The day was starting out the same way as any other.
Waking to the alarm clock beeping away, a stripe pyjama clad arm snaked its way out from under the feather down doona, and gently clicked the aging machine off. Stretching, dark blue eyes stared up at the dull grey ceiling for a moment and reflected over the last couple of days.
The Chitari incident had been blown all over the social media, making it impossible for the Council to sweep it under a government cover-up and wrap it up with a bogus lie. Instead the group of leaders had left it to Director Fury to sort out. A decision that they had later come to regret.
Fury had given the group of assassins and superheros free reign over what they wanted to reveal, and in true Stark fashion, Tony had called a press meeting without notifying anyone else, and revealed not only his part in the whole debacle to the world, but the presence of the others that fought with him, and how they were there to save the day.
"-we're called the Avengers. Why? Because if we can't save the world; then we'll damn sure avenge it!"
Fury and Steve had torn into the child prodigy for that stint, but like usual, Tony had flicked them off and poured himself another drink.
Deciding that it was time get up and ready for the day, the man pushed back the covers and made his way to the bathroom.
The cleanup of the city had not taken long, considering the resources SHIELD had at their disposal. It had been just over a week since the battle for New York had taken place, and the city was back to moving to its own beat again. There were the believers, the sceptics, and the non-carers, but they all still moved on, just like they always had been.
Sneering at the mirror, deep blue eyes watched meticulously as the toothbrush made its way through his mouth, foaming up the teeth with each motion. Spitting out the nasty tasting necessity, the man slapped his recently shaved face, before making his way back into the bedroom and quickly changing.
The most recent work related injury to his body had finally healed to the point that he could return to his job, and he was not going to waste any time. Picking up the duffle bag he had packed the night before, steady feet made their way down the hall and into the study. Pulling out the set of keys he kept on him at all times, calloused hands clicked open the hidden safe, and pulled out the top secret files from within.
This was the last time he would be in his house for awhile, and the last thing he needed, was for someone to break in and find information that could bring down the government, or implode the national security.
Taking one last glance at the empty house he barely spent time in, Phil Coulson switched the alarm system on and walked out of the unassuming front door. Nodding politely to the driver waiting for him, Phil jumped into the simple black SUV, and put his seatbelt on.
He had some children to take care of.
The repairs on the Avenger's Tower were coming along not at all how Tony had hoped. Sweaty teamsters filled his inner sanctuary, leaving the smell of cheap booze and bolognas sandwiches in their wake. But if that was all, then he could have dealt with it.
Throw in a whiny archer, an over protective red head, one absolutely clueless super soldier, a secretary that had yet to return from overseas, and a still comatose husband; and the Stark was one wound up CEO.
Flapping his hands at the scruffy workman that was trying to corner him, Tony sidestepped the mess that was soon to be the entertainment room, and slid into the elevator. Pressing the button that would take him to the first floor of R&D, Tony groaned loudly and shook his body out. The only reason he had been up there was because he needed the plans for the Green room that had somehow been sent up there by mistake.
Stepping out of the elevator as the doors opened, Tony stalked his way through the room without his usual flair, and to the bench that he had last been sitting at. Spreading the sheets across the bench top, the brunette reached for his pencil and began to dance across the paper, making notes and changes every once in a while.
Jumping, Tony whirled around, his eyes wide, to catch the sight of Bruce sitting at one of the many computers. Hoping that the surprise he'd shown wasn't too much, Tony plastered his trademark paparazzi grin, and leant against the table casually.
"Hey Bruice-boy," he beamed, ignoring the scowl he received in return. "Whatcha up to?"
Wrinkling his nose at the nick name, Bruce put down the pencil and pad he had been working with, and eyed the man across from him. "Wondering what is wrong with you." He replied.
"Me?" Tony scoffed. "There's nothing wrong with me."
Raising an eyebrow, Bruce pointed at the ruffled shirt and jeans, and mocked. "So you just wander around in the same clothes for three days straight?"
Glancing down at the Judas Priest shirt he was wearing, Tony tilted his head slightly. "I have not," he pouted.
"You have too." Standing from his stool, Bruce made his way around the computer desk, and stood in front of the unamused genius. "Tony, since we got here, I've seen you eat maybe three times, and sleep only when you passed out that first night."
Waving the scientist's worries away like they were merely moths, Tony went to turn back to his work, but halted at the feeling of a strong hand grasping his shoulder. Forcing the stubborn man to turn around, Bruce stared him in the eye and huffed.
"I don't understand what you're going through," he admitted, hoping that the idiot would listen to him.
Shrugging off the hold the shorter man had on him, Tony wheeled back around. "Then don't try."
"Tony we're all worried about yo-"
"No you're not!"
Running a hand through his greasy hair, the genius closed his eyes against the world. Picking up the papers he had just retrieved from upstairs, Tony pushed his way past the man he had come to see as a true friend, and moved towards the elevator once more.
"At least have a shower," Bruce cried out, watching as his only friend left the room. "Even Natasha's complaining about the stink."
Making his way through the foyer, Coulson nodded at the agents standing guard, and walked up to the elevator with as much confidence as his position held. Pressing the button for the level he had been told was the Avenger's temporary living space, Coulson took the time to compose himself and decide on how best to handle the people he requested to be charged with.
Clint and Natasha would be the easiest. They had worked together for a long time, and Clint had often referred to him as their Mother Hen, keeping them safe under his wing when a higher up tried to have a go at them, and reprimanding them once they were out of earshot.
