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The Curious Incident of Clint in the Nighttime

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The first time it happened Phil had been up late working on his latest AAR.

Nothing unusual there; Phil’s always preferred to put first things first. They were called after-action reports for a reason, meant to be done when everything was still fresh in your mind, but no matter how many times he told Barton this the specialist still thought that two weeks later was a viable window. This usually came with the excuse that, “it’s still technically after the action, sir.”

When the growling started he didn’t give it much thought, assuming it was just Barton’s stomach working overtime. But when it got louder, Phil put his pen down and glanced over at the bed. Barton’s lips were pulled back, teeth showing in a feral grin. Phil realized then that the growls (which had become more canine, following the visual evidence) were in fact coming from Barton’s throat.

It was the doglike twitching of Barton’s hands and feet, however, that really struck Phil as bizarre.

Now, when you work for a government agency that likes to stick its fingers into strange pies you get used to seeing strange things. And with the many agents who come from… colorful backgrounds, you get accustomed to little idiosyncrasies. Hell, Natasha Romanoff liked to sing to her knives as she cleaned them. But seeing Clint Barton turn into a dog at night? Extremely baffling. It gave Phil flashbacks of Sammy, the boxer he'd had as a child. He remembered long nights spent curled up next to her side as he poured over comics, the small flickers of movement in her paws and muzzle as she dreamed always bringing a smile to his face.

The second, third, and fourth time it happened, Phil was forced to recognize that Barton’s doggy dreaming was not an anomaly. Somehow along the way, watching Barton sleep became one of his favorite things to do. Not just because of the twitching limbs and weirdly adorable growls, but more so for what came before and after. Outside of the dreaming, Barton’s face was relaxed and open in a way Phil rarely saw when he was awake. He spent countless nights watching the long lines of Barton’s body sprawled across as many beds before he realized it.

He’d fallen hard for Clint Barton.

Once he admitted it to himself Phil felt oddly relieved. Knowing something is the first step in creating a plan and now Phil could figure out exactly what he was going to do about it.

Which was absolutely nothing.


It’s Friday afternoon and though some of the junior agents may whisper that he keeps a sleeping bag in his office—a rumor he encourages, along with the one that he once incapacitated a target with only a supply of bulldog clips— Phil actually prefers to get his paperwork done so he can go home. He keeps an ear tuned to the door and when he hears a familiar barking laugh, he gets up and sticks his head out into the corridor.

“Agent Barton.”

He’s at the end of the hall, but when Phil calls his name, Barton whirls around. He lopes back with a casual grace and stops in front Phil’s door.

“What’s up, sir?” he says, all grin.

Phil carefully avoids looking at how Barton’s thumbs dig into the waistband of his sweats, exposing a slice of skin. His hair is wet and pleasantly disheveled in that just showered, fresh from the range sort of way that never fails to make Phil’s chest tighten.

“In,” Phil says, and steps aside so Barton can follow him into the office. He points to the chair, “Sit,” and then pushes Clint’s terrible excuse for a report into his hands. “Redo.”

“Aww, c’mon. What’s wrong with this one?”

“Barton, as much as it pains me to spell it out for you, ‘My oh my. Shot a guy. Right through the eye. Damn I’m fly,’ is not an acceptable report.”

Barton smirks and chews on his pen. “I dunno sir, I thought it was a pretty accurate account.”

Phil levels him with one of his blandest stares and says nothing.

“Alright, alright. Put the murder face away, I’m doing it.”

He listens to the sound of scratching against paper for a few minutes before he finally gives in and glances at Barton. The cap of the pen has relocated to his mouth and he chews thoughtfully as he writes; he, thankfully, does not look up at Phil who conducts his Barton recon from a strategic post behind his desk. Clint’s deft fingers and apparent oral fixation are nothing new to Phil, but it’s not like novelty is the keystone of his attraction to Barton. It’s been a slow build of watching him progress from smart-assed trickshot to... well he’s still a smartass and a marvel with a bow, but Barton’s come into his own over the years. He’s a stark contrast from the junior agent who’d been foisted on him, two marks of insubordination in his file. Phil’s gotten a lot of credit in the department for ‘taming’ Barton and all of it undeserved, in his opinion. He still bristles at the thought that Barton only needed to be given a healthy amount of respect and patience, something his previous handlers, making flash judgments based on who he was on paper, failed to deliver. That Phil gave him exactly that and gained his trust and confidence is not something to be in awe over.

