By Maquis Leader
Author’s note: during and after that 47 seconds in Thor on a cold rainy night in New Mexico – and apparently before and more after because these two just don’t know how to do a short smut scene.
“Jasper.” Phil didn’t look up from the information he was studying.
“One of your assets is pitching a fit in the barracks.”
He sighed. He’s only been here twenty minutes. “You’re being dramatic, Jasper. I’m sure Agent Barton is not throwing a temper tantrum.”
“I didn’t say temper tantrum. I said fit.” Jasper’s smirked. “And I didn’t say it was Barton.”
“Of course it’s Barton. I told Landry not to room him with anyone.” Phil frowned as his phone vibrated. The display read Landry’s name. He swiped a thumb over the reject call icon and pocketed the phone. “I swear he does this just to annoy me.”
“Barton?” Jasper held his hand out as Phil stalked past him.
He slapped a twenty into Jasper’s hand. “And I better not find out you had anything to do with this.”
“Me? Never. Of course not.” He grinned and tucked the money into his inside jacket pocket.
“Out!” A pair of combat boots came flying through the doorway and bounced off the metal wall of the trailer that had been dubbed Barracks A. “Out!”
“Hey! That’s my – “ A SHIELD agent dressed only in his shorts and t-shirt ducked as a duffel bag sailed out the door “That’s my stuff! Hey!” Dempsey ducked again as another boot nearly hit him in the face. “What the fuck is your problem?”
“No problem.” Barton snatched up another bag and tossed it out the doorway. “Just get out.”
“I was here first, and there’s two beds.” The other man protested.
“Listen, man, it’s simple.” Barton paused in the doorway and made a gesture that said ‘what are you gonna do? Life sucks’. “I don’t know you, and I don’t bunk with anybody I don’t know.”
“Where the hell am I supposed to sleep?”
“Anywhere but here.” Barton pulled the mattress off of the bunk the other man had been sleeping on before he’d thrown him out. “Take this with you – “ He slid the mattress into the hall. “ – the ground’s pretty hard out there.”
“Bullshit! I’m not fucking sleeping on the ground!” Dempsey knocked the mattress to one side and started back into the room.
Barton put a hand on the center of the man’s chest and shoved him back out. “Look, buddy, I don’t give a fuck where you sleep, but you’re not sleeping in here with me.”
“Listen, short shit – “ Dempsey pushed into Barton’s space, towering over the other man by several inches and a good fifty pounds of muscle.
“Short?” Barton bristled and pushed forward until his chest bumped the other man’s. He tipped his head up to glare at Dempsey. “Listen, shit for brains – “
Dempsey’s hands came up to curl into the lapels of Barton’s SHIELD issued field jacket and he leaned down into his face. “I’m going to bounce you off the wall a few times and then I’m going back to sleep. “
“Not in my room, you’re not.” Barton growled back.
“Agent Dempsey, please take your hands off Agent Barton.” Coulson said as he caught sight of the confrontation. He increased the speed of his walk, but he absolutely was not hurrying. “Agent Barton, please step back.”
“Coulson!” Barton bounced up on his toes and grinned at his handler over Dempsey’s bicep. “Guess who called and canceled my first fucking vacation in years? Not that I’m bitter. Here I am, all smiles and sunshine.”
“I can see that.” Coulson smiled slightly in return as he stopped next to the two men. He looked pointedly at where Dempsey’s fingers were still clenched into the material of Barton’s jacket. “Agent Dempsey, please remove your hands from Agent Barton’s jacket. I won’t ask again.”
Dempsey frowned at Coulson. He wasn’t sure if that was an order or not.
“What he means is get your fucking hands off me before I break your nose.” Barton grinned up at Dempsey, wrinkling his nose up and wiggling it for emphasis.
“I’m not scared of you, Hawkeye. Your reputation is a bunch of crap.” He let go of Barton’s jacket and shoved him back a step. “Maybe you can shoot little sticks from far away, but up close, you’re nothing. You’re the runt of the litter, and we keep you around just for laughs.”
“Barton, please.” Coulson asked.
It was a tough choice. This asshole had pissed him off. The short insults Barton could shrug off, mostly, but the runt comment burned. And the idea that he was kept around as a joke… that was crossing the line. He looked over at Coulson again and read the silent plea in the blue gray eyes. Barton huffed and took a step back. He didn’t like to disappoint Coulson. Coulson would get that sad look, and it always made him feel bad.
“Wise choice, squirt.” Dempsey shoved Barton back against the door frame.
“Crap.” Coulson sighed. Beside him, Jasper unsuccessfully stifled a snort of laughter.
Barton shared a look with Coulson. I tried.
Dempsey found himself face down on the floor, ears ringing and eyes watering, and not quite sure how he’d gotten there. A heavy weight on his back held him in place.
“I’m not sharing a room with this guy, Coulson. You know I don’t share with people I don’t know.” Barton balanced easily on Dempsey’s back, one booted foot on Dempsey’s neck and the other on the small of his back as he tried unsuccessfully to get up. He might be short – ish – but he was solid. “You know that. I can’t sleep with some guy I don’t know in the room.”
“I know. Get your stuff, you can bunk with me.”
“Awesome.” Barton stepped off of Dempsey and went back into the room to get his bag. He and Coulson had bunked together on more missions than he could count. He could sleep like a baby with Coulson in the same room.
“I’m bunking with you.” Jasper reminded Coulson as he accepted another twenty dollar bill.
“Not anymore. You’re sharing with Dempsey now. You could sleep in Grand Central Station during rush hour.” Coulson watched as Dempsey sat up slowly, clearly with more respect for Agent Barton than he’d had before. “I need Agent Barton to be well rested, Jasper. If he misses – “
“I never miss.” Barton stopped in front of them, his bag slung over one shoulder and an offended look on his face. “I hit that guy in Rio Cuarto dead on and I’d been up for over thirty-six hours. And – I had a head injury.”
“The head injury only improved your temperament. And if you don’t need the sleep.” Coulson smiled slightly. “Would you like to stay here with Dempsey?”
“Fuck no.” He shook his head. “Fuck no, sir!
“Now that I think about it, that head injury actually made me think I had been to sleep. I’m not saying I’d like to get hit that hard again, but – “
“Shutting up, sir.”
Coulson turned, confident that Barton would follow.
Coulson opened the door to the small trailer where he and Sitwell had been assigned to bunk and stepped inside, waving Barton towards the beds. “Get some sleep.”
“Yes, sir.” With a sigh, Barton dropped his bag on the bunk closest to the door and collapsed next to it, pulling off his jacket and tossing it aside. “I am so fucking tired. I drove all the way out here from Vegas after being up all night. And I mean being up all night as in having fun. Playing cards and drinking. Had a pile of books I was going to read by the pool today.” He laid his sidearm on the small table between the bunks and looked up at Coulson. “I almost had a vacation, boss.”
“I know. I’m sorry.” He was. Even without Barton’s rueful smile, complete with big puppy dog eyes, Phil was genuinely sorry that his vacation had been interrupted. He’d tried to dissuade Fury from calling Barton in, but the director had insisted this was too big not to have their best specialist. “I’m leading a team into Puente Antiguo to confiscate Doctor Foster’s equipment and research material. The briefing isn’t until seventeen hundred. I won’t need you before then.”
“I don’t have much to add – “ He yawned and pulled his shirt off over his head. “ – didn’t get to see much of the town on the way out here.”
Phil picked up Barton’s discarded jacket and hung it on a hook, busying himself to keep from staring at the rippling muscles in Barton’s arms. “I didn’t expect you to do recon on your way out here.”
“Figured I might as well – “ Clint yawned again. Standing up, he unbuckled his belt and slid his pants down. “I needed coffee anyway.”
For once Barton wasn’t going commando; Phil was relieved to see that he was wearing boxer briefs. Not that the tight material did anything to hide the archer’s fantastic ass. Not looking at Barton’s ass while not looking like he was not looking was difficult, but Phil had had plenty of practice.
“Your report can wait after you’ve gotten some rest.”
“Sorry about – you know – ” He looked up at Coulson, meeting his eyes for a moment before ducking his head back down. “I didn’t mean to cause you more paperwork.”
“Don’t worry about it. Landry obviously made a mistake in bunk assignments. There won’t be any paperwork.” And there wouldn’t be. Landry had ignored something that was common unwritten knowledge. Phil would simply add a notation to Barton’s file that would make sure it didn’t happen again.
“You’re too good to me, boss.”
It wasn’t that hard. Barton was one of the best agents, if not the best, that he’d ever worked with. It was true that Barton had been bounced from handler to handler and had earned a reputation as a troublemaker who rebelled against authority when he’d started with SHIELD. Fury had finally assigned Barton to him with instructions to figure out “what the fuck this guy’s problem is”. It turned out that Barton didn’t have a problem – although he had more than his share of eccentricities. The problem had been with being handled. Phil, unlike a lot of handlers, preferred working with assets and team members on equal footing. He and Barton had worked as a well-oiled machine right out of the gate.
Even after he’d been stupid enough to fall helplessly in love with Barton a few years later.
“Get some sleep. I’ll make sure you get to finish your vacation after we wrap this up.” Phil absolutely did not watch the muscles in Barton’s back move as he sat down on the bunk and leaned over to untie his boots. Or finish untying his boots, as he never tied them all the way up.
“Thanks, boss.” Clint grinned up at him as he kicked off his boots and pants. Shoving his bag under the bunk, he crawled under the covers.
Phil picked up Barton’s discarded pants and shirt and laid them over the back of the chair at the desk.
“Oh, hey – “
Coulson turned and raised his eyebrows in question.
“I’ve got some notes on my phone you might want to look at before the briefing.” Clint held out his phone. Coulson took out his own phone and thumbed an icon on the screen before touching his phone to Barton’s. There was a soft beep. “You know, that’s almost like phone sex.”
Slipping his phone back into his pocket, Phil shook his head. “I don’t think exchanging files is quite the same thing.”
“Slippery – “ He yawned and snuggled under the blanket. “ – slope.”
At the door, Coulson took a moment to look back at Barton, eyes closed and already sleeping, before stepping out into the New Mexico sunlight.
When the door closed, Clint opened his eyes. After a long moment, he sighed and closed them again. Why had he been so stupid as to fall in love with Coulson?
Showered and in a clean field suit, Barton stepped into the trailer where the briefing was to be held. He’d done a quick tour of the perimeter and had spotted a couple of potential weak spots. Coulson and Sitwell were already there along with Jerrick, the senior agent in charge of security for the op.
“We need coverage at sections North fifteen through eighteen, thirty-one through thirty-five. Extra guards at West twenty through forty.” Barton told Jerrick as he entered.
“There’s good coverage in those sections.” Jerrick protested.
“There’s no light behind the supply trailers in that weak section of the West. Light it up, I could hide a fucking army there.”
“You’re full of shit, Barton. My men have the entire area covered like my Granny’s white cotton panties cover her wrinkly old ass.”
“Your Granny was a stripper in Des Moines – for ten bucks anybody could cover her.” He eyed the extra coffee cup sitting on the table at Coulson's elbow and raised his eyebrows. “I need you to move that crane fifty feet to the west and put a guy on the controls around the clock.”
“I’m not moving the damn crane!” Jerrick glared at him. “It’s a damn waste of manpower! What the hell for?”
Coulson tilted his head at the cup of coffee and Barton nodded in thanks as he picked it up. “I need it moved. It’s the only damn thing I can climb up on to see everything. I need a clear shot at ground zero. It’s blocked by the damn hamster tunnels where it’s at.”
“It’s fine where it is. If you want to see the object, then get in there with it.”
Barton shook his head. “I see better from a distance. Move it, and move the weapons truck close to it. And don’t fucking touch my weapons, either. They’re where I want them.”
“You don’t give me orders, Barton.” The other man slouched back in his chair. “Security is my job and it’s been handled.”
The pissing contest had gone on long enough, in Coulson's opinion. He knew Barton wouldn’t ask for the changes unless they were necessary. “Please implement Agent Barton’s suggestions, Agent Jerrick.”
“Are you serious, Coul – sir? Barton shows up after we’ve done all the work, sleeps all damn day, and now he’s giving orders?”
There was silence in the small room. Coulson locked eyes with Jerrick, his expression calm and serene, not allowing his irritation at the other man’s lack of respect to show. Barton looked over the top of his coffee cup at Sitwell, clearly enjoying the show. After a moment Jerrick looked away. Getting up from his chair, he stalked out of the trailer.
“I can’t believe you didn’t see the holes in the perimeter, boss.” Barton said after he’d swallowed enough coffee to wake his brain up. Funny how it had sugar and cream in it, just like he liked. Realizing Coulson had made it just for him made him feel warm and fuzzy.
