Remember that time in Thor when Coulson said "Stark never tells me anything" after the other agent asked if the Destroyer was his? Yeah, this is basically what that's based off. I just wanted something with a little bit of humor in it. Anywho, I hope you all like it. I'm going to attempt a multi-fic plot story after this. Attempt being the key word.
As always, read, review, and enjoy
UPDATE: I just messed around with the format of this story. I didn't really like how it was laid out.
Oh. And you'll notice that I don't usually do a disclaimer (I find them incredibly stupid. Obviously I don't own anything), but I'll make an exception this time. Tony Stark does not own anything of the Transformers. Not even the same universe or anything.
The first time Stark ever told Coulson it wasn't his was when Stark woke up in the hospital after Obadiah's death. One second Pepper was sitting next to him, talking idly about different things that she was using to find out a surprisingly lot about him, and the next she was up and standing next to Stark, her hand on his arm as she murmured quietly to him. Coulson saw the tension run out of Stark's muscles, the heart beat shown on the heart monitor slow a little as he woke out of the deep sleep he'd been in for the last half a day. He made a mental note to add the hospital phobia to Stark's file.
"Why am I still here?" Stark asked as he forced himself up into a sitting position, clearly ignoring the pain he was in. The first thing he did was start removing the equipment from his body. Pepper shot a glare at the doorway.
"They refused to release you with my signature. They found some loop hole in the paperwork."
Stark paused at that, then started laughing. "A loop hole? In your paperwork?"
"Keep laughing Tony," Pepper said, leveling her glare on him. The laughter immediately cut off and Stark turned back to the equipment.
"Damn it, they put in a stupid IV," Tony muttered. He went to go remove it anyway, but Pepper clamped her hand on his and forcibly moved it away.
"Mr. Stark, I'm willing to make a deal," Coulson said, finally stepping forward. Tony jumped a little, then narrowed his eyes slightly.
"Right, the agent from the really long named place," Tony said, and Coulson was impressed that Stark had even listened long enough to hear how long the name was. "Well? I'm listening."
"If I get you released from the hospital, you tell me about your…suit," Coulson offered. Stark looked up Pepper and he could tell they were having a conversation with their eyes alone. If Stark was leaving it up to Pepper, he already knew he had won. Sure enough, a minute later, Stark turned back to him, decidedly grumpier.
"Fine. Release first, then I'll talk to you when we get back to my place."
Coulson nodded and walked out of the doorway, finding the nearest doctor. "I need Mr. Stark released."
Luckily, he managed to find the right doctor right away. "I'm sorry sir, as I told the young woman in there, only family members are allowed to sign the release papers before the doctor's approval and I don't have him approved to leave for another day."
Coulson had met people like him before. Not that Stark cared, but he was keeping him here longer to get more money. However, people like this doctor were usually easily intimidated, and they probably didn't know exactly what they were keeping locked up in that room.
"Yes, I've been told. But I don't think you've been told everything," Coulson said, then leaned in and lowered his voice, forcing the doctor to listen to him. As he spoke, the doctor's face got whiter and whiter.
"I'll get the release papers ready while a nurse gets Mr. Stark ready to go," the doctor said before disappearing.
Ten minutes later, they were out of the hospital and on the way back to Stark's Malibu mansion. As soon as they stepped into the house, all of the systems lit up with life.
"Aw, you missed me dearest!" Tony said.
"It has been awfully quiet while you were gone sir," Jarvis agreed. "Neither the police, nor the fire department have been here in the last two days."
"Ah, it's good to be home. Get ready to pack up Jarvis, we're heading to New York," Stark said with a clap of his hands. Pepper just rolled her eyes. Honestly, Coulson could care less what Stark did as long as he got his debrief.
"Mr. Stark?" Coulson reminded.
"Right," Tony said, not bothering to glance up at him from where he was looking at code from a screen in the wall. Coulson guessed it was Jarvis'. "Wasn't mine. None of it."
"Tony," Pepper snapped.
"What?" Stark looked over at her with wide eyes, wondering if there was absolutely any way he could get out of this. He wasn't seeing an escape route. With a groan, he moved away from the wall. "Fine. But you better keep up with me. I have to make sure none of the robots wrecked the place while I was gone."
