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We Met One Summer's Day

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Asset Phil Coulson is newly initiated into SHIELD. When the mission had gone FUBAR, back when he was an Army Ranger, and the only ones to survive were him and his best friend, John, SHIELD had wanted them both. They had never had seen a team that worked together so well, that they would be great assets, and...

Well, John would do anything for his country, but he prefered it with both feet on the ground. Both had known, however, that Phil had never been like that. Phil, who loved to slip into the shadows or be passed over. No one looked twice at him; an everyman in every way.

Average height, for a man (he was only 5'10"), with brown hair and, the only remarkable thing, his gray-blue eyes that he, somehow, still managed to pull off as average when he was anything but.

Which, in a nutshell, was how he found himself here at this bar, at (here he checked his watch) 1 am, drinking Red Dog beer.

Oh, yes, and having a woman with a mohawk watching him like she was going to devour him with her eyes alone. She was looking him up and down before she sauntered over, leaning on the bar next to him, and he wondered how she got her mohawk to stand up so damn straight, when she said, "Hey soldier. Want to dance?"

He sputtered into his beer bottle, choking on the beer as she slammed her hand on his back, laughing loudly and snorting like a mad woman. "What?" he gasped out, once he had his breathing regulated.

"Want to dance? Despite the name, I do like the idea of dancing with someone. However, while alone is great and all, it would be so much more fun with a partner," she stated.

Phil hesitated for a moment and then left his bottle on the counter as he took her hand, easily swinging her around in his arms, the pair deciding that they were tipsy enough to just to end up laughing hysterically while supporting each other, despite the fact that, until then, Phil had always had the strictest of controls on his emotions. She pressed a hand to his chest and grinned. "Not so bad, huh soldier?" she asked and he shook his head, both heading back to the bar, only to have the bartender to tell them last call.

He ignored the chorus of 'awwws' or 'it's not that late' and Phil felt a sort-of...sadness fill his chest at the fact that he would be parting from someone who managed to get him to lose control in such a nice way so soon. "I know a 24 hour diner," she said.

"Okay," he responded.


That night had changed everything.

Sarah Lewis was...amazingly beautiful. Her extremely tall mohawk came from the fact that, when it wasn't in mohawk form, she curled it within an inch of its life. She loved animals, but had a fondness for dogs that was probably just this side of unhealthy (he was sure that she would horde many a puppy in her twilight years), and she was a beautiful sort of human being that seemed to always be glowing and glimmering, as if her entire life could be counted on helping others.

On their fifth date, she revealed that she was going to become a psychologist. "Unless, of course, the government scoops me up," she added.

"What do you mean?" he asked.

Sarah sighed and poked at her pancakes with her fork. "I am a Sensitive. A crappy one, mind. I can only pick up the strongest of emotions from objects and can feel nothing right now off any of this, but...well, what with only being among 3% of the population and dropping," she answered.

God, she was so damn honest.

"Why are you telling me this?" he responded.

Sarah looked up at him. "Well...I trust you. Something is telling me I can. Maybe it is the eyes," she explained, flushing.

Phil answered by doing something he had never done before.

He leaned over and kissed her. It was a quick press of his lips in the corner of her mouth, but far more intimate then he had ever gotten before, and he pulled back. "Oh, I'm so sor-..." he began to apologize, only to have him be grabbed by the front of his jacket and yanking him forward, kissing him for all that she was worth.

He had to brace himself on the table with one hand, but the other was reaching up, cradling the back of her head, fingers rubbing along the shaved part of her head, feeling a small thrill from feeling the stubble there.

They pulled back and they sat down and pretended to be normal people. "My door swings both ways," he stated suddenly and she looked up.

"What?" she questioned.

"I like everyone. I'll date any gender. Well, more like I date personality and don't care what gender it is all wrapped up in. Spitfire, beautiful, very eager to flaunt the rules in people's faces. Everything I'm not," he explained.

She stared.

"Is this because I told you I was a Sensitive?" she questioned.

"Yes," he responded.

She grinned.

"I should tell you deep dark secrets all the time, if only to get yours," she stated, the mischievous edge becoming more obvious as she continued talking.

"I'm afraid I don't have many," he lied easily.

SHIELD.

SHIELD was a huge deep dark secret.

She laughed and he speared a strawberry off the pancake (the same order as hers, but she had devoured her strawberries in two seconds flat), twirling it in the whip cream before he promptly ate it.

Her hard swallow and dilated eyes made him smirk internally.

He loved when he was able to get her to focus entirely on what he had done.


"So...on that whole 'door swings both ways' thing," Sarah stated and Phil looked up from where he was cleaning his guns, at her kitchen table, after she had teased him about the small arms going on the left. It had only been a couple of days after that day in the diner (first date diner), but it was the way she said it that made him worried.

"What about it?" he asked.

"Is that why you left? Because they gave you two options and you took the one that didn't require dishonorable discharge?" she questioned, blue eyes watching him nervously while she tried to make her hair white so she could die it some unnatural, psychedelic, color.

"No. No one knew. Made it very uncomfortable for me, what with being sort-of, possibly, a little bit in love with my best friend," he replied, face going red against his will.

"You were in love with your best friend?"

"Devotedly so. It is the accent. Despite being raised in America, he has an Irish accent."

