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Third Weekend of May

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I.

Clint stops in front of Coulson's office door and knocks three times. For once, there's no answer, so he tries the doorknob. It's locked.

"Coulson? C'mon, open up, it's lunchtime. Take a break," he calls, pressing his face up to the wavy glass. He can't see anything; the office is dark and empty inside. Huh.

"Hey, Sitwell," he says as the man passes in a hurry, a pile of files clutched underneath his arm. "Where's Coulson?"

He stops with an irritated look on his face that Clint has gotten used to during his few months at SHIELD. Sitwell glances to the locked door of Coulson's office and frowns for a moment.

"Oh," he says with sudden comprehension. "It's the third weekend of May already? Time really flies when you're having fun,” he says wryly.

Clint raises an eyebrow. "Uh, what?"

"He always takes this weekend off," Sitwell explains. Without further explanation, he turns to continue down the hallway.

"I didn't think he was the type to take vacations," Clint calls after him.

"He doesn't, really. Just this weekend. He'll be back on Monday if you need him for something," Sitwell says over his shoulder.

Clint stares at the door for a moment before he retreats to the cafeteria alone.

 

II.

Clint carefully juggles the two coffees (not literally, although he probably could if he tried and wasn’t so out of practice) and holds the paper bag of doughnuts between his teeth as he stops at Coulson's door. He knocks with his elbow and barely waits for Coulson's answer before barging in.

"I gor roughnus!" he mutters cheerfully through the paper bag and slams the door shut with his foot.

"You could knock," Coulson snaps, looking up at him without making eye contact. Clint narrows his eyes. He looks guilty and flustered. He's hiding something.

"You could be a bit more grateful," Clint grumbles as he drops the doughnuts onto Coulson's desk and hands him his coffee. Coulson takes it, careful not to let their fingers brush or eyes meet. Hmm.

"What's this?" Clint asks nosily, casually leaning down and pulling a nondescript black bag out from under Coulson's desk.

"Nothing." Coulson snatches it away just as Clint catches a flash of red fabric.

"Doesn't look like nothing," Clint raises an eyebrow as Coulson holds the bag just out of his reach. "Whatcha working on?"

"Just a last minute…thing," Coulson shakes his head. "What kind of doughnuts did you get?"

"Jelly." He narrows his eyes suspiciously. Coulson meets his gaze and holds it.

"Thanks," he says, sitting back at his desk and reaching for his coffee. Clint takes advantage of the moment to dart forward and grab at the bag over Coulson's desk, knocking his hand out of the way and sending his Rubik's cube skittering onto the floor. He slips a hand into the bag.

"Ow!" Clint exclaims as he impales his finger on something tiny and sharp. He recoils before he can a good look inside and sticks his finger into his mouth. Coulson takes the bag back, zips it completely shut, and holds it tightly to his chest."What the hell do you have in there?"

"After all of that, you still want to know?" Coulson says dryly. Clint sighs.

"Fine," he mutters, collapsing resignedly onto Coulson's couch and reaching for his coffee. Coulson smiles smugly and picks a doughnut out of the bag, setting it delicately onto a napkin. Clint waits until he has a mouthful of jelly doughnut to speak again.

"So, I was thinking, uh, are you busy this weekend?" He grins as Coulson glares at him for asking while he has his mouth full. "I understand if you are. But. There's this--"

"I'm going to be out of town," Coulson interrupts quickly around a mouthful of doughnut. Clint stares. He never talks with his mouth full, and, more importantly, never has plans.

"But," Clint stammers, "You work weekends. Every weekend. You're here. At the end of every week."

"That's generally where weekends are," Coulson says, and takes a swig of coffee. He grimaces and holds the Styrofoam cup at arm's length to scrutinize it. For some reason, Clint thinks he looks like he's about to throw it at him. "I think I got yours by mistake."

Clint is still semi-frozen when he gets up to swap their coffees. Coulson takes an experimental sip of his black coffee and sighs in contentment.

"If you need anything, Sitwell will be less than happy to handle it for you," he explains as he walks around his desk to retrieve his bag and briefcase.

"What? You're leaving now? In the middle of the day?"

"My flight leaves tonight," Coulson explains. "Have a nice weekend, Barton. Lock the office when you're done with it." He gestures to the second doughnut and swings the door open.

"You too," Clint says automatically before Coulson leaves. He looks down at the coffee in his hands for a moment before he jumps to his feet and sticks his head out the door.

