I fell in love with the pairing after reading a couple fics on archive of our own! Wanted to give it a shot. Hopefully I didn't butcher the characters too badly! There is some original Clint background in it. It's sad but as always - a happy ending. Enjoy and review, thanks xo

pClint was happy. He had never thought he could be, nor ever really felt it, but in the rare moments he got to share with Phil, he was happy. Phil gave him his best side and Clint was able to give him his. He liked Phil a lot. He liked him so much it made him feel physically sick; but not because it was a bad thing, but because whenever Clint liked someone, it usually meant it wasn't going to work out for him./p

pIt was almost half-way through the semester when he started to develop a crush, so to speak, on his Counselor. Clint knew it went deeper than a crush – why wouldn't it? He knew things about Clint he had never told anyone else before. They had a connection, a further understanding of one another. Though his Counselor never disclosed his own life, Clint got him. /p

pSpending hours in the small, stuffy, gray office on a battered navy couch, Clint felt more comfortable than he had in years. The man in front of him listened. That's all he ever wanted. Just someone to listen and not judge him, but give him direction and support./p

pOn their first meeting, Phil was professional. Almost too professional; uptight and cliché. /p

p"I know why you're here, Mr Barton. But let's start by you telling me why you think you are here" Phil has said, crossing one leg over the other, clipboard in lap./p

pClint had refused to answer any questions. He didn't speak a single word for the entire hour. Phil had been patient, didn't snap once and he was curious for the next meeting. Phil understood that the reason Clint Barton sat in his office was because he had had a fight with a teacher. He should have been suspended but Clint Barton's father was a very well-respected, rich and powerful man. If he wanted something swept under the carpet, it would be – no questions asked./p

pTheir second meet came round quickly. Again, Clint sat in front of his Counselor and did not say a word. Phil decided to change tactics. He put the clipboard down, unfolded his legs and stood. Going to the side of the room where a jug of water sat on his desk, he poured himself a glass and gestured to Clint whether he would like one. Clint's eyes had followed him. He declined with a short shake of his head./p

p"You know, we don't have to talk about this. But you are going to be here for a long time. We might as well do something. An hour a week for six months, I mean, that's a lot of hours that will be spent together in this room. Your call. But I'm bored of the silence" Phil fake yawned and took a gulp of water./p

pClint watched at the dorky-looking older gentleman sat back down in front of him. His gray suit clung to him in all the right places and it was didn't appear to have a single crinkle. He studied the mans eyes; light blue, almost too light to call blue, with a dark ring around them. His skin was wrinkled but not in an unattractive way and you could only really tell in certain lights and if you really looked./p

pClint decided the silence was boring him too. He was usually so loud and cock-sure, his friends knew this and if they saw him now, they'd think he was another human being. He took a deep breath and started to talk, knuckles white from clenching his fists so hard. He hadn't even realised he was doing it./p

p"He said..." Clint started, mouth dry. "He said I wasn't good enough and like, it's the only thing I think I'm any good at so it cut deep, you know? It really fucking got to me" Clint looked down into his lap./p

pPhil didn't say anything, but wanted Clint to go on. He chose his words carefully./p

p"So what happened – it was out of anger? Frustration?" he asked, hoping Clint wouldn't shut off again./p

p"I was fucking mad. My archery is the only thing I've got. My dad couldn't give a shit. Him and that whore... they want to put me in boarding school, man. Do you really think I'm the type of person that would fit in at a boarding school?" Clint looked up and stared hard at Phil, who was taken aback./p

p"Um. Well"/p

p"Of course I wouldn't" Clint spat./p

pHe stood up and made for the door, confused as to why he had said anything in the first place. Phil had also got up and was making his way to the door when Clint turned around and shot him a look that Phil couldn't quite make out. /p

p"Please don't tell them I said that" Clint whispered before leaving./p

pPhil was left in the middle of the room utterly confused by what had just occurred. He made it a vow to himself to help Clint Barton in any way he could, because the look Clint had given him was a mixture of pain and desperation and he could not let an eighteen year old have such a negative outlook. Phil felt compelled to pour every ounce of help he had into Clint's weekly meetings. The first step would be to get Clint to open up more. /p

pTheir third meeting was awkward. Clint shuffled into the room and sat down with a heavy sigh. Phil sat comfortably, trying to show Clint that he was open, friendly, that he cared... but Clint didn't seem to understand what Phil was trying so hard to convey and they sat in silence for an hour. When the hour was over, Clint stood, shot Phil an apologizing look and left./p

