At seven am on the dot, Phil arrives at work with a coffee and half a pack of powdered donuts in hand. He makes his way to his desk and starts sorting the things he’s going to have to do personally from the things he can pawn off on junior agents.
At exactly eight fifteen am, as he walks down the hall to distribute paperwork in the appropriate mailboxes, the first one hits him directly between the eyes. He looks at the perfectly good Snoball lying on the floor in front of him, and then up at the ceiling. Clint is nowhere to be seen, which is in no way surprising. He thrives on hiding in the rafters.
Phil sighs at the waste, picks the ball of puff and powdered sugar up off the floor, and lobs it at the trashcan. Another Snoball appears and knocks it off course. Phil sighs, because clearly it’s going to be one of those days. Phil is probably imagining that a light shower of powdered sugar rains down in his wake.
At eight twenty-five, Phil heads down a floor for the Competence Eval that he’s been complaining about all week, because it’s stressful and frustrating and completely unnecessary. He’s somewhat mollified, however, when he arrives at the meeting to find that the psychologist in charge is entirely covered with powdered sugar, and the trashcan is full of over a dozen limp Snoballs.
The third incident doesn’t actually involve anything hitting anyone; they just sort of fall down onto his tray while he takes his lunch break in the Helicarrier’s cafeteria. It would be a victimless crime, except Phil’s broccoli takes a hit from the spray of sugar caused by the fall. Every time he tries something healthy…
He eats the broccoli anyway. The sugar absolutely does not compliment vegetables, no matter what he tries. Apparently it is in fact possible to make something Phil already doesn’t enjoy even worse.
The fourth incident is sitting on his desk when he comes back from sparring with Captain Rogers in the gym. It’s then that he starts to clue in to the fact that something is actually up, beyond Clint being Clint. It’s gotten powdered sugar all over the paperwork that particularly nasty intern turned in earlier; Phil feels a certain vindictiveness in filing a requisition for another form, to be sent to said intern.
The fifth involves him being hit in the center of his back while he makes his hourly check on the bridge for agents secretly playing Galaga instead of working. Fury glares accusingly at the mark on his back, and Phil just shrugs.
“I told you that I wasn’t convinced the ceiling ventilation in the bridge was secure,” he says, and Fury actually growls a little, before he starts barking orders for someone to see about that. Phil doesn’t feel guilty because it’s certainly not his fault that the ceiling isn’t secure. It might be his fault that Clint is taking advantage of that fact. He can’t say for sure until he has more information on what, exactly, is going on here.
Phil goes back to his office, completes the last of his paperwork, and then goes looking for Clint. He isn’t in any of his usual spots or any of the monitored air ducts, which means he’s either already left for the day or he just doesn’t want to be found.
It’s six in the evening and frankly Phil doesn’t have anything else pressing to accomplish, and he just wants to go home for the day. He catches the next jet back to the surface, and is shot with a Snoball to the back of the head just as they take off, even though he knows Clint can’t be on board. Investigation reveals a jury-rigged catapult duct-taped in a corner. It’s a little scary, actually; Phil will have to reconsider the safety of habitually sitting in the same seat of the jets and check all of them for matching traps. He wonders if it was triggered or timed, and whether it would be easier to take it apart and find out, or just to ask Clint.
He takes it with him just in case, and smiles a little as he realizes this is Clint’s way of telling him that he’s already gone home.
On the way back he stops to pick up milk and eggs, and when he gets to their apartment, Clint’s Mustang is already in the lot.
“I took off early and made us dinner,” Clint calls cheerfully from the kitchen as Phil opens the front door. The first thing Phil notices is the table set with elaborate configurations of Snoballs. The second is Clint zeroing in on the bags in his hands.
“Oh, I got milk and eggs this morning,” Clint says, looking a little baffled, “Sorry, I, uh, must have forgot to mention.”
“Was that before or after you stocked up on Snoballs?” Phil asks, amused in spite of himself.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Clint replies, very sincere. Phil looks past him at the ridiculous dinner set-up and laughs.
Clint’s smiling at him, a wide, open expression that very few people ever see.
“Did your day go better than you thought, even with the whole donut attack thing?” Clint asks, and he sounds concerned and maybe a little shy.
Suddenly unsure, Phil replies, “It was just a Competence Eval, I was hardly going to do badly.”
“You were upset about it last night,” Clint points out.
“I wasn’t—” Phil starts, and then he can’t quite stop himself from laughing. “You were, you were being sweet! You were worried about my day and trying to make it better!”
It’s so ridiculous, and so ridiculously Clint, and it worked. Phil starts to laugh again, and Clint manages to look arrogant and completely embarrassed at the same time. Phil leans forward, wraps a hand around the back of Clint’s neck, and pulls him in for a kiss.
“Thank you,” he says when they break apart for air.
Clint’s bashful, bright smile is absolutely worth every cent of the dry cleaning bill.