A/N: I haven't written fanifiction in about 5 years, so any feedback is welcome. I hope you all enjoy!
My name is Michael Casper. Agent Michael Casper. FBI.
The agent woke every day and reminded himself of this simple fact. His name was Michael Casper, of the FBI. He said it to himself in the bathroom mirror as he shaved. He said it to himself as he made coffee. He said it to himself as he drank said coffee and slowly came into real consciousness. As he ate breakfast, made his bed, brushed his teeth, fed his cat - he said it over and over again until it became background data, such as his knowledge of his own brown hair or his mother's maiden name. His world had tumbled into a new life, an unrecognizable apartment, and a job for which, if he said so himself, he was grossly over-qualified, and it all hinged on one fact. My name is Agent Michael Casper, of the FBI.
And as soon as he left his apartment and entered the car waiting to take him to the White House, most days he ceased to need the reminder. He simply was Agent Michael Casper, born in a suburb of Chicago to Ethel and Eugene Casper, only child, graduate of Depaul University, and Special Agent in charge of briefing the Deputy Chief of Staff on matters of domestic terrorism. But today was different. Today, Phil Coulson peeked warily from under the facade of Michael Casper and began to take account of his surroundings from a different perspective, one for which he was less familiar of late.
Mickey, his usual driver, seemed to notice the change. "Doin' all right, boss?" he asked, just a pair of eyes in the rear view mirror. The agent caught sight of himself. Yesterday he'd been someone who, while capable and professional, was nervous walking into the White House, who smiled and joked and even occasionally thought about picking up women. Now, he was hardened, subdued, thoughtful. Completely in control of himself.
"Fine, Mickey," he assured him. "Just have to brief the President today. Something's come up."
"Mr. President," the agent said as he entered. President Bartlett noticed the change in his demeanor from the last time he was here. No longer nervous but also not overly confident, the man was... comforable. Which was not something Jed usually encountered in visitors to the Oval Office.
"Agent Caspar," he greeted with a nod. "Or is it something different now?"
"Coulson, Mr. President," the agent said. "Agent Phil Coulson, of S.H.I.E.L.D."
"Is that your real name, or am I going to have to learn a new one in a few months?"
Agent Coulson gave a wry smile. "Hard to say, sir. But I promise to let you know if I find one I'm planning to stick with."
The President smiled back and beckoned the agent to sit down, though he stood behind the head chair, leaning on its back. Coulson sat, back straight but not rigid. They stared at each other for a long moment, and Jed Bartlett tried to get a grasp on what the man could be thinking. He couldn't, and it wasn't a situation in which he usually found himself.
"Mr. President, I was instructed to-"
"Agent, I'm having a little trouble grasping that while I get briefed regularly by the Directors of both the CIA and the FBI, I have only ever been briefed on your organization once before today, and that was the day I took office. So if it's all the same to you, I'm going to wait for Nancy McNally and Admiral Fitzwallace to join us before you begin, if that's all the same to you."
"Absolutely, sir," Agent Coulson said. "I imagine it must be difficult to be confronted with the idea that there are things going on in your government you aren't aware of."
Jed Bartlett noted his use of the plural. Things. There are things that he wasn't aware of. "As Commander in Chief of the greatest military force in the known universe, I usually get the information that I need when I need it."
"Well, sir, over the course of the next few months I think you'll find that there's a lot more to the known universe than you know."
"Mr. President." Charlie stepped into the room. "Dr. McNally and Admiral Fitzwallace."
As the two high ranking officials passed him in the doorway, Charlie eyed Agent Coulson, but said nothing. Jed followed the young man with his eyes, wishing, as he often did, that the young man was about 20 years older so that he could hire him onto a more prominent role. Someday a President would get very good advice from that boy, if he wasn't President himself, but unfortunately Jed wasn't going to be the one to reap those benefits.
As the door shut, the President turn his attention to Nancy and Fitzwallace. "Nancy. Admiral. Looks like we've got a bit of a new development on our hands."
"It's more of an old development, Mr. President," McNally said.
"Nancy. I've been talked to in cryptic language for the last hour, ever since this something, which, by the way, no one seems to be able to define for me, was brought to my attention. And I use that term loosely. If someone in this room can't tell me what's going on, your country would much appreciate it."
"Well, sir," said Agent Coulson. "You've heard of the Super-Soldiers Project?"
Jed nodded. "An experiment in the forties to build some kind of... ultra human. A weapons' program with questionable ethics and human experimentation. It was disbanded and considered a failure."
"Not quite, sir," said Coulson. "There was one success. A man was given a serum that gave him super strength, speed, stamina. During World War II, he went on countless missions behind Nazi lines and saved countless lives. His name was Steve Rogers, code name Captain America."
"How quaint," Jed said. He turned to Fitzwallace. "You know anything about this, Admiral, because I've gotta say my mind's buzzing with images of Saturday morning cartoons and cereal box characters."
Fitzwallace drew himself up to his full height, which was something to be reckoned with. "I'd heard rumors in the service, sir, but I can't say I ever believed them."
"It's true, Mr. President," McNally added. "At least to a point. There was an agent named Captain Rogers who was sent on missions in Germany, France, and Poland during the war. There are records – most of which are sealed even to me – which imply strongly that he volunteered for some experimental treatments, but it's impossible to tell from the records what they were. He went missing over the North Atlantic near the end of the war."
"And what does your organization have to do with any of this?" Jed asked Coulson. He tried to sound as though this was a waste of time, but part of him was more worried that it wasn't.
Coulson stood, cleared his throat. "S.H.I.E.L.D. has a very small publice persona, Mr. President. Most Americans have never heard of it, and the ones who have think we have something to do with domestic defense, which isn't wrong. But we're more than that. We try to keep out of the news because we're currently the only government agency that's equipped to deal with super human development."
"Super human." Jed threw his hands up and moved behind his desk. "You're talking about super heroes? Capes and flying? Often confused with birds or planes?"
"Sometimes, sir," Coulson admitted. "Currently, we're focused on the Super-Soldier Program, specifically Captain Steve Rogers, the only man to be successfully injected with the Super-Soldier Serum."
"Regardless of his status as a... and I can't believe I'm about to say this in front of people whose opinion of me has great impact on the military state of the entire world... his status as a superhero," Fitzwallace said, "Captain Rogers has been dead for decades."
"Well, Admiral, S.H.I.E.L.D. thought so too," said Coulson. "But we've found him."
A silence fell over the room, broken up only by the ticking clock. "Found him?" McNally repeated finally.
"Frozen in the ice in the North Atlantic." Agent Coulson crossed the room, stood in front of the desk, in front of the President, watched closely by two of the President's most trusted advisors, and said, "Sir. I'm here to brief you about the Avengers' Initiative."