Agent Coulson was just trying to start his morning the way he usually did—coffee in the break room at the tail end of the helicarrier. He should have known better, really. After all, the team had spent the night on the helicarrier, which automatically meant something had to go wrong. He had just been really hoping it wouldn't be when he was getting coffee. He would never admit to needing the stuff, but with the people he looked after, well…it was a given that the drink was needed.
So when the mug shattered in his grip and he had to duck out of the way of another laser shot, he couldn't say he was really amused. The origin of the shots happened to be a tiny robot, no bigger than his foot really. Yet that tiny robot had a powerful enough laser to fry a hole through the wall. As he calmly sidestepped another shot, he knew there was probably only one explanation.
"-the god damn thing just took off and-"
Coulson's eyes narrowed slightly. Stark.
Said man rounded the corner, decked in his usual oil-covered jeans and wife beater that he wore when he was constructing a new creation in the lab. He looked slightly frazzled, with his hair pointing at strange angles and the darker circles under his eyes clueing Coulson into the fact that it had probably been at least 48 hours since he had last slept.
He probably should have guessed it would be Stark that would be the root of their problems. While the majority of the team had terrible sleeping habits, Stark's was the worst, especially when he was working on something. Coulson made a mental note to tell the medical staff to have sedatives ready for Stark's next stay. Stark had lost his functioning privileges when his damn robot shattered his favorite mug. Picking up a piece of the broken mug, he threw it at the robot as Stark finally looked at the break room scene. The piece lodged firmly in an unprotected area, just underneath where the mini-laser-shooting-gun was connected. The robot gave a little whine, then came to a halt.
Stark froze in the doorway, looking between Coulson and the robot. Coulson could see his mind piecing together what had happened and trying to decide how forgiving Coulson was right now. Coulson allowed the corner of his mouth to turn up slightly in a smile.
"That's not mine," Stark reacted automatically to the expression. "I just...uh, heard that there was a …um, loose robot," he said. Coulson really needed to get Natasha to work with him on lying under pressure. "I thought that I could-"
Jarvis' voice came to life in the break room, cutting Stark's words off. "I have found the malfunction in the robot-"
"Mute," Stark said in a rushed tone. He stood there for a second longer, trying to judge what Coulson's next move was going to be. When Coulson continued to stare him down with his face back in expressionless mode, Stark darted forward and grabbed the silent robot.
"Wasn't me!" he repeated as he reached past Coulson, and then booked it out of the room.
"Jarvis," Coulson said after Stark had completed his hasty retreat.
"Yes sir?" the AI responded.
"Inform Stark he's on lockdown. Then initiate said lockdown. Release him on my command."
"Yes sir." Coulson allowed himself a small victory smile. Really, Stark should have been more vigilant with the AI's coding. Last time Stark had been placed under house arrest, Coulson had spared a few minutes to write a new code into Jarvis' program, allowing him to override any of Stark's command. If the man was half as smart as he always bragged, he would spend some quality time today going over his programs and security codes.
"Have you seen a robot that looks like a panther?" Stark said, ducking his head around the doorway in Coulson's office. Coulson just raised an eyebrow. "Uh, you know what? Never mind. I was totally joking around, but I can see my humor is lost on you."
Well, at least he had gotten a little better about lying under pressure. "Stark," Coulson said. The man ducked around the doorway again. He waited for Coulson to say something, shifting nervously as the silence continued.
"It was Clint's fault! Gotta go!" he sputtered, then disappeared again. Coulson sighed, knowing the no amount of calling or threatening gazes would bring him back.
When he passed Clint later that day, he stopped him. "Care to explain this morning?"
"Uh…this morning?" Clint asked, staring at the ceiling like he was trying to remember. Like he thought that Coulson would believe he had forgotten anything. So Coulson gave him the raised eyebrow too. Everyone on the Avengers knew what that meant. "Right….with the missing robotic panther. Well, Tony decided that he was going to create a robotic zoo and he made his panther too…let's go with too life-like. So it tried to attack us and then disappeared. Don't worry, I think he found it."
"He said it was your fault." Coulson was used to them trying to skate around the whole story. Clint shifted, looking for the escape route.
