With Tony suiting up, it was Steve’s job to find a way to New York. Coulson would have been his best shot but under current circumstances that was impossible. Black Widow was he next best bet. After asking around, he learned she and a compromised agent were in the detention area. Anything Steve had been expecting wasn’t this. He should really stop being so surprised by everything.
Black Widow sat alone in a chair, stoic but menacing as always. The compromised agent exited an adjoining bathroom with a towel still in his hands to get a look at their intruder. Neither SHIELD agents paid any attention to each other – but their daemons – Steve almost blushed. Natasha Ramanov’s black widow daemon had been hidden from Steve almost the entire time he knew her. The shy, spindly creature lay on the chest of a small goshawk, the bird on its back with its head tossed to the side. A cooing noise came from the hawk, an intimate sound full of emotion Steve was sure the pair didn’t want broadcasted. His own golden retriever daemon shrunk at the sound and buried her face behind Steve’s thigh.
Both agents watched Steve as if nothing out of the ordinary was going on, even as the goshawk tried to right herself but was encouraged to stay in her splayed position by the spider. Ramanov’s widow moved from the hawk’s chest to her beak and whispered something that had the hawk cackling. By Ramanov and the other agent’s expressions the two daemons could have belonged to someone else entirely.
“Know how to fly a ship?” Steve forced himself to ask.
“I do,” the other agent said. This time the hawk flopped upright, the widow clinging to her shoulder. Steve looked to Romanov who gave her consent. The only thing compromising Clint Barton was her daemon.
Steve led the pair to the plane hanger, hawk on Clint’s shoulder and spider on her’s. Natasha was close enough for their connection not to strain. It was only after Hawkeye was given point duty did the spider return to Natasha. The other Avengers noticed but were otherwise preoccupied by an invading, galactic army.
Shawarma was a mess. No one looked at each other or spoke as they ate, but all of the daemons chatted about the damage they’d done. Tony’s painted turtle was especially proud of her accomplishments. One way or another she kept ending up onto of Steve’s golden retriever’s feet (not that either seemed to mind, much to Steve’s embarrassment). Bruce’s jewel wasp bounced in and out of everyone’s conversations. After being quiet for the past two days it was incredible seeing her talking; like she’d never had so many friends at once. Thor’s ox was big and obvious in the room, straining herself to sit with the rest of the group under the table (or at least her head). When she laughed the whole room shook. Through it all Clint and Natasha’s daemons didn’t disconnect once, though the goshawk was almost as eager as Tony’s turtle to show off.
Steve smiled into his food as he looked at the otherwise exhausted group of non-daemons. All of them had the same, quiet joy.