(Kissing meme: free choice smooch!)
Phil knows that getting exasperated with Barton will be of no assistance to the situation, but the man can be infuriatingly obstinate. Usually for his own amusement. He’s refusing to climb up into the sniper box without a packed lunch. Apparently he has been forgotten up there in the past, and Phil has a simultaneous sympathy for how damaging to morale being forgotten can be, and how completely appealing it would be to tuck Barton out of sight and out of mind for a few hours.
"You won’t be forgotten," he repeats. “I’ll be at the other end of your comm, and I doubt you can be quiet long enough for me to forget you."
"What if you turn the comms off?" Barton counters. “What if something really important happens and I get left up there?"
"If something important happens then I have no doubt that I’ll be pulling the key marksman down in order to assist with the situation," Phil replies. “Unless you are unwilling to perform your duties, in which case I request that you exit the field now and stop wasting my time.”
"Ouch," Barton replies, forcing his face into an exaggerated expression of grumpiness. “You’ve hurt my feelings now. I can’t go up in the box like this. I’m emotionally compromised."
"Then I have no use for you," Phil replies flatly.
Barton snorts. “I don’t see a spare sniper around here,” he says loftily. Phil holds a hand out for the rifle, and Barton isn’t schooled enough to keep the mild surprise from showing in his face. Phil is still early in his career as mission control, and he’s not a sniper by trade. But he’s stubborn and he’s a lucky shot, which isn’t an ideal skill but it’s better than nothing.
"Tell you what," Barton says after a moment of consideration. “I’ll skip the packed lunch on two conditions." He rushes on before Phil can turn the compromise down. “Firstly, I want to be down before I burn to a crisp up there, okay?"
Phil doesn’t make promises that he can’t keep, so he waits patiently for the second condition.
"Secondly, I’m going to need you to kiss my hurt feelings better."
Phil stares blankly at Barton, and the man offers his cheek up. There are other field agents watching the exchange, because Barton has a reputation for disobedience and watching a control get taken down a peg or two is something that every agent enjoys. If Phil denies Barton, he’s down a sniper. If he indulges him, he loses authority that he barely has a grip on as it is. He takes the middle road.
Slowly, so Barton can track every movement, Phil lifts his left forefinger to his lips and presses a simple, chase kiss to the tip. The he reaches out, and presses the tip of his finger to Barton’s cheek. Barton smirks at him, amused.
"That’s all you got?" he asks.
Phil tilts his head in a motion that resembles a shrug. “All you deserve,” he replies simply. Barton’s eyebrow quirks in amusement, and his mouth splits into a grin.
"I expect you to have a fucking juice box or something ready for me when I get down," he calls over his shoulder as he starts up the ladder. Phil watches his progress without comment. He’s going to leave that punk up in the box all afternoon if he can.