angenoir: (iron man)
Title: His Day Off
Word Count: ~1200
Pairings: N/A
Characters: Phil Coulson
Warnings: N/A


It was his day off.

Agent Phillip J. Coulson woke up exactly at six twenty-nine in the morning, and when he looked over at the clock, it ticked over to six-thirty.

The alarm didn’t go off.

It didn’t go off, of course, because it was his day off.

With a sigh, he pulled the blankets closer and closed his eyes.

After counting to three hundred and sixty-nine in his head, he sat up in his bed and rubbed the back of his neck.

It was his day off, and he was already wishing he was back at SHIELD.
***

Phil sat at his kitchen table, the coffee cup steaming. His newspaper was sitting exactly where it always sat, his robe was tied with a neat bow, his bowl of cornflakes getting steadily soggier, the clock ticking slowly past seven thirty.

Normally, he’d be already dressed. He’d be in a company car, heading towards SHIELD and the start of his workday. He’d arrive at the office by seven twenty-five. He’d do paperwork until eight thirty, end up at the Avengers tower to go over team tactics with Captain Rogers, review any problems. He’d end up getting pulled into whatever crazy shit Clint Barton had planned to annoy Thor or Bruce. Natasha would inevitably extricate Phil from whatever catastrophe Clint had done that Phil was trying to straighten out, and then discuss with Phil SHIELD gossip until either Tony stumbled into the kitchen or the clock struck noon. If Tony stumbled into the kitchen, it was an easy day, and Phil made sure that Tony had something other than liquid to fuel him as they discussed weapon upgrades, helicarrier upgrades, and any upcoming PR events. If Tony never appeared in the kitchen, Phil would delicately extract himself from Natasha’s deep-seated need to learn the dirt on every SHIELD agent and intern Phil had had interaction with the day before and head upstairs to Tony’s workshop. There, he’d inevitably find Tony hunched over a project, or sometimes hidden underneath a car. Only once or twice did he find Tony actually asleep on the battered and grease-stained couch hidden in the corner of the workshop. Phil would find out what was bothering Tony this time, sort out whether it was simply Tony’s inability to express himself properly, in which case Tony needed a kick in the ass, or there was a problem with politics or the World Council, or SHIELD, or even Stark Industries. On the bad days, it was a combination of all four, but most of the time he helped chart out a plan of attack, soothed Tony’s worry and anxiety, and asked about Tony’s progress with his therapist.

By two in the afternoon, he’d eaten lunch and checked in with every Avenger, and he’d head back to SHIELD headquarters. He’d sit at his desk until eight-thirty in the evening, reviewing current mission updates, overseeing combat and strategic training, and translating the Avengers’ needs into Fury-speak, while getting a list of Fury’s demands. He’d compile the demands, gather up any new intel he could in regards to the problems the Avengers had brought to his attention, check the training schedule to make sure the Avengers’ and SHIELD’s schedules were synchronized, and gathered up all the small little files he hadn’t had time to file throughout the day. Those files would be placed in a neat stack in the exact center of his meticulously clean desk, a pen laid diagonally on it, by nine at night, at which time Phil would then head downstairs to the garage and take his car back to his apartment.

It was never a dull moment. Phil had gotten to be an expert at handling chaos. Now, on his enforced day of rest… he missed it.

When he glanced over at the clock again, it was only seven thirty-four. With a sigh, he stood up from his kitchen table and moved to his couch, turning over to the crossword puzzle.

He was halfway through, the clock inching closer and closer to eight-fifteen, when a knock sounded at his door. He looked up, frowning, and returned his gaze to his crossword for a moment.

Of course, people at SHIELD knew where he lived. And the Avengers – or, at least, Tony, Clint, Natasha, and Pepper – knew his address as well. But it wasn’t even eight-thirty yet. It wasn’t a decent time to come calling, for whatever reason. And there shouldn’t even be a reason – it was his day off, after all.

The knock came again.

Heaving a sigh, he carefully folded the newspaper and set it neatly down on the coffee table next to his now cold cup of coffee. Moving through the kitchen to the front hallway, he absently lifted up his weapon of choice – a Taser – and slipped it up his sleeve.

When he looked out the peephole, he seriously considered using it on the person standing on the other side of the door.

“I know you’re up, Agent,” Tony’s voice came, still obnoxious even through the muffling of the wooden door. “You’ve probably been up for at least an hour now.”

With a sigh, Phil opened the door. To his surprise, it was Natasha who walked in first, followed by Tony.

“It’s my day off,” he said, but the words were feeble.

Natasha slanted him a cool glance. “I’ll speak to Fury about this. Honestly, giving you just one day out of nowhere and forcing you to take it. Next time, you pick the date and bargain for a week. You deserve it.”

A small chuckle forced itself out of his mouth, and he lifted one eyebrow at her incredulously. “What would I do with a whole week?”

“Visit that cellist in Portland, obviously. You’ve got a jet at your disposal, why not?” Tony said, and his movements were slightly jittery, indicating he’d probably been up all night – or at least for thirteen to fifteen hours already, with nothing but coffee to fuel him. “Chop chop, Agent, to the mansion we go!”

“Tower, Tony,” Natasha murmured.

“I could take you to a mansion, though. Let you have your day of rest in the lap of luxury.”

“Stark, we talked about this,” Natasha interrupted, her voice a warning.

Tony nodded absently, and then smiled wide at Phil. “We guessed you wouldn’t have a lot to do on your day off, and since your cellist is in Portland and there’s really no good amount of time to be spent there in one day, well, we’ll do our best to keep your day busy and relaxing at the same time. Next time, though, you’re going to Portland.”

Phil opened his mouth, and then closed it when Natasha stepped up and put a gentle had on his shoulder. “Just accept it, Phillip,” Natasha laughed. “You’re part of the Avengers, now.”

“And Avengers take care of their own, even if their own is a creepy robot. Hell, maybe even especially when their own is a creepy robot. God knows JARVIS has every reason to go creepy,” Tony muttered.

Phil felt his heart expand, and something akin to relief and definitely close to warmth flooded his chest. “Well,” he said, and stopped to clear his throat. “Well, then, let’s go,” he finished with a smile.

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