It mostly just pisses Phil off.

He doesn’t have the right to give much critique though, because while Phil knows he’s good at what he does he’s guilty of the worst cardinal sin—Barton’s his favorite and Phil knows it. Worse everyone knows it, even Barton knows it, but he’s careful to never give Barton preferential treatment. Mostly because Phil is selfish and though Clint does fine under different handlers now, he doesn’t want to give anyone reason to permanently take him away.

After all, he wouldn’t be having these thoughts about how unbearably hot it is to watch Barton work on paperwork if that were the case. He’s not even doing anything particularly wild, but maybe the normality is what does it for Phil. He’s not sure who he’s kidding. Clint could breathe and it would be sexy to Phil.

“There,” Barton says, slapping the report down on the desk. “Done.”

Phil blinks, trying to dispel thoughts of Clint with mixed success. Barton is grinning at him, almost knowingly, which is both impossible—because he can’t really know— and unsettling. He skims over the updated AAR.

“I notice that you still haven’t accounted for where you disappeared to around 0100,” Phil says. “You were gone nearly four hours, if I recall correctly.”

Something passes over Clint’s face briefly, but it’s gone before Phil can think much of it.

“Yeah, but I did bring back coffee and donuts, if I recall correctly,” he replies. “Besides, the mission was sewn up way before that. Can’t see how I blow off steam having anything to do with it.”

Phil knows when to choose his battles so he sighs and lets it go. “One day, Barton, you’re going to write me a decent report the first time around.”

“Now where would the fun in that be?” Barton smirks. He stands up and wipes his hands on his sweats. “Whatcha up to tonight, Coulson? Gonna go home and try to clear your DVR queue of Supernanny?”

As it stands those are exactly Phil’s intentions, but the chances of him admitting it to Barton fall somewhere between a snowball’s chance and no way in hell.

“No, I plan to power down once you leave this office and run threat analysis in my background programs until Monday morning.”

Barton laughs, and though it’s small and short it still brings a smile to Phil’s face. “Yeah, that sounds like way more fun.”

“No rest for the weary,” Phil says, opening the door to let Barton out.

“Or the wicked,” he replies, mouth quirked in a half-smile. Clint brushes past him and it can’t be accidental, the way his hand slowly sweeps against Phil’s side as he goes, lighting up every nerve ending he has. Phil tenses, but keeps his face calm and composed. He watches Barton suck in a breath through his nose and smile widely.

“Have a good weekend, sir,” Barton says simply and disappears down the hall. Phil watches him leave, standing there dumbly clutching the doorknob and feeling thrown. He spends the next ten minutes trying to analyze what the hell that had been, but doesn’t get far. When Jasper comes in and invites him out for a drink, Phil jumps at the chance.

This is how he ends up sitting at a table in Bed-Stuy, holding a single malt scotch on the rocks. The bar is one that he’s been to before. It’s dim and loud; a band is playing in the back and it’s full of rowdy people celebrating the end of the workweek. It’s the perfect place to drink away guilt and obsession.

“Did you meet Maria’s new protégé?” Jasper asks him when the band takes a break.

“Yeah, yesterday. She seems like a good fit.” Phil says. “Let’s not talk shop though. How’s Carol?”

“She’s good, just got promoted. It’s more hours so we’re gonna have to put the kids into an afterschool program, but she’s excited.” Jasper takes a drink and laughs. “I think she’s glad to have time away from them, actually. Last week, Jess drew a marker mural on the side of the couch. It still hasn’t come out.”

Phil winces in sympathy. He loves kids, but he’s heard enough horror stories from Jasper to be glad he doesn’t have any of his own. The door opens and a draft of cold January air blows through the room. Phil looks over to glare at whoever’s had the audacity to bring the cold in with them, but his stomach turns to lead once he sees who it is.

