on it. What the hell is it still doing there? It's been well over a week, and it's not like Clint will still need it.

Perhaps Coulson is thinking of getting an actual dog to fill it. Clint holds his breath, fights to stop his face betraying the way the thought just punched him in the gut. Coulson had seemed happier when Clint the dog was around; it would do him good to have a pet to care for, to replace Clint.

He about-turns and gets the hell out of there, before he does something stupid like yank the bed from under the desk and throw it out of the window. The shrinks are just itching for an excuse as it is.

---

Things are really, really quiet when Clint comes to, hushed in a way no New York apartment can be, even with noise isolation. He tries to blink his eyes open, but it's an effort; his eyelids feel like they are weighed down with lead. His head is a little fuzzy, which clues him in that he's not exactly waking up from a good night's sleep. When he manages to open his eyes a crack, the room is dim, but his eyeballs still ache, pupils shrinking down to adjust for the light. He tries to raise his head to look around; the spike of pain in his neck and right shoulder quickly dissuades him, and he can barely hold his gasp back. He doesn't feel panicked; his brain lets him know what his nose suspected -- he's in a hospital. No other place on Earth smells quite like it. Crap, what's he done this time?

His right hand is sore, and when he lifts it, he sees a needle tapping his vein, a see-through tube feeding something colorless into his bloodstream. Upon further inspection, he recognises the room -- it's in the Stark Wing, the one that the hospital is threatening to rename the Avengers Suite because they're the most frequent patients. The artificial quality of the light suggests it's late, most likely nighttime, so he's going nowhere fast.

He lies back, tries to piece together the circumstances that have landed him flat on his back again. He recalls something (a lot of things) burning, shockwaves rending the air, broken remains of buildings flying at him from all sides. He remembers falling, an awful weight landing on his chest, his neck. Sure enough, when he tries to sit up his ribs protest violently, abused muscles and bruised internal organs making it impossible to do anything more than think about moving.

A soft noise at the side of the bed makes him brave letting his head fall to the left, away from the worst of the pain. There's a hand resting very, very close to his; when he concentrates, he can just about feel a hint of warmth coming from the fingers that lay precisely an inch away from his. He follows the hand up a suited arm, over a chest the breadth of which is faintly familiar, along a tie he recognises with a jolt and up to Coulson's face, eyes closed in sleep. He looks awful, deep lines etched into his forehead and around his eyes, mouth thin and downturned. His eyes twitch beneath the lids; he's dreaming, and it's not restful, Clint can tell even through the fog in his head. What is he doing here? Clint hasn't been changed again or anything; his hands are still hands, not paws, and when he sticks out his tongue all he touches is skin. There's no need for anyone to sit by his bedside that he knows of.

Yet here Coulson is. Clint lets his eyes fall down to Coulson's hand again, so very close yet painstakingly not touching his, like Coulson hadn't let himself close the final distance, but couldn't stay away, either. Something twists in Clint's chest, sharp, painful, warm. What if-- Could it be that--

No one can answer those questions but the man by his bedside, and Clint's not waking him up for the world. Even asleep, Coulson is a solid, reassuring presence, and Clint has never felt safer than when he's with him. He breathes in, picks up his courage and moves his fingers, just a little, lets them rest tentatively over Coulson's--Phil's. Please, he thinks to himself, oh, please. He's never wanted anything more than he wants this, the quiet connection between the two of them, the chance to have Phil by his side, to come home to.

His eyes close without consulting him, lulled by the soft huffs of Phil's breaths, the feel of Phil's fingers under his. His heart flutters in his chest once, then slows; he lets himself slip away again.

The second time he wakes up is considerably louder than the first, even though he can see they're trying to be quiet. There hasn't been a single thing invented yet that can keep a room full of superheroes quiet, however. He opens his eyes to Natasha punching Tony in the arm and hissing at him to shut up, Tony's wounded expression, the roll of Steve's eyes. Something pats his right arm; he turns his head to see Bruce smiling at him, clearly relieved.

"Sorry about them," he says quietly, throwing the others a mean look. "They've been worried, you know how they get."

Clint smiles, fondness curling in his chest, and nods lightly.

