A/N:I'm back! I thought I had to do a note this time, because this will be very different from my others stories. There'll be a lot of angst and pining. Most of all, there will be torture and non-con (between an OC and Clint), and the traumatism that can be expected from him. I don't think it will be too graphic, but it's definitely a M rating.
I hope you'll enjoy, and reviews are always much appreciated!
Clint was sprawled out as much as the uncomfortable chair would allow it, staring into space, since the briefing room didn't offer a lot of mildly interesting things he could fixate on. He didn't know why he was here at all. It wasn't as if his job was that complicated. Hard, maybe, since he was apparently the only one able to do it if the number of missions he was requested on was any indication, but certainly not complicated. Spot the bad guy, shoot the bad guy, bad guy dies, end of story. Waiting around was the most difficult part. All he ever needed was a picture, or even better some video feed of his target and he was good. But no, apparently he wasn't yet considered competent enough to survive by himself, he had to take his orders from a couple analysts who haven't seen the real world in, at least, more than a decade.
The only victory he had made in nearly five years of employment was the freedom to choose his own perch, and even then, he had to transmit his position to the rest of the team. Otherwise, he had to do as he was told. Which wasn't something he was really good at. He knew his disciplinary file was probably bigger than anyone else's in the entire division at the moment, maybe even larger than all of the rest put together. and more than one person was wondering how the hell he hadn't been sent back to the streets, or had his contract terminated in a more permanent way.
Clint knew. But he knew why they put up with all his shit. It always boiled down to being the best. The Amazing Hawkeye. The best fucking marksman in the world. So good that even high and mighty S.H.I.E.L.D. couldn't do without him anymore. So fucking good they were afraid of how much damage he could do if he went freelance again. He had been a very effective and dangerous mercenary in the past, had been in great demand, and that was before he was recruited. Now he was as good, maybe even better, and he had intimate knowledge of one of the most influential agency in the world, and he knew more than a few secrets about others.
The CIA was depressingly bad at keeping secrets.
Sometimes, Clint pondered as he lay in the chair, he wondered why he stayed at all. He wanted to fight the good fight and all that, but he couldn't help but consider doing so on his own. Surely he could be more efficient if he didn't even have to pretend to abide the law and take orders, and do everything in such a stringent, procedural way. He'd be freer. He'd probably even be able to convince Tasha to come with him.
He started slightly when he heard the three sharp knocks on the table. He would have jumped up and attacked if he hadn't trained this kind of reaction out of himself. You couldn't jump when you had a riffle in your hands.
He looked at the offender slowly, to keep from down appearing surprised. Coulson was looking at him, face blank as a slate for everyone else in the room. To be fair, his face in itself was also unreadable to Clint, but the archer could see the slight glint in his eyes, the understanding one that said 'I know you're bored, but act like you're paying attention.' Clint nodded once, straightened up in his chair, and turned his attention to Agent Maria Hill who was talking about experimental drugs or something along those lines.
Clint looked at the man beside him and repressed a sigh that threatened to come out. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the main reason he had stayed at S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Fucking Coulson. The Agent. Why, you would ask? Not that hard to figure out.
Because Clint had only been at S.H.I.E.L.D. for a few months when he had succeeded in exasperating and/or scaring away all the other senior agents. He wasn't even trying to, at the time. But he had spent most of his life running, taking care of himself, and trusting no one. So when thrown in a quasi-normal environment, with rules, it was no surprise that he had difficulties adapting. His work was irreproachable, he succeeded in every mission he was given. However, when he was at base, he simply could not manage it. He never seeked medical attention, stealing medical supplies when no one was looking, stitching himself up and dressing his own wounds, because if someone knew you were hurt, they had the advantage, or they would fix it wrong so that it still hurt for a while afterward.
He never slept in his quarters, always finding a hidden corner to hide in, never in the same place, so that no one could attack him in his sleep. He rarely reported to his handlers, whoever they were, because he simply couldn't bring himself to trust them, and accepting that they were responsible for his well-being and actions demanded more confidence in them than he had to spare.
So the first few months had been complete hell for all involved, and Barton was making arrangements to run and disappear, and he honestly didn't believe that anyone would follow him. Then, one morning Fury managed to corner him while he was practicing on the shooting range, At five in the morning. It was the only time he was sure he wouldn't be interrupted, or gain himself an audience of idiots who came to witness the freak show he was. The Director marched right up to him, towering over him, his one eye digging into all the dark corners of Clint's soul-or what little remained of it.
"You will report to Agent Coulson at 0-900, Barton."
