Summary: TEAMFIC Tony Stark has a vision. He invests his life and fortune to make the Avengers happen. Captain America is the one person who can make it work. The obstacles? Tony and Steve. Bruce wants to believe that the Hulk can be a force for good. Clint and Natasha have avoided fraternization because of SHIELD, will that change now that they are Avengers. Thor has a unique affinity for Midgard. Is there a special reason?
The Avengers belong to Marvel, and the mentioned characters belong to their respective owners. I own nothing...
This is movie-verse, with a touch of comic book to stay true and for a bit of drama. It takes place after Iron Man3 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier but prior to Avengers 2. Please review.
Tony Stark knew that he wasn't fit to leave the hospital AMA. But he couldn't stand the poking, the prodding, the paparazzi and peeping nurses. With his Malibu home destroyed by the super villain Mandarin, he couldn't bring himself to stay in a hotel or rent some strange house. He wanted to go home to New York and Stark Tower.
"Jarvis, inform Dr. Banner, It's time to stash the booze and broads. I'm on my way back."
"I'll inform him now, sir."
"Uh, scratch that. Tell him the booze and broads can stay."
Tony fidgeted in his seat in the passenger cabin of his jet waiting for it to be fueled. He played with the glass in his hand and rolled the amber liquid of scotch around in it.
"Maybe just the booze." He whispered to himself.
Drinking heavily had been a lifelong bad habit for Tony since he was a neglected twelve year old emptying his parents' wine cellar and wet bar. It provided him with comfort from neglect, abandonment, and fear. Alcohol always made things better.
But he had enough self-awareness to know that if he wasn't careful alcohol could become a problem. Often he used his work as a distraction from drinking which was a distraction from pain.
Tony's head started to ache to accompany the soreness from other minor injuries he had sustained. He opened a storage compartment near his seat and took out a bottle of ibuprofen. He quickly popped two and washed it down with the scotch.
Mentally, he drew a line. No more tonight he promised himself. Then he cursed his brain for calculating the time zone changes that would allow him to break that promise.
If Pepper had been flying back with him, he could count on her to keep him distracted. Holding her was better comfort than any buzz he could get out of a bottle.
"Someone has to stay here and pick up the pieces, Tony. The hospital bills, the property damage…The first lawsuits are already creeping up." She'd told him before he left.
"A super villain trashes a city and they're suing me? Great!"
"Because you're the one with the money and no secret identity. The greedy are going to come after a self-identified superhero in the one percent." She'd reminded him.
"You're still mad about me coming out?" He had joked. "I need to check on the remodel of the Tower."
"It's ok. I understand that you need to go."
The notorious playboy had snuck a kiss suavely. "Call me…often." He'd murmured against her lips.
Pepper had stroked his beard. "I'll be there as soon as I can transfer operations back to New York." She sealed the promise with another kiss.
But he lied. He did need a distraction. Pepper had no idea of what he'd been put through. The Mandarin had tortured his already scarred psyche and just like after his captivity in Afghanistan, he needed a project to place his energy in before he dove into a bottle to keep from cracking up. Tony Stark didn't do pain well.
The nights were bad enough but without Pepper's warmth next to him, he was afraid the mental and emotional stress would overwhelm him.
'Man up, Stark!' he told himself.
So he'd continue in his frenetic work pace. It would give him the appearance of normality.
StarkJet1 touched down at LaGuardia just before midnight.
"Glad you're back, Boss!" Happy Hogan greeted him.
Tony gave a brief nod and climbed into the back of the black town car.
In spite of the late hour, Tony wore sunglasses. Happy knew this was the sign that Tony Stark wasn't approachable. The former boxer turned driver/bodyguard grabbed the luggage, placed it in the trunk and jumped behind the wheel.
Besides Jarvis, the only other person in residence at the Tower was Bruce Banner. Tony had invited his fellow Avenger to move in and set up his research in the premium labs there. But at this late hour, he hadn't expected Bruce to greet him as he walked off the elevator. A subdued Tony Stark shook his hand and embraced him.
Although Bruce was surprised by the affection, he patted Tony on the back and returned his affection. "Come to the kitchen. I'm making sandwiches."
Tony shook his head. "Not hungry."
"Sure you are." He said pushing the billionaire toward the kitchen. "Jarvis said you haven't had anything since breakfast. I also know you won't be heading for bed so you may as well eat."
"Thank you, Jarvis!" Tony yelled into the air petulantly.
