Agent Phil “Son of Coul” Coulson || The Hero
Sterling respects Phil Coulson and has a small hero worship crush on him. The man is responsible for bringing S.H.I.E.L.D. into his life and changing it all around. Giving him a chance to make a difference. Getting a compliment from Coulson literally makes Erikson so excited he is borderline giddy.
Despite thinking of Coulson like a father figure, Sterling rarely treats him as one. He never brings up personal topics and keeps everything between them professional even when he would like to seek comfort in the older man. They care for each other and look out for each other from a professional distance.
"I’m good, Agent Sterling. How are you today?"
“Working hard, not hardly working, sir. “
Clint Barton is Sterling’s closest friend. They even go so far as to consider each other family. They hit it off about a year after he started at S.H.I.E.L.D. and Erikson treats him like the brother he never had. They have their rough patches, much more recently then ever, but Sterling is one of few who can really calm him down and Barton is the only person Sterling feels comfortable really talking to about his problems.
Despite all their problems with themselves and their inabilities to save themselves, they are determined to keep the other out of the darkness.
“You will forever be my damsel in distress.”
“I do make a really hot damsel. Not gonna lie. That day I was a woman? I’d do me.”
“That day, you probably did.”
“I’m a good lay if I do say so myself.”
Deputy Director Maria Hill || The Role Model
Possibly the most frightening woman other than Agent Romanoff Sterling has ever met. He is terrified of disappointing her and is all business all the time when she is around. When he knows she is near he watches everything he says and does. She even puts BARTON in his place. But in all truth, he respects the hell out of her and wants nothing more than to catch her eye with his work. If he could do that, he knows he’s done well. He sees her as a role model for how to cope with issues, even if he knows her methods of bottling things is unhealthy. He wants to be stronger like her.
He NEEDS to be stronger.
“You’ve actually been dealing with this remarkably well. I can’t say I would’ve been as calm in your position.”
“I highly doubt that…”
“Strength isn’t always doing the extraordinary, Sterling. Sometimes it means that you just keep going.”
Ray Merc || The Nightmare
Ray Merc has had one of the greatest impacts on Sterling’s life. On August 20th, Ray Merc abducted Sterling and held him captive, torturing him for 3 days. Brainwashing him with three little sentences: “I hate SHIELD. No one in it can be trusted. SHIELD is a den of liars and murderers.” Ever since then, Sterling has questioned his job and his place in it. The people there. Every relationship. Whether or not he could trust anyone. He has nightmares. Everything from that moment on seems to stem from those 3 days.
“Believe those words, Sterling. They’re the truth. They’re the only thing that’ll save you in the end.”
“S-S-S…S… SHIELD… Is… Is a… NO! No…”
Agent Emma Morris || The Partner
Emma is sort of Sterling’s partner. They were the same clearance level and therefore a lot of their assignments were the same so they gained a polar opposites friendship.
Sterling treats Emma like one of his little sisters despite the fact that she is older. He sees her as this untouched innocence that the dark secrets of SHIELD haven’t touched yet. He tries to do everything he can to protect her and keep her from the hardships of the world. He knows he can’t do that forever and that she is a grown woman capable of handling it, but it doesn’t change his overprotective feelings.
Recently their relationship has been strained because of a shape shifter taking Sterling’s face and attacking Emma. She has nightmares about it and so he keeps his distance as to not frighten her. It’s hard for them.
“I’m a fucking mess…”
“Sometimes it’s okay to be a fucking mess.”
Agent Ophelia Murphy || The Sunshine
From the day he met Murphy he has noticed a bit of a change in the way he has acted when she is around and lately he has noticed that he’s happier in her presence. They are very different [The straight laced, suit wearing, by the book Sterling and the converse wearing, computer hacking, break the rules Murphy] but he can’t help but have feelings for her.
They dated for a few months, the relationship getting hot and heavy, adorable and affectionate, when HR decided they were emotionally compromised and transferred Agent Murphy to the helicarrier. Sterling close protocol over Murphy and refused to continue without HR’s consent, effectively ending their relationship.
"I was going to say rain reminds me of you… but so does sunshine so… I guess it was pointless to bring up…"
"Trying to tell me I’m always on your mind, Raindrop?"
"Ah well… I mean it… There is no safe way to answer this question. No fair."
Loki Laufeydottir || The Sworn Enemy
Loki is the one person Sterling hates most in this world. Kidnapped his best friend, seemingly murdered his personal hero, tried to enslave his race, blew up half of New York, and even now… Even now she has hold over Barton.
Sterling is determined no matter what to free him from her.
"Not so much a like of pestering you as much as it is a deep seeded hatred for you that must constantly be expressed with sassy verbal lashings."