Sarah snorts, even as she carefully pulled her hair out to dry it. "Still in love with him?" she asked.

"Like you still love your first unrequited love. The ache of what could have been. The ache that goes away when you have something so good and...you're imagining me and John going at it hot and heavy, aren't you?" Phil responded, and Sarah just gave him her bright, lightning bright, grin.

"Damn straight. I've seen pictures of him. If I didn't have you, I'd climb him like a tree," she answered and Phil flushed brilliantly, hiding his face in his hands.

"You have no shame," he stated.

"When have I ever claimed otherwise?" she asked, even as she grinned over her now basically white hair.

She'd have to wait a week, but in the meantime...

Well, Phil had always wanted to play with her hair right after it was finished being dyed.


It was raining. The picnic date had been ruined and Phil turned to stare at Sarah.

They hadn't been dating long, there would be no way to tell what life would do.

"Marry me?" he asked, even as the rain fell so hard that every time they blinked, it sent a wave like tears down her cheeks.

Sarah grabbed him and kissed him with a breathless, "Yes."

When they parted, she grinned. "A thousand times, yes."

He beamed back at her and pulled her into a deeper kiss, memorizing every ridge with his tongue, even as he, somehow, managed to get the emerald ring onto her finger.

She never did like diamonds.


Phil was pacing madly.

"You're early," a voice stated and Phil stopped dead, turning on his heel.

"John," he greeted.

That ache? Yeah, it was still there.

That painful twinge where his heart had picked up speed and, not for the first time, he had wished, so, so, desperately, that they could have had something, anything, if only so the 'what ifs' didn't plague him so.

However, none of that showed (only Sarah could get him to break so badly) and, with Sarah, he had found that the ache, so painfully...there, was soothed, made into only a slight regret.

Though...DADT prevented anything.

And John was as straight as an arrow.

"Doesn't that make you early too?" Phil added.

John laughed, throwing his head back, and smiled. "All part of the Plan," he stated.

"Don't say 'plan' like that John. I hate it when you say 'plan' like that. Everytime it happens, it always ends in bullets. So, so, many bullets. And blood," Phil answered with a low groan.

John just smiled wider.

"And please don't smile at me like that. Because that, that's not even a smile; it is just a bunch of teeth mocking me," Phil continued, glaring a little.

"My dear friend, this will be a bachelor party to remember," John stated, even as he swung an arm around Phil's shoulders.

He couldn't stop the groan even if he tried.


Sarah laughed as she saw John stumble in the next day, Phil supporting him. "He's one of our witnesses! Why is he hungover?" she asked, wriggling her eyebrows a little.

Phil didn't flush this time.

"He tried to get me drunk and covered in glitter. For an Army Ranger, he is pretty oblivious when someone keeps pouring their own drinks into his own or switching their empties for one's own fulls," Phil answered and carefully propped him up while a woman, a beautiful woman with graying hair, stood up.

"Phil, this is my godmother, Victoria Carson," Sarah introduced.

"I would have prefered to meet you sooner, but Sarah has always been one to go her own way," Victoria answered, her British lilt soothing and causing John to twitch a bit.

Phil focused on Sarah. "If I didn't have you, I would definitely date her," he stated and Sarah laughed, loudly and with snorts, while the judge stared at them in slight concern.

The civil ceremony done, with Sarah keeping her name (she was already Dr. Lewis, no need to go changing it), and their honeymoon was under way.

"Take care, John. Stop...smiling like that. One day it will unnerve more than me," Phil stated.

John smiled and hugged him.

Phil blinked in surprise, even as he hugged the man back.

He towered over Phil, easily, and it made Phil feel so very safe.

"Be safe," John said.

"When am I not?" Phil asked, even as John released him.

"Budapest comes to mind."

Phil groaned lowly and then turned, hurrying to his wife, while John laughed.

They were in the car, limo really, and Sarah placed her hand on his cheek. "You going to be okay?" she asked.

He leaned into the touch, thinking, words flying through his brain.

"You know, if you ever need me, I'd be there, right? You said the word, I'd be there in a heartbeat, right Phil?"

"Right, John. Stop drinking. You're like a man trying to drown his sorrows, not the best man trying to throw a bachelor party."

"You wouldn't understand, Phil. Don't matter, anyway. Just...just...does she make you happy?"

"Sarah? Yes."

"Then...I should definitely buy you a lapdance."

"I hate you John. Sometimes, I really hate you."

"Yes," Phil answered.

Sarah smiled and leaned in, more then happy to kiss him senseless, driving further words, both said and unsaid, from Phil's mind.

He really hated it when he hurt someone he loved, even if he never meant it.


"I take it the honeymoon went well?" a voice asked, deep and demanding.

Phil looked up from his desk to find himself staring up at the Director. He managed not to panic. "Yes, Director Fury, it did," he answered.

"You're back rather quickly."

"Always, sir."

"Good to hear it. Your new badge should be on your desk by tomorrow."

"New badge, sir?"

"Welcome to Level 5, Agent Coulson."

Coulson was sure pure shock kept his jaw from falling open.

He was just a Level One right now! How could he skip four levels?

It could not have to do with taking down that terrorist cell with a paper clip and string, could it?

It was his most unproductive day of work of his life.