The safehouse is dry but drafty, and the heat gives off the smell of burned dust and a questionable amount of warm air. Clint rolls his shoulders as he tosses his bag in a corner of the single bedroom. “Dinner?” he calls to Coulson as he places his bow against the nightstand with more care. He pulls his pistol from its holster and examines it for damage. He’d gotten thumped against the wall by an unfriendly when they’d had to break cover, and he’d landed gun-hip first against the wall.
“Safehouse was stocked when the op was approved. We’ve got plenty to choose from.” Coulson is leaning against the bedroom door. He watches Clint complete his de-weaponing, smirking at the 8-inch knife he pulls from a sheath in his boot. “Natasha know you swiped that?”
“Still have all my fingers, don’t I?” Clint replies with a grin. He slides the knife under his pillow and turns around fully as Coulson walks towards him. He winces when Coulson presses his hand exactly where Clint’s holster had been a few minutes ago.
“Let me see,” Coulson says, undoing the button on Clint’s uniform pants with one hand. Clint raises his eyebrows. Coulson hooks two fingers into Clint’s waistband and waits.
“You are no fun,” Clint tells him, but he unzips and pushes down his pants and underwear so Coulson can inspect the injury. He checks it over himself as Coulson leans down for a better look. There’s a purple-black bruise spreading across his hip and down his thigh and a little bit up his side. Coulson presses the edges of it, and Clint swears under his breath.
“Strip down and lie back on the bed,” Coulson says, voice professional. His eyes are flat when he glances at Clint. There’s to be no playing around right now, his face says.
“All right,” Clint tells him. He sits and unlaces his boots, letting Coulson pull them off as he pushes his pants all the way down but pulls his underwear back up. He leaves on his shirt because the house is still cold, and he is attempting to be professional and not try to distract Coulson with thoughts of sex. The fact that he stretches his arms over his head for a moment is completely necessary. Really.
Coulson stands and cups the back of Clint’s calf. He curls his other hand around Clint’s foot, and then he pushes Clint’s leg towards him. “Pain?”
Coulson repeats the motion a few more times, watching Clint’s face as he applies more pressure. “Any pain while you were running away?”
Clint thinks about it for a moment. “Hurt like a bitch when I hit the wall,” he says as Coulson changes the angle and rotates Clint’s leg so his knee points outward. “Nothing there,” he says as Coulson applies a bit more pressure.
Coulson turns Clint’s leg so his knee is pointed towards his other leg. “And there?”
“Probably just a bad bruise, then.” Coulson lowers Clint’s leg to the floor and holds out a hand to pull Clint to his feet. “Weight on the bruised leg.”
Clint grasps Coulson’s forearm and lifts his right foot off the floor as Coulson pulls him upward. He stands on one foot for ten seconds, waiting for Coulson to give him a nod of approval.
“Pain?” Coulson asks.
Clint shifts back and forth on his left foot. He wobbles slightly, and Coulson holds out his arm to use for balance. “There’s a dull throb, but nothing’s creaking.”
“We should keep you off it, just in case.” Coulson rolls his eyes at Clint’s leer. “I mean it.”
“I know,” Clint says. He puts his right foot down so both feet are on the floor and sits on the bed without being told. “Doesn’t mean I’m not disappointed, though.”
“I appreciate that.” Coulson says. “Stay here. I’ll bring you an icepack.” He takes half a step, pauses, steps back, tilts Clint’s face up and kisses him on the mouth. Clint stretches into it, smiling when the kiss lasts longer than the second he was expecting.
“For a job well done,” Coulson tells him when he pulls away, the smile on his face softer than it ever is when they’re on the clock. They’ve fully switched over, it seems.
“Thanks,” Clint says. He watches Coulson walk away and adjusts his position on the bed, pulling his shirt over his head and leaning against the pillows. The house is still chilly, but Clint doesn’t want to get under the covers.
“Get under the covers,” Coulson says as he walks back into the room. He’s carrying a bed tray. It’s loaded with two streaming coffee mugs, a plate full of sandwiches, and an icepack and a towel. He sets the bed tray on the nightstand on the empty side of the bed and watches Clint until Clint maneuvers the covers around himself and down the bed.
“I don’t want to make a cold spot,” Clint says, holding out his hand for the icepack.
