DISCLAIMER: I do not own the film MARVEL'S The Avengers, nor any of its events or characters – I am just borrowing them for play.
I also take no responsibility for anyone who thinks the contract I typed up can be used in court. There are another few pages that aren't included that are crucial to the document - and even with those I'm not sure of how accurate the template I used is for a true legal proceeding.
Chapter One: Settle
"What – you think I can't keep an eye on him all by myself?" Tony interrogated, insulted. Director Fury sat calmly behind an immaculate glass desk, the holographic interface currently dark as he effortlessly ignored the rant aimed at him. "I don't need the rest of the team there for security – I thought one of the reasons for this was that JARVIS can watch everything? And, come on, are you asking for trouble – all of us living together with Loki?"
"You seemed to be quite cozy when talking about his magic yesterday."
"Sure, but living together's something else. And we're practically strangers!"
Fury raised an eyebrow. "You already offered Dr. Banner a place to stay."
"Well yeah," he replied with a roll of his eyes, "He's my Science Bro."
"And I know you're not complaining about unrestricted access to Loki's magic – so it's the rest of the Avengers that you have an issue with.
"Well, I've got news for you, Stark," he said, leaning forward and folding his hands on the surface of the desk, "they're going to be living with you. Your complaints are childish and I'm not about to indulge you. You have enough space to give each one their own floor, and it'll benefit us to have you all together if something comes up.
"So deal with it."
Tony huffed and stormed back out into the halls of the Helicarrier, a minuscule pout on his lips at his arguments not having been taken seriously. Living with people was a big deal – you had to adjust to others' routines and habits. Many friendships had been ruined first year at college by deciding to room with a friend and all of a sudden knowing way too much about them. And this time it's with strangers! We know squat real shit about each other (with the exception of Clint and Natasha, which I'm not going to ask about) – we were thrown together because of our skills.
But now, we have to live together. I can't believe Fury's forcing us to do this. I mean, my place was chosen for all the security detail, the rest of them don't need to be there. Bruce could, of course, but he's not expecting anything of me – wandering through third-world countries without access to my public rep. You'd think Fury'd want us all separate. Sure, that point about being in one place to call to take care of world takeovers is fine, but you'd think he wouldn't want the others around me for very long.
I know my habits, and if even Pepper's frustrated with them forcing the team to suffer them is only going to break us up – affect our ability to work together. Which is why this is beyond a bad idea.
He shook his head as he walked into the hanger where he had left his suit, pulling out his phone and remotely powering it up. He stepped onto the bases of the boots and inserted his hands into the gauntlets as the pieces separated from one another, standing still so to allow the metal alloy suit to encase his body. Once the faceplate was down he asked, "You up, Jarv?"
"As always, sir," the AI answered as Tony signalled an agent to open one of the doors, the panel sliding down to expose the hanger to the thrashing winds of the elevated altitude the Helicarrier was soaring through. "Systems are functional and prepared for use."
"Perfect – direct power to thrusters," he ordered as he moved to the exit and dived out, JARVIS answering, 'Already done, sir,' as he took to the air.
"Also notify Miss Potts of my chat with Nick – I'm sure she'll be getting a lot of paperwork from SHIELD."
"Right away, sir."
After the announcement that they were going to be stationed out of Stark Tower instead of the airborne SHIELD vessel, the members of the Avengers quickly packed their things. None of them had an especially large amount to bring with them, Thor owning nothing himself as well as Bruce only having a few items of clothing. Steve kept his possessions in his Brooklyn apartment so he only had to pack the couple sets of clothing he had brought, his uniform, and his shield, deciding to return to his apartment later to cart over some more of his things. The two assassins have always travelled light, and in fact already had a bag of necessities prepared in case they were sent off quickly.
Clint was adding some more clothes and a few more weapons to his couple duffle bags when he felt someone's gaze settle heavily on his back. Without hesitation he grasped the Glock he had been packing and spun with the pistol in hand. At the sight of Loki's smirk, his finger twitched over the trigger.
"Hello, my hawk," he greeted, revealing a few more teeth in his grin at the sight of Clint's clenched jaw.
"What the fuck are you doing here?" he asked, reaching back without turning away from Loki so to grab a thigh holster from the open pocket of his pack. He strapped it to his leg and forced himself to put the gun away, comforted in part that it was kept within easy reach.