Jasper follows his gaze. “Did you invite Barton and Romanoff?”

“Nope.” Phil swallows half of his drink, hoping the wince will chase away any emotion from his face. He watches the pair shed their layers and sends up a silent prayer of thanks that Barton is sensible enough to actually wear clothing with sleeves when appropriate. Romanoff whispers something into Barton’s ear and Phil watches him laugh, watches his face melt into an easy cheerfulness, and finds himself inexplicably jealous that he’s not the cause of it. They’re looking around the packed bar now, no doubt for a table, but before Phil can formulate an escape plan Romanoff has spotted them. She makes a beeline for their table, tugging Clint behind her.

“Hey,” Barton says. “Didn’t expect to see you guys here.”

Natasha nods at them, silently pleasant. Phil’s realized in his years working with her that she’s not one for idle chitchat where unnecessary. But with Barton, she often slides into an even quieter role, as if maintaining a counterbalance.

Jasper scoots his chair over, and Phil realizes with a flash of panic that it’s so they can join them. Clint slings his jacket over the back of the chair next to Phil and sits down.

“Don’t go giving our secret away,” Jasper says. “I don’t want the greenhorns knowing where to find us.”

“Is this the haunt then? Tasha wanted to go to drag queen bingo, but it was booked up.” Barton picks up a coaster and spins it beneath his fingers.

“The director has been known to sing karaoke on Thursday nights,” Phil says, trying for a casualness he doesn’t really feel. Clint is sitting so close to him that their knees are touching.

Barton’s eyes light up. “Now that I have to see.”

Jasper stares at Barton, eyes wide and haunted. “Once seen, it cannot be unseen,” he says, and Phil laughs, relaxing marginally.

Romanoff stands up and pulls Barton to his feet. “Come. I want a drink.”

“You want another?” Clint nods at Phil’s empty glass.

“Sure,” Phil says. He can do normal. This is just a normal night. A normal night at a bar with maybe not normal coworkers, but coworkers for which he has no inappropriate feelings surely.

“Alright. Save my seat,” Clint says, and then winks at him.

Phil watches him walk away. He must stare too long, because Jasper clears his throat and looks at Phil meaningfully. Damn it.

“So. Barton.”

 “No,” Phil frowns. “Barton nothing.”

“Then when are you going to do something about it?” Jasper asks. “The dancing around each other is cute, but at this point I’m not sure why it’s still going on.”

“Because of reasons,” replies Phil mulishly, wishing his drink wasn’t empty so he’d have an excuse to hide behind it.

Jasper shakes his head. “If you’re about to cite fraternization clauses, you know I’ll call bullshit.”

Phil could say it was hierarchical cockblocking holding him back, but he knows Jasper’s right. In the Rangers, it had been capital-F forbidden, but Phil is well aware that SHIELD bends the rules more than other organization. It might be against protocol, but it’s the kind of protocol that is largely disregarded. Relationships develop up and down the pecking order, so much so that HR’s created a designated M-113 form: “Will this affect your working relationship?” Phil hates it; it’s completely contradictory to the Code of Conduct, but no one has ever taken his objections seriously.

So, when it comes to Barton, Phil’s only excuses are too thin to stand behind. He knows what the underlying issue is. If he pursues and it doesn’t work out, he could lose Barton entirely. And that scares the shit out of him.

“I don’t want to fuck it up,” he admits. Jasper’s gaze softens.

“No one ever does,” Jasper says. “But don’t be a coward for that.”

Phil uses his last out. “He’s got that thing with Romanoff, though.”

Jasper snorts. “You know that’s not a thing. Come on, Phil, just go for it. It’s plain as day that Barton is crazy for you.”

Phil wants to ask him to elaborate on that last point, but Barton and Romanoff have come back from the bar, drinks in hand. Clint sets his scotch down in front of him, and Phil wonders if knowing what he drinks is lumped into that ‘plain as day’ estimation.


