They're so far from civilization that Clint is starting to doubt there even is a civilization left, beyond the wilderness and the mountains and the snow of the Northwest Territories. In nothing more than jeans and a field jacket, he's so cold it's seeping into his bones, and the only reason he's remained upright is because Coulson had told him to.
"Come on," Coulson says, voice stressed but firm ahead of him.
Clint is shivering so badly his teeth are chattering loudly in his mouth, and he's almost seeing double.
Coulson stops and gestures. "We're here."
Clint forces his chin from his chest, looks up, and finds here to be a small cabin--little more than a shack, really--tucked against a hillside and almost completely covered in snow. Coulson stomps some snow away from the doorway, digs a little as best he can, then manages to get the door open with a key he magics out from somewhere on his person. He ushers Clint inside, then shuts the door against the howling wind.
It's probably warmer inside the cabin, but right now Clint doesn't feel it. He can do little more than stand and shiver as Coulson walks over to a big cast iron oven with a stove top that takes up a significant amount of the little space they have, and opens the door. Within minutes there's a fire going, and Clint numbly drops down onto the floor in front of the open door, soaking up the heat.
"Extraction should hopefully be here within a day or two," Coulson says, already rooting around in a wooden chest for blankets--lots and lots and lots of blankets--and pillows. Clint looks around as the fire warms him up and he starts to feel like he's actually regaining control of his limbs. There are a couple of pots hanging on one wall, and a lockbox that he knows will contain field rations and a first aid kit in a corner. Besides that, the shack is pretty bare.
"Some safe house," he grouches, stuttering due to his still-chattering teeth.
"It's not a safe house," Coulson explains, as he puts several heavy, wool blankets around Clint's shoulders. "At least not that kind. The smoke from the stove alone is like a signal flare out here. This is more for protection against the elements."
Clint shivers and pulls the blankets closer around his body. "Fuck the elements, sir."
Coulson almost-smiles blandly at him, then sits down next to him and pulls the single remaining blanket around his shoulders.
"You cold?" Clint asks, because even though Coulson's teeth aren't rattling like his own and he's wearing a thick down coat and a hat and everything, it's Coulson--who the fuck knows what he's feeling.
"Pretty chilly," Coulson says, in the same tone he uses when he's been shot somewhere and says it's pretty uncomfortable.
Scooting closer, Clint opens up his blanket cocoon and puts one end around Coulson. "Here, we'll share."
Coulson stiffens briefly next to him for just a moment, before he seems to relax and pulls the grey fabric closer around them.
"Thanks," he says, and they sit quietly in front of the fire for a long time while Clint's teeth stop making noise and heat slowly starts sinking into his bones again.
The problem is though, once the cold has left him, Clint is suddenly painfully aware of how unsettled he feels about everything in general. It's not like this is their first mission to ever go pear-shaped, but they all have the same effect on him. They leave him feeling... unfinished. Itchy in his own skin.
He must have started shifting minutely without thinking about it, because Coulson's hand briefly shoots out and grasps his knee. "Stop that."
"Sorry, sir," Clint responds, huffing in annoyance. "Just restless."
Coulson gives him a Look.
"What? I don't like having unfinished business," Clint says defensively.
"You're gonna have to deal with it for now," Coulson says with a shrug. "Pearson is long gone by now, we'll need to restrategize at HQ."
Clint scowls. "And in the meantime, we get to do nothing except sit here and freeze our asses off."
"It's warming up," Coulson says with a nod at the flames.
"I'm still cold," Clint grumbles, and then looks at Coulson with a leer. "Wanna help warm me up?"
They do this; harmless flirting, it's nothing new. Clint will make innuendo or bad jokes at Coulson, who will respond as blandly as only Coulson can, and they go about their day, because while he hopes, Clint never actually expects Coulson to respond in seriousness. Except this time, Coulson noticeably stiffens and his mouth sets in a firm line, while a small wrinkle appears between his eyebrows. He doesn't seem bothered or distressed, just--tense. Clint blinks. It's intriguing.
"Sir?" he asks, because Clint really can't help himself.
"Not now, Agent Barton," Coulson says, and Clint notices the careful almost-emphasis he puts on Agent Barton. It's a distancing technique, Clint realizes.
And the thought, the idea, that Phil Coulson might actually seriously want to warm Clint up, that is fucking hot as hell, and Clint springs a boner in about two point five seconds. He's always been the type to take chances and run headfirst into situations, seeing a target and going for it, and this is no different.
"Sir," Clint says again, firmly this time, and when Coulson turns to face him, Clint leans forward and presses his lips to Coulson's.
The first thing he registers is Coulson's absolute shock; the slight, sharp intake of breath, the jolt of his body. Then Coulson's lips yield carefully, tentatively against his, and Clint has just enough time to think Yes! before the kissing stops and--No!--Coulson's pulling away, clearing his throat and looking back at the fire.
"That's not a good idea, Agent Barton," Coulson says, and Clint feels something almost like desperation bubble in his chest.
"What?" he asks, voice just a touch higher than he intends. "Why?"