"I found myself bored waiting for my 'guard' to fetch me from my quarters," Loki explained, gaze roaming around the sparsely furnished bedroom. "I believe the Director is postponing my leave until your team is prepared to depart to Stark's tower as well."
"So he told you what's up then?" he concluded, purposefully relaxing his posture in order to mask his agitation at the other's presence. I'm going to have to become accustomed to him – especially if this seeking-me-out thing is going to be the norm…
"Well, yes – I was sent a short notice," he admitted, "but I had stumbled upon the conversation where they were originally figuring out all the details beforehand. Completely unintentionally."
"I'm sure," Clint snorted, zipping up his duffels. He slung one across his back along with his quiver, and draped the other over his shoulder. "You keeping tabs on everything around here?" he questioned as he picked up his collapsed bow, snapping his arm forward sharply to extend the weapon.
"Just events of importance," he responded, returning his attention onto him.
He narrowed his eyes in suspicion, but chose not to continue his inquiry. "I'm done here," he announced instead, waving Loki towards the door. "You first." I'm NOT turning my back to you.
"How kind," Loki said mockingly, exiting into the hall first.
Clint inhaled deeply before allowing the breath to escape through grit teeth, following after the god.
They walked side by side through the hallway, Loki's longer strides making it appear as though Clint was half a step behind and following him. He knew how it looked to the agents they passed, but he chose not to make a fool of himself powerwalking for the sole reason of disabusing them of their notions. They already thought the worst of him already.
When he saw Natasha stepping out of her room up ahead with her bags though, he defended himself when her eyebrows twitched as though wanting to rise up in disbelief. "Look who appeared in my room," he said with a forced smile.
She read his unwillingness immediately, and directed her stony expression onto Loki, who greeted, "Agent Romanoff."
"Loki," she replied before musing guardedly, "Fury didn't mention we'd be taking you with us."
"That would be because I'm travelling separately. In fact, the good Director is at my door now," Loki proclaimed, somewhat surprised at the alert from the defensive ward outside his suite. "I shall see you later, Clinton," he promised, allowing a fleeting nod of farewell toward Natasha before he vanished.
Clint closed his eyes for a second as he let escape a sigh of relief before he returned to the eased state of readiness that was his default. "Yo," he said with a small, real smile as he began to pass her.
She scrutinized his expression and posture carefully before answering with a 'hi', joining him in his continuation towards the hanger they had been called to. "How many times has he done that?"
"What – appeared in my room? Just this once," he responded. "But with how he toyed with me yesterday during – and after – that 'interrogation' (if it can be called that), I'm thinking it's going to be a regular thing," he confessed, apprehensive. "I'm not looking forward to this."
"I don't think any of us are."
"Stark and Banner are, for science," he said derisively. "And so's Thor – as compromised as he is."
"We're all a bit compromised on this one," she admitted. "Can you adjust to it? You were dealing, but with him searching you out…"
"I can do it," Clint asserted. "I've just got to work past it all."
"Director," Loki welcomed as Fury entered the passcode and his fingerprint so to open the heavy electronic door. He was lounged across the two-cushioned sofa with a chessboard hovering over his stomach, the grid level so to balance the pieces in the middle of play. He waved his hand and the conjured game dispersed into a fine mist. "Am I to ready myself for departure?"
"Not yet," he remarked, taking the central seat of the couch across from him. Loki sat upright and crossed one leg over the other, clasping his hands over his knee as he leaned forward in intrigue. "As the agreement between us has been approved, you've got to sign this," he declared, reaching into the inner pocket of his long leather trench coat to pull out a sheaf of papers. He laid them on the glass coffee table before spinning them around so they were upright from Loki's perspective.
Loki seized the documents and leant back into the cushions as he perused their content.
INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR AGREEMENT
This Independent Contractor Agreement ("Agreement") is made and entered into by the undersigned parties:
The Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division
(the corporation/organization known as the "Company")
(the extraterrestrial being known as the "Contractor")
In consideration of the promises, rights, and obligations set forth below, the parties hereby agree as follows:
The term of this Agreement shall begin on the day this document is signed and continue until terminated as set forth in this Agreement.
