Everyone was watching the new parents unwilling to disturb their first moments with her newborn daughter. Both Loki and Leah looked equally happy, lost in the moment; unmindful to the five pair of eyes watching them until Leah noticed and motioned them to join them. –Are you going to stay there, or are you going to say hi to Eerika?-
-Wee didn´t wanted to interrupt.-Steve volunteered.
-Nonsense, come here. You all are like family.-Leah told them with a smile.
Tony and Natasha were the first to move followed by the rest of the team.
-Hi precious, it´s uncle Tony.-Tony greeted Eerika by gently stroking her cheek.
-Do you want to hold her?-Leah offered.
-Really? I can?-He asked surprised.
-Of course you can.-Leah almost giggled at Tony´s surprised expression.
-But I´ve never done this before…-Tony complained as Leah placed Eerika in his arms.
-Oh my god! She´s so small.-Tony was completely taken aback by Eerika. -Hi there! Who´s the most beautiful baby in the word? You are! Yes, you are!-
Everyone smiled at Tony´s baby talk. Natasha approached them. –You are going to be a heartbreaker, aren’t you? Less than a minute and you already have stolen Tony´s heart.-She said with a smirk.
-Don´t listen to her, she´s jealous I´m holding you and she’s not.-Tony jokingly told Eerika.
-She really is beautiful Leah.-Natasha told her with a smile as she admired Eerika.
-She really is.-Clint told her next while he joined them to greet Eerika.
Steve Bruce and Thor were looking eagerly at them, they didn’t wanted to overcrowd the newborn. Tony noticed and suddenly walk to them placing Eerika in Thor´s arms as he told him. –And this is your uncle Thor, you´ll find out he´s a bit stubborn but with a huge heart.-
Thor gasped surprised as Tony placed Eerika in his arms, just as Loki before he was speechless. Both Steve and Bruce were already hovering around him to greet Eerika while Thor contemplated her niece with a huge smile on his face.
-She looks like you.-He suddenly said.-Like both of you. – He corrected himself.
Loki cautiously approached him as he gazed at his daughter he said to Leah. –He´s right she has your nose.-
-And your eyes.-Leah answered him back.
Suddenly Eerika began to whimper; Thor quickly placed her in Loki’s arms.
Loki could feel his own heart beating like a drum on his ears as he hold his daughter for the first time, it was now inconceivable not to be part of her life; he couldn´t understand why did he ever though once he could stay away from them. Eerika quieted down under Loki´s soft cooing.
-She knows who her father is.-Steve told Loki with a smile.
Loki looked up surprised as he asked. –Do you really think so?
-Yes, I do. I never thought about you as a family man.-Steve confessed. –Not until now, you really love them don´t you?-
-With all my heart.-Was Loki´s answer as he looked blissfully at Eerika.
-Maybe that´s all it takes.-Steve said out loud mostly to himself.
-What do you mean? – Loki asked intrigued.
-I been thinking about this for a while now … and I think that you´ve earned yourself a chance.-Steve volunteered.
-A chance?-Loki repeated. –Do you mean you´re accepting me as one of your team?-He asked in hope.
-Not yet.-Steve answered.-Next time we are on a mission you´ll get your chance to prove yourself.-
Loki looked at Steve intrigued as he continued.-You will join us in the next mission, no shackles to bind your powers. If everything goes all right and the rest of the team agrees we´ll pick up this talk again.
-Really? You are going to give me a chance after everything I´ve done?- Loki asked surprised top the rest of the team.
Thor nodded in agreement as he says –Yes.-
-For them.-Clint agreed as he looked at Eerika and Leah.
-For them.-The rest of the team coincided almost at unison.
Loki looked both relieved and confused as he asked –I don´t understand, why now?-
-Because I don´t think a man that looks at his daughter like you look at Eerika will purposely do something to disappoint her. I want to believe than both Eerika and Leah will keep you true to your promises.-
-Thank you Captain.-Loki acknowledged.
-Call me Steve.-He offered Loki.
-Thank you Steve.-Loki corrected himself as he added. –And thank you to all of you. I won´t disappoint you.-
-You´d better not. –Clint said with a stern look only top jokingly added next while pointing at Leah. –Or she´ll kick your ass.-
Leah turned bright read as she answered with a pout. –I already said I was sorry. You will never let me forget it, don´t you?-
-Not on your lifetime.-Clint teased her.
-What´s he talking about?-Loki asked intrigued.
-Oh! Nothing! Just a silly rivalry.-Tony told him, then he said in a lower tone. –Leah beat him in the shooting ring.-
-She cheated.-Clint pouted having overheard Tony´s comment.
-I …- Leah started to defend herself then changed her mind. –You made me angry.-She pouted in return.
-They been at this for a month now.-Natasha added amused by their little quarrel as she added addressing Loki. –He told her you´d never make it as part of the team.- Loki looked at her surprised as Natasha continued her recollection.-Needless to say she didn´t took it kindly and beated his ass in the shooting ring.-
-She didn’t, she cheated. – Clint reasserted.
-All right, I did.-Leah admitted.-Now, will you admit you were wrong about Loki?-
-I will when we come back from his first mission.-Clint volunteered then asked while approaching Leah with is hand extended. –Rematch?-
Leah bit her lips trying not to smile as she answered.-All right, but this time I´m going defeat you fair and square.-Then she extended her hand.