Coulson keeps his eyes on the fire. "I'm your supervisor. Emotional attachments can lead to compromise. SHIELD has fraternization rules. It could screw up our working relationship, which if I may say so is really good, and I don't want to jeopardize it."
Clint frowns. "I don't give a shit if you're my supervisor, it's not like you'd be taking advantage," he argues, ticking off each point on his fingertips. "Nobody gives a damn about SHIELD's fraternization rules, least of all Fury, they're only there for show. I also like to think we're both professional enough to not let anything fuck up our work relationship, sir."
Neither of them comment on the emotional attachment.
Coulson swallows once, heavily, and doesn't look at Clint. "Sorry, Agent Barton," he says dryly, though there's tension in his voice, and Clint suddenly feels angry with how Coulson keeps saying Agent Barton like that. "I won't be keeping you warm today, or any other day."
For a brief moment, Clint considers arguing further, but once Coulson's made up his mind about something, it's tough to convince him otherwise.
Anger still burns in Clint's gut, and he turns back to the fire as well, scowling now. The only real reason he can think of for Coulson's rejection is fear, and that's just... hard to wrap his head around, because Phil Coulson isn't fucking afraid of anything (and even if he is, he'll face it head on anyway--it's one of his finer qualities, in Clint's opinion).
Clint's erection is still going strong, an uncomfortable pressure in his jeans, and Clint shifts and adjusts himself with a slight grumble. As he does, he notices Coulson's eyes dart down to his crotch, lightning quick, before Coulson pulls the blankets closer around himself in an obvious attempt at covering his own crotch.
An idea strikes Clint then, and his pulse spikes at the thought. It's a terrible idea, he knows, at least in part because there's always the miniscule chance that Coulson could be right. They could fuck up their working relationship. Clint is strong in his belief that they wouldn't, that they won't, but he's also not stupid or naive enough to think that they could never. It's just, he thinks, that Coulson? Coulson's worth--everything.
Taking a deep breath and watching Coulson the entire time, Clint carefully and deliberately opens his blanket cocoon just enough to move it away from the front of his body and puts his hand over his crotch.
Coulson doesn't twitch, but there's something around his eyes that change, just a little. Clint knows he's watching out of the corner of his eye, and it gives him the encouragement he needs to let out a little breath, a little puff that's just shy of being a moan, as he rubs his palm over his erection through his jeans.
When Coulson doesn't say anything, Clint unbuttons his fly, then hooks his thumbs into his boxers and pushes them down with his jeans, just far enough down his thighs that his erection springs free. The contradictory feeling of the cool cabin air along with the heat from the fire feels good, and Clint strokes himself fast a couple of times, just to take a little bit of the edge off. Sighing, he leans back a little, using his free hand to support himself.
Eyes still on Coulson, Clint breathes deeply again and slowly starts stroking himself with intent. Coulson's nostrils flare a little, and his eyes move like he wants to look, but can't quite bring himself to.
"Coulson," Clint says, and is surprised by how hoarse his voice suddenly sounds. "Coulson, look at me."
For a moment, Clint thinks Coulson won't--thinks he will close his eyes, or get up and walk away, or maybe even get mad--but then Coulson turns his head and looks directly at Clint. Clint's heart is thundering in his chest. Coulson's eyes immediately zeroing in on where Clint is curled around his shaft, rough and callused hand stroking gently, and Clint feels like he gets impossibly harder under the weight of Coulson's gaze.
"Coulson," he says again, not sure of exactly what he needs, just knowing that he needs something, anything.
Coulson swallows thickly and his lips part a little, and Clint suddenly has an image of grabbing Coulson's neck, pushing his head down until he could nudge his throbbing cock past those lips and into Coulson's warm mouth. It's a heavy image and Clint briefly squeezes his eyes shut, breath coming faster and faster as his arousal rises.
"Clint," Coulson says then, voice raspy and raw, and his name--his first name--is searing in Clint's ears.
Clint pants, strokes faster, feeling precome leak from him and start running down his shaft. It eases the way, and it's making everything feel slick and wonderful, and he stops briefly to swipe his thumb through it and lick it off.
Next to him, Coulson makes a sort of broken noise in his throat, and Clint wants Coulson's hands on him so badly he aches with it!
"Please," he says, begs, but Coulson doesn't move at all, hands at his sides. Clint's harder than he's ever been in his entire life, and each stroke, each upswipe of his hand, makes him shudder. His cock's throbbing and he can feel Coulson's eyes on him, and images flash in front of his eyes, things he wants, things he wishes Coulson would do to him, with him...
It's hot, having Coulson watch him. Clint's never been an exhibitionist, far too private for that, but with Coulson it's somehow different. Clint can see his eyes follow the motion of his hand as it moves up and down along his cock, and he loves the little wrinkle by one corner of Coulson's mouth, as if he's salivating and trying to contain it. The blanket cocoon parts a little and although it's not as obvious under all his layers, Clint can still see it, eyes sharp as always even under the haze of lust; Coulson's rock hard.