“I did. I was curious to see if you would.”
“Please, really?” He scoffed. “That hammer – did the locals try to dig it out or did we?” Barton had examined the hammer and the pedestal of rock it was resting on before he reported to the meeting.
“Neither.” Coulson told him. “The locals said it was already that way when they found it.”
“We tried to cut it off – burned up three lasers and a half a dozen drills before we gave up.” Sitwell shook his head. “We’re stuck out here until we figure out what the hell that thing is.”
“It’s a hammer. Big, blocky thing with a handle on it?” Barton held his hands up and sketched the shape in the air.
Coulson tapped the table and the display lit up. “It might look like a hammer, but for right now, we don’t know what it is.”
“Little strap hanging off the handle? Looks like a hammer?” Barton ducked his head and tried to look contrite as Coulson's eyes narrowed.
“The crater indicates an impact as if it fell from some distance.” Coulson continued.
“Or was thrown.”
“It had to fall from space to make that big of a crater.” Sitwell protested. “There’s no way.”
“How long you been in SHIELD, Sitwell?” Barton snorted.
“There’s no debris in the area, just the dirt and rock that was blasted outward from the impact.” Coulson frowned. He didn’t like things that didn’t give him all the answers. “It wasn’t inside anything – no pod or container.”
Barton shook his head. “Somebody threw that thing. That’s the only explanation.”
“You think somebody at the International Space Station accidentally dropped it?” Sitwell joked. “Maybe it’s some old Soyuz space junk? Did you see the markings on it? Celtic or something like that.”
“Something like that.” Tapping an icon on the table, Coulson gestured to the display that appeared. “From the radius of the impact crater, the object would have had to have fallen from outside Earth’s atmosphere. It somehow survived entry and impact completely unscathed. That concerns me.”
“It concerns you that it’s not damaged?” Sitwell asked.
“It concerns me that someone may come after it.” Clint jerked a thumb at himself.
Both men turned to look at him. Barton shrugged. “It looks like a big ass sledgehammer. It was dropped or thrown. I’d say sooner or later, someone is going to come looking for it.” He shrugged again. “But that’s just me.”
Coulson frowned. “That also concerns me.” Now.
“Last night there was an event – a wormhole, the geeks in the lab are calling it – “ Sitwell pulled up another holographic display of the previous night’s event. “But it doesn’t coincide with the hammer’s location.”
“So… there’s something else out there?” Draining his coffee, Barton tossed the cup into the trashcan across the room. “I hate it when I’m right.”
“Me, too.” Sitwell shot him a dirty look. “We tracked down the location and found this – “
Barton sat up in his chair as the picture appeared on the display. “Those are more of those funky markings.”
“Like those on the hammer – object – damn it, Barton.” Coulson shot a glance at the archer.
Flicking the edges of the image to enlarge it, Barton studied it more closely. “It’s been disturbed – there’s footprints, and other marks.”
“Maybe whoever drew it made a mistake and then tried to wipe it out?”
“I want to take a look at it before it gets too late.” When Coulson nodded, Barton tapped another icon on the display and brought up the map he’d made of the town. “I came through Puente Antiguo on my way in. The locals are pretty protective of Doctor Foster, though they think she’s a little crazy. The diner here – “ He indicated a building that flashed red as he touched it. “ – has awesome French toast, Sitwell.”
“Really?” The other man’s eyes lit up. “I’ll have to give it a try before we go.”
“Gentlemen, focus please.” Coulson sighed. The two of them were forever trying to top each other on the local cuisine.
“Doctor Selvig just got into town early yesterday. Word is that he stopped in the grocery store – “ Barton tapped another building. “ – and bought two bottles of vodka. You’ve got my notes and pictures of Doc Foster’s set up in the old car dealership – and who the fuck would have a car dealership in this neck of the woods anyway – it looks like she spends a lot of time on the roof. There’s one of those outdoor firepit things and a couple of lawn chairs.”
“We brought back everything except the firepit and the lawn chairs.” Coulson told him. “She’s been working on a theory of bridges connecting Earth to other worlds. The Science department says she's found a way to predict and track these disturbances.”
“Which is probably why the locals think she’s a little crazy. She has a small camper parked outside that she sleeps in. Darcy Lewis, her assistant and apparently a hell of a drinker per the locals, sleeps in the old office of the car dealership.”
“All of which we know, Barton.” Sitwell told him.
“Hey, I just stopped in to get coffee and talk with the locals.” He held his hands up. “When I saw her coming back in from the desert I decided it was time to get the fuck out of Dodge. I was dead tired and still had fifty miles to drive to get out here to the SHIELD branch of Motel 6.”
“Was there a blonde man with her?”
“Blonde man?” Barton turned to look at Sitwell, a frown creasing his forehead. “No.”
“She brought in some guy to the ER, said she hit him with her truck. And Ms. Lewis tasered him, too.” Sitwell grinned. “She’s got some balls, the guy’s at least twice her size.”
“Is he important? Nobody said anything about him.” Barton frowned. “I didn’t see anything at Foster’s place to indicate another person with them."
“He’s not a local. Nobody knows him. He was doing a lot of yelling about being the son of somebody important. They had him sedated but apparently not enough to keep him from getting loose and walking out of the hospital. According to the men we’ve got in town, he was at the diner this afternoon and heard the locals talking about the hammer, asked where it was, and then took off.” Sitwell shrugged. “Last seen with the good doc heading out of town this way. My bet is they’re waiting for dark.”
“For what? To try and get her equipment back?” Barton laughed. “She’s about as big as a fart.”
“To get that hammer. And that guy with her is bigger than your biggest fart and God knows that’s saying something.”
Barton got up. “Well, hell, come on, I want to go look at that site before they get here.”
As he walked out, Coulson held out a hand to take the twenty Sitwell owed him. “Never bet against Barton when it comes to security, Jasper.”
“I’ll get it back, and I’m still up twenty.”
“The mission is young.”
“We drove out here for you to say ‘wow’?”
Barton ignored Sitwell and climbed up on the roof of the SUV they’d ridden in. The site was bigger than he’d thought – there’d been nothing in the picture to give it scale. There was a circle several yards across, filled with strange designs except for a large area that was full of footprints. After a few minutes of scanning the site from this angle, he noticed something he hadn’t seen in the photographs. “Hey, there’s tire tracks over there, leading right into it, and then back out.”
“Doctor Foster’s van.” Sitwell confirmed.
Clint jumped down and walked around the site. SHIELD agents had examined and photographed it extensively, and they were the best in the world, but there was still something to examining it firsthand. He knelt down at the edge of the circle. “These markings – they’re similar to the one on the hammer.”
“Cryptologists are working on that.” Coulson told him. “Current hypothesis is Celtic runes, but they’re not quite –“
“Not quite right. Nah…” He shook his head. “I worked with a fortune teller who was into Celtic runes and signs and… everything. These aren’t like any of the designs in her books.” Touching the markings, the archer made a surprised sound. “This isn’t drawn into the dirt – it’s like it was burned.”
“No signs of any accelerant.”
Barton looked up at Sitwell, dubious. Nothing burned up every trace of the accelerant. There was always something left. “This looks weird. It reminds me of something, I can’t quite put my finger on it though.”
Sighing, he stood up and dusted his hands off on his pants. “So the good Doc Foster is out here looking for her Epstein thing – “
“Einstein.” Coulson smiled slightly. “Einstein-Rosen Bridge.”
“The locals said Epstein.” Barton shrugged. “Okay, anyway she’s out here and she runs into – literally – this big guy. The question is, what was he doing out here, and what did he make this circle for?”
“You think he made it?” Pieces moved around in Coulson's brain and started to connect. “You think he was – doing what, exactly? Trying to open a wormhole?”
“Wormhole?” Barton looked up at Coulson, squinting into the setting sun.
“That’s what an Einstein-Rosen Bridge is. Theoretically. Doctor Foster is trying prove their existence and that they can be opened at will.”
“Is that what she’s doing?” He raised his eyebrows. “Locals think she’s here to scout for a new government observatory to watch for asteroids or UFOs.”
“Until now, we thought she had about as much luck at finding ET as she did of finding a wormhole.” Sitwell leaned back on the SUV, shivering in the cooling desert air. First you burned up and then you froze. No wonder nobody lived out here.
“Until a few months ago we didn’t think Tony Stark could turn himself into a freaking robot, either.” Barton walked around the circle, pausing next to Coulson. “If the guy was out here, how’d he get out here? There’s no other vehicle tracks.”
“Walked?” Jasper suggested.
“Maybe, but not likely.” Taking his phone out of his pocket, Barton tapped the camera icon. “Can I get some light on the section a yard and a half in from this edge?”
“You’re never going to use meters, are you?” Coulson turned on his phone’s flashlight app and aimed it at the area.
“Not unless I have to.” He tapped the area on the screen he wanted to focus on and took a picture, zoomed in and took another. Continuing on his path around the circle, he motioned for Coulson to shine the light on another area. He took another set of pictures. “You can shut that off.”
“Find something?” Coulson had looked at the pictures and the reports, several times, but Barton tended to see things differently than most agents. Maybe it was part of always being on the outside.
“I think so. Maybe.” Reaching where he’d started, Barton backed up a few feet and made another slow tour around the circle. “I think maybe.”
Coulson resisted following behind him, moving instead to lean against the SUV next to Sitwell. Barton would come to him in his own time. “You wouldn’t think it’d be so damn cold in the desert at night.” Sitwell complained.
“The dry air doesn’t hold down the heat that the soil absorbs all day and then radiates back as heat.” Coulson told him. “That creates a deficit. Mother nature hates that.”
“You Googled that.” Sitwell accused.
“Did not, city boy.”
Joining them at the SUV, Barton tilted the phone to show the pictures he’d taken, pulling at the corners of the images to enlarge the area that had caught his attention. “Outside the circle, there’s three sets of footprints. Over here, where the vehicle drove in – “ He swiped the screen to show a picture of tire tracks and footprints. “ – and also here where the vehicle drove out. I’d say two women and one man, based on shape and size.”
“You can tell which tire tracks are coming in and which are going out?” Sitwell wasn’t saying Barton was full of bullshit, but this was pushing it.
“An old Indian scout taught me.” He stuck his tongue out at Sitwell. “The tread pattern looks different. It’s designed that way.”
“What else?” Coulson interrupted.
“Inside the circle there’s four sets of footprints. Two male, two female. Unless the stray blonde guy pole vaulted – he didn’t walk in. It’s like he dropped in. And he didn’t walk out, they carried him. Which, considering he was hit by a van and then tased…” Barton shrugged. “Yeah, okay.”
Coulson straightened up. “Was there any evidence of a parachute? I don’t recall anything in the reports.”
“Which means it wasn’t in there.” Barton was as confident of Coulson's ability to remember what was in the reports as Coulson was of Barton’s ability to notice the weird stuff.
“No, no parachute or indications of a landing. First assumption was that the marking was a target for parachutists. Didn’t pan out.” Sitwell told him. He frowned and surreptitiously handed over a twenty to Coulson.
Barton put his phone away and zipped up his jacket. “Damn, it’s getting cold quick.”
“Radiation cooling.” Sitwell told him.
“There’s radiation?” Barton’s eyes grew wide. “I thought it wasn’t hot?”
“Not that type of radiation.” Coulson rolled his eyes. “He’s been on Google again.”
“I thought you told him to quit that?” Barton walked around the front of the SUV and opened the driver’s door.
“It keeps him off Wikipedia.”
“Hey!” Barton snapped his fingers. “I got it now! The way the design looks – it’s like a brand. Like it was branded into the ground. That’s why there’s no sign of accelerant!”
“That’d be one big ass branding iron, Barton.” Sitwell said from the backseat.
“It only sounds weird until you add in the hammer that fell from space that nobody can pick up.” The archer grinned.
“And the guy that fell from out of nowhere.” The other agent added. “Right. Not weird at all.”
“Just another day at SHIELD. Hey, if that guy really came out of nowhere like that hammer did – “ He turned the key in the ignition. “Jerrick better have that crane moved before the guy shows up.” When Coulson gave him a sour look, he shrugged and dropped the shifter into gear. “Better be prepared is all I’m sayin’.”
Coulson sighed. He should have listened to his mother and done something safer with his life. Like join the bomb squad.
“I’ve got an idea.”
“I’m listening.” Coulson looked up from the reports he’d been studying. Again. Barton was pouring coffee at the counter in the small mess tent that had been set up.
Barton handed him a cup of fresh coffee and sat down with his own on the other side of the table. “We know that blonde guy is coming out here for that hammer.”
“We don’t?” He tilted his head and looked sideways at Coulson. “Should I go grab a nap?”
