“Ma’am, we just got word, Agent May is incoming.”
The head nurse watched as her staff flat out scattered. “Status?”
“Conscious.” The two who had remained, stalwart, took off at a brisk pace.
“They suspect cracked ribs, possible concussion, multiple lacerations.” The head nurse winced. She had once dug a bullet out of Nick Fury in the back of a Humvee with nothing more than a bottle of whiskey, and a swiss army knife. She would choose that again in a heartbeat over Agent May needing stitches.
The head nurse looked at her roster and smiled, relieved. “We have that new transfer. Phil Coulson, he can do May’s intake.”
“Ma’am isn’t it cruel to send him in alone?”
“We are SHIELD, Nurse Harrison, trial by fire is how we operate,” she said sternly. “If he can’t survive May, then he doesn’t belong on this ward. Unless of course, you’d like the job.”
“Trial by fire ma’am. A time honoured tradition,” the nurse quickly agreed.
Phil stood in the locker room. “I was supposed to have new SHIELD scrubs.”
“Sorry, we ordered them, but they decided we had the measurements wrong and sent well -”
“Not men’s scrubs.” Phil knew they used different scrubs for nurses and doctors to help people differentiate at a glance. Phil reached for his bag. “Good thing I brought some of my own. Not regulation, but they’ll do until the mix up is fixed.” He opened it and frowned. Instead of his green scrubs there was a new gift wrapped set From Your Friendly Neighbourhood Spiderman , the card said.
Phil knew that was a lie, Spiderman would have gotten Avengers scrubs, not Hello Kitty. But they were clean and the perfect size, so he put them on.
The orderly in the room laughed. “Looking sharp there, new guy.”
“Always said pink was my colour,” Phil agreed. “I better go see where I’m needed. Desk is a left and then a right?” He asked to make sure. SHIELD had a lot of corridors.
“Yup. You survive your first shift, beer’s on me," the man said. Phil had made sure on the day of his paperwork to go around and talk to all the orderlies he could find, he knew who kept a place running smooth.
Phil smiled and waved and walked down to the station. It was really quiet in the hall, someone should be moving around. He made it to the desk where the head nurse was writing on the whiteboard.
“We have incoming ma’am?”
“Yes, Nurse Coulson we do,” she handed him a patient file. “Field Agent May, injured in a fight, at most an overnight. That is what was reported in and her history.”
“She’s been with SHIELD for a while.”
“Why is this flag here?” Phil asked. “Allergy, phobia?”
“Ahh, that,” the head nurse tidied the station. “That is to let you know that a patient is...problematic. We deal with very dangerous people in here, some respond less than well to medical professionals.”
“I can handle it,” Phil said. “I’ll go prep room 5.”
“Of course,” she nodded. “I do expect by your next shift that you will be in SHIELD scrubs?”
“Order was mixed up. It was this or suit and tie.”
“Next time, choose the suit and tie,” she said dryly.
“Yes ma’am,” Phil agreed.
Melinda didn’t care for the way Jemma and Mack were escorting her to medical. “I’m fine.”
“You are still bleeding.”
“I am fine,” Melinda repeated. “And if I wasn’t you would be able to fix me.”
“I’ve told you, I’m not a doctor,” Jemma paused. “Well, that sort of doctor.”
“You’ve done it before.”
“Yes, when we were so far out in the field you would have died otherwise!” Jemma responded. Mack opened the doors to the medical area and Jemma pushed Melinda along. “We were barely an hour out, which means you can be looked at by some of the best medical people in the world.”
Jemma approached the woman at the desk. “We called in about Agent May?”
“Room 5 over there, her nurse is waiting.”
“Thank you.” Jemma’s grip was relentless and pulled Melinda along. “Seriously, these are the best that can be fou-” She opened the door. “Oh dear.”
Melinda took one look at the man. “No.”
“Hello, you must be Agent May. I’m Nurse Coulson,” Phil smiled. “Let’s get you taken care of.”
“No,” Melinda repeated. “I’m fine.”
“Your team sent in word otherwise. And that shoulder needs at least four stitches,” Phil said looking at her and doing a quick mental assessment. “I don’t bite.”
Mack snorted from the door. “Yeah but she does.”
“I am a model patient. And if I needed medical assistance from a strange man in Hello Kitty scrubs, I would say so. But I do not.”
Jemma poked Melinda’s side and Melinda winced.
“A practical joke from a friend,” Phil said easily. “Now you can keep standing there in pain while we wait you out until it is bad enough that you pass out and I work on you without your knowing what I’m doing. Or you can come over here so I can put this blood pressure cuff on you and start the process of mending you.”
“Hello Kitty there has balls,” Mack muttered.
Melinda went and sat on the bed. Phil took her blood pressure and temperature and made a note on her chart. He asked her questions which she ignored or tersely answered. Jemma filled in the blanks.
“Right, you two can wait outside,” Phil said.
“I’m not sure that is a good -” Jemma began.
“Ma’am, please wait outside,” Phil said firmly.
Mack and Jemma left and closed the door.
“I need to cut your tank top off, it is filthy and I am not stitching those wounds with it nearby,” Phil said calmly. He pulled his tray closer and grabbed the scissors.
