The Avengers Battle HYDRA at the Playground with Startling Regularity
By: Kim Hoppy
Disclaimer: Avengers, Iron Man, The Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, etc. and all adjoining characters are the property of Marvel and those associated with their creation and are used without permission or disrespect.
Summary: If asked, of course Tony is going to proclaim that he's reason they're all Avengers, he's the one who started it all. But the truth is, it was all Phil's fault. Most days, he doesn't regret it.
Or ... a story not so much about Avengers, but about two brothers who both like the Avengers film and experience the movies, in their own way.
The End and the Beginning Really Are the Same, Just a Little Different
Phil smiled as he looked around the gymnasium, watching all the kids run around for the games and candy. It was easy to spot his group, a talent created from long habit. They'd done the circuit on the streets begging for candy, and then came here for the additional fun and prizes.
He was still rather impressed Tony had actually convinced basically everyone to dress up as their counterpart. There wasn't any real question that Tony would go as Iron Man and Bruce as the Hulk, the two still thick as thieves. They saw less of the rest of the kids because with school in session, there was no need for Phil to act as a babysitter, but it was to Phil's surprise that the group still got together on the odd weekends or one of the kids – usually Frankie and Anita – might need to get watched in the afternoon. Tony and Bruce still had regular daily contact with Adam and Mary, though the different grades did understandably put a few hiccups in their play. It was to Phil's surprise that Adam at least still deigned to play with the younger kids, and he had to admit he was impressed with the boy. (Tony had mentioned something had happened at school, but then Adam came and it became all right, but he refused to divulge much more and Phil didn't want to push. Clearly, though, in Tony's eyes Adam had deserved to be Captain America.)
To be fair, not everyone agreed to dress up as an Avenger. Anita had stood firm on being a ballerina, which was only good because at least Phil could honestly say that connected to the Black Widow a little bit; that appeased Tony, and he convinced her to at least carry a water gun. And Mary had chosen to dress up as a cat, but Tony let that one go, because even he admitted a Hill costume would have been boring and, Phil suspected, because he really didn't know what to do with Mary since he didn't have a good idea what her role in the Avengers was.
He tugged at his tie, because however dapper the suit looked, it was a bit uncomfortable and hot. His mother had eagerly taken him shopping for the suit, trying to make it a bonding thing. Phil wouldn't say their family was any less dysfunctional with the therapy they still attended, but sometimes he did admit things were a little better. There was less fighting, anyway, which helped a lot, and while he didn't relish the idea of either spending time with his parents or talking to them, it wasn't as awful as it had been. If asked, Phil couldn't tell what had changed, not really, but then again, he wasn't inclined to look too deeply. It was enough, for now. At least he wasn't as concerned about going to college and abandoning Tony to the wolves.
"Having fun?" Mr. Young asked.
Phil looked at him and gave an unimpressed look. "Director Fury, really? Tony suckered you into this charade, too?"
"Excuse me, I'm Samuel L. Jackson," Mr. Young responded.
"Ah, I see. Very clever," he said.
"Yes, it is. And congratulations on being alive, by the way."
He rolled his eyes but couldn't keep the smile off. "Like there was every any doubt."
Mr. Young grinned. "And I suppose you heard about the series?"
"Yes, but don't tell Tony." Phil was holding out on telling Tony about the TV series, on the chance it couldn't be watched. (He was hedging his reasoning on the problem being Tony's age and not the quality of the show, being optimistic and a responsible older brother who would make sure it would be appropriate for Tony to watch. Yep, that was the only reason he was keeping on eye out for when it would start being aired.)
The principal agreed to keep mum on the subject, likely because he had a lot of experience in the hazards of prematurely telling little kids something was going to happen. You were then constantly bombarded by them asking "When?" and "You said it was on" and other things when they thought whatever you said meant it was happening immediately.
"Phil, we gotta get our pictures taken!" Tony said, rushing to grab his arm and proceeding to yank it out of its socket. Then he thankfully stopped and peered up at Mr. Young. "You can be in it, too. Mary's gonna be in it."
"Well, thanks, that's very nice of you, Tony."
"I'm very nice," Tony agreed and again tried to ruin Phil's pitching arm.
They waited in line, and Phil absently listened to the various chatters and nodded when whomever called for his attention or demanded his approval. Bruce showed him his bag of prizes and Anita again demonstrated her ability to do a graceful pirouette. She didn't fall or hit anyone, so it was close enough to be graceful. (For a time, the boys had teased her by singing that she and Phil were K-I-S-S-I-N-G in a tree, which, Phil noticed with some annoyance, bothered him more than her. It had stopped because it wasn't as fun to sing the song if Anita actually liked it.)
Finally, they made it to the stage and lined up, almost everyone making a dramatic pose.
"Everybody say, cheese," the photographer said.
"No, we should say, 'Avengers Assemble,'" Adam suggested, which everyone agreed enthusiastically.
It was possible – more than likely – these Avengers would part ways sooner than later, (and the Avengers cycled through members as often as the Justice League,) but Phil had to admit it had been a memorable summer with a good movie that promised sequels (that hopefully wouldn't get Tony so involved). So, he grinned and with the rest said:
AN: As I mentioned before, this turned in to something with a vague plot or something. At the start, I did want the characters to sort of mirror their alleged counterparts, but then that would turn into giving the kids really, really, really rotten childhoods, and I didn't want that. It was enough that I broke Mort's arm, and it'd have been very ... cliché to mirror them too closely. Mary wasn't even planned, but she just jumped in on the last chapter when Mr. Young appeared again.
I hadn't originally planned to mirror the shorts The Consultant and A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Thor's Hammer, but then I figured, why the hell not, which I think made the story more Phil-centered. On the Thor chapter, I was like, WTF, this shouldn't be this long of a chapter, and was consoled by pointing out three Avengers characters were introduced in that particular movie, so it made sense. And then in Captain America, I *headdesked** that it took until page 10 of a 15 page chapter to even introduce Adam, our Captain America member.
And honestly, the Avengers chapter really wasn't supposed to be so Phil-heavy. It was intended more as a Tony B-Day party sort of thing, but it turned out that I built up all the family drama and I felt that had to be addressed. It's not actually solved, because it really probably won't be for Phil. He's spent most of his life not trusting his parents. And bear in mind, this is told from Phil's point-of-view, and he's very biased. Yes, his parents fight a lot, but I believe that's just the way they are, and that they had a few rough patches in his younger childhood. (And Santa honestly just had a very busy lead up to Christmas day, what with presents and visits and everything and it just never crossed his mind Phil would wake up at What o'clock, he was very exhausted.) They're trying, and Phil doesn't make it easier by actively avoiding them. It might have been better if he hadn't turned into a responsible teen whom they could trust to go out with friends and watch his brother and get good grades, because as awful as it is, sometimes it's easy to overlook something that doesn't make problems. Learning their eldest was running an underground baby-sitting joint under their very noses turned into a bit of a shock, because, as far as Tony told it, the kids were always meeting at the park or library or somewhere that was not at their home. (And keep in mind the kind of reporter Tony would be.)
Because I'm also a bit weird, I had a running pie chart - because everyone loves pie and their graphs - for this story as I went, just to see how the chapters broke it up.
And because it totally made me laugh, one of MicroSoft's AutoSummarize of this story, though only when it was like half-done:
"Phil! "Phil! "Tony."
"Phil!" "Phil!" "Phil! Phil."
"Tony!" Phil nodded. "Tony."
Phil smiled. "Phil," Tony whimpered.
"Phil?" "Phil! "Phil?" "Phil