Phil Coulson was enjoying yet another scone at what was now his favorite coffee shop in all of North America (there was a hole in the wall place in Rio that held the favorite in the world title) and reading the reports from the agents he had sent off on fruitless yet still valuable searches for the elusive Captain America, going about his life as a police cadet right under their noses. It was good for them. Built character.
Unfortunately, he hadn't been able to catch a glimpse of the elusive Captain in the days he was here, and it wasn't helping his protestations that he was not harboring some romantic crush on the man with Megan what with how he kept coming back around the same time the man had come in the last time, though on different days of the week.
Sighing as he slashed through the hapless report with a red pen, he mentally bemoaned the lack of truly interesting missions for the Barton-Romanov duo or even either of them solo. After the whole New Mexico affair Barton had cashed in on some leave time, and if Fury's twitching eye was any indication the matter was going far beyond a regular old vacation with fishing-and-farming-and-children like his and Romanov's vacations had been lately.
Which meant he was stuck editing reports and explaining all the ways these idiots failed at life how could they even breathe and walk at the same time?
"Three o'clock," Megan chimed, coming over to top off his cup and wincing when she saw the red all over his papers – which he carefully closed the folder of the moment he realized she was there. She couldn't get any useful information in the brief glance, he knew.
"Ouch – editing papers? Worst thing in the world, I sideline in it," she said in a hushed, false-confidant tone, nodding her head towards the window, "But that should cheer you up!"
'That' being a sighting of the elusive Captain Rogers, walking through the door with a ringing-false casual gait and smiling at the cashier as he ordered for two again. He left, Phil very carefully not looking at him, and walked further down the block to the precinct where he worked.
He may have gotten some background information on one Cadet Robinson by playing up the hopeless-and-harmless crush angle with Megan.
He'd regret that one day, he was sure.
"You know, he's a regular, if you want, I could slip him a card," Megan suggested archly, the muted music and conversation and traffic thankfully covering up this utterly embarrassing never happened Barton or so help me God conversation.
Phil finally sighed and shook his head, making up a lie for the woman even as he fished out his SHIELD embossed business card, writing a brief note on the back. "I appreciate the offer, but I feel I need to reiterate, I'm not attracted to the man – I think he has potential with my firm, we subcontract background actors for locally set films and television shows, and they always need background eye-candy."
"Mmhmm. Sure thing Phil," Megan smirked, taking the card and raising an eyebrow at the strange-for-a-acting-firm logo before visibly shrugging it off and pocketing it. "If I could get this place to hire some eyecandy, I definitely would start with that one. Think our sales would boost?"
"Think he could flirt with strangers convincingly?" Phil shot back and she laughed, patting his arm even as she started moving away. The idea was patently ridiculous, clearly.
He took his time finishing his scone and coffee and then closed his reports up and tucked them into his briefcase – slightly worn, but clearly loved, and not at all weaponized, really – before he headed out the door. He turned the opposite direction of the police station, going to the block behind the café and then heading up, turning back to the precinct's road when he wouldn't be in sight of the windows.
He was debating coming up with some semi-official cover story for an actual approach – leaving things up to chance with a card and a barista that was convinced he was flirting seemed a little risky and really, he should have thought that through better – when he spotted a very, horrifyingly familiar face bounding up the steps to the precinct with a large box under his arm.
Oh sweet merciful Hostess.
"God bless, Captain," he said, turning on his heel and walking the other way.
No way in hell was he getting in that mess.
Steve had thought the day was going rather well. He'd set up a meet with James later that evening to go over some of Steve's memories involving him with a fine-toothed comb – James wanted to get any details on his brother Steve could dredge up, not that Steve could blame him in any way. He'd all healed up from the bullet wound and makeshift surgery and could walk without a problem or even an ache – the miracles of science!
Rosales had even relaxed and started bantering with him again after he showed up with conciliatory sorry-I-scared-the-shit-out-of-you scones and coffees.
He'd just shot back what he thought was a lovely comeback when David went dead-white, impressive with his complexion, and Steve heard a god-awful voice say, "Aha! I present – StarKloth! Twenty times better than Kevlar and easier to make pants out of!"
"What the ever-loving fuck –?"
"I wasn't hallucinating?!" Rosales squeaked, interrupting the incredulous demands from the other officers and cadets in the area, "Stark actually showed up at your place last night for drinks?!"
Steve sighed at the sudden increase in babble, cast a glare at a smug looking Stark, and then stared at the ceiling, saying dryly, "Thanks Universe. Thanks a lot."
He should have known better than to sass the universe. Really, he should have.
Because, after he'd finally gotten rid of Stark – involving his Captain, lots of headache-prevention nose-pinching, and leaving the precinct with enough of this StarKloth to outfit a SWAT team – and had explaining why Stark had thought he'd needed that without either party realizing the other had knowledge they weren't privy to been fun – because after all of that, he had thought his day was over. He had thought his weekly dose of the universe taking a shit on him was through. But no.
Because who should show up but Rae and Joan, the girls from yesterday, with Rae's grandfather, called dziadek, as an escort. Both girls were admirably composed during the statement, recorded and authorized for use in court if necessary by said grandfather, who if he were actually related to either girl Steve would eat the desk sergeant's boots (the man complained of chronic athlete's foot, it was a much more serious vow than his own).
Looked like Steve wouldn't need to go devouring smelly fungal footwear though, as the man made sure to drop by his and David's desks to "personally thank" the "brave men" who had "so heroically saved his girls".
Steve was eighty-seven percent sure that Rae could have very easily taken down all the men involved and had them thanking her for it, so he took those effusive thanks with a large helping of sea salt.
The card that was expertly palmed into his hand had more than a little to do with that certainty, he had to admit. Waiting until they had left, he finally looked at the card in his hands and could only thank those long nights in the wilderness with nothing but a pack of cards to stave off boredom for the fact he didn't visibly react to the words on the business card.
Salutations, Captain Rogers.
An interested witness,
On the back was a number, probably for a burner phone acquired for the express purpose of this communication.
Rick was going to be so pissed.