Nick Fury doesn't see how that's a party
Party time: T-12 hours
Tony was no stranger to being in the metaphorical doghouse. In fact, it was his second home. Usually this came as a result of ticking off Pepper by doing anything from showing up to board meetings in jeans, a t-shirt and a hangover, or ditching said board meetings altogether, or using the priceless art collection as target practice, or buying things like pretzel stands, or - you get the idea. Tony is in the doghouse a lot.
But getting silent treatment from the other 5 Avengers (Well, except Steve because he's Steve) was an entirely new level of ostracization, even for Tony.
"Oh, now we're good enough to hang out with?" Clint broke the silence disdainfully as Tony stalked into the kitchen early on Saturday morning.
Needless to say, no one had taken very kindly to Tony's announcement that he had no intention of living in Avengers tower full time.
"Lighten up, Angry Bird. I already have a house, in case you failed to notice." Tony grumbled as he poured himself a coffee. "It's nothing personal."
But a quick glance around the table revealed that this new development had been taken very personally. Thor was staring at him with disconcerting rage as he brutally sawed at the waffle on his plate. Bruce (having returned to normal size at the wee hours of the morning with much coaxing from Pepper and no shortage of bribery on Coulson's behalf) was peering reproachfully over his glasses. Natasha, well she looked more or less as amused as she always did. Clint had his arms crossed vengefully above his Cheerios. And Steve looked like someone had just punched his metaphorical puppy.
"Is this for real?" Tony snarked irritably. "You're all acting like I just committed murder."
"A murderous act has indeed been committed, Stark." Thor rumbled forebodingly. "And the victim is our brotherhood."
"What, I'm just plain Stark now? Not Friend Stark? You're Point Breakin' my heart."
The joke fell flatter than the faces of those sitting around the table.
"No? Not funny? Okay then. You can find your own ride to the Helicarrier tonight, bitches." Tony concluded in a Regina George-ish manner while getting up and exiting the room, pausing only to grab his coffee.
"Is he allowed to use that word?" Bruce mumbled.
"No. No he is not." Pepper replied boredly.
Party time: T-1 hours
It had been no easy feat, but Pepper Potts had almost single-handedly prepared the wayward posse for a night of merrymaking and assisted/directed the preparations of a birthday celebration fit for "Dr Furry", as it said on the cake (which was currently being operated on by Bruce). Phil had successfully got Fury off the Helicarrier for the early evening; having organized a debrief with Fury's absolute favourite people in the world… the security council. (He sincerely hoped that tonight's festivity would be well worth enduring all the one-eyed glares across the table). Unfortunately, the council had gotten the memo that today was a special day, and had engaged in a very dry rendition of "Happy Birthday Dear Nicholas". Much to Fury's nauseation.
So anyway, that was that and Pepper and Natasha were free to decorate the boardroom with the assembly of decorations Clint and Thor had procured. Along with a few additions she'd borrowed from Tony's house, of course. Such as potted palm trees in every corner and the collapsible cabana under which drinks would be served. There was a sign that read "Luau" which would point at the grass-skirted table bearing the sushi buffet, snacks, and hopefully the cake if Bruce was able to turn the icing from an awkward bird-shark-thing into a SHIELD logo.
In hindsight, maybe it would have been better if they'd just made and decorated the cake themselves
But in further hindsight, she knew Tony and Thor's collective history with the oven and yeah better not.
As for the present, Tony would get up on the grass-skirted podium thing and fire up a musical powerpoint that would take the audience on a virtual tour of Avengers Tower. She had to hand it to the man; only a true genius would be able to take a personal project like Avengers Tower and spin it so it could appear as a birthday present for someone who didn't even get his own floor in the damn place. And speaking of getting their own floors in the damn place, Nobody had seen Tony since that morning. The rest of the Avengers were still sulking over the fact that they had been "relocated" as Tony called it. It wasn't that they didn't like the building, Pepper had come to realize through a few heart-to-heart conversations with various team members. They hadn't taken well to the fact that Tony thought himself so "above" them that he was unwilling to coexist with his fellow team mates.
Pepper thought the situation was a massive fustercluck. Phil was of the opinion that they'd get bored and get over it if left long enough. Natasha was remaining relatively neutral in the situation and figured it was nothing a few vodka shots and casual fistfights couldn't resolve.