pWhen Phil was asked by Principal Fury how things were going with the young archer, he couldn't lie. He had told him how things weren't going so well and he was trying to figure a way to get Clint to open up. In all the years he had been a student counselor, this was by far his biggest challenge. Usually the kids blew off steam and that was helpful, he could build on that – but Clint gave him nothing. He hardly even looked at Phil./p

pFury decided to step in./p

p"Look Mr Barton, you're very lucky you weren't suspended. Your father persuaded Mr Odinson, myself and the board to keep you here – the least you could do is commit yourself to Mr Coulson's counseling. If you do not comply, your father will be the first to know" Fury threatened. /p

pHe couldn't let his father drag him off to boarding school, so he decided he would give it a go. Little snippets at a time. He didn't fancy letting everything out to a high-school counsellor. He didn't like to make himself vulnerable. Instead he bottled everything up and got on with it. It had worked until his gym teacher had hit a nerve. /p

pNatasha Romanoff was Clint's best friend. She stood idly as Fury spoke to Clint about his sessions. Fury finished, nodded at her and walked off. She took Clint by the arm and walked him to his next class./p

p"I know it isn't the easiest thing in the world, Clint – but you're strong enough to get through an hour with a counsellor. It could actually really help you. You know, if you let it" she urged sympathetically./p

p"I know, Tasha. It's just, it just blows"/p

p"Of course. But it's only six months and then we can leave this place" Natasha stroked his arm./p

p"Thanks, Tasha. I needed that" he smiled kindly before stepping through the door to math./p

pThe fourth meeting had Phil sitting in shock, but a good shock. Obviously whatever Fury had said to Clint had worked. Clint told him all about his childhood, how he was left at an orphanage and his father had adopted him with his wife. She had died in a traffic accident when he was young and since then his father had been with various women, thrown himself into work and forgotten all about Clint./p

pClint was lonely. Sure he had friends but he didn't have siblings and no one really knew him. Only Natasha, but he couldn't always rely upon her – it wasn't fair. He told Phil how he never wanted to find his birth parents./p

p"They left me, so obviously they aren't worth knowing" he had reasoned./p

pPhil had smiled kindly. His heart ached from Clint's words. He was so bitter, so mature and worldly and he was only eighteen years old. He remembered himself at that age and he was nothing compared to the teenager that sat across from him./p

pHe was a nerdy, superhero loving, academic genius with his life planned out for him. But things didn't work out for him and he had ended up working in a school, helping young people. He had always wanted to work with students but as a teacher. He kind of fell into counseling when that plan hadn't worked out./p

p"Hey, Mr Coulson. What made you decide to become a counsellor?" Clint asked as if he was reading Phil's mind./p

p"Please, call me Phil. I don't know. I wanted to be a teacher, math, you know? But it didn't work out. I met this... person" he coughed. "And they were pretty messed up but I wanted to help them. Unfortunately I couldn't so, I guess, in a warped way, by helping you guys, in my mind I'm making up for it" Phil breathed awkwardly, a tint of sadness in his tone./p

pClint shrugged. "Can't help everybody, Phil" He smiled kindly./p

pPhil's chest tightened. He knew Clint was right and somehow after that he knew their sessions were going to be easier./p

pBy the tenth meeting, Clint talked about everything. He was excited about a competition coming up that he was going to participate in. He had even asked Phil to come along. Phil was unsure at first, but he was curious as to how skilled Clint was with a bow./p

pIt was a Saturday and to Phil's surprise there had been a lot of people turn up to watch the competition. He had never been to anything like it. Through the crowd, he spotted Clint. /p

p"Hey Coulson" Clint winked, practicing on a target./p

p"Pretty impressive" Phil smirked./p

p"You ain't seen nothing yet" Clint laughed./p

pAnd it was true. Phil had never seen anything like it. The accuracy and precision Clint had was incredible. How Thor could've said he wasn't good enough was beyond him. Phil made a mental note to ask him about it. He watched in awe as Clint came first place and accepted his trophy before walking over to Phil, beaming at him./p

p"You did really well. Congratulations" /p

p"Thanks. So, wanna get out of here?" Clint looked up at Phil with bright green eyes, soft dirty blonde hair a mess on top of his head./p

p"What did you have in mind?" Phil questioned, slightly confused./p

p"Food. I'm starving. Let's go"/p

pPhil drove them to a diner just down the block from where the competition had taken place. They sat at a booth and Clint looked relaxed, happy almost. It was the first time he had seen Clint this way and it gave Phil a sensation of warmth and comfort./p