Coulson wraps it in the towel and hands it to him. Once Clint has it settled, Coulson hands him a mug. “Tea,” he says.
“Thanks,” Clint replies. He watches Coulson peel off his suit jacket and roll up his shirtsleeves. “No,” he says.
“Yes,” Coulson replies.
“We were on for nineteen hours. You do not have to do paperwork right now. You called in the basics on the way here.”
“We had a breech in the plan. It has to be written up in detail as soon as possible.”
Clint takes a sip of tea so he doesn’t sigh. They will never agree on paperwork. “I’m injured?” he tries.
“Not badly enough.”
Coulson shrugs in response and toes off his shoes. He takes his gun from its holster and slides it under his pillow before climbing into the bed. He brings his own mug and the sandwiches with him, setting the plate on his lap as he reaches over and pulls his phone out of his suit jacket. He tosses it to Clint as he finishes getting settled, and pulls the blankets halfway up Clint’s legs without a word.
“Sure you have time for this?” Clint asks, waving the phone. “I wouldn’t want you to get behind.”
“I can manage an episode of something.”
Clint grins at that. “A whole episode? You might pull something being away from triplicate forms that long.” He opens the Netflix app and hands the phone back to Coulson so he can take a sandwich.
Coulson crosses his right leg over his left knee and balances the phone on his right ankle so he can eat a sandwich of his own. Clint scoots over so that they’re arm-to-arm, dropping a kiss onto Coulson’s shoulder as the opening theme to Toddlers & Tiaras comes over the speakers.
“Drink every time someone says ‘personality’?” Clint asks.
“Good thing I didn’t spike the tea,” Coulson replies. He finishes his sandwich and reaches across Clint, adjusting the icepack without looking. “Better?”
“Yeah.” Clint takes another sandwich, and they take a synchronized drink of their tea as the mom on screen says her daughter has a great personality.
“Do we need to strap it down? There’s a bandage in the first aid kit.”
“It feels okay.” Clint eats a second sandwich and nods when Coulson lifts the plate to move it to the nightstand. Once it’s clear, Clint ducks under Coulson’s arm and curls against his side, shifting so his left hip is up in the air, and the icepack lies flat on the bruise.
“Take some aspirin before you go to sleep,” Coulson says as he wraps his free arm around Clint.
“Yeah, yeah,” Clint grouses, but they both know he’ll do it. The pageant director on screen talks about how important it is for a contestant to have personality, and they drink again.
When the episode ends, they’re both out of tea, and the ice pack is making the towel soggy. Coulson rolls out of the bed and reaches for Clint’s mug and the ice pack. He maneuvers them all into one hand and touches the edges of the bruise.
“Numb,” Clint tells him, burrowing down into his pillow.
“Aspirin,” Coulson reminds him.
“In a minute,” Clint promises. The last of his adrenaline has worn off, and the bed is genuinely comfortable. “Do your paperwork in here,” he says. “I won’t distract you.”
“Lies,” Coulson replies as he leaves the room, but he comes back a few minutes later with his laptop and a stack of forms. He settles back onto the bed, keeping his laptop slightly off-center so Clint can curl a hand over his thigh. He reaches into his shirt pocket and pulls out two aspirin.
Clint swallows them dry and drops his head to his pillow again. “Go to sleep at a passable hour.”
“We’ll see,” Coulson replies.
Clint’s hand tightens on Coulson’s leg and goes slack a few minutes later when Clint drops off to sleep. Coulson finishes using his laptop and moves it to the nightstand. He glances at the forms, down at Clint, and then back at the forms. The forms are just backup, and he’d gotten receipt confirmation on the electronic documents. But still.
“Lemo bacon,” Clint mutters and turns over, his hand sliding off of Coulson’s leg. Coulson waits for him to flinch from the pain of his bruise, but Clint keeps sleeping. His hair is flat on one side, and the hand that had been on Coulson’s thigh is opening and closing in thin air over the edge of the bed.
“Can’t take you anywhere,” Coulson mutters. He stands up and strips down to his shorts, flips off the light, and climbs into bed again, pulling Clint towards him and maneuvering him so he isn’t resting on his bruise. He checks the perimeter on his phone. They’re fully locked-down and secure. He puts his phone on the nightstand, double-checks for the gun under his pillow, and falls asleep on his back, Clint breathing on his collarbone and the forms left empty until the morning.