“I can take care of myself," Melinda said as she gripped his wrist.
“That should would is in an awkward spot to stitch yourself especially with cracked ribs,” Phil answered back. “Ma’am I understand not wanting a stranger touching you, but you know how well this place vets employees. SHIELD knows the name of my grandfather’s teddy bear, I can promise you that you are safe.”
“I will take care of this myself,” May was tired of repeating herself. She tightened her grip a little bit. Not enough to damage but enough to show intent.
Phil didn’t react a bit. “I’m sorry, am I supposed to feel threatened now? Be scared by how badass a SHIELD field agent is? Quaking in my orthopedic shoes? I’ve reattached Wade Wilson’s ball sack, nothing you can throw at me will bother me,” Phil smiled politely. “Now let go so I can do my job and you can leave.”
Melinda let go, impressed by his calm. She was a reasonable patient, most of the staff here didn’t understand that and tended to cry. She disliked people who cried. “You tell me everything that you are going to do.”
“Yes ma’am. First as I said is cutting off the tank top and cleaning the wounds for the sutures.” Phil put on some gloves and picked up the scissors and showed them to her. In three swift cuts the filthy shirt was off and dropped into a biohazard bag. “Good news, based on this conversation, I doubt you are concussed, and I think at this point in your career, you know how to handle cracked ribs, so long as that is all the xrays show.”
“Sterile gauze, cleaning agent,” he explained. “It will sting.”
“So did being stabbed,” she said dryly. “So what you are like that nurse that helps the Defenders then?”
“Claire Temple? God no, I hate superheroes.” Phil pat gently at the wound. “I was a pediatric nurse at General.”
Melinda blinked. “If you were a pediatric nurse why were you handling Wilson’s balls?”
“Well everyone classifies a good date differently,” Phil said seriously. He held it for a minute before laughing. “Oh god, your face.” He finished cleaning the wounds. “No, his daughter gets strep throat a lot and we’ve built a bit of a relationship. He had a bad day and called for help.”
“He regenerates.” May watched his hands move, the man was quick and competent. She appreciated that.
“Apparently, multiple gunshot wounds and castration take a while to heal from,” Phil said. “And I was informed that it goes easier if the parts are attached versus having to be regrown. The scrubs were a gift from him.” Phil opened a metal box. “Ready for sutures?”
“I dislike needles,” Melinda looked at him calmly. “It has caused problems in the past.”
“The nurse ended up in the bed next to me,” Melinda smiled, it was a little vicious. “Maybe you should get Mack in here to hold me down.”
Phil pulled out everything he needed onto a sterile mat. He looked her dead in the eye. “I can handle you Agent May, just fine on my own.”
Jemma was pacing outside and Mack was listening for cries of pain, mostly from the nurse. But the door opened and Melinda was in a wheelchair and Phil was behind her. “We are just going to x ray and if that checks out, she’ll be free to leave in your care.” Phil told them. “Be back soon.” He whistled as he pushed May down the hall.
“Stop that,” May said.
“No, I have a lovely whistle.” Phil kept his tune going and pushed her down the hall.
“I don’t understand,” Jemma said in shock.
“Told you, looks like Hello Kitty has balls,” Mack grinned. He was relieved he hadn’t had to stop May from attempting to kill anyone.
An hour later Phil was signing off on May. “And for you.” He handed her a lollipop.
“What’s this for?” she stared at the treat.
“For being such a bwave little soldier,” Phil said in a childish voice. “But it is sour flavoured because you were a little sour yourself. Stay safe out there May.” Phil grabbed another chart and went into a room across the hall.
The head nurse stared after him in horror. “Agent May, I apologize for my new nurse. That was completely unacceptable here at SHIELD. He will of course be censured.”
May looked at the woman. “He is the only nurse that will ever work on me.” She turned to Jemma and Mack. “Let’s go.”
Mack opened his mouth.
“Don’t say it,” Melinda warned.
Didn’t stop him from thinking damn Hello Kitty had balls.
Melinda woke in a strange place. Hospital, one person in the room. She wasn’t immobilized which suggested friendly hospital. She could hear them moving about going from the foot of the bed to the side. In a blink she reached up and grabbed the person.
She knew him.
“Agent May, it is Thursday the 12th, 9:06am. You are in SHIELD medical. You required emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix. The surgery was performed at 2:30am when your team member Daisy Johnson finally convinced you to come in the pain. Another half hour and you would have likely gone septic. You are very lucky.”
“You sound mad,” she whispered. She remembered to let go of the fingers she was near to breaking.
Phil shook out his hand and replaced her i.v. bag. “I dislike it when people don’t listen to the warning signs their bodies give them,” he said. He put a thermometer in her mouth. “You would have been having pain, perhaps running a fever. And you ignored it.”
She opened her mouth.
“I promise I will shove that up your ass if you fuck my readings even once,” he warned. When it beeped he pulled it out. “The attending did an excellent job.”
“Were you in surgery with me?”
“No. But I am the only one who has been in this room since you were brought in post-op. It seems your file states I’m the only nurse to attend you. Thanks for the overtime I’ll be earning.” He still sounded cranky but he held a straw to her lips. “Three sips,” he said.
She took four, mainly to hear him huff. Which he did.
