O, Lazarus

September 20, 2018:

He's back from the dead, but all is not well with Phil Coulson. Agent Rin Nakano checks in.

The Triskelion, NYC

The bulletproof security blinds make it hard to see the hellscape.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Coming back from the dead isn't easy.

A little less than a month ago, Agent Moonstar was able to report that Phil's soul had been found and retrieved. The specifics of how that soul was reunited with a body, or how that body was restored to something like working order, was left behind a huge stack of redacted pieces of paper and a web of clearances that make it hard to say.

When he'd been revived, there had been a mental 'episode.' This was not shared with his squad, how he'd suddenly gone full spy on the doctors, attacked them, sure they were demons of some sort trying to trick everyone by inhabiting the bodies of friends and Agents. It took a bit to get him sedated, and they decided someone from his squad should perhaps be there the next time he woke up.

Just in case.

And since it's been documented that Rin was the first one Phil Coulson tried to help in his ghost form, she was summoned.

He is not in a hospital bed. No need. He has been placed in the bed of one of the nondescript Triskelion dorm apartments.

Dr. Andrew Gardner had stopped to corner Rin prior to. "Make sure he's oriented times three," he tells her quietly. "He needs to be able to name who he is, where he is, and more or less when it is."

He hands her an ICER and grimaces. "If he gets out of control, knock him out and call me. This is…really unprecedented territory. I treated a near-death experience once. This…doesn't even compare."

There are some mysteries in live that Rin doesn't want to solve and just how they got Phil back to life is one of them. She knows it probably involved technology that she's never seen nor wants to interface with. Especially in her current form.

It's strange that she was called first, she figured that someone with a higher clearance, or magical powers that would be useful in this situation. Still, she isn't going to turn the opportunity down.

At least he isn't stuck in a hospital bed, those are the worst. Still she arrives, looking the same that she has for the last several months, still stuck between worlds. She lets Gardner give his lecture, but when he passes her the gun, she waves her hand through it and shakes her head. "He can't hurt me, and I probably shouldn't show up wearing a gimp suit so… this is how it'll have to be." She pauses for a beat before she gestures toward the door.

"Open it? Unless you want me to scare the fuck out of him and Casper through the door." Her suit isn't far away, but she'll only use it if she needs it.

Gardner reaches out to tap in the code so Rin can get into the apartment. "Good luck," he says. "I won't be far."

The apartment is, of course, fairly nondescript, as all the SHIELD apartments so often are. But despite their good ideas about having someone on hand the moment he woke up again? That ship has sailed. That's the bad news. The good news is he's dressed, and nothing is breaking. Indeed, she will find him standing in the hall bathroom with the door wide open, staring into a mirror as if he's not sure what to make of the man on the other side of it.

What's weird is, he looks exactly as he ever did. Same slightly rumpled grey suit that makes him look more like Phil from Accounting than Phil, Spy Extraordinaire. Same ever-receding hairline and kindly look. His hazel eyes are a little more soulful and a lot more haunted, but he definitely doesn't look like a man who was dead for over six months. A man who is now a bona fide member of the Lazarus Club.

"I don't want anything in there recorded on audio." Rin isn't sure what she's going to find in there, or what she's going to have to say to make him see sense. Gardner sounds dire, and that puts Rin on edge. She's not afraid for her life, but she doesn't want Phil to be hurt anymore than he already is.

She's seen these dorms, she lived in them when she first joined SHIELD. It's nostalgic, which isn't helping her feel any better.

Seeing Phil, alive and looking just lie he did on the day he died makes her stomach drop down to her feet. Holy fuck this is werid this is very weird and part of it still feels wrong. Still she's here for a reason, so she folds her hands behind her back, making sure not to touch anything to make it worse. "Agent Coulson, good to see you out of bed." Her face does not betray the bucket of emotions she's going through right now.

For a moment he stares at her, and he looks like he has no idea who she is. But then things click back into place. Slowly, but they do.

His voice is still hoarse from disuse, and he says, "They could bring me back from the damned dead in six months, but couldn't get you phased into this reality? That's it. I'm going to call an asset I know of. I should have thought of it while…"

"I'm not a priority at the moment, I'm still a mostly functioning asset and everyone's focus was on you, as it should be." Rin says, stating it as a fact, much like Phil would normally do. "Besides I am used to it now. Overly Affectionate Pam can't hug me if I'm not real." Still she looks him over, part of her still not believing that he's actually alive.

"When you're settled you can start calling everyone on the planet." She crosses her arms, it's the same suit she's been wearing for six months, and her forearm is still blackened from where her implant was damaged. She's not looking forward to feeling that pain. "Be honest with me. How are you?"

Be honest with her.

Phil's lips twitch as if at some private joke as he comes out of the bathroom. He wanders to the kitchen, where he fumbles a Keurig pod into the little coffee pot, putting a cup under it.

"Scattered," he says at last. "Dealing. Not everything makes sense yet. Like puzzle pieces. Or jagged pieces of a broken mirror, arranged as though they're supposed to be puzzle pieces. I'll figure it out…"

He trails off vaguely, frowning at the cup in his hands as if he's not sure what it's for. But he responds quickly enough when the hot coffee starts pouring on the exposed burner, shoving the cup under the stream and wiping up the sizzling mess that spills over onto the counters.

Well it's not like she could tell if he was lying. He hid the knowledge of his impending death with eased practice that she was blindsided by it's arrival. Still she has to try what she can, anything to get him out of this state.