"Where the hell are you going, Coulson?" he calls.

"Out of town," is all he gets as a reply.

 

III.

This year, Clint is ready. As soon as Coulson is back from his yearly "vacation," Clint is prepared with his stock interrogation techniques: food bribery and the puppy dog eyes.

"It's not going to work, Barton," Coulson says when Clint presents the breakfast sandwich and huge cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee.

Clint blinks innocently. "I don't know what you're -- wow, you look like shit," he says bluntly. Coulson sighs. He has huge bags under his eyes, his nose is bright red, and his tie is looser than Clint's ever seen it.

Must have caught some kind of bug," Coulson sighs. His voice sounds muffled and scratchy. Clint smiles sympathetically.

"I'll be right back," he says, skipping out through the door.

"Don’t you have forms to --" Coulson calls after him before bursting into a fit of coughing that carries down the hallway.

Clint returns a half hour later to find Coulson with his head on his desk.

"Jesus, Coulson," he sighs, setting a container of hot soup in front of him. "What happened? I thought you were supposed to be on a vacation."

"Where did you get soup?" Coulson asks as he opens the container and inhales deeply.

"Quiznos, sorry," Clint cracks a smile, "I also bought some tea," he says as he sets a thermos beside it and pokes around in a grocery bag, "and I have a bunch of Kleenex and Vicks. And some vitamins and decongestant."

"I already took some Tylenol," Coulson protests, "You didn't have to--"

"I've never seen you sick before," Clint interrupts him, "and here you had me convinced you were actually a robot."

"Mmmm," Coulson smiles at him from behind a mouthful of soup. He swallows. "I can neither confirm nor deny those rumors." Clint laughs, but his smile turns to a frown as Coulson coughs into a napkin.

"I'd say you should go home, but I know you won't," he sighs. "At least lie down or something."

"Says the man who never goes to Medical of his own free will when he's hurt."

"Says the man who always drags me there anyways."

They eye each other severely for a long moment, until Coulson looks down at his half-eaten bowl of fast-food soup and sighs.

"Fine," he says, snapping the lid back on. He reaches for the thermos of tea and kicks off his shoes before he collapses onto the couch in his office and stretches out. Clint grabs Coulson's Rubik's cube and a chair that hasn't been germed-up yet and kicks back.

"Should I read you a bedtime story?" he smirks as Coulson settles in. He rolls his eyes and reaches for his tablet to look through his emails. After a few minutes, he sighs and lays his tablet face-down on his chest so he can stare at the ceiling.

"You'd think they could go an entire weekend without me," he sighs, rubbing the bridge of his nose.

"Well, nothing caught fire this year," Clint muses as he twists at the Rubik's cube and wonders if Coulson would notice if he took the stickers off and stuck them back on.

"This year," Coulson says under his breath.

"At least you're not sick in some strange place…all alone…with no one to bring you crappy soup…" Coulson makes a noise somewhere between amusement and agreement (or maybe he's surprising a sneeze, Clint can't tell).

After a few minutes of silence, Clint gives up on the Rubik's cube with a frustrated sigh.

"Where did you go, anyways? Coulson?"

He's fast asleep.

Clint pauses to watch Coulson's chest rise and fall slowly. He tries to be as quiet as he can, and  reaches underneath the couch for the blanket Coulson always keeps there. He spreads it carefully over Coulson, gently tugging the tablet out of his grip so he can cancel all of his scheduled meetings for the next two days. They've survived one mysterious weekend without him, he thinks. Another few days can't hurt.

 

IV.

"Hey, why did Coulson cancel our weekly assessment meeting for this Saturday?" Natasha says, popping into his room. Clint starts; he's still not used to her surprise entrances yet. "He's very strict about those, usually."

"Shit," he says suddenly, grabbing for his unused calendar to flip to the current month. "It's the third week of May, isn't it?"

"What happens during the third week of May?" Natasha snatches the calendar from his hands and squints at where he's circled the entire weekend in red ink.

"Coulson takes a mysterious vacation every year," he explains as he dives under his tiny bed searching for a clean shirt. He doesn't find one, but he figures this one isn't too wrinkled. "He never tells anyone why."

"And it's always the third weekend of May?" Natasha raises an eyebrow. "Hmm. Do you have any clues?"

"He flies," Clint says. "Leaves his office on Thursday afternoon, leaves on Thursday night, and is back bright and early on Monday morning. More often than not, he's sick when he comes back. Red fabric is involved. And…something sharp?"