"Right, well, there may have been a bet issued." He found his escape route. He moved slightly again, ready to bolt. "By the way, have you seen a robot monkey around? Gotta go, bye!" Coulson watched him go and wondered when he would be forced to kill both of them.
"Jarvis, what is the status on the escaped…robot animals?" Coulson hoped he'd never have to say those two words together again.
"All escaped animals have been recaptured and deactivated, Agent Coulson. Mr. Stark also wishes me to tell you that he maintains his innocence," Jarvis' voice said. At least they had all been contained.
"Thank you Jarvis," Coulson said as he continued down the hallway, contemplating how he was going to punish the two of them. Putting both of them in lockdown in Tony's lab would only end in disaster…
It had been an hour since Coulson arrived in the Avengers' Tower and he had yet to see Tony or Clint. He could already tell that this was going to end badly, but he was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. He asked Steve where they were, and his answer wasn't encouraging.
"Oh, they went down to Tony's lab first thing this morning," Steve said, not bothering to glance up from the sketch pad. Coulson looked at his watch. It was three in the afternoon, which meant, at minimum, they'd been down there for at least six hours, but it'd probably been longer. Coulson thanked Steve and turned toward Stark's lab.
It looked innocent enough when he first walked into the lab, telling Jarvis not to announce his arrival. It always worked better when they didn't know he was there. The two of them were leaning against a lab table, looking down at one of Stark's new sports cars. Both of them had grease and oil stains covering their skin and clothes. If they had just been working on a car…
"Ready for this?" Stark asked, tapping his fingers on his table in excitement.
"Oh yeah," Clint said and Coulson could hear the grin on his face. Before he could stop them from causing trouble that he'll have to clean up, Stark presses a button and the innocent car started changing. Gears shifted, metal groaned and the car is suddenly standing. Instead of the car, there is now a metal robot standing in front of him.
"Mr. Stark," Coulson said pleasantly, interrupting the pair's mini-celebration. "Agent Barton. Would you like to tell me why you felt the need to create a…Transformer?" Coulson wondered when he would be able to stop saying ridiculous things like robot animals and Transformers. The two shared a look and Coulson knew that they had excuses ready. He couldn't wait to hear them.
"Oh, this isn't mine," Stark said smoothly, and Coulson wondered if he should be giving Stark a gold star for finally curbing his ego in. "This is something that Thor bought from those infomercials. I just built the device that enlarged it." Well, so much for the whole ego thing. He should've known Stark would have claimed ownership for some piece of equipment in their scheme.
"How interesting. I thought I saw the license plate with the name 'Stark' on it," Coulson replied, just as smoothly. Their muscles stiffened. Busted. Stark pushed the button again and the robot shifted downwards, metal turning back into a car again. By the time it's back to the ground on four tires, the engine purred with life. The two of them hopped in while keeping a wary eye on Coulson.
"Right. Must have changed that after we enlarged it or something," Tony said, dismissing Coulson with a sloppy salute. "Jarvis, you uploaded?"
"I do believe I am sir," Jarvis' voice said from the car. Dear god they had created an actual Transformer, complete with the closest thing to a sentient mechanical being that Coulson thought existed. Really, he shouldn't have been surprised. It probably wasn't too different then a metal briefcase transforming into a metal weapon.
"Great! Let's see what this thing can do!" Stark said, high fiving Clint as they sped out of the lab. "Later Coulson!" he heard echo down the tunnel.
He wondered how long he could let them go with a transformable car before they caused too much damage. He decided to give them fifteen minutes before he went out to retrieve them. It was better to just let them get their rebellious streak out for the day now, rather than try to contain it all and deal with the internal consequences that would bring suffering to the whole team later.
Stark had been depressed all week, and no one knew why. Not that anyone really saw much of him. He came up occasionally for food and, according to Steve, for a bottle of scotch last night. Coulson didn't know whether he should be worried about Stark, or whether he should just leave him alone. Still, he supposed that his job description required him to go down there and figure it out.
When he got down to the lab, it wasn't encouraging. Stark hadn't bothered to lock the door, hadn't turned on any music, and was just sitting at his table, arms crossed on the table and head resting on his arms. In front of him, supported by a stand, was a very, very old circuit board.