Clint was thrown, because Coulson was famous at S.H.I.E.L.D., and because he never handled junior agents, acting mainly as a field operation supervisor. If Clint was dumped to him, he really had gone through all the senior agents - save Fury himself. He didn't need to be told this was his last chance.
His first meeting with Coulson was unlike any other meeting with a new handler that he had ever had. Clint had entered the office at 0,940, his gaze falling on the man that could make Agent Parker cry. The Agent had simply looked up, not a trace of a smile on his lips, before gesturing to the chairs with one hand, while he put away the file he was working on with the other.
No matter how hard he tried, he had never been able to fake respect, something that caused him trouble more than once - but Coulson didn't seem to care. He simply tilted his head to the side, a tiny, nearly imperceptible smile ghosting across his lips.
"I have been made aware of your previous interaction with S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel, and the resulting consequences. I consider important to explain to you how I work, and I hope you won't find objections to it."
Clint bristled, preparing himself for restraints that he wouldn't be able to bend to, and punishments that would drive him insane with shame and self-loathing. Coulson simply straightened his head.
"Earlier this morning, I went through the base and emptied all your medical caches. For now on, if you wish to circumvent traditional medical care and patch yourself up, please come here, where I can, at the very least, assess your injuries."
Clint narrowed his eyes in disbelief and indignantly opened his mouth to speak, but Coulson beat him to it.
"Yes, even the one at the back of Agent's Hill underwear drawer. I must give you credit for the excellent camouflage and the out of the box thinking. If this is going to work, Agent Barton, I need this much trust. I need to know that you are doing fine. It is my responsibility as a handler. In return, I will promise not to put it in any reports or tell anyone about it, and I won't force you to seek medical attention unless I observe the injury to be life threatening."
Clint clenched his jaw. He already knew he wouldn't do it, So he just glared at Coulson. Just another fucking suit. The man continued, unabated.
"I do not mind you sleeping in remote locations, as long as you do not become sleep deprived. Also, if a matter arises with one of your colleagues, I would appreciate it if you were to come to me with it. But if you are not able to, for any reason, please refrain from leaving any permanent damage, physical or psychological."
He stopped there, simply looking at him for a long moment, as if expecting Clint to question him.
"Is that all, sir?"
Coulson didn't falter.
"You tell me, Agent Barton."
The archer didn't even bother answering, got up and left, convinced S.H.I.E.L.D. would fire him or try to kill him within two months' time.
They didn't. For nearly five years now Coulson has been his handler, though he has worked with others on occasion, like now - where Hill was the Agent in charge of the mission. Coulson was only there because Clint and Hill sometimes needed a buffer. Two months, however, was exactly how long it took him to start fantasizing about Coulson.
It took him about another year to fall with love with him. And if that wasn't that the bane of Clint's existence, falling in love, It became a source of endless amusement for Natasha. Russian scum that she was.
So yes, all in all, Clint stayed because of Phil. Sure, he had other friends in the agency: you should see him and Sitwell when they managed to get time out for their football games with a few others agents, but it wouldn't have been enough to settle him.
Coulson could, however. Coulson, with his perfect poker face and his vastly expressive eyes. Coulson, with his soft smile and beautiful laugh that Clint has only managed to draw out of him twice. Motherfucking Coulson and all his badassery that made him one of the best agents in the whole organization, though he had an amazing knack for refusing promotions. The man who always seemed to get Clint, despite the fact that he couldn't understand him, no one could, and he never lost patience, no matter how much of a jackass Clint was.
Clint startled out of his reverie and turned when Hill said his name, but she was only pointing out the fact that he would be the one to take out the Bad Guy. Clint turned to Coulson, to complain with his eyes that this was boring and he wanted out, because he didn't need to be here. It wouldn't change anything, Coulson strongly believed in briefing, but it always felt good to complain.
However, when Clint looked at his handler, he saw him typing on his phone, and the archer braced himself for the familiar flare of jealousy that racked his body and choked him. Not because Coulson was allowed to text in a briefing when Clint wasn't, no matter how much better he would feel if he could, but because Coulson was texting someone.
About a year ago, Clint had stolen Hill's phone, putting his life seriously on the line, to get Phil's number after he had seen the agent with his cell while spying through the vents. He had sent him a short text, just enough for the agent to know that it was him, but he never got a reply. He tried asking questions, but Coulson would only ever answer later, when he saw Clint face to face. The archer took the hint - yes, he was able to - and accepted that the phone was part of Phil's personal life that the agent didn't want Clint in.
