some of the dialogue between the Winchesters and Castiel is taken from the SPN episode Hunteri Heroici, saddly I am still not as clever as SPN writers, which is probably why I don't get paid to do this :)
The door flew open, splintering the jamb and Phil saw movement in the bedroom the moment the door slammed into the wall; Clint rolling from the bed, the gun usually hidden behind the headboard in his hand and his back pressed to the wall by the bedroom door before he was even entirely awake. It took him a minute to get his bearings then he was rounding the corner, drawing down on Hill as she came through the ruined door before his intoxicated brain alerted him to the presence by the window.
"Phil?" he whispered, the gun clattering loudly on the hardwood floor as it slipped from suddenly nerveless fingers.
"Stand down, Barton," Hill commanded but the archer ignored her and Phil found himself caught up in strong arms, Clint's face buried in his neck, tears wetting his skin. Phil moved slowly, the last thing he wanted was to die again before he'd saved Clint, and wrapped one arm around the other man's shoulders, the other held out to Hill and the team crowding into his living room in an effort to show them that he wasn't a zombie about to rip out Clint's throat.
"Agent Coulson?" Hill questioned and he nodded.
"Yes, Agent Hill," he said. "It's me."
Not taking her eyes or her gun off of him, Hill reached into one of the pockets on her uniform and pulled out several small canisters, like the kind film had came in before all of the cameras went digital. Popping the top off of one with her thumb she flicked the contents at him, showering Phil with fine white granules, following it up with a small splash of water. When neither the salt nor the holy water elicited a reaction she pulled a small silver knife from its sheath and nodded to Phil's outstretched hand. Understanding her meaning Coulson turned his hand palm up and allowed her to slice a shallow cut into the meaty part beneath his thumb. Bright red blood welled to the surface but that was it; no smoking flesh like with a shapeshifter, no charred skin like a revenant but to be sure Maria pulled a small device from her pocket, almost like a blood sugar tester, and caught some of the blood that was dripping down Phil's hand. She held the tester out to the nearest agent.
"What's it say?"
The response was awed.
- - - AVS - - -
Natasha finally called an end to her current sparring session, allowing the five bruised and panting agents to pull themselves to their feet, groaning at the assorted aches and pains she’d inflicted. She nodded her thanks as they left, stretching her arms over her head and grimacing as her shirt unstuck from the small of her back, glued there by a thin sheen of sweat. Moving through the gym to the attached locker room she took a quick, to the point shower before pulling on a set of Shield-issue sweats and made her way through the halls of the helicarrier to the small quarters each of the Avengers had been offered after the big fight. Stark had offered to put everyone up in a hotel but none of them had accepted except Bruce, who was still a bit jumpy around anyone in uniform. Barton had retreated to the apartment he’d shared with Coulson and Steve was still more comfortable with the military-style barracks offered on the ‘carrier, or the HQ on land and Thor had expressed his wishes to attend the ceremony to send ‘the Son of Coul’ on to the afterlife and to keep an eye on his brother, currently locked up in the detention ward, everything they could spare focused on keeping the trickster god locked up this time.
Natasha didn’t plan on spending much time on the ‘carrier though; the funeral was tomorrow and if she knew Clint, which she did, she knew that he was nearing the self-destructive portion of his grieving process and she planned to spend a few weeks at the least with her partner, helping him through whether he liked it or not. She hadn’t gotten him back from Loki just to see him slit his wrists or drink himself into a box right next to Coulson.
“Agent Romanov,” a junior agent said as he approached her from further up the hallway. “Agent Barton is in Medical. He’s asking for you.”
Natasha cursed softly in Russian. She must have overestimated his time-table; she just hoped that it hadn’t been by much. He didn’t look like he was on Death’s doorstep when she entered the room as he whined at the nurse trying to start an I.V. drip of clear fluids but, Natasha admitted, she could be wrong.
"N'tasha," he slurred as he caught sight of her and Natasha couldn't stop the wrinkling of her nose as she drew closer.
"Jesus, Barton. You smell like a distillery."
"I got 'im," he said, holding out a hand to her, eyes earnest. " 'Tash... I got him back."
She took the outstretched hand and settled into the chair one of the nurses placed beside his bed. There was only one 'him' that Clint could be talking about and what was left of her heart, the tiny part the Red Room hadn't managed to eradicate entirely, broke for him.
"Go to sleep, Clint," she commanded softly, gripping his hand tighter.