Coulson thanked his memory skills. He recognized the circuit board as the first one Stark had ever built. There had been a picture of it in his file. Which then led him to realize exactly why Stark was so depressed—it was the anniversary of his parents' death.
"I didn't build that," Stark said quietly, still boring holes in the circuit board. His voice was so genuine that Coulson could almost believe him. "That's what he said to me when I showed it to him, did you know that?"
Coulson didn't know that. He also didn't know why Tony was telling him this. His arm shifted, and Coulson saw the bottle of scotch, mostly empty now. He moved forward and picked the bottle up.
"I'm not drunk," Stark said, still not looking at Coulson. "Haven't been drunk in a long time."
With Stark, you could never be sure if he was lying or not about being drunk if he really wanted to hide it. Still, he moved the bottle away.
"Agent Barton was looking for you," Coulson lied, trying to bring Stark out of his lab and into the world again. Staying down here wouldn't help Stark, although bringing Stark and Clint together would probably make his job hell. . The comment seemed to rouse Stark out of his reverie. He gave Coulson a bitter smile.
"No he isn't. But thanks for trying," Stark said, draining what was left in his glass before turning back to the bar behind him and pulling a bottle of chlorophyll out of the fridge.
Coulson debated if he wanted to deal with Fury yelling at him for the day or if he wanted to keep coming down to check on Stark. Finally he fished a key out of his pocket that he had been keeping safe.
"Here," he said, throwing the key to Stark who caught it without thinking. "The city is pretty quiet right now. Take your Transformer out for a spin. I'll send Agent Barton out after you."
Stark considered the key in his hand, a small smile coming to one side of his lips. He swung the key around his finger, his blinding smile coming back on his face like he had never been depressed.
"Thanks Coulson. But I told you—the Transformer totally isn't mine," Stark said, even as he was jumping into the driver's seat of the car. After he sent Clint out to do damage control for the emotional Stark, he would head out to do physical damage control for the pair.
And one time, it really wasn't...
Coulson races to catch up with the team the day A.I.M. decides to make its biggest attack yet. Personally, Coulson thinks A.I.M. is the Avengers' worst enemy. They hold too many personal connections with the team—General Ross is being backed and funded by A.I.M. and still gunning for Dr. Banner, Red Skull is back and after the Captain, and A.I.M. is always trying to do their best to get at Stark and his knowledge of weapons. Since A.I.M. has come out publicly (well, as public as a black market, high end weapons dealer can be), each of the three have been captured at least once. Stark, because of some unlucky happenstance, has been taken three times. While the Avengers either found him or he broke out each time, he acquired more and more injuries with every kidnapping. Coulson knew A.I.M. was losing their patience on trying to compromise Stark. Still, he hadn't really expected them to make a move this quickly.
He had been there when Fury got the call that some giant android-like thing was rampaging through New York; they knew that A.I.M. was just calling out to Stark. They called the team and told Tony not to do anything stupid, then enlisted Steve and Natasha to hold up his "promise." Still, there was only so fast a quinjet can fly and they just happened to be halfway across the continent. By the time Coulson and the team of S.H.I.E.L.D agents that worked flexibly as field agents/medical staff/clean-up crew arrive, the battle is over. Steve, Thor , and The Hulk are all concentrated at the felled android's leg. Natasha runs up to him.
"It's Tony," she pants. There's a gash across her forehead and she's holding her arm gingerly, since the shoulder has been popped out. "The thing swatted him to the ground and then stepped on him, just before Jarvis broke through A.I.M's system. He's still under there. He's barely responding to our messages now, but he's alive."
There's a noise of anger, and both The Hulk's arms and Thor's hammer smash down on the knee joint at the same time. There's a sharp crack and the metal splits a little. With a grim smile, Thor attacks it again and again until the lower leg finally splits away from the rest of the metal. Coulson begins gathering the medical crew as the three men manage to push the leg off of Stark. Steve is immediately at his side.
"Tony, you need to release the armor. The medical team is here."
"'m tryin'," Tony says back, but his words are slurred with pain and he sounds out of breath.
"I know you like to keep people waiting," Banner says as he appears beside Coulson, still buttoning the pants a S.H.I.E.L.D agent brought him. He tries to keep his voice light and joking, but the worry is all over his face and body, "but this isn't the best time."
