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Forever and Always

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Five times Phil was injured and one time Clint was




The first time Clint sees Phil injured, he doesn't even know his name. All Clint sees is a gorgeous man in a suit who turns out to be a government spook. It happens like this:

 

Clint is in Jerusalem for a job, he hasn't been stateside in months. It seems like every agency with a badge is trying to bag him. He feels tired down to his bones, hell, he feels tired down to his cells. Clint doesn't see himself as a bad guy. He is just trying to survive; same as everyone else. Not that any of the suits understand that, freakin' cornbread mama's boys. They don't know about the kind of hunger that goes quiet because your body stops reminding your brain. They don't know about the kind of cold that comes from never being warm enough, the kind of wet that never dries. Hell, they don't know about the kind of fucked up you get from all the people that should've loved you but didn't.

 

Clint feels guilty about working in a holy city. He doesn't really buy into the whole deal, but still it feels wrong. Jerusalem has a vibe about it that makes him second guess his shot. Bad idea or not, the guy in his sights is worse than Clint could ever be. Guy was a piece of shit human trafficker and honestly Clint would have killed him for free. One thing about living on the streets is that you see the damage the rich do once they've used people up. The gutter is filled with girls that have been broken and forgotten.

 

He should have heard the footsteps, should have felt the presence slowly sneaking up behind him. However, he did not. Clint has been entirely focused on his shot, consumed on making this asshole pay for his sins. As the arrow clears his bow, he feels a sting in his shoulder. He reaches blindly to his back and pulls a tranq dart free. Looking back, he sees another suit, but the man looks calm, collected and almost sorry.

 

"Asshole," Clint is already starting to slur. He knows he doesn't have much time and clearly the suit isn't expecting his left hook, because he gets one good hit in before passing out.

 

Later, Clint wakes up handcuffed to a table, the suit sitting serenely on the other side with tape over his nose. Clint can't hide his smirk.

 

"Hello, Mr. Barton, my name is Agent Coulson and welcome to SHIELD."

 

*

 

Years pass before Clint sees Phil injured again. This time he is calling him Boss and they are surrounded on all sides. They've been through some close calls before, but Clint doesn't see them making it out of this one.

 

"How many rounds do you have?" Coulson asks, voice quiet, but Clint can hear him even through the chaos around them.

 

"I got twelve rounds in the pistol and two arrows. You?"

 

"I'm down to my last bullet. We need to get out of here."

 

Clint breathes out slowly before popping up from their cover to take out another AIM agent. He quickly considers their chances.

 

"I see another fifteen guards, probably more on the way."

 

"We've got to make a run for it. You lay the cover fire and we will head for the exit in the South West corner," Coulson says it like it will be simple.

 

"Got it, Boss," because Clint would follow Coulson into hell.

 

They almost make it. Clint gets to the door and is pushing it open when all of the sudden he feels Coulson shove him hard. They fall through the doorway and Clint kicks the door closed behind them. He starts to laugh in relief until he catches sight of Coulson, the red quickly ruining his suit.

 

"Shit, Boss, where are you hit?" Clint looks frantically for an entry wound.

 

"Shoulder," Coulson says tightly. "We need to keep moving, I will submit to your undoubtedly tender mercies once we are clear."

 

Clint wants to protect him, but Coulson is already moving. They make it to a drainage ditch half a mile away before Coulson collapses. Clint drags him into the pipe, feeling for the wound and quickly bunching his shirt over it to stop the bleeding.

 

The small black radio assures him back up is on the way, that they will be bringing help. It urges him to remain calm. Clint knows all of it, knows it should be fine but he can't quite swallow the panic. Coulson has been his handler, his friend, hell his family for the past few years and the thought of losing him is terrifying.

 

Clint doesn't need this moment to tell him he loves Coulson, he knows that already. He does need this fear, though, this all consuming panic, to drive him to kiss Coulson once they are safe in medical.

 

*

 

The third time Phil is hurt, they aren't even in danger. Both men are on base and Phil is training junior agents. Clint was providing constructive feedback from the sidelines. He hasn't been allowed to have an active role in training since the Nerf gun incident, and if anyone asks he was framed.

 

Phil has his jacket off and his sleeves rolled up while teaching the junior agents how to handle a fighting staff. Everything's been going fine until it's been the students' turn to try out their newly learned moves. One of the junior agents ducks another staff, bends down, unfortunately their own weapon's sticking straight behind them, so it ends shoved up and into the back of Phil's head.

 

Clint's heart stops when he cradles Phil's head and his hand comes up with blood.

 

"Shit babe, you okay?" Clint asks forgetting the "no pet names in the office" rule.

 

Phil blinks slowly and sighs, "This is a new tie. Barton, you better not let me get blood on my suit."

 

Clint smiles and moves to help him up. Softly he asks, "You okay sir?"

 

"Fine, Clint. God save me from nervous junior agents."

 

Phil spares him a soft smile before turning back to the class.

 

"Now who can tell me what Johnson did wrong?"

