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Rest and Revelation

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Tony was the first one to figure out Clint's new relationship status. Well, actually, in fairness, Tony was technically just the first one to say anything about it. He was pretty sure Natasha knew. Hell, she'd probably been waiting for it.

But as many things as Natasha was, she wasn't the type to be obnoxious about the love lives of her teammates.

Which just brought it all back to Tony Stark.

"So! Hawkeye. Barton. Clint. I'll just stick with Clint. Fewer syllables, and we're pals. We are pals, right? Of course we are."

Clint looked up from his bowl of Count Chocula, a bit bemused. "What?"

"You and Coulson. How exactly does that work?"

"Normally, I'm up somewhere high with a bow and a target, and then he tells me when to actually take the target out. It's not all that complicated."

"Absolutely not what I meant and you know it."

"What did you mean, then?"

"Well, first of all, you've stopped following him around like a puppy hoping for a treat."

"Hey, I did not--"

Tony just cut him off. Pretty characteristic for him, really. "And second of all, he's stopped playing high school kid who's obviously avoiding his crush to play it cool."


"So obviously you guys took care of all the juicy sexual tension somehow. And I'm going to guess it was in the positive, because otherwise you wouldn't have dodged the question in the first place"

"Who dodged the question?"

"Oh, come on. Who ever takes 'You and him. How does that work?' as a work-related question?"

"Never know?"

"I am a student of human nature, my friend."

"... All the better to get in people's pants?"

Tony grinned. "Human nature is great that way."

"Sorry, Stark. My pants are off limits."

"Yeah, I know. That's what this entire conversation has been about, remember?"

"I never said you were--"

"Yes, Stark," came another voice out of nowhere. Coulson had emerged from who even knew where. "If you absolutely must know, which... really, the list of things you absolutely must know is almost comically slim, then yes. We are in a relationship. Thus far it has managed to work out for us, and you do not need, nor do you want, any details. Satisfied?"

"Would this be one of those opposites attract things? Because trust me, Coulson, I'm pretty sure you're getting the better end of this deal."

Clint opened his mouth to object, but Coulson's "I know I am." beat him to the punch.

Stark seemed satisfied with that, and just shook his head and walked out.

Phil looked at Clint's box of cereal. "Cute."

"What?" he countered with a grin. "Maybe I like chocolatey cereal with 'spooky fun marshmallows'."

"Right. That is obviously the only possible explanation." Still, he was almost smiling. Clint counted that as a win.

"So we're going public with this?"

"To the Initiative, at least. It was going to come out anyway, and it's always better when information comes out where and when we choose. And it saves Stark especially digging for more information that doesn't concern him. There are some things I would highly prefer don't get out. But you? I'll never be ashamed of you."

"Fair enough." He finished his cereal and leaned back in his seat, studying the vampire. "You look bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning."

"I'm in a reasonably good mood. I don't know if I'd exactly go so far as to call myself a barrel of excitement at the moment. Or ever."

"That depends on what you find exciting." Clint grinned. "For instance, I think you're very exciting in almost all circumstances."

"I will keep that in mind the next time I get on you for paperwork."

"... Now exactly what definition of 'get on you' are you using here?"


"Because, you know, if you actually want to get on me for paperwork, that's some pretty powerful incentive. Just saying."

"Make sure to clean up. I have work to do."

Clint just grinned as Phil left.


Tony Stark being the first to know something was actually a very good way to disseminate information outside of the normal channels.

In general, the news caused much less of a splash than one would have imagined.

Steve more or less shrugged. Knowing Agent Coulson, he doubted there was any way their relationship would affect their performance in the field. They were who they were, and that was really all that mattered, in the end. He'd thought that for a very long time.

When Natasha was told, she just arched an eyebrow and returned to doing what she was already doing.

Bruce was a bit taken aback by their personality differences, but hey, if it worked for them, it worked for them. He figured that if anyone had the opportunity for an actual working relationship, they might as well go for it.

Thor was actually quite heartened by the news. He thought the two of them complemented each other well, and that they would both be much improved by it. He wanted to throw a party. Coulson cut the idea off before anyone knew he was aware of it.

The first person to tell Director Fury reported that he just laughed and said, "Get out of my office."

Tony was almost saddened at the anticlimax. Pity the second most insufferable member of the Initiative was one of the people involved.


Clint stirred when Phil climbed into bed one evening, after the news had spread and settled and no catastrophes had occurred. It was nice to have something that wasn't even an open secret, it was just... open. He smiled a little as Phil nestled in next to him. He'd said more than once how much he didn't know he was missing the warmth that Clint provided. It was something he'd never mind giving him.

He rolled over and gave Phil a quick soft kiss. "Hey."

The vampire just smiled faintly. "Hey. Get back to sleep. There's going to be a briefing tomorrow and some travel not long after. Best to conserve your energy."

"Any details you can tell me?"

"Yes. Tomorrow at the briefing."

Clint just chuckled and settled in, closing his eyes again. "Mm. Never change, 'kay?"

"Don't worry. I think I'm pretty good at that."