“What, really?” Tony asks, his eyebrows in his hairline, eyes wide. Beside him, Steve looks less surprised, but no less interested. Bruce is trying very hard not to smile behind his coffee cup as he watches curiously.
Clint resists the urge to cross his arms defensively. “Yes.”
“And we didn’t know this… why?”
“Above your clearance level.” Coulson tells him flatly, and Clint could kiss him. He really, really could. (And he will, as soon as everyone else is gone.)
In the corner, Natasha is laughing herself silly. She’s known for nearly as long as they’ve been working together. Clint scowls at her from over his shoulder and tosses a rolled up paper ball in her direction. It bounces ineffectively off the top of her head, right on target.
“I hate you all.” Clint grouses, slumping down farther in his chair.
Thor looks confused. “I do not understand.” He says. “What is a circus? Is it a type of battle?”
Natasha just laughs harder.
Five skills Clint learned in the Circus…
The thing about living in a tower full of 5 other superheroes (because they totally are, even if Coulson scowls every time it’s mentioned) is that no one is ever really self-sufficient.
The problem with living in a tower full of 5 other superheroes is that, at first, they all try to be exactly that.
The first three months are the worst. There are lots of bruised egos, crushed toes, and a few broken walls. Eventually, though, they find some kind of rhythm. Ground rules are set and Fury feels secure enough in the idea that they aren’t going to murder each other that he releases the armed guards stationed around the perimeter.
Somewhere along the line, they all agree to split certain duties. Cleaning is a moot-point, because Tony hires people for everything big and Steve frowns at them all over the little things until they all cave to his obsessive-compulsive urges. Stark and Banner-sitting is split between Steve and Natasha, Bruce cleans out the DVR every Sunday like clockwork, and three times a week Clint takes to the kitchen and makes them all something fantastic.
The first time he does this, Tony takes one bite, drops his fork, and proposes marriage.
Clint is both flattered and creeped out. “Sorry, spoken for.” He waves his left hand pointedly, the ring that he only ever gets to wear off the field glittering prettily in the light.
(That had been an interesting talk, and one of the ones that had led to a broken wall. Tony had learned several very important lessons that day, the least of which was that, no, his reinforced walls really aren’t enforced well enough to stand up against one of Clint’s custom explosive arrows.)
Tony takes another bite and makes a noise that is downright obscene. “Then can I just marry this food? That’s legal somewhere, isn’t it? I mean if a man can marry his truck—”
“Wait, what?” Steve interrupts, mouth dropping open in shock.
Tony gives a grin that is downright predatory and opens his mouth. Natasha smacks him, hard, across the back of his head before he can get a single word out. The bickering starts in full force and Clint smiles in his meal.
(It ends when Steve forcefully tugs Tony’s chair away from Natasha’s by a few inches. Tony grumbles about it being an abuse of his powers; Natasha just smiles like that was the result she intended on in the first place.)
“Seriously, though,” Tony goes on, after he’s finished shooting Natasha a dirty looking. “Where the hell did you learn to cook like this?”
Clint shrugs. He’s never liked giving up his secrets. “Well, when you travel as much as I do, you just tend to pick these things up.”
“Bullshit!” Tony declares.
(Thor’s head lifts up from his meal, brow furrowed. “Who has cheated?” He demands.
Bruce sighs and says to Steve, “We ever should have let Tony teach him that game.”)
“Natasha’s traveled just as much as you,” Tony continues, ignoring the way Natasha helpfully interrupts with, More, actually, “and we don’t let her anywhere near a stove.”
Natasha snorts indelicately. “Yes, because you ‘let’ me do things.” She says dangerously, and Clint grins in amusement as Tony chokes on his food and hurriedly begins to back-pedal. While he’s thoroughly distracted, she shoots Clint a you owe me one look, to which he nods subtly, grateful, and adds a tally to his mental record.
(Truth be told, it’s not so much that he doesn’t want the others to know – although, to be fair, the less he tells Tony about his time under the big top, the less can be used against him.
It’s just that there are some secrets that he’s gotten so used to keeping that sharing them with anyone makes him feel vulnerable in ways he doesn’t like. The fact that he learned to cook under the careful tutelage of a bearded lady because it was a choice between that or another night of the crappy leftover goulash from the group pot is just one of those secrets.)