Natasha raises an eyebrow. "Sounds kinky."

He throws his pillow at her.

"Seriously, Natasha, I’m dying to know. He's been doing it for years. As long as I've known him."

"Okay," she rolls her eyes, "I’m only asking this because I know you. You've asked him outright, right?"

"Duh," Clint sighs, "I'm not that obvious."

She laughs. "Yes. Yes you are."

"I've asked around, too, but he won't tell anyone."

"Well," she tilts her head to the side and thinks for a long moment as Clint ties his shoes. "It has to be somewhere within a day's flight. Probably within the US or Canada. He doesn't come back with a tan?" Clint shakes his head. "So, it's not outdoors. And there are other people, obviously, if he's getting sick, possibly children." She makes a face. "It's not family, is it?"

He shakes his head. "I don't think he has one," he says honestly. "He doesn't take Christmas off. Or Hanukkah, or any holiday. Just this weekend."

"Then it's a personal thing," she decides, looking thoughtful.

"Red fabric," he says. "That's what always gets me."

"Maybe it's his swimsuit," Natasha leers, wiggling her eyebrows. Clint crosses his arms and rolls his eyes at her.

"We still have a few hours before he leaves," Clint says, tilting his head to the side. Natasha breaks out into a wide grin.

"Let's get to work," she says, rubbing her hands together.

*

"If you get us arrested for suspicious behavior, I will kill you," Clint mutters to Natasha from behind the fake potted plant in the middle of the airport.

"I'd like to see you try," she smirks. "Come on, he's going through security."

"There's no way you're going to get through security with the amount of -- hey, wait up," he calls as she strides out from behind the plant, swinging her suitcase with purpose. Clint slings his backpack over his shoulder and tugs his baseball cap a little farther over his eyes. Coulson is busy being distracted with unlacing his shoes at the other end of the line of security scanners, and there's enough of a crowd between them that he'd have to be looking for them to spot them.

"Sorry, ma'am, you'll have to take off your sunglasses," the guard says, interrupting his robotic spiel as Natasha places her heels into the plastic tub. She smiles apologetically and sets her sunglasses inside as well, along with her wallet and keys. Gracefully, she steps through the scanner and slips her heels back on at the other side. Clint, on the other hand, trips over his feet as he steps out of his shoes. The guard looks on, unimpressed.

By the time they get through security, Coulson has retrieved his carry-on, laced up his shoes, and begun to head towards the overpriced snack store.

"How the hell did you manage to get cleared--?" he starts, but she shushes him, sharp nails digging into his arm, and pulls him behind a loud family of six. "You're scary," Clint whispers in her ear.

She stiffens as Coulson emerges from the store with a packet of Red Vines and a bottle of pop. He hesitates for a moment to glance at his ticket before he heads towards a row of seats.

"New York to Cleveland," Natasha says, glancing at the schedule. "His flight leaves in…huh, an hour."

"That's cutting it close, for him," Clint says. "I have a buddy back in Transport who owes me. He can get us tickets. Should I call him?"

Natasha shrugs. "You don't want to go up there? Confront him? Google what annual events are in Cleveland this week in May? There's no way he won't notice us getting on the same plane."

"Nah, this is more fun," Clint winks. He pulls out his phone to call in a few favors.

*

They manage to stay out of sight for most of the next hour, until they announce that the plane is boarding. Coulson looks up from his StarkPhone after a few minutes and is one of the last in line. Clint and Natasha wait a few moments before following him, digging into their pockets for their IDs. Clint pulls out his phone and brings up the digital ticket for them to scan.

The line stops for a few moments when they try to scan in Coulson's ticket.

"I'm sorry," the woman behind the counter says. "You seem to have the wrong gate."

"My mistake," Coulson replies. Before either of them can move, he swings past them, suitcase in hand, and winks. "Enjoy Cleveland," he says to Clint and Natasha before disappearing into a surging group of tourists. Clint looses him almost instantly in the crowd.

"That bastard," Clint swears, craning his neck over the people. "We'll never find him, now."

"I think that was the point," Natasha says with a note of admiration in her voice. "Well, what do you think? Weekend getaway to Cleveland?"

Clint covers his mouth with a hand and laughs, "why not?"

 

V.

"Fanmail time!" Tony says cheerfully as he steps into the kitchen with a huge cart of mail. Clint, Natasha, and Thor look up from their breakfast and eye the piles of letters nervously.