The Contractor will provide the following services:
-Shall be responsible for explaining the Contractor's magical theory and/or practices to any scientist under the Company (that are confirmed to have the appropriate clearance levels) that inquires about the topic.
-Shall willingly submit to any testing that is deemed beneficial to the Company's understanding of the aforementioned field of study.
-Shall aid the Company in the intellectual and/or physical opposition of any external or internal threats that are caused by or interfere with the Contractor's participation in this Agreement.
The Contractor shall take direction from the Company's board of directors, i.e. the World Security Council. Additional services or amendments to the services described above may be agreed upon between the parties.
Subject to providing the services as outlined above, the Contractor will be compensated through:
-The defense of his person against any and all beings that would remove him from the obligations of this Agreement, i.e. the extraterrestrials known as the Ӕsir, the Chitauri, and/or any individuals that associate themselves with the two threats aforementioned.
-The provision of any and all materials required for the testing and/or understanding of the Contractor's magic.
-The arrangement and coverage of the Contractor's boarding, should he or she be in need.
The Contractor will provide the Contractor's services to the mutual benefit of both parties undersigned.
-The Contractor agrees to behave in such a way to not actively harm in any emotional, mental, psychological, and/or physical manner those that are associated with the Company that do not aim to interfere with the obligations of the Agreement.
-The Contractor agrees that any infringement upon the aforementioned condition will result in the Agreement and thereby the compensation requirements outlined above to become void and will allow the Company to seek a monetary fine and/or legal proceedings, if not the act of physical confrontation, in compensation for reparation of the resultant consequences, be they in relation to the Company's employees, consultants, reputation, assets, and/or future business.
The Contractor will provide the Contractor's services to the Company as an independent contractor and not as an employee.
-The Contractor agrees that as an independent contractor, the Contractor will not be qualified to participate in or to receive any employee benefits that the Company may extend to its employees.
-The Contractor is not free to provide services to other clients, as such other clients are in competition with the Company, unless otherwise stated, and are thereby in interference with the Contractor's contractual obligations to the Company.
-The Contractor has no authority to and will not exercise or hold itself out as having any authority to enter into or conclude any contract or to undertake any commitment or obligation for, in the name of or on behalf of the Company.
5. Confidentiality and Intellectual Property
The Contractor hereby acknowledges that he or she has read and agrees to be bound by the terms and conditions of the Company's confidentiality and proprietary information agreement attached hereto as Schedule "A" an which forms an integral part of this Agreement.
The Contractor hereby represents and warrants to the Company that it is not party to any written or oral agreement with any third party that would restrict its ability to enter into this Agreement or the Confidentiality and Proprietary Information Agreement or to perform the Contractor's obligations hereunder and that the Contractor will not, by providing services to the Company, breach any non-disclosure, proprietary rights, non-competition, non-solicitation, or other covenant in favour of any third party.
The independent contractor relationship contemplated by this Agreement is not set to conclude until the completion of the Contractor's service. The Contractor agrees that an advance notice of 60 days and reasoning deemed acceptable by the Company is required in the event that the relationship terminates before the outlined condition.
The Contractor agrees that the Company may terminate this Agreement at any time if the Contractor is in breach of any of the terms of this Agreement so long as the Contractor is notified of, and acquiesces to the unalterable consequences of, the breach before termination.
7. Obligations Surviving Termination of this Agreement
All obligations to preserve the Company's Confidential Information, Intellectual Property, and other warranties and representations set forth herein shall survive the termination of this Agreement.
8. Entire Agreement
This Agreement, together with the Confidentiality and Proprietary Information Agreement, represents the entire agreement between the parties and the provisions of this Agreement shall supersede all prior oral and written commitments, contracts, and understandings with respect to the subject matter of this Agreement. This Agreement may be amended only by mutual agreement of the party.
9. Governing Law and Principles of Construction
This Agreement shall be governed and construed in accordance with existing United States of America law. If any provision in this Agreement is declared illegal or unenforceable, the provision will become void, leaving the remainder of this Agreement in full force and effect.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have caused this Agreement to be executed by their duly authorized representatives, effective as of the date first above specified.