"How are you feeling?" Bruce asks, eyes checking the levels of the drugs still being pumped into him.

"Like something ran me over," Clint rasps, winces. Immediately there's a glass pressed to his lips, Bruce's other hand lifting his head a little. He drinks, grateful, tries not to choke when the others realise he's awake.

"My friend!" Thor booms; the only thing that stops Clint from sustaining further damage from one of Thor's crushing hugs is Steve's timely intervention. "I am so pleased to see you awake," Thor says earnestly, beaming.

"Good to see you too, buddy," Clint manages, grinning. The others crowd around his bed, familiar, friendly faces shining with relief.

"Seriously, I gotta design you and Natasha better armor," Tony grouses, poking at the stitches in Clint's right arm that disappear under the sleeve of the awful hospital gown he's been put in. "This is getting old. You're way too exposed in those flimsy SHIELD suits."

"Better armor isn't going to stop half a ton of rubble from taking us out, Tony," Natasha says, but it's fond rather than scathing, which really says everything.

They stay for a while longer, before Clint starts to droop again, which he hates -- he can't stand feeling so helpless, so weak, but they're dozing him with the heavy-hitter drugs because of his cracked ribs, and they're making his thoughts blur unhelpfully. He's clear enough to notice that the chair by the bed is unmistakably empty, though. He wonders with a tightening in his chest what Phil thought when he woke, if he even noticed at all -- if he was even real, not a figment of his sad, desperate imagination.

Steve ushers everyone out of the door a few minutes later, lingers behind with a promise to visit again as soon as they're allowed. "There's security at the door," he tells Clint, "so don't worry about anyone unauthorised getting in. And if they fail, Phil's at the other end of the corridor, and you know no one's getting past him that isn't supposed to."

"Phil's here?" Clint mutters, fighting against the pull of sleep.

"Sure. He hasn't left since we brought you in. He spent the night here, I thought you might have seen him?"

"I thought I dreamt that," Clint whispers, fingers twitching. There's a whole flock of agitated butterflies in his stomach making a bid for escape.

Steve smiles, kind, too shrewd -- people often underestimate how smart Steve really is, mistaking simplicity for stupidity (to their detriment). "I'm pretty sure you didn't. I'd expect another visit soon, if I were you. He's been worried."

A month ago, Clint would have scoffed at that -- Coulson, worried? About him? Yeah, good one.

Now? He has to grit his teeth not to grin stupidly. Steve sees it anyway, he's sure; his lips twitch happily, and with a wave he's out of the door, letting it close softly behind him. Clint closes his eyes, lets the tight clutch of control slip from around his chest, just a tiny bit, just enough to allow tentative shoots of hope to take root.

He sleeps again, drifting in and out of a doze that makes it hard to keep track of time, leaves him more tired when he wakes than he was when he fell asleep. Finally, a long, long time later, he surfaces and his head is clear, thoughts sharp and true once more. It looks like the middle of the night -- the lights of the city glint through the windows, leave orange and red and yellow reflections over the windowsill, on the wall across the room. It's soothing, like he can just lie there and things will be all right in the end.

His body still hurts -- in fact, the pain is more pronounced than the dull ache from earlier, which tells him they're weaning him off the hard drugs and onto something lighter. It explains the sudden and much appreciated clarity of thought, and Clint wants that a lot more than the lack of pain. He's never trusted drugs that won't let him think for himself.

He turns his head, and at first he wonders if he's still dreaming, but the details are too sharp -- the open collar, the tie knot tugged loose, the way hair falls across Phil's forehead, giving the illusion of softness, of submission to the fact that he's human, too. He's asleep again, but he looks marginally less dire than last night, the lines not quite so deeply etched into his face, his mouth pouting open a little, relaxed instead of tense. His hand is next to Clint's again, even closer than last night; Clint can feel the buzz of nearness that proximity causes, scant millimeters away. He smiles this time, a delirious rush of joy that he can't contain breaking free over his face. Just maybe, this time, he'll get lucky.

When he moves his fingers so they overlap with Phil's again, Phil shifts in the uncomfortable plastic chair, eyelids fluttering in a way that threatens imminent discovery. Clint has seconds to make a choice -- plenty of time for someone like him, who is used to weighing risks and benefits with less. He leaves his fingers where they are, hopes like hell he won't get it thrown back in his face.

