Phil's new hot neighbour needs a lot of help. Not that Phil minds spending time with the guy, but how destructive and helpless can a grown man be? Until it turns out he's not that helpless at all and might have sabotaged his own apartment on purpose...
“House is a beggar,” is what Phil’s mother had
told him, back when Phil was first moving in, some fifteen years ago. Honestly,
he’d almost wished she’d told him before he spent weeks looking at homes
and then more weeks doing all the freaking mortgage paperwork. And she wasn’t
even helping him move in so much as she was standing around criticizing – in a
loving way, because his mom loved him, she just couldn’t seem to help fussing,
either – the way he was laying out the furniture or the fact that one of
Phil’s moving buddies had managed to ding the wall with the sofa.
Mom was gone now, and the house was still
begging. Phil wiped sweat off his forehead and stood back to look at his work.
The front gutter had come loose during the last storm and rather than just
tying it back on with wire, Phil decided it was past time to get a whole new
rainwater disposal system and had installed Leaf-guards all over the house.
Looked a little space-aged and weird against the roof of his flat-faced
Colonial, but whatever. Cleaning the gutters out had been one of his least
favorite tasks ever, so this was bound to be better.
“Mornin’ Phil,” said hot neighbor guy, which
scared the hell out of Phil and he almost dropped his tool bucket. Hot
neighbor-guy – Kit? Chris? Clint! That was it! – had moved in two weeks ago
and he was the sneakiest son of a bitch that Phil had ever met. At the moment,
he was perched up on the roof of his overhanging porch, leaning against the
column, shirtless and sweaty, looking down into the yard. He had a supersized
cup of coffee in one hand, thus the morning comment, even though it was
technically half-past noon.
“Did I wake you?” It was a legit concern. Clint
was always coming in at weird hours; Phil got the feeling he worked nights and
there was only so quiet one could be while attaching gutters to the side of the
Clint made a vague sort of gesture that could
have meant no, yes, yes and I’m going to kill you, or yes but that’s okay.
“Wonderin’ if you have a wrench in that bucket of yours,” he said, leaning
over, the balancing act he was doing against the rail with his cup of coffee
was impressive and made the muscles in his biceps stand out. Given that the man
was already sweating, Phil could be forgiven for staring. Sort of. It was
rude, but hey…
“What sort of wrench?” Phil asked, trying not to
roll his eyes because the way Clint said wrench, he might as well have said
tricorder. The man obviously didn’t know the business end of a tool.
Clint jerked his thumb back, indicating his
house. “Shower’s not workin’ right.”
“Do you know how to fix it?”
“Not really,” Clint said. “How hard could it
Phil rolled his tongue around in his mouth a little
and decided he was just too nice a guy to let Clint tear his own shower to
pieces just to teach him a lesson. “Give me a minute and I’ll come take a look
at it,” Phil offered. “I’m handy with tools.”
Clint blinked, almost choked on a mouthful of his
coffee and flashed Phil a look. “I’ll bet you are,” he muttered. “Yeah, yeah
–” louder this time. “–That’d be great. I’ll owe you one.”
“Oh, man, I owe you one,” Clint said, opening
and shutting the closet door. “That was driving me nuts.”
“I have to say, I’m impressed,” Phil said, not
minding that Clint was standing just a little too close, having pinned him in
between Clint’s impressive arms and the wall as he tested out the new door.
“I’ve never seen anyone install every single hinge upside down and backward.
Statistically, you should have gotten at least one of them right.”
Clint snorted. “These hands have many talents,
but carpentry ain’t one of ‘em.”
Hardly carpentry, installing a new door, but
whatever. Phil had gone through all of this, years before, as he learned to do
the maintenance that went with owning a home. It was why they were called buildings
instead of builts. Never actually finished. Back in the day, with money
tight, it was learn to rewire the kitchen, or turn off all the lights in the
living room before using the toaster. It was dealing with a leaking ceiling for
months before learning how to patch a roof. Figuring out how to replace the
element in the oven, or eating stove-top all the time. Phil had figured it out.
And as Clint paid attention and had never asked
for Phil’s help with the same issue more than once, Phil was willing to pass on
his knowledge to someone else. He’d even packed up his old copies of Your Home
and You, a self-help guide to basic home improvement, and was planning to give
them to Clint as a birthday present or something. Except he kept forgetting,
and for Clint’s birthday Phil had ended up baking a cake and bringing over a
6-pack of microbrew dark ale, which went spectacularly with Clint’s baked
mac&cheese and then the books just seemed like too much.
And it wasn’t actually a hardship, spending time
with Clint, practically under the man while Phil showed him how to fix a leaky
pipe, or letting Clint hold onto his hips while he balanced on a footstool and
installed a ceiling fan. Getting physical and sweaty with Clint was a privilege
and a pleasure. Even if they were painting the fucking walls and not painting
Dirty old man.
Not that Phil was old – just forty-seven
– but he was quite a bit older than Clint, who’d just put thirty-three candles
on his cake. He wasn’t quite old enough to be Clint’s father, but certainly old
enough that Clint wouldn’t look twice. They’d settled into a sort of
mentor-apprentice friendship, so Phil thought and it was nice enough. Phil
didn’t have many friends who lived in the same state. The side effect of being
retired military is that all his friends retired to different places around the
“Any time,” Phil said. And he meant that.
“How many do I owe you at this point?” Clint
asked as Phil squirmed into the narrow crawlspace.