"It's Tuesday already?" Clint says groggily. He takes a swig of his coffee.

"Tuesday is the second best day of the week for this very reason!" Thor says with a smile as he grabs his pile of fanmail (which is, by far, the largest; Thor loves fanmail).

"I don’t know who you hire to filter this," Natasha says as she takes her stack of letters and blank stationary, "but I feel sorry for them."

"Eh, they get paid too well," Tony rolls his eyes. "Hate-mail's so entertaining."

Clint eyes his stack -- the smallest -- carefully. "If there is glitter in any of these--"

"The Hulk gets the most glitter, to be honest," Bruce says as he steps into the room with Steve. He cautiously takes his large pile.

"I get a lot of underwear," Steve frowns, glancing from his second-to-largest stack to Tony, who tries to look innocent. Clint bites back a smile.

"At least they get your name right," Clint mutters to himself as he opens a letter written in sparkly purple gel pen.

"At least they do not inquire after alleged relations between your brother and a horse," Thor adds. Usually Clint would have balked or laughed delightedly at this, but he’s read the Wikipedia page.

"This is why we answer snail mail instead of email," Tony sighs. He flicks at the corner of one envelope dismissively. "Don't Google yourself. Ever. Photoshop is evil."

"I thought it was acceptable to Google yourself nowadays?" Steve says as he looks up from a letter with a confused expression. “Someone gave me a pamphlet on modern Sex Ed--" He stops when the entire room pauses to stare at him.

“Steve—“ Tony starts with a pained expression, his voice cracking a little.

"I'm kidding," Steve says as he bursts into laughter. “Google is a search engine. I know. It was worth it, for the looks on your faces…”  Clint bursts into laughter as well when he catches sight of Tony’s face.

Bruce interrupts their laughter as he calls out triumphantly, "First one to ask if my junk grows, too! What's the record? Seven?"

"I've got a nice couple who are thanking me because they met on a fanfiction website," Natasha says, squinting at the handwriting and chuckling a little. "Tony, you might want to give this one to Pepper. She'll get a kick out of it."

"This one's from a bunch of people who want me to go to their 20th Annual Captain America Convention the third weekend in May," Steve says, "they're -- wow, they're offering to pay my way and everything. They want me to sign autographs and, hey, what's a panel--?"

"What?" Clint and Natasha say in unison, heads snapping up.

"Do you think Fury would let me do this? It actually looks like it might be fun, and maybe it would be good for PR--"

"Let me see that," Clint says, snatching the paper rudely from his hand.

"Third weekend of May," Natasha mutters as she joins him, skimming the paper. "New York to Portland. That's a six hour flight."

"That--" Clint trails off, shaking his head, "that sly little--"

"That sly little what?" Tony says, appearing over their shoulder.

"Coulson," Natasha supplies, "disappeared every third weekend of May. Never said why."

"He said, uh, Pepper said that was the cellist's birthday,” Tony interrupts. "He had to run off and visit or something.”

"Cellist?" Clint echoes blankly.

"Yeah. Girlfriend. Whatever."

"He didn't have a girlfriend," Natasha says in a strange voice. "I only ever heard --" she glances at Clint for a moment, then back to Tony. "Well, I only ever heard him saying he had a girlfriend when he was trying to turn someone down."

"That's what he told Pepper. Said something about how he'd never miss it. You don't think he was just discouraging her or--"

Clint and Natasha exchange a look.

"Steve?" Natasha says, "I have an idea. Would you like to help us?"

*

"I feel ridiculous," Clint says through gritted teeth as he stares at his reflection in the mirror.

"Don't worry, you look ridiculous," Steve says unhelpfully, sounding uncharacteristically bitter.

"Both of you, shut up," Natasha spits as she fixes Clint's mask onto his face and adds a little eyeliner for effect. He tries not to think about the temporary dye in his hair; she promised that it would wash out.

"You look worse," Clint grumbles. Steve tugs at the bottom of his Spider-Man mask and makes an exasperated sound.

"Thank God Tony isn't here," he says. "It would be ten times worse."

"Yeah, he'd insist on entering the Tony Stark lookalike contest," Natasha says wryly. She steps back to survey her handiwork and nods once. "There. Now, don't touch it, you look perfect."

"He looks nothing like Bucky," Steve points out. Clint moans and hides his face in his hands. He can't look in the mirror any more.