“I’m still listening.”
“It occurred to me that making sure the place is secure so that he can’t get in is counterproductive. I think we want him inside.”
“We do?” Coulson kept a straight face, but barely. “Counterproductive? You’re using that Word-of-the-Day calendar I bought for your birthday, aren’t you?”
“We do.” Barton didn’t even pretend to try and hide his grin. “And wait ‘til you see tomorrow’s word, it’s a doozy. I might even be able to use it in my report.”
“I can’t wait.”
“Anyway, we have the hammer and no clue what it is or where it came from. This guy that’s coming after it does, I’d bet on it.”
“What makes you think that?” New plans were already running through his brain – he didn’t doubt Barton, but Phil’s role in their strategy sessions was that of devil’s advocate.
“Why else would he come after it? You think he’s pissed he didn’t get a chance to try and pick it up when the big party was going on?” He waited but Coulson didn’t offer a comeback. “So we let him in. Let him – well, I think we should probably not let him pick it up – but let him get close and then take him down and ask him what the fuck this thing is.”
“You’re suggesting that Jerrick roll back the changes you had him make?”
“Not all of them. That one area in the West section where there was a dark spot, that’s a perfect place to let him in.” He took another drink of his coffee. “Then we funnel him where we want him to go instead of wondering where he’s going to break in.”
A slow smile lifted the corner of Coulson's mouth. “Jerrick is going to be upset.”
“See this?” Clint drained his coffee and set the empty cup on the table. “This is where I would keep the fucks if I gave any.”
“The crane has been moved.” Coulson stood up, collecting his cup and Barton’s. “I’ll make sure the rest is taken care of. Just be ready if – “
“ – this guy shows up.”
“I’ll be ready. I’m a ready teddy.” He grinned. “Sir.”
Coulson went to find Sitwell and collect another twenty dollars.
The first rumble of thunder made Barton nervous. They were in the desert. Where it never rained. Not that he minded a little rain. Or even a little thunder. It was the lightning that made him nervous. He was in the middle of a very flat area and he was going to be the highest thing around. And in a metal bucket. Good thinking, Barton. Maybe he’d get lucky and the guy wouldn’t show after all.
He could hear the agents watching the monitoring equipment muttering nervously as well. Their screens were jumping and fuzzing out like the TV set he’d had as a kid. He could see Sitwell fiddling with his phone and assumed the cell signal had gone down too. This night was looking better all the time.
He nearly smiled at the report of the perimeter breach on the West, right in that dark spot, until he heard “Agent down!” and the smile turned into a grimace. To keep things looking as normal as possible, the agents on patrol in that area hadn’t been told of the expected breach. It went without saying that they should have been at the top of their game – but if someone was dead, then Blondie was getting a shaft right between the eyes.
The skies opened up and rain roared out just as a barrage of reports came in advising that the intruder had entered the maze of tunnels. He barreled in like a bull in a china shop right where they’d wanted him to. And kept moving in spite of the agents there to stop him. Barton felt a little more nervous. The guy continued, through agents who were more and more skilled the deeper he penetrated into the site. What if this guy was a mutant? This could be a big fucking mess.
Why did you think you knew how to handle this, Barton? You’re not here for your brains. A crack of thunder nearly made him bolt out of his skin. “Holy shit!”
“I need eyes up high, with a gun.”
Coulson's calm voice sounded in his ear and Barton immediately felt that calm seep into his bones. Coulson had approved his plan, which meant it was a good plan. “On it, sir.” He bolted into the weapons van and grabbed a rifle. Then he paused and took down the large compound bow hanging above it. There were only five arrows attached to it, but he really only needed one. Okay, maybe two. The first one would be an attempt to take the guy alive. The second… not so much.
Running out into the rain, he headed for the crane. It had been moved, per his instructions, and he tossed the bow into the bucket and clambered in, gesturing for the agent at the controls to take him up. ‘Cos this is where I want to be in the middle of a fucking thunderstorm. In a metal bucket. Not just in a metal bucket, oh no, ladies and gentleman, The Amazing Hawkeye will actually make sure he’s in metal bucket at the highest point in the entire fucking state.
In his ear, he could hear chatter reporting the big man’s progress through the tunnels and the names of the agents who were being taken down. So far there’d been no fatalities reported. Broken bones, cracked heads, injured pride – but nobody in serious trouble. His eyebrows shot up at some of the names he was hearing taken down. Guys that he’d have trouble beating in a fair fight. If he fought fair. Which he didn’t.
The bucket rocked as the cable hauled it up at top speed. Anybody who hadn’t grown up working in a carnival would probably have been pitched out by now or thrown up or both. Lightning struck close by and he blinked. Falling out was looking like a good idea, actually.
Oh, I fly through the air with the greatest of ease, the daring young man who’s going to get fried on his trapeze.
Below him, he could see the shadow of the big guy as he ran through the last tunnel. That was not good. Where were the agents who should be stopping him? He couldn’t have gone through all of them. Could he? This night was getting better and better every fucking minute.
“Barton, talk to me.”
Coulson's order came just as the bucket hit the top and lurched to a stop. Perfect timing as always. Ignoring the swinging, Barton nocked an arrow and pulled smoothly. “You want me to slow him down, sir?” Rain ran down his face and he ignored it. If he thought about the rain, he’d have to think about how fucking cold he was in the wet, soggy clothes he was wearing. Feeling cold would make his hands shake and that was not allowed. His thumb came to rest just under his earlobe, and he held at full pull. “Or are you sending in more guys for him to beat up?”
“I’ll let you know.”
That was Coulson speak for wait, I’m curious to see how this plays out.
A smirk curled Barton’s lip. Coulson had probably pulled the remaining agents out of the way and given the guy a free run at the hammer. Nice. If they could manage to take the guy down before he got his hands on the thing and did something like... bludgeon them all to death. Maybe being up in the air was a good idea after all.
Out of nowhere, or at least it seemed to Barton, Dempsey rose up and stepped in front of the guy and knocked him down. For a moment, he was almost sorry he’d thrown the guy out of his own bunk. Almost. Dempsey and the blonde guy burst through the side of the tunnel and out into the open, both rolling around and scrabbling for the upper hand on the slick ground. They were soon soaked and covered in mud. Hey, mud wrestling! And I’ve got a front row seat! Whoever the big guy was, he was attractive in that muscled and chiseled way some people liked. Which Barton did from time to time.
The guy managed to take Dempsey down after an amazing leap straight up that ended with both feet hitting Dempsey square in the chest. Fucking awesome! That was like some of the stuff ‘Tasha did. Only with probably two hundred more pounds of muscle behind it. Then like a homing pigeon, the guy headed back into the tunnels, ripping down a wall to get to the area the hammer was in.
“You better call it, Coulson. I’m starting to root for this guy.”
There was silence from his handler, and Barton relaxed his pull slightly. Had he missed hearing that Coulson was down? His heart sped up and his throat closed. Chills that had nothing to do with the cold rain ran down his spine. No. He’d have heard. If Coulson had gone down, there’d be a shit ton of chatter on the comm. Calming himself, he pulled the string back to full draw as the guy burst into the area where the hammer was. “Last chance, sir.”
“Wait. I want to see this.”
The guy was looking at the hammer as if he’d been looking for it all his life. Like he’d found his soul mate. Like it was rare and precious – which as far as Barton knew – was probably the case, but it was still weird. Even Coulson, who loved his little Corvette, didn’t look at it like this.
When the moment came and the guy wrapped his fingers around the handle and tried to lift the hammer, it was completely disappointing. Barton had expected him to lift it right out of the rock pedestal it was embedded in like King Arthur in that old fairy tale. Hold it up and yell “Excelsior!” or some dramatic shit. Only… only… it didn’t move. He could see that Coulson was disappointed as well, from the way he stared while the man collapsed to his knees, rain running down his face and off his nose. At any other time, Barton would have kidded him about it. But somehow, it didn’t feel right this time.
Barton eased off on the draw, still ready to pull and fire in a second if he needed to. Somehow, he didn’t think he’d need to. He could hear the scream of denial and anguish from where he was; he couldn’t imagine how it was in the tented area next to him. It was clear that the guy had expected to pick up the hammer as much as they thought he would, and he was losing his mind that he couldn’t. The guy stayed there, head bowed, rain pouring over him, slumped in the mud like a lost child.
Coulson stood watching him for a few moments longer before he lifted the radio to his lips. “All right, show’s over. Ground units move in.”
Agents moved in and quickly secured the guy, cuffing his hands behind his back. He offered no resistance. Barton watched for a few moments until they moved out of sight into the tunnels before he lowered the bow and let down the draw. Motioning at the crane operator to bring him back down, he secured the arrow back in the quiver. The rain began slacking off and dribbled to a stop as the bucket touched down.
“Where’s Coulson?” Barton asked as he walked back into the command center, his boots squishing with each step.
“On his way.” Sitwell told him from where he was watching their captive on the monitors. “The guy’s secured in a holding cell for now.”
“He’s not questioning him?”
“Later.” Coulson entered the area from one of the tunnels. “Report, Barton.”
“Not much of a show, I think I want my money back.” Tension eased from his body at the command. The current situation was over, and he could stand down.
“Not what you were expecting?”
“Nope. From what I could see, he took out everybody that got in between him and that hammer. Only Dempsey gave him any problems and I got the feeling he kinda got off on it. The big guy, I mean, not Dempsey. By the way, if we have video of them mud wrestling, I call dibs on first viewing.”
“Barton.” Coulson frowned at him. He was wet and cold and he was sure his suit was ruined. This was no time for the archer’s usual joking.
“I had the shot and could have taken him down at any time, sir.”
“Good job.” He took in Barton’s soaking wet, drowned rat appearance. “Go change and get warmed up. If I need you, I’ll call.”
“Thanks, boss.” Now that the show was over, Barton was aware of just how cold and wet he was. His hands were trembling, fingers nearly numb, and his teeth were beginning to chatter. “I really thought he was going to pick it up.”
“He did, too.” He put a hand on Barton’s shoulder and pushed him toward the tunnel that led outside closest to their trailer. “There’s some hot cocoa pouches in my bag.”
“Whiskey’d be better.” Barton said as he headed off.
“After this is over, I’ll personally buy you a drink.” Coulson watched him walk away for a moment before turning back to Sitwell. “Tell me what we’ve got.”
Barton made it as far as the weapons truck before his plan for a hot shower, dry clothes and hot cocoa was derailed. As he put his foot on the metal step leading into the truck, Jerrick blocked the doorway. He really didn’t have time for this shit – he was sopping wet and chilled right down to the fucking bone. “Whatever your problem is, take it up with Agent Coulson.”
“My problem is with you – not Coulson – “
“Agent Coulson.” He corrected. “Senior Agent Coulson.” He didn’t like this jagoff not using Coulson's rank.
“What the fuck ever, Barton.” Jerrick didn’t move from his position in the doorway of the truck. He crossed his arms over his chest and glared down at the other man. “Coulson specifically said he wanted you to take a gun and yet there you are with that antiquated stick with a string tied to it. You disobeyed a direct order.”
“Wouldn’t be the first time.” Barton put his foot back on the step and Jerrick shoved it off. “What the fuck is your problem?”
“You! You whined and moaned about the security on West and then had me pull the men back off – so that oversized ape gets in and makes me look like an amateur!”
Barton fought to keep his temper. The soaked tac jacket felt as if he was wearing a bag of rocks, and his muscles were beginning to cramp from the cold. “Coulson has already sent a report saying he authorized that, you’re off the hook.”
“Oh, so Coulson sent a report? Sure, and that’s going to be common knowledge? Everybody’s gonna know?” Jerrick was enjoying towering over Barton and making the shorter man crane his neck to look up at him.
“You should know that Agent Coulson won’t let you look bad.” Unless you deserve it, you prick.
“This isn’t about Coulson, this is about you disobeying orders. You were ordered to take a gun, not that damn bow.”
Deep breath. Deep breath. “Considering the weather conditions and the close quarters – the bow was less dangerous.” Some of Jerrick’s men had gathered behind him and were looking over his shoulder. A few of them grinned and one flipped Barton the bird.
“That’s why guns were invented. Because shooting sticks at people isn’t very God damn dangerous.” Jerrick smirked.
Tell that to Custer. “Sure, let’s use a high powered rifle in a crowded situation.” He clenched his teeth against the shivers that were starting to travel through his body. The longer he stood out here in the wind, the more he felt like a lump of ice.
“I thought you never missed, Hawkeye, isn’t that what you claim?” Jerrick smirked down at the archer.