“If you had paid attention to your body, it would have been an overnight stay, you’d be out of here tomorrow. But since there are concerns about infection, you get to stay for three days.”
“My team can watch me,” she protested.
“Your team were up all night worried about you. I am ordering them to go rest.” Phil looked at her. “When your body shouts pain, you listen to it May.”
“I’m a field agent, I’m in pain 80% of the time.”
Phil paused in his writing on her chart. “Specific locations?”
“Old bullet wound, shattered kneecap aches when it rains,” Melinda said. “You keep going.”
“I understand. Two of my left fingers can flare pain fierce some days.”
“From the job?”
“From being a nationally ranked Mario Kart champion. No one throws a banana like me,” he answered.
She just gave him a look.
“I was a field nurse for the army when I was younger. We were bombed mid surgery. Light landed on my hand caused a few bad breaks.”
“And then kids.”
“Skateboard accidents much easier to deal with that landmine injuries.”
“So why come to SHIELD then?” Melinda was curious.
“I was ready for a change. And Maria Hill is very persuasive. You need more rest,” Phil nodded to her. “I’ll check on you in a couple hours. If you even think of escaping, I will chain you to the bed.”
“Kinky,” Melinda yawned the pain killers sliding into her system again.
“Not really, people recovering from surgery not really my kink.”
“What is then, pretty kitty?”
“Ask me when you aren’t on drugs sometime and I’ll tell you,” Phil said, but she was already passed out.
Phil caught her trying to break out at 1am on night two.
“I’m fine enough to go,” Melinda said quickly. She looked around the hall as if she expected security to be around the corner. She thought about it. “How did you know I’d be breaking out?”
“I’ve been sleeping in the breakroom while you’ve been here. I had your bed set to inform me of change in weight. When you didn’t return in 4 minutes your average pee break, figured you were trying to leave.”
“That feels insane on a few levels.”
“Really, miss I tried to heal a ruptured appendix with the powers of ignoring it? I’m insane?” Phil smiled at her. “Shorted out the cameras, you have about one more minute for escape, a ride is out front for you, I’ve had one on standby waiting for your escape for the last 12 hours.”
“You should be stopping me.”
“I’d have to tackle you, which would burst the stitches. Which just makes more work for me. I’m due three days off and have a netflix marathon and 2 whole beers on ice for it.”
“Living large I see.” Melinda looked at him. “You’ve been here the whole time?”
“I’m the nurse you trust,” Phil said simply. He handed her a shiny pink Hello Kitty bag. “All my gift wrapping supplies are aimed still for kids. Sorry.”
Melinda took it and tried to figure out what to say.
“Cameras back soon Agent May. Pay attention to your body next time,” Phil walked away.
She got outside and there was a SHIELD SUV, Mack behind the wheel.
“He got you a break out gift?” Mack looked at the bag. “Shit, patient care is really improving in there.”
“Just get me back to the Bus.” Melinda didn’t open the bag until she was on her bed. Inside were a few different shaped weighted fabric things. The fabric was all skulls and kittens and they had a faint smell that was soothing.
40 seconds in the microwave and then rest on the aching muscle or joint.
They’ll help. Sorry my stitches weren’t neater. I’m better with skin than fabric.
And sorry that made me sound like a serial killer.
I hope you don’t hurt.
Nurse Coulson had sewn these for her, while sleeping in the break room because she had said he was the only nurse she could trust.
She carefully put them in the drawer beside her bed.
“Hey, May, you checked your email?” Daisy asked after knocking on Melinda’s door.
Melinda was reading some notes, prepping for a mission. “No.”
“Well, we’re grounded.”
Melinda’s head came up sharply. “Why?”
“Because it seems our fearless leader is a month overdue for her annual physical.”
“That isn’t until March,” Melinda dismissed her.
“It’s April,” Daisy shook her head. “Read your damn emails and book an appointment May.”
Melinda checked her inbox but there was nothing there. She then remembered that she had set her email so that Medical went to junk and sure enough there were several emails waiting.
You are due for your annual check up. Please contact the Medical department at Headquarters to book your appointment.
Phillip J. Coulson
Your file shows you have yet to make an appointment for your annual physical. Please contact medical at your earliest convenience.
Phillip J Coulson
You are overdue for your appointment, please come into the department as soon as possible. You will be squeezed into the schedule.
Phillip J Coulson
If you have concerns about me being your medical examiner, I would like to ease your mind. I am not qualified to perform a pelvic exam, and have researched the nurses and doctors here and have a list of three people that I would be happy to recommend for you, please contact the office.
Phillip J Coulson
Unless you haven’t booked it because you are scared it won’t be me. I’ll start doing research, but I am really, really not qualified for this. I could do your blood pressure and weight and other basic assessment work before handing your over to the other professional. Would that help you get in for your annual?
Phillip J Coulson
I DO NOT LIKE SPECULUMS. PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME DO THIS.
Phillip J Coulson
The head nurse has quizzed me and I have passed the qualifications to perform the required exams, but again I really, really think that you should go with someone who has more experience that isn’t just on a dummy. That lives in my nightmares. They have named her Janet. I felt guilty for being so invasive that I bought her a new sweater.
