I had not been made aware of the most recent visitor to grace Men in Black headquarters as promptly as I should have, as by the time I had arrived to greet him Agent K was already standing there, his cold glare aimed straight at the man before him. He was tall, dark skinned and wearing his signature black eye patch over his right eye. His most recent addition, however, was his most striking. Never before had I seen the man look so upset, so guilty.
"Director Nick Fury, to what do I owe the pleasure?"
I stepped forward and greeted him with a swift handshake, as was custom for the head of MIB to visiting government officials, but I had a horrid feeling I already knew why he was here. Almost immediately I felt K clutch at the sleeve of my jet black blazer, I felt the smile fade from my lips as I watched both the other heads drop: all this did was confirm my fear. "I'm sorry, O." I was glad Fury did not immediately go into the details, me and K turned to face each other and without a moment's hesitation we embraced. My hands interlocked behind his neck as I felt myself begin to cry into his shoulder. My behaviour was unprofessional but I couldn't hold the convulsions or the sobs which wreaked havoc over my body. It must have been a solid few minutes of crying before my eyes stung from being so dry, but time had passed me by as if I had only mourned for a second before feeling empty. I felt K loosen the grip he had around my waist so that I could lightly push myself away and face Nick Fury once more, my eyes red. Even K had welled up, something even I had not seen in many years.
"What the hell is going on here? Where is everybody?"
The brief silence was ruined by the appearance of Agent J, he had helped saved the world only a few weeks ago and yet I had not really found the time to congratulate him and now with my world being turned upside down once more I could not see how I ever would. The Men in Black were strictly instructed not to get involved whenever the Avengers were taking part: we were the silent heroes, they were the valiant ones. We stopped the day to day troubles, and they dealt with the big ones. Ones that involved mutants and Gods rather than simple aliens. Ones that involved my son.
"None of your concern Slick, move along." K tried to address the problem in his usual manner, any evidence of tears had been erased from his eyes and a stern, cold look decorated the deeps lines in his face once again. James looked confused and chose to circle Fury a few times before simply stating that he'd seen him on television somewhere and skulking off. As childish as he could be for a grown man, J knew when to act like a true adult – I knew he could see the distress on my face and the strange silence of HQ always pointed towards some kind of loss, it was simple enough to piece two and two together.
"Agent Coulson was a brave man; he died defending us from a great evil."
"No. He died because he was placed in an ineffective team, who had bad training and worse communication."
My anger had bubbled from the pits of my stomach and out of my lips. I watched as Fury dipped his head even lower, closed his only effective eye and whispered a choked apology. I knew the two had been close, but S.H.I.E.L.D had torn my son away from me. With both of our work schedules so intense none of us ever had the time to speak; in the past ten years myself and Phil had drifted so far apart it was hard to call us family anymore. Kay remained silent for a moment longer, instead choosing to slide his fingers between mine and brush his thumb across the back of my hand. I was thankful for his support, but I could not handle the truth of the matter. My son had died. No matter how little we saw of each other I knew it was my involvement in MIB that caused him to become an agent himself, it was my involvement in MIB that caused him to lose his life at the hands of Loki Laufeyson. This anger at myself was rife in my body language. "He was my son as well, O." The quiet reply from K froze me into place, I felt his hand loosen in my tight grip and a breath was caught sharply between my teeth.
"Agent Coulson spoke highly about both of you. We're suggesting a joint service, so that our organisations may appreciate each other's work."
To this suggestion we both agreed in unison: mine and K's son's death would not go unrecognised and unnoticed beneath the glory of the almighty Avengers. Phil Couslon would be remembered as the true hero who sacrificed himself to save others, at least that was all we could hope for, so that his name was not forgotten under the suffocating secrecy of S.H.I.E.L.D and MIB.