Friends On the Other Side

April 24, 2018:

A not quite dead Agent Phil Coulson finds himself in an unusual situation with equally unusual company.

New York


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Sharon Carter


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…


Phil Coulson has been in a bit of a confused state for awhile now. One moment he was in a fight for his life in Warehouse 13. The next, he's standing in what looks like the waiting room. Maybe of a doctor's office. Maybe of a train station. He's not really sure. Pretty enough, with mother-of-pearl walls and light blue furniture. A kiosk which just plays the message: Welcome, everything is fine. Over and over again. There are magazines, and they are certainly magazines he doesn't mind reading. They change every time he picks one up, and some are for dates that seem ridiculous. Sports Illustrated, Fall, 2031? Field and Stream, March 2, 1667? It seems like some sort of elaborate joke, really.

Time flows weirdly, and so he's not sure how long he stood here marveling at this phenomenon before he became aware that nobody else was coming in or out. No signs of anyone working here. A television that has 90,000 stations makes as little sense as the magazines. From time to time he found something to watch…

Before he noticed there also were not any windows. Nor any doors. And that only made him more and more confused.

Meanwhile, on Earth, someone arranged to have his real body secreted away to a lab and handed over to Tony Stark. An LMD was buried. Someone got to work on the problem of bringing Phil Coulson back from the dead. And he has no idea.

What he did have an idea about was that he suddenly found a spot on the wall that seemed weaker than the others. He became convinced he was a prisoner, and thus it was his duty to escape. A spy in a smooth afterlife room is still a spy, and it didn't take long for him to flip over a table, work a table leg free, and use it to bash his way out of the pretty, featureless room.


Well. Now Phil Coulson is more discombobulated than ever. He'd expected a hallway full of guards he'd have to fight, drawn by the noise. Or someone to show up and tell him what was going on. Instead he stumbles out onto a crowded New York City street a block away from the Triskelion. And while he stands there, trying to figure out what the Hell

Someone walks right through him.

Phil is known for being cool as a cucumber, but that spooks even him. His eyes widen as he flattens himself to a building. He reaches out tentatively to touch someone else, watches as they ignore it completely, as his hand passes through them.

"What the Hell," he asks softly, hazel eyes crinkling in sheer dismay. He can tell they aren't even seeing him. Is he phased? Is that the problem?


A typical day in the life of one James "Jim" Craddock. He's miles from the soil he'd been born upon and centuries separated, the finer details as to the why's and the how's all but a loss to him, but such things as he's cared less and less about. As a restless spirit he roams unfamiliar cities with even more unfamiliar things like technology. At least there's always something consistent between the 19th century and the present. While people have expanded upon if not complicated things of monetary value, there's still an appreciation for gold, silver and jewels.

Ghosts aren't really all that unusual a presence anywhere. The main difference is that there are those locked in their past, ignorant of what the world has become around them, and then there are others who have broken from that mold and decided that there are other things worth pursuing, even in death. And then there are yet others that might have other circumstances attached, which once again brings up the previously mentioned 'finer details' that Craddock has long since stopped questioning.

"Oh no, my friend. Not quite," a voice replies, even if Phil Coulson might not be expecting a response. The voice in question is accented, British with touch more north, not quite the polished tone of Peggy Carter. "T'be sure, if ye were in that place, there'd be no question about it."

The speaker sounds from directly behind the agent, perched atop a horse who seems quite unperturbed about the flow of foot traffic in New York, but that's probably on the account that just as Coulson so disturbingly has found, people simply pass right on through. Its rider is dressed either for a costume party or just severely behind in the latest fashion trends, wearing a white dress coat and slacks with stirrups over his white shoes, a flowing white cloak drawn over his shoulders, gloves upon his hands with a cane held in one as he leans casually over the pommel of his saddle. As if things couldn't be any more strange, the figure lacks a visible head, the only sign of there even being one the white top hat defying gravity along with the monocle over where his right eye should be.


Phil looks up to the strange rider. Another look of sheer, disoriented confusion passes over his face. He observes how the traffic flows through the fellow and his horse, and then reaches out to…

Well. There's really no way around it. He reaches out to try to poke the horse. To see if his finger passes through it, or winds up touching horse flank. His finger hesitates before making its final descent, like he's not sure about anything at all.

He seems to be wholly unaware of the front of his shirt, the state of his suit. It's not what he died in. It's what he was buried in. It's also covered in wet, hot blood that looks fresh spilled, right at his heart and gut. He smooths a hand absently over his clothes as if adjusting the fit, and fails to notice it even then.