"No, he looks nothing like Hawkeye," Natasha says brusquely, "which is the point. It's a comic convention. He looks like comic book Bucky. And you look just like Spider-Man." She reaches into her pocket for a hand mirror and red lipstick and adjusts her blonde wig.

"You don't look anything like Peggy, either. But I guess this could be fun," Steve shrugs. "As long as you get me out of this in time for the signing."

"You're quite the buff Spidey," Clint smirks as Natasha waves them away from the mirrors of their hotel room. "You might not need her to help you get out of it…" Steve visibly cringes, and Clint pats him on the back and laughs.

"Come on, boys," Natasha says, "got your con passes?"

"There aren't any pockets in this thing," Steve protests. Natasha throws a lanyard at him and throws open the door. “Being the real Spider-Man must suck.”

One awkward elevator ride later (featuring a middle-aged couple in fancy dress who are staying at the hotel), they're downstairs, flashing their badges at the ballroom door and entering the scariest mission Clint has ever been on.

"Oh my god," he hears himself say weakly as they stop to stare at the crowd of excited fans that's pulsing around the room, crowded around tables and boxes upon boxes of comics. "Why do you always get me into these messes?"

"Now you sound like Bucky," Steve laughs from beside him.

"Shush, both of you," Natasha sighs as a young woman in a Black Widow costume strolls past. "This is like, every undercover mission you've had. Except ten times worse because they spend all day staring at your ass on the Internet. I doubt any enemy we've faced before had that advantage."

"Well, maybe some of Thor's," Clint points out with a laugh.

He thinks he sees Steve smile underneath the mask as he clears his throat and asks, "So, what should we be looking for?"

"Oh, you don't have to look for anything," Natasha shakes her head as she watches a genderbent Captain America cosplayer greet an Iron Woman with a kiss. "Just…have fun."

Clint laughs and laughs until Steve points out that the lone Hawkeye is coupled with a Black Widow.

*

After five minutes they decide they can cover more ground if they split up. Natasha decides to poke her head into the panels, and Steve heads off towards a cluster of tables selling prints after muttering something about buying something for Tony. Clint takes a deep breath and ambles aimlessly around, pausing a few times to complement the few obviously homemade Hawkeye t-shirts he sees and to buy a knitted Hulk tea cozy for Bruce just for kicks.

"Can I take your picture?" someone says as he’s casing out the con and pretending to flip through a box of old comics. Clint freezes. When he turns, it's an excited teenage girl wearing a "BUCKY LIVES" shirt and clutching a camera. Terrifying.

"Uh, sure," he says, striking a pose and turning up the corner of his mouth in a smile.

"You're adorable," she gushes after she takes a few shots and lowers her camera. "I wish I had the time to put something together, but I'm working on a femme Bucky for Dragon*Con this year and I'm still figuring out the mini-skirt." Clint nods and pretends that he's keeping up. “Eeh, sewing!”

He shrugs, "I'm already wearing tights."

She doesn't laugh, but she tilts her head to the side. "Have we met before? You seem kinda familiar. What cons have you been to?"

"I, uh, sorry, I gotta go, meet my friend--" Clint turns, being careful to cover his ass. Just in case.

He adjusts his mask as he ducks through a line to some signing and stops in front of a deserted booth. It takes him a moment of panic (that girl recognized him, he's sure of it) before he realizes that the table is selling old merchandise like pins, buttons, and trading cards.

"They're all vintage originals," the old man behind the table informs him, adjusting his glasses, "not the tacky hologram cards they released in the 90's." The man's wife nods and points to one in particular.

"This one's my favorite," she points at the card featuring Bucky wearing the original uniform that’s just like his costume. "You look rather handsome, young man."

"Thanks," Clint smiles, ducking his head to pretend to examine the card.

 Clint pulls out his phone and texts Natasha. She's found Steve; he has to get ready for his signing soon. He sighs dejectedly and tells them where he's waiting so they can head back to their hotel room together.

"Hey, Stan, Susan," someone says as they come up to the table. Clint steps over to give the couple room to talk to the Captain America cosplayer and tosses his phone in his hand distractedly.

"Haven't seen you for years!" Susan says, "How've you been?"

"There you are!" Natasha says, appearing out of the crowd with Spider-Steve in tow. She lowers her voice and mutters in his ear, "I swear, if one more Cap tries a pick up line on me--"

"Excuse me," the cosplayer says politely, brushing past Clint to pick up one of the cards lying near his elbow. "Sorry, I'll just get out of your --"

"Uh," Clint says, looking over and making eye contact with the fake Captain America. His cowl is pulled over half of his face, but Clint could recognize him anywhere. He stops breathing for a moment.