“Oh, I could guarantee the bullet would have hit him in the thigh – bust the leg to shit and he never walks right again – and then – “ Barton made a sailing motion with his free hand. “ – the bullet goes out the other side and into whoever is in its path. Like right into that fucking mud covered lummox of yours.
“The arrow would have made a clean break in the bone.” He continued. “So it’d heal up pretty decent and would stop, so it didn’t skewer his mud wrestling partner. Cleaner, safer, easier on everybody.” He hid another spasm of shivering with what he hoped was a nonchalant shrug. “Now will you move your ass so I can clean my bow and put it away?”
“I don’t want that antique in my weapons van.” Jerrick kicked Barton’s foot off the step as he once again tried to take a step inside.
“Look, Jerrick, I’m having a bad day, okay? I was on my first vacation since joining SHIELD, Fury makes me come out here in the middle of fucking nowhere, I stood out in a rainstorm for nothing, and now I’m freezing my ass off. I just want to clean my weapons so I can go get warm and write my report.”
“Sure, just turn around and take your little stick with you. Take it to your bunk with you, that way you can jack off with it right there in your arms.” Jerrick’s men snickered at the remark. Everybody knew Barton had a hard on for his bow.
I tried, I really tried. “I could just stick it up your ass – but I don’t want to have to burn it afterwards.”
“Watch your mouth when you talk to a senior agent, Specialist, or I’ll write you up for insubordination.”
“Do that, I might need it if we run out of toilet paper.” He winked at Dempsey over Jerrick’s shoulder. “Hey, sure looked like you enjoyed rolling around in the mud with that guy, maybe you should make a career of it.”
“Fuck you, Barton. Fuck you!” Dempsey covered with mud, tried to push past Jerrick. The other agents held him back.
“I think you need a little attitude adjustment, Barton.” Jerrick pulled off his jacket and handed it to one of the agents behind him.
“I suppose you think you’re the man to do it?” He stepped back and shifted the bow to his right hand. Up at the plate, ladies and gentleman, Clint Barton! Throws left, bats with either hand and is really tired of Jerrick’s bullshit!
Jerrick’s feet hit the muddy ground with a squelch and he paused to crack his knuckles. Barton settled his left hand into a comfortable position low on the bottom limb of the bow and began to raise it into position. He was too stiff and cold for a fist fight, but the compound bow made one hell of a nice club.
“Agent Jerrick, it appears you’re blocking the way into the weapons van.” Coulson placed a hand over the one Barton had wrapped around the bow’s grip. He felt the archer relax and the bow dropped easily back to Barton’s side. Coulson let his hand fall to his side as well. “Is there a reason you’re keeping Agent Barton standing in the cold? Perhaps discussing the successful capture of the intruder?”
“We were discussing the fact that Barton disobeyed a direct order, Coulson.”
Dumbass. Barton rolled his eyes. Coulson gave you an out. A gust of cold air made him shiver, and he locked his jaw to keep his teeth from chattering.
“Agent Barton is always free to use the weapon he believes is best suited to the job. Clearly, as the situation deteriorated, a gun could have resulted in injuries to our people, even with Barton’s skill – he can’t change the laws of physics.” Though he certainly has tried.
“What makes you so damn special, Barton?” Jerrick glared at the archer and took another step forward.
Trusting Coulson, as always, Barton didn’t make any kind of move that could be interpreted as an attack. He stood, shivering, eyes locked with Jerrick. Coulson would make sure that if Jerrick threw a punch, it’d never land.
“Agent Jerrick.” Coulson said softly. “That’s enough.”
“I have men who are military blood, Coulson! West Point and VMI graduates, men who were born and bred to be SHIELD agents! And when the time comes, you send this mutt out to do the job instead!”
“Agent Barton, please go shower and get warmed up.” Coulson gave him a subtle push as he stepped between him and Jerrick. “Agent Barton works with me because he does his job and does it well. I expect a certain standard from my team. I’m disappointed that you’re not making the effort I expect from a senior agent. When this mission is over, you’ll be reassigned.”
Barton couldn’t hide his glee, though it was impossible to grin and stick his tongue out the way his teeth were chattering; he’d bite it off. Jerrick’s career at SHIELD had just flatlined. Being booted off of Coulson's team meant that no one else would want him on their team either. Jerrick had just been stamped as ‘not a team player’ by the one man at SHIELD whose opinion counted almost as much as Director Fury’s. Sucks to be you!
“You are to consider yourself on report for intimidation of a subordinate agent. I expect both your incident report and your report on this event to be submitted within the hour.”
“Me? On report? Are you – did you see – my men will back me up – “ Jerrick turned to see that the other agents had fled at some point and he was alone.
Ignoring him, Coulson turned and gave Barton a look that clearly said why are you still standing here?
“Need – to clean my weapon – sir.” It was hard to get the words out without his teeth clacking together.
Eyeing the other man carefully, Coulson could see that Barton was trying to hide the fact that he was shivering. “After you get warmed up.” He walked past Barton in the direction of his trailer.
Jerrick gawked as Barton turned obediently and trailed Coulson like a puppy. Despite his half frozen fingers, Barton managed to flip him the bird behind Coulson's back.
Phil opened the trailer door and motioned Barton inside. When the archer hesitated, trying to scrape mud off his boots, he gave him a nudge. “Don’t worry about that, just get inside before you freeze to death.”
“May – may – be – too late – for – that – “ Clint stepped to one side so that Coulson could enter and close the door.
“Get undressed, I’ll get something to put your clothes in.” It concerned him that Barton’s hand had been so cold. The metal of the bow couldn’t have been any colder. Stepping into the small bathroom, he took two plastic bags from the cabinet and came back. “Here.” He held one out to Barton.
Barton could barely lift his arm, the coat was so heavy and he was so cold. Phil watched his arm shake and sighed. “I’ll help, put your hand back down.”
“Tha – thank – fuck!” Clint’s jaws hurt from clenching them and his muscles were drawn up into tight, painful knots.
“Of course you can still cuss.” Phil said, a fond smile curving his lips slightly. He pulled off his suit jacket and dropped it in the bag. “Put the bow on the table.” He ducked as the end of the bow swung toward his face. “Wait – never mind.”
“S – s – sorry – “ The heat from the embarrassment of nearly clocking Coulson with his bow wasn’t enough to unwrap his cold fingers from the bow’s grip.
“Been there. I spent two days in a Russian gulag – nearly lost my toes.” He frowned as he loosened the other man’s fingers from the bow. They were ice cold and looked nearly blue. “And that was in the ‘officers’ quarters.”
He laid the bow on the table and catching Barton’s eye, he shook his head. “It’ll be all right for a little while. It won’t rust while you take a shower.”
The coat was heavy, completely soaked through with water and Coulson wasn’t sure he was going to be able to lift it off. “These things are supposed to be waterproof. R&D is getting a stern email.”
“Not – exactly – normal – rain – “ He tugged his arm back as Coulson pulled on the soaked jacket cuff. Water dripped in a steady stream to the floor. Clint tottered around in a circle as the jacket was peeled off of him, and Coulson simply pulled the other sleeve inside out to get it off. The coat hit the floor with a splat. “Phone – “
Pulling the cell phone out of a pocket, Phil looked at the fogged over screen. “I’m not sure we can save it.” He left Barton to go to his duffel bag. “I’ve got an emergency kit, we’ll see what it’ll do.”
Clint watched him take the phone apart, pop the battery out and slide everything inside the emergency kit. R&D said they were effective most of the time, but he had a feeling this wasn’t one of those times. Oh, well, he could always download Angry Birds again.
Phil turned and saw that Barton was still standing where he’d left him, arms crossed over his chest and shaking. Water dripped from his hair, down his face and into his collar. “You look like a drowned puppy.”
“Only – half – dr – dr – drown – sir – “
“You can stop calling me sir, Barton. Nobody’s here but us.” He took one of Barton’s hands and peeled the fingerless leather glove off. The leather was stiff and clung to his skin like it was glued. “Sorry.” He said when Barton winced. The other glove came off more easily, perhaps from not being clenched into a fist. Phil paused and rubbed Barton’s hands between his own at a brisk rate, trying to warm them up. They were icy, and while it wasn’t cold enough to worry about frostbite, he knew that cold fingers were painful.
He glanced up to see Barton looking at him with an unguarded expression of what seemed like adoration. The mosaic eyes were quickly averted and when Barton looked back, there was the usual mocking gleam in them. Ah, well, he’d probably imagined it anyway.
Clint’s hissed in a breath as his fingertips began tingling. He pulled his hands away, even though he didn’t really want to. Having Coulson hold his hands was wonderful, but feeling was returning to his fingers and they hurt like a bitch.
“You’ll be okay.” Phil assured him. “Just get out of that wet field suit.”
He fumbled with zipper at his throat for a few moments, his fingertips still feeling like big lumps of ice, before Coulson sighed and moved his hands out of the way. “Sorry.”
Phil didn’t answer. He tugged at the zipper, pulling it down to the waist and open before sliding the wet material back off Barton’s shoulders. It took a bit of tugging to get it off the archer’s arms. The wet suit had molded itself to his biceps and forearms. He swallowed, thankful he was looking down so Barton couldn’t see his face. The gray t-shirt underneath was equally soaked and nearly transparent. Those amazing arms were clearly outlined by the wet cotton, the muscles and tendons quivering from the cold. Phil felt his cock quivering in response. He jerked his gaze away, to Barton’s chest, quickly realizing that was no help. The younger man’s chest was just as well muscled and just as visible through the wet t-shirt and his nipples were dark and hard from the cold. He imagined sucking them through the cloth, and his own suit wasn’t nearly wet enough to cool that image down.
Enough of that! Phil unhooked the buckle of the holster rig, careful not to let his fingers brush across Barton’s trembling stomach. He’s freezing to death and you’re thinking of molesting him! With the belt undone, he moved to the straps that secured the sidearm to Barton’s thigh. They buckled on the inside – of course they did! – so that no one could get a hold of them and pull the gun loose. It also meant that Phil had to put his hands between Barton’s thighs. He patted the inside of one thigh and the archer shifted, obediently moving his feet out and spreading his legs wider apart.
Cold wet suit or not, Phil’s cock was hard and throbbing at the very idea of where his hands were. Never mind that what he was doing was completely innocent, his cock was only interested in location, location, location! And his brain was going right along with the idea by imagining Barton naked and trembling under his hands. Swallowing hard, he quickly and efficiently unbuckled the holster’s straps and pulled the rig loose from Barton. He wrapped the straps around the sidearm, and set it on the table next to the bow.
Clint was trembling, his breathing rough. Coulson was kneeling at his feet. It wasn’t quite the situation he’d fantasized about, but he’d take it. This was real. If he had the guts, he’d pull Coulson up and kiss the hell out of him. And then probably get his ass kicked back out into the cold. Coulson was only taking care of him like he always had from day one, nothing more. That didn’t mean that Clint wasn’t going to savor every moment and save it for later. Luckily, he was too cold to get a full hard on and have Coulson figure it out on his own. His cock was getting interested in what was going on, but there wasn’t enough blood flow to put it in control.
Without his suit jacket on, Coulson's shirt was molded to his body, outlining the firm muscles that few realized were there. Fully dressed, he looked ordinary. A suit. A paper pusher. So when the paper pusher unloaded a punch on someone, they had no idea how much power was about to hit them in the jaw. Clint did, as he’d sparred with Coulson many, many times. Despite having a handful of years and pounds on the older man, he wasn’t always able to win. And he usually won by cheating.
The laces of Barton’s boots were half undone as always and for once Phil didn’t take him to task for it. He was happy he wasn’t going to have to cut the laces to get them off. He tugged the boots off, setting them next to the door, and peeling off the wet socks. He used them to wipe the mud off his hands. Enough stalling, Coulson, be a man and take his pants off. He barely stifled the panicked giggle at the unintended double meaning.
He had his hands on the buckle of Barton’s pants when he noticed for the first time how harsh the other man’s breathing had become. Glancing up, Phil saw naked desire in the mosaic eyes, the want and need that matched his own. He let his eyes travel back down Barton’s chest and stomach, wondering when the trembling and shaking had changed from chilled to passionate. Below the buckle, the wet fabric of Barton’s pants showed him more proof. Phil looked back up and locked eyes with him for a long moment.
His hands slowly undid the buckle and eased the pants down over Barton’s hips, hooking his fingers in the black boxer briefs and dragging them down as well. Barton’s cock was half erect. Phil had to think that, considering how cold his skin was, this wasn’t an accidental reaction. This was not a good situation to misread. He was under no illusion that Barton couldn’t take him apart if he really wanted to.
He felt cold, callused fingertips moving over his cheeks, tipping his face up so their eyes could meet once again. “Yes.” Barton breathed softly.