Clint could understand, but it didn't help soothe the hurt away. Neither did it kept him from running himself to the ground in training, spending hours jumping around and shooting dummies. Coulson was the one to find Clint. Of course he was. Clint brushed the man's concern away with cheap excuses about nightmares, not wanting to waste Coulson's time more than he already did. Ever since, he did his best to remain professional and poised, and he had stopped flirting over the comms. He stopped talking about it to Tasha. He knew she was worried, but didn't comment. She wasn't able to understand love, not in that way, and didn't bother to pretend with him.
So Clint pined from afar, berating himself for being stupid, being insanely jealous over the hypothetical partner receiving Coulson's texts. He forced his eyes away from the phone just in time, as the man pressed 'Send' and closed it, slipping the phone back in his pocket.
Clint was dying to know what he wrote. Was he planning a date? Who was the lucky one? Was it a man and or woman? Clint always pegged Coulson as bisexual, and Natasha agreed with him. The thought of Coulson with a woman hurt a little less than the thought of him with another man, someone other than Clint. The Archer mentaly shook himself and tried to pay attention to Hill. What a sad life he lived when listening to a debriefing was the least painful option.
Finally, Hill sent them away, reminding them they left at 0,500 the day after. Clint jumped on his feet and barged out before anyone even started putting away their files. Maybe if he was fast enough -
Fuck. Why wasn't he ever able to outrun him? He sstopped, because, weak as he was, he would never be able to pass up any alone time with Coulson. He turned around, back straight. Coulson was walking toward him, eyes concerned.
"You seemed out of it today, Barton. Is everything okay?"
Clint bit down the bitter smile, and the "As it'll ever be, sir," and simply nodded.
"Yes sir. A bit tired, thats all."
Coulson scrutinized him, eyes narrowed, but he didn't push, knowing after all this time that if Clint didn't volunteer the information, nothing would make him budge. He simple nodded too, at the end.
"You shouldn't wear yourself so thin training, Barton."
Clint tried to stamp down the warm feeling at Coulson's concern, to no avail. He looked straight ahead, over Coulson's shoulder.
"I'll try, sir."
Coulson pinched his lips, having worked with Barton long enough to know that they were empty words. He would do the exact same thing the next time he would need to unwind something that knotted itself too tight in his chest – like Phil did.
"Go get some rest, Agent."
Barton nodded and turned on his heel swiftly, headed toward the underground parking. He should probably stay on base in his quarters, since he had to leave early the next morning, but he couldn't bring himself to. Even after all these years, he had trouble sleeping in the spartan, impersonal rooms, and he knew he wouldn't get any rest if he tried to tonight. So he went down, took his sleek bike and sped to his apartment, breaking more than a few traffic laws in the way.
Once he was inside his building, he took a moment to simply rest his back against the wall of the small hallway, next to his door, letting his head fall back with a loud 'thump' against it. All his bottled emotions came rushing on him all at once, suffocating, intoxicating, and completely overwhelming him. He forced a ragged breath into his lungs, fists clenched tightly. After a few moments, he found the strength to open his eyes. The cream walls were staring at him, encompassing him. He had never found the time and energy to repaint them, although he hated the color. At the end of the hallway was his living room, with his old TV he also never bothered to change and his comfortable couch. But all of this didn't really matter. All he needed in here was his bed and his kitchen. Everything else he had back at HQ.
On the hook in front of him, right in the middle of the closet, as it had been hanging there for years, was a suit. It was his only one, simple, dark blue. It was his, rarely worn, but he always left it there. Sometimes, he would pretend it was one of Coulson's. That the man left it there on his way in, that he was waiting for him on the bed. On very good days, it even meant that Coulson lived here, with him. That they were together, and that the Agent was cooking dinner for them, because he took some nights off once in a while, to spend some time alone with his boyfriend.
Clint never said that he wasn't a pathetic excuse for a human being. He simply didn't advertise the fact. Not even Tasha came here, because Clint couldn't bear the pity in her eyes when she realized just how much Clint needed to pretend, otherwise he'd go completely mad.
Clint shut the closet door and started stripping off his clothes, not really seeing where he was going, until he fell on his back in his bed. He took his cock in his hand, and slowly started stroking it, eyes fluttering shut. He managed to relax when his mind supplied him with just what he needed - The calm, warm voice in his ear, as if the man was just beside him, whispering.
"Well, Clint, aren't you eager today?"
Clint didn't answer, simply stroked faster, letting a small smile tug at his lips. Phil - he was always Phil here, not "Sir" - chuckled.
"So that was what was going through that head of yours during the briefing. I was wondering what got you so…spacey."
Clint smiled, moaning slightly, slowing his hand down now that he was fully hard.
"You, Phil. Always you."
