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Taking the Call

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Phil's watching the rocket carrying the evil, blowing-a-hole-in-the-side-of-a-plane, Hydra weapon steadily climb away from Earth when his phone rings. He answers it without bothering to look at the screen. He also doesn't bother to say hello.

"Don't start," is what he does say, and it's enough to attract the curious attention of the rest of his team, even the slightly tipsy ones.

"Aw, sweetums, I miss you too," Clint says. He sounds easy and amused, and Phil relaxes just a tad. The last time Phil had almost died since taking this gig - a whole, whopping few days ago, and doesn't that not bode well for the future - he was pretty pissed. "So, what's this I hear about an ex-hook up trying to kill you?"

Phil begins to walk away from prying ears and the remains of his poor, poor plane. "I said, don't start."

"Who's starting something?" Clint asks as innocently as he can manage, which, considering all he's done in his life, still sounds pretty damn innocent. However, Phil knows Clint Barton well enough to be able to immediately picture the devilish smirk such a tone usually accompanies.

Phil sighs and decides to just get this part over with. "Yes, an ex... acquaintance tried to kill me, and my team, in order to retrieve a weapon we confiscated. Yes, I got knocked around a bit. Yes, I almost got sucked out of a hole in the side of the plane. Yes-"

"Wait, what? You almost got what?!"

Phil stops walking and cringes. "Oh, had you not heard that part?"

"Phillip J. Coulson!"

"Ah, dammit."

"What the fucking hell, Phil?!"

"Don't be upset. I don't want you to be upset."

"Don't be upset?! You just used the words 'suck', and 'hole', and plane. And not in a sexy way. I'm gonna be upset!"

"I knew what was going to happen, and I prepared myself for it. I was never in any real... Okay, I was in some real danger, but aside from a few bruises and some pulled muscles, I'm fine, Clint. I swear."

"That's it. I'm joining your team."


"Nick Fury can kiss my ass."


"I can still be discreet."

"Clint, you were just on Jimmy Fallon's show playing a giant game of quarters."

"Uh. You saw that, huh?" Clint sounds adorably sheepish. Phil bets that the hand not holding his phone is probably rubbing the back of his neck.

"I have it recorded," Phil says fondly. "Watching you act like an idiot can really brighten up my day."

"Well, fuck you too, Coulson. See if I watch your back now."

Phil lets out a soft chuckle. "You can't come on missions with us, Clint."

"I'll wear a hat. No one will recognize me. I promise."

"People aren't just recognizing you from your face, you know, Mr. Second-Best-Ass-of-the-Avengers." Phil smirks at the soft, wounded sound he hears.

"I had really hoped you hadn't seen that poll."

"Seen it? I voted in it." Phil's smirk gets bigger as Clint lets out another sad, hapless noise.

"Wait," Clint says, "did you vote for me or for Steve?"

"I voted for the Captain once," Phil admits, "but the other nine times I was allowed to vote were all for you."

There's a pause from Clint's end for a moment before he says, "I am at once slightly pissed and oddly charmed."

"That's me, oddly charming."

Clint snorts. "You're a hot piece of James Bond-ish ass, and you know it. Which is another reason you need me around. Someone has to keep you safe from all those you've loved and left. And, for that matter, from all those who might want to get you to love and leave them in the future."

"I highly doubt-"

"You are suave, and dashing, and I refuse to hear otherwise."

"Well, you are very good for my ego. And you still can't join the team." Phil takes a deep breath. "Clint, you need to-"

"Do not pull the trust card right now."

"-Trust me."

"Dammit, Phil." Clint sighs. "You know I do. It's everybody else I don't trust. How did Mel and the noobs do, anyway?"

"Rather well, actually." Phil smiles. "It was a bit touch and go, but after Fitz had one of his robots set the weapon off and-"

"Wait, what?'

"Ah, dammit. Again."

"One of your people caused the hole in the plane?!"

"It was a strategic move. One which paid off."

"Uh huh. Which one is Fitz?"

"I'm not telling you. And I'm officially forbidding you from doing anything horrible to him. To any of them, actually." Phil can practically hear the gears turning in Clint's head. "And I officially forbid Tasha from doing anything horrible to them too."

"Crap. You're making it hard to be me right now, I just want you to know that."

"Poor baby."

"Can I at least do something horrible to your ex?"

"No. Or, yes. Sure, why not. She deserves it. She called the bus an 'airborne man cave'. Can you believe that?"



"The gall of that woman. Damn her. So, anyway, about me joining your team..."


"Aw, come on."


"Fine. Be that way. I just want you to know, I'm doing that pouty thing right now that always makes you want to kiss me."

Phil can easily picture that face too, and he feels his breath catch as his heart clenches with just how far away Clint is at the moment. Having a relationship in an organization like SHIELD, you learn to get used to potentially long stretches away from the person you love. And you also learn to sometimes take whatever you can get. "So, my plane has a hole in the side of it."

"Yeah, I got that."

"And the inside is a complete mess."

"I can imagine."

"And we're probably going to be grounded for a while so repairs can be made."

"Yeah, and... Oh. Grounded, huh? Is that right?"

"Yes. So, if you're not doing anything-"

"Text me your coordinates and I'll be wherever you are by morning."

Phil grins, huge and happy. "Good. That's... that's good."
"Hey, Phil?"


"Isn't it funny that, of the two of us, you're the one who ended up with a homicidal ex."

"Shut up, and start packing, Barton."