Day 5

Title: Day 5
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Marvel
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Natasha/Clint/Coulson
Disclaimer: Not my characters. I wish they were mine. I definitely don’t get paid for this.
Summary: Clint's sick and stuck in a safehouse with Natasha for Christmas.
Notes: Written during my 12 Ficlets in 12 Days in 2017-18 project project for Smokeycat_430

Natasha Romanova stood at the doorway, surveying the scene before her. Over the past few years, she had been a Soviet spy. She had rescued a clone of herself from an arms dealer. She had even stopped an alien invasion in New York City. But crossing the room without waking up Clint Barton was going to be her most difficult mission yet.

Boots in hand, she stepped barefoot off the landing at the base of the stairs. Step by careful step, she made her way across the living room, past the bookcase full of books no one had ever read; past the side table covered in tissues and bottles of water; and past the sofa where Clint lay sprawled, snoring, and tangled up in blankets. She avoided stepping on an empty tissue box and on a crinkley cough drop wrapper. She was almost to the doorway on the opposite side, almost to the kitchen, when her mobile phone went off.

She grabbed for it, sliding it out to silence it, but the damage had been done. Clint coughed and cleared his throat and coughed again. He lunged for the water bottle. After taking a gulp, he fell back against the pillows and blankets and couch cushions. “Who called?”

Natasha checked. “It was just a text.” Then she shook her head. “It wasn’t him. I haven’t heard from him.”

Frowning, Clint rolled onto his side, half his body and face buried in comfort and the other part exposed and cold. “He brobised he’d be here by Christbas.”

Walking back over to the couch, she covered him back up with the blankets. She pulled and tucked and folded until he was covered up again. “That’s two whole days away. He’ll be here.

“What if… what… uhhh-HIHShkoooo! Sniff! What if the snow storm gets worse and he can’t get through to us?”

“If he said he’d be here, he’ll be here,” she repeated. “And if you don’t get some real sleep, you’re still going to be sick when he gets here, and that’s not going to be any fun.”

“I’b too stuffed ub to go back to sleeb. By throat itches. Add by dose tickles.” He sighed deeply. “I dod’t feel good.”

“You have a cold. You’re not dying,” she smirked. She walked around the couch and sat down on the edge. He rolled over onto his other side then curled his body around her a little. She stroked his cheek, the stubble rough against her fingers. “What can I do to help you feel better?”

He reached up and grabbed for her, pulling her down with him. She giggled as he wrapped his arms around her and snuggled her close.

“Hey, hey! Your nose is wet!”

“It’s ruddig. Sniff! I deed a tissue.”

She grabbed one from the tissue box and passed it over her shoulder to him.


“Anything to keep you from sneezing on me.”

“I would’t… I…”

“You have to sneeze again right now, don’t you?”

There was a pause then a soft, “Baybe.”

She laughed and passed back another tissue.

uhhhh… uh-Hrgkshoo!

* * *

“Are you going to help decorate, or are you just going to lie there?”

Wrapped up tight in blankets, Clint had a tissue pressed to his nose with one hand and his phone in the other. He swiped down with his thumb, refreshing the message page repeatedly. “Why haved’t we heard frob hib? Sniff!

“You know how missions can get. He’s probably tied up with S.H.I.E.L.D. business. I’m sure he’ll get in touch as soon as he can, as soon as it’s safe.” She opened up the box at her feet and lifted out several strings of lights, all tangled together. “In the meantime, do you want to help me out here?” This might just be their temporary home for the moment, but she was determined to make it a festive one. All this hopping from safe house to safe house to avoid Hydra was starting to take its toll, and with Clint catching cold, Christmas cheer wasn’t coming easily to them. Nat had put up a fake tree, trimmed with impersonal but colorful bulbs, but she wanted to hang lights around the room, assuming she could separate out the strings.

“I dod’t thidk so,” Clint answered, burying his phone under a cushion and hunkering down further in his nest of blankets on the couch. “I dod’t feel good.”