Neither of the spaces below were signed for as of yet, the Director evidently awaiting Loki's judgement of the draft before committing his signature to the papers. He continued to read through the following Confidentiality and Proprietary Information Agreement, covering SHIELD's rights over any knowledge he gains regarding their organization as well as their rights to anything that is developed through his interaction with them.
Loki hummed in interested, stating, "I'm surprised by the equality established in these conditions."
"I was advised you'd be more cooperative if we didn't try to pull anything," Fury admitted.
He nodded. "Well, yes – it is obviously a display of your belief in my capability to catch such a thing. And sincere flattery is quite compelling…
"Have you a pen?"
Director Fury allowed the muscles in his shoulders to relax at the query, reaching without question into the opposite pocket from which he had retrieved the documents to pull out a pen. He handed it over as Loki uncrossed his legs and leaned forward to lay the papers on the surface of the low table between them. Loki signed his name with a flourish twice, where indicated, rather fond of the fact that he was deemed son of no one; he was an individual without inheritance from anyone whom he would call Father.
When Loki turned the agreement back towards him and held out the pen, Fury took a hold of it and flipped through the pages to sign his name on behalf of SHIELD.
"Anthony Edward Stark!"
Tony winced when he heard his name ring out in a shrill call that undeniably belonged to Pepper. He wished he could say that this occasion was unique – her whipping out the full name – but it wasn't. "Erm, hey Pep!" he called as he turned away from the couple of men currently reinforcing the bedframe. "One more a floor above, guys," he instructed as he strode out of the room and into the common area of the floor.
Pepper's knuckles were white at the pressure exerted as she clutched her clipboard, and her eyebrows were furrowed. "Why don't you tell me, Tony," she started as she marched towards him, her stilettos thankfully unable to intimidate through foreboding clacks once she crossed onto the carpeted floor, "why SHIELD just emailed me forms that cover Loki's board here?"
"Ah, well, he's going to be living here?" he tried to state, but her glower caused his voice to lilt up at the tail end.
"I know, Jarvis told me," she growled before her shoulders suddenly slumped. She sighed, "Tony, why did you agree to it?" as she abruptly lost her fearsome visage and seemed to collapse in on herself with worry.
"Hey, hey," he soothed, hurrying to her and guiding her to sit on one of the couches. He placed her clipboard on the coffee table and held her hands in his as he sat beside her, twisting so to face her. "We said we'd work to help him, right?"
"Yes, but having him live here? At SHIELD if he became violent they have agents to deal with it!"
"All the Avengers are moving in too – to keep an eye on things, alright? It'll be fine."
"They're all going to be living here?" she asked, shocked. The two workmen that Tony had been talking to before left the previous room they were in and carted long metal beams into the stairwell. "And what are they doing?"
"I'm having them reinforce a few of the beds with a steel alloy," he explained. At her raised eyebrow he justified, "I think it's necessary, with two Asgardians and a super soldier living here. I'm not saying they're going to get up to anything… Though if they do I hope those frames hold, or else I'm going to have to custom-make a stronger alloy-"
"Right, but seriously, Peps, I heard about the Capsicle accidently tearing off a bedpost at his place in Brooklyn – and he's not as strong as the aliens we're going to have crashing here."
She removed her hands from his and rubbed her temples. "I forgot about them… I was so worried about Loki attacking you guys that I didn't think of the accidents the others could cause that could hurt you."
"I'm going to be fine, Pep," he reassured. "My security's part of the reason Fury chose this place. Jarvis' on all the time keeping watch – aren't you, J?"
"Indeed I am, sir. I monitor all going-ons in every residence that I am installed, and shall continue to do so. If there is any threat to Sir's wellbeing, Miss Potts, rest assured that I shall contact the proper authorities so to handle it."
"I trust you, Jarvis," she said with a small smile.
"You'd better, he's my most brilliant kid," Tony teased with a smirk.
"That is an interesting paradigm, sir, as you cannot function without me," the AI intoned.
"Don't get cocky now."
"It was you who created me, sir."
"Ouch, right in the heart," he gasped dramatically. Glancing over at Pepper, he smiled warmly and promised, "I'll be okay."
She nodded before standing, grabbing her clipboard. Tony protested immediately, "Woah, I'm going to be surrounded by upright morals soon – we've got to get up to some debauchery in the public areas while we can!"