“No problem,” Barton grins, sinking down next to him and yeah, there’s that knee again, brushing up against his own and making Phil feel like his skin is suddenly too tight. The band starts up again and Barton begins tapping his foot to the beat, the movement traveling from his leg to Phil’s and it’s ridiculous, honestly ridiculous, how the vibration of Clint’s body next to him affects him. He’s seen him half-naked, had his hands on him in the field as he kept Barton’s blood in his body, so it doesn’t make any sense why he should now, in a cramped bar with Barton’s leg burning into his own, feel the thud of want and longing.

Romanoff slams her now empty glass on the table, pulling Phil back into the land of the living, the land where people don’t get turned on from something so mundane as someone sitting next to them.

“Dance with me, zhopa,” she says to Clint with a small smile.

Barton shakes his head. “Nah, I’m good. I hear Sitwell’s got some fancy footwork though.”

Natasha wordlessly extends a hand to Jasper, who glances at Phil, a smile playing on his lips.

“Well, I never say no to a dance with a lady,” Jasper says, and then disappears with Natasha, leaving Phil alone with Clint and feeling very suspiciously set-up.

“So, I see you decided to forego the Supernanny tonight.” Barton takes a pull from his beer, but it doesn’t hide his smile.

“I do enough babysitting at work, thank you.”

“Deny it all you want,” he laughs. “But I know you love that shit.”

Phil rolls his eyes.

“So, come here often?”

“Did you— is that a line, Barton?”

Clint smirks at him. “What if it is?”

Phil gives himself time to think, picking up his drink and finishing it. “If it is, it’s a terrible one.”

“Hey, I have better ones.” Barton grins at him. “Are you a beaver, sir? Because damn.”

 “How is that better?” Phil groans.

“Is that a phone in your back pocket? Because your ass is calling me.”

Phil’s lips actually twitch at that one and Barton crows in victory.

“Got you to smile,” he says, placing his hand on Phil’s knee.

“You can’t tell me those lines actually work.” Phil wills himself to not look down to where Barton’s hand is burning through him like a brand. He’s sure that somehow seeing it is going to break the illusion that Barton is flirting with him.

“I dunno,” Clint says, looking at Phil evenly, a mischievous smile still playing on his lips. “You tell me.”

Phil looks down. Fuck. It’s not an illusion.

“Are you hungry?” Barton asks suddenly.

He thinks about the hastily eaten protein bar he had, hours ago. “Actually, now that you mention it, I’m starving.”

“Wanna get some grub?”

Maybe it’s Barton’s hand on his knee, maybe it’s Jasper’s pep talk, maybe it’s a hundred reasons, but Phil swallows down his instinctive refusal and says, “Okay.”

He stands, focusing over hard on the task of putting his coat on to distract himself from focusing over hard on implications of dinner alone with Barton. They’re halfway out the door when he realizes that Jasper and Natasha are still inside.

“Wait,” he says. “We should probably say goodbye.”

“Already taken care of it,” Clint says as Phil’s phone buzzes in his pocket. Phil takes it out, reads Jaspers message of, ‘hit it with the fire of a thousand suns’ and promptly slides it back into his coat before Barton can see.

“What do you feel like?” Phil asks.

“Well,” Clint hesitates. “My place is only two blocks from here, actually. I have a little bit of everything and I promise I’m a decent cook.”

“Are you?” asks Phil archly. He’s never pegged Barton as culinarily inclined, given how often he lives on gas-station burritos while on assignment.

Clint laughs. “I’m not gonna win MasterChef, but yeah.”

They take off in the direction of his apartment and Phil is thankful for the cold wind, which keeps his thoughts more on how he wishes he’d worn a scarf and less on dinner alone with Barton which has now become dinner alone with Barton, at his place, where there is definitely a bed. Barton’s apartment is on the top floor and he slides the key into the lock with a preemptive, “Sorry about the mess.”

It’s unwarranted, because Barton’s one-bedroom is surprisingly tidy. Definitely tidier than his locker at HQ, which makes Phil want to know what other differences exist between work Barton and this home version, the Barton that has refrigerator magnets of cat butts and paintings of snowy mountains and wolves on his walls.

“Sit down, make yourself at home,” he says. “I gotta go take a piss.”

