''I just don’t understand
why I can’t see him!'' Phil shouted, slamming his palms down on Fury’s desk in
''Because I say so'' Fury replied calmly, looking unimpressed and leaning back in his desk chair opposite Phil. ''You can’t see any of them. That was one of the main terms for your revival''.
''But why?!'' Phil refused to admit that he’d sounded whiny as he sunk back down into the visitor’s chair. ''I just want to see my husband and tell him I’m alive!''
''Well you can’t'' Fury stated with an air of finality. Phil opened his mouth to argue further but was forestalled by the intercom on Fury’s desk buzzing to life. ''Director?'' Hill’s fuzzy voice inquired.
Fury sighed before pressing the button to reply. ''Is it really important?''
Phil took this as an opportunity to rise from the chair and back towards the door. ''If it’s all the same to you, sir, I’d like to take Lola for a drive'' Fury dismissed him with a flick of a hand, turning back to the intercom.
Twisting the knob, Phil opened the door and stepped into the corridor, closing the door to Fury’s office behind him. The bland hallway was mostly empty when the agent looked up and down, so he allowed himself a small sigh. Phil straightened his tie before striding off down the blue-carpeted hall, towards the lifts at the end.
Once he had reached the parking garage in the basement, Phil crossed the underground room to the shiny red convertible parked in her usual spot. The sight brought a fond smile to the agent’s face as he ran a hand over the cherry red bonnet. ''Hey Sweetie'' He greeted the car. ''Miss me?'' Phil knew, intellectually, that the car couldn’t reply but this was the first time he had seen her since he had faced Loki and he had missed her.
Phil pulled the keys from his pocket and unlocked the car, opening the driver’s door. He climbed into the vehicle and started the engine. Lola roared to life bringing a small smile to her owner’s face. With care, the agent backed out of the parking space and drove out of the garage and into the daylight.
Originally, Phil had just been intending to go for a drive but then he remembered: the Avengers had moved into Stark’s New York Mansion. It wasn’t far from SHIELD HQ so Phil slipped on his sunglasses and hit the accelerator, switching on the radio to his Queen CD.
About 20 minutes later, Phil arrived at the towering gates of Avengers Mansion. He spotted an intercom box and pulled up next to it, leaning out of the car to press the button.
''Yes?'' Came JARVIS’ British voice.
''Hey JARVIS'' Phil greeted. ''Tony home?''
If an AI could sound surprised, JARVIS managed it. ''Agent Coulson, sir, you are believed to be dead''.
''It didn’t agree with me'' Phil intoned dryly. ''They here?''
''It is nice to see you, sir. Mr Stark and the other Avengers are spending the afternoon by the pool. Please come in'' The intercom buzzed and the gates groaned into motion, swinging inwards to allow Phil entry. Phil smiled and gently accelerated Lola through the gates.
He parked in front of the main entrance to the Mansion and climbed out, patting Lola’s bonnet as he passed. The front door swung open as he reached it and Phil entered the cool shade of the building.
''Follow the hallway to your left and you shall enter the kitchen area. The pool deck is just beyond''.
''Thanks JARVIS'' Phil said, already following the instructions.
Upon entering the kitchen, Phil halted at the sight he saw through the open deck doors. The Avengers plus Jane and Darcy were all lounging about the pool in swimsuits; even Natasha had gotten involved, although she had commandeered a deck chair and was reading quietly. Thor and Jane were up to their waists in the shallow end while Darcy and Banner perched on the side near them, conversing happily. Stark and Cap were in up to their chests and seemed to be playing catch with a beach ball. Phil glanced over all of this until his eyes rested on Clint.
The archer was sat apart from everyone else on his own deck chair in the shade of the building. Phil could only see the top of his messy blonde hair, perfectly styled as always. His head was tipped back against the chair and Phil caught a glimpse of his expression: pure sorrow. Phil’s heart wrenched in his chest and he took an unconscious step forward, his shoes tapping on the kitchen tiles.
Clint startled at the sudden noise and turned round, peering into the slight gloom of the building. Phil knew the moment the archer saw him as Clint tensed and froze in place, eyes wide. Taking a deep breath, Phil took another step forward; then another, until he was through the doors and outside.
The archer’s sudden distress alerted Natasha, who looked up from her book and gasped: a rare occurrence. This action then gained the attention of everyone else; their reactions were all varied forms of surprise and shock.
For a moment nobody did anything, then: ''Coulson?'' Stark asked. Phil swallowed before finding his voice. ''Sorry for dropping in un-announced but I figured you might want to see me…?'' He trailed off, eyes flicking to Clint who still hadn’t moved.
As if his words had opened the dam, everyone startled into motion; clambering out of the pool to crowd before him. ''How the hell are you alive right now?!'' Stark demanded, earning a slap to the back of the head from Cap.
Phil just barely resisted from rubbing a hand over the back of his neck; a subconscious gesture he did when he was nervous. ''Apparently it wasn’t easy but I was only dead for about a minute at first. Then twice after that for about thirty seconds each on the operating table'' He shifted his weight as his gaze darted to Clint once more.
''That was two months ago!'' Stark shrieked, earning another head slap from Cap and a hissed reprimand.
''Yeah, I know'' Phil sighed. ''I was in a coma for about three weeks after the operation then I had to heal before enduring physical therapy. I’ve only really been up and walking on my own for about three days''
''Why didn’t Fury tell us you were alive?'' The soft question was asked by Natasha, who had come to perch by Clint’s feet on the deck chair.
