Phil Coulson could say off hand once, maybe twice that Clint Barton had ever come to him for help. Not only that, but it wasn’t often that Clint had ever found himself in a position where he couldn’t find a way out on his own - or hadn’t already accepted the odds of potentially ending up in just such a position, with no way out - most of his missions had been just those circumstances. And now, with their own paths so parallel and yet so diverged - the last thing Coulson had ever expected was for Clint to just show up. At his plane no less, laid over after a mission and just minutes from leaving a small island off the coast of New York.
Coulson reached out for the railing as he descended the stairs, carefully obscuring - well everything, in reaction to Clint Barton. They’d had a relationship for about a year, on and off again before New York, and Coulson had broken protocol only for Clint - to tell him that he was alive. It was no small secret, their relationship. It had started naturally between Alpha and Omega, back when Coulson had been Clint’s handler both on the field and off. And while their relationship was already against protocol, nobody officially spoke about it. Relationships within SHIELD were very much against a whole list of regulations but Alphas and Omegas could occasionally fall together regardless. And so, they hadn’t been entirely blamed for pure - driven nature. Not exactly.
Coulson’s eyes swept over Clint immediately. He hadn’t seen him in as many as four months. Clint becoming an Avenger, and nothing had made Coulson more proud, had separated them in many ways. And now that Coulson had his own specially crafted team of SHIELD’s design - that distance between them had only become more… noticeable. Personally, too. But that was all Hawkeye. His bird, who flew happiest usually on his own - with distance, far above the chaos of life in general and without restraints. It had only made Coulson love Clint all the more. For every bit the wild spirit he could be.
Fitz and Simmons were a little flustered to be suddenly in the presence of an Avenger. And that was alright, Clint more than deserved it. Clint himself was smiling as he descended the last step to greet the Avenger in question but he could tell something was off. Just the fact that Hawkeye was here, and not on orders either - not any apparent ones. But Coulson could astutely gauge that Clint’s feathers were ‘ruffled’. And only a very trained agent could possibly read that. Possibly only he could read that about Hawkeye himself.
“Agent Barton.” Coulson greeted him with a smile, reaching out to shake his hand - pointedly ignored May behind him. “This is an unexpected surprise. But not an unwelcome one.”
Clint returned the smile and reached out to take his hand but yep. There was something off about the man. He was here for a reason, of course he was. Coulson wasn’t expecting a social call. And he… Coulson suddenly frowned. He didn’t scent the man, that wouldn’t be appropriate or very formal. But something was off about Clint’s scent. Something tugging at him… Coulson instinctively glanced at another younger, powerful Alpha in the room - and Ward had obviously detected the same thing.
“Can we talk?” Clint asked, and he glanced around the room gathered. “In private.”
“Of course.” Coulson withdrew his hand and straightened his suit jacket, gesturing up the stairs behind him.
Coulson tried not to get immature about it all. Or hurt, least of all bitter. Of course Clint was here for business. A social call wouldn’t exactly be possible but with his own breathing space, his own team - heck his own plane and base of operations… Coulson firmly pushed those thoughts out of his mind. It wasn’t entirely Clint’s fault. Clint had had past abuse, trauma - in relationships no less. His coming of age as an Omega had been particularly rocky. Coulson loved Clint for all that he was, there was no question of that. It always rapidly assuaged any misplaced hurt. And they were government agents, agents of SHIELD. Life wasn’t going to be atypical for either of them, especially them.
That scent coming off Clint was more noticeable now that it was just the two of them - alone and in his office. Subtle and yet… Coulson frowned, turning to Clint studiously. He wasn’t in heat. And Clint had always been on blockers and suppressants. So what on earth. And then it dawned on him, all of a sudden, like a cresting wave that he’d only previously been standing in the shadow of. And Coulson was rocked by the implication, let alone the potential reality of why Clint was standing here - now. Looking very much as if he couldn’t say what Coulson had nearly, already ascertained.
“How?” Coulson managed. He hadn’t meant it personally, he really hadn’t - though there was that too. But Clint still averted his eyes right to the floor beneath their feet. And he had to take a moment before he could answer.
“I don’t want to talk about it.” Clint said and the full weight of that was in his eyes, when he met Coulson’s. To the point that Coulson almost didn’t ask. Actually, he didn’t. A very large part of him couldn’t.
“But you’ve been on suppressants. Unless…” Unless the five year window between when they lost effectiveness and Clint needed a new drug had been too great of a gap. It would have only taken one heat, probably. Just one. And then the Alpha was asking before he could stop himself. “Who?”
