Clint and Phil stared at each across Phil’s desk.
“Did we just…?” Clint waved his hand between the two of them.
“We did.” Phil focused on his laptop, alternately typing and using his touchpad.
“Do you really…?”
“I do if you do.”
“That doesn’t sound very enthusiastic, sir.”
“I don’t want you to feel coerced. But to be completely honest, this is your last chance to change your mind. I won’t let you later.” Phil shot him an amused look from the corner of his eye.
“You won’t let me? You don’t get to change your mind, either. Natasha will kick your ass. She is my best man.” Clint smirked and leaned back in his chair, his hands behind his head.
“You’ve already spoken to her about this?”
“Of course not. But Nat knows everything, so she’s probably already planning my bachelor party. Sorry, sir, you’re going to have to get your own best man. Maybe Stark?”
“I recognize that as an attempt at humor.”
“I am hilarious. And completely serious. It would be one hell of a party.”
“No, Barton.” Phil actually looked away from his screen. “No.”
“He’ll just throw one anyway.”
“True. However, you will not mention the words Stark and best man in the same sentence again, are we clear? I would also suggest you don’t say them anywhere Stark might possibly overhear.”
“What, the entire Eastern Seaboard?”
“Let’s compromise. Nowhere Stark is physically present. Agreed?”
Clint shrugged and nodded, and Phil went back to his work.
“So…what now?” Clint asked.
“I believe it is traditional to tell people. I know we’ve kept our relationship quiet, but-“
“Right. Let’s do this.” Clint stood and went to the door. “Paperwork can wait, boss.”
Phil closed his laptop. “Done. We should inform Director Fury first, since he is going to be my best man,” he said as he stood and pulled on his suit jacket.
“Fine. But we should tell the rest of the Avengers as soon as possible. I don’t want Nat to kick my ass.” Clint opened the door and waited for Phil to go through.
“I thought she already knew.”
“Doesn’t mean I’m not supposed to tell her when stuff happens.”
Phil led the way to Fury’s office. His assistant wasn’t at his desk, and no light showed under the closed door. Phil knocked twice and entered, Clint close behind him.
“I’m on my fifteen, Coulson, the world better be ending.” Fury was sitting in a chair situated in a dark corner next to a large picture window, facing the mostly empty room.
“I wouldn’t disturb you for anything so minor, boss,” Coulson said. “I just thought you should be the first to know that Barton and I will be filing joint 88-B forms in the near future.”
“And those would be?” Fury folded his hands over his chest, his face as impassive as ever.
“Change in marital status.”
“I see.” He seemed to waiting for something more from Phil, but Phil just stood there, arms crossed. “What do you want, a parade?”
“That won’t be necessary, sir. I’ll be off-site for the rest of the day.”
Fury waved his hand dismissively at them, and Clint and Phil left the room. Phil didn’t say anything until they were in his car and on their way to Avengers tower.
“The Director had no idea we were together, much less that the relationship had progressed to the point of marriage.”
“You got that out of that meeting? He barely said a dozen words to us.”
“It’s what he didn’t say. And he’s well aware of what form 88-B is for.”
Clint just stared at him. “I will never understand your relationship.”
“I’m just relieved we told him immediately. I wouldn’t want to hurt his feelings more than I already have.”
“Fury’s feelings are hurt?” Clint sputtered.
Clint shook his head in disbelief. “Fury with hurt feelings. Fury with feelings,” he muttered.
The drive to the Tower was uneventful. Phil drove into the parking garage and pulled in to his assigned spot, which was labeled ‘Agent Agent’ once again. Tony and Phil were engaged in a battle of wills regarding that sign, with no end in sight. Instead of shooting it (again), Phil merely gave it a half-hearted glare, and they made their way to the elevator.
The elevator doors opened to reveal Thor, dressed in his Midgardian robes, as he like to call them, consisting of jeans and a black button down shirt.
“Hawkeye! Son of Coul! Well met,” Thor exclaimed with a huge grin.
“Thor.” Phil nodded at him.
“You going out tonight?” Clint asked.
“Jane Foster and I will be observing the Midgardian ritual of Date Night this eve.”
“I’m glad we caught you before you left. Phil and I have some news to share with the team, and I wouldn’t want you to miss the announcement.”
“What news, friend Hawk?”
“Phil and I are getting married,” Clint said with a smile to rival Thor’s.
“To cement an alliance? I was not aware either of you were of noble families. My congratulations!”
“What? No, we’re not from noble families. There’s no alliance.”
