Sometimes, It's Easier to Lie
Come on, y'all...Do I really need to spell it, out, anymore?
Lucy Hale "You Sound Good to Me"
I'm sure you've all figured this out, by now...But, I just wanna make sure it's clear...Since I started writing this well before we learned the truth about Phil's resurrection, I've decided not to incorporate any of those details into the story. And, I probably won't include the story about Skye's parents just because I feel like...now that Skye has a family of her own, I feel like she would rather focus her energies on being there for her own daughter...I may or may not do an epilogue with the story of her parents, I haven't really decided, yet.
You Sound Good to Me
Tell me | All of your story | And, don't ya leave nothin' out 'cause, baby, I ain't in a hurry | Every little thing you say | Got a real nice ring to it | The way it rolls off your lips | And, OH, when ya give me that kiss
It's like "Amen!" from the back of the choir | Sweet hum of freedom underneath the tires | Kicked back sittin' by a cracklin' fire | Strumming them guitar strings | Like an old song on the radio | That ya grew up to and everybody knows | Pushin' through the water when the river rose | Winding wild and free
Baby, you sound good to me | Baby, you sound so good to me | Mm-m-mmm like a melody | Baby, you sound good to me
"Come on, Annie..." Phil whined-though he would never admit it under any amount of torture-as his sister passed his daughter to her fiance while she secured blindfolds over both his and Skye's faces. "You know I hate surprises!"
"Just about as much I love being blindfolded and lead to undisclosed locations." Skye added, sarcastically as she and Phil were loaded into the back of Annie's car. Once she had secured her niece into the car seat, Annie took her place in the driver's seat with Auggie riding shotgun.
"Just relax, you two..." Annie replied, her voice giving away nothing of her intentions for her brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law, as she grinned wickedly before beginning the drive. "I know you two have had some...less than pleasant surprises in the past..." She admitted, casually. "But, I promise you're gonna like this one..."
"Yeah, that still remains to be seen Anne Catherine..." Phil warned, only half-joking, as the rest of the drive continued with minimal chatter.
Just before the suspense got the better of the senior S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Annie cut the engine as she declared, proudly. "Here we are!" Exiting the vehicle she made her way to the driver's side rear door as she helped the young hacker out of the car, before leading her around to Phil's door.
"Right on time, I see!" Jemma greeted the group, brightly, emerging from the building Annie had just parked in front of.
"Jemma?!" Phil questioned, recognizing the biochemist's voice.
"What are you doing here?" Skye asked, curiously, building on her fiance's question.
"That's for us to know..." Grant Ward added, joining his friends outside. "And, the two of you to find out..." He added, the same cheeky tone in his voice as was heard in Jemma's moments before.
"Ward?!" Skye questioned, disbelieving. "You're in on this, too?"
"We all are, actually..." Leo Fitz added, grinning devilishly, as he joined the group as well with Brittany by his side.
Helping Auggie unload Addie from the car, Brittany hoisted the infant into her arms as she spoke. "Come on, you guys..." She spoke, mischievously. "Everybody's waiting..." She added, cheekily, as she lead the rest of the group inside.
"What everybody?" Phil wondered, aloud.
"Yeah, I thought this was everybody..." Skye wondered, equally curious.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity of being lead down a seemingly endless hallway on either of Annie's arms, Phil and Skye were both anxious and relieved when they finally came to a stop.
"Okay, Agent Coulson..." Jemma began, careful not to startle her friend and mentor "Leo and I are going to remove yours and Skye's blindfolds, now..."
"Finally..." Skye muttered, under her breath. Meanwhile, the rest of the room's occupants fought with everything they had to hold in the the sniggers and chuckles as they all silently crept out of their hiding places, and, into position.
"On the count of 'three', then?" Jemma replied, ignoring the impatient retort from Skye. "One..."
"Two..." Leo continued the countdown, as he positioned his hands over Skye's blindfold.
"Three!" Jemma declared as she and Leo simultaneously removed both blindfolds. At the precise moment that the blindfolds were removed, the rest of the room's occupants shouted out their greeting.
"SURPRISE!" Phil and Skye found themselves, momentarily paralyzed with the shock of the greeting. Finally, as the dust cleared, Phil registered just who had shouted at them.
"Oh my God!" The senior agent laughed in surprise. "What-What are you guys doing here?!" He asked, still dumbfounded as to how they had all wound up at Stark Tower. Turning to Annie, he asked "What's going on, here?!"
"Come on, Phil..." Tony chided, light-heartedly. "You didn't really think you could run off and get married without us-not only knowing about it-but, also throwing you a killer engagement party, did you?" He asked, sarcastically.
"How did you guys even know?!" Phil wondered, aloud.
"I believe you have your sister to thank for that..." Natasha replied, smiling warmly. "Congratulations, Phil..." Turning to Skye, she added "...Skye..."
