Day 6

Title: Day 6
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Avengers AU (set after the movie)
Rating: PG
Pairing: Tony/Steve
Disclaimer: Not my characters! I make no money from this.
Summary: The Avengers need Agent Coulson’s help.
Notes: Written during my 12 Ficlets in 12 Days in 2012 project for thelittlemoose

“Are you sure you want to send me, Director?” Though Nick Fury wasn’t the kind of guy you should question, Phil Coulson gestured to his arm still in its sling as a reminder. For almost anyone else, that injury would mean staying home, but considering he’d almost died a few months ago, one arm was nothing.

“Barton’s called it in. The Avengers need S.H.I.E.L.D.’s help with this one. And you’re the guy who they all rallied to save from Loki. Doc cleared you for action, right?”

Coulson nodded.

“Then you’re the guy I need in the field right now. They’re over at the tower. Barton’ll brief you when you’re on scene.”

“Yes, Sir.” He started to head out but Fury cleared his throat and Coulson turned back around.

“Good luck. You’re going to need it.”

Coulson thought he saw a look of amusement in Fury’s eye, but it was so fleeting he thought he must have just imagined it. There was a sense of foreboding, however, as he headed to a plane.


The pilot was under strict instructions to deliver Coulson to Avengers’ Tower and then take off immediately thereafter. So Coulson walked alone into the heart of Avenger territory, not really sure what to expect.

The place was a mess. Dirty dishes on Tony’s desk. Chairs snapped in two littering the hallway. Every surface in the kitchen covered with something. Clothes strewn about. But no blood. No obvious intruders. Not knowing what to expect, Phil walked with his gun out, and he nearly fired when Clint coughed, startling him from across the sitting room.

“You can lower your weapon,” Clint told him.

“Agent Barton, sitrep.” It was a command, but it came out a little more like a question.

For a minute, Clint seemed unsure of how to answer. Then he cupped his hand to his face. “Uhhihtshhhhh!

Coulson inched forward, lowering his weapon as there seemed to be no immediate, obvious danger. “Are you all right?”

“No,” Clint groaned, toppling over sideways onto the couch. “This cold is kicking my ass.”

“Oh… well… sorry to hear it.” He slipped his sidearm into its holster. Whatever the mission was, they would have to do it without Barton. The man looked beat, exhausted, ill. But that still left five other Avengers able to battle whatever big bad was on its way.

“Would you get me some cold medicine? Bruce is hoarding it.”


“Bruce. Has. The. Medicine. All of it. Or, at least, what Tony hasn’t bought from him.”

That didn’t really help to clarify anything. “What?”  

Clint flopped over onto his side and pulled an afghan off the back of the couch. He curled up beneath it, sniffling. “Bruce’s got the medicine. Thor’s got the tissues. Tony and Steve have cough drops and Aspirin.”

“And Natasha?”

Clint gave a weak smile. “Oh, she’s got the vodka.”

“Naturally. And what have you got?”

Clint rolled over, his back to Coulson. “A bad cold. Hah… hahUhschhhh! Sniff! Sabe as everybody else.”

Feeling that he really should have insisted on a briefing from Fury before taking off, Coulson headed down the hallway, carefully stepping over broken fixtures and upturned side tables as he went along. He was so used to being ahead of everybody—knowing the next move before they do—but he felt out of his element here and could only run on instinct. Bruce’s lab was in complete disarray, and despite the smell he lingered long enough to throw some water on something smoking in the corner. He finally made his way to Bruce’s room.

He’d only been in the tower once before, while he was mending—while they were all mending, really. Steve had given him the tour, and he was glad he remembered the layout well enough to navigate well. Even if he hadn’t, though, he probably could have found his way to Bruce’s room. For a small, geek of a guy, he had the loudest sneeze Coulson had ever heard. No wonder he needed cold medicine.

Bruce looked… greener than normal, splayed out upon his king-sized mattress. He eyed Coulson, who suddenly felt unprepared. Instead of asking for the meds—or slipping in to get them, which could only make the man angry—he tried another approach. “Hey, Bruce. Can I get you anything?”

Bruce lifted his head. It looked like he was fighting hard to stay in control. And from the smashed-up state of his room, it looked like maybe he’d lost control at least once already. “Tissues,” he said. “YEHHHH-YASHHOOO!” The booming sound nearly shook the whole room. He winced and shivered, tensing up, balling his hands into fists.

Timidly, Coulson ventured forward and grabbed a comforter off the ground. He inched as close to the bed as he dared and threw it over Bruce. Frozen for almost a full minute, Coulson figured he would either hulk out or relax. Mercifully, it was the latter. Bruce’s eyes slowly closed.