“Is one of you with child? I had not thought the men of Midgard-“
“Definitely not,” Phil said firmly.
“We’re marrying for the reason most people get married-“
“Ah, yes. Royal decree.” Thor nodded decisively.
“No, of course not. We’re getting married because we’re in love.” Neither of them was prepared for Thor’s reaction.
“What foul magic is this? Loki is still imprisoned, or so I am told by those I trust. Perhaps one of his allies did this?”
“Cast this love spell upon you. It is a common ploy. Worry not, my friends, we will break this curse and turn Loki’s game to ashes and ruin. The battle will be hard fought, but our victory will be all the sweeter for it.” He raised one hand as if to summon Mjolnir. Clint hurried to stop him.
“There’s no curse, Thor!”
“This sudden feeling of love you have for each other cannot be natural.”
“What’s sudden about it? We’ve been dating for about a year, and friends for a lot longer than that.”
“Truly?” Thor lowered his arm.
“If this indeed not the result of some ill-meaning magic, you have my congratulations.”
“Thank you. We, uh, we won’t keep you. Enjoy your night with Jane.”
“Ah, yes. My apologies, my friends. I regret I cannot stay and celebrate this merry occasion with you. I will tell Jane your happy news.” Thor waved a goodbye at them and walked away toward the exit ramp.
“Do you think he knows about the front entrance? Has anyone ever showed it to him?” Clint wondered.
“Possibly not. I’ll make a note to address that tomorrow.”
They stepped into the elevator and Clint entered the code that would give them access to the floors Tony had set aside for the Avengers.
“So, Phil, you pregnant?” Clint nudged him with his elbow.
“I wasn’t sure how to bring it up, but since you ask…” Phil smirked.
“Asshole.” He tried to put Phil in a headlock, and they ended up wrestling on the floor, Clint breathless with laughter.
Phil had barely set himself to rights when the doors opened on the communal floor. Bruce was sitting in an overstuffed chair, reading a magazine.
“Dr. Banner, it’s nice to see you out of the lab,” Phil said, adjusting his tie.
“JARVIS said you had some news for us, so I decided to take a break. Natasha’s in the kitchen, grabbing a snack. Tony’s still in his lab, so he may or may not show up, and Thor-“
“We ran into Thor on the way up.”
Bruce nodded, but he was looking at them both strangely. “Are you all right, Agent Coulson? You two seem a little flushed.”
“I’m fine, Dr. Banner.”
“Yeah, we’re good, Bruce. I just totally owned Phil in elevator wrestling.” Clint draped one arm over Phil and kissed the side of his neck. “And elevator groping,” he whispered in his ear.
“I would call it a draw,” Phil protested mildly.
Bruce jumped out of his chair and backed away toward the door leading to the kitchen. “JARVIS, do full body scans of Agent Coulson and Hawkeye. Check for anomalous brain patterns and foreign tech.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Full body scans? Why?” Clint grabbed Phil’s arm, his whole body tensed in preparation to run or fight.
“That will not be necessary, Dr. Banner,” JARVIS said. “Neither Agent Coulson nor Mr. Barton are under any outside influence. And may I extend my congratulations to you and Agent Barton, Agent Coulson.”
“Thank you, JARVIS.”
“Congratulations for what? What is going on?” Bruce was holding himself very still. Clint started to back away, trying to pull Phil along with him.
“I realize we are acting out of character, Dr. Banner, but there is a perfectly reasonable explanation. One that does not involve a potential threat.” Phil’s voice was as calm and soothing as Clint had ever heard it.
“If I’d known that our engagement was gonna make you Hulk out, I would have told you over the phone.” Clint forced himself to relax. “You okay there, big guy?”
“Engaged? To be married?” Bruce took off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Give me a moment to process this.”
“Why is this such a surprise to everyone?” Clint wondered.
Before Phil could answer, Natasha came into the room with a container of yogurt and a spoon.
“Are you two even in a relationship? Marriage is a big step,” Bruce said.
“Of course we’re in a relationship. Ask Natasha.”
Bruce raised a questioning eyebrow at her.
“I’m not aware of any romantic relationship between them. I know they have been ridiculously in love with each other for years, but neither of them will admit it.” She took a seat on the couch and started to eat her yogurt.
“Nat!” Clint protested.
“I take it one of you finally found the courage to say something. But marriage? Bruce is right, that is a big step for a new relationship.”
“So much for your pre-planned bachelor party,” Phil whispered, ignoring Clint’s glare.
