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This is for my Merlin Girls, and all their feels

Fic: Not Dead Yet
Characters: Nick Fury, Phil Coulson
Rating: PG for swearing

Colonel Nick Fury cut the connection to the Council. For a moment, he was tempted to leak the footage that ordered the nuclear strike, but decided against it. SHIELD's people, his people, were too important to sacrifice over some petty power-mad Senator.

As he was leaving the comm room, there was a noise behind him, and he spun round, pistol drawn. One of Loki's goons still hanging around?

"Don't shoot, Sir!"
Impossible. It couldn't be. But it was, emerging from a ventilation shaft.
"In the flesh, Sir" said Coulson, dusting off his suit. Fury lowered his weapon
"God DAMN, man. You're supposed to be dead! I carried your body off myself!"
"I am Sir. Sort of."
"So, I trust you have an explanation for this"
"Actually, Sir, it was your idea. You were right - The team needed something to inspire them, unite them. What better way than the death of a team-mate?"
"That still doesn't explain the body"
"We have Pepper, ah, Ms Potts to thank for that one, Sir. Stark Industries has been experimenting with what they call Life Model Decoys. Highly advanced androids designed to emulate a human in every way, from skin tone, blood and fingerprints, all the way down to neural mappings good enough to fool a telepath."
"And they made one of *you*, Coulson?"
"The project's secret, Sir. They needed a human form to copy for the prototypes, someone who they could trust. Ms Potts was uncomfortable using herself, and security concerns meant Mr Stark was unsuitable. So they came to me."
"And you just happened to have one of those things lying around the Helicarrier? Bullshit!"
"Carefully hidden away for the past nine months, Sir. Field testing. I've skipped 50% of our daily meetings this quarter, although I was always careful to keep up the notes my LMD took."
"Tony Stark had you testing his toys on MY helicarrier? Without me knowing?"
"We had to be sure the LMD could fool the best of the best, Sir. And when we needed a sacrifical lamb to inspire the Avengers..."
"...You sent in the clone"
"Not quite sir. The LMD volunteered. Just like I would have."
Fury paused to consider this news. Then he reached out his hand. "Damn, Coulson" he said "You get any sneakier, they're gonna give you my job."
"I learned it all from you, Sir" Coulson replied, returning the handshake "You and Ms Romanov"
"There's just one problem, though, Agent"
"What's that, Sir?"
"You just duped your boyhood hero, a billionaire genius, a thunder god, an elite assassin, and the world's greatest archer, not to mention nine feet, 1.2 tons' worth of green rage-monster. You may not be dead, but when they find out, you might just wish you were."
"Rest assured, Sir" Coulson smiled "I'll be sending another of the Decoys to deliver the news."

Author's note: for those unaware This is what a Life Model Decoy is in the comics-verse
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