Clint hoped what he was reading in Coulson's gray eyes was real and not part of his imagination. Maybe he’d passed out from the cold and this was all a dream. If so, he hoped he’d never wake up. He sucked in a breath as Coulson stood and pressed into his space, chest to chest, hip to hip, lips hovering over his own. Clint tilted his head slightly and moved to line their lips up gently. Tentative at first, the kiss slowly deepened, Clint teasing along Coulson’s lips until they parted for him. Their tongues met and slid around each other, curling and touching as they learned the feel of each other.
Breaking the kiss, Phil smiled softly at Barton before lowering himself to his knees again. He cupped Barton’s half hard cock in his hand. It was surprisingly cool to the touch, and he felt guilty for a moment. Barton should be in a hot shower, not being groped while still in his wet clothes. Or at least half in his wet clothes. Phil glanced up and met Barton’s hungry gaze. Then again… He guided the other man’s cock into his mouth, able to take it all at the moment, but he had a feeling that would change.
Clint sucked air in through clenched teeth and his head hit the wall with a thud. His whole body was freezing except for one very hot, wet exception. The warmth spread as Coulson's hands slid over his hips and his ass, pushing the soaked pants down around his ankles so he could step out of them, the air on his wet skin making him shiver. His cock had been nearly numbed by the cold, aware that what he wanted was so close but not quite able to rise to the occasion. Now it was warm and being sucked on, and it hardened quickly under the attention.
Backing off as Barton’s cock thickened in his mouth, Phil licked the drops of precum that began to leak from the fat head, lapping them up and sucking the head back into his mouth. He swirled his tongue around it, teasing at the tight flap of skin underneath, a move that brought a jerk of Barton’s thighs and a soft cry from the other man in response. Sliding his hand under Barton’s balls, he cradled them in his hands, warming the cool skin until he could feel it relax and drop in response. His other hand moved around to flatten across the tight ass he’d watched from behind his sunglasses for years.
Clint wanted to grab Coulson's head and force his head down, not out of selfishness, but because of the years he’d spent dreaming of this, fantasizing and never believing it would come true. He wanted his cock in Coulson’s mouth and down his throat, wanted to fuck his mouth before Coulson could change his mind and realize what a terrible mistake he was making. Before he said it was all a joke. Instead, Clint let his hands ghost over the other man’s face, stroking lightly and gently through his hair and along his temples and his cheekbones and his jaw. Tried to put everything into this one touch, maybe the only one he’d ever have. I love you I love you I love you.
The gentle touch along his face made Phil shudder. He knew how strong the archer’s hands were, how much force could be brought to bear in an instant. Barton could easily force his head still and fuck down his throat or snap his neck in a second. Instead, he was still, except for the quivering of his muscles and the soft stroking of his fingertips. Phil pushed Barton’s thighs apart a little more, gently nudging him so he could settle more comfortably on his knees. There was no resistance, no questions, as the other man shifted docilely.
Phil eased Barton’s cock back into his mouth and as far back as he could, it wasn’t the longest cock he’d had in his mouth but it was thick, nice and thick. A shiver ran through his body that had nothing to do with the cold, wet clothes he was wearing. Humming around the thick shaft, Phil began moving in a steady rhythm, in and out, tightening his lips as he pulled back and relaxing as he slid forward. He could hear Barton moan and whimper, and begin begging softly, asking for more. His hips twitched and shook, but didn’t push forward.
The surge of desire that rushed through Phil would have dropped him if he hadn’t already been kneeling. The idea of Barton, who was so strong and powerful, allowing him to do whatever he wanted, willing to move as he was told, to beg him for the pleasure he was being given – brought Phil’s own climax too close and he dropped his free hand down to press on his own cock and keep from coming in his pants. Sliding back so just the head and first few inches remained in his mouth, he began moving harder, rougher, using his hand to jerk Barton off.
Clint cried out and it took all his strength not to grab Coulson's face and force him to deep throat his cock. He flattened his hands and rested them on Coulson's cheeks, not daring to do more than that. He whimpered as he watched while the other man sucked and stroked his cock. Coulson had put his other hand back on Clint’s ass and was squeezing and massaging roughly enough that he’d probably have bruises. The rush was building in his balls, pulling from deep within him and as much as he wanted this to last forever, it was about to crash to an end. “I’m – I’m – Jesus, Coulson – I’m gonna – “
Phil grinned as much as he could around the thick shaft in his mouth. His lips were stretched and nearly numb, spit leaking down his chin, but he felt like laughing at hearing his name from Barton. At least he didn’t call me boss. He didn’t back off even when he began to taste the bitter saltiness that would have told him what was next even without Barton’s warning. One of Barton’s hands pushed at his shoulder and he batted it away. He wanted this. He wanted it and he wasn’t going to be denied. He clutched at Barton’s hip, digging his fingers into the cool, wet skin. Mine!
“Oh… fuck…” Clint’s body bowed as he came, his head lowering until he was nearly panting on the top of Coulson's head and his arms were shaking with the need to hold the other man’s face to his body. He gripped the edge of the table instead, the cheap pressed wood cracking under the pressure. Then it was over and he felt like his strings had been cut and he could barely stand up. “… fuck… oh… fuck… yes…” His head fell back against the wall with a soft thump.
Taking a moment to swallow and lap up the final drops, Phil looked up at Barton, savoring the sight of him weak and wasted. Surging to his feet, he undid his pants and pushed them out of the way to free his cock. He grabbed the edge of the other man’s wet t-shirt and dragged it halfway up, licking Barton’s taut stomach and then sucking a hard nipple into his mouth through the wet material. Clint’s hands came up to cup his face and pull him up for a kiss.
Barton was spent, but that wasn’t what Phil needed, he needed it deep and fierce. Pushing his tongue into Barton’s mouth, he lapped and licked at the warmth, teasing Barton’s tongue until it swirled around his own. He put both hands on Barton’s hips and pushed him against the wall, shoving his legs further apart to stand between them, so he could rut against Barton, his cock pushing against the cold skin of the archer’s stomach. The shock of how cold Barton’s skin was didn’t slow his cock down one bit, he was ready to come.
Wrapping his arms around Coulson, Clint cupped his ass and pulled him up against him, grinding into him just as eagerly. He sucked Coulson’s tongue, bobbing his head back and forth as if he were sucking his cock instead. He grinned at the moan Coulson made into his mouth and the way his hands gripped Clint’s hips even tighter. There would be a damn fine set of bruises in the morning. He’d liked the way Coulson had sucked at his nipple, and he pushed his head down until he got the hint and began sucking and nipping at them through the wet t-shirt.
“Fuck me, come on, come for me – “ Clint panted in Coulson's ear. “Come on – come on – fucking come on me – “
Hearing that soft voice, like he’d fantasized so many times, had so many jerk-off moments thinking of – Coulson ground his cock harder against Barton’s belly, warm now from the friction – that soft, slow, slight drawl begging him to come set off a train ride of sparks through his body that centered on where his cock rubbed the soft skin.
“Come on, Coulson – fucking come for me – “
“Yes…. oh, yes… “ Lifting his head, Phil found himself staring directly into Barton’s eyes. Beautiful, mosaic colored eyes that were open and unguarded. He leaned his forehead against the other man’s and moaned as he came in hard, almost painful spurts onto Barton’s stomach. “Yes…”
“That’s good. That’s good.” He rubbed a hand up and down Coulson's back as he shook against him.
“Yes. Good.” He agreed. Unclenching his hands from Barton’s hips, Phil unbuttoned his shirt and peeled it off without stepping back. “I think considering I just had your cock in my mouth, you can call me Phil.”
“Yeah. Okay. Phil.” Clint ducked his head and peered up at Coulson, watching as he used his shirt to clean his cum off his belly and both their cocks. “I think we ruined your shirt. Phil.”
“It’s all right. It’ll wash.” He pressed a gentle kiss to Barton’s lips. “And you’re still cold. Go take a hot shower.”
“What about you?”
“No time for a shared shower right now.” He pulled Barton’s t-shirt, the only article of clothing the archer was still wearing, off over his head and tossed it on the pile of wet clothes. “I’ve got to change and go talk to our visitor.”
“Sounds fun.” He shivered. Now that they weren’t rubbing against each other, Clint was suddenly reminded that he was fucking freezing. Except for key parts of his body, which were warm and happy. He risked a kiss before heading to the shower. He wasn’t sure what was going to happen next but he hoped it wasn’t Coulson – Phil – saying to forget this ever happened.
“Go on, shower.” Phil returned the gentle kiss before swatting Barton on the ass. “You catch pneumonia and die, I’m putting you on report.”
“Sir, yes sir.” Grinning, he headed to the small bathroom. “Phil.”
Watching him go, and the view was damn nice, Phil sighed. So here we are where we wanted to be. Now what? “First. Dry clothes.” He turned to the small wardrobe and opened it, looking for a clean shirt.
Clint came out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his hips and rubbing his hair with another one. “I tried not to use all the hot water.”
“Don’t worry about it. Did you get warm? That’s all that’s important.”
“Yeah, and – “ He blinked. Coulson – Phil – was dry and dressed. In the same suit. He was straightening his cuffs. “How did you get dry?”
“I cleaned your sidearm.” Phil nodded toward the table. “The bow, I left for you. I hate to admit it, but I took one look at it and admitted defeat.”
“Compound bows are a pain in the ass to clean, that’s one reason I like my recurve.” Clint leaned in for a kiss only to have Phil up his hands and back up a step. “Oh. Uh. Sorry, boss, I ah…” He’d wondered while he was standing under the hot water if things would be the same when he got out or if Coulson would pretend it never happened. “It’s okay, you know? It’s okay.”
“I don’t want the suit wet, and you’re dripping.” Phil smiled gently and ran a reassuring hand over the other man’s shoulder, realizing that Barton had thought he meant not to touch him for another reason. “Dry off and put on some clothes.”
Clint arched into the touch, more relieved than he cared to admit, before looking. Sure enough there was a pair of sweat pants and shirt lying on the bed. “Okay. How did you get dry? And that can’t be the same shirt.” He finished toweling off and pulled on the dry clothes. Sitting on the bed, he finished toweling his hair dry. By the door were two bulging plastic bags that had to contain the wet clothes they’d both been wearing earlier.
“It’s a secret. Do you promise not to tell?” Phil took the towel from him and rubbed it over the still damp hair at the nape of Barton’s neck.
“I promise.” He held up his fingers in a salute.
“You were a Scout?”
“I’ve done a few Scouts.” He grinned up at Phil.
“I’m not sure that counts.” He combed his fingers through Barton’s short hair, alternately smoothing and straightening it and then raking it up on end. “I always have two or sometimes three identical suits. Shirts, ties, the works.”
Clint looked up at him, a grin crinkling the corners of his eyes. “And here I thought you were a fucking ninja all this time.”
“I figured out a long time ago that it’s very intimidating to have someone come back wearing the same suit – nice and clean – that you know was dirty, bloody, burned just a little while earlier. And there’s no possible way that there was time to get it cleaned.”
“See? I never woulda thought of that.” Clint’s grin faded as Phil leaned down to kiss him. It was soft and carried a promise of more. No tongue, but plenty of promise. He sighed as the kiss ended.
“I’m going to go chat with our visitor. You stay here and make sure you’re warmed up, write your report, and then you can take care of your weapons. Not before.” Phil walked the short distance to the table and picked up the cup he’d set there just before Barton had gotten out of the shower. “Drink this.”
“You don’t want me to come with you?” He took the cup and sipped before gazing adoringly up at Phil. “Hot cocoa? You are a ninja.”
“Not right now. I’ll call if I need you.”
“No phone.” He made a sad face. “Pretty sure SHIELD owes me a new one.”
“For now keep my radio.” Phil pulled the handheld out of his pocket and handed it to Barton. “You can get an emergency phone later.”
“I hate those.”
“Humor me.” He ruffled Barton’s hair one last time before leaving the trailer.
Watching him go, Clint gulped down his cocoa. He was probably the only SHIELD agent whose handler packed instant hot cocoa. The thought made him smile. Tossing the empty cup into the trash can, he went over to the table and smiled even wider when he saw his sidearm was lying broken down, parts oiled and cleaned and lined up in the proper order. The bow was lying on an absorbent pad with his cleaning kit beside it.
“Don’t worry, I still love you.” Picking up the bow, he began to break it down and clean it.
It seemed he’d unpeeled another layer to Clint Barton that he hadn’t realized existed. Phil frowned, not sure if it was a good thing or not. Then again, once you started sucking someone’s dick you were bound to discover new things about them.
