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Bringing Hell in a Dress

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There were quiet days. There were days when the world wasn't blowing up around them. The world gave them rest, but not without the occasional chunks of time when they all thought they would not last to see the daybreak again. Nearly indestructible humans, genetically enhanced soldiers, men who flew in suits of circuit boards and metal, a god, and a possibly genetically souped up redheaded Russian assassin were still susceptible to being worn out.

Worn down and used up.

Clint kept watch. It was what she did. She watched her team flourish and falter and at times she was part of either force.

Her back wasn't pressed against a wall now. She didn't need more than a steady voice in her ear and a hand steadying her back where she once needed walls. It wasn't perfect. It wasn't.

Her life wasn't.

Their life wasn't.

It was full of death and destruction and life and chaos and laughter and and and...

“Your face,” Coulson said touching her elbow, scanning the bruises on her cheek and another purpling along her jaw.

“Not my face, sir. That's an elbow,” Clint said smirking and nudging him slightly. Her steps were slightly off, broken ankle and cracked ribs, but she was making it to Medical on her own power. She counted it as a win.

Coulson rolled his eyes and she stopped in the hall, at the junction of two arteries of human traffic. “Hey,” she leaned in close, forehead resting against his neck. “We got them, sir. All of the bad guys lost. We won.”

“This time, Agent,” Coulson said, voice mild but Clint has had years now to read the nothing and the something in Phil's voice.

Clint breathed in deep, her eyes were shut. She didn't need them right now to see Phil and hear him. He smelled like gunpowder and badly burned coffee and adrenaline sweat. Under the smells of the job, Clint found the sharp spice of Coulson's faded cologne and the smell of their laundry soap. Phil smelled like home and safety and security.

A long time ago now, Clint had traded all of her red numbers for this. She was just slow on the collection.

“This time,” she said and tipped her head up to kiss his chin and then his mouth. It was soft and a 'hello' and a 'still here' and a 'you're being an idiot' kiss.

Phil's lips curved up, quirking just so and Clint answered with a snort of laughter. “Sneak me out of medical?” She added a very calculated flutter of lashes and pouty mouth.

The hand at her back was strong and steady, steady as her draw was. There was less tension in his arms now. “Not on your life, Agent Barton. Do you even know how much paperwork I'd have to deal with if you skipped out on Alvarez?”

They walked slowly and steadily, Coulson taking her weight on her bad side, toward the end of the hall. They turned the corner and kept on, hands held tight together. Destination found and set.

Like a bird touching down to rest.