Manners are manners though. Soft-spoken, even when asking what the Hell, he says, "I'm Agent Phil Coulson. I'm sorry. Who are you? What's going on?"


The horse lifts its head as Phil makes contact, snorting, but the gentleman atop it reassures his steed with a pat. There's no warmth, but then Bess has been dead even long before the Ghost had inherited the beast.

Manners, well, such are a thing to be appreciated! The fancy-dressed man straightens in his seat before removing his hat with a slight bow.

"G'day to ye, Agent. Ye can call me Jim Craddock." He pauses for a moment as he replaces his hat, looking the man up and down as he brings a gloved hand to finger his unseen chin. "As for yer second question, well, having been there m'self, I s'ppose I can't say that it might be so obvious. Except…"

A hangman's noose doesn't leave so messy an end. Craddock inclines his head at Phil, hinted only by the tip of monocle and hat, and as though recalling that perhaps it might not be so obvious a gesture, he brings a hand up to his own chest. "Looks like ye've had better days, Agent."


"A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Craddock," Phil says, as if they were sharing tea and not surrounded by throngs of humanity who keep…walking through them. Phil keeps edging aside, looking to avoid that contact…or lack thereof…squeamish about it. But he can touch the horse. He strokes her nose gently, an anchor, an apology for the poke.

Then the fancy man calls his attention to his chest. Phil reaches down to touch it…and then brings his hand away, soaked in blood.

There's no pain.

"Looks like," he agrees, still staring at his bloodsoaked hand. Then he looks up at Craddock.

"We're dead?" he ventures, sounding more confused than ever. "I'm dead? This…I'm sorry, this doesn't make any sense at all."


The expression Craddock might be wearing would have been sympathetic as he watches Phil shift about. Bess seems to accept the apology, tolerating the stranger's touch.

When realization finally dawns, the Gentleman Ghost nods solemnly. "That we are, good sir," he says. "Were ye not, then this wouldn't be so casual a conversation." People would certainly react to Phil in his current state of dress, and the sight of a strange man riding a stranger horse with mane and tail drifting in wisps in the middle of New York would have garnered some attention.

"Alas," Craddock continues, shrugging his shoulders slightly. "Would that I knew the sense'o it all… Well, I s'ppose it'd not make much a difference." He gestures towards Phil. "Ye at least look the part'uv this day an' age. What do ye last recall?"


"A warehouse…I was there with my team," Phil says slowly. "It was being robbed. Dangerous items, stuff nobody should want on the streets."

He puts his hand to his head. Fortunately the vaguries of being a ghost mean the blood is gone, or at least he doesn't leave a streak on his forehead. "A traitor. Ben Palmer. I thought he was dead. Hadn't seen him in years. He…"

There's this moment where he grapples with the memories, tries to put them in some semblance of order. "A fire? Maybe? Christ, did anyone get out?"

He looks up at Craddock then and finally notes, "You've been doing this a long time. You've just been here? All this time? On Earth? Dead? You're a ghost? We're ghosts?"


The place, the name, they mean nothing to him. Robberies, Craddock can relate to, but his have always been for the more worldly desires despite his now otherworldly disposition.

Patiently he waits as Phil tries to sort out his thoughts, the recollection of the events that had led up to where he is now, or as much as he can remember. When the man looks at him again, Craddock nods.

"Here, there, about," he says, waving the top of his cane in a lazy circle. "On Earth, yes, long dead and cursed to a restless afterlife besides." Sighing, he rests his cane across the saddle again. His hat tilts at Phil before he gestures around them.

"The world around ye pays no attention. Indeed, we are ghosts, Agent Coulson. But why would ye be here? That seems more the question to ask."


"I— I don't know. I took Last Rites. I was in a room. A strange room. I thought I'd been captured, so I escaped. That's the Triskelion there, where I worked."

Phil frowns, shaking his head. "I don't think I have unfinished business. I left my affairs in order, to the best of my ability. I had some advance warning. But then, who knows anything about the afterlife?"

He issues a faint laugh. "You do, I suppose. Is it always unfinished business, Mr. Craddock? That makes a man a ghost? I'm sorry, now I feel like I'm prying into your affairs." He supposes it could be rude, assuming the ghost before him is just awash in unfinished business.


The Gentleman Ghost chuckles dryly. "E'en those hanging about the afterlife seem to know less than ye'd think." He lifts his head, looking off elsewhere it seems, as for the angle of his monocle.

