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Nothing Says Love Like an Ugly Sweater

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Way back when he'd been a wide-eyed kid, before the army and all the fucked up shit he’d seen there, Fury had figured he'd have reached a few milestones by the time he’d made it into his fifties. The Directorship of SHIELD and a mate to come home to were at the top of the list, though he was still trying to decide if the big office had been worth his eye. Over the years he’d dated plenty of omegas, some more serious than others, but he’d never found one he wanted to spend his life with. Until now, it had never been a problem, but watching the goddamn mating dance going on between Coulson and his archer made him squirm -and the goddamn Director of SHIELD did not squirm.

Granted, they never seemed to be able to find their rhythm, but he’d seen the considering glances from Coulson, could see the man weighing the risks that come with a relationship against the possibility of having a mate to raise his child with. Knowing Coulson, he’d end up talking himself out of it, but then, with the way they managed to avoid staring at each other at the same time, Fury doubted Coulson saw the way Barton’s eyes followed him. Part of it was biological, Fury was sure; Coulson had given birth to Barton’s son and Barton’s instincts had to be telling him that Coulson was his, but with the way Barton’s face eyes lit up when Coulson’s name was mentioned, it had to be more than that. If Barton would just make his move already, Coulson would stop second guessing himself.

“I just wish they’d fuck and get it over with,” he told Charlie, smirking when the sound of his voice got him Charlie’s attention. The kid was pretty easily distractible, but when his parents were in the room he ended up focusing entirely on them; he was too damn perceptive- definitely Hawkeye’s boy. Fury was fine with it since Charlie was content to be held as long as he could see them, but it also meant that getting Charlie to pay him any attention was a struggle.

Fury tucked the new diaper around the kid’s waist and began the trial of getting him back into his clothes while Charlie squirmed and gnawed on his own tiny fist. He knew Coulson was on to him, but kids were another one of those thing he’d thought he’d have by this point of his life, and Charlie was the closest he’d ever gotten. So when the kid needed a bottle or a diaper change, he made sure he was available. And really, he’d been wrist-deep in things much worse than dirty diapers over the years.

With Charlie dressed and mostly clean, Fury picked him up and held him against his shoulder, walking back into the front room where Coulson was directing Barton through decorating the tree. Barton wasn’t really doing anything wrong, but while Coulson was sober enough to keep Barton busy, he was also drunk enough not to care that he was staring shamelessly at Barton's ass. Fury spent perhaps a few seconds too long considering how far Coulson would kick his ass if he… helped Coulson’s intoxication along, like a good wingman. Then again, maybe Coulson just wanted to make sure his view wasn’t interrupted; the way his eyes tracked every movement, from Barton’s ass to his shoulders -that idiot’s shirts seemed to be getting tighter- was focused enough that he barely glanced at the tree long enough to notice it, let alone whether Barton was paying attention to him.

Fury settled down on the couch, handing Charlie his teething ring when he reached for Coulson. He caught Coulson’s eye and raised an eyebrow toward Barton who was crouched down, trying to level the rows of tinsel closest to the floor. Coulson spared him an all-too innocent smile before turning back to watch Barton. He was relaxed and happy, and his expression wouldn’t have fooled even the greenest of their agents.

“You gonna spend the whole night on your knees, Barton?” Fury asked lightly, angling his face down to Charlie and twisting his mouth in a silly grimace so his dads wouldn’t see the smirk trying to form. A swift, painful jab to his side made Coulson’s displeasure with his meddling clear, but Barton just chuckled.

“Not if I get a better offer,” Barton responded, pivoting on his knee so he could see them. His eyes glanced over Coulson, too fast and casual to have been natural, before landing on Charlie and softening as he watched the kid’s little fists reaching up for Fury’s eyepatch. Fury was glad Barton hadn’t looked at him; he was having a hard enough time not laughing his ass off. There was no way Coulson was going to handle that comment with any sort of dignity.

