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(three words) and goodnight, indeed

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Phil stares at the left corner of the ceiling carefully because that's where Clint usually enters his space. Phil's space, not Clint's space. Clint can't invade his own space. Clint is already in his own space. Was.


Clint does (did), however, invade Phil's space a lot. He pops up when least or most required, and lounges around being terribly insightful or distracting or both at the same time, and Phil doesn't want to think about

(barton's been compromised)

that right now. He doesn't have to. He's here in this space, with quietly humming machines lined up on either side of his comfortable bed, like sentinels guarding a dangerous prisoner. He's hooked up to a few of them; the biggest one has two large and ominous-looking tubes attached to his chest. It doesn't seem real at all, fuzzy around the edges and all float-y, and so it isn't.

He smiles as one of the ceiling panels shift, and someone falls lightly into the small room, a graceful descent that is quick, quiet and tightly efficient. It's Clint, of course. No one else in the entire world falls into rooms like he does, except for Natasha, and she has her own falling-into-room charm. Phil should know. He has the wide and varied experience of having both enemies and colleagues fall into his rooms. Mostly enemies, unfortunately.

It's Clint; well, not really, but it's as good as his brain can come up with. He's happy to see Clint, so happy.

He smiles wider as Clint straightens up from his crouch and stares at Phil with such a complicated expression that Phil can't even begin to read. To most people, Clint is (was) an unreadable kind of guy; some of the more impressionable junior agents carry themselves rigidly when Clint strolls past them, his gaze flickering up and down before cutting away. It's hard to get a handle on what he might be thinking, except when he's laughing at one of Phil's jokes, or arguing over mission parameters or handing over some trinket he'd picked up months ago for Phil. Clint's expression, at those times, are as plain as lines in a book: amused, challenging or oddly shy. Phil reads them with great care, and soaks them into his memory.

It's just weird that his mind is delivering this particular expression from Clint, but whatever. Phil is the kind of person who can roll with the punches (he's practical enough to know that this is one of his greatest attributes as an agent), so he goes with it easily. He holds out his hand, the one without the IV tube, just a few inches off the bed because it's shaking, and Clint's enigmatic gaze focuses on his fingers.

"C'mere," Phil says, but his throat is sore and he clears it. "Clint. Come over here."

Clint moves so quickly that Phil's head spins a little, but he keeps smiling as Clint kneels beside his bed, gently grasps Phil's hand in both of his and presses it against his mouth. That's nice. Phil's mind is the best ever. Clint's lips are surprisingly soft against his fingers, and that's a fantastic detail. He tugs a little and Clint lets him go, looking up with eyes wide as Phil touches his cheek, his ear. Gentle strokes; his skin is warm under Phil's fingers as Phil cradles his jaw. Phil wishes he had been brave enough to do this before.

"Hi," he says.

"Hi," Clint answers and swallows hard. "Hey, boss. What's up?"

"I'm so proud of you," Phil says and Clint blinks at him. Phil's grinning outright now; he probably looks as if he's insane and that's fine, because this party is all his head and if it's his party, he can smile if he wants to. "I am. You're so clever. And brave...and talented. I'm grateful you're on my team." He feels his smile fade. "Were."

For some strange reason, Clint's gaze snaps up to the clear plastic bag hanging on the IV pole. His eyes track quickly from left to right, and Phil knows that he can read the fine letters written on the bag.

Phil taps his Clint's cheek, almost imperiously. "Eyes on me, Specialist."

"Sir," Clint acknowledges, but there's a small smile growing under Phil's hand. "Sorry, sir. Go on."

Phil doesn't go on. What he wants to do is lie here and just gaze at Clint's face, at the fine lines at the corners of his eyes and the messy toss of his hair, and so Phil just looks.

"See something you like?" Clint asks after a few quiet beats and there's that little smirk Phil loves. There it is. Phil wants to kiss it.

"Yes," Phil says. "I always see what I like when I'm looking at you." He chuckles a little as Clint appears stunned. "You didn't know. That's all right, really."


This is a first. His mind is coming up with all kinds of firsts, and Phil is really okay with that. A dumbfounded Clint is kind of endearing.

"I have a weakness for efficient archers with questionable pasts and good intentions," Phil tells him. "And you look amazing in your field-gear."

Clint's has this expression on his face, as if he just can't compute what's happening right now. Phil just keeps smiling.

"Kiss me," he says, and Clint's mouth actually falls open a little. Phil eyes his lips with great interest. He wants to see how his mind will resolve Clint's taste. Clint doesn't make a move and Phil twitches his eyebrows expectantly. If this was real, Clint would have every right and reason to refuse, but this isn't real and so Clint must kiss him. He explains this very sensible train of thought.

Clint shakes his head. "Phil, I don't think—"

"Exactly," Phil says. "I didn't ask you to think. I want you to kiss me. You are one stubborn dream, I have to say."

Clint lets out a sharp bark of laughter, and then stands up. He leans over Phil, bending down so that he can brush his lips against Phil's, very carefully. Phil makes a small sound in the back of his throat, trying to sit up better so he can increase the pressure, savour Clint's mouth, but a sharp sensation lances through his chest right where the big tubes connect to his body.

"Shh," Clint tells him when he grunts in pain. "Don't move around so much. Here." He kisses Phil again, and it's even better than before. Clint tastes like Clint. Phil likes how he tastes.

"I like how you taste," he says as Clint kneels down again. Clint gives him a sweet smile, but there's a disbelieving tinge to it. "I do," Phil insists. "I'd love to taste you all over."

Gratifyingly, Clint's eyes seem to darken and he looks at Phil in a way that might have led to a very intense experience. As it is, there are apparently some circumstances for which Phil's mind will not suspend disbelief, because their clothes remain on their bodies and Phil is still supine.

"Phil," Clint says, and his tone is low and rough.

"I'd fuck you," Phil says, lolling his head over to the other side of the pillow and looking at Clint out of the corner of his eyes. "I'd come so deep in you. Eat you out after."

"What," Clint whispers, staring at Phil. Phil closes his eyes briefly. He inhales and exhales slowly, and opens his eyes again.

"You'd fuck me too. Your cock in me, it'd be hot and thick, right? Yeah," Phil says and lets his eyes droop back shut. So sleepy. Too bad; he had lots more to say about Clint and Clint's body and Clint's brain and Clint's amazing, indomitable heart. "And then we'd sleep. Together. All the time."

"Phil," Clint says again, and Phil feels the rough pads of his fingers resting on his shoulder.

"I'm okay," Phil says, but he's not sure if the words coming out of his mouth are well-formed right now. "Resting my eyes. I miss you. Where are you? Is the team okay? Nat? If Loki's done anything to you—"

"I'm good, they're all good. I'm here," Clint says and Phil sighs. "Phil, do you…I mean, if this was real, would you be interested in starting something with me?"

"Something?" Phil is teasing even though he stumbles over the syllables of the word, eyes still closed, sinking slowly away.

"Yeah." Clint sounds as if he's smiling. "Something."

"Of course," Phil says, but he's not sure if his mouth is moving properly. "Of course, Clint."

"I'll see you when you wake up again," Clint says. "I'll be here."

The warm weight of Clint's hand remains on Phil's shoulder. It feels so real.