There is a general rule in the Tower that whenever you walk in on somebody doing unusual, it’s generally not what it looks like. (Unless it’s Tony, and then it’s always what it looks likes.) There is also a general rule that if it’s bad enough to need a “not what it looks like” label, you will probably get shit for it from Tony.
That’s just the way it works.
“So are we doing our nails next?” Tony sounds like he’s having far too much fun as he flops onto the couch beside Natasha, who scowls at him without actually turning her head. “Can we start with the toes? Mine are just dying for a decent pedicure.”
Clint would toss something at him if his hands weren’t full with a curling iron and brush. “Fuck off, Tony,” he mumbles around the pins in his mouth. “Tasha, hold.”
He reaches down to pass her the brush. Then he leans over and cuffs Tony on the shoulder before removing a pin and carefully arranging one of Natasha’s curls. When everything is settled exactly where he wants it, he pops the top off the hairspray can, gives it a good shake, and then proceeds to cement the style in place.
In the background, Thor sneezes. Coulson, who has been there since Natasha dumped her hair and make-up kit into Clint’s arms and demanded he help her get ready, blesses him distractedly.
“Okay,” Clint says when he’s satisfied. “Make-up now.”
Natasha pushes the coffee table out with her foot and Clint steps around the couch and perches on it in front of her. He already applied the foundation before he started in on her hair, so he goes straight for her eyes instead, picking through the bag until he finds the shades he wants.
“Ooh, me next,” Tony drones.
“Sure,” Clint agrees. Natasha flutters her eyes shut without prompting and he leans forward to apply the shadow. “Do you want to be a cat or a fairy princess?”
Coulson snorts in the background, the mental image entertaining. Natasha tries to grin, but Clint pinches her arm before she can ruin his work.
“Oh sure, take the easy route.” Tony says, but he sounds amused himself.
“Bitch please.” Clint retorts. “Face painting is a subtle art. It takes hours of practice to get those whiskers straight.”
“Give me whiskers,” Natasha says, “and I will break every bone in your draw hand.”
“Talk dirty to me, baby,” Clint coos back. He drops the color he’s been using and switches over to a green shade, feeling oddly talkative. It’s unusual for him, but tonight’s mission is an easy one and he gets to watch Natasha make a fool out of some fat-cat businessman that’s offering under-the-table funds for some militia group in Asia, so he’s in a pretty good mood. “Seriously, how the hell do you think I learned how to do this?”
“It’s not included in the SHIELD training package?” Tony cranes his neck around the back of the couch to look at Coulson. “Aren’t you guys supposed to know how to do everything?”
“There’s a class available for field operatives,” Coulson informs him. “But neither of them have taken it.”
Somehow, no one is surprised by this.
“And the hair?” Bruce asks, more for curiosity’s sake than anything else.
Clint shrugs. “Someone had to help the girls get ready between shows.” He pulls away from Natasha and tilts his head. Except…
“The left eye is uneven.” Coulson tells him, and everyone but Clint and Natasha jump, wondering when the hell he’d moved from behind the couch to behind Clint without being noticed.
Clint glances back at him, then at Natasha. Then he swears.
“More blue.” Coulson adds helpfully, brushing a knuckle subtly across the back of Clint’s neck when he turns away.
Around four months after The Avengers started living together, JARIVS got pissed at a Tony-Thor-Banner combination experiment and went on a ‘no laundry EVER AGAIN’ strike. He had been adamant and stubborn and all things one might expect a self-learning AI programmed by Tony Stark to be, and the only concession they could get him to agree to, short of physically rewiring him (something Tony refused to do on principle alone) was that he would start washing and repairing their clothes again only when they had learned their lesson.
It has since been six months, and the laundry room is still dark and foreboding whenever someone goes in.
This is actually not nearly as much as a problem as any of them had initially assumed it would be, at least as far as washing is concerned. Tony had started off bringing in a service once a week, but that stopped when Pepper put her foot down and dragged him and Thor down to show them how to use the washer, dryer, and iron.
(Thor has since been banned from the iron by Coulson, under the grounds that “anything made of metal that self-heats to a temperature of over 100 degrees is not a toy”.)
The issue of mending has yet to be solved, mostly because every time they sit down to discuss it, Tony says something stupid to Natasha about women’s work and ends up being forcibly reminded that this is a woman who can kill him 100 different ways with a paperclip, let alone something sharp. And then Natasha tells Pepper and then he’s just in trouble all over the place.
