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The Beavertail Protocol

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The first time it happens, it is at his desk at New York HQ. The team has been scheduled for a mandatory training session for Skye and FitzSimmons so they are going to stay landed for next few days. Phil considers it time to head to his office and a welcome opportunity to remove some of the piling paperwork from his office. He’s been at his desk since eight in the morning and at 10 am sharp, Skye knocks on his open office door and walks in, hands hiding something behind her back.

“Aren’t you supposed to be being taught about long range weapons in Training Room 3B-11 right about now, Skye?” He asks without taking his eyes off of the mission report in his hand.

“Oh wow, she’s totally right, you know everything.” Phil looks up, raising a single eyebrow. She blushes and continues, “Ehh, never mind. Um. Right. Agent Barton said we could have 2 minutes.” The blush isn’t fading; Phil is definitely having a conversation with Clint about how to treat baby agents. Whenever he sees him that is. It’s been three weeks and he’s slowly starting to believe that the universe just doesn’t want them to see each other anymore. Phil is not happy with the situation, obviously.

“You aren’t supposed to leave the training room for the breaks. That’s why they have snacks and drinks right in the training room.” Besides. It would have taken her more than 2 minutes just to find her way to his office on this sub-level from Training Room 3B-11. “You’re running late, by the way.”

“Right. Course. I just wanted to give you these-“Skye says as she reveals a package of Little Debbie donuts. “I know you like these, and we had them at the snack table, none of us had breakfast after we landed so...” She scampers up to the desk and drops them off before skittishly heading back to the doorway.

Something warm floods his chest and he gives her a smile, at the same time cataloguing her curious behaviour. He’s grateful, and very touched, but clearly, something’s not right. “Thank you, Skye. That was very thoughtful of you.”

“Uhuh. Umm. I’m going to... go now.”

“Regards to Agent Barton from me.”

“What?? Of course, uhuh. Yessiree.” Skye’s eyes widen and she skitters off.

He wonders what in the world Clint is doing with his trainees but before he can give the notion any further thought, a junior agent walks in with a 3 inch set of papers for him from AD Hill and any ideas flee from his mind as he reads over an expense form asking for the reimbursement of 2000 yellow bath ducklings. So this is what his life has come to.

***

The second time, he’s on a coffee break catching up on things with Jasper, something he unfortunately doesn’t have the time to do very often these days. They’re at a cafe near HQ and he’s just had the best hazelnut coffee in the world, excepting the one he had in Zurich at not guilty restaurant. When he gets up to order a second cup, the barista smiles and waves away the fiver he tries to hand over. “It’s already been paid for.”

He shrugs and walks back to his seat, where Jasper is still smiling at his phone at looking at a photograph of his daughter. “Did you pay for my coffee?”

Jasper looks up at him, face plain as day. “Really? You miss your goddaughter’s 5th birthday and I’m supposed to buy you coffee? Please.”

“Well, I just got free coffee.” Wait.

Jasper voices his hypothesis out loud. “You think it’s poisoned?”

Phil thinks back to a minute ago, then dismisses the notion. “No, I doubt it. I saw her making the coffee, nothing unusual.”

“Maybe you have a secret admirer.” Jasper says as he wiggles his eyebrows. “Must be one of the newbie’s, they’re in here often enough. Wouldn’t be the first time.”

“Well, if they don’t want an arrow in the knee,”Phil ignores Jasper’s exasperated groan, “and I mean that quite literally, they need to stop.”

Jasper slams his head against his arm. “No. Control him. I have to do their paperwork now, and I have enough with Stark, ok?”

Phil doesn’t say anything, just smiles into his free cup of hazelnut coffee.

***

The third time, it’s his lunch break in the mess hall with his team. The 5 of them are together and have saved him a seat at the head of the table. May and Ward had been present and assisting Barton, as they didn’t have any responsibilities for the next two days. 60 trainees is quite a bit to deal with no matter how good your eyesight is, and to be honest, Clint most definitely needs someone to supervise him. Phil walks over to them and sits down, May and Ward at his sides, placing his tray in front of him dejectedly. It’s cheesecake day, and they’d just run out. Of course, May notices, “What, no cheesecake? Isn’t it your favourite?”

“They ran out.” He replies morosely, proceeding to shove a forkful of tuna pasta bake into his mouth. He almost chokes at the following reactions.

“Sir, take mine!”

“No, you can have mine sir! I don’t like it anyway”

“No no no, have mine, I’m not hungry anymore!”