Phil does, but then he spots the framed photographs on Clint’s shelf and gets up to take a look. They’re mostly of Clint and Natasha, funny faces and picturesque backgrounds. The one on the end though is of all three of them. Phil picks it up and thumbs over the edge of the frame. It was a mission in Barcelona, two years ago maybe, where they’d been posing as tourists. The three of them are standing next to a window inside Casa Batlló. The light had softened their faces and they all look much younger and happier, as if they’d been actually enjoying a vacation and not agents collecting intel. It tugs on Phil’s heartstrings in a way he can’t name.

“That was a good one huh?” Barton says from behind him. “I remember the food was excellent.”

“Speaking of,” Phil sets the photo down and turns around. “I believe you offered to cook for me.”

Clint laughs. “One-track mind, huh sir.”

You have no idea, Phil thinks. Barton asks what he wants and at this point, Phil is hungry enough to just want fast, so Clint ends up making them pancakes. And true to tale, yes, he can actually cook.

“These are good,” says Phil, taking another bite.

“It’s kind of hard to fuck up pancakes,” Clint shrugs. “But thanks.”

They eat in companionable silence and when they’re done, Phil gets up and washes the dishes. It feels so domestic and easy. Phil’s brain jumps ahead of itself, imagining mornings and evenings, washing dishes, putting his feet up on Barton’s coffee table, watching his flat screen TV. He shakes the fantasies from his head as dries his hands on a towel, and then turns to find Clint standing close, close enough for Phil to feel his heat from his body.

“I—” Phil tries to think of something to say, but his thoughts dissolve in Clint’s presence. He doesn’t have to long to ruminate on that though, because Clint is leaning in and kissing him. It’s soft and tentative at first, Clint’s lips sticky and sweet from syrup. Then Phil groans and fists his hands in Clint’s shirt and it turns hot and hard, Clint pressing him into the counter and sliding his leg between Phil’s. He can feel Clint’s hot breath against his face, his tongue searing and slick in his mouth. Phil slides his hands under Clint’s shirt and runs them over his back, down his sides, anywhere he can touch. It's like an unstoppable dam has broken open inside of him. He drags his palm lower, stroking Clint through his pants, and he wants, god does he want.

Clint gasps into Phil’s mouth, pushing his cock into Phil’s hand. He pulls back with a shaky, “Jesus, Phil,” and then runs his teeth over Phil’s neck. Phil rubs against Clint’s leg and it feels so good, better than it should really, and he has to push Clint away because if they’re doing this, they’re going to do it right.

“Bedroom?” Phil pants and Clint nods. They make their way there in an inefficient but wholly enjoyable way, kicking off shoes and kissing and touching as they strip off layers. Clint backs Phil onto the bed and climbs over him, looking predatory and hot as hell. He’s managed to get down to his boxers, but Clint’s still in his jeans and Phil’s not going to stand for that. He reaches up to undo his fly. Clint gets the message and together they wrestle off his remaining clothes. He has to take a moment to stop and stare at naked Clint, because it’s Clint, naked Clint on top of him, and Phil swallows.

“Like what you see?” Clint teases. Phil wraps a hand around his dick in response which makes Clint close his eyes and hiss through his teeth. Phil strokes him languidly, sliding his thumb over the head, entirely focused on watching what makes Clint shiver. Clint bites his lip and makes small noises, breathy moans and whimpers that go straight to Phil’s cock and Phil has to lean up and kiss him greedily, has to swallow them down because they’re his, he owns those noises, Clint sounds like this because of him.

When he pulls back, Clint opens his eyes, half-lidded and hazy with lust, and a flash of desire burns through Phil, burns away everything but the need to feel Clint against him now. He grabs at his boxers and shoves them down, and as soon as they’re off, Clint is leaning forward and sliding his cock against Phil’s, smooth and hot and perfect. Phil gasps and pulls Clint down next to him, shoving a leg between Clint’s so that he can roll his hips into him. Clint noses down his neck, breathing heavily, stopping to bite and kiss and lick until Phil’s a shivering mess.

“God,” Clint whines, raw, desperate. “You’re so good, you smell so good, Phil.”

