Chapter One: Why is there a Dog in My Tower?
It was early morning and Tony knew it was going to be one of those Tuesdays when Clint came trudging into The Tower with a dog. The bowman didn't even have the thing on a leash. He set his coffee down slowly. "What the hell is that?" He asked.
"A dog." Clint said with the opposite amount of enthusiasm that the mechanic expected. "A redbone coonhound to be exact." Clint's voice was heavy with bone-deep exhaustion as he flopped down onto the communal couch. Throwing an arm over his eyes he let out a tired groan.
Tony standing at the breakfast bar spared his fellow Avenger a glance. It wasn't a normal thing for Clint to spout exacts in things. This was also a dog and everyone knew Clint's love for animals, especially "man's best friend." Tony studied the man for injuries but finding none shrugged. He let out an audible sigh. "I see it's a dog."
Maybe Clint had already worn himself out playing fetch with the thing in the park. He put aside his concern for Barton and took a moment to study the animal. The dog was lean but muscular covered in a shiny short copper-red coat. Tony didn't know much about dog's but even he could admit it was a handsome specimen. It sat down just a bit after stepping out of the elevator its head tilting slightly. It sniffed the air and made a pathetic noise.
Tony made a face at the whimpering sound. Hopefully that was a noise for being in an unfamiliar place and not a need to pee seeing as Clint didn't seem to be moving to aid the thing. "What is it doing here?"
"Don't call him an it." Clint mumbled as the thing finally padded slowly toward the reclining archer. It placed a paw on the man's knee and huffed. Tony watched as Clint placed his other hand on the dog's head only to flinch slightly before he let himself relax petting the animals head slowly.
Tony watched the dog with barely repressed distrust. "You're just going to bring an animal into the tower?" Animals were messy and smelly and if he remembered Marley and Me correctly dogs tended to eat furniture.
"He isn't- Don't worry he won't eat your furniture."
The dog snorted and Tony looked to it. It yawned licking its lips as it settled into an intent sitting position pulling away from Clint's petting like an irritated cat. Clearly this dog was weird. Clint snorted and Tony spared him a glance before continuing his analysis of the dog.
Its floppy ears wobbled slightly as its head tilted side to side its nose twitching like mad. Tonny squinted at the animal. Its eyes were a pale blue and… Tony had to wonder if the animal was blind. "Yes, he's blind." Clint mumbled. "Don't be a dick."
'Now that's intriguing.' Tony thought looking at Clint. The man on the couch stiffened. His arm was still over his eyes but he tensed under Tony's scrutiny. "That was a strange thing to say without prompting." Clint lifted his arm slightly squinting light blue eyes at Tonny from below his elbow.
He pressed his lips a moment before asking. "What?"
"I don't know…" Tony said then thought. 'You're just acting really weird...' as he asked. "You want to tell me what's going on?"
Clint blinked uncomprehendingly at him for a moment before glancing at the dog and letting out a groan, letting his arms fall back down on his face. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you." Tony frowned in confusion.
The dog let out a whining noise as it pawed at his leg. Clint moaned. The dog huffed. "Shut up I know… Just give me five minutes…"
The dog let out a growl and a bark that made both men jump. "Shit!" Clint sat up. "Fine, you're right! I'll ask him."
Tony felt a ping of worry flow threw him as Clint sighed giving him an already done look. "Do you mind me keeping him here for a few days? We… I need to figure something out. I promise it's only temporary."
Tony did not like that idea. Not one bit.
"I know you don't like it." Clint growled. "We need this though. Could you just let off on your superiority complex for one minute?"
Ouch. That was unduly harsh. Tony was keeping most of his less kind thoughts to himself. He hadn't even openly said how he felt. Clint was just jumping to conclusions. It was to be expected though everyone always assumed the worst of Tony. He may not like animals but Clint was his friend. It seemed the idea that Tony might be willing to sacrifice some of his own comfort for others was unfathomable.
Clint was staring at him wide-eyed now. "What?" Tony asked.
Clint blinked then shook his head. "Nothing." He worried his lower lip then sighed. "Tony… I wouldn't ask if it wasn't important."
Tony nodded worry pooling in his stomach. Something was going on here. It was more than just taking care of a dog. That much was clear. "Okay." Tony said. "You can keep the dog here for a few days, under one condition."
Clint narrowed his eyes suspiciously at him. "What?"
"You have to give me one straight answer." Clint glanced at the dog and frowned crossing his arms. "Hey, you're a class A marksman! It should be easy!" Tony's mind was racing with theories and questions. One pressing concern was for Clint's mental health.
Clint rubbed his face. "Fine. One question. I know you have a million of them." Then not so quietly he whispered. "Literally." The dog let out a huff.
Tony's brow rose. "Just answer the question. What the hell is going on?"