Clint moans then, loud and long and pushes up so he can use his other hand to tug on his balls; put on a show for Coulson. Coulson's nostrils flare and Clint knows the cabin smells faintly of sex. His cock is leaking so much it's started to leave a small puddle at the edge of his jeans, and that somehow just makes everything that much more hot! Clint's not even undressed, pants barely pulled down enough for his cock to poke out, and Coulson's still looking at him like he's completely naked and spread bare for him.
Clint has to bite his lip and grip his cock hard not to come, because the rush of Coulson watching him like this is too great and he's teetering on the edge. He doesn't want it to end yet!
He thinks, if he keeps doing this, it'll be the best orgasm of his life. He thinks, if he keeps doing this, maybe Coulson will give in to the lust that Clint knows is right there, right under the surface, and just lean over, put Clint's cock in his mouth and suck--
"Clint," Coulson says again, and it's so fucking loud over the sound of Clint's panting.
"Touch yourself, sir," Clint says, eyelids heavy. "Please." They're not technically doing anything, right? So it doesn't really count. Not if they don't touch each other, not if Coulson's only touching himself and Clint's only touching himself.
Clint's brain blanks out a little when Coulson, after a moment's hesitation, unwraps from his blanket cocoon just enough so Clint can see where he pulls down the front of his snow pants and unbuttons something that looks suspiciously like red longjohns. It's hard to think straight, and then Clint's mouth goes dry, because Coulson's pulling out his cock, long and hard and fat at the head. In an instant, Clint's cursing himself because this is a stupid, awful, horrible idea! He's supposed to watch that beautiful cock that's right there, within reach and he's not supposed to touch it? Not supposed to lean over and fucking gag on it?
Coulson's face is uncharacteristically open, and it startles Clint a little to see it. The frown in place is small, but he's tense around the corners of his mouth and his bottom teeth are showing just a little, in a way Clint's never seen before. He's breathing heavily, and Clint's gaze is drawn downwards again when Coulson's hand around his cock twitches and a bead of moisture appears at the tip.
It takes every ounce of Clint's self-control not to lean down at lick it off. And then it's like something goes through Coulson's entire body, a ripple of something that lowers his shoulders just a touch, relaxes him just a little, and he groans briefly from the back of his throat, low and gutteral. Eyes locked on Clint, Coulson pulls his hand up, licks the palm, and then grips himself tightly again and starts jerking it in earnest.
There's heat in Clint's belly, and he's almost feeling lightheaded with it, because how the fuck is this even happening?! The cabin fills with the sound of their breathing and the slick-slick of their movements, and he can't take his eyes off Coulson, scared that if he closes his eyes for even a second this will all disappear, like a particularly hot wet dream or fantasy. He's having trouble focusing, because Coulson's hand is moving across his cock but his eyes are on Clint and his eyes are amazing and Clint is so close!
There's nothing about Coulson that indicates how close he is to coming, so when he does come, Clint is almost startled, pulled out of the regular tug-and-pull of this thing, whatever this is. Wide-eyed, he watches as Coulson's head tips back and his hips stutter up into the rhythm of his hand and he spills out across the floor. One spurt lands on Clint's hand, and his breath catches in his throat; it feels searing hot, sitting on his skin, and he thinks, numbly, Coulson just came on me--and that's the thought that does him in.
Clint shudders and groans, and then falls backwards as he comes so hard he feels like he can't breathe. He doesn't feel the slight chill of the cabin, doesn't hear the wind rattling around outside, all he hears is the rushing of his own blood in his ears, and their heavy breathing--his and Coulson's--mixed together as they both come down from their orgasms.
As the euphoria fades, Clint's bones feel light, like he could pick himself up off the floor and fly. At the same time, he doesn't think he'll ever want to move again, but instead just stay right here on the floor and bask.
"Mmmm," he says, satisfied, as he rolls back into the blankets--a little blanket burrito, not even bothering to wipe himself off, but deciding instead to just let the blankets take the brunt of it. The rolling also brings him right up against Coulson, who's cleaning himself off with one blanket corner, and tucking himself away. His face has shut down a bit again, and he's not looking at Clint.
"Sir?" Clint asks. "Are you okay?"
Coulson studies his hands, and Clint's heart skips a beat as he notices the moisture that still clings to one side of Coulson's thumb.
"You missed a spot," he says quietly.
Coulson turns his hand over and swipes at it with the blanket. "Thanks," he says.
"This," Coulson eventually says, slowly and with emphasis, just when the silence has gone on long enough that Clint starts to tense up again, "This still counts."
Clint relaxes and closes his eyes, relief briefly surging in him. Coulson's not mad, he can tell. "Yep, it sure as fuck does, sir."
Coulson is silent next to Clint, and for a long while he just listens to him breathe, happy and warm, all feelings of restlessness and unsettlement long gone. After a while--could be minutes or hours, Clint's not sure, he's been dozing on and off--there's a rustling sound, and Clint opens his eyes into slits.
Next to him, Coulson has deliberately and carefully placed his hand on the floor next to Clint, fingers splayed out towards him.
Clint smiles then, and fumbles one hand out of his blanket burrito to grasp Coulson's.
Clint sees a slow smile creep across Coulson's face before he closes his eyes again and goes back to sleep.