Phil groans, digging his fingers into Clint’s ass. His skin is hot and slick and Phil is losing himself in every breath Clint takes. A buzzing courses through him, growing louder and more intense; every place Clint touches him leaves sparks and embers and a craving for more.

“Clint,” Phil breathes. Clint’s hips jerk and he moans, “Yes, say it again, say it,” and Phil realizes he hasn’t called him by name during any of this, but now he can’t stop, his mouth spilling, “Clint, Clint, Clint,” over and over again.

“Fuck, ‘m gonna,” Clint’s voice breaks off and he bites Phil’s shoulder as he comes, spilling hot and wet between them, and Phil follows him over, pushing his fingers into Clint’s skin as he shakes apart, his orgasm slamming out of him and wringing him dry.

They lie there, catching their breath in a tangle of limbs.

“Well,” Clint grins. “That was awesome,”

Phil laughs, pressing a kiss to Clint’s shoulder. Clint rolls away and comes back with towel, which he considerately offers to Phil first. Phil cleans himself up and hands it back, and Clint chucks it away when he’s done, sliding back into Phil’s warmth with a sigh.

“This was not how I expected tonight to go,” Phil says, tucking his head in the space between Clint’s head and shoulder.

“If you want we can go look and see if Supernanny is on demand.”

Phil pinches the inside of Clint’s arm, drawing a yelp.

“Are you always this mean after sex?” he teases, kissing Phil’s neck and breathing the words into his skin. “I’m not sure I can deal with that.”

“You’ve dealt with worse,” Phil replies. He runs his fingers through Clint’s hair, scratching his scalp, and Clint hums.

“That’s nice,” he says. “Less pinching and more of that, please.”

Phil complies. Clint’s hair is very soft.

And then, because his higher brain functions are returning and because he’s in this now, he needs to know, he asks, “Do you have a dog?”

He regrets it as soon as Clint tenses.

“No,” Clint says carefully, stretching it out. “Why do you ask?”

“Because… because you sort of smell like…” Phil can’t bring himself to say wet dog, but it’s the truth. Bizarrely, it’s not unpleasant. It’s faint, underlying the top scents of sex and sweat and musk, but it’s there. Clint sits up quickly and pushes away from Phil. He’s quickly on the other side of the bed, eyes a little wild, and looking like the few feet of space between them isn’t nearly enough. To Phil, it feels like miles.

“I shouldn’t’ve—this, this was a mistake,” Clint says, turning away. Phil is surprised by how much it hurts.

“It didn’t feel like a mistake to me,” Phil says slowly, because if this is Clint just freaking out because he smells like a dog he isn’t going to let him do it.

“I—” Clint rubs a hand over his face, struggling, but Phil will give him all the time he needs. Finally, he says, “You ever have a secret you couldn’t tell anyone?”

“We all have secrets, Clint.”

“No,” he makes a frustrated noise. “I mean, have you ever had something that no one could know about? No one, or it would completely change how they thought of you?”

Phil is quiet for a moment, letting Clint believe he’s thinking it over. He hesitates, then crosses the distance to lay a gentle hand on Clint’s shoulder and when Clint doesn’t pull away, he leans in a drops a kiss under his ear. “Whatever it is, I promise you, it’s not going to change how I think of you.”

Clint laughs bitterly. “That’s not the first time I’ve heard that.”

Phil's surprised at how fast he feels the shock of white-hot anger rise in his blood, the sudden fury toward anyone and everyone who’s ever been told this secret and turned their back on Clint. He breathes out and tries to let it go.

“Listen,” he says. “There’s nothing you could tell me that would make me leave. I’ve seen you at your best and your worst, Barton, don’t forget. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you.”

Phil winces behind Clint’s back. He hopes that didn’t sound as cheesy to Clint as it did to Phil’s own ears.

Clint doesn’t comment on it though. He gets up, turning around to face Phil with steely determination and nodding, seemingly to himself. “Okay,” he says. “Okay. Um, it’ll be easier to just show you, but it’s pretty gross so I’m gonna go into the bathroom to do it.”

“Okay,” Phil tells him, more than a little bewildered. “I’ll just wait here?”

