These are the things that Clint does not do, in no particular order:
Play darts for money with Bruce
Make bets with Tony Stark
Sleep with Natasha (this has been crossed out, re-written and underlined twice)
Allow Thor to play whack-a-mole
The list (stuffed in his SHIELD locker) serves as a little reminder of things he has fucked up. Falling in love happens to be on the top of that list. But Clint is immune to it. He’s a tough customer. His job is far too dangerous for normal relationships. He lives out of pizza boxes, sleeps with a crossbow, and spends his days waiting to hear the order to end someone’s life.
If he’s a little bit in love with Phil Coulson, well, no one says anything.
They’re polar opposites, him and Phil. Mr. Secret Agent and the Hawk. It could be a kid’s show. If kid’s shows included violence and embarrassing sexual fantasies that increasingly involved suits. (Clint stays away from the formal section of the Men’s department. Just the sight of a tie has started to give him a hard-on.)
Phil is Competent. Phil is Professional. No one would ever use those words to describe Clint. Talented? Yeah. Sarcastic? His middle name. And if Clint needs to list all of the reasons why they’re so different, it’s only because he needs some way of reminding himself everything about this obsession of his is a bad idea.
He loves how Phil is always in his ear during missions, low and official. Watching the watcher. Always re-directing his smart mouth to the task at hand. Maintain radio silence, Barton. His three new favourite words. He loves the way Phil says his name, the way Phil barely cracks a smile when Clint makes a joke. He loves.
The thing is, Phil has a girl on the side. A squeeze. Which means he’s straight. (And this is the only area of his life in which Clint’s arrows have not flown straight.) She’s a cellist. Has long legs, black hair and a killer smile. She’s probably fantastic in bed. Clint irrationally hates her.
Technically, he’s not supposed to know about her. She’s just another bit of personal information that Phil keeps tucked away, like the fact that he was born in Minnesota, or the fact that he loves olives. What little private life Phil has is zealously separate from the job. SHIELD which has a tendency of metastasising into every area of a person’s life. Your co-workers become your lover, your best friend. This is part of the problem for Clint; because Phil becomes the only person he sees and hears when he’s on a mission.
When he’s not working, he’s thinking about the way Phil’s teeth might feel on his ear. About how his lips might suck on his neck. About what Phil might say to him when they’re grinding up against each other in bed.
Clint doesn’t act on his feelings, because really, what the fuck is Phil going to say? Never says a word about this to anyone. The only person who knows is Natasha, because they’ve got a good handle on each other’s feelings.
And then Phil dies, and the end of the world happens. Except it doesn’t, because Clint is there, along with his newly minted team of similarly fucked up individuals. When it’s over, and they’re back at Stark Tower, and there are exhilarated grins on everyone’s face, all Clint can think about is Phil. How he would have been so fucking proud to see them work together.
He closes his eyes. Tries to make the pain fade, but can’t.
Clint will always be a little in love with Phil Coulson.