Phil's eyes snap open a moment later, clear and focused from the start, like the soldier he is. They fix on Clint's face, dart around the room to secure it, return to the monitors beeping peacefully into the night, then over to Clint's face again.

"You should be sleeping," he says, voice a little rough from disuse. He makes to straighten -- Clint feels the tension in his hand preparing to move away -- feels, too, the moment Phil realises his fingers are pinned down by Clint's, however lightly. He stares at them unblinkingly, but doesn't move. In fact, his hand settles back over the sheets with a single twitch of the index finger that feels like a caress against Clint's skin. He sees Phil swallow and lick his lips, sees the deep breath he takes.

"So I guess we should talk about this," he says quietly. Clint loves him so much in this moment, clearly unsettled but willing to push it down for Clint's sake.

"I guess we should," Clint says. He's willing to say anything, do anything, if he has even the slightest chance of convincing Phil to give this a go.

Phil swallows again; then his thumb comes up, strokes a careful path over the side of Clint's hand, along the length of his little finger. Clint inhales sharply, heart pounding. He can't even understand how the smallest of touches can affect him like this, but he can't deny the rush of blood to the head.

"Thank you," he blurts out. Phil gives him a questioning look. "For bearing with me when I got changed. You didn't have to."

Phil huffs a laugh, shakes his head. "You were the cutest thing I'd ever seen," he says with the air of an admission. "Your eyes are a danger enough when you're human; as a puppy, you were ruthless."

Clint tries to digest all that, thinks he fails. He gets stuck somewhere between Phil thinking his eyes are a danger to him, and the realisation that Phil had caved to every one of his demands while he'd been dog-shaped. He wonders how the fuck he missed that one before.

Phil clears his throat; Clint watches, fascinated, as a hint of pink brightens his cheeks. "I liked having you around," Phil confesses. "The apartment and my office feel empty without you."

"Is that an invitation?" Clint probes, because yeah, he's an asshole, that's still news to anyone?

Phil rolls his eyes, sighs. "Yes, any time you happen to turn into a dog again, feel free to invade my home."

Clint simply can't resist poking at the edges of this thing between them. "...Just while I'm a dog?"

Phil looks at him steadily. "No. Not just when you're a dog."

Clint starts grinning then, victorious. "You missed me," he says smugly.

Phil's lips twitch. "The bed's been cold without your furry ass."

And just like that, the atmosphere shifts completely. Clint's smirk fades into something softer; he feels absurdly shy, and he's never been shy in his life, but Phil seems to bring it out in him. How do you tell someone that you missed being a dog, something he trusted enough to let it see the man behind the suit, to press his face against its fur, to let it curl over his chest while he held it close, like it's precious?

"I missed you too," he says softly in the end, catching Phil's eyes, allowing Phil to see his own soft underbelly behind the armor. His fingers tighten a little, curling around Phil's on the bed. Phil's eyes are dark with something that sends a shiver down Clint's spine, but they are warm, too, relieved. His hand turns under Clint's, until their fingers fit together and Phil's hand closes on his.

"Clint," Phil says, and God, his name on Phil's tongue, Clint can barely take it. He wants to kiss Phil so desperately that his chest is tight with it, his lips tingling with need.

"Kiss me, please," he says, because he still can't move all that well but he thinks he might die if it doesn't happen soon, now. Phil rises immediately, shifts to sit on the bed close to Clint's side, leans in until he can brace an arm by Clint's right shoulder, lowers his head. The first touch of his lips sends a jolt of pure longing through Clint's stomach.

"Please," he breathes against Phil's lips, and Phil closes in at last, fits their mouths together, lips moving sweetly against Clint's. Clint closes his eyes and tries to memorise the feel of it, the familiar scent of warm sandalwood that comes off Phil's skin, the taste of black coffee on his tongue. He cranes his neck, wanting to get closer -- his only reward is the screaming tension in his shoulder when he stretches still-damaged muscles, and he gasps before he can bite it back. Phil breaks the kiss instantly, starts to rise.

"No!" Clint yelps desperately. "Stay. Please."

