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Crab Shack

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When Phil gets in, Clint is sprawled out on the sofa, TV on, book open in his lap, phone in his hand, one earbud in his ear with music playing, the very picture of nonchalance. Except for how he’s attempting to look like he’s doing about twelve things at once.

Phil sniffs the air and notes a distinct lack of delicious smells. “I thought I read a text about cooking me dinner?”

Clint blinks slowly. “Yeah,” he says, turning the page in his book, not looking up. "I was gonna make dinner, but... well... stuff happened.”

“Stuff?” Phil is slipping his jacket off, loosening his tie.

“Yep, by the way,” Clint carefully closes the book, “we've ceded the kitchen to the crustaceans." When he does finally look at Phil, he has the face of a man who has lost the will to try.

That’s actually pretty impressive for Clint, who has never let little things like being naked, or lack of weapons, stop him.

Phil moves further into the apartment, pressing an easy kiss into Clint’s hair before heading towards the kitchen. There’s a bucket and a stack of shoe boxes forming a very short barricade at the doorway.

Phil isn’t asking… yet. But the sound of metal against metal gets louder as he approaches. Because it can’t be said that Clint can't be strategic when he wants to be, Phil doesn’t step over the items just yet, instead he leans in and pears around. Just in case.

He sees the tip of a fairly large knife and a bit of something reddish brown just over the edge. Eventually one bit sticks up far enough that he can make out the outline of a claw.

“Clint?” Phil calls from where’s standing, raising on his toes to be sure.


"Why is there a knife-wielding crustacean in my kitchen?"

“Oh, now it’s your kitchen, but that time with the exploding flour bag it was my kitchen.

“Clint.” He’s trying for stern, but Clint’s presentation, as always, is pretty hilarious. And he’s not bleeding for this performance, which is always a plus.

Clint sighs loudly. "Well.” There’s a distinct sound of body part flopping back on the sofa. “When it happened. I was gonna get it back. But then my life flashed before my eyes and I decided that it wasn't my battle."

Phil turns to look at Clint. Clint looks back with an expectant expression. Phil reasons that Clint can take a three story fall without a scratch, but would probably end up in the ER with stitches for going up against a regular, normal sized crab brandishing a knife in self-defense. It’s actually kind of soothing to know that Clint is learning to recognize those situations and then walk away from them.

"Fair enough. Be right back." Phil steps gingerly over the shoeboxes.

He’s inside the kitchen long enough to get a good look at the sink. Yep. It’s a crab. With a knife.

He promptly turns around and leaves.

Phil joins Clint on the couch, where he has abandoned all pretense of looking innocent and is awaiting Phil’s pronouncement.

“Okay,” Phil says sitting down aware that his eyes must be very wide at the moment, “so, apparently it's scarier than it sounds.”

Clint makes a serious face and nods in agreement. They sit in silence for a several seconds until Clint says, “We’re gonna move, right?”

Phil nods. “That seems like the only sensible option.”

They sort of melt into each other at that. Its been kind of a long day, for both of them Phil presumes.

“Can I ask,” Phil says eventually, one hand buried in Clint’s hair, scratching idly, “why the barricade?”

Clint sighs happily, leaning into the touch. “When you accidentally arm the food, it's maybe time for a strategic retreat. I figured, if he can get the knife out of my hands, god knows what might happen if he makes it out of the sink.”

Phil nods. Sound reasoning.

Phil is only mildly surprised when Natasha lets herself in a little while later. He wonders if Clint gave actually gave her a key and put her on the pass list or if Natasha has been breaking into their place regularly for a few years now. He doesn’t really want to know actually. “Backup?” he asks quietly.

“Yep.” Clint shows him the text he sent about an hour ago.


She disappears into the kitchen, spends about five minutes there and then comes out flipping a knife in her left hand. “I was going to spend a good part of the evening mocking both of you,” she flips the knife again, “but even I have to admit a knife wielding crab is a little creepy.” On anyone else it would be nothing, but her eyes are a bit wider than normal.

Clint whines from Phil’s shoulder. “If it had been 20 feet tall this would have been a lot easier.”

“There, there,” Phil says idly patting his hand, “you’re still a big brave secret agent to me.” He makes a mental note to give Clint some positive reinforcement later. Once upon a time he’d have gone right for the trick arrows instead of realizing that was probably overkill for a regular sized crab. Even a knife wielding one.

“Shut up you,” Clint’s voice is muffled in Phil’s shoulder, “you were totally scared too.”

“I was just formulating a plan.”

“A plan to let someone else take care of it?”

Phil hums in a positive manner. “My job is mainly delegation.”

Natasha throws a phone at them. Clint catches it and makes the face. The ‘why are things flying at my head???’ face.

“You two owe me dinner and despite rumors to the contrary, I don’t feast on the carcasses of my enemies.”

Clint calls a moratorium on all shellfish, Phil agrees readily enough because he’s secretly afraid the crab, that is still in their sink, will know. Phil hasn’t seen any evidence that it’s anything more than a regular crab, but considering their lives, he’s not taking the chance.

In between delicate bites of her risotto Natasha asks them what they would have done if she hadn’t been available.

Phil and Clint share a look and then shrug. Clint says, “Move. Set this place on fire. Hope the crab either dies or escapes. Tell no one. Start our lives over Europe with assumed identities?”

“Coulson?” Natasha prompts when he says nothing.

“'nuke it from orbit,” he says, because Clint has been living with him long enough that apparently he’s rubbing off on him, “it's the only way to be sure.”

“And to think,” Natasha sighs, “there’s a rumor that you’re the calm one.”

Phil smiles, leans back and slings an arm around Clint’s shoulder. “I wonder who started that one?”

Clint smiles back. “It’s a mystery.”