There's a snap and then the armor falls off of him, one piece at a time. Coulson thinks the team is regretting telling him to take the armor off, because underneath the armor is a man that's only human, and that comes with a body that has restrictions. Blood is splattered all over his skin and the flight suit, including a steady stream that's leaking out of his mouth. Bones are clearly broken and Coulson suspects that he's punctured at least one lung, if not both. For a second, Coulson's mind flares out from its usual calm at the enormity of Stark's injuries. The doctors move up and start loading him up with pain killers—he probably shouldn't be unconscious with all these injuries but the move will be painful enough that they might lose him on the trip back anyway. As they place him on a stretcher, Tony manages to brush against Coulson's arm.
"'Ey," he slurs, his eyes looking at Coulson but not really seeing him. "'At one? Na mine."
Coulson smiles at him and the agents waiting for his orders take a step back. In Stark's drugged state, it might have seemed like a nice smile, but really, it was lethal. It was animalistic and deadly.
"I know," he responds, but the team gives similar smiles as the medics take Tony away. They can hear what Coulson is really saying.
We'll kill them.
Tony is still unconscious when the team reassembles three days later. They've all nursed their wounds and their anger. They meet on the hanger at midnight, when the sky is still and dark. All of them are dressed casually in black, like they're about to go for a night out on the town. They don't say anything to each other, just jump into the quinjet that Coulson has definitely not stolen and that Fury has definitely not given the okay for. They take off without a problem. The air traffic controllers have been told to take a five minute break.
They sit in silence for a little bit, then Bruce speaks from where he's leaning against the wall.
"I checked on Tony today," he starts, which is a stupid way to start because they all checked on Tony during the day. They checked on him every day, waiting for a sign that something has changed. "The doctors said he's passed from a deep coma to a light coma. They think he'll wake up within the next week." They nod, because Steve is the only other one who would ever ask the doctors anything. The others come and go, timing their visits for when no one is around. "They said that everything is healing up smoothly. He'll probably be bed ridden for another couple weeks after he wakes up. They think that in another four months, he'll be healed enough to get into the suit again."
There's a mixture of relief and anger at his words. Relief because this is good news. For the first two days after they got Tony back to the helicarrier, they didn't think he was going to make it. The doctors said he died twice on the table when his heart couldn't handle the stress. They say that for being smashed by a giant robot, he was surprisingly…not flat. Bruce admits that he and Tony have been working on Hulk-proofing the suit and Tony had already made one complete adjustment. This is probably what saved him.
Anger, because Tony is one of theirs. They know what Tony's done for them in the background, but he's not the only one who protects him and his own. They can be very protective of their own as well. And that's why tonight, everyone will learn what it means to mess with an Avenger.
"We're ten minutes out," Coulson says from the front where he and Clint man the controls. They adjust themselves, pulling out and double checking weapons. Bruce calmly takes off the jacket and shirt he's been wearing, folding them neatly and leaving them on a bench next to his shoes. Steve pulls the hoodie off, the bright red, white, and blue uniform hidden underneath. He pulls his shield from a corner of the jet. Thor calls up his armor, then pulls his hammer out from where it's been hiding behind Steve's shield. Natasha has a line of weapons on the bench, where she double-checks to make sure each one is working, then takes the safety off each of her guns. Clint leaves the controls, stocking his quiver full of arrows and warming up the string on his bow. Coulson stares out at the night skyline, calm as ever.
Coulson found this base of A.I.M's the day after they returned. He pulled in some favors, threatened some people, bribed some others, and managed to acquire the majority of the codes to A.I.M's security systems.
"Airliner jet, what is your clearance code?" a female voice comes over the intercom.
"Clearance code alpha, alpha, beta, two. Supply drop," Coulson said. It wasn't completely a lie. There was supposed to be a supply drop at this time, but that plane had been the first to go in their plan.
"Code accepted. You are clear for landing."
"Ready?" Coulson asks as he lowers the jet to the ground. As soon as an A.I.M. agent went out to meet them, their cover would be blown. Therefore, they needed to be gone before the agents got there.
