It has been three years since Agent Phil Coulson died. Three years have passed from the time when he was stabbed by Loki Laufeyson in the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier. It was exactly one month after the battle when his funeral was finally held, thanks to a large push from all of the Avengers. Director Fury had also taken part in the petition for the event, since the rules of the organization say that no agent shall have one due to CLASSIFIED reasons. After almost every single rookie, agent, engineer, worker, staff member, and Avenger had signed the paper the funeral was finally held for a very special man who believe in all of them.
It was a small ceremony, or meant to be anyways. Phil was buried in a small graveyard with an unmarked headstone. No chairs were set up, along with no tents to shelter anyone from the sudden downpour. Apparently the council had tried to make it as hard to get to as possible, the agent being placed to rest in the lower mainland of Canada of all places.
In the end, more than half of the staff who worked on the airship came; along with all of the Avengers and some people who had known Coulson from his days in the field. The bad weather of the northern country didn’t seem to hurt anyone, and even though the ground became more like a swamp than anything people stayed. After the speeches, most of the people left, though some went home a bit later after saying something to the blank grave. Others gave him flowers and wreaths, but there were little gifts given in the end. Captain Rogers went last, after a strange man whom he had never met before (black, almost spiked hair. A slight hint of stubble, with large sideburns. Well built for his average height).
Steve was alone now, crouching in front of Agent Coulson’s grave. Everyone, including his fellow teammates, had gone home or somewhere else to shelter themselves from the rain. His shoulders were soaked to the bone, along with most of his back and lower legs. He would have to remember to get a new suit for later, or maybe find a good drycleaners. The fact that the funeral took place in another country was strange to the Captain, but when Fury found out he had almost laughed. He said that the man had been there before once before, and the fact that the council thought that it was unconnected to the agent was almost funny.
Captain Rogers placed an envelope on the wet grass in front of the blank headstone, hand brushing over it as his mind wandered. He knew that he should get out of the cold and wet weather soon, but he pushed those thoughts away for the moment. Steve knew that war only took the innocent ones, he knew that it only stole those away who had the best intentions. That was war, that was life, and Steve knew it from experience.
War took those who didn’t deserve it, instead of those who did. That was the price for battle, and everyone paid it. Even those who didn’t deserve it. He didn’t deserve this at all. The agent had only looked out for them, the Avengers. He was always there as a buffer and a peace-keeper. He kept an eye out for them at all times, and always wanted the best for them. Steve had seen it, before the team really got together.
After he woke up, Coulson was put in charge of caring for him. It consisted of a great deal of Steve sitting in his office, reading about current events while the man worked at placing all of the pieces. The Captain watched Phil tug at all of the strings to make the team perfect, and even though he asked multiple times he never got a straight answer.
“Why do you spend so much time on this?” “Isn’t it cancelled?” “Why do this?” “Why put in the effort?”
Phillip Coulson would just smile at Captain Rogers and say “Because I believe in you heros more than anything.”
And now he was dead.
If anyone took the time to clean his office, they would find paperwork. Too much paperwork for one mortal man to handle. Coulson was never considered ‘mortal’ or ‘human’ to begin with though. They would see that anything important was coded, and quite well at that. They wouldn’t be able to decipher jack shit if they tried.
However, if a person who knew the code and was just maybe close to the agent took the time to clean his office instead, they would find intricate plans. Plans and predicted circumstances along with exactly what would happen with the Avengers. Piles upon piles of what could happen, and what exactly would. What if situations that seemed almost impossible, but the man wrote them down anyways.
Yet, with all of them, the last pages were always the messiest. They were constantly scratched out and rewritten, always with one sentence present at the end.
‘NEED SOMETHING TO PUSH THEM’
‘SOMETHING TO MOTIVATE THEM’
‘MUST HAVE CAUSE TO AVENGE’
You see, Agent Coulson was more smart than he got people to think. The man never gave up on the scrapped initiative, and he never stopped planning and pulling strings from behind the scenes. In every fictional situation, every time it would not work. The team was indeed a ticking time bomb, and unless they had some cause to unite them they would never succeed. Sure, the entire world being taken over was a big purple elephant in the room, but it needed to be personal.
Agent Coulson knew that.
And since there was no one who could read his coded plans and stories, no one would ever know that he knew that.
So Captain America stood up in front of the plain stone which was Phil’s grave. He saluted and held it for exactly one minute before turning on his heel and walking away. Something wouldn’t leave his mind though. The one thing floating around his head, the one thought that haunted him for days, was that Agent Phil Coulson was very dead.
- - -
Agent Phil Coulson was very alive, actually.
Three years had passed since he was stabbed by Loki, and three years had passed since he attended his own funeral. To be honest, he would rather have his own funeral be more light-hearted. The man had been to one too many dim and dark ceremonies. He made sure that his actual will read that there was to be food served and chairs and tents for everyone. Canada was still a fine place to have it, somewhat ironic in a way, but Phil did enjoy jokes.
He would make sure that it was on a sunny day, and there would be flowers... or streamers or the like. Parties always had streamers, right? He would have wanted his funeral to be more of a party. The ‘Coulson Finally Uses His Vacation Time’ party. It would be fun, and hopefully no one would cry. The agent never liked it when people did that, especially dames. It always made him uncomfortable.
As was said before probably several times, it had been three years. The Avengers had dealt with multiple crisis and evil warlords of the kind. Phil had already gone through the ‘worrying mother’ phase several times a year before, and been caught by Fury trying to go undercover to check up on them. The Director chewed him out every time, saying that they did not in fact need a nanny.
Coulson would just sit and listen to the man’s lectures until he stopped talking. Then there was always a couple minutes of silence, with Fury sitting back down at his desk and scribbling on some paper. Phil just sat there and waited, watching the man.
Then he would put down the pen and sigh, cupping his face in his hands.
“M’sorry, Phil.” he would say every time.
“It’s okay, boss. I would have done the same thing.” he responded equally every time.
And he knew that his friend was telling the truth. When he was stuck in bed for the first two months, the Director came in and talked to him about the ‘old days’. They talked together about their times in their first field missions, and their first sweethearts while overseas. They spoke about when they managed to sneak alcohol into the barracks. They reminisced about times when things were easier and more peaceful.
And at the end of every visit, Fury would say sorry. He would apologize as if he was practicing his speech to the Avengers later, or as if he was a child saying sorry to hsi brother for breaking a favourite toy. Except Fury hadn’t done that, he had basically taken away Phil’s existence. He had to leave everything behind, including with his name and family. It took a lot to come to terms with.
His friend had apologized every step of the way.
Phil Coulson was not angry at Nick Fury, nor upset.
However, it was the present and not the past at the moment, and those days were in the past. Phil Coulson walked down the bustling streets of Vancouver, Canada, with a couple arms full of groceries. He was wearing a casual button down shirt along with jeans and a black belt. No one questioned him or thought the man out of place. They didn’t even give him a second glance.
The irony of Phil being stationed just a block away from where he was buried was almost stupid. Yet at the same time, no one would think that he would be here. Plus, Canada had those mutant fellows, so the Avengers wouldn’t need to come here and put Phil’s cover in jeopardy.
Phil Coulson, who was still completely and utterly not dead, looked up at the sky. Today was just another ordinary day for him.
But unknownst to the man and all of the Avengers, tomorrow would be a very different day.