"My pleasure, sir."
In the large immaculate chef's kitchen, were different types of deli meats, breads and condiments laid out on the island.
Bruce was already chowing down as Tony fussed over the making of his own sandwich. "So what's next?" Bruce asked.
"Yeah, what's Tony Stark's next project? What's your next discovery?"
Tony didn't see the Dijon mustard and went looking for it in the refrigerator. "Why do people keep asking me that? What makes you think I need a project?"
"Because that's who you are. Because you have ADHD and are incapable of taking it easy." Bruce replied around a mouthful.
Tony brought out two mineral waters and set them out then continued to empty the fridge in search of Dijon. "I resent that!" He called with his head buried in the appliance. "I am extremely focused. I am…." He turned to Bruce and pointed a cucumber at him. "I am extremely focused. I'm just focused on multiple things at once. I believe they call that multitasking."
Bruce rolled his eyes as he opened his water and took a drink.
Jarvis interrupted the conversation to help his master. "Sir, may I help you?"
"Jarvis, why didn't you order Dijon mustard? I hate the fake yellow stuff! You know that!" Tony slammed the refrigerator.
"There is an unopened jar of Dijon in the condiment cabinet, sir." Tony found the jar and came back to the table, intent on making his sandwich.
Tony was a curiosity. He was one part kid that liked to pry things open to see how they work and the other part Master inventor like DaVinci. Bruce tried again. "Tony?"
"What's it going to be?"
Tony finished making his sandwich and licked the knife of mustard. "The Avengers, of course."
"The Avengers? The Avengers is a project?"
"We are. We are a project." He got serious. "It's just that I've been thinking a lot about this. We could do what no conventional law enforcement agency could do. Not even SHIELD. There's a need for us to defend against alien invasions… super evil….baddy terrorist types."
"You mean super villains?" Bruce tread carefully. "Like the Mandarin."
Tony flinched. "Yeah. Like him." He tried to explain. "I have this…this vision. It's been in my mind ever since the Chitauri invasion….Earth's Mightiest Heroes standing against incredible foes. Super powered individuals banded together to protect and safeguard the planet, inhabitants and resources…. But without SHIELD as the middle man. The Avengers would be a self-governing entity, like the Fantastic Four!"
Tony tried to gauge Bruce's reaction to his melodramatic pronouncement.
Bruce seemed impressed until he mentioned the Fantastic Four. "Too much blue. Too cheesy. And you're richer and smarter than Reed Richards."
"So do I get to join the club?" Bruce asked shyly. Not sure if he really wanted to join or just be a part of something after being alone for so long. "Or do you just want the Other Guy?"
Tony smiled. "The Avengers needs both of you. You'll be the only one with dual membership!"
Both men clinked their mineral water bottles together and toasted.
After their midnight snack, Bruce took Tony upstairs to the top floor to see the renovations. Tony walked around and took careful notice. He was pleased with what had been accomplished but he had more ideas to make the room a suitable assembly room for the Avengers. He had in mind to make the Avengers the most sophisticated team for any global threat that might arise.
Tony knew he was putting the cart before the horse sinking so much time, money and effort into the Avengers before the others had agreed to join. But he wanted to make it impossible for any of them to say no.
"So have you heard from the others?" Tony asked.
"Nothing from Thor but Agent Romanoff left a voicemail that she and Agent Barton would be unreachable for awhile. But that was weeks ago."
Bruce watched Tony avoid the obvious. "Are you going to ask me about Cap?"
"Yeah, sure. So how is the old man?"
'Smoothly done.' Tony thought to himself. 'Act like you don't care that Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America was everything your father had said and more. '
In Tony's experience, most people never lived up to their resume. Steve was the exception. He owed the Captain an apology for the things he'd said to him on the Helicarrier. Despite the insults he had hurled at Steve back then, he assumed they were okay. Steve had shaken his hand after the battle was done. Hell, he'd even tried the shwarma. That had to be a big leap of faith, on his part. They had buried the hatchet as far as he was concerned. He just hoped his past insults wouldn't be an obstacle to Cap joining the team.
"Old man? C'mon Tony. The guy must be…what in his early twenties?"
"Only in dog years."
"Anyway he's good. We had lunch last week."
Tony was jaw dropped. "He called you for lunch?"
Bruce shrugged. "If it makes you feel better, I think he was calling for you." Then he fished for the right words. "I think the guy's wondering what to do with himself."