"Got him back," he repeated as the alcohol caught up with him again and his eyes drifted shut.
"How is he?" she asked Jen, the head nurse, as she checked the I.V. line.
"He'll be fine," the blonde replied. "Just a little dehydrated… and a lot drunk."
Natasha's lips quirked a bit at that and she ran her free hand through his hair as the medical staff pretended to be busy elsewhere.
- - - AVS - - -
Fury could feel a headache starting; a steady throb of pressure behind his empty eye socket as he leveled his gaze at Agent Coulson, miraculously returned from the dead just hours ago and currently seated across from the Director, looking as cool and collected as ever.
"Please tell me you're joking," he all but demanded. Something shifted in Coulson's eyes, just for a second, but that flash of pain told Fury that no, he wasn't being lied to or the subject of some elaborate practical joke. He finally gave in and rubbed at the steadily growing pain in his left temple.
"Whatever you need," he told Coulson, "Shield is at your disposal."
Anyone with clearance beyond a certain point knew the truth about the things that lived in the shadows and were given enough training so they knew what to do if one of those things ever posed a threat during a mission. Otherwise Shield was happy to leave the things that went bump in the night to the hunters, having their hands full with the human element of the evil that infected the world. Fury had always been content to keep it that way, never delving further into the myths and magic than he had to, always seeing the majority of hunters as loose cannons, obsessed with avenging a friend or family member and poised to sink the whole operation at a moments notice. He had met a few exceptions, though; Coulson being one of them.
His family had been in the know for a few generations, and though none of them were actively hunting by the time he’d come along his mother had been sure to pass on her knowledge to her only son. Phil had lived on the road for a little while in his teens, after the unexpected death of his father. It hadn’t been supernaturally related, no ghosts or werewolves, just a bad heart ripping the man away from his young family and Phil had been angry at the world, full of piss and vinegar and needing to prove something, though what and to whom he couldn’t have said. Eventually deciding that the hunter lifestyle wasn’t for him Phil had returned home, turned 18, and joined the military just in time to catch the end of the war in Vietnam. The Marines had agreed with Phil and not long after his return to the states Shield had approached him.
Phil nodded his thanks for Fury’s offer then said, “I appreciate it, Director, but I have a few… specialists meeting me in a few days. They’ve dealt with this kind of thing before.”
He tried to sound certain but the fact was that Phil just had rumors and sketchy intel to go on, at best. After the phone call nearly thirty years ago that had severed all contact between himself and John Winchester over how the latter was choosing to raise his children, Phil had still tried his best to keep tabs on the man and his family. He’d had his mother’s contacts keep their ears open and eyes peeled for any word on the man who’d helped Phil through that first year of combat and become like a brother to him and in that time the Winchester’s had made quite a name for themselves. He’d heard that Dean had made a deal to save his brother, Sam, and it stood to reason that if the man had answered Coulson’s call that they had to have found a way out of it.
“I’d also like to bring in Agent Romanov.”
Fury nodded. “Anyone else?”
“Not at this time, no,” he replied, “Although, you may want to find a way to postpone Thor’s departure, or at least devise a way to contact him again. If we can’t figure anything out on our end it couldn’t hurt to have a god in our corner, sir.”
“Consider it done.”
“Thank you, sir,” Phil replied before standing. Hill had been concerned by the amount of empty bottles littering the apartment and Barton’s inebriated state when she and her team had brought them in and insisted on Clint going directly to Medical and if he were a betting man, Phil would put money on Romanov hovering somewhere in the archer’s vicinity.
- - - AVS - - -
It wasn’t any noise that drew Natasha out of her semi-doze at Clint’s bedside but rather the sudden lack. The soft, idle chatter of the nurses and doctors that tended to inhabit Medical whenever they had a patient suddenly cut off and Natasha jerked upright in her chair, feeling eyes on her. She blinked at the dead man seated on the other side of Clint’s unconscious body and, after swallowing her heart back into her chest where it belonged, asked, “How’d you like the flowers?”
Phil smiled softly and replied, “You know I’m allergic to daisies. Snow drops are the way to go.”
Natasha released a breath and flipped the safety back on as she removed the gun she’d had aimed at Phil under Clint’s bed and laid it on top of the scratchy white sheet covering her partner. His knowledge of the code told her that it really was their handler and Clint hadn’t just been babbling. The ‘allergic to daisies’ line was worrying but his mention of snow drops let her know their situation wasn’t completely fucked beyond recognition and there was probably a way out of it.
