Chuck had been sitting on the roof with his binoculars for hours, crouching behind the chimney, looking at the skies.
So far he'd observed forty pigeons.
Chuck *liked* pigeons, but they weren't the real reason he'd become an urban bird watcher. No, New York had far more interesting things in the sky (and he didn't mean the superheroes, either).
So he waited.
Ten seconds later, his patience was rewarded. The handsomest Bald Eagle he had ever seen--in pictures or in the few times he'd gone bird watching in the West--swooped into view over a large building.
Chuck pulled out his video camera without taking his eyes off the magnificent bird for a minute. What was it doing there? Was it escaped or released from a falconer or a rich person who kept it as a pet? Just drifted in?
He had to record this. It would get him *so* much status on his online birdwatchers' community.
The eagle didn't seem in any hurry to leave, though. In fact, it was swooping around as if putting on a special show just for Chuck--no, wait, not for him, he thought. He knew enough about eagles to realize what was going on, if not why.
It was a mating display. The mating flight of the Bald Eagle--something rural birdwatchers *dreamed* of seeing up close, and Chuck had a front row seat. He'd tell them about eagles now!
But if it was a mating display, then where was the female eagle? Chuck tore his eyes away for a few seconds to glance around.
No other eagles in sight.
Only a falcon, perched on a chimney across the street as if also watching the show.
Now, there was only one falcon Chuck saw very often in his neighborhood, the one named Redwing which accompanied Sam Wilson in his superheroic identity. He'd even gotten to see it up close a few times, when he'd asked Sam nicely.
This falcon was not Redwing. The species and sex seemed right, but the size and some of the feather patterning was wrong. Chuck turned his camera over at it for a moment, preserving that question for another time.
As he did so, that mystery driven abruptly from his mind as the falcon mounted in the air and joined in the eagle's mating dance.
Different species *and* the same sex, Chuck thought. You don't see *that* very often in Peoria.
Yes, an urban bird watcher's life was sometimes very rewarding.
Some hours and one defeated supervillainess later, Steve Rogers sat in Sam Wilson's office, trying not to listen in too much to what he could understand of Sam's conversation with Redwing.
Finally the falcon flew off in what Steve guessed was a huff, and Sam sat down and put his head in his hands. "Coffee?" Steve offered. He wondered if he should leave Sam to his thoughts, but was determined that the two of them talk this out before it became a long-term rift.
"Sure," said Sam, looking up. "You still know where everything is."
There was a slightly-less-awkward pause while Steve started up the coffee. While he was brewing, he said, "It was a good thing Dr. Strange was able to come in to help combat that would-be Circe."
"Yes. While we were busy making ornithological journals. Redwing may never speak to me *again*."
"I'm sorry. I know he means a lot to you."
Sam shrugged. "He'll probably get over it in a few weeks. Redwing really *likes* the crime-fighting life." He got up and took two mugs out of the cupboard. "Meanwhile I can catch up on my casework."
Steve smiled, "I really hope he does. You two make a great team." He poured the coffee. "Of course, so do we. Anytime you want me, I'm still available."
"Of course, partner." Sam smiled, briefly.
"Mating flights or no mating flights." Steve paused and sipped his coffee nervously--not an emotion Sam often got to see on Steve's face. Steve drew himself up, slightly, almost into speech-making mode. "Although I fear our opponent, however fraudulent, came up with a remarkable facsimile of Circe's spells, in my case. The original spells were meant to illuminate the man within, and as much as I may regret what I did in a shape of a Bald Eagle--I regret, mostly, that I did it in such a shape, when I was unable to utilize human control or human communication.
"Which is to say. I love you in more ways that I have told you of up to now. And I wish to be closer to you in our true forms, if you share my feelings."
Halfway through this, Sam had put down his coffee very carefully, but gripped the counter nervously while waiting for Steve to get to the point. "Yes," he said simply. "As if you didn't know *that* already, since I was under the same spell as you."
And the partners shared their first kiss of the non-cloacal variety.