Clint stiffened eyes wide and he looked to the dog his face tapering on panicked. "I… don't think you'll believe u- me."
"Try me." Tony challenged. It wasn't like they didn't live with god's and super soldiers. Or like they hadn't already encountered the impossible before.
"We could just tell him." Clint was putting all his attention on the dog now. A dog that was making an "are you an idiot?" face.
Tony blinked watching as Clint got into a one-sided argument with the thing. Which he was starting to think wasn't a thing but a someone. Either that or Clint had finally lost his mind. "Oh, now you think my apartment's fine? What about all that stuff you said about it smelling like the underside of a soiled sock soaked in pizza grease and stale coffee?!"
The dog whined. "I know you can't control what I hear! Neither can I!"
"Okay…" Tony held up a hand but Clint continued to bicker with the dog.
"It's not like I asked for your help anyway. You just had to butt in because you don't trust me-
The dog growled then whined and started to walk away. "Hey, Matt. I didn't- I'm sorry. This is stressful."
The dog pawed at the elevator door and huffed curling up into a tight ball at its base. Clint thorough up his hands. "Fine! Don't listen to me!"
"I have a feeling I'm not going to like what you have to say about what's going on." Tony said. This all screamed magic and Tony hated magic.
"I know you hate magic, and I'm sorry. It was an accident." Clint said openly pouting now. "It's supposedly temporary and I guess if we do it right it'll fade faster we are going to try to talk to his friends again tomorrow… but well… yeah..."
"Wait… Matt?" Tony asked there were only a few Matt's that Tony was aware of and he doubted that the spy was running around with his dry cleaner. He stalked up as close to Clint as he could and whispered. "Is that Daredevil!?"
"First off I wouldn't have heard that normally, and second off he can still hear you!" Then Clint flinched going stiff and looking stunned at Tony. "Wait! You knew?"
Tony couldn't help but think of when he'd discovered Matt's identity. He shrugged. "Kind of put it together, yeah."
Tony looked at the dog whose jaw had dropped comically and snorted. Clint rubbed his brow. "You knew before Natasha!?" He looked shocked. "I didn't even know you could keep secrets!"
"Hey! I take offense to that!" Tony crossed his arms. "I keep lots of secrets."
"You were Ironman for like a week before you told the whole world."
Tony huffed. "It was a few months actually and those are my secrets. I have no shame. Other people's secrets are locked away." 'I still haven't told anyone that Pepper is scared of bunnies. Thank you very much.'
Hawkeye gave him a deadpan look. "Pepper's scared of Bunnies?"
Okay, clearly, and it should have been obvious before now, but clearly Matt wasn't the only one suffering some kind of spell. Clint was obviously communicating with Matt somehow and Tony was starting to think it wasn't a psychic link but more a form of open telepathy. Now that he thought about it Clint had been responding to Tony's unvoiced thoughts all morning.
He crossed his arms to try and help hide his discomfort at the idea. "Clearly you can't keep a secret!" Tony griped then stared at the wall for a second as his mind raced. 'Shit. Not good. Having anyone in my head is bad… what if he really realizes what a fuck up I am? No one could possibly get this wide of a view into my brain and not realize it's all a front to hide my insecurities and that I'm actually not worth it- "AND THINKING OF ANYTHING ELSE NOW!" Tony spun fast walking to the fridge. "I'm getting a beer. You want a beer? How about you Hornhead?"
"Sure…" Clint said shakily talking the drink. "You okay man?"
Tony brushed him off with a wave of his hand. "Psh, yeah. Just my head. Normal bull shit. Ignore me." 'Like everyone else.'
"Okay…" Clint sounded worried but just sighed.
"I just want to hear what happened." 'Hoping it's science but it should be a good story either way. Plus, if I know what happend I might actually be able to help.'
"Okay. I get it." Clint flopped onto the couch and looked down at Daredevil who'd walked back over to the couch. "Want a bowl or something?"
The dog groused a course of warbling noises coming from it- him- before huffing and nodding. Clint let out another sigh before standing and going to the bar to grab a bowl. Tony tried to keep his mind quiet as he watched. Clint slowly poured a bottle into one of his dessert bowls. Then set the glass on the floor before he leaned back into the couch. He let out a long slow breath as he stared blankly at the ceiling.
Tony bit his lip trying to keep all his questions at bay. Sighing Clint gave him a dry look. "Really? You're that excited about this?"
"The fact that your mind can handle the rapid influx of information that would come with a sudden onset of telepathy is amazing!" Clint gave him a weird look. "What? I may not like magic but it's fun to theorize how some of its properties might work on a scientific level." 'Don't tell Strange I said 'magic' and 'fun' in the same sentence without 'not' in between them.'
"Fine. If it'll shut you up." Clint took a sip of beer. "It's been a week or so since me and Daredevil last went out and fought together… It was a little tense...