sirona_fics: (clint/phil)
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This is my own haul from Day Nine -- a glorious, beautiful picture of Raven from this story! ashfjkldghdfjkgh I CANNOT CONTAIN MY GLEE AND HEARTSEYES. It is PERFECTION.

Now to pay it forward.

Day 9

In your own space, create a fanwork. A drabble, a ficlet, or an icon, art or meta or a rec list. A picspam. Something. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.


So a while back, there was that meme going around, where you pick a character and I tell you three pieces of my personal head canon. And when [livejournal.com profile] futureperfect did it, I asked for Phil Coulson (for, well, REASONS. >.>;;) This is part of what she said:

2. If Coulson had any kind of spare time (which he doesn't, but if he did) he's probably have a hobby that involves being nowhere near juiced up super heroes and very very very very very much by himself. Like fishing. Or cross-stitch. Or scale models.

(4. He's a stress smoker. He's trying to give up. It's not easy because his life = stress.)


Upon which I pounced immediately, because, I MEAN. *___________*

To cut a long story short, she's been having a rough couple of days, and in her Day Seven of the meme, she asked for some fanfic. I... guess this might not be what you had in mind, darling, but I hope you enjoy it regardless! <3 BECAUSE, WELL, PLOT BUNNIES. >.>;;


Title: Babysitting is a calling, not a 9 to 5
Characters/Pairings: Phil Coulson, ensemble Avengers, Clint/Phil (implied)
Rating: PG-13 for language/themes
Length: ~1,500
Summary: In which Phil takes a well-deserved vacation to a far-away, peaceful retreat, and he's fine, damn it.



Phil hasn't breathed air this clean in... frankly, he doesn't remember how long. If it's not dust from collapsing buildings courtesy of his merry band of lunatics, it's city smog or some noxious gas that is the villain of the week's idea of world-domination-aiding prop. The contrast couldn't be more pronounced -- the air here is so crisp that he can see for miles from the top of the little hill the villa is situated on, across the river and all the way to the mountains in the distance. Thanks to the fall rains, the fields are still green and lush, even when the trees' colours would not go amiss inside a paint swatch book.

So clean is the air, in fact, that it makes Phil distinctly ill. He manages about ten minutes standing out on the porch that first day, breathing in deeply, before his head starts spinning and his stomach rebels. He lurches inside, makes a beeline for his case and digs out his emergency pack of smokes, hating himself for it even as he lights one with trembling hands and sucks in a lungful. The sting of it is familiar, sets off an ache deep inside him. Damn it, he is never going to manage to quit at this rate -- he only smokes these days around the weapons of mass destruction that are his team, and never where they can see him (he can't afford to show weakness. He swears they can smell fear). Yet here he is, in the middle of fucking nowhere, the closest inhabitant dozens of miles away, and he still can't seem to be able to go without.

He adamantly refuses to acknowledge the sneaky suspicion that he now associates smoking with his babysitting duties, because he could not possibly be missing those overgrown pre-schoolers, or the insanity they wreak wherever they go. That would just be insane. Stockholm Syndrome. Fury had warned him about it when he'd handed out Phil's assignment, and he is far too experienced an agent to succumb to that cliche, damn it.

He finishes his cigarette, carefully puts the butt out in the flowerpot next to the front door and shoves it in the pocket of his slacks, stands on the porch a little while longer, breath somehow coming easier after the self-administered pollution. It's so quiet, even with the birds going demented in the glowing light of sunset, the sky streaked with clouds of black as the flocks prepare to depart for warmer shores. The scent of wet earth and damp grass floats on the breeze from the valley sloping towards the river. It is a picture-perfect scene, an idyll, and he has five more days stretching before him to enjoy it.

He misses the sight of tarmac and concrete so much he aches with it. He sets his jaw and glares at nothing in particular -- this is why he should take time off more often. He needs to acclimatise himself to an existence that doesn't bring with it the sounds of battle at three a.m., or the whine of Tony fucking Stark being told to do something he doesn't want to, or the whoosh of Barton's arrows through the air, inches from his head, always on target. Because at any moment it might be taken from him altogether; a string of failed missions, and the whole team faces disbandment, him included. It's his job to make sure it doesn't come to that, of course, and he is damn good at what he does; yet... The possibility niggles and itches under his skin, that he could fail. Because he wouldn't just be failing himself.