"I couldn't say, agent. 'tis a question I've oft asked m'self. Was it the words of an old gypsy queen, or me own that doomed me to m'current state? And e'en with the chance to live again, there be yet another riddle yet unraveled."

His head turns as he regards Phil again. "But that story an' yer's be not the same. Tell me, Agent. If ye think ye've done all ye must, then what is there to do now? Where should ye like to go? What would ye do?"


A faint smile flickers over Phil's lips, reminiscent of the Cheshire Cat smile he wore so often in life. He's a bit too out of it to wear it right now, still disoriented and still trying to get his bearings. But it's this commentary of old gypsy queens or words of his own that elicits it. "You sound almost like someone out of an old Byron poem," he says, almost fondly. "With no offense meant. Just. Someone out of an old tale. Doomed by a gypsy queen. Or not."

Still, he asks a salient question.

"I'd check on my team, make sure they're okay," Phil says at last. "Though if they're not I'm not sure how I could help them." He pushes his hand slowly into the building he's standing next to, then pulls it out again, shaking his head. "Doesn't look like I'm in much of a position to help them ward off threats, for example."

Because if he's going to be here, he's going to take care of his people. That's the only thing that makes any sense to him at all.


"Perhaps for some in this day an' age, the time I remember is but an old tale," Craddock replies, making a sound in amusement.

He nods slowly as Phil comes up with the things he would do. "Noble e'en in death," he muses. He'd had no one who looked out for him. He couldn't do anything to help his mother. You had to look out for yourself, take what you could get. "I shouldn't be surprised. Plenty of those who've gone on who worry about those left behind. Not something I gave much thought to…"

His horse stamps a hoof against the ground, stepping about a bit, restless. Craddock strokes Bess's neck, monocle turning towards Phil once again.

"Ye may not be able to do much in yer current state on yer own, but perhaps there's a reason, and there are ways around e'en death, as ye can plainly see."


"Can you…interact with things? Talk to people?" Phil finally gives up on being too confused. He adapts quickly. He's dead, he's a ghost, it matters very little how or why. Now he has to gather intel about his state and decide what to do. A conclusion drawn, in no small part, because Craddock asked what he'd do if he could. It focused him, gave him a sense of what needs to be done in the first place. And as he has no guarantee he'll meet any other experts on the matter of being dead

Well, he is content to get all the information he can.

Still, he notes Bess' impatience.

"Is there a…ghost…bar? I could buy you a drink at? With. Some sort of. Ghost. Money. That I don't have."

That is not to say that this whole experience isn't exasperating the crap out of him.


His grin may be unseen, but Craddock straightens again, his monocle seeming to glint as he regards Phil and the new questions asked. The Ghost laughs. "I can indeed, Agent Coulson. Sadly though, I think ye may not approve of me activities, but they be old habits," he admits with a chuckle.

"Sadly there be no bars nor services for the lingering dead that I know of, but there be no end to pubs o' the living, an' they'll not be a bother to us if it's the atmosphere ye seek." He seems to consider for a moment before extending a gloved hand to the man. For one recently departed, Phil still manages to keep a good head on his shoulders. It's not often Craddock's come across such practical people, even among the living.

"Fancy a ride? There are better places than these busy streets, and as I imagine yer still gettin' used to things, be there any place ye want to get to, I can get ye there quicker."


Phil Coulson takes the extended hand. "Thank you kindly," he says. He manages to get onto the back of the horse like he's done such a thing before.

And really, is this any damned weirder than anything in his living career? He can think of one or two things that make this look almost routine. "At least the atmosphere," he notes dryly, "of not having people walk through us every five seconds. It tickles when they're on their phones. Any place will do though."

Nope, nevermind. This is the weirdest. Being tickled by WiFi as people yammer away. He eyes the crowd from his new vantage point of not being in it, then settles into place. As long as the Gentleman Ghost does not kick the horse into high gear Phil should be good to stay on board without having to wrap his arms around the man's waist like some sort of damsel.


Color Jim impressed! Bess seems to approve of not having to be scrambled upon even as she accepts a second passenger. "One of many things that amazes me in this age. I'd not care t'walk around so distracted," he snorts. "Come on, Bess."

He gives a light flick of the reins, the horse moving forward at a trot. There's no need to gallop wildly at the moment, and when's the last time that Bess has carried anyone aside from himself? "There's an' old pub I've found, reminds me vaguely of those back home, but e'en then, people have found ways to…ah, what's the word. Modernize?" He shakes his head as Bess continues along, unbothered by the crowds they literally pass through.


