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Until Exhausted Close Our Eyelids

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After everything, they climb into bed on opposite sides, lie on their backs and don’t say a word to each other.

Clint is so damn tired he kind of wants to die but at the same time, he doesn’t want to sleep. Sleep is dreaming and sleep is waking up and maybe this will be a dream. Maybe he’ll open his eyes and he’ll still have Loki in his head and Phil will still be dead.

Phil’s hand reaches across the bed and the backs of two fingers brush against Clint's hip.

Clint grabs hold before he remembers that he can't speak to Phil right now. Phil’s skin is warm and the calluses are right where they should be. His tiny huff of not-quite-concealed pain makes sense too, what with the fresh, post-surgery stitches holding his shoulder and the left side of his chest together.

Phil squeezes Clint's fingers and doesn't ask if he's okay. The last thing Clint said to him, the only thing he's been able to say to him since Fury opened that damn door and Phil came limping out, was don't, I can't, not yet and Phil has been good about honouring that.

Clint closes his eyes. He doesn't want to but he's warm and he's so goddamn tired that he doesn't have any choice. He drifts for a while, too exhausted to sleep and hyperaware of every shift and sound from Phil's half of the bed. He doesn't notice when he goes from awake to dreaming, just that one second he's in his bedroom, the next, he's somewhere bright and soundless and Loki is stabbing Phil again and again in front of him.

He wakes with a gasp to Phil's fingers on his face.

"Fuck," Clint tells him. His breathing is shaky and he can't make it settle, telling himself that Phil's here, they're both here, isn't helping. "Fuck, Phil, talk to me."

Phil kisses him instead. It's gentle but it isn't chaste, or cautious, or anything that they sometimes are after a big fight. Phil leans into him, heavy and close, and kisses him likes it's that or drowning.

Clint tries to say something, ends up with wordless sounds and grabs for Phil's head, pulling him down closer still, so close that they almost don't have room to kiss, mouths more crushed together than really moving in any kind of sync. They've had enough skilled kisses; right now they need one that's big enough to cancel out the rest of the world.

Phil's half on top of Clint but it's not close enough, so Clint reaches up, hand just below Phil's left shoulderblade, trying to claw him closer. His hand hits something thick and unexpected at the same moment that Phil hisses, jerking back an inch or two.

"Shit, fuck," Clint swears, trying to push Phil off him so he can see what he's done. "I'm sorry, shit, I forgot."

Phil shakes his head. "It's fine," he says and there, that's why Clint couldn't cope with talking to him earlier: the hoarse, painful rasp of his voice, the one that means he was intubated, that he nearly died.

"It's not." Clint slides out from under him and twists around, pushing up Phil's t-shirt to check for himself. He feels kind of detached; he's already gotten Phil hurt enough, surely. Right, universe? Please.

The bandage is stark and white against Phil's pale skin but there's no sign of bleeding, just a roughed up edge from where Clint got grabby. He smooths it out with fingers that he pretends aren't shaking.

"Think I'll survive?" Phil asks then winces. "Pretend I said something more sensitive and appropriate."

Clint sighs and lies back down, very, very careful not to jostle Phil now. He folds his arms across Phil's lower back and Phil rests his head on Clint's chest, breathing out quietly, like he's satisfied to be there.

This is better, Clint realises and maybe he's getting old or something, whatever, but this, Phil warm and solid and heavy in his arms is doing more to fix his freaked out brain than anything else has, more than all the whiskey he drunk with Stark after they told him Phil was dead, more than the first time they saw that he wasn't, more than making out just now.

"I know you're furious with me," Phil says quietly. His voice breaks on a rasp and he clears his throat. "Do you want me to apologise?"

"Will you mean it?" Clint asks, carefully palming the back of Phil's head, putting his hair back into order from where Clint messed it up earlier.

Phil's complete lack of answer tells him enough.

"No, then," Clint tells him. "That'd be dumb." Besides, they don't apologise to each other for decisions made in the field. Even when that decision is tell everyone Phil's dead, maybe they'll fight better, like Clint didn't have enough motivation to want Loki gone.

"So what happens now?" Phil asks and the fact that Phil is admitting to not already having a plan in place is weird. Phil always has a plan in place, even if it turns out to be one Clint doesn't like and that they don't end up using.

"I'm thinking lying here until morning, maybe some sleep if we're lucky. And then breakfast?"

"Clint," Phil says like he thinks Clint's being a smartass.

"No," Clint says, "I mean that." He stops petting Phil's hair and slips his fingers under the collar of Phil's t-shirt instead. "I spent three days thinking I was never going to do shit like have breakfast with you ever again. That is basically the only thing I want right now, okay?"

Phil's quiet for a long time. "Then that's what we'll do," he says eventually and something about the way he says it makes Clint think that he gets it.

Clint curls forward and kisses the nearest part of Phil that he can find. It turns out to be the top of his ear but that's okay, as long as Phil is here, Clint is okay with taking him back piece by piece.