Phil chuckled again, and leaned in, so close that Clint could feel his warmth radiating. He basked in it, mouth opening, small gasps puffing out.
"You little minx. What do you want, Clint? Do you want me in you?"
"No, Phil. Please, I can't-I can't wait."
It was true. He had a dildo he could use, but at the moment he simply didn't have the patience. He just needed to get off before leaving. He needed Phil to get him off. He kept himself from reaching over, knowing it would only break the illusion.
"My hand, then."
Phil didn't wait for Clint's answer. He didn't need to. Clint switched hands, and started that little twist that made him go wild. Phil was breathing heavily now, seeing Clint like this always got to him. Clint moaned, breathy and pleased, and Phil growled in answer.
"Do you even know how hot you are? Writhe, darling. Is it good? Is my hand good enough for you to come?"
Clint couldn't even imagine doing anything other than whining and nodding frantically. Phil shifted, his other hand carding through Clint's hair so lightly it could almost have been the wind. The archer gasped for air, he was so close, so very, very, close.
"Go on, Clint. Come for me."
He exploded, body arching completely off the bed, and he yelled Phil's name. He landed back, bouncing lightly, belly and hand covered with strings of come. He breathed heavily, and he felt Phil shift beside him. Clint kept his eyes close, trying to keep the illusion just a while longer. When it was clear Clint wasn't going to let him fade, Phil started talking again.
"I don't like it when you go on missions without me. Fury never lets me know how you're doing. He says I'll be too distracted. I just hate it when I can't watch your back."
It was always the same thing; Clint wasn't imaginative enough to go further than what he wanted Phil to tell him the most. That they had a life together. That Phil wanted him in his life. That Phil wanted him, as much as he wanted the older man.
The Agent sighed beside him.
"We have to get groceries; we're running low on milk. And mother invited us over for dinner Sunday, assuming you're back by then."
Finally Clint opened his eyes, because he needed to stop now. The next thing out of Phil's mouth would have been an inquiry about what they should have for dinner, and he simply couldn't deal with that tonight. He stared at the ceiling, cold and alone. His heart was so high in his throat it was choking him, tears stinging his eyes. He blinked them away and stood, knees wobbly. He didn't bother to put anything on, it wasn't as if there was anyone to call him on it. Phil would, telling him to put on boxers, at least, because it wasn't hygienic to be around food naked, or dangerous, or whatever he could think about.
He made his way in to the kitchen, digging through the fridge and finding enough leftovers to whip himself up some vegetable fried rice. There was enough for two, but Clint didn't want to think about that. He turned the radio on, unable to deal with the quiet.
"When you're dreaming with a broken heart,
The waking up is the hardest part."
He smashed the button to silence it. Goddamnit. The universe was teaming up to fuck with his heart. Clint focused on breathing in and out. It would be fine. It was fine, Phil didn't really want him. It was fine, Coulson saw him as nothing more than an agent under his care. Clint would be alright. He could do this. He had done it for four years.
He loved Coulson. And he wanted what was best for him. And that was definitely not the nutcase that was him. He was so much better off with whomever he was sending those Damned texts to. Clint would remain behind with 'Phil', who he couldn't hurt, and he'd deal.
He could deal.
He wasn't really sure what he did for the rest of the evening. He was pretty sure he ate, because the dishes wound up in the sink. But otherwise, he could have been staring at the wall for the whole evening. He probably did. The only thing he was sure of was that he didn't drink. He never drank just before a mission, Coulson had gave him shit for it once. It was the most annoyed Clint had ever seen the older man, and he had wanted to do nothing more than apologize, over and over, and grovel until he was forgiven. Because he felt horrible, but he knew it wasn't enough. Apologizing was never enough. The Swordsman would have punished him. His father would have punished him. Phil never did, not really. Sure, he made him do paperwork, even suspended him that one time. Never again, though. And never anything physical.
So Clint punished himself. He trained, and trained until his fingers were bloody and he passed out from sheer exhaustion. Because training meant doing good in missions, and doing good in missions meant Phil would look at him with pride afterward, and Clint needed that.
It was the only time he was okay with Phil not being his, like he so wanted. It didn't matter because Phil was proud of him.
Like he said, he never pretended to not be pathetic.
When he woke up at four in the morning, he went to his feet right away, and in ten minutes he was gone, eating a granola bar on the way to the HQ. He arrived just as the clock turned to 0,500, and his gear was already loaded. Coulson was there, talking quietly with Hill. When Clint approached, they both turned toward him, Hill sparing a look to the clock, surprised as she always was that he arrived on time. Coulson looked Clint over, assessing whether he was fit or not. Clint held himself straight under the scrutiny until Hill interrupted them.
