When Fury's goons grab Clint from off the street, he's actually surprised at the abduction. He had - naively, as it turns out - trusted Phil when he said that catching Loki pilfering Fury's liquor put Clint and Nat in the clear. He should have just listened to Nat's gut and gotten them the hell outta Dodge when they had the chance.
'Cause now, Clint's done for. He's fast, and a good fighter, but there are four of them, and one of him. He gets in a few good licks, but a meaty fist applied to the side of his head knocks him for a loop. While he's dazed, strong hands grab his arms, forcing them behind his back. His wrists are tied together, and a heavy black bag is placed over his head. Clint still tries to struggle - more for his pride's sake than anything else - but his head is ringing, and it doesn't take much for the goons to drag him a few feet and throw him in the back of a car.
Clint's stomach rolls from the treatment. It's an effort to swallow back the bile that tries to come up, but he's not going to spend whatever time he has left on the planet stewing in a marinate of his own making.
The car ride is long, and Clint gives up trying to get his bearings after the first few sharp turns. When the car does stop, he's unceremoniously hauled out and placed on his feet. His balance is shot, and he sways dangerously before hands grab his biceps, keeping him steady, then propelling him forward. Clint's shoes scuff against what sounds like concrete. They walk for maybe a hundred yards or so before they stop. The hands on Clint's arms move down to untie his wrists. As soon as he's free, more hands start to roughly strip him of his clothing.
"Aw, come on, fellas." A sharp cuff to his still aching head curtails anything else he might have to say.
Once he's naked, he's pressed down and back. His ass hits what feels like a hard, wooden chair. His hands are bound again and tethered to the slats at his back. Clint briefly resists as his knees are forced apart, but something cold and sharp presses against the flesh of his inner thigh, and he forces himself to relax as his ankles are tied to the chair's front legs. When he's properly trussed, he hears the men around him leave, and Clint is left alone.
He doesn't know how long he sits there, bare as the day he was born and shivering. It's easy to get lost in the darkness of his hood, his mind oh-so-helpfully supplying him with gruesome imaginings of what might be coming next.
Clint always figured he'd meet with a bad end.
Soon enough, sharp clicks filter through the material over his head. It's the sound of shoes. Fancy shoes. Expensive shoes. It seems like the big cheese himself has decided to deal with Clint directly.
He wonders if he should feel honored.
The clicks stop in front of Clint's chair. The bag is pulled off of Clint's head, and he blinks at the light that assaults his poor eyes. Fury simply observes him for a few ticks before he turns and settles himself in a second chair that's facing Clint's. They sit there in silence, just staring at each other.
When Fury realizes Clint's not going to break or beg, a smile curves the edges of his lips. "Nothing to say, Mr. Barton?"
Clint licks his lips and swallows a few times to wet his parched throat. "Nat's gonna cut you into pieces."
"Is that right?" Fury has the audacity to laugh.
Clint slowly nods his head. Nat had already lost her real family back in Russia - round about the time Clint figures she misplaced most of her marbles. Losing the man she had chosen to be her brother will no doubt be devastating to her, and anyone who might dare get in her path. Clint takes comfort in the thought of being avenged. It's cold comfort, but comfort, nonetheless.
"Mr. Barton, I think you've come to an erroneous conclusion as to why I had you brought here. Though, considering the circumstances, I suppose I can't fault you for that."
"I got knocked pretty hard on the head," Clint says, "so if you could maybe use smaller words..."
Fury grins. "I'm not going to kill you; I'm going to tell you a story. 'Bout a friend of mine."
"And when I'm done, you're gonna have yourself a nice, long think about where you want to go from here."
"I'm not gonna like this story, am I?"
"Oh, I don't know, Mr. Barton. I suspect you might be rather surprised by how much you do like it."
Between the time Fury finishes his story - and puts the bag back over Clint's head, the bastard - and the next time someone comes into the room, Clint lets himself dwell on all the new bits of information floating around in his skull.
When he hears a muffled but familiar voice curse and say his name, Clint knows what his decision is.
"I'm sorry," Phil says as he gently uncovers Clint's head. "I'm so sorry." He briefly makes eye contact before he hurries around the chair and starts working on the rope binding Clint's wrists. "I had no idea Fury was going to do this to you. I swear."
"I know," Clint says, twisting to look over his shoulder at Phil's bent head. "It's okay."
"It's not okay." Phil's voice is rough and ragged. "I can't get... They won't... I'm going to have to cut these off. Turn front, and hold still."
Clint obeys. He hears a switchblade being opened, then there's a slight pressure and the sound of metal sawing through heavy fibers. The rope falls away and Clint gingerly brings his arms forward. He can't help but wince as his abused shoulders protest the movement.