“It’s just a head cold. You’ve had worse, Clint.”

He shrugged as though he couldn’t imagine feeling any worse than he did right now. He gave her a skeptical look then rolled over, burying his face in in the back of the couch. His whole body tensed up. “uhh-Hrkffff! Uhhh-HERKfffffff!

“Can I get you—”

“Doe,” he answered shortly. “Just go do uhhh whatever Huhh… huh-URShffffff!

Natasha laid a hand on his back, starting to rub.

But Clint shrugged her off. “Go!”

She sighed. “All right.” She resisted the urge to adjust the blankets that had slipped when he’d last sneezed. Instead, she continued decorating. There was the wreath on the door, three stockings over the fireplace, and candles on the coffee table beside the tissues. Finally, Natasha draped some lights across the back of the couch and turned them on to the blinking setting. Clint raised his head, looking at the lights. “You hate these, don’t you?”

He stared for a minute and then, slowly, smiled despite himself. “Sorry for beig ad ass. I just biss hib. I really ab glad you’re here.”

She dropped a kiss to his forehead. “I know I’m not Phil, but do you want me to keep you warm?”

He nodded and lifted the blankets. “Always.”

* * *

The Christmas Eve hockey game was well into the third period when the series of locks on the door disengaged. Natasha looked over to see Phil’s face on the monitor just a moment before he came in, stomping snow off his boots on the welcome mat. She hopped up from the floor where she’d been eating nachos and launched himself at him before he even had a chance to slip out of his parka.

“Well hi!” was all Phil managed to get out before Natasha’s tackle-hug evolved into tackle-kisses. He wrapped her arms around him as the door swung shut and locked behind him. It was a good, long while before they broke apart. “Hi,” he said again, almost bashfully. “I’m sorry I’m a few days later than I said.”

“I understand how these things go. Clint, on the other hand…” She tilted her head toward the couch. He looked past her. He took in the overwhelming decorations and also the tissues in the scene before him.

Clint was once again sprawled out on the couch, mouth open, snoring lightly. Phil frowned, concerned. “Something’s got to be wrong if he’s sleeping through hockey.”

She nodded. “He doesn’t feel good. It’s just a bad head cold, but it’s totally kicking his ass.”

“Kicking Hawkeye’s ass? That’s got to be one hell of a cold. You haven’t caught it?”

“No, and that’s impressive, considering how intimate we’ve been.”

Phil gave her a smile. “Is that as close as Natasha Romanova gets to saying words like snuggle and cuddle?”

She laughed softly, her hands on Phil’s chest, loosening his necktie. “I’m glad you’re here. He’s been a handful, but even more than that, he’s missed you. And so have I.” She started unbuttoning his shirt. “He’s been asking for you constantly. But he’s also been sneezing constantly. Took hours for him to fall asleep tonight.”

“So you’re saying I shouldn’t wake him up?”

“Not sure. I’m pretty good at reading people, you know. And I think having you here will make him feel better. But… all that sneezing. You’ve no idea.”

Phil gave her a kiss as she slid the suit jacket back off his shoulders. “I’ve seen Clint with a cold before.  I remember one time he was supposed to be trailing this one diplomat and he had this out of control cold and just couldn’t stop sneezing no matter how hard he tried to hold them back. He was made in about ten seconds. Fury still uses it as a metaphor for a botched op. ‘Just don’t pull an Agent Barton with a cold,’ he’ll warn someone.”

Natasha laughed. She wasn’t sure if Phil was joking around with her or not, but she welcomed the attempt at a lighter mood it to what she’d put up with for the last few days. She wanted to nestle against his chest and let him hold her all night. But she also knew that if Clint woke up and found them asleep together without him, a few sneezes would be the least of their problems. “You’d better wake him up and let him know you’re home. I’ll go clear all the used tissues off the bed upstairs.”

