One of the many moments Phil Coulson looked forward to when his daughter Skye started school was being able to participate in class events run by the parents. And he was lucky enough to be picked to host the Kindergarden Halloween party.
Skye was excited too. He told her when he picked her up from school the day he found out.
"Really?" She exclaimed.
"Yep! I get to be at school with you on Halloween," he smiled.
"That's sooooo coool!" Skye said with a squeal. "Are you gonna wear a costume?"
"I think I'll take out my old Captain America costume," Phil said.
"Can I be Bucky?" She asked.
"Of course you can! A Cap always needs a Bucky!" He took her hand as they crossed the street. Skye began to pull him forward, her gait turned into a skip. He kept up the best he can, skipping along with her.
The days leading up to the party, father and daughter were busy getting ready. They baked jack o lantern and ghost shaped sugar cookies, cut out halloween decorations to place around the classroom, planned games such as pin the bone on the skeleton and bobbing for apples. Skye picked out a CD filled with spooky songs that she found at the local music store. And Phil worked on Skye's costume. He based it on the Bucky costume from the Captain America TV show that he had watched as a child. A cobalt blue coat that he had found at Gap kids and painted the buttons gold. A red shirt, red jeans, and black boots from Skye's closet. He bought one of those party face masks that covered the eyes and red fingerless gloves. He was proud that not only not did the whole outfit come out so well, but that it got his daughter's approval.
The night before Halloween, it was hard to get Skye to go to bed. The five year old was too excited for the next day.
"You need to get your rest," he told her. "It's not fun to be tired on Halloween."
"But I don't want to sleep! I want to stay up when Halloween begins!"
"When you go to sleep, you'll find that Halloween will come just like that," he snapped his fingers. "Everyone needs sleep. Even scary monsters that come out on Halloween need to sleep."
"Ok," she said.
He tucked her into bed and pulled up the covers. He kissed her on the forehead and made sure to kiss her teddy bear, named Bucky, as well.
"Sweet dreams," Phil turned out the light. Skye fell fast asleep as he closed the door.
The next morning Coulson woke up at six in the morning to shouting.
"Dad! Dad! Wake up it's Halloween!"
He blinked to see that Skye was already dressed in her Bucky costume. He let out a laugh.
"I see you're all ready tiger! And what do we have here? A Bucky Barnes!"
"Yep! And I've been protecting the house from HYDRA!" Skye exclaimed. "No one crosses Bucky!"
"Indeed," Coulson nodded. "I'll get breakfast ready. I have to get dressed first."
Skye gave Phil a hug and ran out of his room, shouting something about assembling the Howling Commandos together. Coulson got ready and headed towards the kitchen. The two had breakfast: pumpkin muffins, grapes, milk for her, coffee for him. He was not in his costume just yet; he would change later.
"So you have to work like I have school?" She asked in between bites.
"Yep. And they won't even let me wear a costume," he said.
"Aw man! That's not fun. But you'll be Cap later so that's good."
"That's right," he smiled. "For the party and for trick or treating."
Skye did not have to go to school until 8:30 so they spent the free time watching It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown on TV. Skye enjoyed it, making comments throughout and giggling at the funny moments. He helped her with her hair, putting it up in a high ponytail.
He dropped her off at 8:20.
"See you later Skye!" He waved.
"Bye Dad!" He watched her run up to her friends; two kids named Leo and Jemma who were dressed as Frankenstein and Velma from Scooby Doo.
"I like your costume!" Jemma exclaimed in a high pitched British accent.
"Who are you?" Leo asked.
"I'm Bucky!" Skye said proudly.
Phil chuckled. He walked back to his car. Today was an easy morning. All he had to do was to pick up the apples from the supermarket, change into costume, and pack the car.
That was until Agent May called with news from Fury.
"We've got that group on our trail," she told him.
"Do not tell me it's the tech smugglers," Phil let out a sigh. He was in the middle of the produce section in the supermarket. "I have a Halloween party to attend and I don't want to upset my kid or put the school in danger."
"Don't worry. Agent Romanov and I are going after them. But Fury says there's a good chance that they could be following us. So keep on the lookout."
"I will," Phil hung up. He picked out the apples and went over to the cashier to pay. He glanced about him. So far it didn't look like he was being followed.
