Fury and Hill walk towards the end of the abandoned building, Phil close at their feet. When they reach the ledge Sanborn, only then, acknowledges them.
"What are you doing here? You can’t be up here." He says putting his hand up, warding the three off.
Hill steps in between the two men and flashes Sanborn her badge, “We have authorization.”
Sanborn frowns at her. “I don’t care if you ruled the world. This place is dangerous. There’s a bomb down there.” He points at the old beat up car in the center of the compound.
"Rest assured, we can take care of ourselves." Fury says, dismissing Sanborn and watching the man approaching the car.
The man kicks the open the trunk of the car when he realized that his tools weren’t going to help him. “Isn’t that dangerous?” Phil asks no one in particular.
"He doesn’t really follow protocol." Sanborn answers. "It’s worked out pretty well so far."
They all watch as the man takes off his protective gear one by one. “What’s he doing?” Sanborn talks to his radio. They all listen as the man continues to strip off his gear, “There’s enough juice in there to blow us all to Jesus.” He looks up and catches Phil’s eye for a second before he was back to stripping. “If I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die comfortably.”
Fury huffs and smirks.
When Fury finds something amusing, Phil rarely feels the same way.
Which is why, it was perfectly understandable when Phil marches into his office the next week and slams a file on his desk.
"I’m not taking him." Phil declares.
Fury huffs, like Phil’s despair was somehow amusing to him - it probably is. “You seem to be under the impression that you have a choice in the matter.”
"Come on, Marcus." Phil doesn’t usually use the ‘Marcus’ card unless it was a dire situation - This particular situation called for the ‘Marcus’ card. "He doesn’t follow orders and tell me you don’t think he isn’t a little bit suicidal."
Fury continues to sign papers in front of him, ignoring Phil’s monologue. “Oh, I completely agree. 100%.” Phil sighs in relief. “Which is why I assigned him to you.” Phil groans and puts his hands up in the air as he turns around in frustration. His hands land on his hips, waiting for Fury to continue. “If I give him to anybody else, they’d use that blind bravery of his to their advantage and probably send him out to die on his first mission out. You’ve seen his records, he’s not a bad shot. We can’t afford losing someone as talented as he is.” Fury stops writing and leans back in his chair, staring up at Phil. “I gave him to you because I know you saw what I saw in Iraq. You saw what he could become. With the right handler, he can be the best agent this agency has seen. You’re what he needs, Cheese.”
Phil glares at Fury. He hates it when Fury uses the ‘Cheese’ card. He finally gives up and groans, snatching the file back up. “Fine.” Phil grits out. “But I’m not making any promises.”
Fury laughs at that. Phil moves to leave the office but before he could, Fury called out to him. “You never know, he might be what you need too, Phil.”
Phil ignores him and proceeds out the door. It was time to introduce himself to his newest asset.
Sergeant First Class Clinton Francis Barton.
Sanborn doesn’t know how long it’s been since he was last in New York. He does however remember that he’s overdue with his rent for at least a year. It doesn’t really matter, his room mate covered for him while he was gone.
“But I’m moving out next month.” His room mate had said.
“What? Why? Did I do something? I was barely here.”
“I’m moving in with my girlfriend.”
And that had been that. He was going to have to find someplace else to live then. Or a new room mate. He’d considered putting up an ad on craigslist, but he didn’t want to attract psychos to his place. He’d considered going back to his mom’s place, but that was too far from the city, and he did so love the city.
He sighed, entering the small time diner and slumping to one of the chairs in the counter. “Coffee please.” He said to the bored looking woman in front of him. He’s got to admit, he’s missed the smell of greasy diner food - Well, if he was perfectly honest, he missed most of everything about diners. yes, even the bored looking waitresses and the angry cooks.
He takes in the smell of his coffee when he hears a familiar laugh - Carefree, almost like they weren’t facing off death. He almost spills his coffee when he turns around and finds his old friend sitting in a booth - Sergeant First Class Clinton Francis Barton.
He almost goes over to him until he notices that Barton is on a date. With a guy. Huh. He never would have guessed. He mostly leaves them to their business but he really wants to go say hi to Barton so he ends up glancing in their direction every two minutes.
Apparently, he wasn’t as subtle as he thought because after the fifth time he glanced at their direction, the man Barton was with looks at him and smiles. Sanborn quickly looks away and resumes drinking his coffee. A few seconds later, he gets a slap at the back.
“Sanborn!” Barton greets. Sanborn rolls his eyes but smiles anyway.
“You didn’t tell me you were in town.”
“I didn’t know you were.”
“Fair point. How long are you here for?”
“Indefinitely. I’m not sure yet.”
“We should really get together some time next week then.”
Sanborn winced. “I don’t know, man. I was planning to look for a job and a new place next week.”
“You don’t have a place to stay?” Clint frowns at the information.