Bruce knew something wasn't right. There had been a lot Steve hadn't said. There had been pain behind his clear blue eyes and a hardness to his features. Something was eating him. Just like it was eating Tony. He knew inner torment and could spot it a mile away.
"You're worried about him." Tony couldn't help but be jealous. Everyone had a soft spot for the Boy Scout in blue.
In spite of their pain, Steve and Tony seemed driven and committed to the greater good of humanity. Qualities he respected. Bruce had spent too many years as a scientist working defense contracts, especially the one leading to his 'accident'. He wanted to feel better about his own soul too. "The Avengers will be good for him. For all of us."
Tony exploded. "The Avengers is not going to be a therapy group for depressed superheroes, Bruce!"
"That isn't what I meant, Tony! Calm down! But admit it. Captain America is good in a fight. The Avengers need him."
Silently Tony agreed.
Tony was more than pleased when he saw the rest of remodeled Tower. He had previously redesigned the structure of the Tower and had it reinforced with omnium steel girders and walls. The main floor was now finished and was ready to serve as a place for public press conferences and social functions. The garden and patio in the main atrium now had sufficient foliage to afford a fair degree of outdoor privacy for anyone who was interested in the whole flora and fauna thing.
The next several floors contained refreshed living quarters as well as the dining facilities and a private library. Each Avenger would have an entire floor for their private quarters. He'd even kept a few floors vacant for future members or guests in residence. He wanted the team to live together for cohesion but in more of a hi-tech barracks with Frat-boy living. Tony rounded out the fun package with a game room featuring a billiards table, pinball machines, and video arcade games.
For the most part Tony used his regular construction crew. However, some areas he felt were so sensitive that only he and his army of robotic workers were allowed to work on them.
Over the next few weeks, Tony threw himself into finishing the transformation of Stark Tower to the Avengers Tower.
He placed additional security on the doors and windows, numerous surveillance and detainment systems allowing Jarvis to ascertain the identities of all visitors as well as intercept unauthorized personnel.
He expanded his Robotics and Electronics Fabrication Area, now dubbed the Dream Factory. He had much of his equipment shipped from California, thanks to Pepper and he upgraded his software for his Virtual Workshop, the tool that allowed him to conceive his ideas in a 3-D view. With it he could create a concept, spin it around and view it from all angles seeing it in a virtual version floating in the air.
He painstakingly built up the ability of his 3-D milling machine to be able to carve designs using multiple computer-guided drill bits that could cut through any materials known and the capability to adjust to unknown materials. He added every new subtractive tool and additive tool, each one taking forever to calibrate down to micron accuracy. He added storage for raw materials, like wood, metal, plastic, and basic microchips.
His new Dream Factory would have been incomplete without Jarvis. Jarvis, his artificial intelligence and "virtual personal assistant" was invaluable to the process of design as he ran precise emulations to determine whether a design was possible and how much it'd cost.
Then Tony converted the parking garage next to the Tower. It now housed not only vehicles but aircraft, a hangar and landing runway for several supersonic quinjets.
Tony had seen them while working with SHIELD so he contacted a defense department contractor that Rhodey turned him onto for similar craft and had quinjets built to his specifications. Tony employed the principles of the Helicarrier's landing deck to catch the quinjets for deceleration and landing. Additionally, the new hangar had computerized navigation aids, radar, and communications systems.
For a time, Tony was in a fight with the city officials for airspace privileges. Zoning prohibited aircraft within the city limits. So he went to his 3D drawing board to come up with an alternative to jet travel. He came up with the idea to construct a submarine pen with its own waterway to the East River, a secret means of rapid transit to a shuttle that could get them to the Stark hangar near LaGuardia.
Bruce saw this as too timely and cumbersome. He proposed the better plan to use sky-cycles like the Chitauri army had. Within a day, Tony had the designs ready for his Stark Industry engineers to produce several. Luckily, the aircraft privileges were granted but he kept the sky cycles in production for non-flying team members.
More and more Bruce was becoming enthused about Tony's vision. He saw the new Tower as a chance to push boundaries in science and medical research. He wanted to contribute, so he arranged for top notch medical facilities to be added. He had state of the art equipment delivered that were the envy of the best medical research facilities. Contemplating worldwide pandemics, he also thought it necessary to have human-sized cryogenic chambers in which individuals suffering from unknown degenerative ailments could be placed in suspended animation while cures could be researched.