A bought a medical dummy a sweater May, because I am determined to keep you in excellent medical health.
Book your goddamn appointment.
Phillip J Coulson
That’s it. I pulled rank. Oh yeah, I can do that. I don’t care that I now owe a great deal of favours to a number of people. You are grounded until your check up.
Deal with it.
Janet the dummy says hello.
Phillip J Coulson
May thought about responding to the emails but she wasn’t quite sure where to begin. Instead she made a phone call booking her annual exam and they managed to squeeze her in for the next day.
“Agent May, hello,” Phil said as he met her in the waiting room. He was in Hello Kitty scrubs again. “If you’ll follow me.”
Melinda followed him. “Did they change regulations just for you?”
“No,” Phil sighed. “We had a rough morning, there had been an ambush. My three regulation scrubs were burned through and these were all I had left.”
Phil just shook his head and opened a door. “Shoes off and on the scale please.”
Melinda stared at the wall as he read the number.
“You need to gain five pounds.”
“Not until date 5. I’m old fashioned,” he joked. “Blood pressure.” She sat down and he wrapped the cuff around her arm. His hands were shaking just a little. And there was a teeny bit of sweat on his forehead.
“I called and Nurse Harrison will do my breast and pelvic exams,” she said. Melinda had thought about dragging it out but it seemed cruel.
Phil immediately sagged. “Oh thank Christ.” But he quickly straightened. “I can stay in the room, if you prefer. Behind a curtain. Far away, in a dark corner, staring at a wall.” He brought over his tray. “I need a few blood samples. All for the standard tests.” He held up each vial and explained what it would end up studying. He then waited.
“You said you don’t like needles. I’m waiting for you to centre yourself, or punch me and run, or use dark magic to make your blood just appear in the vials.”
“Just take the samples, Phil,” Melinda paused. “Is that okay?”
“The Phil?” Phil tied the tube around her arm. “I don’t mind, Agent May.”
He was careful and slid the needle into her arm and added the first vial.
“How’s Janet doing?” Melinda asked to distract herself.
Phil sighed. “Unfortunately our relationship soured, she’s fallen in with a bad crowd. The ICU nurses here, man they roll hard. They gave her a mohawk and black lipstick and she doesn’t even fall off the shelf anymore when I’m in the teaching room.” He switched out the vials.
“The things you made? They help,” Melinda said quietly.
Phil smiled a small, but pleased smile as he switched to the last smile. “Really? I thought you might have turned them into weapons or something.”
“No.” Melinda felt the need to be truthful. “Well, one.”
Phil grabbed a cotton ball and eased the needle out. He then put it in place with a Princess Leia band aid. “One badass galaxy saving woman to another,” he said. He cleared everything away. “I’ll get Nurse Harrison.”
“I won’t need you in the room,” Melinda said. “But if you wouldn’t go far?”
“I can be right outside the door,” Phil promised. “You are my last thing for the day.”
Melinda nodded and stripped down into the paper gown he had left for her. There was a polite knock on the door and Nurse Harrison came in.
“Agent May.” She moved over a different tray that Phil had prepared. “Nurse Coulson said that you do better if we explain everything we are doing before we begin, is that correct?”
Melinda smiled a bit. “It is.”
“We do apologize for not meeting your needs before.” Nurse Harrison explained everything and the exam was done soon enough. “You are good to go, Agent May. We will clear your file. And next time perhaps don’t make one of our best nurses jump through so many hoops to get you in here?”
“He’s settled in well?”
“Most do after 6 months, if they don’t run screaming. He has a gift with people,” Nurse Harrison smiled. “Give him a couple years and he’ll be running this place.”
That didn’t surprise Melinda in the least.
The nurse left and Melinda got dressed and sure enough Phil was waiting in the hallway.
They stood there 10 feet in between them.
“I was good, where’s my lollipop?” Melinda asked.
Phil reached behind his back and pulled out a box. “No lollipop, but I can switch it.”
Melinda looked at the box. “Tea?”
“Sleepytime, I bet you have difficulty relaxing,” Phil shrugged and handed the cheap grocery store box over.
“Thank you.” Melinda took the box. “And I hope things with you and Janet workout.”
“I think we are done for,” Phil sighed sadly.
Melinda laughed just a little before heading out.
The mission went off smoothly but they were out of contact for two weeks and once they had access to their systems again, Melinda saw that she had an email.
She opened it up and saw it was just a photo of him with his arm around the medical dummy. Who was indeed wearing a sweater.
Melinda hit reply.
You two look very happy together .
A few hours later there was a reply
She left me for Walter the male dummy .
Melinda bit her lip before typing, maybe next time I am in town, I can buy you a drink to cheer you up . She hit send before she could change her mind.
“Yes, Eleanor?” Phil moved the game piece on the board, trying to keep the girl’s eyes on him and not her healing father.
“Dad said you have a girlfriend now, can I meet her?”
“No sweetie, I said Uncle Phil had a crush on someone, and he hadn’t done anything about it.” Wade coughed up some more buckshot. “Oooh this piece looks like a star.”
“I don’t have a crush. There is a patient that everyone else is scared of, but I think she’s neat,” Phil explained. “It would be bad for me to ask a patient out.”
“Even if you like her?”