“I do, but my room mate is moving out and rent is expensive, so…” He trails off.
“Hey, if you want, I’ve got a spare room at my apartment.” Clint shrugs.
“Are you serious?”
“Yeah man. It’ll be like old times, minus the bombs.” Clint gets a snort for that.
“Yeah, sure. I’ll call you.” He hands Clint his phone for him to enter his details on the phone. ”I should let you get back to your boyfriend.”
“Oh, he’s not- um- well, not that- shut up.”
Sanborn grins. “Same old Barton. Who is it then, if it isn’t your boyfriend? I haven’t seen you laugh that hard since Michaels decided to sleep naked outside the barracks.”
Barton grins at the memory. “He’s my boss.”
Sanborn raised an eyebrow at him. “You have lunch with your boss alone andyou laugh at your boss’ jokes? That must be one hell of a promotion you’re after.”
Clint shoves him lightly. “It’s not like that. He’s just a really cool guy.”
“Soooo, you wanna get in his pants?” Clint doesn’t answer his question and just frowns. “Fine. whatever man. Go back to your boss. I’ll call you later.”
Clint does and Sanborn just shakes his head.
At least he can look forward to ribbing Barton about his not-so-secret crush on his new boss.
“I start a new job.” Sanborn announces once he’s inside the apartment.
Clint tosses him one of the beers on the coffee table without even looking. “That’s great, man! Have a beer. It’s my treat.”
Sanborn rolls his eyes but makes his way to the couch anyway. “I seem to remember I was the one who bought these.”
Clint waves his hand in dismissal. “Semantics. The important thing is that you got a job.” He grins. “So what is it? and where is it?”
“Branch Manager at the Cheesecake Factory.” Sanborn answers without missing a beat.
Clint hums. “That’s nice. Anything to pay the rent, huh?”
Sanborn shoves his shoulder lightly. “Shut up.” And they both laugh for a while. “Better than your job. What was it you do again?”
“Research Analyst.” Clint answers him with a sigh.
“Hmm, See, that long suffering sigh tells me that my job is better already.” Sanborn leans back and drinks his beer in triumph.
“You wish. My job is awesome, thank you very much. I just hate all the paperwork.”
“You’re a research analyst. the job title screams paperwork. What exactly were you expecting?” Sanborn chuckles.
Clint sighs. “It could be worse.”
“Tch. I doubt that.”
“I could be working at the cheesecake factory.” Clint grins at him.
“And this is the mess hall.” The woman, Agent Johnson says, “I don’t think I need to tell you what the function of this place is.” Is everyone here as grumpy as she is? “The mess serves food 24/7 to accommodate the multitude of agents that work irregular hours.”
“I guess that makes sense.” Sanborn agrees.
“We’ve also got-”
“So, how do you like it so far?” They both turn and Johnson is completely frozen.
“Director Fury, sir.” Johnson says with as much confidence as a fifteen year old girl in front of their crush.
“It’s all great, sir. Thank you.” Sanborn smiles at him.
“Anyway, I think it’s time you meet your new handler.” Fury says, herding him away and dismissing Johnson. “You’re not a homophobe, are you? Because your handler might be having lunch with his husband right now”
“So there’s no frat regs here?”
“They’re lax. Seeing as how in this line of work, associating ourselves with civilians can greatly endanger them.”
“That’s true, I guess.”
“Agent Coulson, I’d like to introduce you to our latest asset. Agent Wilson. A.K.A. Falcon.”
Sanborn didn’t speak, staring instead at the man sitting across Coulson. “What are you doing here?” He asks Clint.
“What are you doing here?” Clint asks back. “Damn it. I should’ve known.” He huffs.
“Wait,” Sanborn turns to Fury. “You said Coulson was having Lunch with his husband. Barton’s married?” He turns to Clint “You’re married?”
“3 years.” Clint flashes him a grin. “Wait,” Clint turns to Phil. “Did you know?”
“That we’re married? of course.” Phil smirks, Fury actually snorts, and Clint rolls his eyes at his husband. “No, I did not know. the files I received were for a Mr. Sam Wilson.”
“That’s his name while inside SHIELD and during missions.” Fury explains to them. “Agent Wilson has a family that he wishes to protect. The identity was necessary to keep bad guys away from them. You know how it is.”
“And I suppose that’s why you don’t live with Agent Coulson?” Sanborn asks.
“Yes.” Clint and Phil answered together.
“Agent Coulson and Agent Barton are two of SHIELD’s Best. They could live together but not while Barton is in contact with a civilian.” Fury explains.
“Does this mean I have to find a new place again?”
“Nah man.” Clint waves his hand. “The apartment is paid for by SHIELD.”
“Oh, that- wait a minute.” Clint grins at him. “You made me pay you monthly!”
“Had to make it believable.” Clint shrugs.