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So I wrote more Avengers fic.

Title: Wide Asleep
Author: [livejournal.com profile] arabwel
Characters/Pairing: Clint Barton/Phil Coulson
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 554
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Warnings: None
Summary: Phil sleeps with his eyes open. H/C, angst
Notes: thanks to [livejournal.com profile] vampkilmer for the beta and feelschat for the encouragement! and of course, thanks to BG for being the one to sleep with his eyes open in the first place.



Clint's always been shit at sleeping; either he sleeps too little or too much, and insomnia's a familiar bitch he's known far too well for far too long.

Phil helps, just by being there. You'd think that a man named after a bird of prey would hate the feeling of being grounded but you'd be wrong. To Clint, Phil is solid, something to hold on to. The perch upon which his nest is built if he's feeling poetic.

But even now - maybe especially now, after everything - he still wakes up in the middle of the night, not always instantly alert but it is not a pleasant drift to awakeness. For a moment he doesn't know where he is, suppresses the urge to bolt up and lash out with a shudder.

It's still nearly dark, with barely a hint of pre-dawn light. Clint sighs and rolls over, intent in burying his face in the crook of Phil's neck.

Blue eyes, staring blankly at nothing.

Clint freezes, a gasp choking in his throat. For the longest moment the bottom falls out of the world and everything implodes.

Phil - dead dead dead oh god Philno - eyes open, staring into nothingness, his lips parted as if to cry out. Blank and unfocused, the pupils dilated wide.

He's sinking, through ice into dark water.

Kick in the stomach.

Staring down the barrel of a gun.

Building collapsing around his head.

Blue glow.

It's all this and more, constricting his chest with unadulterated fear.

Air rushes into his lungs as he sees Phil's chest move, a slight rise that jolts him out of his stupor.

Not dead.

Phil's eyes are still open, staring blankly as Clint lays a trembling hand on his chest, to feel the steady fall and rise, the thudding heartbeat under worn cotton. It is then that Phil's eyes close and he jerks awake, blinking as he looks at Clint.

Clint closes his eyes, wordless. He doesn't have to speak out loud.

He lets Phil pull him into an embrace, buries his head in the crook of Phil's neck, so warm and so alive as his hands clench into the fabric of Phil's t-shirt.

Phil says nothing, just lets him breathe until he's ready, until the words tumble from his tongue. "Thought you were dead," Clint says haltingly, "Your eyes - you were staring at nothing. Like..."

He falls quiet and neither one of them has to fill in the gruesome details. He’s seen too many dead men with their eyes wide open; how the irises grow lax and clouded as light slowly fades without a trace, unlike the blood seeping out from their wounds.

Phil eventually drifts back into sleep, arms around Clint's still-tense body; he can't fall asleep, can only cling to the warmth of Phil's body and take long, shuddering breaths to tell himself, this is real.

This is real.

The next day, Phil brings home one of those stupid little masks people wear in airplanes.

Clint mocks him mercilessly at how stupid it looks, but when he closes his eyes it's with the barest hint of a smile on his face.
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