“Even if I like her,” Phil agreed. There weren’t any more coughs. “You okay?”
“Right as 3 day old tacos.”
“But you do like her,” Eleanor pressed.
Phil smiled and thought of the dozens of emails they had exchanged over the last few weeks. “I like her a little.”
“You should make her a friendship bracelet. Girls like that.” Eleanor moved her piece. “I win.”
“Rematch?” Phil asked. His beeper went off even though he wasn’t on call. He looked at the code. It was the one that had been created just for him.
It meant Melinda May was incoming and it wasn’t good.
Phil kissed Eleanor’s head. “Have to go, medical emergency.” He went over to Wade. “You need me to call Peter to babysit?” He asked quietly.
“No, that was the last of it,” Wade said. “Go save a spleen. Mine’s mostly back to being intact.”
Phil looked him over carefully and nodded. “Call Peter if you need to.”
Wade came him a salute and Phil hurried out. It took him 30 minutes to get to his locker and he quickly dressed in his SHIELD scrubs. He went out to the desk where people were moving in a flurry.
“Status report?” Phil asked.
“May’s team was on an extraction in Jersey, they were hit with an aerosol spray. They are exhibiting signs of fever, impaired decision making. One member avoided the spray and is driving them in. Fitz has been reporting the symptoms as he drives, they are getting slowly worse. Once they are in, we need blood and urine samples to the lab stat.”
“Agent May was hit with the spray,” Phil said, keeping calm. He grabbed a tablet from the docks and began to look at Melinda’s baselines so that he’d have something to compare against.
“She received the largest dose, Simmons and Johnson were also hit. Mack got some blow back off of them, but seems to be showing few symptoms,” the triage nurse explained.
Phil nodded. “I’ll prepare some rooms.” He moved quickly getting basics ready and it wasn’t long before he heard a flurry outside. He opened the door and watched the team be escorted in. They looked mostly okay, sweating, glazed eyes, and Johnson was giggling. The group looked like they had been at a hot bar.
“Phil!” Melinda shouted. “Phil, Phil, Philly, Phil, Phil, I remember that we forgot to talk about what your kinks are.”
“They are high as kites,” Phil said to the two other nurses in the hall. “We need to get them separated and assessed.” He held the door open and oh dear lord Melinda skipped over to him. He watched though when they tried to separate Simmons and Johnson and Johnson took out a nurse. He quickly went over and subdued Johnson.
“Awwww, why don’t you arm bar me?” Melinda asked from her doorway.
Phil ignored that. “Johnson you need to calm down.”
“You can’t take my doctor woctor away. She needs to kiss the booboo in my pants.” Everyone in the hallways stopped and stared at one of the most dangerous SHIELD field teams.
Fitz slapped Mack’s hands away as they tried to haul him into a hug. “Yeah this was about alien drugs. I think it might be -”
Phil looked at him. “Do not say sex pollen. Do not say sex pollen.” Phil had been of course briefed on the more outlandish things that could end up in the medical department but he had always hoped that it was a bit of a joke.
“I think it might be a very powerful sexual enhancement drug, yes.”
The head nurse said. “Protocol 69, and remind me to kill whoever decided to name it that.” The staff all moved quickly, one nurse inputting the codes into all the patient’s files as people were hustled into rooms.
Phil went back to Melinda and closed the door after them. “Melinda, who am I?”
“Nurse Phillip J Coulson.” she said promptly. “Phil. Phillllll.”
“Are you aware of what is happening right now?” He handed her a cup. “Go pee in that.”
She froze. “I can’t do both. How do I talk and pee at the same time?”
“Go pee in the cup and then come back out and explain what you know to me,” Phil explained calmly.
Melinda went into the bathroom. “I can’t pee if I think you are listening.”
“You are a field agent. I’m sure you’ve peed in a bush before.”
“I didn’t flirt with a bush.”
Phil had to stay focused. He began to recite the St Crispin’s Day speech from Henry the V until Melinda came back out. He put the sample on a tray. “Good, now tell me what happened.”
Melinda nodded and stood at attention. “We hunted bad guys. They went boom. Then we got stuff in our faces and now we feel funny. But good funny, like hook up at a bar funny,” she blinked at him. “Hospital. Safety. Phil keeps me safe at the hospital. Not so scary. But no telling I’m scared of hospitals.”
“Your secret is safe,” Phil promised. “I need to do the standard tests now okay?”
“Okay,” Melinda smiled. “Can I dance while you do them?”
“No. I need you to sit on the bed. I’ll give you a lollipop if you do.”
“I like to suck things,” Melinda said cheerfully. “Would you like me to suck things?”
“Just the thermometer,” Phil took a breath. “Agent May, in your file do you have a person listed you want called in the event of a situation like this?”
“I don’t want them,” Melinda said quickly. “Papers are wrong, I just never changed them. Don’t let them call Andrew. Promise Phil, no Andrew.”
“I promise,” Phil swore. He finished the basic tests and gathered his samples. “I want you to stay in this room okay? I’ll be back in just a few minutes.”
“Just you?” Melinda asked, aiming and falling short of normal.
“Okay. I’ll stay right here.”
“I’ll bring you that lollipop.”