Mostly, they make do by just buying new clothes by the truckload.
This only works for so long.
“Damn it,” Steve mutters as they herd back into the Tower. He’s covered in dust and grime and rubble, a side effect of having a building unexpectedly dropped on him, and is holding the hem of his shirt and frowning down at the rather noticeable tear right through the middle of it. “I liked this shirt.”
And really, this is the problem with being superheroes, Clint believes. (Or, well. One of the problems.) Supervillians just don’t seem to care much that clothes cost money and Fury is a tightass with a restrictive wardrobe budget. And, realistically, while they all know Tony doesn’t care much about buying them whatever they need, there’s still something depressing about ruining a favorite pair of pants or a shirt that fits just right.
There’s also something depressing about Captain America being depressed. And really, Clint is too much of a softie for his own good.
“I can fix that.” He offers, before he can think better of it.
Steve jerks his head up and stares at him. “Really?” He asks, sounding hopeful.
Clint grins. “Yeah. No problem.”
“Cap, I know a thing or two about using a needle and thread.”
Steve shrugs and tugs the shirt over his head. “I didn’t mean any offense,” he says, handing it over. “You just don’t really seem like the type.”
Clint takes the shirt and shrugs, letting it go easily. “I spent a lot of my youth not having enough money to replace the stuff I had.” It doesn’t feel weird to admit this to someone like Cap, who nods thoughtfully and without judgment. “Eventually I had to learn how to keep my shit in shape.”
That was a lesson he hadn’t actually learned until his second year with the circus, after Adrianna, the trapeze act, got sick and tired of fixing his torn jeans every few weeks. Before that, Barney had just swiped everything they’d needed without remorse.
But Steve, he figures, doesn’t need to know that part.
“I’ll get it back to you tomorrow,” he promises.
He figures the way Steve grins at him, wide and boyish, will make up for the way Natasha’s going to rib him later when she catches him thimble in hand. (Or, if that doesn’t, the look Coulson gives him when he finds out he did America’s golden boy a favor definitely will.)
“You could have just asked,” Tony whines. He sounds both irritated and tiny from over the video-phone. In Clint’s opinion, this is absolutely hilarious.
“And give you the chance to say ‘no’?” He counters with a shit-eating grin. “And anyway, don’t you basically live by that motto? The one about it being better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission?”
Tony scowls, probably more because he dislikes having his own philosophies thrown against him than out of any actual anger. “Oh shut up, Barton,” He grouses. “You, I expected this from. But you, Phil?” He looks dramatically shocked. “Isn’t there some kind of rule in your government good-doer handbook against grand theft auto?”
“There’s a clause in there regarding anything belonging to someone who can replace it in less than 10 minutes,” Coulson responds dryly. “We added it specifically for you.”
Tony snorts. “You know I could have highway patrol on your ass in five minutes.”
“I could have Pepper on yours in less than two.”
Tony barks out a laugh, and Clint just shakes his head and leans forward to fiddle with the radio. He doesn’t think he’ll ever understand the weird-ass thing Tony and Coulson have going. It’s kind of like friendship, but more competitive and with a hell of a lot more snark.
“Alright, fine. Have your little joyride.” Tony says, now thoroughly amused. “Just watch it; the Porsche tends to be kind of temperamental on hot days.” He waves a hand at them. “Have fun, kids. Gimme a call if you need me.” And then he’s gone.
Clint snorts. “Well, that just takes all the fun right out of it.”
Coulson hums. “Roadtrips are only fun when they’re illegal?”
“They’re only fun if you don’t have permission from Mom.”
Coulson visibly grimaces. “Please never put that mental image in my head again.” He pleads, and Clint just laughs.
They manage to make it about a hundred miles before something goes wrong. By all accounts, that’s actually a new record for them, especially for a shared day off, so Clint isn’t really complaining when Coulson pulls the car off the road and turns it off before the sputtering engine can flat out die on them.
“Well?” Coulson says expectantly after a moment of silence. Clint peers at him, curious, and he nods in the direction of the engine. “Get to it.”
Clint rolls his eyes. “You just like seeing me get all covered in sweat and grease.” He accuses in good nature, already nudging his door open.
“It is an appealing sight,” Coulson agrees, completely unrepentant.
Clint snorts. “Pop the hood.”
