Steve hears the clunk that signals the landing of Tony’s suit of armor before he sees the flamboyant red-and-gold thing. He’s also pretty sure that the shadow looming over the half-destroyed buildings is either one of Stark’s new toys.
There’s the click of a faceplate opening, and Steve turns. The look on Tony’s face is grave, and it startles him just a little. A part of him is reminded of that moment in the Helicarrier, and it makes his blood run a little colder.
“Mr. Stark.” The slightly dented signboard he’d been holding is put aside in case Tony is the bearer of ill news.
Tony’s expression doesn’t change one bit. “There’s something you need to see.”
There isn’t any time for Steve to argue, not when Tony’s got an arm wrapped firmly around him and has them both in midair in the blink of an eye. The metal of the Iron Man armor is cool through Steve’s shirt, wind whistling through his hair as Tony flies them straight up into the waiting bay of a Quinjet.
He hasn’t heard anything from SHIELD, not since the portal closed and Bruce caught Tony and everyone had started cleaning up the broken bits of their lives, but those of them who could have already made it clear that they no longer intend to march to Fury’s orders, so it comes as a surprise to see Clint in the pilot seat and Natasha perched on a seat behind him.
Apart from Bruce and Thor - and Phil - everyone is here.
“Have a seat, Captain.”
There’s something in Natasha’s tone that makes the situation seem much more serious.
Steve drops into one of the seats just by the hatch.
The figure who had been in the co-pilot seat shuffles, unbuckling his seatbelt and standing to reveal a face that Steve isn’t expecting to see. It’s like a punch to the gut, and Steve’s eyes widen in shock as he takes in the image of Phil Coulson standing there.
Steve is vaguely aware of Tony’s metal-clad hand on his arm and Clint’s voice somewhere amidst the white noise in his head, frozen from shock and disbelief at the sight of a man he had thought dead.
“-lative ass, that’s what.” Then the white-noise fades, and the voice that’s speaking sounds very much like Clint’s, coming from the pilot’s seat, interspersed with Natasha’s soft comment in Russian that he doesn’t quite catch.
“I beg your pardon?” Steve doesn’t quite dare to take his eyes off the supposedly-dead agent, as if doing so would make this dream vanish and the man disappear. .
Tony pats his shoulder twice. “Fury. Lying manipulative ass.”
Then Phil smiles and Clint laughs loudly with a carefreeness none of them have heard ever since the news that one of their own had died had broken, and it dawns on Steve that this isn’t a dream.
He stands, and before Phil can react, wraps the man in a bear-hug. “It’s good to see you again, Phil.”
Clint leans out of the pilot seat again, taking his eyes off the expanse of sky in front of him. It earns him a smack from Natasha, but there’s a light in his eyes that hadn’t been there before when he glances at Phil.
“So, who’s telling Bruce?”