That Wasn't So Hard

March 20, 2017:

Agent Coulson tracks down Melinda May and gets himself an update.

The Triskelion

Now serving: tea and no tea.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Bucky Barnes, Jane Foster, Lara Croft, Logan, Isa Reichart


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

The Triskelion is a busy place all of the time. Agents, techs, admins, and more walk to and fro, offices and hallways and conference rooms and ops centers resembling a hive of activity.

Seeming almost strangely detached from the rest of the SHIELD main facility, a small side lab in the area set aside for WAND is quiet and still. It even has only the emergency lights illuminating the bare tables and walls. It's the perfect place to escape for five minutes and decompress.

And maybe try a little meditative yoga without being interrupted. Agent May is sitting on the floor out of sight of the door into said quiet lab, with closed eyes and slow, regular breathing.


Agent May finds five whole minutes to herself. Agent Coulson shows up just in time to ruin it.

She might hear his footsteps first; he walks like a cat when he wants to and he does now, but in such a state it's easy to pick out even the slightest scrape of sensible shoes against the floor. He then just stands there with a slight smile, waiting politely for her to acknowledge that she's aware of him…

Even if he knows good and well she's probably aware of him from the moment he cheerfully violates her sanctuary.

He kind of just has that knack.


"What now?"

May doesn't even bother to open her eyes. She knows who's there. She might even successfully hazard a guess as to why. But she'd really rather have her last minute and fourteen seconds to herself.


He compromises. He gives her 37 seconds to herself before he speaks.

"Hello to you too, Agent May," Coulson says, subdued laughter in his voice. "It's very good to see you."

He decides to leave it at that, hazel eyes sparkling just a little bit. When he smiles, which he is now, his face transforms from something nondescript into something quite a bit more striking. He slides his hands into his pockets, completely unphased in the face of May's characteristic surliness.


May just barely manages to resist the urge to sigh. "Spit it out, Coulson. What do you want?"

With no telegraphing motion, she goes from seated on the floor cross-legged to standing and looking at the smiling agent with her usual flat non-expression.


"To say hello, since I've been on mission for months? Look, I can say it for both of us."

"Hello, Agent May."

"Hello, Agent Coulson. It's good to see you too."

He pauses thoughtfully. "To congratulate you on the fact that you've got the place running like a well-oiled machine?"

He pauses, and again mimes both halves of the conversation. "Why Agent May, everything seems to be thriving nicely under your leadership."

"Why thank you, Agent Coulson, it's going well, if I do say so myself."

He pauses. "I suppose a series of ellipses would have done for your half of the conversation there, like on video games, but it's tough to improv this on the fly."

And then: "Well, Agent May, when you've got a moment I'd love an update on the most pressing issues as I've been in the Arctic, and it sucked by the way, and I might have to go back for a few days but definitely not for months, and it would be nice to get up to speed. When might you have time to do this?"

Phil Coulson gives a winning smile. "And then you say…?"


"Walk with me." Those five minutes are up, after all.

Leading the way back out of the quiet lab, May starts filling Coulson in on recent events. "If you want more general intel, you'll likely need to go bug someone in Ops. I've been focusing on WAND almost exclusively of late. But. The Winter Soldier is back on the grid. Rogers has claimed responsibility for him, and I've insured that it stays that way. The KIS order on the Winter Soldier is rescinded until further notice."

She leads him past the WAND labs, where there are people either working over steaming cauldrons, or examining items that decidedly more arcane than mundane, and even one tech working at a bench with various objects floating randomly within arms' reach. "Dr. Foster was abducted by HYDRA, but Rogers and Barnes were able to retrieve her. She and Barnes are … close now, likely due to shared experiences. She's been offered a consultant position in R&D, but is only working part time. I suspect she's working at a lab elsewhere, but I can't prove it."

"I made Foster a promise — if at any time she feels she needs to walk away from SHIELD, she can walk away. No questions asked, no chasing her down." And Phil should already know what her promises mean.


Coulson walks with her, his jovial demeanor dropping as he begins to get the rundown. He clasps his hands behind his back. He's paying total attention to her and her words, blocking out literally everything else in favor of absorbing her rapid-fire briefing. He nods at appropriate intervals.

"It's a good promise," Phil agrees, though he furrows his brow thoughtfully. Still, whatever thoughts he has in regards to this scenario, other than that single shared one, he keeps close and tight to his chest.

"Is there anything I should know about this Mists business, or is it under control at this point? All the reports on my desk are out of order and out of context. I only have the very vaguest understanding of what's going on. I have only gathered that I started my mission down there before all this happened. I'm content to let it alone if I'm not needed there, but if I am, then I'm content to jump in."


"I haven't been working on it much, too many other things going on including Croft possibly having figured out something involving a Dropa disc." She leads Coulson through toward where her office is now — a tiny closet of a room barely big enough to hold the desk that seems to see no use beyond being a landing pad for stacks of files and a laptop.

"Logan is back on the active roster with WAND, so if you see him wandering around, don't shoot at him. You'll only annoy him." She knows Coulson likely remembers the surly Canadian from WAAAAAY back, when May herself was a very new agent.

"If you want help sorting those files about the Mists, I'll see what I can do."


Coulson waves it away. "If it's not at the top of your priority list than it doesn't have to be at the top of mine," he says. He only quirks an eyebrow at the news of Logan's presence but, again, keeps any other reaction completely to himself. Instead, he studies the Dropa disc.

"What did she figure out?" he asks, tilting his head to one side. "Surely more than 'it makes a good coaster'."

He furrows his brow at the tiny office and opens his mouth to say something about it. He then closes it. And waits to hear about this interesting something or another. At least May is freely giving him information now, which is what he wanted.


"When used in tandem with something Croft called a 'Secret Keeper', the disc displays an image of Earth, and the one she has right now seems to be indicating something in South America. I anticipate her request to track it down will be …" She then nods and holds up one of the file folders. "Right here."

"Oh, and there's a new pilot on the roster. Looks like a very recent Russian import." May then looks at Coulson wryly. "She saluted me, Phil."


"Huh," Phil says thoughtfully. "That looks interesting." Which is his code for he might want to be in on whatever request to track things down comes his way…but he's not 100% sure on that count yet. He steps back from it, and arches an eyebrow.

The pilot has clearly made an impression.

"Is she any good?" May, with her own impressive piloting skills, is certainly the one to ask.


Melinda May shakes her head. "Haven't seen her fly yet. I met her on the tarmac after she extracted Croft. But, the flight crews haven't complained, so…" She does usually take it upon herself to 'evaluate' all of SHIELD's new pilots, when she has time.


"Huh," Phil says with a smile. "Well, I might have to see for myself." His own impulse is to get to know everyone he might find himself in command of some day. He steps back, giving her a bit more space in the tiny office.

"Anything else I should know about, Melinda?"

For all his teasing, he won't impose on her time too long. He actually does respect that time, for one thing.


Melinda May considers for a moment, then shrugs. "Not really, unless you're so bored you want to try and figure out who keeps stealing my tea from the breakroom." She personally is about to go stare down some of the recent UK imports in Ops.


"I think not," Phil says dryly. He turns to go, then can't resist one little impish rejoinder.

"There. That wasn't so hard, was it?"

He then ambles off. With purpose, surely, but ambling all the same, just as if he hasn't got a care in the world.

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