Agent Phil Coulson had never thrown a tantrum in his life, not even as a child. Faced with bullies and disappointments and failures, he had never once so much as screamed. He had been a placidly serene child in a way that terrified children and adults around him alike, no matter what happened in the world around him. It had benefited him tremendously over the years, and almost certainly was directly responsible for his position in SHIELD.
He was about ten seconds from making up for all those missed opportunities in one fell swoop.
“That’s… those were vintage, sir,” he said. “You’ve covered them with blood.”
Director Fury raised the eyebrow over his one good eye and replied, “They were in your pocket when he stabbed you.”
“With all due respect, sir, they were in my locker when I was stabbed. I never carry them on me precisely to prevent this sort of occurrence. Junior agents have… a certain tendency to bleed on me.”
“I needed to pull the team together. You saw what they were like, before.”
“You made me play dead!” His voice sounded a bit strained, so Phil paused to get it back under control. “Surely that would have been sufficient, without ruining the trading cards that I spent years collecting?”
Okay, he was definitely losing his shit. Years.
“You didn’t see the Captain’s face when I threw them on the table in front of him,” Director Fury said, and if Phil didn’t absolutely know better, he would think Fury sounded a little uncertain and maybe looked a little nervous.
“You destroyed. my. trading. cards.”
“SHEILD will, of course, reimburse you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am… needed elsewhere.”
It was as close to seeing Director Fury flee as Phil thought he was ever likely to get. It was a strangely satisfying experience.
His day didn’t get better from there. There was paperwork regarding his ‘death’ to reverse, people to loom over until they noticed him and screamed (because what was the point of playing dead if you couldn’t have a bit of fun with it?), and rather too many junior agents who seemed to feel that crying on his shoulder and informing him that they missed him was necessary.
It was well past midnight when he crawled into his SHIELD-issued quarters. He shuffled over to the small cooler to retrieve a sad excuse for dinner, and on the counter beside it was a set of cards neatly organized in a protective plastic case. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a close match for the ruined, bloody cards tucked into his pocket.
He found Clint sitting on the bed in the tiny bedroom, looking embarassed.
“Things happen,” he explained, before Phil could ask. “Especially in, uh, our line of work. I’ve been grabbing what I could for… for a while now. It’s not perfect, I know, so, sorry, but…”
Phil grinned, an embarrassingly wide, ridiculous, open grin that he never shared in public, and bent down to kiss the man staring sheepishly up at him.
“Thank you,” he said, and somehow everything seemed alright after all.