pThey ordered and Clint sat back and sipped on his Sprite through a straw./p

p"Clint, can I ask you something?" Phil was nervous about his reaction./p

p"Shoot" Clint smirked, leaning forward and putting his glass on the table./p

p"What made you get into archery?"/p

p"It's rad. I used to go to the circus a lot before mom died. I wanted to be the worlds greatest marksman" he laughed to himself softly. "Now I just do it to let off steam and because I'm actually good at it" he shrugged. "So yeah... why?" he hesitated before picking up his drink again./p

p"It's interesting, is all. Most kids your age want to be the next biggest celebrity. It's different... refreshing" Phil mumbled, nervously./p

pTheir food appeared on the table and Clint watched the girl walk away before turning back to Phil. He gave him a smile and dug into his cheeseburger. Witnessing Clint eye-up the waitress did something to Phil. He couldn't pin-point it though so decided to drop it. Unfortunately he couldn't shake the feeling all the way to Clint's house and back to his apartment. He laid in bed going over his day. Tomorrow he would do some writing, read a book and plan his next sessions with Clint. /p

pMonday soon came around and sitting in the staff room eating his lunch, he noticed Thor come in. Taking a gulp of coffee, he walked over to him./p

p"Hey Thor" he started./p

p"Ah young Coulson. How are you?" Thor smiled broadly./p

p"Fine, thank you. Yourself?"/p

p"I feel fantastic today" Thor chuckled. "Do you wish to ask me something?"/p

p"Actually, yes. I wanted to know why you and Clint had that... mishap" Phil smiled awkwardly./p

p"Ah, Yes, Mr Barton. I was simply trying to push him to do better. He took offense to my words of encouragement. I did not mean for, as you said, the mishap to happen" Thor looked genuinely upset by what had occurred./p

p"I understand. Did you try to explain that to him?" Phil asked./p

p"He did not wish to participate in conversation with me" Thor shrugged./p

p"That's a shame. Maybe I could speak to him about it? Set up a meeting?" Phil urged./p

p"Of course. I would be more than willing, young Coulson" Thor smiled, patting Phil on the shoulder. "Thank you"/p

pPhil finished his lunch and went to his office to sort the room out before Clint's appointment. Not only did he want to speak to Clint about Thor but he had news that he hoped Clint would enjoy./p

pA knock at the door startled Phil, although he was expecting it. Turning round, he saw Clint walk in the room. He looked exhausted and angry, the complete opposite to what he had been like on the weekend./p

p"How are you today, Clint?" Phil smiled, gesturing for him to sit./p

p"Fine" Clint whispered, taking his seat./p

p"Just fine?" Phil queried./p

p"Yes" Clint whispered again./p

p"I won't push you. I do have some things I want to discuss with you this afternoon, though" Phil smiled./p

p"Yeah?" Clint looked up, meeting the older gentleman's eyes./p

p"Firstly, I spoke to Thor. Now, before you say anything, hear me out. Thor said he was only trying to encourage you. Yes it may have been in a strange manner, but that's Thor all over" Phil smiled. "I'd like to set up a meeting where you can apologize to each other. Even if you don't want to, it will show Fury and your father good faith. What do you say?" Phil looked hopeful./p

p"Sure. Whatever, dude" Clint nodded, trying to not look at the man in front of him./p

p"Secondly, I heard the Coney Island circus is on this weekend and I would like to take you" /p

pClint's eyes widened before going dark, then watery and before Phil knew it, Clint had run out of the room and Phil was left sitting in the gray office alone, dumbfounded. That was not how it was supposed to happen. Phil tried to go after him but he was nowhere to be seen. He sat down at his desk with his head in his hands before he heard a knock at the door. /p

p"Oh Jesus. Natasha, you startled me" /p

pThe redhead walked into the room and right up to the desk. She took a chair apposite him and put her elbows on the desk, leaning into him. Phil sat back, confused. /p

p"Mr Coulson. You need to understand, Clint doesn't open up to people. You knowing about the circus - it means he trusts you. He'll come round to the idea. I know he's been thinking about going for a while. Give him time. It means something to him, you know? You talking about it has just freaked him out" The sleek redhead gave him a slight smile before getting up and leaving the room before Phil had a chance to say anything back./p

pHe desperately hoped she was right. He didn't want to fuck it up between himself and the young archer./p

pClint sat on his bed, hunched over his knees, gripping his ankles tight and holding back the tears. He was whispering to himself, trying to calm down./p

p"How could he fucking say that? How? What fucking planet is that guy on? I mean, I want to. I would do anything to go with him, but fuck. Him. I fucking. I can't handle myself around him anyway, let alone going to some place like that. Our special place..." and that's when he felt the tears stinging his eyes, his cheeks were soaked and his breathing was erratic./p