She rolled her eyes and flipped through the pages she had carried in, ordering 'Sign here' as she handed him a pen. "Well, apparently I've got to fix the budget to account for all the food your team's going to need, not to mention the money you'll throw away at the beginning to impress them."
"I don't do that," he denied instantly. "And what am I signing?" he added, careless of the fact that he had already followed her command.
"The forms Director Fury sent," she enlightened. "We're responsible for Loki. SHIELD will cover up and repair any damage he might cause, but while living here you, Tony, and Jarvis are responsible for keeping him happy with the arrangement he agreed on. That means you can't just keep him locked up in your lab while you poke and prod him for days while you, and through you, he, don't eat or sleep."
"I know that," he huffed.
"We're also responsible for feeding and clothing him, obviously, and ensuring his mental and physical wellbeing. Plus, any damage to persons, places, or things proved to be caused through the Avengers' actions is billed to us," she finished. "Which makes more sense if they are living here."
"We have to pay if any of them screw up too? How's that fair?" Tony questioned rhetorically.
"I was also given a copy of the agreement Loki signed with SHIELD," she continued. "Jarvis, could you transfer the draft to Tony's server, please? I'd rather not have anyone try and attack the company for the information."
"Of course, Miss Potts," Jarvis replied.
"Private, secure server, Jarv," Tony corrected. "Should definitely not be shown to the public yet."
Clint and Natasha arrived in one of the hangers that led out onto the unprotected tarmac runway to find the expected three teammates already present. Thor greeted them with an enthusiastic, "Isn't this wonderful, my friends? We are to be living with my brother and he has sworn not to harm us!"
Bruce abruptly aborted the disbelieving shake of his head, not wanting to ruin Thor's fervour. Natasha, however, remarked, "Don't get carried away. We're not sure what he's agreed to, exactly – there may be room for him to take advantage of the situation, more than he has already."
"I care more about him have access to all of Stark's tech," Clint muttered.
"Let's hope he can't hack into his mainframe," Fury interjected, arriving in the hanger. "I've sent a copy of the contract to Miss Potts, so you'll have access to the terms – if he needs reminding.
"Loki is a priority right now. We need to know who's coming after him and all their strengths and weaknesses. We'll also need to know as much about his magic as we can, and see if there's a way to either advance or assimilate it into our tech to combat anyone who uses it.
"We'll always be watching, so if anything comes up we'll be informed immediately and will help you if necessary. If there's anything anyone'd like to report, you know how to contact us."
The Director waited for nods of confirmation from them all before he explained, "You five will be taking a jet to Stark's place with Loki following with a squad of agents in another. Dismissed."
The hatch was opened and they all strode out onto the tarmac, making their way to the awaiting Quinjet. Director Fury watched them as they boarded the craft, remaining a few minutes more to see her take off, and then made his way back to the bridge.
In the security room, he reminded the agents that were leading Loki out to the other aircraft through his earpiece that the god was an important consultant of SHIELD now and to treat him as such, regardless of their thoughts on his actions. Once the jet had taken off, Fury commanded the agent monitoring the screen that displayed the interior of the Quinjet Loki resided in to remain vigilant and to alert him directly if any conflict occurred.
He allowed his tensed muscles to relax as he walked through the halls of the Helicarrier. The reality of Loki agreeing to work with them and the advantages that were already apparent provided a state of relative ease that had been absent since the god had first appeared. A source of information on otherworldly magic and potentially hostile beings has signed on as an informant; Loki's living situation is now under the responsibility of Stark, as is that of all the Avengers; the Avengers Initiative is assembled and gathered in one place if use of them is needed again.
Fury felt as though SHIELD finally had the resources in order to be prepared for any imminent catastrophe.
Then he stepped over the threshold of his office and saw a plain DVD case resting on the surface of his desk. He froze and drew his gun before understanding the situation, and then he sighed.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Apparently an M rating means coarse language and adult themes, fit for ages 16 and older...
So, due to some of the swearing I'm falling into with Tony, the sophisticated language I'm using casually, the descriptions of violence I'm including, and the content regarding mature emotional, mental, and psychological issues I've been forced to change the rating to coincide with FanFiction's rules ;P That's the only reason for the rating.
Drop a review guys!