Darcy didn't sleep at all that night; every time she closed her eyes all she could see was Phil's icy stare and hear his cold tone. So instead, she went into the living room of her tiny apartment and curled up on the couch to watch t.v. to try to get her mind off him. She ended up watching reruns of the X-Files and then some knife infomercial until the early hours of the morning. When the sun rose, she managed to make it to the kitchen for a cup of coffee and a bagel. Her phone sat on the countertop and she picked it up while her coffee brewed to check if there were any messages.


Not that she expected that there was going to be anything. She sighed and tossed her phone back on the counter, then wandered back out into the living room with coffee and bagel in hand. The morning news was on now and they were talking about some science benefit Tony Stark was hosting later this month. An image of Pepper Potts flashed on the screen and Darcy sighed. Right at the moment she kind of envied the woman. She was tall and glamorous, got to run around and plan events for Tony. Of course, she had to also probably do a lot of unglamorous things too, like pick up Tony's dry cleaning, go out on hotdog runs for him, and who knew what else. Actually, a job like that right now sounded pretty fun. It was probably like when she started at SHIELD as a filing assistant; making phone calls, serving coffee, and filing a shit load of paperwork. Working with a neurotic Stark wouldn't be so bad, because she already dealt with a dozen neurotic SHIELD agents on a daily basis. Darcy took a sip of her coffee and leaned back into the couch a bit when there was a knock at the door. If it was Lenny, she was going to scream, and possibly punch him in the face. Last night she bumped into him in the elevator, he was coming home from partying and saw her crying. He tried to console her by trying to wrap his arm around her, but she wiggled away and shimmied out of the elevator soon as the doors opened.

There was another soft knock at the door and Darcy got up to answer it. She opened the door and Phil was standing looking a little more tired that usual. Her stomach knotted up at the sight of him. "Hey," she said quietly, swinging the door wider for him to come inside. He didn't say anything but he stepped inside and shut the door behind him gently.

Darcy wandered back over to the couch and sat down, unsure of what to say. "You want some coffee or a bagel?" she said after a few seconds of uncomfortable silence between the two of them.

"I can't stay long," he said walking over to the chair opposite of the couch and sat down. "I have to go in for my treatment. I just wanted-"

"You know, you really hurt me last night," Darcy blurted out. She could feel the anger rising in her and she was having a hard time fighting it down. "I got a message from Clint saying there was an accident and I thought the worst had happened. I thought maybe you were hurt-"

"Darcy," Phil interrupted, the tone in his voice turning stoney as he looked at her with those icy eyes again. "You shouldn't have come last night."

Darcy got up off the couch and crossed her arms. "Everyone thought I was there to see Clint. Which I was! But I was also really concerned about you and wanted to see if you were okay, but it seems like your ex was already tending to your wounds," she huffed.

"My ex?" he arched his eyebrow.

"Yeah, Melinda May. Clint told me about her." It was Natasha that told her about Melinda but Darcy wanted to leave the Black Widow out of this. Otherwise, she'd be sleeping with one eye open for the rest of her life. "The two of you were acting like you were the only ones in the room."

Phil furrowed his brows slightly and stood up. "There's nothing between Melinda and I. We haven't been together in over ten years, Darcy."

"Maybe she's trying to rekindle the romance?" Darcy muttered with a roll of her eyes. She thought back to what Natasha said about Melinda and Phil possibly still having feelings for each other.

"Is this what this is about?" Phil asked, his voice steady and calm.

"It's part of it!" Darcy shouted. "You've been acting like a grade-A asshole for weeks now! I know you're going through some difficult shit with your hormones and this mission and all the other shit that's weighing on shoulders, but you've been hot and cold with me. One moment you're sweet and the next you're being a douchbag. It's like you don't give a fuck about me, and I don't know-"

Phil held his finger up to silence her.

"Don't you dare raise your finger at-"

"You think I don't care about you?" he interrupted her, raising his voice just slightly but it was no where yelling like what Darcy was doing. "Really? Darcy, I wore a goddamned gorilla costume to your party the other night so I could be with you. Do you think I would have done that for anyone? That's not me. Of course, when I got there you were drunk off your ass."

