He's taken a beating. That much is obvious. He's covered in cuts and scrapes and bruises. Coulson can tell by the way he moves that he has at least a couple of bruised ribs, if not cracked or broken. "You made my men--"
"Your men? Quite the harem you have."
Coulson continues, unruffled. "Those men have spent their entire lives training to take out threats of the highest degree, and you made them look like the Keystone Kops. It's insulting."
"I didn't mean to hurt your feelings, sir." The bruise on his cheekbone is darkening, but that doesn't stop him from flashing Coulson a winning grin.
"Where did you learn to do that?"
"You have beautiful eyes, sir. Anyone ever tell you that?"
Coulson folds his arms, his face a mask of neutrality. "Where did you learn to shoot like that?"
"You can sit down if you want."
"I get it--this whole intimidation thing? I'm sitting, you're standing, therefore you maintain the position of power. It's not going to work. So you might as well be comfortable while you ask me a bunch of questions that we both know I'm probably not going to answer."
Amusement tugs at a corner of Coulson's lips--just a second, but it's a crack in his stoneface. But he repeats: "I'm fine."
"Suit yourself... suit."
"Where did you recieve your training?"
"Is that code?"
"Yeah. For the circus."
For the first time in a long time, Coulson is intrigued. "Interesting place to acquire such a skill."
"I picked up a thing or two."
"Any reason you decided to use that skill to steal $300?"
"Are you saying I'm not living up to my potential, sir?"
"I'm saying it could be utilized for something much more than petty theft."
He stares at Coulson, trying to school his expression into something detatched. It isn't working. Coulson continues to stare him down, and he watches as anger fights its way through to the surface. And something else... sadness.
Coulson's definitely interested now.
"Are you actually going to arrest me, or was this some sort of 'Scared Straight' deal? Because I have to tell you, I can't say with any honesty that you've made me either right now."
"We don't really arrest people here. I am, however, prepared to offer you a job." From the seat of the empty chair, he pulls a blue folder and drops it onto the table.
Clearly, this was not an expected move. "The hell is that?"
"Standard contract--well, our version of standard."
"Just like that?"
"There are conditions--you can read it, if you'd like. But I have a feeling you'll sign it."
"Oh, I will?"
"Yeah." He takes a pen from his jacket pocket and puts it on top of the folder.
"Should I have my lawyer present?"
"Do you have a lawyer?"
"Then I guess that answers that question." Coulson finally allows himself a small smile. "Read it. I'll be back when you're done." He started towards the door. "Oh, and don't try and figure out a way to escape--I'll be right outside the door. If you so much as breathe in a way I don't like, there will be consquences."
"You'll send me to the naughty step?"
"Never mind." He opens the folder. "I'll let you know when I'm finished with this."
"I'll know." Coulson leaves the room.
Through the one-way mirror, Coulson watches as he picks up the pen. He rolls it around in his hands, considering. His life as he knows it is over. Coulson hopes that he'll realize that this is a good thing. Because he really does believe that SHIELD are the good guys. Sure, maybe their tactics are a little questionable, but sometimes that's what's required.
This guy had a talent. He had no form to his hand-to-hand fighting, but that would come with training and time. But the shooting... he was right. It was a gift. He saw things that no one else did, and that informed him of exactly what shot to take. He didn't miss. He didn't seem capable. And sure, maybe a bow and arrow wasn't the most threatening of weapons in our modern age, but in his hands? It was art.
Coulson isn't stupid. He knows exactly why the guy was stealing a measly $300--it was his. The guy he played second fiddle to in the show, he had been embezzling money from everyone. He just wanted his cut back. Sure, he went about it in the wrong way, which involved the police, which put them on SHIELD's radar (briefly, they considered him a mutant before realizing he was just that good), but he wasn't a bad guy.
He was a good guy who used some questionable tactics.
Of course Coulson handed him a contract. He would've offered him one in the spot, but he couldn't make it easy on him. Also, he had to leave the cops their pride.
Coulson watched as he uncapped the pen and scrawled something across the page. He started to cap the pen, but then stopped. He scratched something else onto the paper. Then he capped the pen, got up, and tapped the mirror. "Can you bring me a coffee? Maybe a danish?"
Coulson went back into the room, hands empty. "You signed the contract. You can get coffee yourself from the break room."
"Excellent. So I can go?"
"You can meet director Fury. Follow me."
"That doesn't sound like coffee."
"We'll go to Starbucks after. No one should be subjected to break room coffee in their first day."
"New job and a date. Today's my lucky day."
"Follow the red line."
He saluted him and started off down the long corridor.
Coulson picked up the folder and saw the signature--large and messy and dominating--with a word scribbled next to it. Coulson smiled.
Clint Barton -- "HAWKEYE"