A strangled, half choked groan confirmed Fury’s thoughts and they both turned to him. Barton’s face showed only concern, but Fury once again had to try to hide his smirk. Coulson’s face was a little flushed, but he pretended like nothing was wrong and gave Barton a smile, pointing out some other area on the tree he wanted “fixed”. When Barton turned around, Coulson glared at Fury and pulled Charlie out of his arms, only to set him on his stomach on the blanket at Coulson’s feet. The smirk dropped off Fury’s face and he returned the glare as Coulson settled back on the couch, the smug tilt of his chin telling Fury that he’d known exactly how much that move would piss him off. Leaning back against the couch, Fury kicked back and pretended that he wasn’t already planning his revenge.

---

Fury knew better than to argue when he found the dreaded package on his chair at breakfast Christmas morning. He’d been trying to change Coulson’s mind about this shit for more than a decade now, but every year he swore it would never happen again, and every year he ended up giving in... again. Thankfully, Phil had also gotten to know him better each year, so his refusal was mostly just tradition at that point. He had a hard time, though, not showing his pleasure when the sweater was nothing like last year’s monstrosity. From the knowing grin on Coulson’s face, he hadn’t managed to keep his thoughts entirely to himself, but Barton walked in with Charlie, interrupting Coulson’s teasing just in time.

Charlie, it seemed, had received his Christmaswear earlier in the morning and looked like a chubby little candycane, but he was still mostly asleep and had his hands clenched in Barton’s tshirt, so Fury kept his mouth shut. Coulson and Barton were already fussing over the baby and the poor kid didn’t need another adult making stupid noises in his face. After yanking his sweater over his thin tshirt -he’d come prepared for the sweater, giving Coulson even more proof that he really didn’t mind them- Fury took Charlie from Barton and directed the man to his own chair where another box rested on the table.

The plain white box clearly startled Barton, and he glanced at Fury’s sweater and down to the identical box, empty, beside him. Coulson, the bastard, was leaning against the table, preventing either of them from seeing what was on his own sweater other than the repeating diamond pattern around the shoulders. Barton plucked at the corners of the box for a second, looking insecure in a way Fury hadn't seen since Barton had first been introduced to Coulson in his office, before putting on a confident smirk and yanking the top off.

Barton stared at the design on the sweater for a split second before he laughed and pulled it out, holding it up to study it. He shot Coulson a look, fond and more than a little tender, that would have set men less than Fury squirming in their seats. He just cleared his throat and raised an expectant eyebrow at Barton. Grinning again, Barton shrugged the vest on over his dark tshirt and buttoned it. Fury shook his head at the sight of the reindeer fucking on the front of Barton’s sweater and gave Coulson an unimpressed look. Coulson just smirked.

Flexing like a bodybuilder, Barton modeled the vest like the giant fucking dork he was while Fury tried not to laugh at the way Coulson's breath hitched. “Well? Do I pass inspection?” Barton’s voice was way too damn husky for Fury’s peace of mind. He was not a goddamn prude, but that didn’t mean he wanted to think about his best friend having sex. It was just- There were some things a man did not need to know about his friends, and Barton’s sex voice was way past that line.

“I’d say so, Barton,” Coulson said. His voice was too bland, though, and Fury turned, eyes narrowed in suspicion, only to have his efforts at stifling his laughter ruined when Coulson stood and revealed the reindeer threesome on his own sweater.

“This is why I like you, Coulson,” Fury called after him as Coulson walked into the kitchen after swiping an empty bottle off the table, “you’re always so fucking subtle.” Really, though, the matching sweaters of reindeer getting it on? Coulson wasn’t pulling any punches, and if Barton didn’t get the hints soon, Fury was going to have to interfere.

Then again, with the way Barton was staring after Coulson, fondling the buttons of his vest, he didn’t think he’d have to do too much to get them to resolve their goddamn UST. “Never seen him go matchy-matchy like that with the sweaters,” Fury said, a little too nonchalant, watching Charlie yawn and stretch as he woke up little by little. “Better not fuck it up.” Well, they probably wouldn’t need the help, but no reason not to make sure Barton knew not to do something stupid. Standing and heading for the couch, Fury shouted over his shoulder, “Coulson, get your ass moving or I’ll open Charlie’s presents without you.” Fury figured he could live with the knowledge that Coulson was fucking Barton if it meant he’d get more nieces and nephews in a few years.