The problem is that I've got six ideas and need to pick two of them. And that's where you come in. Poll!
Phil sighs. “No, she didn’t know.” She shoots Pepper a look, which she hopes conveys that she’s sorry about that.
Pepper shrugs then raises her eyebrows. Phil is fairly certain that means tell me all about it later.
Stark still seems genuinely flabbergasted. “Okay, but. Did you go to a sperm back or does she have a father? Or a, or another mom?”
“Is Daddy here?” Stephanie asks, pulling on Phil’s hand. Obviously that would have to be the only part of Stark’s babble that she picked up on.
Phil smooths her hand over Stephanie’s hair automatically, ignoring the way Stark tracks the move, eyes wide. “Yes, she has a father,” Phil tells him. “Which is part of the reason why I’m here.”
Stark immediately puts up his hands, spinning around on one heel to face Pepper. “It’s nothing to do with me,” he says quickly, “I swear I haven’t ever -- ”
“Oh my god,” Phil sighs, reaching the end of her rope.
2. Hotel Worker!Clint / Lonely Lawyer!Phil
Phil just manages to resist rubbing the pounding between his temples, but doesn't resist sighing. "My airplane had a broken exhaust pipe, apparently."
Clint frowns. "That sounds bad." He taps his fingers on the desk. "Gimme your ID and I'll get you checked in."
"There's a line..." Phil protests halfheartedly.
"You're a special customer," Clint says with a wink and whisks away, Phil's driver's licence and credit card tucked between his long, tan fingers.
Phil's exhausted and hungry, so he lets himself enjoy watching the way Clint moves, his easy smile as his flirts his way onto the computer. Just this once.
“Yeah, me too,” Clint agrees. He gives Phil a cheeky smile. “We should do it again. I want to hear more about the time you were a punk rocker with flowers in your hair.”
Phil rolls his eyes, but he doesn’t actually deny it. “We can do it again,” he says and he doesn’t sound eager, because he’s Phil Coulson, but he certainly sounds genuine.
Clint looks at him and can’t think of anything smart to say. His heart is beating too fast and it’s interfering with his brain, apparently.
“Clint,” Phil says, very softly and then he’s leaning forward, not touching Clint anywhere except for where he presses his lips, very lightly, against Clint’s.
Clint sucks in a breath that’s loud enough to be a gasp, if only SHIELD agents gasped. He steps back, breathing too hard, too shocked.
“I’m sorry,” Phil says, taking a step back of his own. “You weren’t expecting me to do that.”
Which is when Clint realises that he should have been. Because it wasn’t just a date in his head, it was a real date. He voluntarily agreed to go on a real date and then his real date walked him to his door and – God, Clint is such an idiot.
4. Sequel to the high school AU/Spider-man crossover
Phil comes into their bedroom just then and frowns at him, shaking his head when Clint beams back at him. Since Phil got a regular grown-up job, the end of his work day is Clint’s favourite time.
On the other end of the phone, Peter makes a hilarious high-pitched spluttering noise. “No, what, no there isn’t any, I don’t know what you…”
“There’s definitely a girl,” Clint says, watching Phil move around the room, taking off his watch and undoing his belt. “You can’t fool me, Peter Parker, I know things.”
“You do not,” Peter protests, still sounding flustered. “I remember when you were trying to get together with Phil; you were terrible at it.”
Clint would protest that, but it’s totally true. It’s been four years though and he’s somehow managed to keep Phil, so he thinks that Peter should bow down to his dating wisdom.
“Is it that girl with the red hair who moved in next door?” he guesses. He can’t remember her name, but he and Peter spent one afternoon glued to Ben and May’s bedroom window, watching the new neighbours move in. The daughter was way too young for Clint, but she made Peter squeak every time she came past, arms full of heavy boxes overflowing with old records.
“No,” Peter scoffs. “It’s not her. I mean. There’s no one.”
“Ha,” Clint says, flinging the arm not holding the phone up in victory. For such a super smart kid, Peter is seriously easy to play.
“Leave him alone,” Phil scolds, grabbing and holding Clint’s bare foot for a second, but Clint ignores him. Peter wanted Clint for a big brother so it’s only fair that he faces the consequences.
5. Professor!Phil / Single dad!Clint
Phil shakes his head. "Clint," he tries but Clint keeps talking.
"No, no, I get it," he says. "You don’t date students or you don’t date dudes or you don’t date dads or you just don’t want to date me. It’s cool. I’m not going to be a jerk about it, but it’d be… can we still hang out? I think you’re really cool."
Phil can’t believe he’s having to spell this out. “I don’t date married men,” he says slowly, more patiently than he feels.
Clint stares. Blinks. "I’ve been divorced for five years, Phil."
Phil frowns. He didn't think Clint was the type to outright lie. “But Natasha…”
"Oh my god," Clint's eyes go wide. "Oh fuck. You met Natasha and… and you thought… and then I… Shit. Natasha is my best friend. We were together like, a million years ago but not since before I met Bobbi, my ex-wife. I swear I’m not that kind of bastard."
Phil doesn’t know what to say. “Will you have dinner with me tonight?" seems to work, judging by Clint's startled smile.
6. Roadtrip fic
“What girl?” he asks, turning sharply. He can think of a couple: Natasha (obviously), Hill (maybe), Bobbi (seriously unlikely but the world did nearly end).
Motel Guy shakes his head. “Didn’t give a name. Pretty, red hair, maybe kind of foreign.”
Fuck, Natasha, then. “Like, kind of scary? Acted like she was happy to be your best friend, but she’d shank you if you stepped out of line?”
He smiles. “Sounds about right.”
The pounding is suddenly back behind Clint’s eyes, like he never got any sleep and it never went away. If Natasha’s this close on his tail, he needs to be way more careful.
“What d’you tell her?” Clint asks, trying to not to sound like he’s on the run or anything.
“Said I ain’t seen you.” Motel Guy shrugs. “She said you owed her alimony.”
Clint chokes. He can see why Natasha went with that angle, nice old guy like this would probably be on the side of a hard-done-by ex-wife. “But you didn’t sell me out?” he asks.
“Got three of my own ex-wives,” Motel Guy says, winking at Clint. “Sometimes you just need a break, huh?”
Clint smiles. Natasha will appreciate the feedback. When she eventually starts talking to Clint again. “Thanks, man,” is all he says.
So that's all of them. And here's the poll. Please to be picking two?
Which Two Should I Write?
Hotel worker!Clint / Lonely Lawyer!Phil
HS AU Spider-man Sequel
Professor!Phil / Single dad!Clint