Watching him struggle with the coffee cup makes him frown, and she immediately regrets not bring the suit in to help. At the same time maybe it's like a mother bird kicking the babies out of the nest to fly on their own?

"That's understandable. I'm assuming your memories of being a ghost are mixing with what you physically had in your brain." Not that she knows much about brain science, but the thought seems logical. "I know you will just… know that there are other people willing to help you figure that out. This isn't some solo spy mission that you have to do by yourself, you have people. So many people."

"They all went to my funeral," Phil says, all soft-remorse. "I don't know how I'm going to meet up with these people. Hey, thanks for going to my funeral, sorry it was a…well, not a false alarm. I got better?"

He comes to sit down, forgetting the coffee cup is there. "It seems hurtful to them. To do it that way. I don't know how to…I don't know. Make up for it. Make amends for it…"

He trails off. This is more honest than he would have been before, to be sure, where he would have had so much behind that Cheshire Cat's smile that nobody would have known he was distressed about anything at all. And if it's a strange thing to be distressed about, the protocol for letting people know you're not dead after they attend a funeral…

"Fury wanted to make my return classified," he adds. "I'm not having any of it, Rin. I'm just not having any of it. 'Spiritual intervention with the powers of the afterlife via a friend' will be my explanation to cover SHIELD's ass, but…I am not going to sit there and hide from the people I care about, knowing they…"

"I got better works. Or you can go with the cliche trope that you were trying to lure out an old enemy with your death and now that they're gone you can be alive again. They do it in movies so it'll be easy for people to believe it. Than again with all of the crazy shit going on too, 'Spiritual Intervention' also works." Rin follows him over to the chair and sits on the floor in front of him, still avoiding touching anything. After six months she's a pro.

This is the most honest he has ever been with her, and it just addes another layer to the fuckery cake that is this whole situation. Still she puts on a brave face. "Fury never wants to tell anyone anything. You are right, it wouldn't be fair to those people to be dead, come back and not tell them. They would be more hurt when they found out, then they would if they had a spun version of the truth."

"'Rumors of my death' are a bit harder when they buried a body. I can't believe they whipped out the LMD," Phil grouses. He rubs his hand over his balding head and exhales. But her affirmation that he's not just coming down with a case of the vapors here helps.

"Well, enough about me," he says. "Yesterday I was dead, today I'm oriented times three and amused Gardner doesn't remember I know how to patch into the hallway speakers, and tomorrow maybe I'll inform people I'm still alive, and go to Disney World. What's going on with you, besides being phased out and dodging the attentions of Overly Affectionate Pam?"

"You should have gone for a cremation, it would have been easier to say that those ashes were not yours. Then again if they had, we wouldn't have known what Fury was up to." The LMD helped in that aspect, but it was still weird to see Phil in a casket. She watches his motions carefully, filing them away for later, because she's pretty sure Gardner is going to grill her when she leaves.

When he turns the conversation to her, she furrows her brows together. "Me?" She asks, tilting her head at him. "Oh death really did a number on you." There is a hint of a smirk before she shrugs. "I'm me Phil. I still hack, only it's twice as difficult. I've managed to have enough suits to make myself functional in the field. Stark and I are on speaking terms, enough that he gave me a stupid nick name. Aside from you being dead it was business as usual."

It's a lie, but then again Rin is a fantastic liar. Now isn't the time to tell him what it's been like to stare at food and trying to remember how it tastes. The feeling of a soft bed, the thrill of riding her motorcycle and yes even touching people. Mostly for punching. She really needs to punch a lot of faces. "Once this is all settled and I take my own trip to grownup Disney World I'll be back to normal."

"Yeah, in your shoes I'd want a really big bottle of booze too," Coulson says, of grown-up Disney World. "I'll get in touch with the phaser. It will be nice to do something useful, and making one damned phone call has got to be within my speed class right now."

If he notices she's lying he doesn't make a single sign of it. But that's old Phil too. Old Phil would catch it for sure, but would not react. Post-death Phil?

The only thing that's in question is whether or not he does.

He sighs, rubbing his head slowly. "I'm hearing things," he announces, at least lucid enough to know, now, that whatever he's hearing is probably a hallucination. "Will I seem too terribly rude if I tell you I need to take my medication and crawl back into bed?"

"I fully intend to find the largest one I can and drink myself into oblivion as soon as possible." Rin says in all seriousness. There has been too much that she's just had to process in healthy ways. Looking around the room, Rin tries to see if there is anything that she could hack enough to make it a phone to give the man a lifeline. "Even people who were recently arrested get to make a phone call, and that's not what's happening here." She says with a frown.

His announcement makes her brows furrow with worry. Getting to her feet she shakes her head. "I can fuck off if you need rest. If you need me to visit again, let me know. There really lis little they can do to contain me right now so I'll find my way in. Is there anything I can sneak in for you?" There is so much on her mind, so many unspoken words but she lets them fade off at the first sign of his headache.

"A phone," Phil says dryly. "I have not in fact been arrested, and so I want a phone. Thank you, Rin."

But he doesn't stick around to talk much more. He really does dig out some SHIELD-prescribed medication and goes back towards the bedroom.

Flinching. At a sound only he can hear.

"Phone it is." Rin agrees, watching as he pulls out the pill bottle and wonders what sort of magical drugs they have him on. What do you give a recently resurrected person to rid them of voices and headaches. Still, she waits until he's in the bedroom before she turns to leave. "I'm glad you're not dead anymore." She says before she phases through the door.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License