"Sorry," the man mutters, blinking a few times at him before shying away.

Clint swallows. "Phil?" The man stares at him for a long moment.

With a loud sigh, Phil Coulson pulls the cowl off.

For a moment, no one knows what to say, with nothing but the noise of the con to fill their awkward silence. Then, Phil asks softly, “So, when did you figure it out?”

"The trading cards," Natasha hisses, "Fury--"

"You wouldn't carry them on you," Clint says, his voice caught in his throat. Phil looks down at his cowl and turns it in his hands. "You wouldn't risk them. I knew that, but it was just clutching at straws, we were--" he clears his throat when he feels it begin to swell up.

"How did you survive?" Steve says suddenly, his voice low and serious from under his Spider-Man mask. Coulson looks somewhat surprised when he recognizes his voice.

"It was a LMD," he admits in a small voice. "Life Model Decoy. They were still in the testing phases, but we had one from Stark that worked. Fury sent me to strap in and bide you some time," he nods at Natasha, who hisses out of her teeth.

"But why couldn't you tell us you were alive?" Clint says flatly, even though they all know the answer.

"I was in shock for awhile after the LMD was stabbed," Phil looks down at his red boots. "Fury wanted -- we decided that it would be better if you didn't know. For the sake of the team." He swallows loudly. Clint looks down to the fake plastic shield on his arm and back up.

"That's bullshit," Clint sneers. "Utter bullshit. You're at a comic convention, Ph--Coulson, what the hell?" Phil bites on his lip, but Clint has to swallow a laugh when he thinks about it. Of course, Coulson wouldn't let death get between him and his third weekend of May.

"You should be mad at me, I know," Phil says. "I deserve it." He won't stop looking at his boots. "I'm sorry."

"You gonna look me in the eye and say that?" Clint says, crossing his arms. Phil takes a deep breath and looks up.

"I’m sorry," he says, looking wide-eyed and terrified like Clint's never seen him before. "I am so sorry. I don't expect you to forgive me, or, or ever stop being mad at me; I don’t deserve that. I shouldn't have lied to you."

Clint tries to frown at him. He really does. But he can't, not when Phil Coulson is standing in front of him, alive and breathing in a Captain America costume.

"Damn," Clint laughs, running a hand through his dyed hair (Natasha makes a noise like a dying cat) and shaking his head. "Jesus, Phil, I just--" he bursts into laughter. "I'm just happy you're alive," Clint says before he can stop himself, the words tumbling from his laughing mouth, "you wouldn’t believe -- I missed you so much, I was so worried--"

Phil's mouth twists downwards. "I was worried, too," he says in a quiet, private voice Clint knows even Natasha can't hear. "I’m so sorry. I should've--"

Impulsively, Clint grabs onto the straps of Phil's costume and pulls him closer.

"Yeah, you should've. And I'm going to do something I should’ve a long time ago," he smiles, even though he knows it's cheesy, leans in, and kisses Phil.

Phil freezes for a moment, and Clint is scared – scared that he’s going to pull away, scared that he’ll lose him again – but then Phil pulls him closer by his blue collar. Clint smiles into the kiss, refusing to pay attention to the burning at the back of his eyes or the swelling inside his throat that makes him want to do something stupid and ridiculous, like cry in the middle of a comic convention. He pulls Phil in closer to laugh into his mouth and forget about everyone else but them.

"Well, that's something I never thought I'd see," he hears Steve laugh from behind him, and unfortunately remembers the crowd of people.

Phil seems to remember at the same moment as him and ends the kiss gently, pulling away and blushing (which is strange, because Phil Coulson doesn't blush) up a storm. His blush turns even redder when he realizes that there's a small crowd around them, cameras flashing wildly as the con-goers giggle at the sight of Captain America and Bucky kissing.

"Oh god," Natasha laughs wildly, "these are going to be on the Internet whether you like it or not."

Phil slips his cowl on and tries to regain what little dignity he has left, but Clint laughs behind his hand and ruins it.

"So, this is where you go every third weekend in May," he says as the photographers dissolve into the crowd. "Is this going to become a habit?"

"I don't know," Phil says, offering one of his rare, genuinely wide smiles. "Is it?”