This something that just popped into my head when I was reading something else (on AO3 I think) so I just had to write it. Even though I'm not writing one-shots... Really... (Please read and review xx)

The first time that the army tries to take back Bruce Banner (who is not property) claiming he is wild and dangerous (which is also not true, except for perhaps the wild bit - India is a bit out there after all) it is entirely legal. None of the Avengers know (except for Tony, who is just paranoid like that) that when the army politely sends forwards a petition, they are stopped by a very bland faced Phil Coulson (and boy, the Avengers had had Fury's head over that one) and an equally polite counter proposal that basically tells them where to stick it, delivered by equally bland lawyers. (And they are good at their jobs - SHIELD hires them after all.)

Ross's goons look faintly surprised that their petition has fallen through, which in turn surprises Coulson (not that you'd be able to tell). Surely they hadn't thought it would be that easy?


The second time is also mostly legal. In fact its Tony that does the illegal stuff that time, as he is prone to do and casually rearranges for several road blocks to be set up, unfortunately all en route to the mansion (where the Avengers have decided to move, at least temporarily. The X-Men can handle New York).

They don't even make it to the driveway. (And it is well worth the scolding Coulson attempts to give him. He's never been that good at listening to people. Anyway Coulson is well used to the paperwork by now. He's worked with Clint for years. He has to be.)


The third time is when the others start to notice (although Tony's sure that Clint and Natasha have already noticed something going on, even if they don't know what yet). The cars, this time making it past the road blocks, make it halfway up the driveway before, for some reason, they mysteriously turn back and for the rest of the day Natasha and Clint look entirely too pleased with themselves (for reasons Steve, Thor and Bruce will never know about) and Tony re-watches the video feed six more times.

He falls off his chair twelve times though (and isn't there that saying that for every fifteen minutes of laughter, you gain an extra day? Tony's just added an entire week.)


The fourth time is when things start to get underhanded. Luckily Tony is forewarned (and very paranoid) so Bruce isn't actually in the building when men in black swarm the mansion. Instead he's tucked up in bed at the Tower.

They all are.

Ross's goons are very annoyed to have spent the last four hours, at night, in the middle of December, breaking into an empty mansion. They are even less pleased when JARVIS executes intruder protocols and they all narrowly miss out on losing limbs.

It's a shame. Maybe then they would stop trying.


The Avengers get an early morning Christmas present.

Very early morning Christmas present.

Tony stumbles downstairs at three o'clock in the morning, dressed to impress, to find his very irate girlfriend shrieking like a banshee at a group of cowed men, many of which are still wearing ski masks and look like something out of a bad spy film. Maybe they could take tips from Natasha whilst they're there.

Wow, he thinks. If they're this afraid of Pepper, maybe this will be even easier than he'd anticipated. (He doesn't blame them though, Pepper is very scary when she is mad. And believe him he would know.)

He reminds Pepper to keep it down. The others aren't supposed to know that they have guests. Although Natasha is just scary like that. (Sometimes she's worse than Pepper.)


Presents are also for New Year, Tony learns. He gets a kiss from Pepper (and maybe more later on) and a smile from Captain America (which, don't tell him, he's wanted since he was about four years old, before he realised that no matter what he did Howard would never pay him any more attention) and Natasha doesn't attempt to kill or severely maim him. She doesn't even threaten to. Coulson doesn't threaten taze him (although he's already done so ninety six times in the seven months since the Battle of New York, capitalised by the vultures that are the press, so maybe he's just realised it's getting a bit old), Clint doesn't disappear into the vents at all (which is unexpected) and he gets a hug from Bruce (which is expected).

He also gets a SWAT team halfway to Bruce's balcony. (That is expected.)

When will these people learn?

(This time no one is seriously injured but Tony is getting mildly irritated and Natasha finds out afterwards and is likely to kill someone next time just to prove a point.)


Next time it involves General Ross himself (who is even more of an ass in real life) and Steve and Thor find out what Tony has been doing in his spare time.

Thor is impressed with the many plans Tony already has in place.

Steve is just annoyed that he hadn't been told about what was happening.


The eighth time is also the last time (which is lucky because Natasha is starting to get annoyed, and no one that annoys Natasha lives for long and for goodness sake they're just trying to stop Ross, not kill him).

It's also when Bruce finds out that Tony and Clint's latest bonding activities have consisted of coming up of increasingly creative ways to deal with a certain General (both of them are impressed with the others imagination) and attempting to work out the best place to stick either an arrow or direct a blaster.

He isn't happy (but at least he isn't angry. The Hulk might like everyone on the team - Tony more than others, for reasons the others cannot fathom - but no one likes to see him angry).

In fact he's more shocked that there are people out there that care so much about him. (And this makes Tony snap, so it's no wonder that Ross doesn't try to come back again. It's worse though that Clint takes Tony's ire as a personal challenge and attempts to outdo him using the fleeing goons).

And after that Tony is left to explain his behaviour of the last few months (oh, so that's why we moved back to the Tower, I thought it was because the renovation were complete) and Coulson is left with an awful lot of paperwork. (Why does he work with this team again?)