"I imagine they always will," Phil comments. Find ways to modernize, that is. And then his inner history geek kicks in. "What year are you from? What part of England? With this many centuries walking the Earth you have to have seen some incredible things dead even if things were routine alive…though you make it sound like things were reasonably not-routine for you alive, too."

The man who collects old things is hardly going to pass up an opportunity like this. To hear what things might have been like out of the…well. Not the horse's mouth. The rider's mouth.

It's a nice distraction from how freaky watching everyone walk through Bess is. Bess must be pretty used to it by now, though. She seems alright with it. He pat pats the horse. Good girl. No spooking because of Snooki-Lite over there on her phone.


"Hmm…" Craddock falls silent, turning over the questions. It's not often anyone asks him such things, but that's probably because half the time they're too busy panicking and shooting at him.

"I can't recall the year. But after a bit'a research, I believe in comparison to the present, it'd be within the nineteenth century. I'd have the run'a the King's Highway, but London is where I'd most linger." He shakes his head. "The place I died. Ah, ye'd think that I would have seen much in the passing of time, save there was a gap… a jump, b'tween then an' this more modern era. If there be a reasoning t'that, I've not yet solved that puzzle either."

Urging Bess along, he turns abruptly, cutting through a building. They're ghosts, why limit themselves to more linear paths?

"Familiar with highwaymen, Agent?" he asks, chuckling.


"Sure, I know the term," Phil says easily enough. He chuffs a humorless laugh.

He seems to remember comparing the Maximoffs to common highwaymen, before he died. Didn't he?

It's so fuzzy now.

"So. 'Your money or your life' sort of a man, then? You seem very…cultured. For that role." There's a question in that, but not much judgment. Thieves are occasionally useful. It's terrorists, and alien threats, and all sorts of other madness that consumes Phil's mission and purpose. While he doesn't exactly approve, neither does he censure.

"How did you find yourself doing that sort of work? Or…is that who killed you?" Maybe he's jumping to conclusions, but the man did say he had the run of the King's Highway.


"Heh! Cultured. Thank ye for that. Were my father a better man, perhaps I wouldn't have followed the path that I did." Craddock starts to rein Bess in as they near the pub, tucked between other businesses in one of the older buildings.

"He was more concerned about his standing and wealth, turned me an' me mum out when I was but a boy." Craddock waits for Phil to hop down before he dismounts after, waving towards the pub doors, the place probably just opened for the late afternoon into evening crowds as for the few bodies already within.

"Tried to do what I could for mum. She fell sick, an' I was left on me own. When yer alone, there's only yerself to fend for, an' no one else'll turn an eye to ye. But I felt I had a calling to the road. Took from those who could afford to lose it. I had good teachers an' the blessing of the greatest highwaymen b'fore me." His laugh is a wistful one. It's still strange to him even as he stands now a ghost himself, to have been taken on such an unbelievable ride that fateful day as a lad. Patting Bess, he turns to enter the pub.

"T'was a fate I well expected. The hangman's noose for me crimes committed." His hand lifts as though to feel around his neck, but he can still imagine the bite of the rope.


Phil hops down indeed, slides off the horse. He listens to the tale, and he grimaces. There's even less judgement now. A hard life. A sort of a Robin Hood figure, at that. Phil finds himself liking Jim Craddock. "Was your mother still alive when it happened?" he asks quietly. If she was left to fend for herself, he can well imagine why the man would turn ghost. But he said there was a gap, which is strange to him. Why would that be? Maybe someone disturbed his remains, or moved something that belonged to him?

But then, Phil realizes, as he stops briefly by a newspaper stand, there's a gap for him too. Not of decades or even a year, but he can see the date now. It's been weeks. So what changed? Still, he follows him to wherever they might sit undisturbed.


A headshake follows the question of his mother. "Died, and I was made t'dig her grave and only a little o'er a decade to me own life."

The Ghost pauses as he notices Phil's stopped. He glances over, hat lifting slightly as he tilts his head, seeing what's caught the man's attention. When the agent turns, Craddock does as well, stepping right through the doors, his cloak flowing behind him. The interior is dark as pubs are wont to be, dark wood floors and wall panels, an old-fashioned bar with stools, tables and chairs. The few booths by the walls are definitely part of the newer additions to the place, but nothing's been overly rehauled as to disturb the traditional look and feel of the place.