Finger-combing her hair back from her face she asked, “So what’s the situation?”
- - - SPN - - -
"Freakin' Garth," Dean muttered darkly as he and Sam made their way back to the car. To emphasize his point he swiped a hand over his entrail-caked hair before flinging the offending slime at a nearby tree. Sam trailed him silently, trying to decide if it would be worth it to point out that it really wasn't Garth's fault; he'd told them how to kill the Greater Northern Troll that had been snacking on tourists and hiding in the wooded hills around Long Pine. There was no way he could have known that what they were actually after was a Lesser Southern Troll when the brothers hadn't even known that themselves. On the plus side sunlight worked equally well on both species, only where it turned the Greater Northern to stone that swiftly crumbled, on the Lesser Southern it tended to have a slightly more... explosive reaction.
Eventually deciding to ignore both Dean's bitching and the nasty squelching in his boots Sam kept his mouth shut and followed his brother to the car where the elder hunter preceded to pull an old tarp out of the trunk to cover the Impala's seats and prevent any goo transfer. Dean had been on edge ever since that phone call earlier that morning, not that Sam blamed him. Their father would forever be a touchy subject for both Winchesters and the thought of meeting with an old contact John had never once spoken of, and the nature of his problem, had them both a little off-balance. Finally satisfied with the safety of his baby's seats Dean declared them ready to go and called first dibs on the shower.
Somewhere between the brothers taking their seats and closing their doors Castiel had appeared in the backseat. Sam felt a small swell of pride that he didn't jump when the angel announced his presence. Dean swore but offered only a half-hearted glare at the other man, the atmosphere turning awkward almost immediately. Things had been weird between man and angel for a while, since Sam had come back from Hell at least and maybe even before that, but whatever had happened between Dean and Cas during that year spent trapped in Purgatory had made it worse, whatever it was, and Sam was frankly too tired to deal with it at the moment.
"Hey, Cas," he greeted, dispelling the strained atmosphere. “I thought you were gonna wait at the motel?”
"Hello, Sam," the angel returned the greeting. “And I was, but I’ve been thinking.”
The angel had seemed at a loss since he’d been dispelled, or yanked out, of Purgatory. There had been talk of him maybe staying by Kevin or attempting to find a way to retrieve the second half of the tablet from Crowley though he seemed reluctant to become involved in anything that may include facing other angels or returning to Heaven, even going so far as to block the sort of telepathy shared by the Host that Dean called angel radio. Sam didn’t really blame him, though, considering what Castiel had done while jacked up on the Purgatory souls. For the past few days he’d mostly just hung around the motel room or disappeared who knew where for hours on end.
“Oh?” Sam asked as Dean started the car.
“Yes. After everything that’s happen, the things I did… there’s no making up for it,” Castiel said, voice low and eyes trained somewhere near his feet, “But I still want to try, I want – no, need to help people so I’ve decided I’m going to become a hunter.”
Sam’s eyebrows shot to his hairline at the angel’s announcement. “Really?”
“Yeah,” Castiel replied with more enthusiasm, even summoning a rare smile. “I could be your third wheel.”
“You know that’s not a good thing, right?” Dean asked, glancing at the angel.
“Of course it is,” Castiel continued, unmindful of the sarcasm. “A third wheel adds extra grip, greater stability…”
“He’s got a point,” Sam said.
Dean rolled his eyes but said, "Well, if that's the case then you're in luck. One of dad's old contacts called this morning while you were out. He has a problem that could use our particular brand of expertise."
"Oh?" the angel sounded curious.
"Yeah, apparently the dude bit it in that big dust-up in New York couple of weeks back and his boyfriend sold his soul to bring him back."
Castiel's eyes shot to Dean's in the rear view mirror but the hunter had averted his gaze.
"Dean," he said, voice holding the beginning of his Serious Angel tone, but the hunter cut him off.
"Cas, come on, man. If you’re gonna be a hunter you can’t just pick and chose who to help. This guy knew dad..." he trailed off before adding, almost too soft to hear. "And you shouldn't go to Hell for trying to save someone you love."
Sam added his best puppy eyes to the argument, knowing how much that one sentence had to have cost his emotionally constipated brother. Castiel's jaw was set and they could hear the rustling of invisible feathers as his wings shifted restlessly. The silence stretched until the angel dropped his gaze from the mirror, resigned.
"Crowley will want the other half of the tablet to nullify this contract."
Dean shifted the Impala into drive."Then it's a good thing people don't always get what they want."