Either way, tonight was going to be more than mildly interesting.
The rest of the hour crept by, and guests began to arrive. The Helicarrier staff and other miscellanious SHIELD workers began to file in at 10 on the dot. The memo had noted work clothes were acceptable to wear to this celebration and apparently that applied to everybody; apparently not excluding the Avengers. Pepper reflected that possibly she should have spent less time decorating the room and more time dressing them. Particularly Thor who arrived in full armour; Mjolnir encrusted with brightly coloured stickers and a party hat on both of the wings of his helmet. Loki's helmet had been festooned with streamers and had several balloons tied to the horns; and the way he kept irritably looking up at them suggested he was not responsible for the decor. Clint and Natasha looked generally the same as usual. Steve had washed and ironed his suit (proving considerably more adept with the iron than Thor), and was sporting a spangled party hat as well. Bruce was wearing a tuxedo with a Hulk-green tie. They needn't have worried about finding a ride, as Rhodey was more than willing to commandeer a Stark Industries helicopter for their use.
"MERRIEST OF BIRTHDAY FESTIVITIES TO ONE AND ALL UPON BEHALF OF THE ONE-EYED FURIOUS ONE!" Thor bellowed as he swept into the room. "WHERE IS THE MAN OF THE NIGHT?"
"He's not even here yet, killer. Take it down a notch." Bruce sighed, rubbing his assaulted eardrums - he'd been standing dangerously close to the thunder god.
"Late to his own party?" Clint questioned skeptically. "And he's always riding us about punctuality?"
"He doesn't know about this, remember? Coulson had him in a council meeting all evening. They should be on the way back right about now." Natasha clarified, grabbing a handful of chips. "Where's Stark by the way? Why isn't he here hogging the Doritos?"
"Who knows." Pepper sighed.
"Don't you keep track of that man's whereabouts for a living?" Steve asked.
"Not when I have to put together an entire surprise birthday party for the director of a top-secret national security organization because Barton completely dropped the ball. Tony's on his own today." the slender redhead shot back.
"He must have his phone turned off; my GPS can't track him." Bruce contributed.
"Or he got JARVIS to block it. He did that last time he fled a morning board meeting with a hangover. I stumbled upon him, literally, at his favourite donut shop 5 hours later. He was sleeping on the floor." said Pepper.
"Fury's here in 10 seconds." Natasha interjected sharply, looking up from the text she'd just received. By some miracle it only took 8 seconds to get everyone in the room passably hidden under a table or behind the palm trees. Then there was exactly 2 seconds of anxious silence, and the door opened.
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DIRECTOR FURY!" everyone roared, more or less in synch. Mostly less. There was then a cacophony of applause, cheering, and noisemakers as almost all of SHIELD surged forwards to enscose the one-eyed man in a cloud of noise, hugs, and handshakes.
"MOTHERFUCKER!" the director hollered while flinching mightily, eye darting around the room in shock.
"Congratulations on your birth, Sir. I wish you you many returns." Steve was the first in line to shake his hand and salute. Not to be outdone, Thor galloped up behind him and pulled him into an aggressive embrace.
"WARMEST WISHES TO YOU ON THIS MOST JOYOUS DAY, MY DEAR FURIOUS ONE! MAY YOUR DAYS BE FILLED WITH SUNLIGHT, GLEE, AND ONLY THE MOST WONDERFUL OF FEASTS."
"Happy birthday, Director." Pepper, Natasha, Clint, Hill, Coulson, and Bruce chorused as Thor set Fury down.
"What the hell is this?" an extremely shellshocked Fury sputtered indignantly. "Don't you people have jobs?!"
"It was Barton's idea." Natasha commented offhandedly. The one-eyed man rounded on the Hawk.
"Is this your idea of a joke, Agent? Are you trying to be … humorous? " he demanded.
Clint swapped a nervous glance with Steve and Bruce. Fury continued his tirade:
"Cause if this shit is real, you got about 3 seconds to make me laugh before I find a batch of new Avengers and throw all y'all out on your asses!"
"He's exactly as enthusiastic about this as I expected." Maria Hill muttered to Pepper. Meanwhile, Clint had nothing. All seemed lost.