"What was it?" Craddock asks as he glances back at Phil, gesturing for him to pick a place to sit.


"Just the date," Phil says quietly. "I think it's been about a month since I died. Not quite the jump you made. You said whole centuries passed before you woke up again? After your. Ah. Your death? This isn't rude, is it, to ask people about dying and such? I don't know what the etiquette is, I'm afraid."

He checks the hostess' notes. Looking for a table that isn't covered by the wait staff. That means nobody will be seated there, which means nobody awkwardly sitting atop them, or through them. He heads that way, and idly pokes at the salt shaker, just watching his fingers flow through it for a moment before dropping his hand. There's just these little moments of adjustment. "Did you wake up in London? Or did you wake up over here?"


Craddock chuckles, shrugging haplessly. "Not exactly a normal thing t'ask, is it? And scarcely something that can be avoided given… well." He flicks a hand between the both of them, following after Phil as he finds them a table that won't cause them any awkward interruptions.

"I don't know that 'waking' was a part of it. I'm not e'en sure where I was between that and struggling for my last breath. …but…it wasn't an experience I'd care to revisit." He shudders a little.

"But suddenly 'ere I was, in a land of towering buildings an' horseless carriages. Not exactly this year, but still a great leap from what I'd known, from where I'd come. By time and location."


"Fascinating," Phil says, and he means it. He studies the ghost. "And you never figured out why? Or how? No clues at all? I mean I suppose I'm assuming it's important to you to have that information."

Granted, Phil can hardly stand not knowing the little he doesn't know, but that's his nature. Not everyone is the same. And then: "Were you able to find others like us? Are we common? How common is it? Are all those stories about ghosts flinging things across the room real?"

He can't even pick up a salt shaker, after all.

He shakes his head, suddenly. "Forgive me. I'm bombarding you with questions, and I probably should slow down some. Some of this isn't even my business."


"The only thing I've got is the old gypsy's words. 'Gold an' silver, you'll steal them all yer days, e'en after the hangman makes sure they'll do ye no good. An' long after the good king's bloodline is thin on the throne, ye'll stand in his castle with those ye hate most. An' if they die that day, ye'll live again.'"

He rests his chin upon his hand, elbow at the table's edge as he watches Phil. His posture changes slightly, a quiet chuckle shaking his shoulders as he then reaches over and…picks up the salt shaker.

"I've not come across anyone else in such a situation. The spirits that roam linger for various reasons, but none as I've come across who share me same fate." At Phil's apology, Craddock laughs. "Understandable! Had I anyone to ask when I first came to such a realization, no doubt I'd do the same." He sets the salt shaker down, sitting back. "But do indulge me. What did ye do? An agent, I can't say that's a familiar occupation to me."


An interesting prophecy. And if they die that day, you'll live again? Of course, it also says that Jim Craddock steals even now, but Phil? Bigger fish to fry. He watches him pick up the salt shaker and goes for the pepper with some determination. His hand goes right through it again.

But now he's being asked what an agent is, and he tries to think how best to explain it. He suddenly offers a weary sort of a smile. "For true irony? I suppose, Jim Craddock, I was a law man. More of the…take down mass murderers and people who wanted to build or obtain dangerous super weapons variety than the type who would have gone after a highway man. But still, it's funny, I suppose. Here we are, highwayman and lawman, dead and sharing a table."

One more pass at the pepper, and finally: "How are you doing that?"


That gets a more genuine laugh as Phil explains. "Irony indeed! Imagine that. And sadly the best casual company I've had in years." He still chuckles at that, shaking his head. "Dangerous super weapons sound very much out of me league. I'm more of a gold and jewels sort, with a taste for antiques, although from my standpoint they probably aren't much antiques, eh?"

Watching in amusement as the man attempts to grab the pepper shaker, Craddock splays his hands with another shrug. "I've gotten used to it. Ye can choose to either be corporeal or not, but ye can't be both at th' same time. 'tis a matter of tricking yerself." In example, he moves to wave his hand through the salt shaker he'd earlier picked up.


"Would that more people have stuck to those, Mr. Craddock," Phil says dryly. "It would have made life easier. But I thank you, and I find you fine company as well."

And he does. As to Jim's activities? Nobody ever died from stolen silver, at least, for the most part. Certainly not to the degree they could die from some of the activities Phil has stopped over the years. Though 'death' is starting to feel a little odd to one Phil Coulson, now that he's been confronted with proof positive of some kind of afterlife. Clearly there is one, and it's weird as Hell.