''Because he didn’t want to, as I found out about an hour ago'' Phil almost lifted a hand to run through his hair then though better of the action. ''He had decided that Agent Phil Coulson had died on that helicarrier and the fact that I actually hadn’t was classified and need-to-know''
''Then how are you here, telling us now?'' Cap inquired.
''I disagreed with his idea. I told Fury I was taking Lola for a drive and came over here to tell you''
''Who’s Lola?'' Jane asked.
Before Phil could reply, a very familiar voice answered for him. ''His car'' Phil turned to face his husband, who had risen from the deck chair. ''Phil loves Lola''
''Phil?!'' Stark demanded but Phil wasn’t listening.
''Clint?'' He inquired softly.
The archer sighed minutely and something shifted in his expression. Phil took a small step towards his husband and Clint fell into his embrace. The archer buried his face in Phil’s neck, in the space where it meets shoulder, hands clenched tightly in Phil’s suit jacket. The agent, in turn, buried his own face in Clint’s dirty blonde hair, inhaling the familiar scent. It was comforting to the SHIELD agent that Clint’s choice of shampoo hadn’t changed despite all that had happened.
''Alright, what the hell is going on?!'' Darcy demanded, cutting through the pleasant fog surrounding Phil and Clint. Slowly, Phil pulled back from the tight embrace, keeping an arm secure around Clint’s waist. Together, the couple turned to face the others.
''Hi, nice to meet you'' Clint held out a hand towards the others, his left with the golden wedding band. ''I’m Clint Coulson, and this is my husband, Phil''
What followed was a stunned silence. When Phil glanced at Natasha, he saw that she wore a knowing smirk: she’d been the witness at their wedding after all.
Many moments later, Cap had recovered enough to speak. ''Husband?'' Clint shrugged then nodded.
''Yeah, 10 years this October'' He stated nonchalantly. Phil smiled and squeezed his archer.
''10 years?!'' Stark exclaimed. ''And no one knew?! Does Fury know?''
''We weren't exactly hiding it, we just weren't stating it outright'' Clint answered.
''Natasha knows as she was our witness'' Phil explained, smirking. ''And I’d hope Fury knows as he officiated''. Before anyone could say anything else, Thor joined the conversation.
''Congratulations Son of Coul and Hawkeye!'' The Asgardian boomed making Phil grin. ''This is great cause for celebration! We shall drink and be merry on this eve! I shall gather the Asgardian mead'' He flounced past the couple into the house, dragging Jane behind him.
There was a moment of baffled silence upon his departure before everyone burst out laughing and the tension in the air dissipated.
Banner clapped Clint on the shoulder briefly, offering his congratulations. ''Well, congrats I guess, Clint. This certainly does explain all your moping-''
''-That was totally not moping!'' Clint interrupted. Banner gave him a look and Clint’s mouth snapped shut.
''-And it’s nice to have you back Agent Coulson'' Banner finished, making Phil smile.
''Thank you Dr Banner''.
''Call me Bruce, everyone else does''. Bann-no Bruce corrected, smiling.
''Bruce it is then'' Phil replied, holding out a hand. ''I’m Phil''. Bruce’s smile widened as he took the offered hand in a brief handshake.
Just at that moment, heavy footsteps thundered through the kitchen and out onto the patio; Thor and Jane had returned. ''Friends!'' The God boomed. ''Let us drink and be merry!''
''Nice to have you back, Coulson!'' Darcy yelled as she was dragged to the other side of the pool deck by Thor and Jane. Bruce followed, sighing softly but smiling.
A sharp punch to his arm punctuated Natasha’s greeting: ''Don’t die on us again'' before she followed the others.
''J, put on the Avengers playlist'' Stark requested. A moment later, Benny Goodman’s Sing Sing Sing filtered into the outside air. Cap startled as he recognised the song but then he smiled widely at Stark.
''Great to see you, Agent'' Stark started. ''When will you be moving in?'' This was punctuated by a long-suffering sigh from Cap.
''Nice to have you back Agent Coulson'' Cap said sincerely before grasping Stark’s arm and hauling him away. Phil grinned; there was totally something going on there.
Finally, Phil turned to face his husband. ''Hi'' He said quietly.
''Hi'' Clint replied just as quietly, smiling gently. The couple rested their foreheads together and revelled in each other's company for a few moments.
''I'm sorry I didn't come visit sooner or get in contact with you'' Phil apologised softly, breaking the comfortable silence between them. ''But I genuinely thought Fury would tell you I was alive so you'd come visit me''.
Clint put a gentle finger on Phil's lips. ''Shh. Let's not worry about that now. You're here, that's all that matters. You're home''.
Phil grinned, glancing to where the others were gathered. Thor was drinking a flagon of mead in one gulp; Darcy and Tony were egging him on; Bruce and Jane were sat quietly discussing something, probably science related; Natasha had returned to her book but had moved to a deck chair closer to the others; and Cap was gazing adoringly at Stark, almost as if he didn't notice he was doing so.
The agent turned back to his husband, looking into those familiar blue eyes. ''I'm home''. Clint closed the gap between their lips and kissed him and it did truly feel like coming home.
Though they weren't out of the woods yet with Phil technically being MIA at that moment, it seemed inconsequential compared with the knowledge that he was exactly where he needed to be. And, as Clint and Phil joined the rest of the group, Phil found he couldn't care less about Fury; this was a perfect moment.