-I sincerely hope so, I haven´t spent hours training you for you in vain.-Clint pulled her softly into a hug which Leah accepted happily. Even if they had been training in almost daily bases thing had been really tenses during Loki´s stay.
-Can I join in?-Steve asked as he approached Leah, they had also had become distanced for the same reason, the rest of the team learned to steer away from the subject as much as possible, though they didn’t had such strong opinions against Loki as Steve and Clint did.
-I´m sorry.-Leah said with a guilty look, she looked near to tears.
Steve looked at her sympathetically before hugging her warmly. –Me too, let´s forget about it, we both said things we didn´t meant.-He volunteered.
Leah whined softly under his embrace –I´m sorry Steve.-
-Water under the bridge kiddo.-Steve told her comfortingly.
After a while she softly whispered.-And thank you for not telling everyone else about … that night in the cell, especially Tony. I´d never seen the end of it.-
Steve tried very hard not to laugh out loud, he could very well imagine Tony teasing both Leah and Loki for not having some restrain in front of the cell´s cameras. – Don’t mention it Leah. And I mean it, never mention it again.-He half-joked, that was an image he was still trying to erase from his mind.-
Meanwhile Tony told Loki who looked at the scene totally confused. –They actually went at each other’s throats over you. Rather nasty fight, we had to break them apart. They hardly spoken to each other since.
-Are you serious? – Loki asked Tony surprised.
-Dead serious.-Tony confirmed. – She really loves you, you know?-
– I do.-Loki acknowledged then lower his voice to tell Tony –She never told me anything about that.-
-That she got into scuffles over you? –Tony interrupted him. Loki nodded affirmatively. –I didn´t though she would.-He volunteered then added.-She´s too proud for that.-
-And Stubborn.-Loki added.
-Already taking bad about me? – Leah asked while looking at them, she was still embracing Steve who just giggled imagining Tony´s face.
-Damn!-Tony coursed out loud, he tend to forget how acute was both Leah´s and Steve hearing was. –Not at all love, just doing some male bonding.-
-If you say so.-Leah said to them without too much confidence.
Tony gestured Loki jokingly “we are in trouble”. Loki bit his lips trying not to laugh. He was happy, not only because of his newborn baby girl, not just because he might have an actual chance of joining the team and becoming someone his daughter could look up to someday. It was the first time he actually had the hope of finding a place he belonged, true camaraderie, strange thing he should find it between his once enemies.
Suddenly Leah yawned, Steve broke their embrace to look at her; she was looking happy but spent.
-I think we should let you rest.-He told her with a smile.
-But I´m not …-she started to protest only to be interrupted by another yawn.- …tired. Don´t go-She nervously pleaded.
Bruce walked to them as he examined Leah´s vitals on the monitor he agreed with Steve. –You need to rest; you did great now you need to recuperate. Get some sleep while you can.-
Right on cue Eerika began crying. –IO think someone might be hungry.- Bruce said turning his head towards the crying sound. You should try to feed her, if your milk hasn´t come down yet I´ll give her some formula until it does.-Bruce suggested her.
-All right people, time to go.-Tony started herding everyone out.
Leah looked worryingly at Loki who walked forward to deliver Eerika in her arms; Bruce noticed her anguished look and told her. –He can stay in for a little while more.-
-He has to go back to his cell? – Leah asked disappointed.
-It is just for a little while.-Loki told Leah trying to comfort her.
-Just until our next mission.-Steve added.
-All right.-Leah sighed resigned as she received Eerika in her arms; as her crying continued she looked shyly at everyone as she coughed trying to get their attention; almost everyone if not all of them had seen her naked but that didn´t meant she felt comfortable baring her breasts right there.
-We´ll give you some privacy.-Bruce kindly told her.
-Yes, we´ll come back later.-Tony added as they all went out.
As soon as they did Leah pulled her medical gown down enough to reveal one of her breasts which she offered to Eerika who hungrily latched on it. Loki had been the only one who had stayed behind and was attentively watching her.
-So, do you have milk?-He suddenly asked out of curiosity.
Leah looked up confused being caught off guard. –Umm, I don´t know. – She answered feeling clumsy. –I guess we´ll have to wait, if she doesn´t finds any I´m sure she´ll complain.-Then she involuntarily yawned again.
-You are too tired.-Loki told her concerned.
-Just a bit. – She acknowledged, then suddenly asked him. –Are you happy?-
-Of course I am. – Loki told her then asked intrigued –Why you ask me that?-
-I don´t know, maybe I´m too tired; I always felt you were scared of this day.-She confessed.
-Not for the reasons you think. – He told her with a soft smile. –Don´t worry about that now.-
-Ok.-She agreed as she yawned again. –I think she fell asleep.-Leah told Loki as she detached Eerika from her breast and offered her to Loki. –Will you stay until I´m asleep? – She drowsily asked.
-Sure baby.-He leaned to kiss her as he cradled his child between his arms while sitting in the bed next to her side.
Meanwhile somewhere else in the tower Clint asked Steve –Are you sure you made the right call?-
-I do think so, yes. Do you still have doubts?-Steve asked in return.
-Not really, but I think I´ll feel better once Loki has passed his test mission.-Clint volunteered.
-We all will. – Steve agreed.