He knew Barton was the consummate professional agent – despite what many in SHIELD thought – with a strong sense of right and wrong and with lines he would not cross. Barton was also a good natured goofball, and loved a good practical joke so long as no one’s feelings were hurt. For years the archer had been a comrade in arms, a solid presence at his shoulder and back, someone Phil was proud to count as a friend along with Natasha, Jasper and Nick. It was a very small, tight circle of friends. Now, Phil was seeing affection and even adoration from Barton in a wide open way that frightened him. There was so much trust. Barton had handed over his heart, and he had to be careful not to break it.
When Phil had first brought Barton into SHIELD as an asset, he had no idea that the other man couldn’t sleep in the same room with someone he didn’t know – that is, someone he didn’t trust. He’d nearly dropped from exhaustion in the first week before Coulson had figured out that Barton wasn’t sleeping except when his roommate was gone or anywhere he could grab a quick nap alone. He’d never asked Barton to explain, but had simply had him assigned solo quarters. It had pissed off a few agents who’d been on the waiting list, but they were smart enough to keep their mouth shut within his hearing.
Coulson stopped in the mess trailer to pour himself a cup of coffee. Never face an interrogation without caffeine, that was his motto. Well, not really his motto, just a good idea. Other agents moved around him, seeing the look on his face and assuming he was pondering how to pull a rabbit out of his hat with this mission. There were rumors that a junior agent had once interrupted Coulson while he was pondering and had ended up assigned to a monitoring station somewhere that didn’t even have a name.
Mentally, Phil sighed. Barton was exactly the type of man he’d always made sure not to become involved with. He had baggage. He was damaged. Even his baggage was damaged. He took another drink of his coffee and frowned. It wasn’t strong enough – it never was. Some people couldn’t understand that coffee beans were not an endangered species.
He knew from Barton’s file that he’d had alcoholic, abusive parents, had bounced around the foster care system until he and his brother had finally landed in an orphanage, and had then run away to the two bit carnival where he’d learned his skill with a bow. Barton hadn’t been very talkative about his time there except to say he’d been worked like a rented mule until Duquesne and Chisholm realized he had a skill they could use and trained him. Phil had the impression that there’d been a great deal of physical abuse involved in his training, as Barton had once mentioned that a scar on his back was because he’d missed the center of a target. Remembering a sad, wistful look he’d caught before Barton had closed up during a discussion of his days as a carnival star, Coulson suspected that Duquesne had also taken advantage of Barton sexually.
Until now, Phil hadn’t realized that Barton was gay, or possibly bi, considering his past relationship with Natasha. Barton flirted shamelessly with either sex, now that Phil thought about it, but he’d assumed that was just part of the easy going goofball act. Maybe not. Draining his coffee, Coulson tossed the Styrofoam cup into the trash. What have you gotten yourself into, Phillip Coulson?
“Is our guy talking yet?”
Sitwell jumped at the voice behind him. “Damn it, Barton! I swear you do that on purpose!”
“Yeah, and?” He grinned at Sitwell. “You’re Level Six, man, I shouldn’t be able to sneak up on you.”
“Maybe if I’d had some sleep, I wouldn’t be so easy to sneak up on.” He picked up his coffee and took a long drink.
“You don’t like your roomie?” Barton grinned.
“He snores like a lumberjack.”
“Just kick him over on his side next time.” Helping himself to a cup of coffee, he dumped in a handful of sugar and creamer. He liked the idea of coffee without the actual taste of it.
“Coulson said you were a popsicle.”
Clint barely kept himself from spitting out a mouthful of coffee. “What? I was – what?” He knew they were friends, but there was no way Coulson had told Sitwell what had happened in the trailer. Had he?
“I told Sitwell that you stopped by the weapons truck to clean your bow even though you were soaked and freezing.” Coulson stepped into the room. “Your fingers were turning blue.”
“Oh, yeah. Well, you know I’m serious about my weapon.” Mind out of the gutter, Barton! He took another drink of his coffee, meeting Coulson's eyes over the top of the cup. Coulson looked business as usual, though there was a slight smile playing at the corner of his mouth. “The big guy say anything?”
“No. I would have had better luck interrogating the wall. Although…” He frowned, remembering. “He did say ‘goodbye’ when I came back in. It was very odd. He hasn’t said another word.”
“Is he on something?”
“Tests came back clean.” Jasper pulled up the readings on the monitor in front of him. “Made no fuss when we drew the blood sample, either. It’s like all the fight drained out of him.”
“Pretty sure it did.” Barton tapped another monitor and scrolled through files until he found footage of the big guy entering the area where the hammer was. “Look at him. He expected to pick that thing up. Not tried to, or hoped he could – he expected to just pick it right up. Like he had a million times before.” He froze the image at the moment the blonde man first attempted to pick up the hammer. “Look at him.”
Phil leaned in to study the image. “You’re right. He’s not readying himself or acting like he even expects it to be heavy.”
“No. I think he expected to pick it up just as easy as you’d pick your coffee cup up off this table. Easy peasy.”
“Only he wasn’t able to.” Sitwell chewed on his lip and watched as Barton moved the footage forward and they watched the man strain to lift the hammer before screaming and falling to his knees. “That made my skin crawl. I mean, damn, that was like nothing I’ve ever heard before.”
“I have.” Barton shook his head. “You don’t want to know. That’s loss, pure and simple.”
Coulson had heard that type of scream before as well, and it wasn’t something he wanted to remember.
“And now look at him. He’s broken. He’s just – “ The archer froze the footage on the big man sitting in the mud, head hanging as the agents moved in. “ – that’s fucking broken. We could do anything to him now and he wouldn’t care. He’s not going to tell us anything, I’d bet easy money on it.”
“No takers.” Phil frowned. “I didn’t get a reaction out of him even when I taunted him with not being able to lift it.”
“Watch out, Coulson's annoyed.” Jasper joked as he pushed back from the table. “And I’m going to go get some fresh coffee so I’m out of the blast range.”
“Are you making a fresh pot?” Sitwell was the only other person who seemed to make coffee at the strength that Mother Nature had intended coffee to be brewed.
“Yes, and I’ll bring you back a cup.”
“I’ve got a theory, if you promise you won’t laugh at me.” Clint plopped into a seat next to the table after Sitwell left.
“When have I ever laughed at your theories?” Phil sat in the chair next to him, casually allowing their knees to brush as he did so.
Barton’s eyes lit up but he didn’t react otherwise. “The hospital record says Doc Foster said this guy’s name is Thor, and the orderlies said he called himself Odinson. So… based on that, I’m assuming his name is Thor Odinson.”
Phil nodded. That made sense. “Not very laughable so far.”
“I’m not to the weird part yet.” Barton pulled a package of chocolate donuts from his jacket pocket and tore the wrapper open. He took one and set the rest on the table. “Guess what I found in the mess.” He grinned as Phil absolutely did not snatch up a donut. “Okay, so have you ever heard of Odin?”
“Odin?” He finished his donut while he thought about the name. “Other than in mythology? No.”
“That’s sort of where I’m going. Okay, actually, that’s completely where I’m going. In Norse mythology, Odin has a son named Thor. Thor has a hammer named Mjolnir, which nobody else can pick up – well, that varies in stories – but mostly nobody but Thor can lift it.” He took another donut out of the package. “Oh, and he’s also the god of thunder, lightning, rain and some other stuff.” He stuffed the donut into his mouth.
“You’re saying we’re dealing with an ancient Norse deity?” Coulson sighed. “That makes perfect sense. Unfortunately.”
“I know. Fuck my life, right? I don’t remember this in the fine print of my SHIELD contract.”
“Like you read the fine print, Barton.” Sitwell came back into the room with a pot of coffee. “Coulson had you charmed into signing your life way five minutes after he sat down.”
“Truer words were never spoken.” He winked and held out his cup. “So, what do we do now, boss?”
“We wait. We still can’t move the hammer.” Coulson accepted a cup of fresh coffee and absolutely did not snatch the last donut before Sitwell could get it. “If we can get Thor to perk up and answer some questions, maybe we can figure out how to get it to a secure location.”
“Thor?” Jasper sat down across from them at the table. “Did I miss something?”
“You know how we thought the hammer might have fallen from outer space?” Barton dumped sugar and creamer into his refilled cup. “How about from another realm?”
“Like a parallel universe?”
“No, more like… where old mythological guys might live.” Barton wasn’t completely comfortable explaining his theory to Sitwell. Sitwell was a good guy in his book, and he could trust him on an op, good or bad, but this was pretty out there as theories went.
“That’s funny, Barton.” Jasper laughed. Then he stopped when Barton frowned and Coulson shook his head slightly. “You’re serious? You’re talking like – you mean like – “
“Yep.” Then again, the look on Sitwell’s face was kind of funny.
“Holy crap, that makes sense.” He pulled up the footage of the fight again. “That explains that damn storm that came out of nowhere.”
“I didn’t sign up for this kind of thing.”
“Agent Coulson, sir?” One of the agents at the monitoring station signaled for Coulson's attention. “I’ve got an incoming bogey.”
“Show me.” Coulson walked over to the monitor, Barton and Sitwell trailing behind him.
“Ten miles out, coming from the direction of Puente Antiguo. One vehicle.” The agent brought the image up and resized it as much as possible.
“Five bucks says that’s the cavalry coming to the rescue.” Barton said.
“In one vehicle? Hardly likely.” Phil shook his head.
“Oh, sir, surely you haven’t forgotten the Mini Cooper incident?” Clint gave Phil a wide-eyed innocent look as he turned to look at him.
“I can’t forget an incident that never happened.” He was never, absolutely not ever rescued from a HYDRA cell by Barton and Natasha playing lost tourists in a neon pink Mini Cooper. Never. Happened.
“I have pictures if you forgot.” Sitwell offered.
“No. You don’t.” Coulson said.
“On my computer. Had them up as a scrolling screensaver, remember?”
“No. You don’t.”
Barton didn’t try to hide his giggles.
The agent at the monitor was not hearing whatever it was that never happened. He liked his career with SHIELD. “Sir, do we send out a response team?”
Coulson frowned at the image of the vehicle that was moving steadily closer. “No. Let them continue. Let’s see if they try to sneak in or knock at the front door.”
There wasn’t a front door, but the Agent Mann kept that to himself. He had no desire to be posted to Chernobyl and help test the effects of gamma rays on man-in-the-moon marigolds.
“Five bucks says it’s Doc Foster.” Sitwell told Barton.
“I’ll take that action. No way she’s got the guts to come out here.”
“You didn’t see her when Coulson took her stuff. She’s a little firecracker.”
“Barton.” Coulson turned to the archer.
“Yes, sir?” He straightened and was all business. “What do you need me to do?”
“I want you at the gate, out of sight. If it is Foster – or even if it’s not – it might be best to let them take their friend home.”
“And I’ll tag along?”
“Exactly. If he won’t tell us anything, maybe he’ll tell his friends.” Coulson smiled slightly.
Barton pulled the plain SHIELD phone he’d gotten from supply out of his coat pocket and activated it. “I’m using this for target practice as soon as this is over, boss.”
“You can play Angry Birds on your own time.” Coulson took out his own phone and hit the icon with Barton’s name on it. The SHIELD phone buzzed in response.
“Successful test. Good to go.” He pocketed the phone once again.
“I’m going to go have a quick chat with our friend before he’s rescued.” Coulson told them. “See if he’s more talkative.”
After Coulson left the room, Clint turned to Sitwell. “I have copies of those pictures he deleted from your computer.”
“He’s never living that one down.” Sitwell grinned.
The handheld next to the monitoring station came on. “Vehicle at the gate. Caucasian male, middle-aged. No other occupants. Holding as ordered.”
Sitwell picked up the handheld. “Identity and reason for being here?”
“Doctor Erik Selvig. Says he’s here to pick up his friend Donald Blake. Big guy, blonde. Says he was drinking and came out here because we took his research.”
“Stand by.” Sitwell left the room to advise Coulson. He opened the door to the detention cell. “Sir, he’s got a visitor.”
“I’ll be right back.” Coulson told their prisoner. Outside the cell, he took the handheld. “This is Agent Coulson. Have Doctor Selvig leave the vehicle at the gate and escort him to the entrance of the command center.”
“So… only a one person cavalry?” Barton reluctantly handed a five over to Sitwell who made a show out of fanning himself with it.
“Are you saying a middle aged man isn’t a threat?” Coulson raised an eyebrow.
“If that man isn’t you? Yes, sir.” He grinned at him. “And I’d hardly call you middle aged, boss.”
“Sir?” An agent came in from the front of the command center. “Doctor Selvig is here.”
“I’m on my way.”
“Showtime.” Barton peeled off and headed down a side tunnel where he could get to the front gate unobserved.
“He has all the fun.” Sitwell said as he followed Coulson.