Then, from out of absolutely nowhere, there came a tremendous THUNK as something collided with the window at a very high speed. Everyone did a double-take just in time to see something large and red bounce off the plate glass .
"That wasn't a bird." Steve noted dryly as they observed the object spiral away in a trail of sparks.
"That definitely wasn't a plane." Rhodey confirmed, raising his hands to his face in a dramatic double-facepalm.
"WAS THAT STARK?" Fury roared, rushing to the window to investigate. "Son of a bitch, did Tony Stark just smack his face right into my damn window? Like a motherfuckin' dumbass bird?!"
And then the miracle of the century occurred; Nick Fury laughed. Like, doubled over and straight-up guffawed.
"What just happened?" Bruce mumbled.
"I don't know, but I don't think we're fired." Clint contributed.
"You still probably are." Natasha pointed out.
Then the P.A. came to life and an extremely slurred version of a familiar voice filled the helicarrier.
"Jarv did… did you hack the thing? Two-way feed? Oh… Ok. I'm live. They can hear me. Fuck. Ok. Hi. Pep… Pepper, I-I had… I had an oops."
Pepper managed to retain a look of utter professionalism as she replied "Yes, yes you did."
There was silence on the line for a moment, then: "I… thought it was a door."
"It was a window, Tony."
"Well I know that now!"
"I have to tell you a secret."
"I was going to give Patchy that really nice bottle of Moldovian vodka I had in the garage but then I drank it. Do you think I should tell him or would that be tacky?"
Over by the snack table, Nicholas Fury massaged his temples and demanded migraine medication STAT, while muttering words like "typical" and "godfuckingdammit" and "Stark".
"You just did, Tony." Pepper sighed.
"Oh. Well then. Sorry Patchy."
"We'll yell at you later. Where are you?"
"Uhhh, well autopilot kicked in when JARVIS got whiny because I had too much blood in my alcohol system… so I have zero control over my suit functions and I am now floating out over the Pacific ocean. It's not all bad news, though. I saw one of those endangered whales."
"I'll hack the system and re-set your flight pattern. Give me your access codes." Rhodes interjected.
"Shit. Okay. Fine. Username is kingstark111 and password is longlivethegoldenavenger. That's one word, no spaces, no caps. And don't laugh. Your codes are always lamer by the way. Just saying."
"Yeah, okay Tony… Hang tight. I'm rebooting you now and switching your flight plan so you don't have any more… adventures."
"Could I get a detour to McDonalds' with that?"
"Rhodes out. See you in 5." Rhodey disconnected the P.A. with a long-suffering grimace.
"Is that what we're calling them now? Adventures?" Loki queried after a period of silence.
"I have different words for Tony mishaps, but I don't feel comfortable using them in front of superiors at birthday parties." Rhodey answered stiffly, gesturing to Fury who was currently being served a party tray of sushi by Coulson.
"So this bundle of seafood is ensconced with aqueous plants and rice?" Thor was investigating the sushi as closely as if he were checking for poison. "What art form is this?!"
"It's a spicy dynamite roll. Handmade by Mac's finest." Natasha confirmed.
"And free because I outed the fact that his legal name is not Mac. You're welcome." Loki added with a smirk.
"They took you to the damn mall?!" Fury rounded on Loki in horror. "What the hell happened to house arrest?!"
"Do put your eye back in its socket, Nicholas. Had I not been present, your precious God of Thunder would still be in the custody of Malibu's finest mall security guards. I made no attempt to evade your squad of glorified babysitters." the Trickster explained airily. Fury gripped his sushi roll so hard a piece of crab ricocheted off the ceiling.
"Let's cut the cake." Pepper suggested hurriedly before Fury could interrogate Thor about the circumstances of his encounter with mall security.
"What's this supposed to be? It looks like a cracked-out butterfly." the Director scoffed as he observed the makeshift SHIELD cake Clint set on the table.
"It's your SHIELD logo." Bruce grumbled. "And it took me an hour."
"Oh. Very well executed, Dr. Banner. Great likeness." Hill contributed, not missing the tinge of green creeping into Bruce's visage.
"As for candles, we know a great man never reveals his age, so we've decided to give everybody a sparkler instead, and enjoy some fireworks!" Clint announced.
"WE HAVE?!" Pepper and Phil yelped.