"I got drunk because I was depressed that you were acting like a douche. I just wanted to have some fun. Forget about how much of an asshole you were being. If you would have just agreed to come along in the first place-"

"I had to go into work!" He narrowed his eyes a little bit. "Getting drunk and acting stupid over the fact that I couldn't be there because I was called into work is rather immature."

Darcy sucked in a deep breath and paced back and forth for a moment. "You didn't want to go to it in the first place. When I first mentioned that Clint and I were going to plan a party, you rolled your eyes!"

"How long are we going to argue about this goddamned party, Darcy?" he asked, his jaw clenched in anger. "Are you going to hold his against me-"

"It's not just the party, Phil!" Darcy threw her hands up. "It's everything! It's you! It's the job! We knew this relationship was going to take work, but he agreed we'd give it a try."

"We agreed we'd try," Phil placed his hands on the back of the chair and looked at Darcy.

"So what? What are you saying? That this isn't working and-"

Phil gripped the top of the chair and squeezed it. "I didn't say that, Darcy!" he snapped, and then inhaled deeply before turning away for a moment before looking back at her. "Do you not understand that my job has to come first? I am leading a small team into Bagalia, a very dangerous nation, to stop a biological/alien weapon from possibly destroying an entire country! My job has to come first. Stop acting like a little girl and start acting like a SHIELD agent." His tone was harsh and firm.

Darcy turned away from his gaze to fight back her tears. When she gained control over them she turned back to look at Phil. "I know that! I just don't see why you have to be so cold to me all the time when we're at work. It makes me feel like crap!"

"Darcy, you showed up at the medical center wearing one of my shirts. We're already risking so much with us sneaking around with each other. We can't draw any attention to our relationship. I did not work my ass off for twenty years to have my job thrown away because I'm fucking a junior agent!" He clenched his jaw tightly again.

"Is that all our relationship is? Just fucking? Jesus Christ, Phil! I thought we were more than that!"

"I didn't mean-"

"No, that's exactly what you meant! Goddamn it, you really are an asshole! A lying asshole," Darcy yelled, balling her fists up and shooting him a glare. "I really thought you were different. I thought you were a decent guy, but you're just as bad as any of the ones that I dated. Actually, you're worse! At least those assholes didn't lead me on by thinking that they cared about me!"


"Just stop. Don't try to explain–And you're checking your fucking phone now?" Darcy held her hands up in disbelief and shook her head, trying not to explode in anger as Phil pulled his phone out of his pocket and looked down at it. "Really, Phil? You fucking can't wait two minutes?"

He looked up at her. "I have to go," he said putting his phone back into the pocket of his suit jacket.

Whatever," Darcy turned away from him and crossed her arms. "Obviously, this isn't important enough to-"

"We can-"

"Just go!" Darcy snapped, refusing to turn around and look at him. It was silent for a couple of seconds until she heard Phil start walking, closing the door with a bit more force than necessary, behind him.

"Have a seat Agent Coulson," Doctor Sanders said as he waved Phil to come inside his office. "I'll be with you in one moment."

Phil walked in and sat down on the exam table, the last thing he wanted to do today was have a physical and his last round of shots. He rather be in his office burying himself in paperwork or working out the last of the kinks of the Bagalia mission. Anything to keep his mind off the fight that he and Darcy just had. They had got into a few disagreements since they'd been dating but this was their first big blow out. He had tried to keep his cool, but she really let him have it. Some of the things she said he might have deserved, but not everything.

"How are you feeling today?" Doctor Sanders asked as he came over to Phil with a blood pressure cuff. He sat down and waited for Phil to roll his sleeve up. "I heard there was a small incident with your night jump?" He asked, placing the cuff on his arm.

"Agent Barton broke his arm. I got a few scratches on the ground but nothing major. Other than Barton, everyone did an exemplary job," Phil said, looking over as the doctor checked his blood pressure. He couldn't wait to see how high it was. It was probably through the roof.

"Hmmm," Doctor Sanders frowned slightly, and marked something down on Phil's chart. "Your blood pressure is a bit ... a lot higher than usual."

No surprise there.

"I've been prepping a lot for my mission. It's been-"

"Stressful," Doctor Sanders said looking up at Phil. "Other than the mission is there anything else that could be factoring in? Are you eating enough? Sleeping?"

My girlfriend.

Phil shook his head. "Not that I can think of," he said as the doctor listened to his heart.