Phil settles his weight back over the sheets carefully, looking ready to jump away at any moment. There's a pinched look on his face, like he's berating himself.

"If you tell me we shouldn't have done that, I'm going to punch you so hard," Clint threatens, despite the fact that it's a threat he most definitely can't back up right now. Phil smiles, though, so that's okay.

"It wouldn't have killed us to wait," he says ruefully.

"You never know, might have killed me," Clint grumbles. His hateful brain starts down the track of thinking that clearly Phil isn't as desperate as him for getting closer to each other; Clint should probably curb that desperation of his, he's sure it makes him look pathetically eager--

"Stop," Phil murmurs, leans in and kisses his lips again, his cheek, his temple, his eyebrow. "I want to. I want to kiss you, and I want to touch you everywhere, and give that smartass mouth of yours something else to do, and find out what your skin feels and tastes like without the fur getting in the way. But I want more for you to not be in pain while I do it. Sounds fair?"

Clint nods, even though yeah, he's disappointed they won't get to do that immediately, because Phil's words have lit a fire inside him that he knows will be a long time in quenching, until he's fit enough for all the things he wants to do to Phil.

"I don't have to like it. And it doesn't mean that you can stop kissing me in the meantime, clear?"

"Yessir," Phil says, laughing. "Crystal." He steals another kiss before pulling back. "You're going to be a holy terror until you get your way, aren't you?" he sighs. He doesn't sound like he's complaining -- more like he's resigning himself to his fate. Clint grins up at him, skin tight over the bruise on his cheekbone, not like he gives the slightest fuck.

"You know it," he crows, smug and gloating. "I want you, and I'm not going to let a measly four cracked ribs stand in my way."

Phil's answering grin slips a little; his eyes drop back to Clint's chest, linger over the place where bandages hold it together under the hospital gown.

"Hey," Clint says softly, reaching to trace Phil's arm with his right one, careful with the needle still stuck in him. "I'm alright. I'll heal. It's just a flesh wound, sir."

Phil looks up, startled, before he breaks down into actual giggles, slapping a hand over his face. "God, I'm doomed," Clint hears threaded through the laughter.

"But what a way to go, eh, sir?" he says, squeezing Phil's fingers with his own, smiling wide and bright and happy. He's not letting go any time soon.

---

Phil doesn't sleep in his bed that night. In fact, it's two full weeks before Clint can coax him to even lie down next to him at all, let alone spend the night. Phil complains that he doesn't play fair; Clint maintains that looking at him is no crime. He can't be blamed for taking advantage of the tactical knowledge that Phil had handed him that night in the hospital, when he let slip that factoid about his reaction to Clint's eyes.

Two and a half weeks later, though, Phil is lying on his side in the bed in his apartment, with Clint sprawled on his back on his side of said bed. It's the same now as it was when he was a dog, which is a symmetry Clint can't complain about. Phil fusses madly in his way, which is asking Clint if he's comfortable and if he needs things every two minutes.

"Just for you to stay here and not run off," Clint tells him in the end, hand tracing Phil's arm again, their positions mirroring the ones in the hospital, with Phil on the other side of him this time. Phil subsides, props his head up on his elbow and watches Clint with a strange look in his eyes, a mix of caring and affection and something darker, something almost possessive.

"What's that look for?" Clint asks in the end, because it's not like he's psychic about Phil just yet.

"I like this version of you in my bed even more," Phil murmurs; out of nowhere, heat curls in Clint's gut, migrating lower.

"Fuck," he complains, because it's not like he can do anything about that, not yet; he can't push Phil on his back, straddle his lap and show him just what he's doing to Clint with all that teasing. He's been expressly forbidden to engage in any strenuous physical activity for at least another week -- which Clint's been pushing against every day for the past ten days, but Phil is ruthless when it comes to following doctors' orders.

"Soon," Phil tells him now, and wow, that is not helping.

"You're kind of an asshole," Clint bitches.

"Look," Phil says consolingly, "if you're a good boy about this, we'll get there a lot sooner than if you end up breaking a rib just to be contrary."

Clint grumbles some more, because he's been in close proximity to Phil for almost the whole three weeks since his discharge, and it's getting harder and harder not to climb all over Phil, pin him down and suck him until he screams.

