After the video goes viral, it takes over a month for Maria to call Clint.
He could have contacted her before that. Hell, he could have gone straight to Fury and raised a big stink--he knows Steve tried--but there's a part of Clint, a really petty, ugly part, that wants to drag this out just so he will have more to bitch about. So when Maria finally calls and tells him they need to talk, he just says, "Okay, when and where?"
He goes alone; doesn't tell anyone else. Natasha and Steve have got their own shit going on, and God fucking knows what Bruce and Tony are up to these days. He doesn't need their support, and he certainly doesn't need their pity. Clint's not sad. He's angry!
Maria's office is too dark and dreary for Clint's taste, but he knows she prefers it that way on purpose to keep people on edge. He enters without knocking, something he'd normally get written up for, but he doesn't care. He has no patience for her or her stupid rules at the moment, and he remains standing in front of her desk, hands on his hips, defiantly refusing to sit down. "You wanted to see me?"
She pauses in her paperwork and narrows her eyes at him for a moment, clearly displeased with his entrance, before seemingly deciding to let it go. "Agent Barton. As I'm sure you're aware, certain rumors has circulated--"
"Is this the part where you tell me Coulson's alive?" Clint asks through clenched teeth.
Maria lets no surprise show on her face. "Yes."
"Took your sweet ass time," Clint grumbles. "The video of him and that extremis dude has been all over YouTube for weeks now."
Maria sighs. "There were other, more pressing matters. I know that the two of you were--close. But you're not officially listed as his next of kin or medical proxy, everything happened on a need to know basis even within the qualified clearance levels--"
"Cut the crap. Where is he?" Clint demands.
Maria pauses and considers. "Are you going to hit him?"
"Yes," Clint says plainly.
She narrows her eyes at him again, before sighing heavily and rolling her eyes. "Come out, Phil," she calls, and there's Phil, just like Clint remembers him, stepping through her door and looking at him with the same, pleasant half-smile Clint's seen a million times before.
"Hello, Clint," Phil says.
Clint stares. He's having a hard time not to, because it's Phil, it's his Phil! Suit and tie and receding hairline, and those eyes he never thought he'd see again, ever. Snapping out of it, Clint nods, huffs out a breath and starts shaking out his fist. "Right."
"Before you punch me," Phil says, holding up a finger even as he keeps right on smiling, the bastard, "I'd just like to say that it's good seeing you again."
Clint's movements stutter just for a moment. "It's, uh--it's good seeing you again too, sir," he gets out, before he pulls his fist back and punches Phil so hard his knuckles go numb for a moment.
Phil grunts and stumbles sideways from the impact, looking like he might actually topple over. Maria barks out, "Jesus Christ, Agent Barton!" from where she's standing, but Clint's already catching Phil's stumble, pulling him upright again and pulling him into a kiss.
"You know," Phil says against Clint's lips, one hand coming up to cup his jaw gingerly, "I'm pretty sure we agreed on a no-punching-each-other-rule a long time ago."
Clint breaks the kiss briefly to argue, "Extenuating circumstances," even though his fingers are still clutching desperately at the lapels of Phil's suit jacket.
"I do suppose this isn't exactly an everyday occurrence," Phil agrees, and a lump forms in Clint's throat.
"Better not be," he warns quietly and tries not to let his emotion bleed into his voice. "Though--if it ever does happen again? Don't let me find out via a fucking YouTube video, okay?"
Behind them, Maria Hill makes a huffing sound and there's the unmistakable sound of her slumping back down in her chair.
"Ugh. You're both making me uncomfortable. Get the hell out of my office."
Clint smiles then, for what feels like the first time in forever, and Phil smiles back.