Author's Note: Plotbunny attack! This is the first (complete) short fic that's come out of my new Avengers obsession, and the first of several (incomplete) fics crossing over two of my favorite teams. For now, though, here's this standalone.
The good news is that I'm only posting this because I'm almost finished with the next chapter of another fic, which should be posted on Saturday or Sunday. So please don't get mad at me, okay? I'm definitely still working on everything. Sometimes, though, a girl just has to get a cracky drabble out of her system.
Rating: T for language
Disclaimer: G.I. Joe and all associated characters and concepts are property of Hasbro Inc. SHIELD and all associated characters and concepts are property of Marvel Comics. I derive no profit from this. Please accept this in the spirit with which it is offered—as a work of respect and love, not an attempt to claim ownership or earn money from this intellectual property.
Hawk Hath No Fury
by Totenkinder Madchen
The two men stood together on the high dais of the main Helicarrier control room, arms folded, watching the men and women work. There was plenty of damage to fix in the aftermath of Loki's aborted invasion, but at least they were still flying, and people were moving like they had a purpose.
But then, if they didn't, Nick Fury clearly wasn't working them hard enough.
"They shaped well," Fury's companion said mildly. He tucked his hands behind his back, falling easily into parade rest. His brown leather jacket seemed out of place in the hustle and bustle, but his stance said that he fitted in better than a casual observer might expect. "Especially the archer. Brainwashing always plays merry hell with their aim, in my experience."
Fury grunted in acknowledgment.
"Have you factored in the Widow's influence?"
Fury gave him a Look, doubly powerful because of the one missing eye. The man just chuckled a little.
"Of course you have. Sorry, I forgot who I was talking to for a minute. Almost thirty years, and I still can't break the habit of second-guessing everything."
"Around here, it's a healthy habit to have," Fury said. "I tend to throw subordinates out on their asses if they can't tell me a decent lie once in a while. Keeps things interesting."
"I had a message from Japan, incidentally."
"He was very annoyed. Wanted me to get your archer over to his compound for, as he put it, 'some decent off-hand training and a lecture about redheads with thigh chokes.'"
"Tell your archer that if he tries to poach one of my people, I'll ram my foot so far up his ass that he'll be wiping shoe polish off his teeth." Fury contemplated the scurrying SHIELD agents and, after a moment, lit a cigar. He offered one to his companion, but the man with the brown leather jacket just shook his head.
"Not at my age," he said ruefully. Fury barked out a short laugh, and the agents below tensed, automatically on the alert for someone about to feel the wrath of the SHIELD director. When wrath (or Fury) failed to descend, they nevertheless picked up the pace, not wanting to be the first to get his attention.
Fury blew a smoke ring and shook his head. "You're as bad as Rogers," he informed the other man. "Too goddamn virtuous and patriotic. I thought you'd learned it doesn't pay to have eagles flying out of your ass."
"No chance. My people were soldiers, not spies," his companion said. It wasn't an accusation or an insult, just a statement of fact. "We operated on a more public level . . . which, considering how classified we were, says something about your operation here." He glanced across at the main monitor, where a newsfeed was displaying the aftermath of what networks were already calling the Battle of Manhattan. "We were allowed to help with disaster relief—see and be seen. Public relations and all the rest of it."
"We don't do public relations," Fury said dryly. "We do 'shut up, you didn't see shit, move along.' Cuts down on the paperwork. Is your archer really gonna make trouble for mine? 'Cause I've got some friends in Tokyo that can go explain things to him."
"I don't think so," the man in the leather jacket responded. "But I wouldn't recommend talking to your friends about him, in any case. Or haven't you noticed that anyone posted west of the Shinano River always requests a transfer after three months or so? For no discernible reason?"
"Laugh it up, Abernathy. It's your fault I'm stuck with these lunatics at all."
Clayton Abernathy, once known as General Hawk, was nonplussed by the accusation. "What do you mean?"
"You could've shut your brass down when they made that fucking Ninja Force mess in the '90s," Fury pointed out, blowing another smoke ring. His tone hadn't changed by much; any eavesdroppers would've gotten the impression that he was just voicing something that had been on his mind for a while. If Nick Fury could be said to 'just' do anything, that is. "That was when the talking heads first got the bug up their asses about super-duper special teams outside the law."
"Yes, and it should've been the last time," Abernathy pointed out. "Even the ninjas were trying to sabotage the damn thing! T'jbang never would've been allowed into the field dressed that way if he'd been serious. You wouldn't believe the files."
Fury snorted. "You're just lucky I managed to turn my team into something workable. And yeah, I've seen those files."
"I thought I burned them?"
"Spy, remember. I've seen shit that even you never saw."
"If you're referring to Stark's 'chewy naked rhubarb' escapade, ninety-eight million people have actually seen that," Abernathy said bemusedly. "If the hit counter on YouTube is anything to go by."
"No, that's shit I wish I hadn't seen," Fury corrected. All of SHIELD had seen that video, in fact, thanks to Agent Rodriguez's quick hand with the Forward button. "And take the damn blame like a man. That way, when my team fucks up or decides to introduce a demigod to the concept of pinatas or something, I can tell the brass to go yell at you instead. Which would be a good thing, because if they keep on yelling at me, somebody's going to have a lamentable and totally unexpected accident."
"Ah, that takes me back," Abernathy said. He leaned back a little, making himself comfortable against the railings. "Elite military unit or not, some of my people didn't know the meaning of the word 'subtle.' Or even 'quiet.' Do you think yours are going to be that bad?"
Fury was silent a moment. Smoke curled from the glowing cigar butt, wending in a long curve up to the roof of the Helicarrier's main deck, where it promptly set off the smoke alarms. Everyone tensed up again, but as the cameras zoomed in on the source of the smoke, the panic disappeared. From his position on the high dais, Abernathy could see over Agent Hill's shoulder as she typed "override: NF-C" into the computer, and the alarms silenced.
"No," Fury said, completely unfazed by the momentary scramble of his subordinates. "But I'll kick your ass if you even think of telling them that. They did better than I thought they would . . . even if I had to give 'em a little push."
"Nice work with the trading cards, by the way. Very . . . you."
"Yeah, yeah, you can blow the lid off my secret plans some other time." Fury blew another cloud of smoke, getting a brief squawk from the fire alarm before Hill hastily overrode it again. "What's our status on the project?"
Abernathy smiled a little. "The package was received two hours ago. It's not in good shape, but it was still functioning as of thirty minutes ago. Dr. Steen says thank you for the present, incidentally. He told me it's just like old times, having a top-secret case of impalement dropped into his lap."
"Hope he liked old times," Fury said. "If Banner's going to be out in the field a lot more, Stark'll need a new skinny doc to kick around."
Abernathy snorted. "Are you that desperate to see Iron Man, defender of capitalism and the free world, get tranqed and forced into a My Little Pony hospital gown?"
"Let me answer that question with another question. Did you actually watch the 'chewy naked rhubarb' video?"
"Ah. That'd be a yes, then."
Fury grinned through a cloud of smoke. Between the eyepatch and the glowing stub of the cigar, he looked positively demonic—and extremely happy about it. "You may have been good at this game, Abernathy, but I aim to be better. Know anyone else who's looking for a job?"
"I can't in good conscience say 'yes,' you know." Abernathy grinned back. "Let me get you a list."