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[“Hey, it’s me. Leave a message at the beep.”]

“Clint. It…”

[swallowing sound]

“It’s me. Um, Phil. Coulson. Phil Coulson. I just -- “

[loud exhale]

“Christ, it’s good to hear your voice, even on a recording. I’m sorry for leaving a message like this now. I don’t normally do this, but… I have to acknowledge the possibility that I won’t get another chance to say this. I know that I’m going to do whatever I can to stop Loki and I know that, in your own way, despite everything that he’s done to you, you will, too. I hope that things will get better, and we both make it through, but right now, at this moment…”

[lengthy pause]

“I don’t know. I just don’t know.”

[sound of running feet]

“Crap. I’ve got to go. I’ll call back later.”

[Beep]

 

*

 

[“Hey, it’s me. Leave a message at the beep.”]

“Sorry about that. I think I have a few minutes now. Command just got notification of -- you know what? It’s not important. If you ever hear this, you’ll already know, so. I’m going to quit beating around the bush and just say it. The reason that I’m calling.”

[sharp inhale]

”I really enjoyed spending the night with you. I know that we didn’t talk about what it meant, or if it meant anything. I know that you have a reputation for… I just mean that I don’t want to assume… “

[loud exhale]

[the sound of running feet]

[tinny voice in background “Agent Coulson, sir?”]

“Dammit.”

[Beep]

 

*

 

[“Hey, it’s me. Leave a message at the beep.”]

“So, if I haven’t already mortally offended you, I just wanted to say that it meant something. The sex we had. To me. It meant something to me. I’m sorry if that wasn’t clear earlier. I just wanted to tell you, in case something happens --”

[throat clearing]

“I just thought you should know.”

[Beep]

 

*

 

[“Hey, it’s me. Leave a message at the beep.”]

[klaxons sound in the background]

“It’s just that… I think that I’m in love with you. I’m about to do something very stupid. I’m sorry. Good-bye.”

[Beep]

 

*

 

[“Hey, it’s me. Leave a message at the beep.”]

“Clint.”

[coughing sounds]

“Clint?”

[Beep]

 

*

 

[“Hey, it’s me. Leave a message at the beep.”]

“Sorry about that. I should have known better than to make a phone call the moment I got extubated. I stole a phone from the orderly today. Neither you nor Natasha have shown up yet, but I know it’s just a matter of time. I’ll hide this under my pillow. Call you later. Bye.”

[Beep]

 

*

 

[“Hey, it’s me. Leave a message at the beep.”]

“Hey. Uh, it’s me. Again. I just realized that you probably aren’t getting these messages. Your apartment was destroyed and -- damn, I’m so sorry about that, Clint. Anyway, unless you’re rerouting your calls, these are probably stacking up in a message folder somewhere, so I’ll call you back on the back line we used for emergency field drops. Bye.”

[Beep]

 

*

 

[“You’ve reached me. Leave a message.”]

“Just making sure the line works. It works. So. I’m going to go. Still, you know, recovering. Haven’t had a lot of visitors, but I know Fury’s keeping my progress restricted to level seven. That includes you and Natasha, of course, I just... I hope you’re both well. I know you’re probably busy, and that’s why you haven’t -- I mean, not that I expect...”

[sound of a throat clearing]

“Anyways. Call me when you can. Bye.”

[Beep]

 

*

 

[“You’ve reached me. Leave a message.”]

“Nick’s giving me the Bus. It’s been upgraded, some stealth technology and it’s faster now than it was during the nineties. Remember how we always talked about a mobile team? Able to respond faster to threats as they happened, contain them before they could get out of hand? Well, I’ve got that now. It’s not Strike Team Delta -- more scientists, fewer explosions -- but it’s good. It should be good. I miss what we had, of course, and I’d give anything for you and Na -- ”

[a cough]

“I’m sorry. I should stop leaving you these messages. You haven’t gotten back to me, so it’s obvious you don’t… I’m probably bothering you. I know I’m bothering you. I’m gonna stop... “

[lengthy pause]

“I’m sorry, Clint. I hope you’re safe. Nick says you are, so I’ll trust in that for now. I’m around if… Well. I’m around.”

[Beep]

 

*

 

[“You’ve reached me. Leave a message.”]

“Did you know about Tahiti, Clint? Did you?”

[Beep]

 

*

 

[“You’ve reached me. Leave a message.”]

“Please be safe. I know I said I wouldn’t call you and I meant it, I’m sorry about before, I didn’t want to -- ”

[loud exhale]

“Just be safe. Get out of wherever you are and go to ground, stay low, keep your head down. We’re going to try and pick up the pieces from here.”

[Beep]

 

*

 

[“You’ve reached me. Leave a message.”]

“This is the last one, I swear. I just wanted to let you know that we shifted base locations. If you check your badge, well -- don’t go there. I’ll leave the coordinates for you at our Echo Delta location, backdrop Three, Minus One. Find us if you can. I -- ”

[short pause]

“I…”

[Beep]

 

*

 

[Notification request for entry to Facility XXXX at 06:45:16 on 08.01.2014. Authorization code name: HAWKEYE. Request sent Priority One to: DIRECTOR COULSON. Request for entry approved by DIRECTOR COULSON at 06:46:42 on 08.01.2014. Main door opening…. Opening… Sentry 1 and 3 disabled. Sentry 2 remains active for secondary threats.]

[Sound recording of authorized entry to Facility XXXX on 08.01.2014 at 06:48:01. Video surveillance is available for Level Eight and Above. Enter authorization code now.]

“Jesus Christ, you’re really here.”

“Of course, I’m -- Clint, god, get in, get in. Is that blood? Where are you -- ?”

“Not mine, it’s not mine. I picked up a trail two days back, but I shook him. Shot him. Whatever.”

“Are you sure? Let’s get you to the infirmary. I’ll wake up Jemma, and -- ”

“Wait, stop. Coulson. Phil. Jesus. Just -- stand still for a half a second, okay?”

“What? What is it? Clint?”

“You’re -- you’re really here. You’re really alive.”

“Of course I’m a -- Fury didn’t tell you? What about all of my -- ?”

“I got your messages two weeks ago. I didn’t -- Christ, Coulson. Of course I love you. Of course it meant something. How could you ever think -- ”

“I… I didn’t…”

“I know you didn’t, I know. I’m sorry. I wanted -- Fuck. But you’re okay? You’re really here?”

“I’m really here.”

“Okay, that’s good. That’s… good. Whoa. Maybe I should sit down.”

“Clint. Clint? JEMMA!”

[Beep]

 

*

 

[Automatic sound recording triggered by code word; security notification 282902. Recording back-tracked by sixty seconds as per security guideline 6D-42. Recording as follows:]

“Just rest quietly. You’re fine. You’re dehydrated and malnourished and have a nasty gash across your ribs, but you’re going to be okay.”

“I am. I’m fine.”

[sound of coughing]

“Stop fussing, Phil. I’m fine.”

“I have two years of a lack of fussing to make up for.”

“Yeah, you do. Hey. What did you mean about Tahiti?”

[conversation deleted, authorization code FOXTROTUNIONROGERYOUNG. All subfiles renamed and deleted. Purging memory records now.]

[Beep]

 

~ The End