Disclaimer: I do not own the Marvel universe at all, kthnx.
Warnings: This is a warnings master list, since this is the first chapter and all. I realize the moment that any more Marvel movies come out, this story will technically be AU. I'm fine with that. This is what I would have done, continuing straight from the Avengers movie. This also has men who are attracted to other men. And dark themes. Violence. Blood. Language. Alcohol. Insanity. Torture. Social unrest. Sex. Psychological warfare. Unethical practices. And other disturbing things.
Author's Note: Someone asked me on tumblr if I would do a multi-chaptered fic. That got me thinking. What would I have happen after the end of the Avengers? This was my answer.
PART I: PUTTING THE WORLD BACK TOGETHER
CHAPTER I: A NEW DIRECTION
Everyone was already shuffling out of the meeting room, minds already far away. He couldn't blame them. Tony couldn't join them either, and it wasn't just because his entire back was black and blue and he might have a cracked rib and wasn't particularly looking forward to moving. He sat there in the plush leather executive chair, fingers fiddling with his pen as he frowned at the glass table.
This was neutral grounds—better than, even, this was his tower—but Fury still set him on edge. He didn't show it, of course, but it was there. The man was a super spy. He had found out, without Tony even knowing of his existence (okay, that was a lie too, but he hadn't cared about Fury's existence), that the arc reactor was giving him palladium poisoning and was actually killing him. And that Tony was on the verge of suicide by alcohol or gunfire or anything else that might kill him.
He frowned a little deeper, eyes trailing Banner as he slowly, stiffly, left the room. Tony sighed. Nevermind. There were more important matters to deal with. Like this "new direction" S.H.I.E.L.D. was apparently going in. He wanted to know more about that, and would rather do it the easy way. Which was probably going to be hacking their databases again.
"Is there something you need, Mr. Stark?"
"You know, after everything that's happened in the last twenty-four hours, you'd think we'd be on a first name basis." Tony worked up his usual smirk. It felt a bit more snide than usual, but it was appropriate, so he rolled with it.
Fury kept his hands clasped behind his back. There was dust flecking his leather trench. It was probably from being in the tower, since the title of Director meant staying back from the frontlines and yelling orders while everyone else risked their necks and flew nukes through intergalactic portals.
Not that Tony was bitter or anything.
"You still have not answered my question, Mr. Stark."
Tony rolled his eyes, leaning back in his chair. That was a bad idea. It knocked the smirk right off his lips, but he refused to let anything else show, especially not pain. Spies probably got off on pain. That seemed like Natasha's dish, at least.
"Okay, so, this new direction." Tony scooted up to the table, hands out. He had to do something with his hands to keep himself on track. "I highly doubt that it's just let the Avengers Initiative split up and go wherever and live happily ever after."
"And if it is?"
He shook his head. "I don't believe you. Gotta say, you have a horrible track record with lying."
"It sounds like you are still looking for the Space Balls version of nuclear deterrent."
"The Avengers Initiative is our nuclear deterrent."
"Right." Tony laughed. He knew he was treading on thin ice. Wasn't he always? That wasn't the problem, though. "I highly doubt the helicarrier is cost effective to keep running at all times, even if it's just on the water."
"You're right. And from what I hear, there are a few levels of Stark Tower that just opened up."
"Excuse me?" Tony rose from his chair slowly, hands stilling.
"Don't act like you can't hear me." Fury finally turned, one eye narrowing on him. Tony froze where he was standing, like they were playing red light, green light, and Fury was about to send him back to the starting line. "If you were actually paying attention to your own company, you would have noticed a private organization buying Stark Industries stock for the last two years."
"Controlling interest. That's your play?"
Fury smiled. Tony didn't like it. Whoever had the controlling interest in stock could steer the direction of the company, albeit subtly.
"You want Stark Industries back in weaponeering."
"No, we want more clean energy." Fury had a way with sarcasm. As in, it was immediately obvious when he was being sarcastic. Even Thor might be able to figure it out.
"We don't do weapons contracts anymore." Tony rubbed his hands together. They were shaking. He shoved them in his pockets. "Push all you want. I won't sign off on it."
"I was being serious, Mr. Stark." Fury flashed that smile, the one that said he was going to shoot someone in five seconds, probably the one he's smiling at, and the bang was going to make him happy. "I am interested in moving an off season S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters into your tower, and preferably, there will be appropriate areas for each member of the initiative."
"Doctor Banner can control it—"
"I wasn't talking about Doctor Banner. I was talking about all of you, especially you, Mr. Stark. You have a way of becoming very unruly."
"Gee, thanks, I didn't just save New York City from becoming a sparking radiation crater. Don't worry about it."
"I think we're done here." Tony lifted his wrist, glancing down at it. He wasn't wearing a watch. The gesture would have to do. They had a bitter and badly defeated supervillain to ship back to Asgard, among other things, and the clock was ticking.
Thankfully, Fury didn't try to stop his departure, otherwise there might have been problems.