The Answering Machine

Written by Laliel

Rated: PG or K+

Author's Note: This story is what came to mind while watching The Amazing Spider-Man in theaters. Hope you enjoy!

Summary: Director Fury tries to contact the Avengers to save New York City from a giant lizard hell-bent on destruction but gets the answering machine instead.

It was one of those days that started out completely normal, letting you eat your Cheerios in peace for breakfast and serving up impending doom slapped between two buns for dinner. Those were the days Nick Fury hated the most.

Agent Maria Hill sat behind him, watching the screen with horror plastered on her face as reports of a giant psychotic lizard intent on the destruction of New York City flooded in. Fury leaned forward and pressed a button the table.

"Get me Stark on the phone, now!"

The million dollar yacht seemed to float effortlessly on the Caribbean waves. All was peace, tranquility, ice cold champagne, soft music, and Pepper Potts wearing the most striking embroidered green dress Tony had ever seen. Even though dusk had fallen, they were still out on the deck of the Lucky Lady, admiring the breathtaking expanse of stars and each other. Seated comfortably together on a large deck lounge, Tony regaled her with the story of how, after saving the planet, they all went out for Shawarma afterwards.

"The Captain fell asleep on his plate…he never knew I took pictures of him with sauce in his hair."

Pepper curled up against his side, giving him that you-are-such-a-jerk-and-I-still-love-you smile.

"He'll get you back for that, you know."

Tony leaned forward and brushed a gentle, feathery kiss on her forehead.

"He'll have to catch me, first."

Pepper was just reaching up to give him what he considered the most dynamite kisses on the planet when Jarvis's calm English voice broke the mood.

"Sir, Director Fury of Shield is on the line."

Glaring into nothing at all, Tony wished he had a regular cell phone at this moment. He would have chucked it overboard. Or smashed it with a hammer and then mailed it to Fury.

"Not now, Jarvis. Remember…NO INTERRUPTIONS. Just shut that thing off."

He turned back to Pepper, who had a bemused look on her face.

"I swear, that guy can't wipe his eye-patch clean without help. "

Pepper glanced back at the deck, a brief flicker of worry in her eyes.

"What if it's important?"

Tony reached out and stroked a strand of strawberry blond hair away from her cheek.

"It'll wait till tomorrow, then I'll call. Promise."

And with that, the mood returned, as did Pepper's kiss.

Agent Hill really didn't want to be the one to tell him, but she drew the short straw. Taking a deep breath she plunged headlong into it.

"He's not picking up, Sir. Sorry."

Fury watched as the police announced the evacuation of the immediate area surrounding Oscorp tower.


Maria bit her lip, frowning into the floor.

"He's on vacation sir. Apparently from what his neighbor in Brooklyn said, he went on a sight-seeing tour of America on his motorcycle. She's taking care of his cat…which I didn't know he had acquired…and answered his landline for him. Unfortunately, the Captain said no to a cell-phone, at least for now. And…"

Nick gritted his teeth, held up one finger, let it drop. "And…"

"And therefore we don't know where the hell he is."

Steve leaned back against the cool stone bench, waiting for the fireworks show to begin. The smooth, solemn faces of the Presidents loomed on the mountainside above and were flanked by tall, stately pines to the side. This was one place he had heard about but never seen. It had amazed him to learn that it was still there, all these years later, and decided to see the land that he loved, albeit changed, on a one-man tour. Guidebooks stuffed in his duffel with extra clothes and money, he had said goodbye to Liberty, his once homeless gingery cat, and his neighbor Kari and hit the road with his bike. It felt good to take a break and re-adjust to this new life and what better way to do it? The signal went off and Steve pulled out his binoculars. It couldn't get better than this…

Fury wondered if the effort of opening his mouth to ask was worth his time.

"And let me guess, Agents Barton and Romanoff are somewhere that is not here, too."

"And you call this fun?"

Clint stared out the window at the falling snow. The light from the chateau's windows illuminated the white world outside and the ski slope that went with it.

Natasha stepped up next to him, holding two cups of steaming cocoa.

"Yes. I happen to think skiing is a lot of fun."

Clint turned his back on the frosty vision and, accepting his cup, suffered mild hot chocolate burns on his tongue and a wrinkle in his attitude.

"I just don't see what's so awesome about flying down a mountainside in Switzerland on two narrow pieces of wood while freezing your ass off, Nat. Besides…you still owe me one."

She let the cheery green curtain settle back in place before meeting him gaze head on.

"What do you mean by that, Clint?"

Clint took another, slightly cooler sip of his drink.

"I mean you bashed my head into a metal rail and I wound up with a walking concussion and a huge lump on my forehead for my trouble. Of course, you did it to save me, so…"

He paused. So did she. Almost nose to nose in the semi-dark alpine hotel room, lit only by a fire in the stone fireplace, Clint felt he could relinquish almost anything to this woman. He forced himself to break the silence, the almost-moment.

"So, I'll shut up and let you teach me, but no taping my tumbles, understand? What happens in Switzerland stays in Switzerland."

Natasha raised an eyebrow at him.

"How do you think you can stop me from taking a picture of your sprawled form?"

Barton broke into an angelic smile.

"I left your phone battery behind at SHIELD."

Natasha suddenly let loose a chuckle and Clint felt claustrophobic. She had done something, what was it?

"You know what? In order to keep you from taking a picture of me, should I fall, I left your battery at SHIELD, too!"

Maria watched as Director Fury paced the floor. Agents Barton and Romanoff had also taken leave, heading to Europe, but apparently leaving two vital pieces of cellular equipment behind. So who else was there?

Thor was out. Literally. The demi-god said he might return soon, but assuming time was even the same for them, it could be today or two years from now.

And the Hulk might stop the lizard, but then who would stop him?

Abruptly, Fury stopped and stared at the middle screen.

"Would you look at that."

Maria dashed across the plain gray meeting room and stared at the figure of a guy, dressed in red and blue spandex, swinging from a huge crane and heading straight for Oscorp Tower.

"I'll be. I guess when your regular superheroes are out; another one will rise to take up the call."

Over the next hour they watched the ensuing event, shot solely from a helicopter. Finally, it was over and a blue mist, an antidote to turning into a lizard person it would seem, was spreading peacefully over Manhattan. By the time the police and news crews arrived on the roof, the villain was dead and the person known as Spiderman was gone.

Fury tapped his eye-patch with a finger for a moment.

"Agent Hill."

She snapped to attention at his side.

"Find out who that kid is and inform him of the Avengers initiative. Oh, and when the others get back let them know I want their asses for target practice."