“Yeah. It may sound weird, just to let you know.”

Phil nods, keeping his face carefully blank, and Clint disappears into the bathroom. Phil waits patiently until he hears the first pained groan.

“You okay?” he asks, slightly alarmed. He goes to get up off the bed, but then sits back down, uncertain.

“Fine,” he hears the disembodied reply, choked out and strange sounding. “Stay there.”

He does, watching the door anxiously. Clint’s left it slightly ajar and the sounds that travel out are definitely weird, as Clint warned. Finally, after a few minutes, the sounds stop and the door opens fully.

A North American grey wolf pads out and sits calmly at Phil’s feet.

“Clint?” he asks incredulously. The wolf dips its head in an oddly human nod of assent.

It’s both surprising and unsurprising. Surprising because Clint is currently a wolf, and unsurprising because all the growling and dreaming now make perfect sense in hindsight. Phil tentatively reaches a hand out, looking into wolf-Clint’s pale eyes. Clint meets him halfway and rubs his head against Phil’s hand. His fur is soft and Phil scratches him behind the ears, remembering how Sammy liked it.

“Is this okay?”

Clint licks his hand in response, the rough drag of his tongue startling a laugh out of Phil. He loses sense of time as he pets and strokes Clint, running his hands over his head and down his back, listening to his tail thump against the floor. The moment seems to stretch on and content as Phil is to let it, he knows that they’re going to need to have some dialogue about this at some point. He pulls his hands back and Clint lets out an unhappy whine.

“Want to talk now?” Phil asks, making his face as open and nonthreatening as possible. Clint huffs in response, but retreats to the bathroom and comes back as a man.

“So,” he says uncertainly, rolling his neck and rubbing at his shoulders.

“Does it hurt?”

 Clint seems surprised by the question. “The change? Yeah, a little bit. I’ve gotten used to it.”

‘A little bit’ from Clint is probably equivalent to a 5 or 6 on a pain scale, which makes Phil frown. “Would a massage be helpful?”

“Oh my god, yes,” Clint says, looking at Phil in wonder. Phil takes his hand and helps him lie on the bed.

“So, I’ve never slept with a werewolf before,” Phil says lightly as he works the knots out of Clint’s muscles with his thumbs. Clint groans, but whether it’s from the massage or from Phil’s comment, Phil can’t tell.

“I’m gonna let that slide, but for future reference I prefer shapeshifter.”

“Shapeshifter, got it.” He moves down to dig his fingers into Clint’s lower back. “Does that mean you don’t change at the full moon?”

Clint snorts. “No. And before you ask, silver has no effect on me and no, I wasn’t bitten. In the words of Lady Gaga, baby, I was born this way.”

Phil hums thoughtfully, continuing to rub the kinks from Clint’s back.

“God, you’re amazing. Are you even real? You can’t be real,” Clint mumbles into the bed sheets and Phil is so blindingly happy it feels like it should be unreasonable.

“I’m the one who can’t be real?” Phil laughs softly.

“Okay, point for that.”

Phil runs his hands over Clint’s back one last time before he lies down and pulls Clint flush against him, sliding an arm over to stroke at his stomach.

“Are you still yourself, when you’re the wolf?”

“Sort of,” Clint says. “My thoughts get a little simpler. Not doing any long division when I’m changed, you know? But emotions are the same and I can obviously still understand language. Colors are muted and the visual field is way narrow, but the night vision is excellent.”

Phil grins against Clint’s hair. “Is this why you always disappear post-op?”

Clint rolls over and leans up on his elbow, lips quirked in that half-smile Phil loves. “You got me. I love running at night. Helps empty my brain.”

“Does any of this carry over? To when you’re you, I mean.”

“Improved sense of smell,” Clint says, then looks slightly abashed. “It uh, helped me figure out you were into me, actually.”

Phil groans and buries his face in a pillow. He thinks back on all the times he’s fantasized about Clint right in front of him and feels a wash of embarrassment.

“Hey, don’t sweat it,” Clint whispers into his ear. “Honestly, it was really hot.”

Phil pulls back. “Really?”