It’s been a while since he’s had to do this, what with Tony being around and being a technological genius. The need for road-side repairs has all but disappeared, really; the last time was New Mexico, and even that had only been a flat tire.
If Clint is honest, he’s actually kind of missed it. He’s not like Tony, who lives and breathes wires, gears, and tools, and builds tiny, world-destroying robots in his spare time for fun. In fact, if Clint has his way most days, the most advanced piece of technology he would have to interact with would be the toaster (and his quiver).
It’s just that the smell of grease and hot summer air brings back memories that are sort of fond.
He hadn’t enjoyed a lot of his time in the circus; in fact, a lot of it had been downright miserable and stuff he’d much rather forget about. But he had some good times, and a few of the best had been of sitting on the side of the road, listening to Carson and Harold, the strong man, argue about radiators and carburetors while the old trucks Carson had been using forever sat smoking, of Carson shouting at him and Barney to make themselves useful, damn it, and of hands guiding his own, showing him what to touch and what to tweak and how to not cut himself bloody or burn his fingers while doing it.
So, yeah. He doesn’t mind this so much. He doesn’t exactly enjoy it, the heat and labor making a poor combination for fun, but getting the chance to briefly relive that? Kind of worth it.
(And, really, having Coulson shamelessly ogle his ass outside the bedroom in broad daylight? That’s a reward all its own.)
“Ow.” Bruce says, wincing as Steve helps him into a large easy-chair.
“Sorry,” says Steve sincerely, stepping back once he’s settled and giving Tony room to kneel down by the foot rest and peer at the damage with a frown.
“Aren’t your Hulk-y powers supposed to prevent things like this from happening?” Clint asks from where he’s leaning on the back of the couch. He’s not hovering or anything; it’s just that nothing has ever really seemed to stick to Bruce before. It’s weird to think of him hurt in anyway, and not the kind of weird Clint usually likes.
“Most of the time,” Bruce agrees, irritatingly calm about this. He twists in his seat to try and catch a glimpse at the sole of his foot. Clint can’t see it from where he’s standing, but the look on Tony’s face suggests the burns aren’t pretty. “It’s weird what does it, sometimes.”
Tony makes an unimpressed noise and pokes one toe cautiously. He pulls his finger back when he gets a wince in response. “What exactly does that mean?”
Bruce grimaces and elaborates, “I think something in the blast interfered with my regenerative abilities.” He frowns, and then says to Coulson, “I’d like to take a look at that technology later, if I could.”
“We’ll send it to your lab. After you’ve healed.” Coulson says pointedly.
Bruce sighs but accepts this with a nod. He tugs his foot away from Tony before the other man can get any farther. “Stop that, please. I happen to be ticklish.” Tony grins wickedly at this, but before he can act on it, Bruce adds, “And it sort of hurts.” Which stops the other man in his tracks.
Thor frowns from where he’s leaning over to watch. “But you will be well again soon, yes?” He asks, concerned. “The Hulk’s mighty presence would be sorely missed in battle!”
Bruce smiles kindly at him. “All the cuts and scrapes healed normally,” he says, “and the tests all came back fine and normal. Well, normal for me, anyway. I don’t think we need to count me out just yet.” He turns his head to frown at his feet disapprovingly. “But it does look like I’ll be doing this the hard way.”
Clint clucks his tongue thoughtfully. Then he straightens up and says, “Hold on a sec.”
The others watch curiously as he disappears through the doorway. When they hear the elevator activate down the hall, they all share a frown and wonder where he’s going.
Except for Natasha, who stands up and gives Bruce’s shoulder a pat. “I’ll go get you a shirt.”
Bruce smiles at her gratefully as she goes, then turns to Coulson and begins asking questions about the tech SHIELD had confiscated right after the fight, Tony chiming in as the conversation goes. Steve and Thor remain in the background, looking a little unsure of what to do with themselves.
Natasha gets back first, and she passes Bruce something cotton and blue before sliding into a corner of the couch nearby. He thanks her and tugs it over his head, and just as he’s putting his arms through the holes, Clint wanders back in, holding a plastic container in one hand and rubbing the back of his neck with the other.
“Here,” he says, tossing the contain at Tony. “Try that.”
Tony frowns at it. “What is it?”
“Burn salve.” Clint shrugs and goes to perch on the couch arm beside Natasha. “I still had some left over from the last batch I made. Figured it might help.”