"Clint, I don't think you cleared this idea…" Natasha muttered as the Hawk proceeded to crack open a massive box of party sparklers and hollered "HELP YOURSELF!"
Mass chaos ensued as the entire staff of SHIELD simultaneously abandoned all traces of professionalism and rampaged across the room to claim a sparkler.
"Relax. The fireworks are just specialized arrows. We're cruising at a low altitude; I'm just gonna open a window and shoot 'em out. No bigs." Clint shrugged, lighting his own sparkler and swishing it about merrily. "What are you looking at me like that for?!" He added, noticing Pepper and Natasha's identical expressions of smouldering irritation pointing in his direction. "I was supposed to be in charge of this party anyway, now I throw in some Clint Barton magic and I get the glare?"
"You were supposed to take care of the shitty jobs that actually matter. Like napkins. And cleanup." Natasha's glare did not waver.
Clint looked apologetic for a moment, but he proved unable to retain a serious expression and proceeded to leap over the table with a whoop of "Bye, Nat! Enjoy the show!" He beelined over to the window and in no time at all he was lighting up the sky with a series of fireworks that would rival the most extravagant of national holidays. The sparkler-brandishing partygoers crowded around the window, oohing and ahhing in delight- with the occasional shout of alarm when a wayward sparkler would accidentally poke one's eye or other orifice. Steve and Bruce smiled fondly at the display. Thor was utterly transfixed. Loki watched the show with an expression of mild interest, occasionally darting an eye in Thor's direction, almost as if inspired by his brother's earnest fascination. Fury's face retained a level of tenseness that suggested heart palpatations and skyrocketing blood pressure, but his exposed eyeball looked wide with wonder rather than stress, even as the crowd broke into a chorus of "Happy Birthday To You".
Fireworks, right? Go figure.
When Clint used up his last arrow, there was a cacophony of applause unlike any that had been heard within the walls of the helicarrier since the day Tony hauled the nuke through the wormhole and hurtled back to earth again. Fury even allowed himself a moment of applause. It was good. Then the raucous applause faded, and eventually all that remained was a figure standing in the back of the room performing the most smoothly sarcastic slow clap anyone had ever heard.
"Oh jeezus." Pepper mumbled, face palming for the umpteenth time that day.
"How even… nevermind." Bruce sighed.
Tony Stark, dressed in a sharp tuxedo with a crimson tie and slightly tousled hair, was standing at the other end of the room holding a glowing tablet and standing in front of a projector screen.
"Friend Stark! Welcome to the feast!" Thor bellowed, waving a handful of Doritos.
"Shh, you. We're mad at him, remember?" Clint hissed, smacking Thor rather ineffectively on the arm.
"If it isn't my walking migraine." Fury muttered irritably, all wonderment gone from his face.
"Flying migraine." Tony lipped. "Anyway. Happy birthday, Saint Nick. Take a seat and prepare to be amazed. Agent, get the man another slice of cake, would you please?"
"Stark, I sometimes feel like you forget I carry a taser." Coulson mentioned with an expression of thin patience.
"Whatever this is, get the hell on with it!" Fury interrupted loudly.
"Keep your patch on, birthday boy. Jarvis, kill the lights."
"Is he not wasted right now?" Bruce inquired curiously.
"Out of his mind." Rhodey confirmed in an undertone. "I just let him in through the main hatchway on the roof, he had a seagull with him and said it was dinner."
"Rhodes, put a sock in it. The big gun is talking." Tony chided with a lopsided grin. "Anyway. Gentlemen. Ladies. Allow me to present to you… JARVIS! FUCK! I told you not to use Comic Sans. Arrrgghhh… Okay. Whatever. It's fine."
Indeed, Happy Birthday Director Fury was currently emblazoned across the projector screen in as much glory as Comic Sans could offer.
"God, what an embarrassment. Next slide please, J. Thanks. Now Director, I present to you a question: Does a modern national security agency director ever find himself struggling with storage problems? I.e, where exactly to stash those wayward superheroes when they aren't out defending the public against whatever?" *To be read in comic sans*.
"Where are you going with this, Stark?"
"On to my next question. Do you truly believe it's a fair practice for one's home to be forcibly subletted for government usages that include the likes of maximum security imprisonment?"
"Stark, I'm gonna count to three."