Doctor Selvig walked away with ‘Doctor Donald Blake’, believing that the fake ID and story had been swallowed by SHIELD. Coulson watched as Doctor Foster’s journal was picked up. He couldn’t help rolling his eyes. That was the worst job of nonchalant theft he’d ever seen. There was an agent right there. If his agents hadn’t been told to observe but not react, the big oaf would be back in his cell. Amateurs.
He’d lost track of Barton, but didn’t doubt that he’d managed to hide himself somewhere he could hitch a ride back on Foster’s van. Phil just hoped it wasn’t underneath – there was some very rough terrain between here and Puente Antiguo.
“Now what?” Sitwell asked.
“Now, we wait some more.” Coulson watched as the van drove away. He was fairly certain he’d spotted Barton on top of the vehicle. Be careful. He picked up the radio. “Wait ten minutes and then send a car to follow. Agent Barton will need a ride back.”
“Yes, sir.” Came the reply.
“Do you really think he’s a Norse god?”
“Until a more reasonable theory presents itself I may have to. I should have stayed in California. At least Stark isn’t an alien or a mutant.”
“As far as we know.” Jasper kept a straight face as Coulson turned and frowned at him. “In a cave with a box of scraps. That’s all I’m saying.”
“Try not saying anything.”
“Agent Coulson. I think I have something you may want to look at.”
Coulson turned to find Agent Palmer. “Yes?”
“I’ve been looking at the video of the prisoner while he was in the detention cell. Something seemed off to me. I think there’s some missing time.”
She led him quickly back to her station where the footage was frozen at the point Coulson had left to talk with Sitwell. “Notice his position when you leave. And look at it when you return.” She moved the footage forward at half speed. “He’s moved. Only… he never moves.”
“Could he have shifted position when I came in?” Coulson watched as she ran the footage again. Thor, Donald or whoever he was, seemed to suddenly move from sitting back, hands in his lap, to leaning forward with his hands resting on his knees.
“We would have seen him move.” Sitwell mused. “Only we didn’t.”
“Glitch?” Coulson asked.
“Could be.” Her tone was doubtful. “It’s more like something was erased. Only that’s not possible, because there’s multiple camera footage, and they all have this same jump.”
“Do you have a theory?”
“It’s weird, but I have one.” Agent Palmer swallowed hard and bit the bullet. “There was a slight electromagnetic surge after you left the room and another one right before you entered again. It’s similar to the readings we have from when the hammer appeared and when we found that pattern out in the desert. I think – “ She swallowed hard again. “I think someone or maybe something was in there with him while you were gone.”
Coulson wanted to chide her for having watched too many scary movies, but he’d seen entirely too many weird things to scoff so easily. And things were getting weirder all the time. A flying man in metal suit seemed positively normal next to a hammer nobody could lift. “And you think this someone made the footage disappear? Or did they stop the recording?”
“I think it’s more likely that they stopped the recording.” She felt a surge of relief. This was why she’d worked so hard to get on Agent Coulson's team. Nothing was off limits for him when it came to figuring out a problem. “It reminds me of someone looping recorded footage so that you can’t see what’s really going on.”
“We use multiple sources and frequencies so that can’t happen.” Coulson reminded her.
“Exactly. The hardware and data are clean. Nothing’s been tampered with. In a way, it’s like someone tried but isn’t familiar enough with our technology to pull it off cleanly. It’s a magic trick where the illusion works – but then you catch the assistant sneaking out the back of the box.”
“If we are dealing with an alien, or someone from another realm – “ He frowned. “They might be more sophisticated on some levels but less so on others.”
“Any sufficiently advanced technology appears to be magic.” Sitwell paraphrased.
Coulson felt a headache starting behind his right eye. “Keep an eye out for any more of these surges and advise the rest of your department. Send a copy of the footage to me with your report attached. Good work, Agent Palmer.”
“Thank you, sir.” Palmer held her smile in check until the two agents walked away.
“Found out some interesting stuff, boss.”
Coulson restrained himself from jumping when Barton spoke from behind him only by falling back on years of training. And years of being tormented by an older sister. Sitwell, on the other hand, flinched and nearly spilled his coffee. “Such as?”
“Such as Thor – oh, and that is what he calls himself – can drink pretty much anybody under the table and still walk a straight line.” Clint sat down next to Coulson at the mess table. “I’ve never seen anybody put away that much booze, not even ‘Tasha. Selvig apparently reached the same conclusion we did on who his buddy really is. He asked him if he was Thor, god of thunder and he said he was. Seems he pissed off Daddy, that’d be Odin, and was banished here. He’s not sure why the hammer is here, unless it’s to ‘further punish him for his foolish deeds’. The guy talks like he’s in a freaking play or something.
“Selvig finally passed out, Thor carried him to Doc Foster’s RV and dropped him off. Then he and the Doc went up to the roof of that place she’s using for her office and sat next to what looked like a very warm fire and talked. I say the fire looked warm because I was freezing my ass off on the roof across the street.”
“The alcohol didn’t warm you up?” Sitwell grinned.
“Kept it to a couple of beers, I was on duty. Had a great Frito pie, though. The chili was fucking amazing. Too bad you haven’t had a chance to get into town, Sitwell, I know how you love to sample the local cuisine.” He winked.
“Not on your best day.”
“Barton. Sitwell.” Coulson felt like a school teacher some days.
Clint shook his head. “They started making eyes at each other, so I decided it was time to hit the road. We’ve got teams watching the entire town, anything happens, they’ll let us know.” Barton stood up and yawned. “I’m going to get some rest. I get the feeling the shit is going to hit the fan soon, and I want to be ready for it.”
“Did he say anything else about the hammer?” Phil asked. He knew Barton would have told him, but he couldn’t help asking. He hated loose ends.
“No, but he did tell Doc Foster she’s right about her bridge theory and there’s nine realms held together by a big tree – I’m not making this up, by the way – “ He held his hands up as if warding off their disbelief. “ – the bridge is a tree. Oh, and he’s from Asgard. Which those of us who’ve read mythology have already heard of.”
Coulson sighed. “This is what I get for bitching about watching Stark.”
Phil didn’t move as he woke up. He wasn’t used to sleeping with someone, and it took a moment before he remembered why there was a warm body tucked up behind him. Barton. He smiled but stayed relaxed and quiet. When he’d decided to get some rest, he wasn’t surprised to find that Barton wasn’t there. Despite what he’d said in the mess tent, Barton had done another tour of the perimeter to be sure they were secure before he returned to the trailer. He’d dozed until Barton stripped and snuggled into bed beside him.
It’d been a busy couple of days, and they were both too tired for anything more. Barton especially had had a rough night between nearly drowning, freezing, almost freezing again while riding on top a van for fifty miles through the desert night, and freezing some more on a rooftop. They’d exchanged a few sleepy kisses and caresses and the promise of more later before they’d both drifted to sleep.
Apparently, a short nap had revived Barton’s libido and he was rubbing himself against Phil’s ass. Rubbing something very hard against his ass. Phil lay still, enjoying the feel of warm skin against his back, rough and callused fingers holding his hip, and a very hard cock rubbing against him. Barton seemed to be enjoying himself and he decided to let him continue. Why stop a good thing? And it was a good thing. He was curious as to when his shorts had been pushed down to his knees – he wasn’t sure when that had happened and couldn’t believe he’d slept through the maneuvering that must have taken.
Clint snuggled closer to Coulson – Phil – and continued with the slow and easy roll of his hips, stroking his cock against the softness of Phil’s ass. It was firm and soft all at the same time, just like he liked. He’d woken up, snuggled up to Phil, breathing in the scent of the soap he used and instantly had a hard on that wouldn’t let him go back to sleep. No time like the present to see where whatever they were doing now was going.
He slid a hand along Phil’s thigh, moving his leg forward and up slightly to create a gap between his legs that Clint could slide his cock into. He didn’t have to worry about his shorts, he’d come to bed naked. Sliding Coulson's shorts down had proved a challenge, but Phil wasn’t the only ninja in the room. Sighing, Clint slid his cock into the warmth between Phil’s thighs and resumed his rocking motion. The head of his cock rubbed the other man’s balls and his cock as he moved back and forth. Within a few minutes, Phil’s cock had stirred and hardened and Clint could feel the hard shaft with every forward roll of his hips.
I think we’re moving into more than blow job territory here. The thought scared and thrilled Phil at the same time. He hadn’t been sure exactly how to approach the conversation. He’d never been able to comfortably ask the questions that straight couples didn’t have to ask. Do you prefer to top or bottom? Do you bottom at all? What type of lube do you prefer? How many fingers does it take to loosen you up? Do you like a little burn with the first thrust or two, or do you really like to be loose? Women didn’t know how lucky they were to have self-lubricating systems. On the other hand, he didn’t have to deal with a period, either.
His cock was aching, and Phil wanted to reach down and squeeze it, but he didn’t want to stop Barton from doing what he was doing. Precum was leaking out onto his thigh and he was aware of a similar stickiness being stroked against his ass as well. They were both getting to a make or break point. Doing his best not to startle Barton into stopping, Phil reached down and gave his own cock a rough squeeze. He rolled his head back, looking up at Barton in the dim light.
“Hey…” Clint leaned down and pressed a soft kiss to Phil’s lips.
“Hey.” He shifted until he was able to hook a foot in his shorts, pull them down and kick them off. “You started without me.”
“Nah, just warming up.” He smiled down at Phil and gave him another soft kiss with just a tease of tongue. “Don’t worry, I was going to wake you up for the good stuff.”
“Are we doing to do the good stuff?”
“If you want.” Clint nuzzled along Phil’s throat and nipped at the skin under his ear, making him shiver. “Let’s just see where we end up, okay?”
“Sure.” Phil leaned back, pushing his ass back against Barton and grinding slightly into his slow thrusts. This might be the easiest way to tell him that he’d very much like to be fucked thank you please. He stroked his own cock slowly in time to the other man’s movements.
Clint moved Phil’s hand to his hip, squeezing it to encourage him to get a tight grip, before moving his hand to Phil’s cock. “Let me take care of this.”
Laying back, he relaxed into Barton’s embrace, giving up to the sensation. This was close to so many of the fantasies he’d had of Barton holding him and pleasuring him while he lay relaxed and did nothing but feel. He curled his free arm back so he could touch with that hand as well, stroking the short silky hair and the muscles of Barton’s neck. Perfect, this was perfect.
He was nearly ready to come, Barton’s hand sliding over the head of his cock, his hand just rough enough to make him shudder, and back down the shaft, squeezing hard at the base before releasing and sliding back up. The man was a master with his hands, dear lord, how did he learn to do that? “Wait – wait – “
“What’s wrong?” Clint froze.
“No, I don’t want to come yet. I want you to come, too.” His face flushed, and Phil was grateful that it was dim in the room. He sounded like some high school girl reading a romance novel about simultaneous orgasms.
“Oh, I’m gonna come, don’t worry.” Barton laughed. He resumed stroking Phil’s cock, harder and faster than before. “Come for me, Phil.”
“Oh, sweet – oh – “ He tried to arch up into Barton’s hand and grind back at the same time. “Please – I can’t – “
“Come on, come for me.” Leaning forward, he slid his tongue along the edge of Phil’s ear, sucking the lobe into his mouth. The other man bucked back against him and cried out. Seconds later he felt Phil’s cock thicken a little more and begin to pulse before cum spilled over his hand in warm spurts. “That’s it. That’s good, that’s so good, Phil.”
“God, yes…” Gasping for air, Phil went limp, moaning when his cock gave a last twitch as Barton squeezed it a few more times. “I’m done – give me a second and – I’ll take care of – you – “
“Don’t worry, I’m okay for awhile.” Clint reached down and pulled the top sheet off of them, using it to wipe his hand and Phil’s thighs. “We’re just getting started.”
A shiver shook Phil and he reached back to grasp Barton’s hip once again, wanting to be sure the other man knew it was a good shiver. If Barton meant what he thought he did, then Phil was all for it. He shivered again as Barton slid his fingers down the cleft of his ass and between his cheeks to press at the opening there. He squeezed again since his mouth didn’t seem to be able to form words. Words like ‘oh, fuck yes fuck me now’ and other words that really made his face turn red.
Clint left his hand nestled between the soft cheeks of Phil’s ass but didn’t press again. He started thrusting slowly again, easy and unhurried. After a few moments, he pressed his fingers against the tight opening again, harder this time. He smiled and pressed a kiss to Coulson's neck when he pushed back against his fingers. Moving his hand, he let his cock slide farther back this time, the head brushing against Phil’s opening and brushing over it again on the way back.