“Jesus, of course really.” He mouths at Phil’s neck, biting gently and drawing shivers. “Being able to smell how turned on you were, knowing it was from me? Hell of an ego boost.”

“Like you need a bigger ego,” Phil groans. Clint just grins and rolls his hips against him. Phil can feel that he’s already half-hard again and his dick twitches in anticipation.

“I dunno, I think I could use a little bolstering,” he says, and pulls Phil into a searing kiss. Phil can’t get enough of Clint’s mouth, hot and sloppy in his eagerness, the way Clint pours all of his single-minded focus into kissing him. Phil strokes his thumbs over the stubble at Clint’s jaw and grabs at the back of his neck, pulling him closer, as if he could climb into Clint and never look back.

Clint breaks away and pushes Phil onto his back, climbing down his body and laying bites and kisses over his chest. He looks up at Phil from between his legs, eyes darkened with desire, and Phil doesn’t get enough time to fully appreciate it before Clint’s mouth is on him.

“God,” Phil chokes out. Clint’s mouth is wet and perfect and he sucks Phil to full hardness before pulling back to flick his tongue against the underside of his cock. He catches Phil’s gaze and there’s no words to describe how Phil feels, seeing Clint look up at him with his lips wrapped around his dick.

Clint works him slowly, falling into an easy rhythm as he swallows Phil down. He scratches his nails against Phil’s thighs and strokes his hand in time with his mouth, moaning like the only thing he's ever wanted out of life was Phil’s cock in his mouth. When he softly rubs a finger over Phil’s asshole, Phil jerks and curses breathlessly. Clint pulls off and makes a show of wetting his finger, looking impossibly smug, before redoubling his efforts. He sucks Phil harder as he presses his finger into him. It’s a delicious pressure and Phil pants, feeling everything in him being pushed into a tight coil, ready to spring.

“Fuck, there,” he moans, when Clint’s finger brushes against his prostate. He does it again and again, ruthlessly pulling Phil apart until he’s nothing but desperate noise. When he looks down to see Clint jerking himself off, his brain stutters and that’s it, that’s the edge of everything.

“Clint,” he warns, but Clint just hums around him and he comes hard in Clint’s mouth, shuddering, while Clint makes pleased noises as he swallows it all. His hand is still working over his own dick and it takes Phil a moment before he remembers, but when he does he kisses Clint breathlessly, tasting himself, and reaches a hand down to help Clint jerk off. Clint groans into his mouth and it doesn’t take long before he’s spilling into their joined hands.

Clint pulls back to stare at Phil, looking much too satisfied with himself, so Phil brings his sticky hand to his mouth and doesn’t break eye contact as he licks it clean. Watching Clint’s face transform brings him no small amount of pride.

“You, you’re—” Clint gives up on words and swiftly kisses him. “I’m never letting you leave this bed. Never.”

Phil laughs. “I’m on board with that.”

Clint sprawls over him and though he’s hot and sticky, Phil doesn’t mind at all.

“Was this a set-up?” Phil asks after a few moments, because he had sensed it in the bar and after you walk into enough traps, that intuition becomes pretty well-honed.

“Well,” he says sheepishly. “Tasha maybe mentioned to Sitwell how you needed to get out. And then she maybe tailed you to the bar, and then we maybe had a strongly worded conversation where she told me to quit being an idiot and make a move.”

“If we’re speaking in hypotheticals,” Phil says, smiling. “I may have gotten similar advice from Jasper.”

“SHIELD matchmaking service at its best?”

 “Well,” Phil says, curling around Clint. “I wouldn’t give them too much credit. I don’t remember putting ‘seeking werewolf’ in my profile.”

Clint corrects him with a soft bite, “Shapeshifter.”

“Of course,” Phil says. “Could you shift your elbow then? You’re digging into my ribs.”

“God, you’re needy,” Clint grouses, but rearranges himself. “Are you gonna complain all night? Because I can take back what I said about you leaving the bed.”

“You know, I think I like you better as the wolf. You don’t talk nearly as much.”

“That’s it, I take it back. Get out of my bed.”

Phil laughs, wrapping his arms around Clint and holding him tight.

“I’m not going anywhere.”