[personal profile] sallyexactly
    The briefing was crowded, both with bodies and with egos. He was glad he wasn’t running it, or the mission. He was just sitting in, at Sitwell’s own request, to give Sitwell feedback later.

    Who was not Phil’s duckling, no matter how many ridiculous bird metaphors Barton wanted to inject into his own life.

    “Agent Coulson!” A tall man fell into step beside him. “I’m glad I caught you. I sent you a request to borrow one of your agents last week. We’re coming up on the mission— I see her duty schedule’s clear. Did you get my request?”

    “Yes.”

    Pause. “Is there a problem? Do you need more details on the mission? It’s fairly simple—“

    “No, I don’t need more details on the mission. I won’t be approving your request.”

    “Why not?”

    “That’s not the kind of mission I send my people on.”

    “Kind of mission? What’d’you mean? It’s a simple in-and-out.”

    “I’m not lending you the Black Widow so you can have her seduce an arms dealer.”

    Jackson frowned. “Why not? She’s just what we need for it. She wouldn’t be in any danger. And she’s used to it, it would be right up her alley.”

    “Request denied, Agent Jackson.”

    Jackson’s frown grew. “On what grounds? Don’t tell me you’re being squeamish, Coulson.”

    “S.H.I.E.L.D. has a policy. I’m sure you’re aware.”

    “Yeah, but it’s the Black Widow. She’s done this, what, dozens of times? She could do it in her sleep. I bet she doesn’t even notice it any more.”

    There was a trick to grabbing a man’s necktie above the knot and twisting until the loop cut off the blood to his brain. Phil eyed Jackson’s necktie out of the corner of his eye.

    “Look, at least let me run it by her. If she says yes, will you approve it? We really need this, Coulson.”

    Phil stopped in the middle of the corridor and turned. “Request. Denied. Agent Jackson.”

    Jackson took a deep breath. “Agent Coulson. Phil. With all due respect, I think you’re… letting your morals get in the way of utilizing your assets most effectively.”

    Phil stared at him.

    Jackson opened his mouth to say something, then thought better of it. Belatedly smart man.

    Phil kept staring. There was an art to it. You could threaten someone with a stare just as well as with a knife, if you held it long enough.

    “Agent Jackson.” Phil kept his voice quiet, so the other man had to lean in to hear him. “You will go away now. You will not submit this ill-considered request again. And you will not approach Agent Romanoff with it.”
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