"So, how are your new partners?"
"They are not my partners," May retorts. "They are children."
The chuckling that flows out of her earset makes her grip the steering wheel tighter, but her face remains most of its stoicism.
"You’re just cranky because you walked in on them two weeks ago."
"This morning," May amends, scowling at the memory.
"Again? Wow, those kids need to work on their stealth. I’m impressed and worried at the same time."
"I’m hanging up."
"Come on, Melinda. At least you’ve still got Phil on the team.”
"The team is a ticking time bomb.”
"Don’t be overdramatic. We were pretty young back then, too. Hold on, let me get Nat."
May wants to tell her that she has to land soon, but Hill is already busy pushing buttons on her screen.
Of course, Hill is right. They had been young and eager to prove themselves, thinking they could save the world. Back when Hill still spoke with a stutter, and when Natasha was still reckless, and when May still held on to her idealism and sense of humor to get through situations.
But there are things you cannot unsee, things you cannot undo, and things you cannot unlearn. They are different people now.
A few seconds later a raspy voice enters the conversation, interrupting her thoughts.
"I’m a little busy here, ladies."
"Nat! The Angels have their first mission tomorrow."
"Uh, I don’t have the time for any pep talks at the moment… Actually, hold on."
The line goes silent, save for the sound of muffled scuffling in the background. May counts two minutes and thirty-nine seconds before -
"Alright, I’m here," Romanoff says, panting, "You’ll be great, May. You’ll kick ass like you always do. Like we always did."
"Still do," Hill interjects, and Romanoff hums in agreement.
The two former Angels can’t see, but on her end, May finally cracks a smile.
AU where Hill, Romanoff, and May were the original members of the Angels Initiative, a S.H.I.E.L.D. operation that employed a team of three women who have the intelligence, street experience, and training to investigate a series of unsolved unusual cases. While the Initiative was successful, it was scrapped when the Council decided that the agents’ talents would be better utilized elsewhere.
Romanoff was soon recruited by the Avengers Initiative, and Hill was selected as Director Fury’s right-hand. May served as a field agent until she requested to be reassigned to desk duty after the mission that earned her the nickname, “the Cavalry”.
Years later, when a string of unsolved cases appear to be linked, Fury appeals to the Council to revive the operation. When the Council approves, Fury reinstates Coulson, who had previously served as the liaison and advisor. Coulson manages to convince May to return, knowing that the veteran’s mentorship would help conserve the limited budget and time frame they were allotted.
Much to her displeasure, Coulson selects two very young agents to complete the team. Simmons, a genius biochemist from the research division, struggles with undercover work, improvisation, and making up excuses to explain her absences to her research partner and best friend, Fitz. Skye, a talented hacker with street smarts recruited from Rising Tide, has had no training and is too much of a wild card.
But the two rookies train hard. Simmons is practically a genius, and Skye can bypass any server and dismantle security systems with ease. They are resourceful, and they learn fast, no doubt quickly becoming assets to the team.
If only they stopped making eyes at each other all the time.