"This is all your fault," Clint complains, waving at his hard-on that certainly wasn't there five minutes ago. "You are a tease, Phillip Coulson, don't think I don't know what you're doing, you are bribing me with sex, that is not fair play."

"It's working, though," Phil says smugly. Clint scowls, but the hell of it is, yeah, it kind of is. Certainly he hasn't gone on to re-injure himself, which he would have if Phil hadn't been dogging him all the time.

"Ugh, I hate you," he moans.

"Sure you do," Phil agrees placidly, because he knows full well Clint does nothing of the sort. Clint's preparing to whine, to punish Phil for his deviousness, when the breath tangles in his throat -- Phil's hand has moved to rest squarely on his cock, over the same borrowed sweatpants. Clint groans pitifully, bucking into the touch just enough to not cause a stab of pain.

The hand grows more firm, pushes down. "On one condition. You stay still, and you don't move. If you can't do that, tell me now and save yourself the frustration when I stop halfway through."

"Evil," Clint hisses through his teeth, but stills his hips. "Fine."

Phil looks down at him sternly -- the effect probably would have been stronger if his pupils hadn't been completely blown from anticipation. He eases the waistband down under Clint's ass, over the arch of his rigid cock, sweeps it down his legs and away. The t-shirt, sadly, stays in place -- it's too soon for that, but frankly Clint will take what he can fucking get at this point and be grateful.

What he can get, he thinks while he fights to draw breath, is apparently Phil's mouth pressing to his lower belly, kissing down his groin, rubbing his lips against the head of Clint's cock, a little damp already because it's been an ice age since he's done this.

"Jesus fuck," Clint grunts, trying to push up into the touch. Strong hands wrap around his hips, press them down. The feel of it makes stars explode behind his tightly shut eyelids, makes him groan breathlessly. "Phil," he begs.

Phil relents, lets his lips open, slides them over the head and down Clint’s shaft. His mouth is hot, wet, so very welcoming; Clint is having trouble holding on already, and that's before Phil takes him down all the way, throat closing around him.

"Oh god," Clint gasps, hands clenched tightly into the sheets, fighting to keep his back from bowing because it will jostle his still-tender ribs. He swears some more, half-shaped words while Phil sucks him, mouths at the head, flicks his tongue over his balls in a way that is probably illegal in several states. He's helpless to hold on, all the build-up of the past weeks, even longer, the desperate longing he'd pushed back for the past month and a half, virtually exploding through him at the touch of Phil's tongue to his ass, just the tip of it, just licking over the rim. He keens with need, bites his lip hard, groin tightening until he knows he's not going to be able to hold back any longer.

His voice is thready when he bites out, "I'm going to-- Phil," and Phil lifts his head, takes him back into his mouth, sucks over the head. That's pretty much him done, thanks very much, enjoy the rest of your evening, peace out.

Clint’s panting when he's done, a sharp sting in his chest from the rapid rise and fall, but nothing that he can't handle, nothing damaging, and he'd endure so much more to have this again, as soon as he can. Phil's hands are still holding him down; he's got his forehead pressed to the top of Clint's left thigh, breathing hotly over the skin, fingers flexing over the hipbones. He shudders when Clint unclenches one hand from the sheets, runs his fingers through his hair, thumb stroking at his temple.

"God, I want you to fuck me," Clint breathes, licks his lips. "Your cock, I want it inside me so bad, I can't wait until I can feel you opening me up, sliding all the way in."

Phil groans, bites lightly into the skin under his mouth. "Clint, fuck, you don't even know what you're doing to me."

"Show me," Clint coaxes, fingers closing around Phil's neck and pulling his head up. "Come up here and kiss me, and then show me. I want to see you."

Phil complies easily, crawls up on all fours and leans in, takes his mouth hard, lets Clint chase the taste of himself inside when he presses his tongue between his lips. Clint's hands get busy drawing the zip of his jeans down, flicking open the button, sliding them down his ass enough so he can get a hand inside his boxer-briefs. Phil gasps in his mouth when his fingers find him, close around him. Phil's hips drive him inside Clint's fist, hard and fast while Clint holds tight. It's dry and dirty and desperate and Clint can't stop kissing Phil, biting at his mouth, tangling their tongues together until Phil's moaning and riding Clint’s leg, panting wetly over his lips. His cock jumps in Clint's fist, jerks, and suddenly the slide gets a lot easier, Phil's come smoothing the way for Clint's fingers.

