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Sweep the Kitchen

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Now that Clint has his own place, secure and solid, he tends to sleep like the dead. When Phil first started spending the night, he had worried that having someone else in his bed might be disruptive, but Phil fits so well, there was never an issue with Clint getting to sleep.

The nightly orgasms probably help with that.

No, getting to sleep isn't the problem. Staying asleep once Phil starts having what turns out to be a rather viscous nightmare, that's the problem.

"I had no idea," Phil says, looking all kinds of guilty as Clint holds a washcloth full of ice against a developing bruise on his arm. They're both sitting on Clint's bed. Phil's slumped over and one of his hands is pressed against his forehead. "It's been so long since I shared a bed with someone. I... God, Clint, I am so sor-"

"Phil," Clint says, cutting off the apology. "It's okay."

"It's really not."

"It really is. You didn't mean to hurt me; you were only flailing a bit. Or a lot. I mean, come on, you used to be a Ranger; if you wanted to do some damage, you could have just choked me out." Phil's face falls even further, and Clint realizes that this might not be the best time for levity. "Hey," he says, poking at Phil's thigh, "do you think you're the only guy in the world who has nightmares? Do you think you're the only person in this room who has nightmares? 'Cause, I have to tell you, I have had some pretty shitty ones."

"Have you ever hurt someone during your nightmares?" Phil asks, obviously bound and determined to wallow for a bit.

"No," Clint says slowly. "After... after what happened, it was kind of rare that I would trust anyone enough to want to sleep beside them. I used to wake up screaming a lot, though. It's weird, because I don't really remember the attack." Clint frowns and once again mentally pokes at that little dark spot in his mind. "The worst times were while the trial was going on. I was staying in this little apartment, and the first time it happened, the neighbors called the cops. They thought I was being murdered or something. I didn't even realize how loud I was..." He trails off as Phil pulls him into a loose hug and presses a kiss against his temple.

Clint sighs and happily accepts Phil's warmth and comfort. He debates trying to turn the affection into something more. Another round of sex would certainly take Phil's mind off of his problems, but it wouldn't solve anything.

"Do you think it would help if you talked about it?" Clint asks.

"I've seen therapists before."

"No, I mean, with me. Like now." Clint pulls back a bit so he can brush at the hair by Phil's ear. "It's obvious that there's something nasty in your head right now. Maybe it would help if you got it out."

Phil lets out a long huff of air. "I'd rather not. I just don't... I know you're strong - Jesus, so strong - but the kind of stuff I see, the stuff I have seen, I don't want to expose you to that, not even anecdotally."

Clint presses a kiss to the side of Phil's mouth. "Protective," he murmurs.

Phil's hold tightens. "Of course."

For a moment they just sit there, wrapped in each other, sharing breath. The tension in Phil's face is fading, and Clint can't help but feel sleep pull at him. Then, he realizes something.

"Hey," Clint says, pulling away again, "you totally deflected."

Phil, who looked close to dozing off himself, blinks a few times. "What?"

"You. You just deflected. I asked you if you thought talking to me would help, but you gave me a reason, not an answer." Clint's eyes narrow. "Arguing with you is going to be an experience, isn't it?"


"Give me an answer."

The corners of Phil's mouth turn down into what Clint has discovered is the Detective Coulson version of a pout. "The answer doesn't matter because the reason still stands."

"Phil," Clint says, "just because you talk, doesn't mean I have to listen."

"Have we really reached that point in our relationship already?"

Clint rolls his eyes and shoves at Phil's shoulder. He then reaches up and carefully removes his hearing aids. He leans over to his nightstand and places them in the special dish he keeps there. When he turns back, he isn't prepared for the open and raw look he finds on Phil's face.

Phil starts to say something, but Clint holds a finger up to his lips. With a few pushes, he maneuvers Phil so his head is back against their pillows. Clint pulls the covers over them, then snuggles in close, throwing one of his legs over Phil's and tucking his face into Phil's neck.

Being careful to keep his voice low and even, Clint whispers, "Talk to me."

For a moment, a long moment, all Clint can feel is Phil's chest steadily rising and falling with each breath, then he starts to pick up on a vibration against the skin of his cheek. Clint's eyelids drift shut as Phil's voice lulls him back to sleep.