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Taming Tigers

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"Oh, you know, the usual," Clint tells the new trainee as he sets down his bow. "Raised in a circus, trained by the world's greatest marksman, earned my keep by asking audience members to toss a wooden nickel into the ring so I could hit it mid-air. That kind of thing."

Phil listens in from a few feet away, partly paying attention to the texts he's scrolling through, but mostly trying not to roll his eyes or smile fondly. ("Smiling fondly" is not a reaction he normally has to resist at work. As with so many things, Barton's the exception.)

The trainee looks at Clint disbelievingly. "A circus? Come on, that's the lamest cover story I've ever heard. What else did you do in your 'circus childhood' -- learn to tame tigers? Squeeze into a clown car?"

"Nah." Clint has the faint grin that he gets when meeting people who don't know Clint's reputation, and are about to learn. "But I'm a kick-ass sword swallower."

At that, Phil looks up. That detail wasn't in Clint's file, but he'd only give 30% odds that Clint's bluffing.

"Now I know you're bullshitting me," the trainee says. "All that sword-swallowing stuff is just sleight of hand."

Rather than correct him, Clint pulls a fresh arrow out of his quiver with an outright smirk. He tilts his head back, so far back that his throat rises in a straight line to the base of his chin. (Phil's given up all pretense of doing work by now, but the trainee seems too transfixed to notice.) Then Clint opens his mouth, holds the arrow vertically above, and slowly begins to slide it downward.

Phil can practically feel the moment that the arrow's head lowers into Clint's throat, and the complete lack of gag reflex that it implies is painfully arousing. But Clint keeps lowering the arrow, hand steady and careful, until it's impossibly deep inside him. His neck barely trembles around the length -- God, it must be almost two feet in -- and Phil's dizzy with the sudden image of that throat swallowing his cock down completely, those parted lips taking him so deep that they press against his hipbone.

When the arrow's all the way down, Clint's eyes twinkle wickedly, as if he knows Phil's watching. He turns 360 degrees, smooth and slow, then pulls out the arrow -- still steady, but more quickly than it went in. At last, when the arrow's all the way out, he tilts his head back down and wipes his lips. "See? No sleight of hand."

The trainee is speechless; Phil's careful to be reading his phone when Clint shoots a glance in his direction. After the poor kid flees the shooting range, though, Clint heads over to Phil. "Like what you saw?" he asks.

Phil raises his eyebrows, keeping his face unimpressed. "All those times you accused me of having a stick up my ass, I didn't realize that you had personal experience with that sort of thing."

"Hey, I've got experience with a whole lot of things," Clint winks. His voice positively drips innuendo. "But most of them require a volunteer from the audience to participate."

"Hm. Shame I prefer to stay behind the scenes, rather than showboating around on stage."

"That's okay," Clint says. (When did he get so close that Phil could feel the puff of his breath?) "I'm also available for private performances."

Phil meets Clint's eyes for one long moment. He's certain that Clint can see how turned on he is. The air between them feels charged with possibility, and Phil forces himself to start mentally reciting a litany that's become very familiar to him. Regulation 413.7B, Regulation 680.11, Regulations 691.1 through .12 -- all the rules that SHIELD has carefully laid down to limit inappropriate subordinate/superior interactions. Phil's always liked the safety of rules, the way that they keep you from making mistakes that might feel right at the time.

When the silence passes from tension into awkwardness, Clint leans back slightly. He's still close enough that Phil can see how his lips are reddened and half-chapped from stretching so wide for so long, and he can't help but wonder how different they'd look, bruised from kissing. "I have some contacts I need to get back to," Phil says.

"Well," Clint says. "When you change your mind, you know where to find me."

Phil shakes his head and heads out of the shooting range, but he can't help but repeat Clint's parting words to himself. Not "if," he'd said. "When."