Phil sags beside him, half on his side, half still leaning against Clint's body. He worms his leg between Clint's as Clint wipes his hand off on the ruined sheets and sighs, curling his clean hand over the small of Phil's back.

"Well, that was a nice taster. Just what every agent needs, incentive to get better," Clint teases languidly. Phil huffs a laugh into his collarbone, head carefully pillowed on the ball of his shoulder, which can't be comfortable for him but he's been impossible when it comes to what he feels threatens Clint's recovery.

"I hope you appreciate the full service SHIELD provides. Not many other people benefit from such an arrangement."

Clint lifts his head slowly, arches an eyebrow. "I should fucking well hope not," he growls. Phil's mouth twitches -- and so does his cock, soft now against Clint's hip. Interesting.

"I was speaking figuratively. You can't imagine ours is the only arrangement within the agency."

Clint lies back down, mollified. "Fair enough."

Phil presses a kiss against his chest, then shifts until his head is lying on his pillow, body still curled against Clint's side. "I was sure you'd see it my way. Now, sleep."

Clint sighs. Phil is the bossiest lay he's ever had. Also the best -- and, if Clint has his way, the last. He might not be a dog any longer, but he's not above staking his territory, however covertly. By the way Phil's hand curves possessively over his hip, he doesn't think Phil will mind.

He lets his head fall to the side until his lips are almost touching Phil's forehead and, just this once, does as he's told.


END

Date: 2012-03-12 09:46 am (UTC)
everythingshiny: (hod | lemon smirk)
From: [personal profile] everythingshiny
ahhhhhhhhhhhh

please, marry me?

:D

Date: 2012-03-12 07:37 pm (UTC)
everythingshiny: (kara and sammy)
From: [personal profile] everythingshiny
Seriously, between this and A Matter of Proportions and A little bit of your taste (in my mouth) I'm dying and going to fangirl heaven right now :D

UNF.

Date: 2012-03-12 02:46 pm (UTC)
aliassmith: (Default)
From: [personal profile] aliassmith
Coulson flops back down on the bed, throws an arm over his face. "Fuck me," he groans, heartfelt.
Clint blinks at the bed, at Coulson sprawled on his back, bare chest tautly muscled and covered in fine hair, head thrown back baring his throat, and the thought crystallises in his mind all of a sudden -- do not pass Go, do not collect $200 -- he wants to. He really, really wants to.


YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU'VE DONE TO ME WITH THIS. YOUR PHIL IS SO DOWN TO EARTH AND FULL OF HUMOR AND REAL... HE REALLY IS THE BEST THING EVER.

From the minute he called Clint an asshole for linking his face, ugh, I just melted. Amazing. So amazing.

And that line about Clint's puppy eyes being pretty much the most lethal coercion tool ever? ACCURATE.

<3

NOW TO GO AND READ THIS A HUNDRED MORE TIMES. *__*

Date: 2012-03-12 07:11 pm (UTC)
twelve_pastels: (Default)
From: [personal profile] twelve_pastels
EEEEEEEEEEE YAYYYYYYYYYY

Date: 2012-03-13 03:08 pm (UTC)
devildoll: (hawkeye pose)
From: [personal profile] devildoll
Oh my GOD THIS STORY. I just--Clint was just so heartbreakingly resigned to everything, both in human and puppy form, and so afraid to hope. And then Phil with his surprisingly normal and quiet life outside of Shield that has just enough room in it for Clint, no matter which Clint it is. And the care they had for each other just warmed me all through, and made me want them to be happy together forever. Oh there is something in my eye now...

Date: 2012-03-23 04:39 am (UTC)
snottygrrl: x-men's angel (angel)
From: [personal profile] snottygrrl
this was perfect. srsly. i adore the whole idea. the transactions between corgi!clint and thor were fabulous. and of course the whole agent/hawkeye thing makes me flail beyond flailing ♥
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