"Oh, you’re a man after my heart, then. How sweet."
Agent Ellis MacMurray || The Savior
Sterling has a small man-crush on Ellis for his fashion sense, skill in the work place, and all around dorky coolness. He used to be awkward around him, wanting to be better friends and then… Sterling was kidnapped and Ellis co-lead the team to saving him. Now they are very close.
"Well, I wouldn’t mind a cup of tea, but I’m not sure that’s what you had in mind… And I’m not lazy."
"Luckily I know how you like it so you can’t stop me. One cup of tea, coming right up."
"And THAT is why I love you!"
Agent Daniel Galoyan || The Creeper Twin
Daniel is eerily similar to Sterling. Same appearance, same department, and fluency in American sign language. However, they are very different on many levels. They like to exploit their twin-like appearance and mirror each other to freak out fellow Intelligence Analysis agent, Lilianna and have conversations in sign language from their desks during down time.
“So, other than misplacing files, how’s the intern doing? Has she called you Agent Galoyan yet? Cause I was definitely called Agent Sterling. Twice.”
Agent Rebecca Chen || The Snark
Sterling appreciates her dedication to the job. Not many people take paperwork jobs as seriously as Sterling and while she still falls short, she does her work proudly. They get along fairly well and she brings out a more playful snarky side to him that helps him through tough times. He knows with her, at least, he doesn’t have to worry about anything serious or her asking questions. He can just forget it and joke. She’s also a bit of temptation. He’s physically attracted to her and he feels that can be dangerous right now, especially with her being a co-worker. But it’s just physical. That sort of attraction could have formed for anyone. She just happens to share his kinks.
"Has ANYONE read this rule book besides me?"
"I read like…95% of it. I was about to read the dress code section when this magical thing happened. I realized I had a life."
"Obviously not if you still read 95% of it." Agent Sylvia Whistler || The Hydra Scum Tortured
Sylvia was an agent of Hydra, the organization that created Merc. When he first met her he managed to talk her into turning herself in but she ran right before she did so, breaking his nose in the process. Since then they had a sort of love hate relationship. She was still working for Hydra, which Sterling hated, but she was sympathetic to SHIELD given her background and the fact her sister works for SHIELD. To save Sterling’s life from a hit placed on him by The Source, Sylvia turned herself into SHIELD and was soon made an agent. Sterling is very skiddish around her because of her affiliation with Hydra but he’s trying to give her a chance.
"I know you’re trying. You’re here because you’re trying. It’s just hard for me to… Accept the change so drastically even if I was the one who initiated it.”
“Look at you. Still taking chances on me. I swear, any other agent would have shot me, innocence be damned. An ex hydra agent speaking like that… I am trying. Really. And thank you, for letting me try.”
Agent Edgar Avery || The HYDRA Hunter
Sterling trusts this man for his job of tracking down and stopping HYDRA agents. He doesn’t seem to baby him like the other agents concerning Merc. He is very blunt and honest and to the point and his appreciation for Sterling’s work has definitely endeared him.
“It’s cases like you that remind me that there is still a certain strength in people—in agents especially. Keeps me motivated.”
"Thank you, sir. I appreciate that."
Agent Waverly Prentice || The Heart of SHIELD
Waverly has always been sort of a carefree and kind person in Sterling’s eyes. Always with a smile, always with a joke or a hug. Although those are making less appearances lately, he loves her for her ability to brighten any day with her smiles. He’s always thought of her as sort of a lost puppy, always coming to him for troubles, but all he wanted to do was lead her back to Ben, where he was sure she belonged.
And he was right.
"Other than Smith, I’ve never had a lot of friends. I’m glad you’re one of them, though.”
“I’m glad you’re one of mine too. But you’re more than a friend. You’re SHIELD. You’re family. To family.”
Agent Bennington Smith || The Protector
Sterling has always respected Ben for his fierce protectiveness of Waverly. He supposed it sort of justified his own need to protect the dear people in his life. He respects Ben a great deal and although they’ve had some… bumps along the road, he considers Ben a close friend and will do anything he can to help he and Waverly.
“Ben… You’re… a great guy… She’s been… lucky to have… you… We all have been.”
”I…like to think…I’ll be…m-missed. But…don’t want to go…She…n-needs me.”
The Unspecified Source || The Chess Pieces
The Unspecified Source tried to recruit Sterling to their cause, stating that he was not to go to his superiors or he would be labeled hostile. Naturally, it was the first thing he did, as was procedure. For a while nothing happened until Sylvia Whistler turned herself in to call off the hit they had put on Sterling in exchange for Sterling ceasing his investigations into their efforts. Having already told his superiors all he knew of them, he accepted. Weeks later, fellow agents began being sniped by those connected to their organization and Sterling joined in the witch hunt, putting him back on the hostile list. A few days later, he too was sniped in front of his apartment. Inches from bleeding to death, Sterling was healed by a fellow agent. He has not had any contact with The Source since.
