Title: Come Together
Author: Saydria Wolfe
Genre: Rule 63 (Girl!Clint Barton), Sentinels and Guides are Known
Relationships: Clint Barton/Phil Coulson
Author’s Notes: I’m playing with the idea of a longer Sentinel Clint/Guide Coulson, consider this the prequel.
Challenge: Just Write Trope Bingo, Square: Courtship
Beta: PN Ztivokreb
Word Count: 1,371
Summary: Phil Coulson is a guide. Phil Coulson is asexual. No, he’s not broken. He’s just…different.
“Got you Tangy Thai Ribs and Chicken Pad Thai,” Clint announced as she placed the to-go boxes in question on his desk, maneuvering carefully around all the paperwork.
“And for yourself?” Phil asked as he set aside his pen with a small smile.
“Comfort food,” she pulled out the clear container holding over a pint of soup. “Pumpkin and Coconut soup.”
Phil blinked at her. “Is something bothering you? That’s…I—It’s none of my business.”
“It kinda is,” she hedged as she popped off the top and picked up her spoon. “I…you do know we’re courting, right?”
“What?” Phil almost dropped his chopsticks in shock. No sentinel had ever expressed interest in him. He’d thought…well, he’d never thought one would because he was…well.
Clint raised a brow at him. “You accepted my gesture, Phil. I killed your enemy—you said the words.”
“Klaue,” he realized so belatedly he would be ashamed if he had the room for it. “That’s why no one said anything when you cut him in half.”
“He touched you.” Clint scowled. “He kidnapped you. He gave you scars. He’s lucky the international code of conduct limited me, or he’d had spent his last week praying for death.”
“And no one could censure you because of courting protocols.” Phil gave up on the chopsticks and grabbed a fork. He stabbed some rib meat that had fallen off the bones and sat back. “What else have you done?”
Phil thought about it and looked over the spread on the table. Clint had been bringing him food at work two or three times a week as their schedules allowed for months—specifically since she had killed Klaue. She’d even brought him the best corn and clam chowder he’d ever had—better even than his mom’s.
He had been eighty percent sure she’d actually made it—now he was positive she had.
“Granted,” he agreed.
“Enforced your personal space.”
“That’s why Sitwell hasn’t been in my office since…”
“Since Klaue?” Clint smirked. “Yeah. Also, why Fury calls you up to a conference room to talk rather than cornering you in one office or the other.”
“What’s next?” he asked. He’d…honestly, he’d blocked out the Courting Protocols he’d been taught in guide training. Once he’d accepted that he was ace, he’d assumed a sentinel would never pursue him or indulge his pursuit of them.
“Next you would invite me into your space and to see if we suit outside of work,” she frowned. “But other than your acceptance, you haven’t given me any signals that you’re even interested.”
Lead settled in his stomach.
“I mean, you’ve only smelled of desire once and I’m not even sure it was for me. I mean, you were looking at me but…humans smell of all kinds of things all the time.”
Oh, god. This was going to get humiliating. “Have you ever smelled desire on me?”
“Once or twice,” she tipped her head to one side. “Only once that…do you…not?”
She looked antsy so he pushed away from his desk and leaned back in his chair, signaling her permission to sit in his lap. For once in her damn life, Clint Barton did not have to be told twice—she practically teleported into his space.
“Not usually,” he admitted as he settled his hands on her hips. “I do have a sex drive. And while I usually…take care of it myself, I don’t mind sharing that on occasion.”
“Huh,” she tucked her head into his neck, nuzzling his pulse point. “So, if you could tell me what I did last week…?”
Phil huffed. “After you killed McGuire? With your bare hands. You came back to me—back to base—caked in mud with his blood on your face. Your hair was loose around your head…”
“He knocked my helmet off, I told you!” she objected. “He grabbed my braid and tried to use it to…”
“To control you, to stop you,” Phil supplied, pulling her closer. “But you cut it off, sacrificed your pride and joy to finish the mission. To protect the tribe.
“You had this feral light in your eyes and I…I wanted to taste you.”
Clint shivered and grinned up at him, “You have a danger boner!”
“Clint,” he chided.
“No, really, you do! And of course, I’m perfect for that. I’m on the record for the youngest feral episode in the last two hundred years.”
He sobered at that. He knew going feral for the first time before she even started school—and the fact that she’d held the feral edge for years—had affected Clint’s brain chemistry in terrifying ways. She had less tolerant boundaries on what she considered a threat to the Tribe and was faster to permanently end such threats than even most alpha sentinels.
He couldn’t deny that he found her hard and fast standards attractive but… “I hate that you had to kill your father.”
“I’m not,” Clint rolled her eyes. “I saved my mother and brother. They are each worth ten of him.
“But back to us,” she poked him in the chest. “Do you want to bond? Not with me, per se, but to anyone? Do you want one at all?”
“Of course, I do,” he admitted roughly. “I have that…hard empty place inside me that every unbonded guide does. A sentinel bond is the only thing that will help that. Not even having my gifts deactivated by a shaman would put an end to that.”
“You asked?” she questioned carefully.
“Last year,” he admitted. “I didn’t think a sentinel would ever want me because…I can’t do sex multiple times a day like most guides. A few times a month, probably. Multiple times a day would…kill me. Be very uncomfortable. Alpha Sandburg took my concerns seriously. He answered all my questions and told me to give it six months. If I hadn’t changed my mind in six months, he would make himself available to help me.”
“And,” Phil sunk his fingers into her hair and made her look at him. “Not a month later, I was sent on a recruitment mission. This sentinel had been borrowed from the Marines by agency after agency and Deputy Director Fury wanted her for himself.”
He could feel hope swell inside Clint’s chest. “Yeah?”
“Yeah,” he agreed. “It took me a while to track her down. When I did, she turned my world upside down, but she was so…much. She was everything from the first day I met her, but I never thought I could be more than her handler. So, I made sure Fury made me her handler and I told myself it would be enough.”
“And now, I think we should finish our dinner. And tomorrow, you should come for dinner at my place.”
Clint’s entire body lit up, her grin practically glowed. Then she leaned back and tipped her head to one side. “Do you know what you just offered me? In terms of our courting?”
“Not a clue,” he admitted.
Rather than be offended, Clint laughed. “I’ll let you read up on it, then.”
“Not one,” she snickered.
“Your spirit guide is a coyote, isn’t it?”
Clint snorted. “No.”
Clint shook her head at him, laughing outright once again.
“Some sort of trickster, it’s gotta be.”
“My spirit guide is a very well-rounded individual,” she said with something approaching dignity. “And since we’re so well rounded, I’ll let you confirm whether you still want me to come over tomorrow when you send me your address.”
“Alright.” He waited and Clint grabber her soup from the far side of the desk and curled up around it in his lap. “You want any of this?” he asked as he picked up his fork and poked at his ribs.
“Normally, I’d be all for it,” she admitted, and he snorted. She’d been stealing his ribs for so long, he always ordered double now. “But my stomach is delicate when I’m menstrual. Liquid calories are the only happy calories—you know, once a month.”
“I will remember.” It was surprisingly comfortable, eating dinner with a full-grown sentinel in his lap. “I make a killer baked potato soup.”
She smiled brightly up at him. “I look forward to it.”
Back to Bingo Page.
Before you go, look at this asshole! Who gave him the right to be so cute? With the little SHIELD emblem on his heel. What a jerk. LOL!