The first time the Doctor met Phil Coulson was on a sunny Saturday in May, 1973 in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, when the daffodils where in bloom. He had just left Lady Christina de Souza flying across the sky of London, and now he was lying on a grassy hill, propped on his elbows with his face tipped to the sun.
He chuckled, picturing the look on Christina’s face when he’d whacked old Æthelstan’s fancy drinking mug across the steering wheel of the bus, fusing the contacts.
Not very far away, just down the hill, children were playing. Or, he had assumed they were playing but it looked like a fight had broken out, and a rather one-sided fight, at that. Two larger boys were holding a smaller boy and another boy was taunting him.
“Who says you can come to the park like normal kids, fag boy? Huh? You think we wanna breathe your fag stink? You think we wanna look at your fag face?” The larger boy’s face was snarled in hatred. The words and tone of voice drove the Doctor’s shoulder’s up around his ears.
But before he could even get to his feet, something very interesting happened. The smaller boy performed the fifth kata of Venusian Judo, twisting and lifting his small body in his captor’s hands and kicking the larger boy with such force that the lad flew a good two meters through the air. He then simply stepped back and yanked his hands together, causing the two boys holding him to slam into each other, face to face.
The boy who had flown through the air seemed to have suffered some sort of sprain, and both of the other boys were bleeding from the nose. The smaller boy had stepped back several paces and assumed the Venusian Judo stance of readiness.
Hurling insults, the three larger boys limped off. The Doctor strolled down the hill, and the boy in the judo stance eyed him warily.
The Doctor faced the boy squarely and then bowed to him, one student of Venusian Judo to another. The child’s eyes widened briefly but solemnly returned the bow and then smiled and cocked his head to the side.
“Hello,” the boy said. “I haven’t met you.”
“Nor I you,” said the Doctor. “I’m the Doctor.”
The boy nodded, as if this was the name he was expecting. “I’m Phil.”
“Venusian Judo,” the Doctor said. “You’re good.”
The boy only nodded again. Reticent for a child of what, eleven? Twelve? The boy turned a playful grin up at the Doctor and said, “I had a good teacher.”
“Ah.” Now the boy was thinking. It was interesting, watching him. What a bright little fellow. One wouldn't know that much was going on in his head until you noticed the eyes.
Finally, he nodded to himself and said, “Bowties are cool.”
The Doctor put up a hand and rubbed the back of his neck. Obviously code. “They are?”
The boy’s grin slipped a bit and he shrugged. “Timey-wimey. Sorry.”
The Doctor sighed. “Yeah.” He put his hand out. “See you later, Phil?”
The boy put his hand into the Doctor's and shook. “Yeah. See you later.”
He watched as the boy made his way across the clearing. Near the tree line, the boy met with two men, and turned, pointing at the Doctor. One of the men shaded his eyes, looking, and the Doctor raised his hand and waved. The man returned his wave, and then took the boy's hand. The three turned and walked away.
The Doctor sighed, sat back in the grass and tipped his face to the sun. Timey-wimey.
Carol Danvers woke up still a little drunk and nauseous, and wiped a line of half dried drool off the side of her cheek. She was lying on a couch with the sound of the city far below. A television was on: Will you do it for two Scooby Snacks? There was the scent of a child and milk and Cap’n Crunch.
With a groan, she pointed a finger at the TV and turned it off.
There was a soft clink of the spoon being set into the cereal bowl. A very young voice said, “Excuse me? I was watching that. Turn it back on, please.”
Carol shook her head, a bad idea, and mumbled, “Idon’tthinkso.”
There was a pause followed by the sound of the child getting up and turning the TV back on. Watch out Shaggy! He’s coming your way!
Carol swallowed thickly, lifted a shaky finger and turned off the TV.
Again, the spoon hit the bowl and the kid got up, but instead of turning the TV back on, he stepped into her field of vision, his lips pressed into a small crease of irritation. He has Canton’s eyes, she thought.
Last night snapped in to place — seeing just what it took to get this body drunk (more than even she imagined) and then the terror of what might happen, leaning against the pay phone and drunk calling again and again until someone picked up and thank God it was Canton Everett Delaware III.
The kid, a boy, was looking her over. When he saw that he had her attention, he said, “It’s Saturday morning and this is my TV. Dad said that I can watch TV and if you want, you can go lie down in my bed if that’s okay with me. I guess it’s okay, as long as you’re not going to puke or pee or bleed or anything.”
Carol stared the kid down. More than anything, she didn’t want to have to get up and she didn’t want to have to listen to the damned TV.
Her voice came out like gravel. “Turn it on again and I’ll fucking blow it to smithereens.”
The kid nodded gently. “You don’t have very many friends, do you?” he asked.
Shit. Carol felt tears rush to her eyes and her nose burn. God, no. No kid, I don’t have very many friends. She should blow the television to hell, fuck, blow this whole apartment to pieces. She could mindfuck this kid, turn him into a pile of quivering, useless sludge.
He put a small hand on her shoulder. “I’m good at coffee. Would you like some coffee?”
Carol closed her eyes, shuddered and then nodded. When he lifted his hand from her shoulder, she sat up, pushing wild hair behind her ears. “What time is it?”
He went to the television, turned it on and stepped toward the kitchen. “Oh-eight-forty-two,” he threw over his shoulder.
An hour later Canton and David both made an appearance, freshly showered and bright eyed. Carol was sitting up on the couch, the blanket around her shoulders, munching Cap’n Crunch and snorting at the Pink Panther.
“Ah,” said Canton, “I see you’ve met Phil.”
“The Secret Weapon?” Carol reached for her coffee and lifted it for a long sip. It was the best damned cup of coffee she’d ever had. “How old is he?” she muttered.
“Nine,” David supplied.
Carol shook her head and then lifted a brow in question. “Human?”
Canton looked at Phil to see Phil looking at him. They smiled at each other. “That,” said Canton, “is classified.”