“Why do you know how to make a burn salve?” Tony asks, unscrewing the lid. He leans forward to sniff at what’s inside, then rears back with a horrified look. “Oh wow, that’s… pretty awful. Jesus.”
“Circus.” Clint replies. “Yeah, I wouldn’t suggest sitting around inhaling it all day. But it works.”
Tony shrugs and passes it over to Bruce, who looks at it curiously. “You have a lot of problems with burns in the circus?”
“We had firewalkers.” Clint says. “And firebreathers. And firedancers. And… lots of fire-related things. It was a circus, okay?” He adds defensively, not liking the look he’s getting from Steve. “So yeah, burns were kind of a common thing.”
“Makes sense.” Bruce says, and then, “Thanks Clint.”
“Yeah. No problem.”
“And on that note.” Coulson says abruptly, and everyone but Clint and Natasha jolt in their seats, having forgotten he was there. “You are coming with me and we’re going to get that arm looked at.” Clint opens his mouth to protest, and then snaps it shut as a glare is leveled at him. “Don’t even try. I saw you wrapping it before you left your nest. You know you’re not supposed to hide injuries, Barton.”
“But I took care of it! It doesn’t even hurt that badly!”
“Last time I checked, you weren’t a trained medical professional.”
“I think I know how to wrap a sprained wrist, Phil. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid.”
“Funny thing. You usually do it wrong.”
The bickering continues even as they make their way down the hall, and only stops when they’re out of earshot.
Tony says, “They realize they sound like an old married couple, right?”
Natasha shrugs. “That probably has something to do with the fact that they are.”
And the one he learned at SHIELD.
For all that Clint loves his jobs (and he does, don’t get him wrong; there’s really nothing else in the world that he’s better suited for than what he does), there are certain drawbacks to being a superhero by day and a master assassin by night. Scheduling conflicts tend to be some of the more prominent ones.
SHIELD tries hard to be accommodating (as they damn well should, seeing as this whole Avengers thing was their idea in the first place), easing off the number of low-profile missions and handing off the easier things to marksmen that are not quite at his level but still decent enough on paper. But there are just some things that they need him on, and when that happens, he generally finds himself sequestered off in some safe house waiting for instructions on who to kill and what to blow up for a few weeks at a time.
The thing is, though, that as much as he loves his work with SHIELD, he likes his work with the Avengers more. Getting back, unsurprisingly, is his favorite part of it all.
“Welcome back, Agent Barton,” JARVIS says on the elevator ride up. Clint shoots a mild, if tired, glare at the ceiling.
“Pretty sure we’ve had this talk about you calling me anything but ‘Clint’.”
“Indeed we have, sir.” JARVIS agrees amicably, which basically means he’s fucking with Clint for the hell of it. Clint sniggers, amused now; he and JARVIS tend to get along better than anyone else would like.
The elevator slows to a stop and it’s only when the doors shut behind him that Clint allows himself to relax for the first time in days. It’s still a little strange to him, thinking of the Tower as home, but he doesn’t mind it as much as he thought he might. He smiles when he hears the tell-tale thumps that signify Thor’s approach. The Asgardian crashes into the hall seconds later and sweeps Clint up into a bone-crushing hug before the archer can protest.
“Friend Clint!” He booms in delight. “You have returned!”
“Hey buddy,” Clint chokes out, and struggles to give him a pat on the back.
Thor drops him after a second, but follows up with a hearty back-slap that nearly sends Clint to the floor. “It is good to have you back, my friend.”
“Good to be back.” Clint agrees, and means it.
“Hey, is Cupid back?” Tony calls from somewhere down the hall. A second later his head pops out from around a corner. He takes one look at Clint and looks deeply relieved. “Oh thank God.”
Clint frowns and resettles his duffle bag against his shoulder. “Did I miss something?” He asks. Tony ducks back into the room he’d been in and Clint shuffles after. Natasha is there as well, settled in an easy chair with her Kindle on her lap and her hair pulled back, a mug of coffee in her hand.
“Aye.” Thor says, sounding grim. “In your absence, Son of Coul declared war on the work of paper and has not been seen since. I fear he may be lost.”
Clint pauses, frowns, and then decides he’s too tired to even try. “Translation?”
“Coulson locked himself in his office two weeks ago.” Natasha provides, taking a sip of her drink. “We haven’t seen him since.”
