Phil knew exactly what he had to do when hostiles invaded the Helicarrier. He made his way to the weapons bay and let the scanner read his eye print. Once he was allowed into the bay, he picked up one of the weapons Fury had created to help protect the world against aliens. He also knew who the hostiles were coming for: Loki. But he wasn't going to let the Asgardian go. Phil could hear the roars of the Hulk, gunfire from the bridge, and prayed that Ellie was safe as he walked to the detention level.
He felt the ship lunge as they lost another engine and he took a moment to catch his footing then proceeded to the detention level. When he got through with this, he was going to find Ellie and give her the ring that was still in his pocket in front of anybody who was there. He had loved that girl for 22 years and wasn't going to stop any time soon. He was proud to call her his (when Fury would allow it), proud that she was a hero, and proud that she loved him back.
"The humans think us immortal." Loki was taunting his brother, who he had trapped in his cell while Loki walked free, as Phil arrived at the detention level. "Shall we test that?"
Phil only saw one guard with Loki and it was easy enough to take him out. Phil stood, the gun aimed at Loki as he spoke. "Move away, please."
Loki moved away from the control panel, looking from the gun to Coulson then back to the gun. Phil took a few steps forward and kept talking. "You like this? We started working on the prototype after you sent the Destroyer. Even I don't know what it does." Phil started the gun up, the red lights shining inside the barrel. "Do you want to find out?"
Then it was pain. Sharp, tearing, agonizing pain shooting through his heart and chest. Loki had shoved his scepter through his back and heart. Phil cursed himself for not taking Loki's magic into account as he fell to the ground, slumped against the wall, the gun on his lap. Loki walked back to the control panel and pressed the buttons to cause the cell to drop and then Thor was gone.
Each beat of his heart pushed a little more blood through the open wound. Phil knew he wasn't going to get out of this alive. It was hard to breathe and his arms were stiff, he didn't know how he would possibly move them.
Loki started to walk away and Phil had to stop him. "You're going to lose."
That stopped him. Loki turned and faced Phil. "Am I?"
"It's in your nature." Phil said. Keep him talking long enough for backup to arrive.
"Hmm?" Loki asked. "Your heroes are scattered. Your floating fortress falls from the sky. Where is my disadvantage?"
"You lack conviction." Phil said. You can fire this gun once. Make it count. His finger curled around the trigger, the slight movement causing his muscles to tire even more.
"I don't think I'm-" Loki was cut off as Phil managed to pull the trigger. The gun fired and sent Loki through the wall in a burst of flame like energy.
"So that's what it does." Phil said to himself. He couldn't move anymore now. Breathing was harder, even blinking made him ache. The temperature of his skin had dropped and he felt cold. His heart was slowing and the edges of his vision was starting to blur. Was that metallic, sticky smell coming from him, from his blood? The gun was heavy, weighing down on his legs that put them to sleep. He wanted to hear her voice one last time, his hero, his one true love and soul mate but he couldn't lift his arm to activate his comm. He called out weakly for her. "Ellie."
It wasn't Ellie who found him though. It was Director Fury and the eyepatched man knelt in front of him. "Sorry, boss. The god rabbitted."
Fury took the gun from his lap. He wasn't willing to lose this agent. "Just stay awake. Eyes on me."
"No, I'm clocking out here." Phil said.
"Not an option." Fury commanded.
"It's okay boss. This wouldn't have worked if they didn't have something to avenge. " Phil said, the tears in his eyes spilling over and his voice breaking. "Can you just tell her that I love her?"
"Tell her yourself." Fury said.
"She's the best thing to happen to me." Phil was starting to get tired now. It was getting hard to keep his eyes open. "I was gonna ask her to marry me..."
"You'll get the chance." Fury said. He wouldn't admit it but he thought of Ellie like his own daughter and the love between Phil and Ellie was truly something that happened once in a lifetime. "Just stay awake."
"Ellie, I lo-" Phil felt the last bit of life in him slip away and he sank into the darkness.
Fury got up and allowed the medical team to examine Phil, calling his time of death. With a deep breath, the Director activated his comm. "Agent Coulson is down."
Ellie felt her heart pound when an agent said, "A medical team is on their way to your position."
"They're here." Fury's voice came back. "They called it."
Ellie's stomach flipped and she dropped to her knees on the catwalk where she stood with Steve and Tony having successfully restarted the engine. Her stomach heaved and she vomited the contents over the side of the hole in the ship. Steve, knowing only that Phil had been her best friend, helped her up when her stomach was empty. She shoved him away and took off on shaky legs to the med bay, tears filling her eyes. "Please don't be dead. Anything but dead."
"Ma'am, you're not allowed to be in here." A doctor told her when she finally made it. He blocked her way but she wasn't going to let this ass clown in her way. She pulled her gun and aimed it at his head.
"Let me through or I will kill you." Ellie promised. The doctor, with his hands up, moved out of her way and Ellie put her gun down. She looked through the med bay, finding Phil's body on the last bed, still dressed in his suit. Staining the front of his favorite blue shirt, one that she had gotten him, was blood. "Phil. Come on. It's time to go get Loki."