Bruce was the only one of them that hadn't really been trained for stealth, but he had spent years making himself unnoticeable. He follows Natasha off the jet and the pair disappears into the shadows of one wall. Their job was destruction. Steve and Thor disappear to the other side. Their job was confusion and havoc. Clint looks once to Coulson, who nods. Then Clint pulls down the grating covering the vent systems and jumps up, disappearing into the ventilation system. His job was information. Coulson stands at the end of the ramp and straightens his jacket. His job was death.
The first few agents appear and hesitantly approach him. They must be new to not recognize the quinjet as S.H.I.E.L.D technology.
"You aren't the usual pilot," one of the agents says, raising his gun to become on guard.
"They're not A.I.M!" another agent says, coming around from the front of the ship. "They're S.H.I.E.L.D. We've been infiltrated!"
Coulson moves quickly. The first agent dropped, neck broken. Coulson turned, ripping the gun from the dead agent's hands to shoot the other. The remaining two agents open fire, and Coulson easily shoots them down. He turns back to the second agent. He had felled him with a shot in both arms. He would probably live without the usage of either arm, but more importantly, he could still walk.
"Go," Coulson orders him. "Bring me whoever is in charge."
The agent nods, face tight as he runs through the doorway. Coulson drops the gun and pulls his suit straight again.
They had struck gold. Turns out the head of this building was one of the directors of A.I.M. He approaches the waiting Coulson with a smirk, surrounded by fifty agents.
"You must be Agent Coulson. I've heard so much about you," he says. All of the agents have their guns aimed at him. "I can only guess that you're here to try some 'revenge' mission or some nonsense. Tell me, how is Tony?"
Coulson smiles again and the agents in the room tense. "Mr. Stark is doing fine, thank you."
This does manage to catch the director off guard. For a second, his smile falters. Then it comes back up with blazing glory. "Well, live and learn, right? We'll do better next time."
"I'm sorry," Coulson says politely. "But I'm afraid there won't be a next time."
"Oh? Please, tell my how you plan to stop me."
"There won't be a next time because I'm going to kill you."
The man throws his head back, laughing heartedly. "You're going to kill me?" he says when he recovers. "And how do you plan on killing me when I'm surrounded by guards that will shoot you the second you move?"
Coulson's eyes roam over the agents. "Very easily." And then he was moving again. There was no time to think, no time to plan. He moves from one place to the next, felling agents in his path. He ducks as a shot goes over his head, spinning to kick an agent's legs out from under him, then robbing him of his gun. He shoots as he moves, unloading the gun and taking down another fifteen agents. These weapons are inferior to the weapons Stark and their own scientists supply for them; they don't hold enough rounds to be effective. He turns the empty gun to smash it against a rib cage, then the head. Deciding it's an effective weapon, he continues on, until a smack against his hand causes him to drop the gun. He snaps the neck of the offender, then steals his gun, using it until it is only a blunt weapon.
There are only ten agents left and the director is starting to look a little worried. He elbows the agent next to him and jerks his head at the entrance before turning and leaving. Coulson smiles.
He's standing in the same spot the team left him in when they return. Only now, the floor is littered with bodies. Next to him is the body of the man Coulson decided was in charge of security here, or was the director's personal bodyguard. The director himself is unconscious in the quinjet. If he happens to have similar injuries to those that Stark acquired, well, no one will really question it.
"Are we done here?" he asks the team. Steve and Thor are a little cut up and bruised, but the pleasure in their eyes is answer enough. They simply nod to him.
Clint holds up a flash drive. "All the information I could get. S.H.I.E.L.D will have a field day with this."
"The rest of their system will be destroyed as soon as we trigger it," Natasha tells them.
Bruce is standing next to Natasha, still shirtless. He looks at Coulson, who nods. All Bruce has to do is think of Tony lying broken and bleeding in the cement, Tony lying stiller than even Pepper's ever seen him in a white hospital bed, a machine breathing for him. In a second, The Hulk has emerged.
"Hulk smash," he growls.
They leave the building in pieces, flames starting to spread. No doubt reinforcements will be there within minutes to save what people they can and what projects are still in one piece. They figured that would happen. That's why they left a note pinned to the bodyguard.
Next time, we come for all of you.