That stoic expression of his slipping, usually unflappable, it wavered and Clint’s hands noticeably flexed. As if they’d have tightened around a bow that wasn’t there. “Phil.” And while his voice pleaded, his eyes begged. And Coulson felt his own anger immediately dissipate. The hurt was there, he couldn’t help it, it stung deep. But that was primal, that was base instincts, that wasn’t higher reasoning and he needed that right now - Coulson really did. Because the thought of his Omega, bred by someone else.
Clint had rare ‘anatomical difficulties’ as an Omega. His prostate was very deeply situated, too deep to reach for most Alpha’s. The nerves inside his body needed to be thoroughly stretched to feel as much as a normal Omega would and so a knot had to be a big one. Actually, everything needed to be big or Clint couldn’t even be bred. But worse, his cycles couldn’t be assuaged or eased or even taken care of without a considerably endowed Alpha. If he’d gone into heat, and the first time too in as many as five years on suppressants - it wouldn’t matter if he could have called his Alpha. Coulson had never been… endowed enough to knot him. He could knot Clint, but it wasn’t fair to him - outright. Actually, to Clint it would be a lot like either the greatest tease or the worst type of torture. In heat? It would have been torture, it wouldn’t have been enough. Clint could have died. If someone… if someone else hadn’t of-
Coulson let out a quick breath, reaching up to grasp the bridge of his nose with a few fingers in a nice, solid grip. When he looked back up, the rest of his own internal conflict rapidly dissolved. Clint… Clint looked worried. More than that, he looked unsure. Scared.
“Oh Clint.” Coulson stepped forward, almost surprised when Clint allowed himself to be pulled into a warm - inarguable grip. Coulson pulled the Avenger right into his arms, Clint reaching up with somewhat unsteady hands to grasp onto his shoulders and jacket.
“Phil.” Clint breathed, low - into his neck, burying his face into the crook of his shoulder.
“Hey, hey.” Coulson soothed his Omega, sliding a hand up to the back of his neck - cradling Clint’s head, gently getting a good grip. “It’s okay, it’s going to be fine. I’m going to take care of you. We’re going to tackle this, together. I promise.”
“Man I really did it this time, huh?”
“Shhh.” Coulson rubbed a hand across Clint’s back, taking in the scent of the man - using it to calm his own nerves. Not over the situation, he was rock solid on that. Clint’s whole job was a whole lot weirder. Actually, this was pretty mundane in comparison. It was huge, no getting around that. But Coulson was confident. He’d see Clint through and then they’d… they’d cross any other bridge when it came to it. “None of that.” he told Clint, gently scolding the Avenger. “I’d bet my badge that it couldn’t be helped and that you didn’t have a choice.”
Clint swallowed heavily. “I didn’t. But Phil I have to get this off my chest. You know I hate my heats and you-” The Avenger went a little pale and Coulson frowned in concern, holding the man’s face in his hands. “You know why-”
“I know.” Coulson nodded., voice pitched quiet - gently. Oh he knew.
“Phil I enjoyed it.” Tears briefly welled up in Clint’s eyes, before he managed to get some semblance of control back. And the breath he took was a little sharp. “I enjoyed it and I am so sorry-”
It hurt, it really did. But again, rational over primal. Coulson knew that Clint had to get that off his chest. And once again, his own heart tugged in his own chest from a whole range of emotions. Mostly, for Clint - for what he was going through, for how much he was feeling. And the whole of it made him feel overwhelmingly protective. “You don’t have any reason to be.” Coulson said, lifting his head up and calmly meeting his Omega’s eyes. “You don’t. It’s natural, sweetheart it’s instinct. You didn’t do a thing wrong. I’m just so relieved you’re still with me. Because I…” None of that, Coulson firmly reminded himself. But the dark thought immediately followed. Because if he and Clint had been on the same op - and Clint had gone into heat… Coulson wouldn’t have been able to save him. And… and he may have had to turn him over to another Alpha, if available.
“I can’t lose you.” Coulson said instead.
Clint let out a rough breath and pushed himself right back into Coulson’s arms.
Smiling, even if a bit shakily, Coulson wrapped his arms around Clint and held fast. But the smile was brief, concern eclipsed it. Instinctively, he was already soothing Clint by presence alone - without trying. An Alpha, stabilizing a shaky Omega. But he did all that he could, beyond that, stroking his hands over Clint’s uniform clad back and shoulders, the other tucked securely around his waist. And it was then… it was suddenly at that moment that Coulson really noticed what hadn’t been there before. Just a subtle swell, wouldn’t have been noticeable at all if they hadn’t been pressed together. And while the emotions were mixed, some a bit painful, they were damn strong. Clint would be a beautiful, pregnant Omega. Handsome, strong.
