Phil rolled out of bed, earlier than Clint wanted to think about. The bed was large - a king-sized nod to the fact that they both slept poorly and needed their space sometimes, so in truth Clint didn’t feel the shift of covers or the dip of the bed. He heard the door open and close, saw the briefest flash of light as Phil opened and closed the bedroom door, going to make coffee.
Clint was on stand-down. Clint was on his day off. Clint was recovering from an injury. There were like, fifteen reasons why Clint shouldn’t be awake, but the slight knocking noises of Phil in the kitchen as he set up his french press, and Phil in the living room as he gathered his papers from the night before was enough to keep him skating on the edge of wakefulness.
Phil slipped back into the bedroom, french press in one hand, coffee cup in the other, and set both on the dresser. He tiptoed into the shower, and puffs of steam and the swishing rushing sounds of water issued forth for a good, military, eight and a half minutes. The water shut off, and Clint idly fantasized about Phil, naked and pink, toweling himself off. He’d have a slightly squinty look from not having his glasses, and he’d smear down the mirror with a palm to check his shave job. He would wrap the towel about his waist, scrub his hand through his hair once, and apply the deodorant that Clint loved the smell of.
Clint’s eyes had slitted open, tracking the sliver of light that spilled from the bathroom door as he imagined Phil’s movements. He almost startled when the door popped open, letting out a moist billow of steamy air. Phil was in his towel, a bit sleepy and a hundred percent adorable. He pressed down the plunger and poured his first cup of coffee. Even in bed Clint could smell it and it drew him further towards wakefulness. The lights were off, but the first greyness of dawn was showing through the window, painting Phil in black-and-white planes. He sat in the chair by the dresser, drinking his coffee and staring quietly at Clint. Clint was well-aware of this portion of the morning routine, and pretended to be asleep. He suspected Phil knew he wasn’t, but neither of them spoke.
Phil finished his first cup of coffee, poured the second, and stood. The towel dropped, and Clint slitted open his eyes to watch the planes of Phil’s bare ass walk to the dresser. Boxer-briefs went on first, followed by an undershirt, thin and old with wear. Phil opened the walk-in closet and flicked on the gentle light, contemplating his suits. Phil had seven very good suits. He had three suits designated for ops which he suspected would go badly. He had one tux, one set of business-casual wear, and a variety of athletic equipment. He also had a selection of very, very soft sweaters which nobody but Clint knew about. In short, his options were limited. Phil pulled out a charcoal grey suit with a light pinstripe. It had two buttons, a set of breast-front pockets that Clint knew he was especially fond of, and a button hole. The pants were especially kind to his ass, if Clint remembered correctly.
Phil hung the suit on the closet door and moved to the dresser. He pulled out dark grey socks with a subtle chevron pattern on them, set them on the dresser next to his coffee, and sat down. He looked at the socks, then at his coffee once more, and seeming to make a compromise, unrolled the socks with one hand while sipping the coffee with the other. He shook the socks out and rolled them on. He did it with the same quiet competence that he rolled on condoms, and Clint’s mouth abruptly went dry. How had he never seen that parallel before? Phil clipped on sock garters and tightened them at his calves. Clint secretly thought they were ridiculous - seriously, suspenders for your socks - but Phil was particular in even the smallest details of his appearance, and today he would be doing a lot of walking. Phil snuck another sip of coffee before standing and bending forward in a stretch. The thin stretch cotton of his undershirt only highlighted the strong planes of his back as he stretched, the lines of his lats growing taut as he straightened his knees.
Another stolen sip and the second cup was gone. He poured the third and final cup from the french press and sighed. He dove back into the closet, coming back with a shirt so light blue it might have been the light had Clint not known better. The shirt was crisp, serious edges. The collar was conservatively short and the buttons were covered plackets so they wouldn’t show. Clint had never understood the obsession with not letting people know how your clothes got on - how else were you expected to tear them off each other - but again, Phil was fond of that shirt. It was much softer than it looked. Phil buttoned down, fumbling with the recessed plackets just a bit, leaving the button at his collar for the last. That particular shirt was a bit tighter cut than his usual - it was snug at the waist and hips in a visually appealing but likely not tactically sound during a firefight sort of way. Clint could see the contour of Phil’s back, the dip of his spine between powerful columns of muscle in the shades of blue down Phil’s back.
Phil reached for the suit, carefully extracting the pants and stepping into them. The waist sat well on him, and he hitched a hip against the dresser in a lazy movement while he buttoned the fly. He shoved his hands in the front, then the back pockets, making sure they sat properly before moving on to his cuffs.
He pulled the sleeves tight, folded the cuffs, and picked through his box of cufflinks. He chose small silver chevrons with a sapphire at the point, and threaded them through the holes with a practiced ease. The links clicked with a tiny sound of satisfaction when they fit home, and Phil huffed contentedly, shaking the shirtsleeves so they sat right.
Phil picked through the ties until he found the one he wanted; dark grey like the suit but with just a hint of lavender in accent threads. He flipped up his collar, turned towards the mirror, and began a familiar ritual. Clint watched, no longer attempting to maintain the pretext of sleep, but also unwilling to move from his boneless sprawl. Phil sized up the ends of his tie, and in a quick series of flips and swoops, executed a perfect half-windsor. He straightened the knot and evened it out, pressed a dimple into the tongue of the tie, and snugged it to his throat. The tie-bar matched his cufflinks and twinkled in the light of the rising sun.
The move from naked to clothed changed Phil in more than just his outward appearance. He toughened up from the sweet, gentle, kind soul that Clint had grown to know, to the give-no-shits put-you-in-your-place-and-make-you-like-it SHIELD agent who ran ops with ruthless efficiency and kept entire divisions in line with a stern look and a word of warning. Phil paused to drain a good portion of his last cup of coffee. His eyes were more focused now - the sleepy haze of his bedroom eyes retreated behind the steely glare of professionalism that was Coulson.
Phil pulled the jacket off its hanger and shrugged it on, shaking the sleeves to settle it properly. He ran a comb through his hair so it settled into its correct swoop, and almost as an afterthought, opened a drawer once more. From it he pulled the pocket square Clint had given him, a lavender that matched his tie with a small ‘C’ hand-embroidered at the apex of one corner. Phil folded it deftly and tucked it into his breast front pocket. He drained his coffee cup and picked up the press with the mug. Before leaving, he toed on his favorite loafers - dark brown leather wingtips without any decorative stitching and rounded toes - and bent to kiss Clint on his jawline.
All that was left of Phil was the wispy scent of well-brewed coffee and the memory of his ritual. Clint groaned, apparently half-hard from a reverse striptease, and rolled over, forearm over his face. He waited until he was sure Phil was out of the house before fumbling his phone off the bedside table.
I want to rip your sock garters off with my teeth, he texted Phil.
Long enough later that Clint knew Phil had been driving, and waited until he was parked in the SHIELD lot to respond, Clint got the reply. As long as you’re kind to my tie.