"Heart sounds good," the doctor said, marking that down in his chart. Then he went on with the rest of the physical. "The only thing else that it might be is your hormonal issues. I've been seeing a lot of improvement since you've been on the drugs. Have you noticed improvements?"

"I haven't felt as aggressive the last couple of weeks." And, thank the gods for that. He couldn't even imagine how he might have acted towards Darcy this morning if he wasn't on drugs. The thought scared him. "Is it strange that once in a while I still can hear things that I shouldn't be able to?"

"It's not strange for the enhanced senses to occasionally to come back. It might take a long time before the effects wear off entirely. We won't know more until we learn more about the species that attacked you." The doctor paused, and then looked up at Phil. "Of course, there is always the possibility that it's just engrained in your genetic makeup now. You might have these senses fading in and out for the rest of your life. It's definitely something we're going to monitor. I do have faith that drugs will balance your hormones back to normal. It's just been aggression you've been struggling with, right? No intense sexual desires? No bouts of extreme depression?"

"No depression," Phil replied.

Doctor Sanders looked up. "And the other?"

Intense sexual desires? Yes. He really didn't see the point to answering that question. Whether he did or didn't shouldn't matter. "No. Not at all," Phil answered.

"Alright," the doctor made a few more marks on the chart and then rolled his chair over to the counter and grabbed a syringe. "Okay, last round of shots." He got up of the chair and walked over to Phil. Phil held his arm out and the doctor injected the serum into him.

"Never been a fan of shots."

"Let's hope this is it, then," the doctor smiled. He tossed the syringe into the waste receptacle, and turned back to Phil. "Everything else but your blood pressure check out."

"Am I cleared for the mission then?" Phil asked. The worst thing was failing a physical right before a mission. It had never happened to him but he knew agents that had.

"You've got the all clear. I am going to prescribe a blood pressure pill, though. Let's see if we can get that down at a bit. Don't need you having a stroke," he said as he scribbled down the prescription down on a paper, and handed it to Phil. "And, Phil, I think after this mission ... I'm going to mark you down for light active field work."

Phil furrowed his eyebrows. "I don't–"

"You're in your mid-forties and the last couple of missions you've been on have been a bit more than you should be handling right now. I'm not banishing you to a desk job, but let's leave the high intensity missions for the younger guys."

Phil didn't like the sound of that at all. The way the doctor made is sound like he was some decrepit old man that couldn't handle field missions anymore. He sucked in a deep breath and nodded just slightly. " ... Okay." Arguing with a doctor wasn't going to do him any good, not at the moment anyway.

"I know that's not what you want to hear, but let's just see if we can get you back in peak performance first." The doctor gave him a reassuring smile. "If there are no more questions or concerns, you're free to go."

Phil nodded and then hopped off the table and headed out the door. The rest of work had dragged slower than he wanted it to. He was able to sign off on a bunch of reports that he had been meaning to get to all week. He took several trips down the cafeteria for coffee. The rest of the day he busied himself at the computer getting last minute details for the mission ironed out. At eight-thirty he finally packed up his stuff and headed out of his office.

"You were here longer than I expected today." Melinda's voice called from behind him just before he got outside of the building.

Phil stopped and turned around. "Had a lot of work to get through today. You're here pretty late too," he said walking back over to her.

"Hill sent me paperwork right before I was supposed to leave. I'm surprised you came in at all today after last night," Melinda crossed her arms and gave him a just barely smirk.

"Could say the same about you."

"Well, you know how much I hate sitting around doing nothing."

"Isn't that what you do at your desk most days?" Phil teased.

Melinda pursed her lips together tight and shook her head. "Don't start with me, Phil. Or, you'll be looking for a new pilot."

"Don't want to have to do that."

She studied his face for a moment. "You looked stressed, like you need to release some tension. Want me to get the mats out and we can go a couple of rounds?" she said letting the tiniest smile play on her lips. "Like in the old days?"

"I'm a bit rusty. You'd have me flat on my back in three seconds," Phil chuckled.

Melinda raised her eyebrow slightly, her smile still tiny. "All the more reason to give it a go."

"I'm afraid I need to decline tonight," he replied, smiling at her. It was unlike Melinda to flirt with him, but he couldn't help but think that's what she was doing. Maybe it was because Darcy had mentioned that Melinda wanting to rekindle the relationship with him. The thought was just stuck in his head now. "I think, I'm just going to get some rest at home."