“Thanks, Nat.” He gave her yet another kiss. “We’ll be right up.”

As Phil Coulson crossed the room toward the couch, Natalie started up the stairs. She paused halfway up, lingering there for just a few moments in order to watch her men.

Phil squatted down in front of the couch and ran his hand through Clint’s short hair. He murmured something Natasha couldn’t hear, and Clint mumbled back something she also couldn’t hear. But she saw Clint’s eyes flutter open. He looked at Phil for just a second before they closed again. Phil grabbed a tissue from the box crunched between Clint and the back of the couch and cupped it to Clint’s face. “uhh-Hrnkffff! Huhh-Chnffffff! Uhhh… sniff! Good catch, Sir. Sniff! Thags.”

Phil wiped his nose for him, chuckling. “Did Nat do this for you while I was away?”

He shook his head. Neither of them could imagine Black Widow patiently holding tissues up to Clint’s runny nose. “Doe, but she still took care of be.” He sighed and coughed. “I bissed you, Phil.”

“Missed you too. But I told you I’d be home before Christmas, didn’t I?”

Clint glanced over toward the TV. The box there said it was less than two hours to midnight. Just under the wire.

“Hey, I know the game’s not over yet, but I’m beat from the mission and travel. Nat’s getting the bed ready. Do you want to join us?”

At once, he nodded. “The gabe’s a rebeat adyway. Sharks are godda wid in OT.”

Natasha had to cover her mouth to keep from being heard laughing. Well, that explained why he hadn’t minded falling asleep during it. Nat just hoped all this sleep didn’t mean he was going to be up all night sneezing now. Last night had been rough; she’d ended up holding him up in the shower for nearly an hour until the congestion in his head loosened and his body relaxed. At least now that Phil was here, they could take turns looking after Clint.

Quickly, she headed up the stairs to change for bed and to sweep tissue after tissue from the bed into the trash can. There were tissues on the blankets, between pillows, under the sheets. She knew this was probably a fruitless mission; with his nose the way it was, Clint was probably going to go through plenty more tissues tonight. Natasha was just finishing up when she heard Clint sniffling again. He appeared in the doorway with Phil’s hand at the small of his back.

“You all right, Clint?” she asked, pulling back the sheet and blanket for him.

He shrugged. “I dod’t—“

She smiled. “You don’t feel good. I know, I know. Come into bed. I’ll keep you warm.”

“And I’ll rub your nose for you,” Phil added, stepping out of his slacks and dropping the dress shirt on the floor next to them, leaving him only in white underwear. Natasha wore a small, black, satin negligee. And Clint was already in the same purple and black pajamas he’d been wearing for days.

With Clint and a box of tissues between them, they got under the covers. Natasha snuggled up to his left side, though she would kill anyone not in this bed who dared to call her a snuggler.

uhh… uhhhh-Phil? I… uhhhh gotta… Igotta—” Phil clamped tissues to Clint’s face. “uhh-Hrschhffff! Uhhh-Huhshfffff!

Phil wiped his nose for him. “Bless you. Are… wait… I guess you still feel sneezy?”

Natasha tried not to laugh at Clint’s helpless ‘I gotta sneeze’ expression. She rubbed her hand up and down Clint’s chest and rested her head on his shoulder.

uhhhh-HIHShkooo!” he sneezed into Phil’s tissues. Phil lowered them just as another sneeze came, spraying Phil’s hand instead. “uhh-HRKkkshoooo! Awwsorry…”

“It’s fine,” Phil said, wiping his hand on Clint’s sweatshirt. He kissed Clint’s cheek. “Goodnight, Agent.” Then he lifted his head, looking past Clint to Natasha. “Goodnight, Agent.”

They echoed his sentiments, Natasha’s “Goodnight, Agent”s soft and reassuring while Clint’s “Goodight, Agedt”s were stuffy and tired. But they were all smiling as they settled in for the night.