pThe teenager sobbed into his pillow before taking a few deep breaths and pulling himself together. He decided he would take Phil up on his offer but on one condition. /p

pPhil collapsed on to his bed. He felt awful about what had happened. He felt sick to his stomach. He had never wanted to hurt Clint. He thought taking him would help him on his way to becoming happier./p

pRolling over onto his side he felt his cell vibrate in his pocket. Pulling it out, he stopped breathing as he read the text over and over./p

p'I'll go. One condition – we go as friend's and not student/counselor. Clint'br /
Phil breathed again before replying./p

p'How did you get this number? Also, I'd very much like that'/p

pA beat./p

p'Dad's secretary. Good – see you tomorrow, Coulson'/p

pThe next day, Phil had arranged for Thor and Clint to have a conversation. It went well and they had shook hands before Thor left. Clint smiled at Phil when they were alone. He was glad that he had been able to make up with his teacher. After all, Mr Odinson was his favourite. He was weird, but in a good way./p

pThey didn't speak about the texts but Phil wanted to. Clint kept giving him small smiles every time they stopped talking. They were almost mischievous. Phil liked the way they made him feel like they were the only people in the school, the state, the country. /p

pBefore Clint left, he thanked Phil for what he had done and had pulled him into a hug before letting go and blushing. Phil felt odd, again. He didn't know what these feelings meant but he was definitely looking forward to the weekend./p

pAfter three more meetings, it was the weekend. Phil had dressed in tight denim jeans, a black t-shirt and a jacket, complimented by a pair of beat up boots. He drove to Clint's and waited outside. Clint was out of the door within a matter of seconds, dressed in black jeans, converse and a tight tee. Phil tried not to look for too long./p

p"Hey, Coulson" Clint greeted him before Phil swallowed thickly and tried not to give into thinking too far into the way he was feeling./p

pThey drove for half an hour before parking the car and stepping out into the cool sea breeze. Clint's eyes lit up and he had to contain his excitement. He felt seven years old again. Almost running, they paid for their ticket into the circus and Clint took the steps he still remembered to the swordsman's tent./p

pThey sat on one of the long benches and the show started. Clint didn't take his eyes off the swordsman, and Phil watched the teenager with a look of awe. Once the show was over, they went on a couple of rides before getting a hotdog and walking back to the car./p

p"Thank you for this, Coulson. You have no idea how much I appreciate it" Clint smiled, chuckling to himself as Phil blushed./p

p"No worries. I am glad you came" Phil smiled beneath the burning of his skin./p

pGetting into the car, Clint asked for a mint. They both sucked on the peppermint as Coulson started up the car. Before he pulled away, Clint grabbed Phil's arm to stop him. He then slid both of his hands up to Phil's face and planted a soft kiss upon the older mans lips./p

pPhil gave into the kiss and pulled Clint closer to him, feeling the ripples of muscle on the younger mans back. He let out a soft moan as they broke for air. He then realised what was happening was wrong./p

p"No, Phil. Before you fucking say it. No. Stop thinking, just kiss me" Clint pulled him into a brief kiss again before Phil leaned back./p

p"Clint, I can't. You're eighteen. I'd lose my job... I can't" he looked down into his lap, noticing he had a semi. He leaned his head back, the word 'fuck' coming out in a sigh./p

pClint sat back in the chair. The sound of the motor running was the only thing he could hear. /p

p"Phil. I'm legal and I like you. I don't care that I'm your student. I want you and I'm pretty sure you want me. You won't lose your job. I'm great at keeping secrets" Clint rushed, almost pleading./p

p"Clint. It's abuse of power. I shouldn't have even brought you here. It's unprofessional. I'm so sorry, Clint"/p

p"Fuck you, Coulson. Don't fucking say you regret bringing me here. I've had one of the best days I've had in a while. Don't fucking ruin it by telling me you shouldn't have brought me" Clint got out of the car and slammed the door behind him before leaning against it, his head in his hands./p

pPhil turned he ignition of and took a deep breath before getting out of the car too. Walking round, he stood in front of the teenager. He didn't know what to say or do. He was helpless which is something he hated being. /p

p"I was involved with someone I was teaching when I was a substitute. He was eighteen and severely depressed. I tried to help him but I couldn't and he.. he committed suicide. I didn't know what to do with my life so I decided to make it my mission to help young people. I couldn't save him and it's my biggest regret. I couldn't even tell anyone because I should never have been with a student. Now I'm thirty and it's like it's happening all over again" Phil tried to hold back his tears, he really did, but they flowed. /p