Tony had plans for a training room and gym in mind but Bruce proposed contracting with sports medicine consultants on creating a facility that would have specialized equipment to simulate an Avenger's performance requirements and help a recovering hero regain power and restore his or her capabilities quickly. The Tower already had a fully equipped gymnasium, an Olympic-size pool, a sauna and steam bath but Tony was supercharged with Bruce's idea. He encouraged Bruce to spend whatever necessary to make it the best and most innovative.
In the meantime, the Combat Simulation Room (CSR) was created by him. It was a heavily reinforced area where various robotic devices also created by him would simulate humanoid and mechanical attacks for training purposes. The CSR would be monitored and programmed by Jarvis to allow Tony to participate in simulated battles.
He connected three floors of the Tower for private weapons testing and the storage of his Iron Man suits. He'd long been designing a guardian for his Iron Man suits, comparable to the three-headed dog Cerberus at the gates of Hades. A robot named Arsenal was constructed to protect his tech from theft.
Finally the top floor of the Tower where Tony had landed in his Iron Man suit was finished. The Avengers Assembly Room, where he had envisioned the Avengers having their operational meetings, was now the most secure place in the entire Tower complex due to its massive reinforcements and the added force field protecting the Terrace and landing platform. The Assembly Room Round Table (Tony loved the Camelot reference) would contain all of their crime and forensic files, operational records, and world security data. Currently, the Tower's computers had limited access to national security data of the U.S. and world defense organizations. It was Tony's intention to routinely trade information with the Pentagon, MI-6, and the U.N. Security Council and share a common database with S.H.I.E.L.D. But it was brought to his attention by Nick Fury that would take an A-1 security clearance from the President. Tony made inquiries about applying for that clearance but was determined to hack them if they refused.
Tony insisted on building further enticements for his potential teammates but Bruce insisted it was overkill.
"You don't have to buy our loyalty, Tony." He tried to convince him.
It fell on deaf ears. For Tony it was like making Christmas gifts.
Natasha Romanov was first on his list. In spite of her duplicitous employment cover as Natalie Rushman in order to shadow him and her back-stabbing report to Nick Fury that he would be an unstable element in the Avengers, he came to respect her and actually enjoyed their banter and occasional dust ups.
He designed the perfect weapon for her. Remembering how she'd stuck him unexpectedly with a needle of lithium dioxide to abate his palladium sickness, it gave him the idea that the Black Widow needed a sting. The Widow's Sting was actually two distinctively shaped bracelets that emulated her old ammo carrying bracelets. Instead of bullets, these bracelets could fire electro-static energy blasts that could deliver charges up to 30,000 volts.
Tony was giddy with the thought of getting video footage of the first poor sucker she stung. He'd previously stolen the surveillance camera footage on her attack on HammerTech and made it his screensaver much to Pepper's consternation. To watch her in action was a thing of beauty.
Clint Barton, he knew wouldn't be easy to win over. After the fall he took off the roof escaping from the Chitauri, Tony decided nobody needed a Sky Cycle more. With Hawkeye's archery in mind, he had tweaked one of the Sky Cycles, making the vehicle voice-operated with an auto-piloted steering system.
What to get a god? Thor's power was pretty bad ass. However, for a super powered lightning blast like the one he used to bottleneck the portal, Thor had used the Empire State Building as a lightning rod to create a bigger blast. Tony moved forward with creating a small device that could be worn or placed on Mjolnir, his hammer to channel a thousand times what the Empire State Building could. Additionally, he made Thor identity documents and credit cards which would allow him to move about in secret.
Although Bruce had already agreed to be an Avenger, Tony took the time to do something for him. While he was in the shower one day, he took all his clothes. An irritated and thankfully not angry Bruce Banner stomped down to Tony's lab in a towel. There Tony presented him with new clothing made of material which he'd gotten from Reed Richards (not blue). It was fitted and designed to keep him decent whether he was the Hulk or himself.
Bruce seemed touched by the gift but only joked dryly, "You just got tired of seeing my butt crack."
Construction was now finally done on the Avengers Tower and Tony Stark had finished his last gift. He was ready to gather the Avengers and he knew who he had to approach first.
A/N: I've done a lot reading on the Avengers since the Movie and wanted to add those touches. The Marvel Wiki is wonderful.
If you read the comics, you know that eventually Tony will become an alcoholic. I wanted to give Tony the fear that alcohol could be a problem for him.
In the next chapter Tony browbeats Steve into joining the Avengers.
I'm grateful for reviews.