"You told them?!" Phil asked, turning to Annie. "Director Fury classified knowledge of my survival at Level Eight-"
"And, once you got engaged..." Annie began, smugly. "I managed to convince him that it was time to let your old friends in on the big secret." She elaborated, taking Addie from Brittany and moving to stand next to Phil and Skye. "I know you always say that 'If S.H.I.E.L.D. keeps a secret from you, it's for a reason'..." The younger Coulson conceded. "But, I helped good ole Nick to see that his 'reasons' were full of...well, something I won't expose these little ears to..." She finished, earning a good laugh from the rest of the group.
"I can't believe you guys went to all this trouble..." Phil replied, sincerely.
"Hey..." Clint interjected, stepping forward from the back of the group. "You're our friend, Coulson." He elaborated, warmly. "This party is just as much for celebrating the mere fact that you're alive as much as it is about celebrating you and Skye getting married..."
"He's right, Phil." Annie added. "These guys all love you just as much as your new team does...As I do..." She smiled. "But, first things first..." Changing her trajectory, Annie turned to the Avengers. "Before we get this show on the road, I think a few introductions are in order. "Everyone, I'd like to introduce my brother's new team of operatives...Special Agent Grant Ward...Agents Brittany Linton...Leo Fitz...Jemma Simmons...And, of course, the bride-to-be...Skye..." Annie found herself unable to stop smiling as she shifted Addie in her arms to gesture with her free hand to each of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in turn. "And, this..." Annie smiled, holding the infant in her arms up for everyone to see "...is little Addanaya Rose Coulson."
"She 's perfect..." Natasha cooed, quietly, as she admired Phil and Skye's daughter. "May I?" She asked, cautiously seeking permission to hold the young infant.
"Of course you can..." Phil replied, smiling warmly at the red-headed assassin as Annie handed Addie over. As the group watched Natasha coo over the infant in her arms, they all felt their hearts melting in their chests.
Turning to her brother's team, she added, "And, I'm sure this goes without saying...But, I'm gonna say it, anyway..." Annie gestured to each of the Avengers, in turn. "These are the Avengers...The 'demigod', Thor...The 'supersoldier', Steve Rogers...the 'man with breath-taking anger management issues', Dr. Bruce Banner...and, last but most assuredly not least...the 'two master assassins'...Agents Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton..."
"It's...unbelievable to meet you all..." Skye smiled, still struggling to wrap her mind around everything that was happening.
"Trust me, Skye..." Tony began in an uncharacteristically sincere tone. "The pleasure is all ours." He added, shaking her hand, briefly.
"I think I can speak for everybody here..." Steve added, stepping forward to address the young hacker. "...when I say that we all thought that the best news we could have ever received, after New York, would have been that Agent Coulson was alive, after all..." He began, smiling warmly. "But, now...Not only do we have that...But, he's also found someone to love and has a beautiful family." Turning to Phil, he added "You deserve this, Agent Coulson. And, we couldn't be happier for you..." He finished, offering his old friend a warm handshake.
"From the bottom of my heart..." Phil replied, misting up ever so slightly. "Thank you, Captain."
"Call me 'Steve'." Steve replied, smirking.
"Only if you call me 'Phil'." Phil replied, not missing a beat.
"All right, then, Phil..." Steve replied, as he reached into the pocket inside his suit jacket. "There's something that I wanted to give you, as something of a wedding gift of sorts..." He added, pulling a small white envelope out of his jacket and passing it over to Phil.
Curious, Phil carefully opened the envelope as his eyes widened in recognition. Pulling the cards out of the envelope, he couldn't believe it. Steve had signed each and every one of them with various personal messages and well-wishes for himself, Skye, and Addanaya. Overcome with emotions he couldn't even begin to define, Phil looked up at Steve as he breathed the first thing to come to his mind. "You signed them."
"Signed what?" Skye asked, curiously, looking over her fiance's shoulder at the cards in his hand. "Some old Captain America trading cards?"
"They're vintage." Tony corrected, with a warm glance at Phil. "Phil was very proud of them, as I recall..."
"He was my childhood hero..." Phil explained, turning his attention to Skye, before returning to Steve. "Where did you find them? And...why is there blood on them?" He questioned, concerned by the dark red blotches on the cards.
"You mean you lost them?" Skye asked curiously. She'd never seen the cards, before, nor had she heard anything about them.
"Fury gave them to him when he told us about your death." Tony elaborated, grimly. "He said they were in your coat pocket when you were stabbed..."
"I still remember his exact words..." Steve recalled, with a slight shudder. "'Guess he never did get you to sign them'..."
"You were gonna sign them?" Skye asked, surprised, as she turned to the supersoldier.
"I promised Phil after I first met him that I'd sign the cards once the battle was over..." Steve replied, quirking a sad smile.
"There's just one thing I don't get..." Phil interjected, still trying to work out the details in his head. "These were never in my coat pocket..." He added, holding the cards up as he spoke. "I never carried them in my pocket...They were in my locker..."