Coulson snuck a couple bottles of Nyquil from Bruce’s stash. Once he got everyone dosed up, he could go out and get more; Bruce might never even know.

Tissues seemed a top priority given the way Clint and Bruce had been sneezing. Gods didn’t need sleep, but apparently they did need tissues. Boxes and boxes of them, which now equated to several heaps. He glared at Coulson as if Coulson had given him this cold. “I’ve dever felt adythig lige this before. Back id Asgard, we did’t hab these illdesses where doeses tickle add drib all the tibe.” He snuffled into a handful of tissues.

“Welcome to Earth.” He poured Nyquil into the cup up to the little notch on the side. He paused a moment then doubled the dosage. There weren’t measurements for Gods on the package and Thor looked like he could use a little knocking out. “Here. Drink this down.”

“It is greed.”

“Yeah, it’s green. But it’ll help. Go on.”

Thor eyed the little cup and then downed it in several swallows. He gasped and made a face. “Horrible.”

“Takes some getting used to.”

He tore another handful of tissues out of a box and pressed them to his face. “ahhh-Yejjekkshh!

Coulson succeeded—just barely—in not smiling. This might be Thor’s first cold, but his sneezes were pretty pathetic and sounded, well, Asgardian, actually.

It didn’t take long for the medicine to kick in. Thor’s eyes grew tired, eyelids drooping shut even as he struggled to keep them open. Thor didn’t normally sleep; he had no need for it. So this would be yet another first for the big guy. Coulson watched him nod off and waited until he had started snoring before moving in to tuck a blanket around him.

Then he grabbed as many tissue boxes as he could hold and headed out to find the others, once he’d dropped one off in Bruce’s room.

Cap’s room was empty, which wasn’t all that surprising. He went up to Tony’s penthouse bedroom, trying to ignore the fact that he made enough to be comfortable but it was nothing remotely like the lifestyle Tony Stark enjoyed. Well, it was a little like it. He stood in the doorway to the bedroom, looking in at Tony and Steve in bed. Steve was half curled around a pillow, hugging it close. And Tony was curled around Steve, hugging him. A mountain of pillows lay under their heads, and there was a rasp in Tony’s breath when he took each one. Steve was awake and apparently stuck in place between pillow and a sleeping Tony.

“Hey,” Coulson whispered, holding up a hand in greeting. “Heard you were sick.” He held up a bottle. “Can I trade a bottle of cold medicine for some cough drops?”

Steve managed to give a little nod without disturbing Tony.

Coulson swept in and made the swap. “I’ll have more later if you need it, but Don’t let Stark overdo it on that stuff.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence there, Coulson.” Coulson could have sworn Tony was still asleep, and the playboy-billionaire-philanthropist didn’t even bother opening his eyes. But he did smile. “Since when do you controlling bastards at S.H.I.E.L.D. actually care about our sniffles?”

“Since we need you to save the world, Stark. You can’t do that unless you’re healthy. So take the Nyquil, get some rest, and we’ll talk when your nose isn’t bright red and I can take you seriously.”

“Hey, I’m plenty serious when I… I… huh-Ihpteek!” he half-stifled, coming out as a squeak.

“Yeah, right.” Coulson left, chuckling.

He took precautions with Natasha. Her door was closed, so he stood to the side of it and knocked on the wall. A second later, a bullet struck the door, embedding itself in the wall. “It’s Coulson!” he called through the door to her.

There was a second shot and then “Coulson?”

Coulson reached over, turned the doorknob, and let the door swing in. She sat up Indian-style in bed, looking compromised in sweatpants and a t-shirt, but also looking fierce with a gun in both her hands. He raised one hand, the other one still in the sling, showing her just the tissue box and medicine he’d brought. “Don’t shoot?”

“Sorry, Sir. Reflex.” She dropped the guns onto the bed and pressed a fist to her mouth as she coughed.

He dropped cough drops, medicine, and tissues onto her bed. “I’ll bring some food by in a little bit. Don’t shoot me then either, all right?”

She nodded and grabbed at a cough drop, unwrapped it, and popped it into her mouth.

Coulson returned to what passed for a living room in the tower and found Clint still awake. He deposited his acquisitions, but Clint just stared at them, unmoving. “Could I just get a beer?”

Blinking. “A beer?”

“A cold one. Sniff!

Sighing, “Sure.” This was, without a doubt, the worst assignment he’d had since joining S.H.I.E.L.D. “I’ll go get you a beer.”

“Thanks, Coulson. Uh-uhHitshhhh!

“Yeah,” he headed to the kitchen to track down a beer. Funny thing was, it was a stupid assignment, but he didn’t actually mind that much. A beer was nothing. He’d do anything for this team. Absolutely anything.