Phil took his samples out and a nurse collected them, along with the rest from the team.
The head nurse approached him. “Mack is seeming flirtatious but not exhibiting the same symptoms as the women,” she explained. “We have him under observation but aren’t too concerned. We’ve lucked out a little in that Simmons and Johnson are each other’s trusted person in this sort of situation.”
“So keep them in the same room and let them assist each other through the worst of it.”
“That is our intention. We have a nurse ready to check on them every hour. Cameras have been disabled in their and May’s room.”
Phil nodded, it was a kindness. “May is euphoric and running towards insensible. Her temperature is also high.”
“Her contact is Andrew Garner.”
“Don’t call him. May was very insistent that he not be contacted,” Phil said.
“Her paperwork suggests -”
“She suggests that it is out of date,” Phil said firmly.
“And you said she is almost insensible,” the head nurse countered.
“He’s right, May won’t want Andrew. It’s her ex. They reconciled for a bit, but that ended months ago. They haven’t even exchanged an email since. May would hate if you brought him in,” Fitz interjected.
“And if her health requires it?"
“We can adapt,” Phil said. “Toys, cool showers, anything until it suggests that it is absolutely needed.”
“And how will we know that?”
“I can monitor her,” Phil said. “She trusts me.”
Fitz nodded. “May has expressed her faith in Phil’s medical knowledge.”
“We will hold off on contacting him for now, until we have better understanding of the chemical they were doused with. Dismissed.”
Phil nodded a thanks to Fitz and returned to Melinda’s room after opening a drawer at the desk. “How are you?”
“Hot, itchy,” Melinda said. “But I stayed still. See?”
“That’s great.” He handed her the lollipop and she pulled off the wrapper and began to lick it slowly. “Well isn’t that fantastic?”
“I don’t have a gag reflex.”
“I’ll add that to your medical file.” Phil saw she was sweating a bit. He went to the bathroom and dampened a towel. He moved over to her and ran it over her neck and placed it on the back of her neck. “Better?”
She nodded. “I like sex.”
“Sex is great.”
“I like being on top, riding a man until he breaks.”
“Melinda can you do me a favour and stop talking?” Phil begged.
Melinda closed her mouth with an audible click. Within a couple of minutes she was shaking and her lip was bleeding.
“Okay, talk.” Phil put on gloves and grabbed a wipe for her lip.
Melinda started babbling about sex, her favourite positions and kinks and good experiences and bad experiences and Phil was dying. He checked her vitals again and they were elevated but not dangerous. He replaced the towel on her neck.
When there was a knock on the door, he sighed in relief. “I’ll be right back.”
“Okay.” she went back to the lollipop that had been forgotten in her ramblings.
The head nurse was there. “Good news, they just don’t make sex pollen like they used to - it is unlikely to be a fuck or die situation.”
“I could live the rest of my life happily never hearing that phrase again,” Phil said.
“I have dildos for you to give her,” the woman handed him a brown bag. “Some gatorade and snacks.”
“I…” Phil just shook his head and went back into Melinda’s room.
Melinda had started to cry. Phil dropped the bag and hurried over. He cupped her face and wiped away her tears. “Agent May, what happened?”
“I finished the lollipop,” she cried some more. The drug she had been doused with had her all over the map.
“I have other things for you.”
This made her bawl. “I never get you anything.”
“You can buy me a coffee sometime.” Phil picked up the dropped bag and handed it to her. “We don’t think we’ll have to call Andrew. This should help you get through the next few hours. I’m going to leave you alone, but I will check on you every ninety minutes. And you will make it through this. If you hit the help button. I promise I’ll come running.”
“Okay,” Melinda nodded and clutched the bag.
“Okay.” Phil wanted to hug her, but didn’t dare, not right now. He left her alone.
When he checked on her 90 minutes later, she was doing tai chi and sweating buckets. She lit up like the sun when she saw him. Her vitals were again elevated but not scarily so.
The nurse who was checking on Simmons and Johnson was blushing furiously when she left their room. “They are very flexible,” was all she said.
At the next check Mack was sent home, he seemed to showing no effects. Simmons and Johnson were slowing down and their vitals were stabilizing.
But Melinda was worse. She had soaked through her clothes but was still wearing them and she was pacing, shaking.
“Agent May,” Phil looked at her. “You need to hydrate and used the toys we provided.”
“No, tried. Didn’t help,” Melinda said. “Got dressed and worked out. I can just push through this.”
“You can’t. You need to let go and -”
Melinda rounded on him. “Take my vitals and get out.”
“Melinda,” Phil looked at her. “You need to listen to me.”
“You’re just as shitty at the job as the rest of the people in here, telling me that you know my body better than I do. Getting in my head, breaking me apart.”
“I’m trying to keep you together.” But he took her vitals and added them to the chart and left her be.
Less than an hour later, the light went off for Melinda’s room and Phil ran down the corridor.
She was on the ground, gasping, wrung out. “Phil, help me please.”
Phil hurried and went to the bathroom and turned the shower on making it lukewarm. He put down a sterile pad on the bed and lifted Melinda up onto it.
“Melinda, I need to take your clothes off,” Phil said. “I’m going to remove your top and pants.”
Phil shed them quickly and stuffed them into the biohazard bag.
