Phil stares at the latest report he's received on Liz Parker and taps his fingers against the desk. He's kept an eye on her for the past three years and at the rate she's going, is convinced that she's either going to burn out in a spectacular show of destruction, or come out the other side even more prepared for the world they plan to dump into her lap.
The girl is the definition of over-committed, with two majors that are individually difficult, along with being heavily involved on campus and maintaining an almost co-dependently close relationship with Maria DeLuca and Kyle Valenti, who have their own files. Just about the only thing she isn't doing is anything resembling her activities from before Roswell came to SHIELD's attention. He recognizes aggressive attempts to be normal when he sees them.
There's a warning rattle from the ceiling and by the time he looks up, Clint is sitting in the chair on the other side of the desk, legs sprawled lazily open as he smirks at Phil.
"You're not going to distract me," Phil tells him calmly. Clint doesn't stop smirking and Phil sighs. "Three hours, and then I'll be done."
"Three hours from when your shift was supposed to end, or three hours from now?" Clint asks, his eyes still twinkling but enough depth to his tone that Phil knows he's on the verge of being dragged home for 'his own good.'
Before he can begin the laborious and always enjoyable process of negotiating with his lover, the phone that only Fury and Maria have the number for rings with an angry shrill. Clint grimaces and Phil answers.
"The FBI is making a play for Parker," Maria snaps before he can draw in a breath to speak. Phil pushes his chair back and stands, gesturing to Clint to follow suit as he reaches into his desk drawer for his badge and gun. "The crew in Providence is playing distraction and I have a quinjet ready to go."
"Hawkeye and I are on the way," Phil tells her, already in the hallway with Clint on his heels. Maria hangs up, no further information needed, and Phil walks faster, shooing a couple agents out of the elevator as Clint pushes the button for the roof.
"Rescuing one of your pet projects?" Clint asks him once the elevator's moving. Phil just looks at him and Clint raises his hands in the air. "Hey, I'm not saying anything bad. You have an eye for talent." Clint's expression shifts into a teasing leer. "I would know."
Phil rolls his eyes and Clint grins in triumph, then shifts into stoic professional mode as the elevator opens up onto the roof. Maria is standing by the quinjet, holding a bow and quiver, and Phil lets a small smile slip as Clint takes them from her and cradles them with loving care.
He does have an eye for talent, and while he has zero expectation of Liz Parker turning into another Clint (and thank god, because as much as he loves the man, he couldn't handle another one) he does expect that she will go on to do great things. Provided that the never-to-be-damned-enough FBI doesn't kill her first.
In a regular plane, it would take them almost an hour and a half to reach Providence. In the Quinjet it takes twenty minutes, but feels like the hour and a half.
Clint is in the zone, distant and professional, but he still shoots measuring glances at Phil every sixty seconds on the dot. Maria is never off the radio, the rage that has simmered in her ever since they were forced to leave the FBI unit in place burning hotter than ever. Phil is feeling a touch of that rage himself, but mostly his focus is bending toward willing the FBI to fuck up, yet again, and for Liz Parker to remain completely unaware of this situation.
She deserves to finish her schooling before being recruited, and she deserves a hell of a lot more than a bunch of incompetent FBI goons ruining her life the week before midterms.
When they arrive, the SHIELD team on site has eyes on the FBI agents, who are lurking at the edge of campus and waiting for it to be late enough for them to grab Liz with minimal risk of detection. They're lucky that the idiots didn't decide to just storm in, dropping college students like flies.
"We are going to take them out quick and quiet, like the professionals we are," Maria tells them once they're in position, her dark eyes hard with determination and her mouth tight with carefully repressed anger. "Try not to kill anyone, but I'm not going to shed any tears over blood spilt as long as it's theirs."
After that, everything is the tightly controlled chaos of a well organized battle. The FBI aren't expecting any interference, but as idiotic as they are, they're not completely untrained. They're outnumbered though, and no one gets on Maria or Phil's teams without being more competent than any other agents.
Ten minutes in Maria drops the team leader with one punch, his over-muscled body crumpling onto the grass with a satisfying finality. It would be more satisfying if either of them thought there was any chance this was the last time they'd be dealing with the FBI.
The unconscious and severely injured (there are only two of the latter, both as a result of their own refusal to surrender) are bundled into an ambulance under heavy guard. The rest are zip tied and taken back to the local SHIELD base for interrogation and processing.