pHe hadn't noticed Clint wiping them away until he his chest stopped heaving. Clint soothed him, stroking his cheek and holding him close./p

p"It's not going to happen again because I'm happy when I'm with you, Phil. And so what if you're thirty. Twelve years is fuck all. I think I've had enough life experience to compete, don't you?" he gave in and kissed Phil's temple./p

pPhil laughed softly and nodded. Shuffling out of the embrace, he stepped back and looked at Clint. He was so beautiful. Phil knew that how he felt about the young man in front of him was wrong but he couldn't help it. Clint intrigued him. He never thought he would be in this position again. Clint smiled shyly at him./p

p"Let's go"/p

p"Thank you" Phil whispered before getting back into the car./p

pDriving back, Clint had asked if he could go back to Phil's. He said he didn't feel like going home yet but Phil was apprehensive. He swallowed hard before throwing caution to the wind. They parked outside his apartment complex and moved quickly inside./p

pOnce inside, Phil took his shoes off and welcomed Clint to his home. /p

p"It's not much" Phil laughed awkwardly, trying to judge Clint's expression./p

p"I like it. It's cosy" Clint smiled. /p

pPhil remembered Clint was used to the mansion of a house he lived in but then he felt sad for a moment because it's not the only home Clint had known. He had been orphaned and he could only imagine what the conditions were like on the outskirts of New York./p

pSettling onto the couch, Clint smiled at Phil who was staring at him. He realized he probably looked creepy and decided to ask him if he would like a drink. He only had water or beer and of course the young archer opted for the beer. He shouldn't have offered it to him in the first place. First he liked an eighteen year old, secondly he took him back to his apartment after taking him out and thirdly he was now encouraging underage drinking./p

p"Chill, Coulson. It's only a beer. The feds won't be turning up any time soon" Clint laughed as he watched Phil open the bottles./p

pAfter their fifth beer each, Clint started to get closer until finally Phil couldn't resist. He took Clint's face in his hands and kissed him hard. Clint reciprocated and before they knew it, they were undressing each other, pressing kisses into intimate places on one anther's bodies. /p

pMaking love to Clint wasn't something he had initially planned on, but being lost in the moment, an orgasm rushing through his body, he couldn't care less about the thoughts that hung in the back of his mind. All he cared about was the look of satisfaction on Clint's face. /p

pWhen they were finished, they laid together on Phil's couch, entwined in each others fluids. /p

p"I think I love you, Phil" Clint whispered into the older mans chest./p

pPhil kissed his hair and smiled to himself before hearing Clint's soft snores./p

pThey didn't need 182 meetings, Phil decided. He spoke to Fury and told him of the success of the counseling and how Clint was a changed young man. /p

p"I have to hand it to you, Coulson. He does seem to be doing well, which means his father is happy, which means we still have a donor. Good work. Expect a bonus" Fury half smiled before gesturing for him to leave his office./p

pPhil felt strange about how Fury had spoken to him but he shrugged it off and went to find Clint. To his surprise, he was sitting in his office with Natasha./p

p"Hello" Phil cleared his throat before sitting at his desk. "Fury's cleared you. You're now free from counseling sessions" Phil smiled./p

pClint smiled back then at Natasha, who was eying Phil in a very weird way. She then turned to face Clint and threw her arms around him. Phil had never seen Natasha be so affectionate. The bond the pair shared must be very deep, Phil thought to himself./p

p"Let's celebrate. Tasha, you in?"/p

p"No, not tonight. Another time, but I'm proud of you"/p

pClint's cell started to ring and he excused himself, closing the door to the office behind him. Natasha sat forward again in the chair, just like she did before./p

p"I knew you'd make him happy, Coulson. Thank you for bringing my friend back" the redhead purred before slipping out the office./p

pOnce again Phil found himself on the other end of a one sided conversation. Clint returned and Phil sat up, smiling. He then stood. He wanted to take Clint in his arms so badly but knew it wouldn't be a good idea at school. Clint would be finished soon and then off to college. He had already decided upon NYU and Phil was excited that they would still be able to see one another./p

pTurning off the light and leaving the office, the pair made their way to the outside of school. They agreed to both drive to Phil's for celebratory drinks. /p

pWalking into the apartment, Clint pulled Phil into him and kissed him with every ounce of himself. /p

p"I love you, Phil. Thank you so much" Clint breathed./p

p"I love you too. Don't thank me. I'm so glad you came into my life" Phil replied./p

pAnd with that, they kissed once more before retiring to the bedroom with a bottle of champagne./p

p /p