They bury Phil on a Tuesday.
All of the Avengers are there, and nearly half of SHIELD. It's more than a little crowded, but the weather is gorgeous, morning sun gently warm amidst a dazzling expanse of blue. There is a breeze and there is birdsong, peaceful and uplifting as they throw their flowers into the hole in the ground, along with handfuls of dirt.
Steve's eulogy is short and beautiful.
On Wednesday, Clint packs up Phil's office. It takes longer than he expected, and he feels vaguely guilty as he opens drawers and sifts through them. Natasha pokes her head around the door when he was halfway through, and Clint waves a bottle of Scotch he finds in the bottom drawer at her, arching an eyebrow in question.
She shakes her head and Clint shrugs, carefully nestling the bottle in a nearby box. He watches, bemused, as Natasha lowers herself onto the couch and settles in. Clint resumes his packing.
When he looks up, Natasha is gone, but she is back by the time he's moving the boxes to his car. She helps him with a couple before climbing into the passenger seat and buckles up, curling her feet up under her as Clint turns the ignition to start the car.
They don't speak on the drive, so Clint turns up the stereo. The station is playing Sinatra as they always do. He's grateful when Natasha reaches out to fiddle with the knob, flicking past the pre-programmed stations before settling for a cacophony of wailing guitars and crashing beats Clint recognizes.
Axl Rose screams like a cat submerged in boiling water, and Clint has always been able to relate.
He pulls into the garage and turns off the engine, reveling in the sudden silence before it was broken by Lucky, who barrels out to greet them, barking happily as she tries to cover them in slobber. Natasha helps to unload the boxes from the car, then pats Clint on the shoulder, giving him a firm squeeze. He kisses her on the cheek in return and watches as she slips under the garage door, disappearing into the darkness.
The bottle is nearly half full. Clint finishes it.
Steve shows up on Saturday, Tony and Pepper not far behind. They look slightly surprised to see Clint, who ushers them into the living room and presses hurriedly steeped tea into their hands, surreptitiously kicking empty bottles under the couch. Pepper scratches Lucky behind her ears and she whines, happy and carefree.
"Tony mentioned a cellist," Steve says awkwardly. He holds out a package wrapped in brown paper to Clint. "I thought," he pauses before continuing, "She should have this, or his family."
Clint reaches out for the package and tears it open. It's Phil's trading cards, brand new and unstained, wrapped in protective plastic. Clint traces the loops and whorls in the signature with his eyes.
He nods. "I-" His voice comes out in a croak, hoarse from a combination of disuse and the burn of alcohol. 'Thanks,' he mouths, as a surge of bitterness wells up his throat and threatens to choke if sensing his mood, Lucky trots up to him, nuzzling her head into the back of his knee.
Tony clears his throat, pushing his shades up his nose. "Well then," he states with a brief flash of a forced smile. He's impeccably dressed, public face firmly entrenched, but Clint spots a smudge of black grease on the crook of his elbow, and the illusion breaks apart.
They leave, and Clint resumes his sprawl on the couch, face half buried in Lucky's soft fur. The cards lie face down on the coffee table.
Sunday is traditionally a day of rest, which Clint spends in a flurry of cleaning. The hum of the vacuum is calming. He separates Phil's clothes into piles for Goodwill, then reaches in and pulls out a maroon-colored sweater that is unraveling at the collar and cuffs. He stuffs it back into the closet.
After a moment's hesitation, he picks out Phil's ties from the pile, too. Phil had literally spent his entire life collecting them; he'd kill Clint if he knew they'd been given away.
Clint doesn't dwell too much on that thought.
There's a call to assemble on Monday night. Doombots, nothing major. Clint looses arrow after arrow, then takes a running leap off the building when his quiver finally empties. Iron Man is too far out, but Hulk snatches him in midair before dropping him none-too-gently onto the ground, the impact jarring Clint's already-bruised ribs.
Voices are swearing colorfully in his ear. He tugs off the communicator and tosses it.
Later during the debrief, Clint gets chewed out by Sitwell and Cap, and even Fury, who threatens to take him off the team before cutting him loose with a glare. Natasha is waiting outside the room when he is done, and she silently walks him back to his quarters on the Helicarrier.
They sit side by side on the bed, Clint turning Phil's dog tags over and over in his hands.
"I can't do this," he finally says, matter-of-fact.
Natasha's head comes to rest on his shoulder, one arm comfortingly snug around his waist. She doesn't say anything.
It's with relief when he feels the burn of tears sliding down his cheeks.