It happens after.
After they relinquished clean-up duty to proper authorities; after Thor, Selvig and Bruce found a way to dismantle the Scepter and safely contain both Tesseract and Loki; after Fury got in touch with them and, to everyone’s surprise, gave them carte blanche on dealing with alien deities and artifacts (and he didn’t even mention the word ‘debriefing’; Clint and Natasha both stated it was temporarily insanity, and they should enjoy it why it lasts). It is even after the shawarma, well into the night, when they’ve congregated in one of the undamaged-well-equipped rooms in Stark Tower.
Thor and Selvig are catching up on the couch in the corner, with Bruce half sleeping, half listening in; the other four are drinking at the table. Well, only Tony is actually drinking – Steve and Natasha are nursing their second glass of whisky (yes, it is possible to nurse whisky), and Clint’s first shot is untouched.
“I need to go to the labs,” Tony mumbles, trying to get up. Steve silently puts a hand on his shoulder, pushing him back. “You don’t understand, I need to invent a technology!”
“What for?” Natasha asks grimly.
“To make a phone call to the afterlife, of course! We need to tell Agent we won.”
Steve is the first to understand, maybe because he actually understands better then everyone – he’s already lost soldiers, who died in the middle of hopeless battle without knowing the outcome.
“He believed we will,” he says firmly. “It’s enough.”
Clint’s fingers close on the glass, and he stops millisecond before smashing it. Phil believed in heroes, in greater good, but he didn’t know and didn’t have a single reason to believe that Hawkeye would be on the right side during the final battle, his mind his own again. And that hurts, too.
Natasha downs her shot, and then puts glass back two inches to the left, to touch Clint’s hand in the process. Once he is able to hear, she’ll tell him. Tell him that of course Phil knew, of course Phil believed that his ‘golden boy’ would be strong enough and lucky enough to overcome anything that green snail might have done with him. In fact, Natasha is sure - Phil Coulson is still keeping an eye on them from whatever afterlife was brave enough to take him… Oh. By the way, maybe she should ask Thor a couple of questions about Valhalla? Just in case.