"Thanks," he says as he stretches a bit. Clint notices that Phil's looking everywhere but him. He also picks up on the slight flush that's coloring Phil's cheekbones. "You, uh, you mind getting my feet too?"
Phil's eyes drop down to Clint, then promptly skitter away again. As he crouches in front of Clint's chair, his cheeks darken even further, but his gaze stays down and on his task and doesn't even start to wander towards the bits of Clint that are far more interesting than his ankles.
Clint can't help but be charmed.
"I thought I was gonna get bumped off for sure, but Fury just wanted to scare me," Clint says. "No real harm's been done, 'cept maybe to my ego."
On that Phil does look at him, focusing on Clint's face, specifically the side of his head. He reaches up and runs a finger over Clint's skin, and though the touch is soft, Clint can feel the bruise that's being traced.
"Oh, that." Clint gives Phil his best grin, the one Nat says makes him look dashing and roguish. "I didn't exactly go quietly."
Phil's pained expression isn't the reaction Clint had hoped for. "This shouldn't have happened. Nick knew you were a fall guy. He assured me that you weren't going to face retribution for what Loki-"
"Phil," Clint says softly, "this wasn't about Loki; it was about you."
For a moment, Phil looks adorably confused, then his lingering blush disappears, along with all the other blood in his face. He stiffly stands and swiftly moves to put some distance between himself and Clint. "I'm not sure what Nick said, but-"
"He said you're carrying a torch for me." Clint tries to stand, but pain in his legs promptly puts his butt back in the chair again. "Ow, dammit."
Phil starts to move back to Clint, but stops when he's still a few feet away. "What's wrong? Did they-"
"Pins and needles," Clint says wryly. "I was here for a while. You mind?" He holds out his hands, hoping that Phil's affection for him will win out over propriety or panic. It does. Phil takes both of Clint's hands and helps him to his feet. He then tries to back away again, but Clint holds on tight.
"Fury also said that you don't frequent his whores very often."
"But when you do, you tend to pick ones with light brown hair and blue eyes." Clint grins. "And cocks."
Phil stares at Clint in horror before saying under his breath, "I'm gonna kill him." He pulls at Clint's grip, but Clint's hands are strong; Phil's not going to get away from him that easily.
"Fury said that he offered to give you one of them, permanent-like, but you didn't want that." Clint peers into Phil's bright blue eyes. "He said how you want something more than just a tight ass or a warm mouth."
"I need to get some chloroform," Phil says almost absently.
"He said you want something specific."
"Sharpen my knives."
"Find some lye."
Clint squeezes Phil's hands and takes a deep breath. "He said you want me."
Phil winces. "Clint-"
"Is that true, Phil? Are you sweet on me?"
"I don't... I don't know what you want me to say." Phil's voice is thin and reedy, so unlike his usual, confidant, calming tone.
Clint thinks about dragging this on, but that would be mean. And, honestly, they've wasted so much time already.
"Well, first," Clint says, "I want you to say that you'll help me find where Fury's knuckleheads put my clothes. Then, I want you to ask me to have dinner with you."
Phil looks at him like Clint just grew a second head. "What? What did you-"
"I want you do ask me to dinner," Clint says again. "And I don't mean some mom-and-pop, diner-type place, neither. I want you to take me somewhere swanky where I'll have to get all gussied up, and there'll be more forks and spoons on the table than I know what to do with."
Phil's still looking at Clint like he has two heads, but he's also looking like Clint's second head is just as handsome as the first. "I see. And then?"
"Then, after you've properly wined and dined me, I'll decide if you get a second date. Though, to tell the truth, I'm already leaning towards yes."
Phil blinks at him a few times. "If you're just pulling my leg-"
"I wouldn't do that. I'm on the level. And not just because of what Fury threatened to do to me if I ever hurt you." Clint meant for that to come out as a joke, but Phil's face hardens.
"I won't let him harm you, Clint, I swear it. You don't have to pretend to be... to be like me just to-"
"No, hey, no, that's not..." Clint lets go of Phil's hands, but that's only so he can get a good, firm grip on Phil's shoulders instead. "Who's pretending? I've always thought you were the bee's knees, I just never guessed a spiffy, high-class guy like you could be interested in a sap like me."
"You overestimate my standing. And you sell yourself far too short." Phil tilts his head to one side. "Also, don't you refer to your car as the 'bee's knees'?"
"Yep." Clint grins. "And you know how much I like my car."
"Oh." Phil's hands gingerly settle on Clint's waist. "You like your car a lot." His fingertips press into Clint's skin.
"I do." Clint puts his hands over Phil's. "And as much as I might appreciate where this could be headed, baby, you're gonna have to take a check. I want to be wined and dined, remember?"
Phil gives Clint one last squeeze before he pulls his hands away. "I'm gonna treat you like a prince."
"That's sweet. Help me find my pants first?"