“Anyone who exploits a leak in SHIELD and tries to hire its agents out from under their noses to do secret missions can never operate on my side. I will keep this meeting a secret, but if you choose to do harm to SHIELD or its agents I will rejoin this fight and you will see your organization crumble around you. Do I… make myself clear?”
“Anyone who works to uncover the Organization will be considered hostile. We will not throw the first punch, Agent Sterling, we are merely an instrument for our clients, but know that if S.H.I.E.L.D. continues its investigation, we are not liable for any casualties that result, for we have warned you.”
Agent Dean Winchester || The Recruit
Dean was recruited to SHIELD by Sterling when no one else could really talk him into it. He gave him a chance to use his skills to do something with his life on the right side of the law. Dean still has trouble with authority figures but he respects Sterling and Sterling respects him right back. Recently Dean has really impressed Sterling with how hard he is working and he is very proud of how far he has come.
“You really think I’d fit in here? Some idiot without even a GED, a record long as his arm and no legal documents to speak of?”
“We’ve hired worse with less. What you have are the skills to get the job done and the heart to make the right calls.”
Sterling || The Neck Apparel
Bo is the human form of Sterling’s favorite Bow Tie. Brought to life by unknown magic, Bo lives with Sterling and acts as sort of a live in nanny to the girls while Sterling works. Bo often likes to call him “boss”.
"Just hope you don’t mind Abby and Aimee’s rooms will be locked in case you are a crazy axe murderer."
"….I’m sorry, but if I were an “ax murderer” wouldn’t I be able to just hack through the locked doors? …..I’m just asking…"
"… I’m sorry, I’m still getting over that my bow tie just got snarky with me…"
Agent Zoey Thompson || The Girl Who Talks With Her Hands
Sterling is particularly fond of Zoey for being one of few agents who actually knows sign language. Being deaf herself, she and Sterling got along well because she can communicate with him much more effectively and they hang out often through lunch dates or outings at Deaf Poetry readings.
‘It’s your name sign. You have to be given one by someone who is deaf…normally, at least. It’s…silver. I know most people call you Suits or Sterling. But I like silver.‘
‘Thank you… Some people do call me Silver, actually. But this… Is the best n-i-c-k-n-a-m-e I’ve ever been given. I was happy to come tonight. We don’t talk enough.‘
Agent Jasper Sitwell || The Superior
Another superior Sterling looks up to is Jasper Sitwell, even if he keeps indirectly referring to Sterling as his minion. Earning his trust and respect is one of Sterling’s key goals at SHIELD.
“I’ll try too appear as though my lungs are functional during future visits.”
”You are very lucky Agent Sterling. I don’t mind a bit of smart ass, providing you have the skill to back it up. You are now on my radar. Don’t disappoint.”
Jessica Lyra Stark || The Regret
Sterling and Lyra have had a complicated relationship. They developed feelings for each other very fast. Their chemistry was amazing. But Sterling put a stop to any feelings from progressing to focus on work. Especially after he was abducted and tortured, he has been very distant from a lot of people he cares about and thrown himself headfirst into work.
But she still has the most beautiful blue eyes he’s ever seen…
Lyra started dating Sterling’s best friend, Barton, and the two stopped speaking to each other for months out of the hurt that caused. When she tried to contact him again, she further guilt tripped him and he ended up breaking off all ties with her.
“I can’t go back to that. Not after everything. It’s not possible for me. When I look at you… All I feel is guilt and hurt and sorrow. There’s no joy left. And don’t you DARE act as though I’m in the wrong for this. You’ve kissed me after you started dating Barton. Do you have ANY idea how fucked up that made me feel? How long it took me to get over the fact that you just up and started dating my best friend after I asked you to wait for me? Then kissed me out of the blue? Then told me I broke your heart? Do you have any idea how manipulative you felt to me? I had to stop talking to you because it HURT TO LOOK AT YOU. I thought I was over it enough to talk to you but I’m not. I can’t be friends with you, Lyra. I just can’t.”
Agent Penelope Morgan || The Den Mother
The head of a different department then Sterling’s own, they never really interacted much except professionally. There was sexual tension for a while but they cleared that up and remained professional and friendly. Now they are very close friends and talk all the time. She helped lead the team that rescued him from being held hostage from a mission and for that he owes her his life.
"You are… Certainly overpowering…"
"The way you phrase things darling. Is it overpowering in an ‘I’m stuck in a crowd and can’t breathe’ sort of way or … an ‘I just had a taste of something and I have to have more’ kind of way.”