Wee, this is my 10,000th tumblr post! \o/ Naturally, I wish to celebrate with Clint/Coulson feels, so I made this.
Clint/Coulson AU - when SHIELD falls, Clint Barton barely makes it out alive, suffering retrograde amnesia in the process. Phil Coulson and his team find Clint, and attempt to teach him about the man he is, by showing him the man he used to be. However, in a misguided bid to spare Clint unnecessary pain and provide him with a fresh start, Phil decides to leave out a few details about their relationship…
THIS IS AWESOME. SO. Happy Birthday to you! This is based off what might have happened after GIF #8:
“Is it true?” Clint gets right up into Phil’s face, “Were we sleeping together?”
Phil can feel it, the cracks in the wall he’s kept up since before they recovered Clint from that explosion. “We were.” He gets it out, barely.
“How could you keep something so important from me?” Clint is angry, has every right to be angry.
…And yet. Phil doesn’t have the words. Just a bone deep instinct from a long time ago, a promise, a dedication, he could never take advantage. He could never hurt Clint and something about that first day, that first moment had made Phil take it all back. To be that steady, unwavering presence that the scared, untrusting, newly recruited, Clint Barton had needed. He feels his eyes prickle, because it hurts, had hurt, will always hurt, to spend days, weeks, months, walking around like he’s in a clear cage. Holding himself back, trying to do the right thing.
It hurts to see Clint stare at him with betrayal and anger. No matter how rightful and well deserved and to think he’d do it all over again because that’s what Clint deserves.
“I—,” Phil tries to get out, but he’s got nothing left, all his energy has gone into being normal and fine and now it’s shattered at his feet. A shaky breath, another, a third. Clint has caught on that something isn’t right and the anger is draining, leaving nothing but worry and Phil recognizes the signs of an imminent Barton Hug (an octopus in training really) and he can’t help but think he just doesn’t deserve it.
“You,” Phil finally says shakily, “deserved more.” The last word is swallowed by emotion and Phil has to turn on his heal, look away and fold his arms tightly around himself and hold on.
Behind him, Clint sighs. “Oh Phil,” he says, hands gently sliding down Phil’s arms. “Come here.” He fits himself along Phil’s back, so like the way he used to, solid and sure. Clint’s chin hooks over Phil’s shoulder and he presses their cheeks together.
They don’t speak again that night, but Clint holds on until Phil’s shaking breaths even out and the trembling in his body subsides. They start to heal just a little bit before its all over.