“About two hundred and thirty,” Phil said. He
shone the flashlight. “Yep. Squirrels got up here, I think. Your wiring’s all
chewed up. No problem, I can fix it, but you’ll want to get a pest-control
service set up to live-trap or something.”
Cookies were nice, Phil decided as Clint curled
up on the sofa next to him. It had become a thing. Phil did maintenance and
repair work on Clint’s house and Clint baked cookies – or brownies, or pie, or
on one marvelous occasion, an Oreo cheesecake that had been, if not to die for,
at least to maim for – as thanks, and they would eat junk food and watch
terrible tv. The first few times, Clint had sat in the recliner, but the whole
getting up four times to get more cake thing got old and now they just sat
Clint was very… cuddly. Like an overgrown puppy
or something. Phil would find himself, toward the end of the movie, with Clint
napping against his shoulder, or sometimes with his head resting on Phil’s
thigh. Whenever Phil was certain that Clint was asleep, he’d sometimes give in
to temptation and run his fingers through Clint’s soft, buzz-cut hair.
“So, in terms of work versus baked goods,” Clint
said, stuffing two of the white chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookies into his
mouth at once and chewing noisily. How the man managed to be so damned sexy
while still being a complete and utter trainwreck, Phil had no idea. “How do
you think we’re doing? I don’t want to be the slack half of this relationship.”
Phil chuckled. “It’s all good,” he said. It was,
really, it was. It certainly wasn’t Clint’s fault that Phil wanted an actual
relationship. Neighbors. They were neighbors. And Clint was a young, hot man,
with his whole life ahead of him, while Phil was… retired. He’d be sending his
kids off to college if he’d gotten his act together when he was of age for
that, but he never had, and whenever he looked at Clint, he knew why. Because
that, right there. Clint Barton. That was all Phil had ever wanted. And
since it came ‘round too late, Phil would just take what he could get and be
happy with it. He was philosophical that way.
“Yeah,” Clint said, one afternoon after Phil and
he wrestled the old dishwasher down the driveway, and then installed a new one,
“I don’t think this is working out anymore.”
“Huh?” Phil wiped his oily fingers off on a
“The I owe you one,” Clint said. “Think I need
to square up my debt and get out of your life.”
The entire world dropped six feet under his feet
and left Phil scrambling with the feeling of what the utter fuck.
“Clint, you don’t owe me anything,” Phil protested. “I’m happy to –”
“But I’m not,” Clint said, not meeting
his gaze. “And it just gets harder every time.”
Don’t leave me. “Well, I’m still happy to help out,” Phil said. “The cookies and
the movies, that can go, if you’re uncomfortable with it. I try not to let… I
mean, if you… I didn’t know it was so obvious.”
Clint blinked. “What’s obvious?”
“That I –” Phil said, thens stopped. “Wait,
what are you talking about?”
“You,” Clint said, running one hand through his
hair. “You. I mean, I know you think I’m just a kid, but I haven’t been on a
date in months because whenever I take someone else out, I end up feelin’ like
an asshole because I’d rather it was you. And you keep me at arm’s length, like
you don’t want to encourage some stupid kid with a crush, like all Don’t
Stand So Close to Me or something. An’ now you’re looking at me like that,
and I’ll just… I should go.”
Phil swallowed a lump in his throat somewhat
larger than a golf ball. “It’s your house, Clint,” he pointed out.
“Yeah. I guess. Kinda runnin’ out of things for
you to fix, too, so… sooner or later, you were gonna figure it out, that I was
just lookin’ for an excuse to spend time with you, and I don’t want to make you
have to let me down easy, so…”
“So, how much do you think you owe me?” Phil
said, chest breaking open with sudden hope.
“I dunno,” Clint said. He still hadn’t looked
up, hadn’t noticed the entire tenor change of the conversation. “You keep my
life runnin’, Phil. I don’t even know how to repay you for all that.”
Phil closed the distance between them, ran one
grease-stained finger under Clint’s chin and lifted his head. “I know another
currency you could use, if you think you still owe me anything,” he suggested.
Clint tried to speak, but he somehow got lost,
staring at Phil like a starving man, his mouth working but no words came out.
“The exchange is open for kisses, as well,” Phil
Something sparked then, and Clint’s mouth turned
up in a shy, hopeful smile. “Is it?”
“Yeah,” Phil said. He was close enough now that
he could feel the tickle of Clint’s breath against his cheek.
“Think I might have a few of those to spare.” His
arms went around Phil’s neck, one hand sliding into Phil’s hair, cradling the
back of his skull. And when Clint’s mouth came down on his, Phil opened his
lips and wondered what else in Clint’s house might need fixing.
@tisfan (Find me on A03 as well for Clint/Coulson and other marvel ships!)
I’m just saying that, if given my druthers, I would absolutely end this season of aos on the high note of Phil Coulson and Melinda May going on a “we are finally getting together”/“let’s recover from this mess” (do not tell me that May doesn’t need it and that Phil would not be dead set on making sure she gets it) vacation together and Daisy Johnson being left as Acting Director of SHIELD.
“Hey guys, welcome to my AU fic of Agents of SHIELD. Just letting you guys know, there’ll be lots of Skyeward and Mackelena family feels, Phil as a teacher, and May as a HYDRA agent. Also, I’m hella anti-Fitzsimmons. Jemma’s dead in my fic because I hate that bitch. Also, just FYI, I’m shipping myself with Fitz. I know this is hella self-inserting but it’s gonna be awesome! Make sure to leave a kudos and a review and let me know if you want me to continue this fic.” 🙂🙂🙂