"Tricking yourself," Phil says thoughtfully. "How do you trick yourself into thinking you're corporeal?"


Some kind of afterlife. It isn't exactly the most ideal, even Craddock would say. To what purpose were his thefts? It's a constant itch left unsatisfied no matter how much you tried.

"All right," he says. "Maybe 'trick' isn't the term. The way I see it, ye know now what ye are, and there ye set yourself limitations, whether ye mean to or not. For m'self, e'en though I knew I was dead, I still saw something shiny and wanted to take it. A matter of one's mindset."


Mindset. Phil nods thoughtfully.

What he wants, if he's going to be stuck down here dead, is…pretty much to keep doing his job however he can. It bothers him, a little. He'd made his peace. He'd gotten Last Rites. He was supposed to go to his rest. And he's tired. He needed that rest, even, on some level, looked forward to it. For whatever reason, he hasn't gone, however. So getting to the bottom of that is kind of a concern as well.

He set limitations on himself, but Craddock indicates he doesn't have to. He remembers what it felt like. A pepper shaker in his hand.

And then there's a sudden burst of anger. Ben Goddamn Palmer betrayed him and killed him, and now he's reduced to this, to holding a pepper shaker as one of the biggest challenges in his life.

He reaches for it, a flash of that fury rocketing silently over his face and…

Well. It goes flying. Someone screams as it hits the far wall and falls.

Phil stares ruefully after it, then ruefully at Jim.

"Looks like I need a bit of practice," he says, just as mildly as if he hadn't felt that wholly uncharacteristic anger.


The Gentleman Ghost sits up as he observes the pepper shaker as it goes rocketing off, seemingly nonplussed. He taps his fingers on the table and then looks back at Phil, gaze met despite his own being unseen.

"Well. I s'ppose that answers yer earlier question as t'ghosts flinging things across the room," he comments dryly.

"Not that I blame ye for the displaced aggression. I knew what was comin' to me. Ye were betrayed by this…Palmer fellow? Were ye in the middle of something vital?"

Phil Coulson had said that he'd had nothing unfinished, but perhaps he wasn't quite considering everything. Even emotions spoke of attachments for things left undone, and as Craddock had just seen, that anger couldn't have merely been at the frustration of not being able to pick up a pepper shaker.


"Yes," Phil admits softly. "I was in the middle of something vital in that moment, and something vital before. Damn it."

Because now he's remembering how close he was to getting SHIELD to commit to an anti-registration stance. Would Sharon have been able to spearhead the effort on her own? He'd leveraged favors, old trusts, that she wouldn't have. Nor many of the others that he'd trusted. Then there's all the traitors in SHIELD, the rot creeping through the organization. Not just Ben Palmer, but many, many others.

His fist clenches, and he looks up at Jim with a faint smile. "I guess making peace and getting affairs in order aren't what they're cracked up to be. But thank you. You've provided me with some much needed guidance, and have helped me see clearly. I— "

But he never gets to finish the sentence. Something is happening. He contorts. Something flickers in and out of him, like he's a failing television signal.

"I…I don't understand what's…"

In the spiritual world, perhaps Jim can even feel the pull. Someone is trying to yank Phil somewhere, and he doesn't really have the strength to resist it.

And then he grabs his head.

"Stars," he whispers. "So many stars…"

With one final heft and pull, he's yanked back and out and away.


A knowing nod, a faint, somewhat sad smile accompanying it. Craddock begins to wave a hand at the thanks. "Now here, I was just making conversation," he starts to reply, but then something's disrupted Phil.

Hand flattening on the table, the Ghost begins to lever himself forward as the agent's form starts to flicker. That's not something he's ever seen before. "Agent Coulson?"

And he does feel it, even though he's not sure what he's sensing. But it's a definite disturbance that hums through the spiritual realm. He's on his feet now, the chair he'd been sitting in shoving out and drawing more than a few eyes and startled exclamations, but he doesn't pay the living any attention. A gloved hand reaches out towards the other ghost. "Coulson—!"

But he's gone, pulled between spaces and completely vanished before even Jim Craddock's eyes. "What the devil…" he murmurs, looking around even though he knows he won't find a sign of anything regarding the agent's passing.

Spinning his cane, he sends the salt shaker flying off to send a fresh wave of panic through the growing pub-goers before he turns on his heel and disappears. He'll just have to see if he can't find out what's happened to his unusual new acquaintance.

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