"Bear with me, Patchy. Last question. This one's my favourite. What's 800 feet high with 50 floors, carbonated-iron-reinforced walls, fully climate controlled, and 100% Avengers-proof?"
"Not my brain. Or my sanity. And that is the extent of my knowledge." Fury growled. "Now you've got one minute to tell me what the hell this is before I take a page outta Loki's book and toss you out the damn window!"
"Sixty seconds, okay. Jarvis, time me. It's Avengers Tower I'm building it right now and they're all gonna live there because my house cannot take it they're maniacs and they don't put anything in the dishwasher like seriously how hard is that it doesn't even count as doing dishes and I simply can't run a company and protect Thor from the vacuum it's just not possible and I'm getting grey hairs and I know I'll age gracefully because I'm me but we don't wanna rush the process I mean seriously and I'm kind of basically in a somewhat stable relationship and the Hulkouts in my house may are cramping my style no offence Bruce and also don't get me started on the food bills I'm getting truly worried about the nation's supply of PopTarts at the rate we run through them so anyway that brings me to Avengers Tower it's gonna be property of Stark Industries cause the Avengers are a private organization however SHIELD will get a designated quintet hangar and a briefing room probably with a vending machine in return for monthly funding substantial to cover hydro fees and at least half Thor's food bill but I mean it's still like your birthday present because think how easy that'll make your life when Loki's in actual maximum security instead of my poor house and you have all the Avengers at the ready 24/7 in a state of the art facility like I mean it doesn't get much better-"
"That would be sixty seconds, sir." Jarvis noted.
Fury blinked several times. Tony took a seat across from him and rested his face on his hands while peering back at Fury through those goddamned drunken-anime-puppydog eyes.
"Sir, I promise you I am in no way associated with this." Phil Coulson commented without making eye contact.
"Nor I." Natasha added. Tony shot her a peevish glare.
"This idea sucks." Clint commented.
"He's only saying that cause he's mad at Tony. He's all for it." Steve outed the Hawk, receiving a poke in the back from one of Clint's arrows in return.
"I didn't really get behind the idea at first, but it has its merits, right?" Bruce suggested almost hopefully.
"This endeavour has the support and blessing of Thor Odinson. Friend Stark has promised me a vending machine to call my very own."
"Thor, we're supposed to be mad at him!" Clint screeched indignantly. His complaint went ignored.
"As long as I don't have to live in the walk-in freezer, I'm all for it. If anyone cares." Loki shrugged. "As long as maximum security has wifi and scones."
"Welllllll, Nicholas?" Tony spared Fury his absolute most saccharine-laced grin, complete with an intoxicated version of his usual anime-puppydog eyes.
"Stark, all I got out of that spiel was PopTart shortage and something about a vending machine. Do whatever the hell you want, on one condition: never celebrate my birthday. Ever. Again."
And the birthday boy then proceeded to stalk irritably away to his office, only to be lured out an hour later by Pepper and Phil when it was time to break the piñata. They revealed that they'd presented him with his customized sleep mask and he'd been absolutely ecstatic about it. He insisted the official story was that he'd had the abominable thing incinerated, but it soon became common knowledge that he wore it on a nightly basis and stored it carefully in a safe when it was not in use.
The party went down in history as the first, last, and still somehow the best celebration to ever be held on the helicarrier at an altitude of 7000 feet. As the night progressed, Thor revealed his flask of Asgardian mead, powerful enough to turn any drink into 90 proof with a single drop. This caused several more facts to come to light: Asgardian mead can get Supersoldiers gloriously intoxicated. It can also cause agents to break out in spectacular dance moves. Such as the worm. It even gives archers the power to sing passable opera while doing handstands on 1.3 million dollar computer monitors. (These are just several examples. For more, refer to Phil Coulson's camera phone).
Nicholas Fury did indeed survive the night, and went on to write in each of the Avengers' individual files to "please, refrain from ever bringing a party anywhere ever again."
Sorry sorry sorry I'm so sorry I have literally run out of excuses for not updating... I just... don't.
Idk when I'll update again but please review and follow me at flawlessstark dot tumblr dot com and askbox me motivation or inspiration or someshit idk
Also sorry to those of you who got excited and then massively disappointed by the Christmas story I never finished aagh sorry ilu bbs don't leave me k