"Well at least this went well," Maria says with a sigh, one of her hands rubbing at her temple and the other drumming on the butt of her reholstered gun. "Nick's pissed, but he already warned me that the WSC isn't likely to listen to reason. I'm going to stay here for the next couple days, wrap things up and maybe rethink some of Parker's security. They didn't make plays for Valenti or Deluca, but we should consider upping their details as well."
"I'll look into it when I get back, and I'll take care of the reports from tonight on that end," Phil says with a nod, already sorting through agents in his head.
Maria purses her lips sourly. "Maybe if we keep taking out their teams, the FBI will get the fucking point and leave them alone."
Phil lets out a rough chuckle. "We can only hope. Frankly, I don't have that high of an opinion of their intelligence."
Maria laughs too, a sound more weary than amused, then claps him on the shoulder. "Go home, Phil, before your boyfriend uses one of his tranquilizer arrows on you. I'll be back by the end of the week so we can finish prepping Natasha's mission in Iran."
"What she said, boss." Phil turns to see that Clint approached while he and Maria were talking. "Agent Morris is ready to drive us back to the Quinjet and I've already convinced him to stop at Dunkin Donuts on the way."
Maria looks torn between amusement, and wanting to make a comment about appropriate use of SHIELD resources, so Phil sighs and lets Clint lead him toward the SUV. He needs coffee more than he needs oxygen, and Clint knows he has a weakness for the spicy smoked sausage breakfast sandwich. And given that, contrary to popular perception, Clint is the healthnut in the relationship and usually resorts to judgemental stares when Phil indulges in his preferred greasy foods, he should take advantage of Clint's concern while it lasts.
Clint falls into an alert doze on the flight back, a contradictory state Phil had thought was unique to his lover until he met Natasha, and Phil uses the Quinjet's interface to start work on the endless reams of paperwork generated by the night's events.
When they arrive back at headquarters, Phil switches to working on his phone and waits impatiently for the elevator to take him back to his office. Before he can step on to the elevator, Clint wraps a hand around his arm and gives him a significant look.
"I need to update Liz Parker's file. And type up an extremely detailed report for the WSC on why, exactly, this is incontrovertible proof that the FBI Alien Hunting Unit needs to be disbanded. Why it should have been disbanded three years ago. Without calling them idiots as they so richly deserve." Phil is furious, angrier than he'd allowed himself to be before the situation had been dealt with. He is also exhausted, but the lingering edge of adrenaline combined with his anger and the coffee is giving him energy he will pay for later.
Clint shakes his head, takes Phil's cell phone out of Phil's hand and puts it in his own pocket. "You did good. You saved your girl. And now? Now we are going to go home, and I am going to ravish you until you've forgotten all about the FBI. And then you are going to sleep in and take a half day tomorrow. The WSC will still be there then, fucking things up for everyone and ignoring every report you send in. They do not deserve any more of your attention or energy tonight. Is that clear, sir?" Clint's voice is perfectly respectful, if a little warmer than professional SHIELD regulations call for, but with an undertone of steel.
Phil knows better than to argue with that steel and decides that he might as well go on ignoring regulations. "Crystal clear, soldier. Let's go home."
"Wise choice, sir," Clint says with a smug smile, then leans in and kisses him while pushing the elevator button for the basement. "If we hurry, I think we can get Jones to drive us home so we can neck in the backseat. He's got a bad case of hero worship."
"Mmm, he's not alone in that," Phil says a little breathlessly as Clint crowds him into the elevator.
"Oh no, sir, not for me," Clint says, his hands busy slipping inside Phil's now untucked shirt. "He's smart enough to have you for a hero. Which means he might actually survive long enough to have someone driving him around, unlike the baby agents who decide me or Nat are good role models."
Phils laughs, then grabs Clint's hands before they can undo Phil's belt. "But Maria and I take such pleasure knocking sense into them."
"And I take such pleasure in watching you, sir," Clint breathes into Phil's ear, his nimble fingers abandoning their quest for Phil's belt and wandering up Phil's back instead, digging into the muscles in an achingly pleasurable way.
The elevator stops before Phil can utterly surrender his self-control and an agent who he assumes is Jones coughs awkwardly. "Um, hello sirs. Can, can I help you."
Clint turns to look at him without ever letting go of Phil and gives his best innocent grin. "Hey, Jones! Could you give us a ride home? We've had a long night, saving innocents and defeating bad guys and all that, and I don't think either of us should drive."
"Oh of course, sir!" Jones says, his face lighting up, and Phil has to bury his face in Clint's neck so he doesn't laugh out loud. Maybe he owes the FBI a tiny smidgen of leniency, because the night is turning out quite well.
Now he just needs to survive the ride home without losing his pants.