Phil stares at the junior agents, and then swallows. He then looks at his level 7s questioningly. Ward shrugs and May smiles behind her glass of orange juice. “Am I going to have to fix something at the end of this day?”He asks of the three, who are all now blushing to the roots of their hair.

“What? No. Of course not! Emm, we need to go to the labs before training starts again.” Fitz sounds indignant but his face says something completely different. FitzSimmons get up simultaneously and bus their trays, leaving behind 2 slices of cheesecake. Skye takes her cheesecake off her tray and places it on the table and stands up.

“I’m a- I’m gonna… bye.”

Before Phil can ask May what the hell is going on with his kids, Clint pops out from the vents right above them, perching on the seat that had previously seated Fitz to May’s left. The sudden rush of happiness leaves Phil temporarily frozen. “Look! Cheesecake!” He pulls out his phone and texts something into it quickly before shoving it back into his pant pocket and grabbing a plate and spoon. “Damn, that looks good.” Damn. Clint looks so good. He’s missed Clint so much.

Phil composes himself, reminding himself to remain professional at work. “Agent Barton, what did you do to my agents?”

Clint settles into the seat, sticking both legs up on the table which earns him a glare from May. He slowly moves his feet to the ground, looking up at Phil innocently from under his eyelashes. God he's missed those eyelashes. “I don’t know. I was being extra nice because they’re your babies. I only freaked them about with the vents twice. Ask Mel if you don’t believe me!”

Phil looks over to Mel, who rolls her eyes but nods. “He’s been as good as he can be, to be honest.”

“See. Just enjoy your cheesecake, sir.” He hands over a slice to May who passes it on to him. And damn, from the first bite, it’s perfection. Of course, when Ward tries to grab the third slice, a throwing knife almost cuts his fingers off. “Hey Nat,” Clint says with a grin.

“That slice is mine, Ward.” She tells the specialist before sitting down across the table from Phil, legs crossed and resting on Barton’s thighs to her right.

“Agent Romanov, this is a welcome surprise.” Phil grants a quick smile. And it is. It’s been weeks since he saw Natasha, and he runs a quick check up from his position, keeping note of any injury. She looks fine, but then, he’d only read her debriefing an hour ago, she should be in medical, what with being stabbed in the thigh and all. When he reaches her face, the expression is one of part-annoyance and part-fondness. “I suppose there’s no point in telling you to go back to medical, then.”

“None at all, sir.”

***

The fourth time, Phil is on his way out of the office, suitcase in hand. They’re stationed here for one more day so he’s going home no matter what his team or anyone else dare suggest. He checks his letterbox on his way out just in case, and then freezes. There aren’t a letters. Instead, his letterbox is overflowing with Little Debbie donuts, three paper bags with assorted pastries from Starbucks, and even a beavertail, which is actually rather impressive. It is February, obviously not an April fool’s prank, so he doesn’t know what this is supposed to be. He opens up the suitcase and pulls out a plastic bag (what? Sometimes he needs to get groceries, and he’s trying to cut his carbon emissions considering how high those trips in the Bus make them) and checks each of the little gifts before bagging it all.

He then takes the elevator down to the underground garage and walks out; stopping only once he is near that deep purple 1970 Dodge Challenger. Leaning against the hood, he takes a look at his watch telling him that it’s five past six pm. The elevators dings again and when he looks up, Clint is sauntering towards him, clad in SHIELD issue sweats and a t-shirt, jacket in one hand and go bag thrown over his shoulder.

“Hey babe.”

“Hi.”Phil can’t help but smile, because this is it. He’s finally home. Clint stops once he is standing in front of Phil and drops his bag and jacket on the ground before crowding in close. A hand unbuttons his jacket button and strong arms wrap around his waist, pulling him close to that firm chest. Phil encloses Clint with his arms and holds him tight, muscles of his back taut against Phil’s fingers. Close enough to feel his heart beat. God, he’s missed this more than anything.

He can’t help but kiss those lips, kiss that cheek. And because it makes Clint laugh, nuzzle his neck. “Stop it, you big goof, that tickles.” So he can’t help but do it again because Clint’s laugh is all kinds of perfect and he’s really really missed hearing it. He finally pulls away laughing, and then manually opens up the car door on the passenger side. “Get in, let me just dump the stuff in the trunk.” Clint picks up his jacket and bag, then grabs Phil’s suitcase and the plastic bag, only to burst out laughing after determining the contents.

“What am I missing here, Clint?” Because cute as it is, it’s also kind of weird and it’s been happening all damn day long.

