“Framm family,” Coulson says, tossing the file onto his desk, in front of the team crowded there. “Abducted from their home late last night.”
Daisy picks up the file, scanning through it. “Family abduction, sir? Why are we the ones looking into this?”
“Shouldn’t it go to the local police?” Jemma adds in.
“Jackie is a retired SHIELD agent,” May informs them, standing behind Coulson. “So it’s a little personal.”
Coulson nods. “She was tasked before she retired with caring for an 084, we believe that was the original target of the abductors.”
“Caring for?” Daisy asks. “Like- Like a kid?”
Coulson smirks. “Not quite. The 084 managed to open up an encrypted line this morning, which is how we found out about the incident. If you’d turn your attention to the screen-”
He hits a button on his tablet as the team turns around to face the wall screen on the other side of the room. The screen flashes on, revealing-
“A dog?” Jemma asks, nose scrunching in confusion.
“A dog,” Fitz coos.
“This is Buddy Framm,” Coulson introduces.
The dog gives two short barks, tail wagging anxiously.
“Hyper-intelligence,” Daisy says, reading off the file. “Super strength, super speed. Wow, what can’t this dog do?”
“We’re honestly not sure yet,” Coulson says. “And we’re not quite sure what he is. May be enhanced, may be alien. We ran tests, but there was nothing conclusive.”
Jemma opens her mouth to speak, a familiar glint in her eye, and Fitz cuts her off before she can begin.
“Don’t you touch a single hair on his perfect, golden head,” he snaps, holding up a warning finger.
Jemma huffs, but the finger stays.
“We believe he’ll be an asset in our investigation,” Coulson informs them. “We’re readying the bus to go pick him up, and from there we’ll find out where the family was taken. Wheels up in ten.”
They’re all quite enamored with the dog, even May, though she won’t admit it. He’s soft as a pillow, attentive, and eager to help. And he apparently has a nose like a grizzly bear, because as soon as they let him out of the safe room where the family had managed to lock him up before the attack, he darts away in the direction that the family had been taken.
With his help, they manage to track the family down to an abandoned factory not far out of town. They try to lock Buddy in the SUV twice, but both times he manages to unlock it and is hot on their tail before they can even make it into the building.
“What should we do about the dog, sir?” Daisy asks into her comm, ICER at the ready, her and May paused in front of the outside door of the factory.
Coulson’s voice comes through the earpiece. “Let him stay, he might prove useful in there. He can lead you to them quickly, at least.”
And that he does. He zooms through the factory, just slow enough that May and Daisy can follow him at a sprint, though obviously he’s capable of going much faster, leading them to a closed door. He quirks an ear, listening, and then gives a quiet huff of affirmation.
Daisy and May make eye contact, readying themselves for the ensuing fight, and on the silent count of three May shoves open the door. With dizzying speed, Buddy shoots past them, and there’s a shout from within the room, then a sharp crack.
The two women hurry to follow him, and then stop, gobsmacked at what they find waiting for them.
Buddy has disarmed the four men that were standing guard around the tied up family, piled their guns in front of the door, and has knocked one assailant into the wall, knocking him out. The other three rush back into the corner of the room, cowering from the growling dog, who seems to have doubled in size from what he was just a moment ago, muscles rippling beneath his skin.
“Holy shit,” Daisy breathes.
May smirks. “Asset indeed.”
One of the assailants makes a mad rush for the dog, fist cocked back for a blow, but Daisy steps forward and blasts them all back into the wall. The three of them crumple to the ground.
Daisy raises a finger to her comm as May cuffs the four unconscious men. “I think we’re done here, sir.”
“Run into any trouble?” Coulson asks.
“Nope. Smooth sailing on our end.”
By the time she looks back up, the dog has already shrunk back to normal size, and is working on untying the family’s bonds. The children, as soon as they’re freed, rush to gather the dog up in their arms. Daisy grins.
“I’m glad you and the family are doing okay,” Coulson says, sipping his coffee. Jackie Framm sits across from him at his desk, a smile on her face.
“We’re resilient. We’ve made it through worse, and we’ll keep going.”
“Still, we want to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again. We’re going to post a SHIELD agent to look after you for a while, make sure everything is going alright.”
Jackie leans back in her chair. “I think as long as we have Buddy around, we’ll be alright.”
Coulson sits his mug down. “I actually wanted to talk to you about that.”
“You’re not … taking him away, are you?” Jackie furrows her brows, edging on angry. “We protected him, I did what I was assigned-“
“No, no,” Coulson hurries to assure her. “I just have a proposition for you.”
Jackie levels him with a careful look. “Okay, shoot.”
“You keep him most of the time, but he stays part time on base. He gets trained, and he goes on the occasional mission when we think he could be an asset.”
Jackie considers, and eventually nods. “It sounds like a plan.”
There’s a cry of joy from outside the door that sounds suspiciously like Fitz, and then two frantic ‘hush’es. Coulson tries to keep the smile off his face.
“Buddy Framm,” Coulson says seriously, pinning the dog with a mock stern expression. The dog’s tail thumps on the ground. “It is my honor to formally present you with this SHIELD badge, hereby naming you an official agent of SHIELD.”
He slips the badge, hanging off a lanyard, around the dog’s neck. Before he can pull back, Buddy lands a slobbery kiss on him, right on the mouth.
“Eugh,” Coulson says, wiping his face.
Fitz gives a tearful sigh. “I think I’m gonna cry.”
Jemma snickers. “Will you pull yourself together? Honestly, Fitz.”
Daisy crouches down, trying to get the perfect shot, holding her phone up. “Oh, this is so going on Instagram.”
“No, it’s not,” May says, slipping the phone from between her fingers.
“We should celebrate.” Jackie puts her arms around her two children. “To keeping the SHIELD tradition in the family.”
Coulson raises his brows. “We do have enough ice cream to feed a small army.”
Buddy perks up, gives one happy sounding bark.
Fitz whips around to face Jemma, gripping her arm. “Dog-safe chocolate.”
She sighs. “Yes, Fitz, we can make dog-safe chocolate.”
Everyone heads off toward the kitchen, talking and laughing, and just Daisy and Buddy are left.
“Well?” she says, feeling a little silly for talking to the creature, hoping he can understand. “Excited to be an agent of SHIELD?”
The dog turns to her, and—she’ll swear later to anyone who will listen—gives her a wink.