But he did notice something strange as he walked in the parking lot. There was a car in one of the parking spaces, but its lights were still on. Coulson thought at first that it was backing out or parking, but it did not move. As he pulled out of the lot, he checked to make sure that the car was still in its spot. As he turned onto the road, he noticed that the other car had backed into the driveway. Coulson made sure to drive at a normal speed. He did not want to draw attention and now was not the time for an encounter.
At the downtown intersection, the other car went in the opposite direction, but he did not let his guard down. Once he got home, he turned on the security system. He quickly got into his Captain America costume, grabbed the cookies, apples, a bucket, the parts for the skeleton game, and the CD and put them into the car. He took off. A few blocks out, he got another call from May.
"They're close. Be careful."
"Should I engage?"
"Only if they do so first," she told him.
Soon enough he heard gunshots. Pulling on his Captain America mask, and grabbing the prop shield he was carrying with him, Coulson kicked the door open and leapt up. There were three men surrounding the car. One was holding a gun.
"Now listen fellas," Phil Coulson tried out his best Steve Rogers accent. "You don't wanna cause trouble."
"Make us!" One of the men shouted.
Phil ran at at the group, shield in front of him. He rammed the man with the gun down with the shield and kicked the gun away as far as possible. He elbowed the second man who had tried to sneak behind and swung his leg so that the man tripped and fell on the first man who was trying to get up. The third man started to move his arm back as if to punch but Coulson grabbed his arm with his free hand and knocked the shield into the man's stomach. He sunk to the ground with a yelp. Coulson stood in front of the three men who were groaning and laying on the ground.
"You didn't even try," he said, shaking his head.
He heard helicopters above and his cellphone rang again.
"We got you covered," May said.
"Thanks. Now since Cap's saved the day. He has to celebrate," Coulson headed back to the car. He checked the time. Ten minutes to twelve. He had to hurry.
He arrived with three minutes to spare. He ran into the school building, trying to balance the two boxes and bucket at the same time. He nearly tripped on his own feet and dropped the boxes as he made his way up the stairs. For a second, he almost wanted to be back in that fight. At least he was coordinated then.
He rushed down the hallway and spun to the left. He headed down to the last classroom on the first floor. He knocked on the door and the teacher, a young woman in her late twenties, opened it for him.
Skye ran up to him and gave him a hug. He set down the boxes and bucket and put his arms around her.
"Hey there sweetie!" He exclaimed. "Having a good day so far?"
"Yeah! We got to read a story about a witch and her pet cat and then we counted pumpkin erasers and then we had recess. And now you're here!"
"I am," he let out a gasp. He felt out of breath. He made a move to pick up one of the boxes but the teacher already started to pick them up.
"Don't worry I got this," she said. One of the other class parents who was helping out with the party took the other box.
"What happened to your shield daddy?" Skye pointed to the shield which had been dented in the fight.
"Cap's got to save the day," he winked. "There were some baddies out there, but Cap knows what to do."
"You always know what to do," she said. She had picked up the shield and stared at it, tracing her finger around the lines.
Skye did not know the full extent just yet about Coulson's job as a SHIELD agent. She knew he fought bad guys and that it was a big secret that she couldn't tell others. He didn't want to scare her too much since she was so young, but he didn't want her to have a romanticized view of his job either. He tried to go for something in the middle that could be easily explained.
Skye handed him back the shield and threw her arms around his neck.
"I'm glad you're ok daddy," she whispered.
Phil felt chills go down his spine. He felt touched that she cared, maybe a little worried that she would start to worry about his safety at such a young age. He hugged her back.
"Thanks Skye. I love you."
"I love you too daddy."
She looked at him and smiled.
"Come on dad! The party is going to begin!"
Skye took him by the hand and started to pull him towards the group of kids who were sitting at the tables. The teacher was handing out lunch: freshly delivered pizza and passed around cups of juice. Coulson helped himself to a slice and some juice.
"Here's to the party and my pal Bucky," he held up his cup and clinked it with Skye's.
"To Cap!" She exclaimed with a giggle.
Phil glanced around the room; at the kids eating lunch. Some were starting to set up the pin the bone on the skeleton game in the play area, others were doing arts and crafts. The kids were having a good time. But for him, the most important thing was that Skye was enjoying herself, and that father and daughter were able to spend quality time together without SHIELD getting in the way.