Coulson had never even remotely thought of having kids of his own, not even remotely - it hadn’t even been on his radar. And while he couldn’t think of what was ahead, he could see a brief - stunning expense of time stretched before him. One that they’d ride out, together, unquestionably. Coulson wasn’t going to let Clint out of his sight now. He’d transfer him on as a specialist, he’d do whatever it took.
Suddenly, Clint weakened in Coulson’s arms.
Mind immediately, and sharply on the present, Coulson was steadying the agent without thinking. “Clint?” Tucking an arm around his back, Coulson quickly glanced him over while he held Clint upright. “You alright?”
“Took some shortcuts to get here.” Clint nodded. “Just a rough week I think.”
“Let’s not take any chances.” Coulson said, easing one of Clint’s arms over his shoulders. And then he took him straight to Simmons. The most worrying, was that Clint didn’t protest. It was likely he was submitting to an Alpha, in his weakened state, but Clint - he didn’t submit easy. The opposite - he would stubbornly do anything but, if he really set his mind to it. And the thought pulled a smile out of Coulson, a touch worried, just a little but lovingly exasperated.
Whoever didn’t look shocked by Hawkeye’s second entrance, looked concerned and almost startled seeing Coulson decently supporting the Avenger and leading him right to the labs. Even May looked quietly concerned and surprised, at first reaching out to help - being nearest. But Coulson directed her away with a glance, that she immediately respected.
“Whatever I’m about to say, doesn’t leave this room.” Coulson said as helped Clint, up onto a table in the center of the room. “Are we clear?”
After quick acknowledgement from his team, Coulson brought over a blanket to put behind Clint’s head. And he didn’t care if he was fussing. He wouldn’t call it that. He was going to take care of his Omega and since not one person in the room was arguing - not that he’d care if they would. “He had a rough mission before he got here. Simmons, check him over. I want a full workup.”
“Yessir.” Simmons said.
Clint looked up from where he was protectively resting a hand on Clint’s stomach. “Give us the room.”
May immediately complied, reaching out to take Skye by the arm just in case she atypically wanted to stay where all the apparent action was - and she did. Ward trailed after them, probably the most obedient just after May, but even he looked curious.
When they were out of the room, Coulson looked up at Simmons. “He’s pregnant, I’m guessing no more than a month along. But I want a full workup on that too.”
Simmons mouth had dropped open in shock but she was already reaching for more medical supplies. “Congratulations?”
Her timid, confused reply didn’t hurt Coulson as much as he thought it would. Instead, he just smiled at Clint. But it was very gentle.
Clint on the other hand, apparently warred with himself for a fraction of a second before he said. “Thor. It was Thor.”
Coulson stiffened in shock, but he kept his hand right where it had been - cupping the ever so slight swell of Clint’s belly. His own mouth parted in shock. No, not shock exactly. There were exactly two Avengers who could see Clint through a heat. Thor had been one. But it was very hard not to let his own feelings get the better of him, his own instincts, the glaring possessiveness. The fact that it wasn’t him. But he rolled with hit. He let rationality take the front seat and reminded himself firmly that this was the modern age. And he didn’t need to let his own feelings rule him. That wasn’t who he was.
The awkward clattering of medical equipment at the revelation made Coulson smile through a low breath.
“You were going to find out anyway.” Clint told Coulson directly. “I had to say it first.”
“Sir there are obviously questions about Asgardian physiology..” Simmons said.
Coulson had already had that thought. Even with Captain American, Coulson had pushed Clint initially out of possessive, Alpha instincts - but also and primarily out of the fear that Clint was human. And if he’d been bred with either, but especially Thor. “I know.” Coulson nodded. “I’ll be making some calls. In the meantime, do what you can. We have to assume that Thor might be out of touch throughout the entirety of Hawkeye’s pregnancy.”
“Flying blind, got it.” Simmons said.
Clint gave her a look, and then turned that look to Coulson with a raised eyebrow. But Coulson just kept his own smile on his face. “She’s still new to field work.”
“We’re not on the field… we’re in a controlled lab.”
“You’re going to be fine.”
The light banter aside, it had serious undertones. Coulson only hoped that Clint really, truly knew that he’d do anything to keep him safe.