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Once More Unto the Breach

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"Fuck no!"


"No way!"

"Agent Barton," Phil barked. Clint's mouth snapped shut, but he was certainly telling Phil everything he needed to with his eyes. They had known each other long enough now for Phil to read him like a particularly simple book. Not that Clint was uncomplicated, far from it, you just couldn't spend so long with someone working in such close proximity and not obtain a certain level of telepathy concerning them. "This is not up for discussion. This is a mission. You've been requested specifically for your skill set. You will be going."


"No buts!"

"Not Vienna again!"

"Are you finished?" Phil asked, but the words had barely left his mouth before Clint was squawking away over him.

"Do you know what happens when we go to Vienna? Nothing good. How many times has one of us been kidnapped or tortured there? I swear the agent death toll there has to be higher than in New York!" Clint complained before adopting what Phil could only assume was Clint's approximation of Austrian accent, "Come to our pretty city, with all of the amazing architecture and weird ass chocolates that have marzipan in them, (I mean who the fuck wants marzipan in chocolate?) and while here get yourself nice and dragged off by some second rate bad guy with grand designs of world domination!"

"Apparently not," Phil sighed to himself and pinched the bridge of his nose with his fingers, hoping to stave off the pressure of the headache that was starting to make itself known. At least Clint had dropped the accent. It was offensive on so many levels. He was eternally grateful Clint decided to let off steam here and not once in Europe.

"And I swore after last time that I would never set foot in that damn city again!"

"You can't blame the city. The place is hardly at fault for being a magnet for Hydra and the like." Of course, Phil remembered the last time they had been in Vienna and understood Clint's aversion to returning. It wasn't as though something like that was easily forgotten by anyone, let alone people directly involved.

"Well, that's where it happened, and that's a good enough reason for me to not want to go back."

"After last time, I'm surprised the country even lets you cross the border."

"The worst thing, though," Clint paused and Phil stopped from where he had progressed to massaging his temples to glance at him, "is the fact those damn horses ruined my boots!"

Phil let out a choked, incredulous laugh. "That was the worst part?" It really wasn't in Phil's books. Then again, Clint was likely just deflecting. "You realize that was entirely your fault! If you hadn't insisted on following the carriages so closely in the hopes that you could sneak on and get a free ride, then you wouldn't have stood in it."

"They were my favorite boots. They were perfectly broken in and they ended up covered in horse shit! And don't just say I could have cleaned them better. I cleaned them plenty of times and I could still smell it."

"Well, you should have been looking where you were going." Phil picked up an information packet specifically tailored to Clint for the mission. "Are you going to take this?"

"On one condition."

"It wasn't really a question-"

"When I get back-"

"Because it's your job. So you-

"I get whatever-"

"Kind of have to do it."

"Sexual favors I want."

"Fine. Whatever. Go get ready. You need to leave in the next hour."

Clint grinned and sprang to his feet, before darting out the door with a cheeky wink.

"You know," Natasha paused, her finger pressed deftly to the page marking how far she had gotten through her own information pack, "he's just going to come back from Austria and demand snuggles, right?"

"Yes, Natasha, of that I am well aware." Phil felt the corners of his mouth twitch into a smile which Natasha returned before glancing down to memorize her position before closing the file. He watched as she uncoiled out of the chair and stretched smoothly to her full height. As she turned to leave, Natasha held her hand out in a practised motion so that Phil could provide her with Clint's packet for the mission which she added without complaint to her own. Nodding her goodbye, she slipped out of the door to catch up with Clint wherever he had flitted off to.

At least that took care of Phil's headache.