Shifting his leg farther forward, Phil opened himself up more to the hand and cock that took turns teasing him. There wasn’t enough pressure to enter, no hard push trying to fuck him, just that tease of pressure. Press and stroke, press and stroke. His cock was getting hard again – how many years had it been since he’d gotten it up again this fast? Was he going to have to beg Barton to fuck him? Because he would, he damn sure would, if he could talk. It occurred to him that Barton might be waiting for him to give the okay, only he wasn’t sure he could form coherent words.
Phil was pushing back against him and moaning, whimpering in a desperate way that Clint decided was the best sound he’d heard yet. He moved his hand and Phil shifted back and made an angry sounding moan. “We’re going to need lube if you want to go any farther.”
“Yes. Oh, no. I don’t have any.” How could he not have lube? It wasn’t like he didn’t jack off, he just happened to prefer lotion. Could they use lotion as lube? Would it work for fucking?
“Reach under the bed and grab my bag, there’s lube in there. Condoms, too.” Clint realized that might sound like he was a super slut and hurried to explain. “I carry ‘em you know, just in case? I mean, you never know – it’s been a while – “
“It’s okay. I’m glad you’re prepared.” Phil reassured him. A smart man carried lube and protection. Especially if he was as damn sexy as Barton and probably got laid more than he even wanted to think about. Rummaging around in the bag, Phil found the tube and the package of condoms. He was ridiculously pleased to see that there were still ten out of twelve in the package.
Holding out his hand, Clint watched Phil squeeze a generous dollop of lube onto his palm. “That’ll get us started. Lay back. Just relax.”
“Right. Just relax and pretend great sex isn’t about to happen?” Phil joked as he laid back against the other man’s body. He forced his muscles to unknot and go limp, all except the one between his legs, which had only gotten harder at the idea of lube and fucking. Slick fingers between his legs nearly made him jump even though he was expecting it.
“Shh… it’s okay, it’s all good.” Clint rubbed lube around the tight opening, circling gently but pressing more firmly with each pass. He leaned over to kiss Phil, drawing him into a deep kiss, sucking at his tongue and licking at him lazily. When he had Coulson breathless and moving back against him, he carefully slid a slick finger inside him, past the tight ring of muscle until it was halfway in.
Phil arched back, wanting and resisting at the same time. Part of his brain was saying, stop, I don’t think this is going to work. It would take a few minutes, but the rest of his brain would track that part down and lock it in a holding cell so everybody else could enjoy what was going to happen. “More – please – “
“I aim to please.” He pushed his finger in until it was knuckle deep, grinning at the gasp the other man made. Every time Clint moved forward, he bumped his hand which made Phil gasp again. Clint alternated curling his finger up and around with sliding it in and out until he could easily add a second finger. Concentrating on rotating his hand so that his buried fingers circled around and around and wider and wider, Clint continued to thrust slowly between Phil’s thighs, knowing the bump up against his hand would add to the other man’s pleasure.
“You’re going to kill me – “ Phil gasped out. He didn’t have to pretend to be so limp he couldn’t move. He was helpless, lying back against Barton and not able to do more than shift his hips trying to take more. “Please – please – I need more – “
“We’re not ready yet.” He nipped at Phil’s neck then sucked at the spot, knowing the mark would be below the line of his shirt collar in the morning. “I need a little more lube, and you’re not even up to three fingers.”
“I don’t care – I need you inside me – “ Clumsily, he fumbled for the lube. Phil’s hands were shaking so badly that he had to concentrate more than should have been necessary. When he felt Barton pull his fingers free, he couldn’t help the protest that burst from him. “No! No – don’t stop!”
“I’m not stopping.” Clint laughed and leaned over to kiss him again. “Put some more lube in my hand.”
Squirting lube into Barton’s hand, he pushed it back down between his legs. “Put your fingers back – just please I need it – “
“Ready for three, then?” He made sure his fingers were slick before carefully sliding three fingers inside of Phil.
“Yes – oh, fuck – yes!” Pressing back against the pressure, he pulled his leg up toward his stomach, trying to take as much as he could. “Deeper – please – “
“Easy, easy – “ He moved a little faster and harder, working Phil open without hurting him, doing his best to make him feel as good as he possibly could. Now Clint could feel the hard knot of Phil’s prostate and he brushed it and pressed it from time to time. Too much at once would take away from the overall pleasure – a little at a time was the way to make someone lose their fucking mind. And making Phil Coulson lose his fucking mind was exactly what Clint was after.
Phil reached down and began stroking his cock. He was going to come, this was too good. He desperately wanted to wait until Barton was fucking him, but he couldn’t, it was too damn good. “I don’t want to come – wait – “
“Just squeeze him off – squeeze him off if you want to wait.” Clint was to the point where he didn’t want to wait either. He wanted to be sure he didn’t hurt Phil, but he was to the point where the thigh fucking wasn’t enough. “You don’t have to wait – come if you want – “ He really didn’t want to fuck Coulson if he was going to be finished and limp, although the idea had its merits. Just not this first time.
Regaining some control, Coulson wrapped his fingers around the base of his cock and squeezed hard enough to hold off his orgasm a little longer. “I can last – I want to come with you inside me – “
“I want that, too.” He moaned into Phil’s shoulder. “If you want the condom, can you put it on me? I don’t want to pull my fingers out. I fucking love them inside of you.”
“Me, too – “ Carefully tearing the package open, Phil rolled the condom onto Barton’s cock. It jerked as if resisting the latex, making him laugh. “Your cock isn’t behaving.” He said as he finished rolling it on.
“And you’re surprised?” He laughed with him. “Put a little lube on him, I don’t trust the condoms to be lubed enough.”
His heart did a funny little jump that Barton cared that much about possibly hurting him. “I’ll let you know if it hurts – trust me – “
“Every day.” Easing back, Clint pulled his fingers free and eased the head of his cock inside. Listening to Phil’s gasps and moans as a guide, he pushed in slowly.
That part of his brain that wasn’t with the program had escaped and was setting off the alarms. Phil fought not to clamp down on Barton’s cock, at least not yet. “Wait – I need a – minute – “
Clint froze. “I’m waiting – you’re in charge – you tell me when – or quit – tell me what to do – “
“God, don’t quit!” Phil’s laugh had a slight edge of hysteria to it. “It’s been awhile – just need a minute to adjust – “
“Take all the time you need, boss.”
“Barton, I don’t think you should call me boss – not with your cock in my ass – “ He shifted and rolled his hips, groaning at the feel of the thick cock filling and stretching him.
“I think considering I have my cock in your ass – you should call me Clint.” He grinned, repeating Phil’s words from earlier that day.”
“You’re right. Clint.” He leaned back to look Clint in the eye as best he could considering their position and the dim lighting. “Let’s try for more – “
A little at a time, Clint eased himself inside Phil until he was sheathed as far as he could go, his balls resting against the soft skin of Coulson's ass. He waited a moment, letting the other man shift and wiggle on his cock until he was comfortable and felt ready to go on. Then he slid his hand up under Phil’s knee to move his leg up and a little more out of his way. “Ready?”
“Yes, oh fuck yes – “
“You’ll tell me if I hurt you? Don’t let me hurt you. I’m not into that.” His biggest fear was that he’d hurt Phil because he was clumsy or too rough and that Phil wouldn’t tell him. Almost his biggest fear.
“I’m not into that either.” He reached up to take a hold of Clint’s free hand with his.
Clint began to stroke slowly at first, long and deep, pulling nearly out and sliding back gently. When Phil began to push back against him he increased his pace, moving harder and more quickly until finally they were in a good rhythm. There was nothing but moans and whimpers and the sounds of their flesh coming together. Sweat broke out over their bodies and the remaining sheets and blanket were kicked aside.
“Harder, Clint – I need it harder – “ Phil whimpered and reached back to pull Clint’s hips harder into him with each forward thrust. “More – please – “
“Give me more lube first – “ He pawed around on the bed until Coulson handed him the tube. Leaning back, he squirted it along his cock as he pushed back into Phil’s body. “You want more?”
“Yes – you want me to beg – I’m begging – “ His pride was gone. All he wanted was to be fucked and fucked hard. He’d beg, steal, kill – anything to get just a little more.
Leaning up and over Phil, he slid his arm under the other man’s leg and pushed it up, opening him even more. Clint began moving harder and deeper, fucking Phil the way he’d wanted, the way he’d fantasized about for far too long. Burying himself deep inside his body over and over. “You feel so good – I knew you’d feel this way – “
“I’ve wanted this – wanted you – “ Raising up as much as he could, Phil pressed his mouth to Clint’s, meeting in a sloppy kiss that was more teeth and tongue than finesse, but wonderful and exactly what they both needed. “I wanted you fucking me this way – I knew you’d be so good – “
Their position was awkward and Clint slid his arm from under Phil’s leg so he could use it to prop himself up. The grunt he heard from Phil made him freeze. “Did I hurt you?”
“No – hell, no – Clint, stop worrying about hurting me and fuck me!” Phil rolled his body forward a little more and shifted his leg farther up on the bed. Arching his back, he pushed back, forcing the other man’s cock deeper inside himself. “Move!”
He didn’t have to be told twice. Clint braced himself on his forearms on either side of Phil’s head and began thrusting deep and hard. Short thrusts that had them both moaning and gasping. They were both begging and promising and trying to kiss, laughing as they bumped noses and chins. When Clint found the sweet spot, the right angle to hit Phil’s prostate, he shortened his thrusts even more, going for deep pumps that had Phil twisting and writhing against him.
There were sparks behind his eyes with every balls deep thrust and Phil thought he would burst into flames. How could he feel this good and not explode and die? He clutched at Clint, trying to force out how good it was, how much he’d wanted this, how much he loved him, but his body was focused on one thing and that was one thing wasn’t speech. Everything was routed to bringing the sparks from his mouth to his toes to his ass into his cock, and everything else was irrelevant. Finally, it was too much and Phil groaned as he came, not caring that he was getting cum all over his hand and belly and thighs. He collapsed and gasped for air in desperate gulps.
Clint did his best to slow down for a moment, give Phil time to ease down from his orgasm, but his own body was demanding that he keep moving. Despite himself, he began moving harder and pulling back to get the deep long strokes he needed. “Sorry – need to come – sorry – “
“Don’t be sorry – “ Coulson wiped his hand off on the sheets before reaching up to caress Clint’s face. “It was so good – I want it to be good for you – fuck me like you need to – “ He pulled Clint down for a kiss between gasping breaths. Freed from his concerns by Phil’s words and touch, Clint let himself go and put everything into his last few thrusts, racing for that moment of release. He could feel Phil’s hands on his face and arm and shoulder, hear him urging him on, until it all built up into one sweet painful moment and he was finally holding his fantasy.
Stroking his hands along Clint’s arms, Phil traced the muscles flexing under the skin. “God, these arms – wanted to touch them for so long – “ He followed the line of muscle up to Clint’s shoulder and throat and back to his face again.
Clint licked his lips as he met Phil’s gaze. “I love you – I have – so long – love you – “ He forced out as his climax hit him and he came in one last grinding thrust.
Phil grunted as Clint collapsed on him. He was damned heavy. “I love you, too. I have for a long time, too.”
“Well fuck – why – “ He panted into Phil’s neck. “Why didn’t you – say something – “
“I’ve watched you crack walnuts with your bare hands.” He worked his arm between the two of them to hold Clint to him as best he could. “All I could think was that could be my balls.”
“I’ve been cock blocking myself?” He rose up and grinned down at Phil. “That figures.” Giving him a deep kiss, he moved carefully, reaching down to hold the condom while he pulled his cock free of Phil’s body. They both groaned at the loss of such intimate contact. He dropped the condom in the waste can next to the bed and grabbed the sheet to clean the both of them off.
Phil rolled over so they were face to face and pulled Clint into his arms as he lay back down. “I was holding back for other reasons. I didn’t know if you were into men or not and even if you were… if you would… well…”
“If I would want to be with a ninja super badass secret agent?” Clint grinned and leaned in to rub his nose affectionately against Phil’s. “Sure, I’d be totally turned off by all of that, and of course, the handsome face and great ass are just a huge turn off. Oh, and your eyes – wow, how could I deal with your amazing eyes every day? Looking at me? I just feel so un-horny when you look at me.”
“I’m not sure what to say to that.” Phil knew he had a receding hairline, a crooked nose, and average looks. With most people, he was generally considered common and unnoticeable. Something he’d worked hard to establish as part of his SHIELD persona.
“Don’t say anything.” Clint pressed his lips to Phil’s, cutting off further conversation with a kiss.
Phil smiled as the kiss ended and Clint wiggled around until he was comfortable, his head tucked up under Phil’s chin and one leg sprawled across to pin him down. He pressed a gentle kiss to the top of Clint’s head. “Goodnight, roomie.”
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