 

*

 

The fourth isn't an injury so much as an embarrassment for Phil. Clint has been sleeping soundly when he hears a thump.

 

"Crap," Phil mutters.

 

Clint can make out Phil's shape, bent over. He can barely hear Phil as he sucks in a pained breath.

 

"You okay babe?" Clint asks, sleep slurred.

 

"I'm fine go back to sleep," Phil answers, voice strained.

 

The sound of Phil in pain has the effect of two cups of coffee.

 

"What's wrong?"

 

"Nothing?" Phil still hasn't moved.

 

Clint pushes away the blankets and slips out of bed. Once he gets to Phil, he reaches out to touch his back.

 

"Seriously, you're hurt. What happened?"

 

"I'm fine Barton, your apartment is just trying to kill me."

 

"Barton, huh?"

 

"We go by last names when your bed tries to assassinate me," Phil says.

 

He sounds like he's in less pain. Clint flicks on the light, hoping to see what's happened. Phil is hunched over, holding his foot.

 

"Did you stub your toe?" Clint asks.

 

"Yes, and it hurt. You need to clean this place up," Phil sounds almost affectionate.

 

Clint looks around at the messy room, he had meant to pick things up before Phil came over.

 

"Why are you up anyway?"

 

"Some of us have to work."

 

"Coffee before you go?"

 

"Obviously."

 

*

 

The fifth time Clint helps Phil through an injury, they are at home.

 

"Here babe, I got you an ice pack," Clint says as he hands over the pack.

 

Once he's sure Phil has everything he needs, Clint sits at the other end of the couch with Phil's feet propped in his lap.

 

"You want to start season five of Dog Cops or season two of How To Get Away with Murder?" Clint asks, reaching out to take the remote from the coffee table.

 

He is still amazed he has a coffee table now. Clint is pretty sure he's never had one before.

 

"Let's catch up with Annalise," Phil answers.

 

Clint nods and presses play.

 

They're half way through the third episode before Clint notices Phil shifting uncomfortably.

 

"Need more ibuprofen?"

 

Phil sighs, "The heating pad would be good actually."

 

Clint gets up to warm the pad. He's back and taking the now flimsy ice pack before Phil speaks.

 

"I had plans. Plans that did not involve us spending our first night living together with me laid up on the couch."

 

"You threw out your back, it happens. Just rest up," Clint says with a smile.

 

It might not be hot sex, but spending down time with Phil in their house is still pretty awesome.

 

*

 

For all that Clint is the most breakable Avenger, he doesn't end up hurt all that often. When Phil gets the call, the call he has been dreading since Clint broke his nose, he isn't on scene. It takes ten minutes for him to get back and by the time he does, Clint has a private room. All of the Avengers are crowded in the hall, but Phil doesn't see Natasha, so he assumes she is in the room.

 

Steve is the one to approach him.

 

"Agent Coulson, Phil, good you're here," Steve starts off. Phil's heart sinks at the tone of his voice, the hesitancy. Steve is never one to beat around the bush, so whatever has happened is serious.

 

"They want to take him into surgery, they're waiting for the specialist to get in. Shouldn't be too much longer. You can go in," Steve says, voice soft and sad.

 

Phil would have been more distressed by the lack of hope, but right now all he wants to see is Clint.

 

The room is crowded with nurses, while Natasha is sitting in the corner trying to joke with Clint. Phil gives her a weak smile before taking Clint's hand.

 

"Hey."

 

"You made it," Clint says, his smile strained, teeth still stained with blood.

 

"Nowhere else I need to be. How're you feeling?" Phil asks, even if he knows the answer, maybe because he knows the answer.

 

"A bit like I got a building dropped on me," Clint says. Phil can tell it's meant as a joke.

 

"Clint, I lo-," Phil starts.

 

"The ah, the ER doc, he didn't sound too hopeful."

 

"Hey, you're going to be fine. Don't listen to that moron," Phil tries to sound confident.

 

"Nah, docs normally know their shit. Remember that question you asked me?"

 

"To marry me?"

 

"That one, I don't wanna go into surgery without making it official. Everyone is here except Katie Kat but I think just this one time she'll forgive me."

 

Phil can't breathe, "I promised you a big wedding. Stark is excited. You pull out of this and we will do it."

 

Clint grabs his hand tightly and looks him in the eyes, his voice is barely above a whisper, "Please Phil. I've wanted to marry you for years."

 

Phil would gladly trade Lola, his new team, the Bus, hell everything to not be having this conversation. To have been there, maybe he could've done something. Stopped it, seen the building start to fold before the collapse.

 

"Of course, just let me..."

 

Phil starts to get up, but Natasha is already there with a chaplain and rings. The other Avengers move into the room. He's never thought he would have his wedding in a hospital, he certainly has never thought he would have a wedding on the cusp of being a widower.

 

They say their "I dos" and exchange rings in time for the specialist to whisk Clint away.

 

Phil spends his first night as a married man alone in a waiting room.

 

*

 

He spends their one year anniversary in the Four Seasons honeymoon suite with his husband.

 

***