Clint puts the items into the trunk before closing it and walking around to the driver’s side to get in. Clint’s still laughing, and while it’s adorable, Phil is starting to become exceedingly perplexed. He fastens his seatbelt and waits for Clint to calm down. It takes a few minutes. The marksman wheezes, “Oh Jesus. Hilarious.” He takes a deep breath and starts the ignition, putting the car in reverse. Phil waits. They’re out of the underground parking and into New York City traffic, waiting at a red light when Clint turns to him with that crooked smile. “Well you know I’m a hot piece of ass, sir.”

“I don’t know anything of that sort.” And Phil has to school his face into a neutral expression.

“Oh yeah? Well the newbie’s definitely did! And they’re terribly at being subtle. Someone teach those kids how to ogle hotness without giving their positions away.” Clint chuckled. “Especially Skye. Now that one’s handsy,” Clint pauses, “And cheeky… asked me out on a date.”

“I beg your pardon?” Phil is more than aware that Clint is a hot piece of ass, and arms, and biceps, and well, everything to be frank, but he isn’t all that keen on the actuality that all of SHIELD is also more than aware of that particular fact.

“At which point Mel may have pointed out that it isn’t smart to ask out a married man.” Clint gives a bit more gas and they’re at least moving in traffic.

“Oh, is that right?” Phil places a hand on Clint’s knee.

“And mentioned that my husband can be rather possessive, and also has spies everywhere.”

“That’s not actually very accurate” Clint levels him with a look. Okay, fine. Maybe it is.

“And also mentioned how much Agent Coulson likes sweets and coffee, if they don’t want to spend the next 5 years in Alaska.” Clint chuckles again. “I think she was irritated that no one was paying attention to the actual lesson.”

Phil smiles, absently rubbing his thumbs in circles on Clint’s knee. “So none of this ridiculousness is your fault whatsoever then?”

“Except for my ass, sweetheart. That’s all on me. Also, I resent you using the word ridiculous. The results are awesome. I saw a beavertail in that bag, I call dibs.”

“As if. They’re trying to placate me for ogling my husband, that beavertail is mine.”

Clint grins at Phil right before driving into the parking garage at Avengers Tower. “Placate you? Is this the new protocol for when agents do something you don’t like then, sir? Beavertails? Does that mean I can leave my towels on the bathroom floor as long as I get you sweets?”

“Towels on the floor are rather a greater offense in my opinion.”

“Would a blow job do? The Blow Job Protocol sounds like a great idea. Because I would totally be on board with that as compensation, sir,” He adds as he parks the car and unbuckles his seat belt, turning to face Phil. The hand at his knee comes to rest on his thigh.

“Are we implementing this as a SHIELD wide protocol for everyone who pisses me off beyond the help of pastries and caffeine?” Phil smirks, and then whatever he wants to add to that sentence is forgotten because Clint is suddenly fixing him with such an intense stare that Phil promptly forgets how to breathe. And that is when those bow-calloused hands grab him by the back of head and those pink lips crash into Phil’s own. Clint tastes like coffee and honey and home, and Phil can’t stop himself from grabbing him by the t-shirt and pulling Clint even closer. Because God, he’s missed this.

“For the safety of the general SHIELD population, I wouldn’t recommend that course of action.” Clint finally replies once they separate for breath.

Phil chuckles. “Mel’s clearly confused. You’re the possessive husband here, I think.”

“You’re damn right, I’m possessive,” Clint growls into his neck as he starts to unbutton Phil’s shirt. Phil groans involuntarily, but reluctantly pushes him away. Clint looks at him questioningly, and then nods. “Ok, you’re right, no to having sex in the car like a couple of teenagers, I get it.” He backs away and gets out of the car.

“Not so much the sex in the car as much as sex in an area that Tony Stark definitely has on surveillance.” Phil joins Clint as he haphazardly drags the things from the trunk, taking the briefcase and the bag from his husband. Clint bursts out laughing at that, jogging towards the elevator. Phil pauses for a moment and just stares. Because damn, Clint Barton is the most beautiful thing Phil has ever seen and he still doesn’t know how he managed to have that.

“You better hurry up, Phil!”He calls out once he reaches the elevator.

“And why is that?” He asks as he walks towards the archer.

“Because I know I left those towels on the floor.”Clint replies with a smirk just as the elevator door opens for them, right as Phil reaches his husband. Clint swiftly grabs him by the tie and draws him into the elevator, laughing the whole way up to the bedroom.

It’s good to be home.