Steve would follow suite, not wanting to go against orders. And Bruce would be of the same persuasion, most likely ready to do whatever SHIELD requested, as long as it didn't involve a steel box and sharp needles. No, the one he would have the most trouble with, would be Stark.
Picking his duffle bag back up by the strap, Phil stepped out into the hallway when the doors dinged open, and made his way through the floor, into the lounge. The first one to notice his presence was naturally Clint.
Sitting on the back of the couch as he watched some random show, the brunette turned to see who had come out of the lift, and tumbled off his perch when he saw.
Stumbling out of position he had landed in, the archer leaped across the room and embraced the agent.
"Fury told us that you were nearly killed," he exclaimed, shifting his hold on the man so he now had him by his head. "And then Harry told us that you were fine, but then we didn't see you, and Nat was so worried, and- Oh god! Nat she'll want to see you! We need to-"
Chuckling at the younger man's enthusiasm, Coulson pried his face out of the archer's grip, and patted him on the back. "It's good to see you too, Clint," he smiled, hoping that the quick wince of pain went unnoticed by the other. "Where are the others?"
Taking the duffle bag with his unbandaged arm, Clint motioned for Coulson to follow him as he stalked back into the living room.
"They're either comatose, in the lab or getting packed for the move," he explained, sitting the bag on the table. "Did you need to speak to us before we leave?"
Nodding, Coulson sat in the chair provided to him, as the brunette called out to Jarvis and asked him to gather everyone. Taking in the post-futuristic design of the room; obviously of Miss Pott's influence, the agents waited as one by one the team made their way into the room. Bruce was the first, sending a shy smile at the man, before sitting down at the other end of the table. Steve followed suit, carrying with him his army issued duffle bag and shield. Shaking the Captain's hand, Coulson forced down the blush that threatened to take over his face when the blonde smiled warmly at him and required as to his health. Natasha walked in as the pair were settling into a light hearted conversation, and promptly tackled the agent from where he stood.
Mindful of the still smarting injury in the man's chest, the red head squeezed Coulson as hard as she could, before letting go.
"Don't you ever scare us like that again," she growled, her hazel eyes flashing.
Nodding, Coulson gave her a weak smile, and motioned for her to sit down. Sliding into the seat beside Clint, Natasha did a quick glance over the group, and pursed her lips. "Where's Stark? Finally slumped over in exhaustion?"
Shrugging, Bruce opened his mouth to reply, but snapped it shut again when said man appeared out of nowhere. Rubbing a dark blue, monogrammed towel through his hair, Tony made his way past the group and into the kitchen.
"Are you happy now, Killer Queen?" he announced, rummaging through the cupboard until he came across a box of froot loops. "You will no longer suffocate from my manly musk."
Snorting, Natasha eyed the clueless genius that was stuffing his face, and mocked. "Yes, very happy. I'm sure Coulson wouldn't have wanted us to dump you in the river after all."
Swallowing the particularly large mouthful of cereal, Tony sputtered at the thought of being dumped in the river, before the rest of the sentence caught up and floored him. Mentally ticking off each person at the table as people that were supposed to be there, chocolate brown eyes widened for a second as they focused on the smirking agent sitting at the head. Racing around the bench, Tony pulled the man up by his shirt and stared at him.
"Oh my," he exclaimed. "You're not an apparition. Embrace me!"
Startled by the usually eccentric; but mostly stand-offish, man, Coulson tapped the brunette awkwardly on the back a few times, before forcing the taller man to let him go.
"Oh this calls for a celebration!" Shuffling over to the bar he had had installed beside the window, Tony began to pull out glasses and bottles. "The little green Leprechaun is gone, Coulson's back, and I just went in for a shower. Oh, this is a joyous day-"
"Stark sit down."
Not able to ignore that tone in his present state, Tony immediately dropped to the floor and stared up at the man with big, round eyes. Eyeing the brunette for a moment to make sure that he would stay there, Coulson ripped his gaze away and turned it back to the now highly amused group in front of him.
"How long has it been since he last slept?"
Smirking down at the billionaire that was now back to eating his cereal from its box; Bruce shrugged. "When was the battle?"
"Five days ago."
"Then that's your answer."
Feeling the start of a headache in his temples, Coulson sent a sharp look at the genius as he threw a loop at the back of Steve's head, and continued. "Now, as you are all very well aware, you are to be leaving today. This is so that the building can be repaired and remodelled into the Avenger's home base. Mr Stark has been kind enough to offer his home in Malibu until you can all return."
Waiting for Clint's excitement to die down, Coulson shot another quick glance at Stark to make sure that he was still there.
"What you haven't been informed of, though," he continued, frowning as he watched the engineer place the froot loops on the carpet in lines, determined by colour. "Is that the only way the Council would allow the Avenger's Initiative to continue, was if there was a SHIELD agent running liaison."
"That's not fair-"
"-me and Nat are agents!"
"-some stuck up ponce in my house-"
Raising his hand for quiet, dark blue eyes waited until the outraged group settled back down, and continued.
"As I was saying," he persisted, the tone in his voice demanding that they all listened. "You will have an agent with you from this point on, no matter how much you bemoan against it."
Rolling his eyes, Tony stood back up and walked back into the kitchen; his froot loop army laying forgotten. "Oh yay," He whooped sarcastically. "And which stuck up, wannabe adrenaline junkie is going to be our nanny?"