“Ok, I get Fury not noticing, he’s got the security of the whole damn world to worry about. Thor, he’s from another fucking planet, he doesn’t know our social cues, whatever. Bruce, he’s in his lab or meditating or helping the homeless, he’s been busy. But you? You really didn’t know we were dating?”
“You never said anything.” Natasha narrowed her eyes at him.
Clint threw his hands up in the air. “I told you I was going to tell him! When we found out he wasn’t really dead.”
“Why would I believe you? You said you were going to tell him at least a dozen times before that, and every time you backed out. I thought you’d finally given up.” Natasha shrugged and took another spoonful of her yogurt.
“Phil and I have been together for more than a year, and you never noticed? What kind of spy are you?”
“It’s not my fault you two behave the same when you are together as you did when you were pining for each other.”
“We went to dinner. Movies. I practically lived in his apartment.”
“All things you have been doing for years. How was I to know you added sex to the equation?”
“You know everything!”
“I know everything because I am a spy, and I don’t spy on friends, Clint. Not without orders. That would be rude.”
“I am so disappointed. You’re my best man – you’re supposed to know these things.” Natasha shrugged and focused on finishing her yogurt.
Tony wandered into the common area, a bag of something small and crunchy in his hand.
“Best man? You’re getting married, Legolas? Probably not your smartest idea, but most of your ideas are terrible, so there’s that. Who’s the lucky elf maiden?”
“Very funny, Stark.” Clint ignored Phil’s muttered “Nowhere he is physically present, Barton.”
“Elf dude? Wait, isn’t there a dwarf? What’s his name, Gimlet? Who’s the Gimlet to your Legolas?”
“The character’s name is Gimli,” Phil corrected quietly.
“Like in Canada? Interesting. So, Hawkeye, what lucky lady – or fella – has caught your eye? I didn’t even know you were seeing anyone. JARVIS, why didn’t I know he was seeing someone?”
“You didn’t ask, sir,” JARVIS answered.
“I shouldn’t have to ask. What kind of AI are you? On second thought, don’t answer that.” Tony looked at Clint expectantly.
“You wouldn’t be talking about a wedding if you didn’t have a significant other. Who is it?”
“They’ve got to be fucking with us.” Clint told Phil. “Seriously, none of them noticed that we’re together?”
“You and Agent? Sure, I can see that. It’s a match made in bureaucracy. All kidding aside, who is it?”
“It’s Coulson, Tony,” Bruce said. “Clint and Coulson are getting married. To each other.”
“You know what, I take it back; I can’t see that. Wild Bill Hawkeye and Agent Agent?”
Clint pulled Phil out of the room as Tony continued to rant about the impossibility of their relationship. They could pick out a few choice words, ‘robot’ and ‘Vulcan’ among them.
“I know we were discreet, but this is ridiculous.” Clint slung an arm over his shoulders and rested his head against Phil’s.
“I’m not surprised they didn’t notice anything different about me, but the fact that nobody noticed your behavior is mind-boggling.” Phil put his arm around Clint’s waist and leaned into him.
“Very funny. I wasn’t that bad. Obviously.”
They leaned against the wall next to the doorway, listening to Tony, who had somehow moved on to the evils of social media.
“I think we’re going to regret letting Stark know.” Phil ran his hand over his face.
“It’ll be fine.” Clint squeezed his shoulder. “Hey.”
“We’re getting married.” Clint looked deeply into Phil’s eyes, a gentle smile on his face.
“Yes, we are.” Phil reached out and tugged him closer until they were wrapped each other’s arms. Clint closed the small distance between them and pressed his lips to Phil’s. They stood there, exchanging soft kisses until a friendly voice interrupted them.
“Hey, guys, what’s going on?” Steve asked. Clint absolutely did not jump a little. He and Phil moved away from each other and turned to face Steve.
“Captain.” Phil nodded at Steve. “We just informed the rest of the group of our engagement. They were a little…shocked.”
“Why? I didn’t think any of them had a problem with gay marriage.”
“It’s more the fact that we’re in a relationship. With each other.”
“That’s strange. I didn’t want to say anything, but you two were being a little obvious. I’ve been wondering if you were going to get hitched.” Clint snorted in disbelief, but he only shook his head at Steve’s inquiring look.
“We thought we were being discreet,” Phil admitted.
Phil and Clint exchanged glances.
“Is Tony ranting about Facebook again? I’d better try to calm him down. Anyway, congratulations on your engagement. Let me know if there’s anything I can do.” Steve gave them both a hearty slap on the shoulder and went into the common room.
“Maybe Steve should be your best man,” Clint said after a moment.