“Take the rest off,” she whispered.
“I don’t know if,” Phil wasn’t sure it was the best idea.
“They feel like they are burning my skin,” Melinda said.
Phil nodded and cut the underwear off. He picked her up and carried her to the shower. She sighed in relief as the water hit her overheated skin. Phil stepped back ready to leave her alone but it became apparent that she couldn’t hold herself up. Phil stepped into the spray with her and held her back carefully. She just leaned against him and he washed her hair and scrubbed her down. He kept it clinical, she was just another patient.
He didn’t think about promises to get a beer or that one email where she had actually sent a heart emoji. He was sure it was a typo. He sat her carefully down on the tile. “Stay in the water, I’m getting you something clean to wear.” Out of the bathroom he stripped off the soaked scrub shirt but left the pants on. He threw a towel over his shoulder and ran down the hall. He was changed and back to her room in 7 minutes.
Phil pulled her out of the water and dried her carefully and put her in his Hello Kitty scrubs.
“They don’t smell like you.”
“No, medical cleaning. They just smell like scrubs,” Phil said. He helped her sit on the bed and stepped away.
She began to whimper and shiver and Phil grabbed a gatorade and slid onto the bed behind her. He made her take a few sips and smoothed her hair.
“Your team is safe. Fitz and Mack are okay, Simmons and Johnson are at the sleeping it off stage. Expecting a hell of a hangover for all the three of you.”
“Why am I still so bad?”
“You got the heaviest dose and aren’t working it out of your system the same way,” Phil explained. “You are also older than them and your body heals slower.”
“Are you calling me old?”
“No, I think you are just about the right age,” he said softly.
“My phone has some books on it, can you read to me?” Melinda asked. “I...alone is bad Nurse Coulson.”
“Of course.” Phil got up and found her phone and opened the app. He settled back on the bed behind her and began to read.
He did his damnedest to ignore when her hand slid between her legs and she began to move a little. He just kept reading the biography.
They both ignored him growing hard under her movements.
Two hours later Melinda finally fell asleep, her temperature dropping. Phil eased himself away from her and hobbled into the hallway, half hard and legs aching from the way she had laid across him. He collapsed on the ground and closed his eyes.
He felt a coffee cup being nudged into his hands. He opened his eyes to look at Maria Hill.
“Well it was nice working here while it lasted.”
“I came to check on the team. How is she?”
“Recovering. I’ll be filing a report against myself for inappropriate behaviour,” Phil said.
Maria crouched down. “Did you fuck her?”
Phil looked at her in horror. “Of course not.”
“Touch her in a sexual manner.”
“No, I helped her shower and then I read to her while she was finally able to...help her situation.” Phil looked at the coffee. “But I was on the bed with her. I..reacted.”
“So what you are telling me is that you behaved in a manner as befit your job and in the process of that your body had an involuntary biological reaction but you in no way responded to said reaction.”
“If you clutter my desk with bullshit paperwork, I’ll make sure your boss has you scrubbing bedpans for a month.” Maria looked at him. “You are a good nurse Phil, I know I don’t trust anyone else here and that goes for several other people. So go get some sleep.”
“Thank you ma’am.”
Maria gave him a sympathetic pat on the knee and hauled him up. She took the coffee back. “You don’t need this.”
Phil went to the cots set up for staff and crashed for eight hours.
When he awoke, Melinda had checked herself out.
She didn’t respond to any of his emails.
After the 10th he gave up.
Melinda was in a meeting with Maria planning some upcoming missions when Maria’s phone rang. “Yes?” She listened and hung up quickly. “There’s been an attack.” She was checking her gun and rounding her desk.
“In house?” May was shocked.
Maria nodded. “In the medical wing. Seems a couple agents went ballistic have gone on a siege.”
Melinda froze for half a second.
But she was barely a step behind Maria as she strode down the hall. “Team is waiting for orders, but they have to be careful, you can’t just shoot into a medical wing. Patients, oxygen tanks. Perfect place really to hole up, lots of cannon fodder, lots of negotiable hostages.”
“Have there been any demands?” Melinda asked. She was texting her team as they moved. “Daisy is linking me camera feeds.”
“Good. And no demands as of yet. We aren’t even sure how many involved in the attack.” Maria met the team waiting at the medical entrance. “Report.”
“Barricaded ma’am. We think 4 people involved. No calls, no demands,” an agent explained.
“Shit.” Maria looked up. “And medical sealed the vents well after all of Barton’s escapes.” Maria was kind enough not to mention the couple times that Melinda had done the same escape.
“I have eyes,” Melinda touched her phone and each tap showed a different view from a camera inside. “Seems they’ve rounded up the staff into the break room and locked the patients in. That’s smart. Do we know who’s on shift right now?”
Maria checked her phone and rattled off the names, which included Phil.
“Coulson isn’t in the room with the rest of the staff,” Melinda said. “Perhaps they accidentally locked him in with a patient?”
“Possible,” Maria looked. “They said four. Where’s the fourth?”
Melinda kept tapping the screen until they moved past where a pair of feet were being dragged into a supply closet. Melinda quickly swiped back and they watched.
“Damn, Hello Kitty has balls,” Maria whistled.