"Alright," Melinda replied. "At least go home and have a drink."

"That's exactly what I'm going to do."

"Have a good evening, Phil," Melinda gave him a minute smile and then wandered back down the hallway. Phil watched her until she disappeared and then headed out to his car.

When Phil finally made it home the first thing he did was toss his briefcase on the armchair, loosen his tie from his neck, and grab a beer from the refrigerator. He also grabbed a container of garlic shrimp pasta that Darcy had made a few nights ago, and popped it into the microwave. A few minutes later he was collapsed on the couch watching The Walking Dead and poking at the bowl of pasta in his lap. His phone sat next to him, and now and then he'd glance at it. He wanted to call her or at least send her a text. They left things off at a rather sour point today. Both of them said hurtful things to each other–things that probably should be followed up with an apology. Phil wasn't sure where the relationship was headed, but if was to end he didn't want it to end with them yelling at each other. They both deserved more than that. He sighed and took a bite of his pasta and then a sip of his beer.

He tapped his fingers on his knee, debating whether to call her. He could call and at least apologize for running out on her this morning. Maybe then they could have a civilized conversation about the direction of their relationship. Phil sighed, picking up his phone and started to dial her number. He sighed again and erased the numbers before he got to the last one. He couldn't call her, not tonight. Darcy needed a couple of days to cool off. Trying to talk to her when she was furious was impossible. Instead, he tipped back on the couch after he finished his pasta and beer. There was some really good whiskey up in the kitchen cabinet that kept calling his name. Phil wasn't one to drink alone, but tonight he just needed to numb his mind. As he got up off the couch a small silver chain stuck between the cushions caught his eye. He reached down and picked up the thin delicate bracelet; it was Darcy's favorite and she never took it off. He studied it, rubbing it gently between his fingers, noticing that that clasp was broken. It must have broke and fell off her wrist the other night while she was at his apartment. It looked like it was an easy enough fix, the spring just needed to be tightened a little bit. Nothing that a jeweler need to do. He walked over to the desk and grabbed a tiny screwdriver out of the top drawer. Phil flipped on the desk light and sat down, putting his glasses on. He could fix it and give it back to her the next time he saw her. He knew fixing her bracelet wasn't going to fix their relationship, but he knew how much it meant to her. Their four-month anniversary was coming up at the end of the month, and he planned to buy her a small silver heart charm to put on the chain. He had one picked out already, but now it looked like that plan would be put on hold for a while, if not indefinitely.

He held the clasp up to the light, and turned the screwdriver a couple of times until the tiny screw couldn't turn anymore. The clasp opened and closed again, and he hooked the other end of the bracelet to it, forming a small loop. Darcy had the most delicate wrists, it was fitting that she wore a bracelet to match. Phil rubbed the chain in his fingers again, and closed his eyes.

Another relationship down the drain.

Maybe it was for the best though. His line of work was just too much to have any type of a normal personal life. Dating didn't work when he was with Melinda, and they were allowed to date because they were both in same level. Why did he think that sneaking around trying to date a level three agent was going to be any easier? When he decided to try his hand at dating again after Melinda, he got involved with a cellist. He thought maybe he could have both a SHIELD life and a civilian life. It worked for a while, but when he started to leave for weeks at time and couldn't tell her where he was going or what he was doing, she broke up with him.

He swore of dating for the next eight years ... until he fell for the beautiful, carefree Darcy Lewis. He should have kept his guard up, he shouldn't have let himself fall for her that easily. He allowed the fantasy of having a semi-normal life take over, and now he found himself in a failing relationship ... again. He just couldn't have both a successful job and love life. It was possible ... for some people, like Jasper Sitwell, who had been with the same woman for seven years. She was an agent also, but they had found some sort of balance to make their relationship work. Phil was not about ask what their secret was, even though he really wanted to know.

He yawned and looked at his watch. It was getting late, and he was supposed to check in with Fury before he started his shift tomorrow morning. Phil rubbed the chain between his fingers once last time, before setting it down on the desk and heading off to bed. Sleeping wasn't going to come easy tonight, but he'd have to at least try if he wanted to make it through tomorrow.