Phil, of course, didn't respond. Ellie felt the tears start to flow down her cheeks. "Come on, Phil. It's time to be heroes. Don't leave me. Please."
"Ma'am, I'm afraid you have to leave." A nurse said.
"Phil, wake up." Ellie pleaded with her love, ignoring the nurse. "I can't do this without you."
"Security, we have a situation here." The nurse called for back up.
"You can't leave me." Ellie paid no attention to the security guard currently trying to drag her away. She held on tight to the lapel of Phil's coat, her voice breaking as she screamed. "You can't be dead! NO! LET ME GO! I CAN'T LEAVE HIM!"
It took three security guards to get Ellie to the bridge. Fury wanted to talk to her, Steve, and Tony. The men were present already when Ellie was shoved into her chair, face stained with still falling tears and eyes red. Fury had Phil's Captain America trading cards in his hand.
"These were in Phil Coulson's jacket. I guess he never did get you to sign them." Fury threw the cards at Steve and Ellie sniffled when she saw they were stained with blood.
Ellie sobbed as she stared at the cards, one mouth covering her hand to muffle the sound.
Fury sighed. "We're dead in the air up here. Our communications, location of the cube, Banner, Thor...I got nothing for you. I lost my one good eye. Maybe I had that coming. I was playing with something very risky. There was an idea, Stark knows this, called the Avengers Initiative. The idea was to bring together a group of remarkable people, to see if they could become something more. To see if they could work together when we needed them to, to fight the battles we never could. Phil Coulson died still believing in that idea. In heroes."
"The only hero I believe in is Phil Coulson." Ellie said, her voice shaking and full of tears. Tony got up and left. Ellie stood to follow his lead when Fury pressed something into her hand.
"He also had this in his jacket." Fury said.
Ellie kept her hand closed until she got to where he died. She wasn't allowed back in the med bay. She saw the blood stain against the wall and sat on the floor next to it, looking at the small box in her hand, not brave enough to look at the ring inside. Tony joined her, standing where the entry to Loki's cell would have been. They sat in silence, the only sound that filled the room was Ellie's sobs and sniffles. Steve joined them a little while later.
"Was he married?" Steve asked.
"No." Ellie said, clearing her throat and holding up the ring box. "He hadn't had a chance to ask me yet."
"I'm sorry." Steve sounded sincere. "He seemed like a good man."
"He was an idiot." Tony said.
"Why? For believing?" Steve asked, his arms crossed.
"For taking on Loki alone." Tony said.
"You could have told him exactly what would happen and he would have done the same thing." Ellie said.
"He was out of his league." Tony said, walking toward Ellie and helping her up. "He should have waited. He should have..."
Steve met them in the middle of the catwalk. "Sometimes there isn't a way out, Tony."
"Right. I've heard that before." Tony said, walking past the Captain.
"Is this the first time you've lost a soldier?" Steve asked.
Ellie slapped Steve hard across the face. "I just lost the man I've been in love with for 22 years. He wasn't a soldier and neither am I."
"I'm not marching to Fury's fife." Tony said, once Ellie had quieted.
"Neither am I." Steve agreed. "He's got the same blood on his hands that Loki does. But right now we've got to put that behind us and get this done. Now, Loki needs a power source. If we can put together a list..."
"Loki made it personal." Tony said.
"That's not the point." Steve countered.
"That is the point." Tony said, his mind racing. "That's Loki's point. He hit us all right where we live. Why?"
"Tear us apart." Steve said.
"Yeah, divide and conquer is great but Loki knows he has to take us out to win." Tony said. "That's what he wants. He wants to beat us, he wants to be seen doing it. He wants an audience."
"We saw what he did in Stuttgart." Ellie said, clutching the ring box tightly.
"Yeah but that's just previews. This is opening night." Tony said. "Loki's a full tilt diva, right? He wants flowers, wants parades. He wants a monument built to the skies with his name-"
They all thought the same thing. Stark Tower.
"Son of a bitch." Tony said.
"You should get suited up." Steve told Ellie.
"I can't do this without Phil." Ellie said, the tears finally stopping and the numbness moving in its place.
"You have to." Steve said. "Until we get this done, you need to move past this and mourn later. Can you do that?"
Ellie finally nodded after a few minutes and went to suit up. Before, the black armor had always made her feel safe, protected. Now she felt like she was going to a funeral. She placed the ring box carefully in one of the pouches and sealed it. Steve was right. The time for mourning was later; right now she had to find a way to stop Loki. Before she went to the hangar, Ellie stopped by the med bay once more. Fury had commanded the doctors and nurses to give her time with Phil if she wanted it, so the personnel stayed out of her way.
Ellie stared at Phil's face. It looked like he was sleeping and she half waited for him to snore. "Phil, we're going into battle and I don't know if I'm going to come back. I don't know what I'm going to do without you." Ellie closed her eyes and kissed his lips for the last time, the tears starting anew, falling onto Phil's cold cheek. "I love you."
With that, she straightened her back and went to the hangar, ready for battle.
A/N: I'm not going to lie to you guys. I cried while writing this chapter. Please review because I'd like to know what you guys thought of this chapter in particular.
Rylee: I hope this answered most of your questions. Thanks for reviewing.