“How does he keep ruining his SHIELD scrubs?” Melinda asked. “And also how has that made the common lexicon?”
“What, Mack has a way with phrases,” Maria said.
“At least he grabbed the man’s vest and put it over top the Hello Kitty scrubs,” Melinda muttered. She absolutely did not find the bullet proof vest over the pink scrubs charming. “Why didn’t he grab a gun too?”
All they could do was watch as Phil went cautiously down the halls and pretty much ran right into one of the men. He realized first what was happening and they saw him jab a needle into the man’s neck and the guy collapsed in an instant.
Phil tied the man up quickly but was focused enough not to notice the guy coming up behind him.
Melinda watched the guy knock Phil out with his gun and start to kick him. “No,” was all she said. She grabbed a gun off one of the waiting agents and shot at the door handle until it fell off. She opened it and stalked through.
All the agents stared in shock. “Well Jesus give the woman some fucking back up,” Maria ordered.
Melinda stalked down the hallway and pistol whipped the first guy and threw him over her shoulder and kept moving until she rounded a corner and saw Phil on the ground.
She ran and jumped and took the man kicking him down. She was relentless, destructive, and heard several bones snap.
“Agent stand down,” Maria roared.
Melinda landed a couple more kicks before she stepped back and let them take the man away. She crouched down and checked over Phil.
He had a goose egg already forming, and his sides were going to be bruised, but nothing looked permanent.
Melinda smoothed his hair. “Phil, wake up. Come on,” she kept repeating that over and over.
Phil groaned. “I think I need a nurse.”
Melinda laughed. “I can recommend a good one.”
Phil blinked and brought her into focus. “I was totally badass, you know. Took out two of them.”
“I got the other two.”
“We would make a great team,” he slid back into unconsciousness.
Phil woke in a hospital bed an hour later and Melinda was sitting beside him filling out her after action report. “I think I’m hallucinating.”
Melinda sat forward. “What are you seeing?”
“Agent Melinda May voluntarily in a hospital room.”
Melinda rolled her eyes. “So much for a knock to the head giving you a better sense of humour.”
“I have it on good authority, I’m quite funny.”
“Was it your mother, was she trying to make you feel better?”
“...maybe.” Phil groaned. “Getting hit with a gun hurts.”
“It does,” Melinda looked at him. “You shouldn’t have been playing the hero.”
“Patients were at risk, I couldn’t do nothing. They had missed me in the roundup, I took advantage.”
“And if they had killed you?”
Phil shrugged. “I was warned of the risks coming to work here. I’ve been in Iraq. I have some training.”
“Two decades ago.”
“Hence why I didn’t pick up a gun,” Phil said. “And what does it matter so much?”
“I don’t want you hurt.”
“It would be a shame to lose the one nurse you can tolerate,” Phil agreed.
“No.” Melinda shook her head. “I don’t want you hurt. You mean a lot to me.”
“Oh,” Phil looked at her. “You haven’t been in contact.”
“I was embarrassed. I took advantage of your kindness.”
“You took advantage,” Phil was dumbfounded. “I offered to write myself up for being inappropriate.”
Melinda laughed. She reached under her paperwork and pulled out a lollipop. “For being such a bwave little soldier.”
“You know there was once rumours of a beer when that hussy Janet broke my heart. We never did get it.”
Melinda smiled. “Beer is definitely an option.”
“Now gimmie my lollipop,” Phil reached out. “I happen to be a model patient unlike some people.”
Melinda snorted a bit. She really wasn’t so bad.
Phil handled her just fine.
“Hey Phil, you have the energy for one last patient?”
“Yup,” Phil agreed. He was in his Hello Kitty scrubs, because his SHIELD ones had somehow disappeared out of his locker.
“Room 3. Complaining about chest pains.”
“File?” Phil asked. He was handed some papers. He had his nose buried in them and opened the door. “Hi, I’m Nurse Coulson, I’ll get you started before we get a doctor in here. Now what can you tell me about the pain?”
“Well, it hurts right here,” Melinda said placing her hand over her heart.
Phil smiled. “You’re home.”
“We got in early, but been in post op meetings,” Melinda smiled. It had been a long six weeks away and she had missed their first anniversary.
Phil locked the door behind him. “That explains the missing scrubs.”
“I like the Hello Kitty.”
“So, chest pain, hmmm?” Phil stepped closer and closer.
“Oh yes, right here. Maybe you should check me out,” Melinda suggested. She undid her field jacket and revealed that she only had a bra on underneath. “I can understand that you might have to be thorough.”
“Of course. It is only responsible. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you everything I’m going to do before I do it,” Phil picked her up and put her on the bed. “We’ll start with a thorough examination of your mouth and work our way downwards. I know you said chest pain, but I really should check every inch. I pride myself on my work you know.”
Melinda tilted her head up. “Check away, Nurse Coulson.”
Phil sank a hand into her hair and tugged her into a hard kiss as his other hand pushed her jacket off her shoulders.
“Damn, Hello Kitty has game,” Mack said in the hallway.
Daisy elbowed him and made sure that the camera in their room malfunctioned before dragging Mack down to the cafeteria where the rest of the team was hanging out. She had a feeling they were going to be a while.