“Of course S.H.I.E.L.D. would have a safe house in the ass end of nowhere,” Clint gasps.
“You shouldn’t talk,” Phil says, rummaging in the drawers for the unfortunately basic and primitive first-aid kit.
“Though it’s really more of a shack,” Clint grits out, yelping when Coulson removes the bloody fabric on his left shoulder and presses clean gauze onto it. “Budget cuts getting to the best of them, I guess,” and then Clint suddenly starts coughing, flecks of blood staining the sheets, and laughs weakly. “This isn’t really what I had in mind when I said we haven’t done anything exciting on our dates recently.”
“Canada isn’t nowhere,” Phil says as he wraps Clint’s arm into a crude sling. Clint snorts.
Phil builds up a fire in the wood stove and digs up a kettle to heat water in. He hears rustling behind him and turns to see Clint trying to sit up, wincing in the process.
Phil sighs. “Don’t make me sedate you,” he says, and Clint glares at him but settles back against the threadbare pillows.
When Phil goes to check on the bandage, Clint fumbles for his hand and says, more sincerely than Phil’s ever heard him, “I’m sorry.”
“Just—” Phil stops. His hands are shaking. He clears his throat. “Just don't do it again.”
“I couldn’t—” Clint closes his eyes. “If you—I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I don't know what I’d do.”
“It’s not your job to protect me. I can’t be in the field with you if I have to worry about whether you’re going to be doing anything stupid,” and Clint protests, but it’s an old argument, and their conversation follows familiar and worn tracks.
Clint starts to drift off, and he says, almost dreamily, “Hey, if I make it out of here—don’t give me that look, I know and you know what’ll happen if the others don’t get here soon—we should go to Medieval Times. Never been. Always wanted to go, though. Be nice to get out of the city.” Phil gets into the small bed and gently rearranges Clint.
“We’ll go. Next weekend?” Phil says softly, and Clint doesn’t say anything for a while. Icy fear seeps into his heart, and he pushes it down. The injury shouldn’t be fatal—if we weren’t in the ass end of nowhere, Clint’s voice says in his head—but it’s not going to be a walk in the park either.
“I’m sorry,” Clint mumbles into his chest, some time later, voice slurring with exhaustion.
“You don’t need to keep apologizing,” Phil says. When Clint’s breathing has slowed and deepened, Phil says softly, “I don’t know what I’d do, either, you know.”