“Oh jeez,” is all Clint says, dropping his head into his hands in dismay.
“Yeah.” Tony agrees. “Last time we tried to coax him out, I nearly ended up getting 50,000 volts for my trouble. So if you could go do the dutiful husband thing and, you know, fix him, we’d all be very grateful.”
Clint sighs but nods. He’s still pretty exhausted, but the thought of sleep without Phil is just downright unappealing after several weeks away. “I’ll go talk to him.”
“The door is locked.” Tony tells him, attempting to be helpful even while Clint restrains himself from groaning. In Avengers’ Tower land, ‘locked’ tends to translate into full security measures and maybe a booby trap or two for good measure. Tony, unsurprisingly to all, is never one to go half-way.
“Great.” Clint mutters without enthusiasm. “Ceiling it is, then.”
They leave him to it, and he trudges back to the elevator without complaint and rides it up to the same level that houses Pepper and Coulson’s offices. It takes him only a moment to find an access point. He has to ask JARVIS to let him in, a compromise born from Tony’s getting fed up with him disabling the security by hand one too many times and Clint’s innate stubbornness in refusing to stop using the ducts as travel routes. The AI complies, and Clint lifts himself easily into the familiar, overly-shiny ceiling ventilation.
He knows every path through the Tower by memory. (He can even get from level to level through them, although JARVIS has specifically requested he not unless there’s an immediate danger that requires it.) It takes him maybe five minutes to get to where he wants to go.
“Go away.” Coulson says, before he’s even dropped down. He’s not even looking in Clint’s direction, focused instead on one of the many, many computer screens that surround his workstation.
“Okay, now that actually hurts.” Clint protests with a pout. “I’ve been gone, what? Five weeks? And you’re not even a little bit happy to see me?”
“Not in the least. Go away.”
Clint grins at the blatant affection in the other man’s tone. Coulson doesn’t even both trying to hide it when they’re alone. “Liar,” he accuses. He slinks over quietly to lurk behind Coulson’s chair, peering at his screen in disinterest. “Tony says you haven’t been eating. Or sleeping. Or, you know, doing anything that’s not work.”
“Tony is not someone who has any room to talk.” Coulson points out. He highlights something on the document he’s reading and deletes it. The gesture seems somewhat pointed.
“Touché,” Clint allows. “But Natasha’s backing him up.” Coulson hesitates, very briefly, and it’s enough of a tell that Clint sighs. He leans his elbows against the top of Coulson’s chair and tips it back so the other man has to look at him properly, albeit upside-down. “Baby, we’ve talked about this. Just because I’m not here doesn’t mean you get to pretend you’re not human.”
Coulson glares at him for exactly three seconds before he gives it up, and the instant he does, Clint can see how hard the last few weeks have been on him. The older man lets his head rest back against the chair with slow exhale, and Clint takes advantage of it and brushes soothing fingers against his forehead, tracing worry-lines until they disappear under his touch.
“After a point, the work is preferable to going back to an empty room,” Coulson admits wearily. He sounds a little bit raw. Clint pushes onto his toes so he can fold himself over the back of the chair and press a kiss to Coulson’s forehead.
“I know,” he acknowledges kindly. “But it’s not empty now.” Coulson glances at him, one corner of his lips twitching, and Clint amends, “Well, it is. But it won’t be when we get to it.”
Coulson smiles all the way, then, and Clint smiles back because it will never not be something he thinks of as beautiful.
“Come on,” Clint urges gently, giving his shoulder a pat. “Let’s go. Food, shower, bed. Maybe sex.”
“In the bed or the shower?”
Clint blinks, unaware he would have to choose. “Both?”
Coulson laughs and leans forward in his chair. He hits a few letters on his keyboard and the monitors begin to shut down one after another. “Alright,” he agrees, and Clint moves back so he can stand up with a triumphant grin.
Clint waits until they’re back in the elevator to stick himself to Coulson’s back, arms wormed tight around his middle and a smile pressed into his shoulder. They sway, very slowly, under the subtle motion of the lift, and Clint feels any remaining tension drain out of him bit by bit.
It’s good to be home.
(“So,” Tony says to Clint the next afternoon, after both he and Coulson have pulled themselves out of bed long enough to stumble into the common room for coffee and food. “Coulson-wrangling. They teach you that in the circus?”
“Nope.” Clint says, grinning happily. “That one was all SHIELD.”)