So we hear about the Cellist earlyish in the episode, and as soon as talk about:
Coulson: I was gone for months. The Avengers thought I was dead, so I had to keep that up ... S.H.I.E.L.D. protocol. It's probably better this way.
Ward: Maybe if she'd been part of the agency...
Coulson: In my experience, that's just asking for trouble.
So that's the easy one first time through, dating someone he misses, died, can't tell the Avengers because SHIELD protocol, and he has experience dating within the agency.
But he just gave a little speech to Mike that reads completely differently after AoU, and this is the first time I'd heard it since then.
Coulson: When I took this job, I made a choice, the same choice everyone else here made ... this life over the other one, the one with holiday dinners and PTA meetings, recitals. It's not easy. But if the time comes to make the hard call, it's simpler.
First time of listening I hear 'this job' as 'Agent of SHIELD', as a speech about joining the agency. But 'everyone else here' has to apply more narrowly because there's married people with kids in SHIELD. ... if he doesn't know Clint is married with kids then that's one not-shippy thing, but he can't be implying there are no such SHIELD Agents at all even if early episodes pushed the idea SHIELD recruited loners on purpose. So, if 'this job' is the Bus, is being SHIELD 616, then the reading possible is he's talking about the kids we only discover exist in Age of Ultron.
I know there's other reasons for mentioning Captain America and the Avengers in this episode, it's that Heroes of New York thing and who Mike wants to be. Buuuut, it's not exactly a stretch to read it as lost romance -> Avengers -> bus instead of kids.
And that would be for reasons like? Well, he did just die already. He's talking about dying again, the hard call. Him staying away is simpler, cause they did the reacting already.
The thing is when I read C/C fic it's pretty obvious that the fandom has not embraced Agents of SHIELD and is pretty much in denial about Age of Ultron. I've read maybe two canon compliant fics since AoU in Clint/Coulson fic. Which seems like either a failure of tag searching on my part or a failure of imagination from writers. We have all these new pieces to fold in, but nobody folds them.
But this is the first time I've gone back and found something that sounds more C/C after AoU, which is fun.
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