A/N Well, this is the end. :( Fortunately, I do have a few other ideas in the works. Including my other story I have posted on here called Operation London. If you like the Avengers and you like the Olympics, and you would like to read about the Avengers at the Olympics then check it out. :)
Once again everlasting thanks go to all of you wonderful people who alerted, faved, and reviewed!
Thanks also go to the guys over on The Beta Branch for the beta. Those guys are awesome!
Disclaimer: And… we've been over this.
"Oh come on!" Steve yelled as he was eliminated.
The little challenge between Clint and Tony had interested the others on the team, causing the little challenge to grow into a full blown training exercise.
The objective was to be as stealthy as possible and eliminate each other. According to Tony, 'The team could work on their sneakiness and have fun at the same time.' In Thor's case, though, it was more like working on being less loud which, for him, qualified as being sneaky.
They were all in a dimly lit training room. It was set up in a maze like layout with several dividers winding throughout the room. Thor had been eliminated pretty early on by Steve, who was doing pretty well thanks to his covert missions background. Surprisingly, Bruce was actually holding his own. But the two of them soon fell to Tony's shockingly superior skill.
Bruce turned a corner and came face-to-hand with Tony's outstretched palm (they weren't stupid enough to use real weapons) just like if he was wearing his suit and aiming his repulsor at an enemy. His hand was pointed right between Bruce's eyes, inches from the physicist's face thus eliminating him from the competition.
Steve was the next to fall as Tony snuck up behind him and wrapped his arms around the Captain's throat. It would have been a sleeper hold had the billionaire actually put any pressure on Steve's neck. So Steve was forced to leave the training room. He joined Bruce and Thor outside where they, Fury, Pepper, and a large number of SHIELD personnel were watching the exercise via the cameras in the training room.
News of the challenge had spread throughout the helicarrier and those on-board had jumped at the chance to not only see the Avengers in action (even if it was just a training exercise), but to see them going head-to-head with each other. Of course, as soon as the news had gotten out bets had been made on who would win.
It was no surprise that 85% of the bets had been placed evenly between Clint and Natasha. Not only were they both very well trained spies, but they were two of the best SHIELD agents in the whole organization. Of course nobody had bet on Thor (no one was quite that optimistic when it came to the warrior's stealth abilities). The majority of the remaining 15% had been put on Steve because of his soldier background. Surprisingly, a few bets had even been placed on Bruce. The fact that in his human form the scientist was normally pretty quiet, caused a handful of people to take a chance on the long-shot. As for Tony, though, so many people knew how loud and obnoxious the billionaire could be (as well as how impossible it was to shut him up) so only two people had put any money on him.
But the watchers were soon regretting not betting on Tony as they watched him pick off his teammates with seeming ease. Now with three Avengers out of the running it was down to Clint, Tony, and Natasha. That didn't last long as (much to the dismay of several of the gamblers) Clint eliminated Natasha. She was a good agent and an excellent fighter but she didn't possess quite the same level of stealth that Clint did.
Now it was down to Tony and Clint, a surprising outcome, but now the winner was clear. Everyone fully expected Clint to take out Tony who, most felt, had just been lucky so far. But it soon became apparent that Tony wasn't lucky, he was good.
The other members of the Avengers, the SHIELD personnel, and Nick Fury himself watched in shocked amazement as Tony seemingly melted into the shadows and stayed all but invisible as he slipped from shadow to shadow like a phantom. The only movement coming from Tony could be attributed to a trick of the light if someone didn't know better. The watchers were having a hard time keeping track of the billionaire even with the help of the high tech cameras. Tony wasn't the only one that was pulling off a great disappearing act, though. Clint was likewise melding into the darkness as he moved about the training area. The spectators watched with rapt attention as Tony and Clint played a completely silent and nearly invisible game of cat and mouse. It took them several minutes of advancing, retreating, appearing, and disappearing before it reached a climax as Tony somehow vanished from the cameras' sensors. Judging by the way Clint froze, he had lost track of the genius as well.
They watched as Clint stood still a moment, studying his surroundings before cautiously moving forward. He had only gone a few feet when, out of nowhere, Tony appeared from the shadows of the ceiling, hanging upside-down, right above Clint. In a perfect impersonation of a gymnast, he swung down from his hiding place, letting go with his legs and using his momentum to flip right side up to land on his feet right behind Clint. Just as he hit the ground and raised his palm at Clint, the archer spun around and leveled his 'invisible bow' at the billionaire. The two men stared at each other without moving. After a minute Tony spoke.
"I guess it's a draw," he said with a smirk as he dropped his arm.
"Yeah, I guess so," Clint said dropping his arms and smiling back. "Man Tony! You did great. The last place I was expecting you to come from was the ceiling. I didn't know you were there until you hit the ground. I underestimated you," Clint admitted as he slapped Tony's shoulder.
Tony couldn't help the smile that crossed his face at Clint's compliment. Coming from the archer that was high praise.
"Yeah, well, you didn't do too bad yourself. You made me work for it. To be quite honest, the ceiling was my last idea. If it hadn't worked, I wasn't sure what else to try."
"I'll remember that next time," Clint said.
Then the two men left the training room and nearly busted out laughing at the sight that greeted them. As it was, they smiled widely and chuckled at what they saw.
Every SHIELD agent that had been watching had their mouths hanging open in shock as they stared at Tony with a mixture of awe and disbelief. Even Fury and the other Avengers looked amazed that Tony had managed to match Clint. After a moment someone finally spoke up.
"So does that mean nobody won the bet?" one of the agents asked.
"It has to. Nobody even bet on Tony at all, let alone on them both," another said.
"Actually," the agent who was keeping track of the bets spoke up, "there were two bets on Tony."
Everyone turned to look at the agent in astonishment.
"Who?" the first agent asked incredulously.
Everyone looked at a smiling Pepper.
"I've know Tony for years. I know how sneaky he can be when he wants to. How do you think he's always getting out of those board meetings? I can never find him," she explained with a smirk.
"Who else bet on him?" the second agent asked.
"The other was…" The 'bookie' trailed off as he checked his notes then looked up in confusion. "Agent Barton?"
They all looked at Clint, bewildered.
"You bet on Tony?" Natasha asked in disbelief.
"I had a feeling," Clint said with a shrug.
"He threw the match," someone tossed out.
Clint glared in the general direction of the voice.
"I didn't throw anything!" he snapped. "Tony matched me because he's that good."
"Why did you bet on me?" Tony asked curiously.
"Actually, I bet you'd tie me," Clint said.
"So he won the bet?" the first agent asked as he motioned to Clint.
"He and Ms. Potts won. They both bet on a tie."
All of the other agents looked at them in astonishment.
"You didn't answer my question," Tony said looking at Clint. "How did you know that I would tie you?"
"In the woods you snuck up on me and I never heard you. I heard the assassin moving in the brush but I never heard you, not until you started running. That's not something that's easy to do. I figured you had to have some skills I didn't know about but I didn't think you'd be able to beat me, so I bet on a tie. But next time…" Clint paused and pointed at Tony, "next time I'm betting on me to win."
"You go right ahead, but don't expect to collect," Tony said as he walked toward the door.
"We'll see about that," Clint replied following him.
The rest of their banter was lost as they exited the room leaving a bunch of stunned SHIELD agents and a few dumbfounded Avengers in their wake.
Even though it's over doesn't mean you can't still leave a review. I promise there is no rule against it. :) I only need 7 more reviews to make this story my most reviewed story thus far. So even if it's just a couple words, shoot me a review. I will be very grateful. :)