You don’t have to do this Maria had said. That was the problem she had to do it. She had to see with her own eyes or she’d never believe it.
The chaos from the battle had been over for almost two days when she finally had gotten to return to her apartment. After speaking with both her parents she’d called his number. As soon as Melinda heard Maria’s voice on the other end she knew.
“Where?” she had asked.
Now she stood outside one of the Medbays at the Triskelion. Her friend on the other side. That sick feeling she’d gotten when Hill told her what happened intensifying. Slowly she ran her badge under the scanner and waited for the door to open.
As she stepped in she felt it fitting the room was so cold. She was numb already so it wouldn’t matter. His clothes and shoes were the first thing she saw. They were folded neatly, sitting on a table to her right. His favourite suit, a tie Audrey had given him, shoes polished brightly. All worn to impress Rogers if she had to guess. Her friend could be predictable to those who knew him best.
Hesitantly she made her way to the gurney where his body lay. A white sheet covered him. She’d been told that Asgardian bastard had stabbed him through the heart. Again she couldn’t push away the shock and disbelief she felt. There was no way Phil could be gone.
Melinda pulled the sheet back to his shoulders and couldn’t stop the gasp from escaping her lips. His face was paler than she’d ever seen before. He’d truly become a ghost of his former self. Her first thought of Phil Coulson was always how animated he was. Now, eyes and mouth closed, his features were still. It hurt her more than she thought possible to see him like this. Damn you Loki!!!
Reaching out she smoothed his hair down. While someone had taken the time to clean his body they had left his hair wild. He would hate to look unkempt. Phil wouldn’t like that at all. She lost track of time as she stood there her hand on his forehead, holding in the tears.
“Why did you feel you had to do that on your own?” she said softly. “You should have waited. I know you couldn’t have but you should have. Who’s going to keep tabs on me now? I know you do it. Phil I can’t imagine a world without you.”
“Get out.” She hissed. How dare someone come in here? How dare someone disturb her while she was grieving?
“Agent May.” The voice repeated more insistent this time.
She turned to find Fury standing just out in the hall. As usual she couldn’t read him. Was he as upset as she was? He’d been one of the most important figures in Phil’s life, knowing her friend just a few years longer than she had. Surely Phil deserved some display of emotion from the older man. The absence just made her angry once more.
“I want those cards. I know you ruined them but I want them back.” She said when he stepped into the room.
“I can do that.”
Fury came to stand beside her. Both quietly watching over Phil’s body. Her anger was receding and once again she was overcome with that hopelessness she’d been feeling since this nightmare began.
“You do know even if you had been there you wouldn’t have been able to stop him.” Fury said turning to look at Melinda.
“Doesn’t make this any easier.”
They fell silent. Melinda not knowing what more she could say to her superior. None of this was the Director’s fault. Fury had been right. Had she been there she wouldn’t have been able to stop Phil. He would do what he felt was right. All he wanted was to protect others. He wouldn’t have given his safety a second thought. The cost to himself of no consequence.
Fury moved towards the gurney and placed his hand on Phil’s chest. She watched pain cross his face for the merest fraction of a second. His hand lay there for a few minutes before he haphazardly pulled at the sheet, straightening it across Phil’s shoulders.
“When you are finished I need to speak to you about something. An idea I have.”
“It’s going to have to wait. When I leave here I’m going to get drunk for a week.” She told him as he began to walk back towards the door. “Has anyone contacted Audrey?”
“Hill’s taking care of it.” He said before opening the door. “I’m taking care of the rest. I’ll take care of Phil.”
Fury didn’t wait for her to respond and stepped back out in to hallway. Again she was alone with Phil. She put her hand on his forehead once more. This time she was unable to stop the tears. She watched them land against his face sliding down his cheeks. Melinda stayed this way for some time, crying freely at the loss of her friend. Knowing she would never hear one of his cornball jokes anymore. She would never take a ride with him in Lola again. She would never be able to let him know just how important he had been to her. God do I need a drink.
Running the back of her hand across her eyes she took a few deep breaths. Trying to compose herself the best she could. She wouldn’t walk through the Triskelion with anything but her normal mask in place. Her grief was for her and her alone.
Melinda gave one final look to her oldest friend before bending over to place her lips against his.
“I hope you knew how much you meant to me. How much I loved you. Goodbye Phil.”
She made her escape from the Triskelion quickly after that. Ignoring several people who called after her. Right now all she wanted was to get home, open a bottle of Jim Beam and forget all this had happened. Yes it was cowardly and Melinda would have to find a way to cope but for now she needed solace and alcohol. Her anchor was gone forever.