*sighs* I’m good at a lot of thing Phil. A lot of things. People aren’t one of them. I lost my temper and I shouldn’t have. I’m better than that… I was. Anyway. You know you could just steal a cookie and go on.
[He makes no move to leave]
Losing a temper doesn’t negate years worth of exceptional work, Jasp.
He glanced up at the other, distinctly aware, despite his state, that he was completely and utterly vulnerable. “You’d like that… quar’ntine the illness.” The double meaning of the word hung in the air that Phil was having trouble breathing.
“It’d certainly be one less problem off the checklist.” One less threat. One that knew everything Phil did to a point. Threats like that were something to be terminated immediately. Yet Phil stared. Patient and curious. Dangerously curious.
“Nah, people are nosy,” he joked before the world tilted again. With a choked noise he slid even further down against the wall. “Wouldn’ wanna mess up your image with my pretty mug.”
“They’d put you in a shiny glass box regardless.” Phil noted, sympathy completely absent in at the sight of his own weak form. “And they would.”
Good. Because I wouldn’t want to get the suit out. I enjoy your company too much.
That makes one of us, with or without the armor.
“Then, to what do I owe this pleasure?”
“Nothing but coincidence, I suppose. And it is a coincidence.”
You saw nothing.
Certainly heard something.
“Fffunny you should say that, Philly,” he rasped out, cheeky smile on his face. The smile faltered as he shook his head lightly, trying to focus his eyes. “…I feel like it too.”
“It’s Agent Phil Coulson.” He had no problem reminding his alternate. He quickly assessed the sure signs of sickness, something he often spent time and effort in trying to avoid. When he fell ill, it was always crippling. Curiosity pierce his passive expression. Was this Phil Coulson the subject of that weakness as well?
“And you’re in the last place you should be with a fever like that.”
Without much warning, that he could recall, Phil’s legs gave out on him in the middle of the hall. Thankful that no one could see him like this, he crawled over to the wall and leaned against it. His vision swam and breathing became harder by the second. The most coherent thought in his jumbled mind was ‘I could really use a glass of water.’
He turned his head to face the sound of footsteps down the other end of the hall. He could vaguely make out the familiar shape of, well, himself. He smiled a little at the thought of seeing his other self.
His steps paused as Phil’s ears caught the muffled sound of something collapsing. He waited to hear more, the hallway falling silent again. The agent diverted his path anyway. The sound was not of his imagination. When he recognized the form rested again the wall he stopped carefully and arched an expectant brow.
“You look like shit.”
…I’m beginning to suspect this might be a destressing mechanism.I”ve never heard you complain.
It’s a lot of cookies, Jas.
It was five minutes to curtains, and Natasha had until that moment been relatively calm. There were no problems with the dress, veil, hair, or makeup, she was out of sight in a separate room waiting for her cue, when suddenly she felt naked. Completely and utterly naked, because she realized that the small single-shot handgun she’d planned to tuck into her garter was back in the apartment. Natasha Romanoff, first-class assassin and Level 7 SHIELD agent, was completely unarmed.
She sat down and started breathing hard, hands clenched in her dress as a good panic started to settle in, looking around for the one person she knew would understand. “Phil!”
It was a rare tone. One the handler often forgot his asset had. But the steps softly and deftly by Natasha’s side were not one of an agent. Phil was quick to place a hand at the back of the bride’s chair, but any comforting touches on her just yet. No, that was not what they did. But there were cases— Cases of white dresses and wedding bells and weddings— that coaxed Phil’s other hand to ghosted over the soft fabric of Natasha’s dress, his voice calm.
I feel funny…
It didn’t take a genius to figure out that Phil was pissed. It would, however, take a goddamn miracle worker to sort out the shitstorm that became his life. He shifted straighter to do some damage control, to smooth out everything with a few well-placed statements, when he looked up.
He was in for it now. Phil’s lips only got that thin when Nick truly fucked up.
Drumming against his desk, just a one-two rhythm that set his teeth on edge, he regarded one of his oldest friends. “Bullshit.”
“Yeah. It is bullshit.” All of it. Whatever it was. Perhaps it was about time to define it.
The thought of Nick using words on other agents, other people— That was fine. They both knew that dance. It was when they were sharing it with each other that Phil accepted and loathed the hypocrisy of it all. Spies being friends. It was more exhausting than being enemies.
…The Winchesters are too often busy to help me with something so trivial. They have more important tasks to attend to then helping an angel understand something.
I see. [Phil knows little of Castiel’s relationship with the Winchesters, but what he does know is observation. And the careful explanations of modern custom. Phil studies the angel patiently.]
[He reaches with precise hands, steady on Cas’s shoulders]
Proper posture isn’t tense shoulders. Proper posture is a string tied to the top of your head, keeping your spine straight and upright while the rest of you relaxes around it.
Phil passed the table with idle stride, glancing from his phone for a moment. He eyed the classic chocolate chip cookies towards the bottom before arching a brow at his fellow agent.
“Lose a bet?”
“Hmph.” Jasper raised an eyebrow. “Nope. Just a day that needed cookies.”
“Agreed.” He took up a chair, carefully putting his holoscreen on the table, (even for someone who didn’t want to stare at it for another five hours straight). Phil’s bite matched his silent appreciation. “S’ good.”