Right. Rest. Recuperation. Meditation, in an attempt to ignore the weird emptiness behind his ribcage brought on by being on his own, away from his lunatics. Yes, that's exactly what he needs. He has books, he has his cross-stitch project to keep himself occupied, and there are no phones or computers or wi-fi anywhere in the vicinity.

He stamps down viciously on that annoying voice inside his head that maintains he's going to go insane in less than forty-eight hours of this. He isn't. He's going to be fine. He's going to sleep, for one thing, because he can count on the fingers of one hand the hours of REM sleep he has had per night for the past couple months without needing all five. Right. Sleep is good. Yes. See? He's going to be just fine.

---

Tony sprawls back in his chair, feet propped up on the 14ft long meeting table, tablet braced over his thighs as he tinkers with something on the screen and mutters under his breath. Steve is sitting across from him, ostensibly reading the morning paper but in reality throwing Tony fond looks when he thinks Tony isn't looking. Natasha sits cross-legged in the middle of the table, inches and inches of sharpest steel gleaming under the overhead lights as she cleans her collection of throwing knives. Bruce has a thick science journal open, mostly for show while he scribbles feverishly in a pad. Clint is sitting on top of the filing cabinet in the far corner of the room, shooting spitballs in Natasha's direction at irregular intervals, which she absent-mindedly slices in quarters with whatever blade she happens to be polishing at the time. Thor has his chair balanced on two legs, and is occupying his time by tossing Mjolnir in the air in increasingly complicated loops, completely oblivious to the fact that if he fumbles a catch he could take out half of Stark Tower with it.

Clearly, Phil muses, he has failed in installing the fear of himself into them if they think that just because he's meant to be on holiday, that's where he actually is.

"Stark, feet off the table. Romanoff, Barton, you'd better clean up after yourselves, I don't want another cleaning staff strike on my hands. Dr Banner, if we could commandeer your attention away from your research for a few moments. Thor, drop that and I'm cutting your coffee budget in half."

It warms his heart to see all of them, even Natasha, jump and glare at the door with huge, startled eyes, it really does. Phil carefully doesn't smile as he walks in and reclaims his usual position at the head of the table. Natasha slides off the top immediately, landing in the adjacent chair with her usual breathtaking grace; Thor beams at him and lays Mjolnir carefully on the table. Bruce obediently flips the journal closed on his notes and looks up, giving him all his attention (terrifying a prospect as that is). Tony scowls as he straightens in his chair and drops his feet.

"How come Rogers doesn't get a snarky reprimand?" he complains. Steve's lips twitch when he catches Phil's eye.

"That would be because Rogers doesn't have his feet on the table while he plots his next attempt to turn my hair grey," Phil answers mildly. Natasha bites her lip, but Phil has known her long enough now that the twitching in the corners of her mouth is a dead giveaway.

Tony glares and opens his mouth, but before he can start bitching Clint jumps off the filing cabinet, a familiar look in his eyes that warms Phil from the inside out. "Good to have you back, sir," he says, depositing the rest of his spitball stockpile in the bin and sliding into a seat at the table. Tony's glare transfers to him at his surprising show of cooperation. Phil likes to dismiss how closely attuned he has become to his team since they were brought together, especially when Fury brings it up, but it's perfectly obvious to him that Tony is just being his usual pissy self -- there's no tension between the group that Phil can sense, and he would know.

Everyone else is mocking Tony's sulking fit, which leaves Phil free to find Clint's dancing eyes with his, let them soften a little, not so much that anyone else might notice but more than enough for Clint to catch it. Phil is man enough to admit that, even more than the acrid smell of exploding chemicals and burning paper, it's Clint's dry banter and steady shoulder that he has missed, enough to say screw it to the last couple of days of his self-imposed retreat and break a few speed limits to get back to the city. He won't be making the mistake of going away on his own again.

He watches Clint's amused, happy grin grow, listens to his team bicker and grumble around him, and thinks to himself, this is exactly where he needs to be.

-----
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