Clint nodded, and went to climb into the chopper, not looking back until Coulson called for him.
Clint hated how his heart jumped desperately at the sound of his name, and kept his expression carefully blank as he turned around. Coulson's eyes were shadowed by the harsh lighting of the roof, and Clint couldn't read anything off his face.
Coulson's lips twitched.
"Do try to behave."
The archer's heart dropped all the way to his feet, and he winced, berating himself all the while. What was he hoping for, a "Please be careful"? A declaration of love, perhaps? He was barely ever out missions where Coulson wasn't involved in any way, and he had hoped that his handler would have been at least a bit worried. But no, the only thing that Coulson worried about was whether or not Clint would misbehave like the overgrown kid he was.
Clint nodded tightly.
"Will do, sir."
He whirled around and climbed in to the chopper, leaving Coulson behind on the hellipad. Hill and the rest of the team were waiting for him, and they took off as he climbed in. Looking around, he noted the other agents in the helicopter. They were regulars of Hill's team, and, therefore, not people he worked with. But he got along fine with most of them, and could ignore the rest. One good thing about being the sniper meant he didn't really have to work with them. They were working for the same objective, but that was about as far as their partnership went.
Hill was giving the last minute instructions, glaring at him occasionally to enforce some points. He knew she was daring him to disobey her, but it was useless.
Coulson had told him to behave. No matter how much he resented it, he would do whatever Coulson told him. Hill was asking him to stay put, not to move from his first perch, whichever he chose, because they used a kind of tech that would easily pick up movement. A step one way or another, after he got into position, or worse, a jump, would get him killed.
So he wouldn't move. He could do that. Lay low, shoot the bad guy, and wait for the rest of the team to deal with whatever would try and kill him in the meantime. Sounded like a good plan. Not too demanding.
When they arrived, Barton fell into the easy rhythm of the job. Locating the best perch, he climbed up, settling down with his rifle - he wasn't allowed his bow, due to the lack of movement possible, and waited.
He relished falling into the zone, the comforting blank that permitted him to shoot so perfectly. The place where nothing else, other than the target, himself and his weapon mattered.
Whatever Hill's team were doing, it took them nearly four hours to raise hell in the target's building. Lesser marksmen would have been overwhelmed by the flow of bodies rushing into the street, but Clint remained focused, filtering their faces to make sure he wasn't missing his target. Endless streams of men in boring suits and women in pretty outfits, but not the one he was looking for.
Twice he spotted Agents from his own team, just a flash before vanishing again. But still, his target did not appear. Either the man smelled the trap and stayed behind in some kind of safe place, or he had some other way of fleeing the building. Clint narrowed his eyes, as useless as that was, and focused for a second on his earpiece.
"Does this place have another exit?"
Hill answered, her tone clipped and short.
"Then he's still inside."
He heard her snap orders to the rest of the team find him, and he zoned out again, giving once more his considerable focus to the scene in front of him. The throng of people cleared slowly. Clint saw a weird van slalom it's through them, and it stopped just under where the target's office would be. Three men exited and started doing something behind the van where he couldn't see them.
"There a van parked in my line of sight."
Hill snapped once more.
"Focus, Hawkeye. It's probably some curious news casters or people who came to help."
Clint pursed his lips, and fought the impulse to go down from the roof to inspect it.
"I don't like it. I should-"
"You will stay where you are."
"Hill. I really think-"
"You're not paid to think, Barton. Stay where you are and shoot when you see the target."
Barton wanted nothing more than to fire a couple of shots to make the van move. 'Do try to behave.' Those words were running in circles in his head, and kept him from using his rifle to scare the van and the people away.
Suddenly, he heard the distinctive sound of breaking glass, and he jumped his riffle up, just in time to see a man jumping through a window above the van. It took a quarter of a second to recognize his target, another to aim, and then he shot. He saw the man jerk when the bullet shot straight through his head, and the dead man continued his fall toward the ground. Clint gritted his teeth. The men from the van must have set a blow up mattress or something behind the van for him to land on. Which meant that one, he was right and someone should have gone and seen what was going on; and two, someone knew where he was perched and managed to find a way to block his sight. He was about to jump to feet, to disappear before someone got to him, when he heard a chuckle.
He whirled around, knife already in hand when he heard the soft sound of a dart gun and the prick at the side of the neck that meant it had found its target. He just caught a glimpse of his attacker, a petite brunette with the body of a gymnast, who watched him collapsing with a small smile.
He felt his knees buckle, and his head hit the rough grit of the roof, and then he was out.
The song playing was Dreaming with a broken heart, from John Mayer, from which I also drew the title.