The Avengers all turned to each other as they exchanged confused glances. "Phil, I was there when Fury gave Steve the cards..." Tony argued, brow furrowed in confusion. "I heard what he said. He clearly told us that they were in your pocket..."
"And, I'm telling you that they weren't..." Phil argued, not backing down.
"Guys, I...think I can settle this..." Annie interjected, before things got heated. "Phil...Your death wasn't the only thing Fury lied about...I don't really know why, but, decided to take the cards from your locker and smeared a little of your blood on them before he gave them to Steve..." She elaborated, reluctantly. "I guess it was supposed to drive home his point about your death and help the Avengers get their act together, I really don't know for sure..."
A tense silence fell over the room as everybody waited for someone else to break it while all eyes shifted from Annie to Phil to Tony, anxiously awaiting a reaction. Finally, Phil just nodded his head as he was visibly biting back a comment. "Well...Whatever the case...Steve, I can't thank you enough for this. This is an incredibly thoughtful gift." The senior agent finally broke the silence with a warm smile.
"Come on, everyone..." Annie replied, with a relieved smile. "We have an engagement to celebrate, here." She added, fetching a bottle of champagne from the bar. As she peeled back the foil around the cork, the entire group cheered as the cork finally released, shooting up into the air.
"That was really sweet of Annie to go to all that trouble to get the Avengers in on the engagement and engagement party..." Skye commented, once they had all returned to the bus, later that evening.
"I agree." Jemma replied, smiling. "I couldn't believe it when she told us that she had read them in." She observed, still somewhat surprised by the turn of events.
"I know what you mean." Grant added. "I never thought Fury would ever declassify anything-let alone something like this..." He elaborated.
"It's about time that old bastard had a heart..." Leo interjected, playfully. "What?!" He asked, defensively, when he saw the round of dirty looks shot at him from all over the room. "Tell me I'm wrong..."
"I will admit..." Brittany replied, thoughtfully. "I haven't always agreed with all the calls he's ever made..." The rest of the group just hummed and nodded their agreements.
Later that night, after the rest of the team had gone to bed and after she had put Addanaya down, Skye returned to hers and Phil's bunk to find her fiance lying on the bed, staring at his old Captain America trading cards in his hands. "Steve really got to you with those cards, didn't he?" Skye asked, warmly, as she changed into her nightgown and slid into bed next to Phil.
Sighing lightly, Phil replied "Yeah, he did..." Looking over the cards, yet again, he added "I still remember the day I met him for the first time-I didn't think Romanoff would ever let me live that down..." He began, with a soft smile tugging at his lips. "I was beside myself with excitement...I kept tripping over my words-everything that came out of my mouth was either idiotic or embarrassing...Or both..."
"You?!" Skye chuckled, disbelieving. "I find that pretty hard to believe." She argued, playfully. "Granted, I know I didn't know you then...But, the whole time I have known you, I've always known you to be 'poised', personified..."
Laughing slightly at the hacker's summation of his poise, Phil replied "Well, thank you..." He quipped. "But, if you had seen me, then, you'd have probably had quite the laugh." Sighing wistfully, he continued to stare at the cards in his hands as he added "Ya know, when I was a kid...I always used to dream of growing up to be someone like Captain America...A hero...someone people looked up to...somebody important...Somebody who would do something that mattered-someone who really meant something..."
Frowning slightly, Skye gently took the cards from Phil's hands before gently forcing the man lying next to her to look her in the eye. "Phil..." She began, her voice soft and warm but sincere. "You are all those things." Seeing the hesitation in her fiance's eyes, she powered on before he could argue with her. "You are a hero...you are important...And, you do things that matter, every damn day..." She elaborated. "Look at me...You took me off the streets and gave me the most important thing I could ever want or need...You gave me a place to belong, to fit in..." She added, caressing his face lightly before carding her fingers through his hair. "More than that...You showed me that it's okay to care about someone...to need them...You showed me that it's okay to fall in love and let yourself be vulnerable...And...You gave me the greatest gift a person could ever give...You gave me Addie..." She finished, her warm does eyes misting up. "You are important, Phil Coulson. And, you are most definitely a hero. Besides, how many people can brag about going toe-to-toe with a psychotic Norse god?"
Hearing all of the wonderful things Skye was saying about him, Phil felt himself falling in love with her all over again. "I wouldn't call it 'bragging'...He did kill me, after all..." He quipped, as he caught the hand on his cheek in his own, bringing it to his lips as he kissed the palm tenderly. "But, thank you, Skye...For everything you've given me..." Leaning forward to capture the young hacker's lips with his own, Phil sealed his words with a soft, warm, kiss-full of tenderness and building in passion. Here, with her, he realized...You don't have to be a supersoldier from the forties to be a hero.
Thank you all so much for all of your wonderful support! I love all of my wonderful readers and reviewers and I hope you'll all continue to read this and my future stories! Don't worry, this story does not end, here...I will definitely be continuing on with this. I'll probably end it with the wedding, so, it'll probably just be another couple of chapters.