The as agent smirked the elevator doors opened. A petite brunette stood inside, as she did every day and Agent Phil Coulson nodded to her as he stepped inside "Miss Cale."
"Agent," Zita Cale inclined her head, the typical shy smile graced her lips. Her lab coat was wrinkled and the sweater she wore underneath ill fitting; something she was acutely aware of now that she was in the presence of his finely pressed suit and suave sunglasses.
It was because of the latter she didn't notice his gaze slipping to the load in her arms. They were filled with books, strange science stuff he had no interest in. Despite this though, he smiled at her. "Getting ready for Dr. Banner's return I see."
Zita's pale cheeks tinged a light pink. "He's the leading expert in his field, I just thought I should be prepared, in case he's made any recent discoveries."
"I can see that." Coulson replied, taking little over half the stack from her. "But this isn't exactly light reading."
She offered him a lopsided grin and a weak shrug of her slight shoulders. "I don't mind."
A fond chuckle escaped his throat as the elevator dinged. "You are one of a kind."
"Thanks," the woman brightly smiled, however it dwindled as he stepped out. "I think. You have my-"
"You don't need all this," The agent told her, foot sticking out to stop the elevator from closing off their conversation. His lips twitched with amusement at her pout, something he found to be very cute. "You'll be fine, Zee."
Zita's excited grin returned, showing off impossibly straight white teeth. "Thank you, Agent Coulson."
He let the door shut and as the woman was once again alone she sighed, hugging the considerably smaller stack to her chest as she all but swooned.
Unbeknownst to her, she was being watched by a horribly bored Tony Stark. Everyone in S.H.I.E.L.D knew by now that the words Stark and bored should never, under any circumstances, be considered anything short of dangerous.
Tony had not set about his day planning on playing matchmaker. No, that was usually Pepper's MO, but as he stared at the image of Bruce's favourite little lab assistant fawning over his favourite snarky agent, he felt inspired. He had always liked Zita – although he did find her a bit boring at times, she was a lot of fun to watch once you got her excited about something – but he had always found her a bit lonely; a little too introspective and meek for her own good. Tony would be willing to bet money that a good man could change that.
And Coulson was just the smart mouthed bastard to do it.
A devious grin spread across his lips as he chuckled. His fingers rose to his digital keyboard and began to fiddle with the pair's work schedules. This was gonna be good.
Two levels down from the excited genius, a meeting was taking place between a lone agent and the director.
Nick Fury was the epitome of calm as he sat down across from the young agent. He spared her a glance, took out her file (which had scattered underlines of red and black) and looked over it as he spoke. "I hear you set Stark's car on fire today."
"He started it." Niobe Jemzen replied off the cuff. She hadn't even bothered to look surprised by the statement. Just crossed a long leg over her knee.
"Parking in your spot is not starting it, Agent Jemzen."
A smirk tugged at her mouth, but she didn't argue. "What's it matter? It's not like he can't just buy another one."
"I'd like to talk to you about your anger issues." The director told her, fingers intertwining on her file as he frowned.
"I thought you hired me because of my anger issues." Niobe shot back. She crossed her arms over her chest defensively, but her tone had been light – almost mockingly so. Fury eyed her a moment before speaking. Niobe may have been a beautiful woman, with sharp features and a lithe body, but there had always been a distant coolness to her dark eyes that had made him a bit wary.
"No, I hired you because of your exclusive skill set. The anger was just a bonus; but that was when you were in control."
Her ebony features became grim. With a sneer, she said, "I'd say I'm controlling it pretty well right now, sir."
Fury ignored her aggression. Niobe had never exactly been the most social of people, but she had always been able to keep herself composed. In the last couple of months, that had changed. She had distanced herself from the organization, started taking on side jobs, and had become cagey and disrespectful. Fury had a good idea why that was, and frankly, it worried him. "I'd like you to work with Dr. Banner-"
"The green guy?" Her brows raised slightly, a hint of scepticism in her otherwise even tone.
"His dual personality is the Hulk, yes, to gain some control over it." He corrected.
"And if I refuse?" Agent Jemzen asked, her expression returning to its original muted state.
Her dark brown eyes glinted under the harsh light. "Fine; but if he squishes me, I'm filing a grievance."
"That's fine. You'll report to Dr. Banner this afternoon."
"I thought he was in Cambodia?" Helping orphaned puppies no doubt, her mind added with amusement, but her full lips stayed tightly pursed.
"Today's his first day back," Fury explained. "He's kindly agreed to help you with your aggression." He smirked at her, "I expect you to treat him with the respect he deserves."
Yeah, Niobe thought bitterly, guy fries himself with radiation and turns himself into a giant rage monster. That warrants a lot of respect. "I will."
"One p.m., sharp, Jemzen." The director nodded and motion for her to go, "You are dismissed."