A/N: Based off the prompt from Equine Authoress. "Tony manages to get tickets for the summer Olympics for the Avengers. Who's the U.S.'s star swimmer competing? Perseus Jackson of course! Director Fury has sent them to try and recruit the amazing swimmer/demigod. (Set where SHIELD knows a little bit about the Greek demigods."
**Thanks for the prompt! I had fun with it. Now, we must take certain things into account when reading this: one, I had no idea what I was doing with the Olympic part of the info. This is all entirely made up, and I can blame it on the fanfiction part of it! Two, this will be a two or three-shot. It would have been much too long, so I decided to split it up. More info at the bottom, if you want.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Avengers or Percy Jackson. If I did, everything would be as incorrect as this thing.
They Were Free
"You know, it's funny, Tony, I could have sworn you said this was a vacation."
Natasha Romanov wasn't happy. After weeks without a break, the Avengers were finally having some off time. It was hard earned, and the team was excited to have some time to bond while not specifically on duty.
Now, Tony was telling her that they had to go on a recruiting mission.
"I thought it was a vacation, too!" Tony defended. "Fury's just a manipulative little—"
"Sorry, did I just hear that this wasn't a vacation?" Clint interrupted, coming into the livingroom that Tony and Natasha were currently arguing in.
Tony sighed heavily. "Yes. I thought, just this once, we were going to take a break. But apparently, Fury's got different plans."
"What's new?" Clint rolled his eyes. "I'm going to go get the others."
It took a few minutes, but the team was finally rounded up into one room. "Explain, Tony," Natasha said icily.
Tony held up his hands in a placating manner. "I had no idea that we would have to work when I took the tickets, I swear! Fury told me that he was going to give us a vacation in Greece to watch the Summer Olympics since we totally deserved it. Then today he calls me today and says that oh, by the way, this isn't actually a break. He needs us to do a 'simple little mission.' Can you believe him?"
Bruce pinched the bridge of his nose. "And we all have to go now, don't we?"
"Sorry, science bro. We're in this together."
Natasha knew something like this was going to happen. She just knew it. The one time for a break, and now they have to work during it. "You didn't think to ask why he was giving us these tickets, Tony? Fury always has ulterior motives."
Tony had the graces to look a little sheepish. "They were free." Natasha rolled her eyes. Genius billionaire playboy philanthropists these days, she thought exasperatedly.
"So what exactly do we have to do on this mission?" Steve cut in before Natasha could strangle Tony.
"Like I told Natasha, it's a recruiting mission," Tony said, cautiously glancing at Natasha. "Apparently, there's this kid from Manhattan who's a ridiculously good swimmer. Like, inhumanly good, if you catch my drift. He's got special powers, and Fury wants us to recruit him to the SHIELD Initiative."
"What is his name?" Thor asked curiously. Natasha had a sneaking suspicion he knew more than he was letting on, or was at least about to figure it out.
"Um, it was Perseus Jackson, I think," Tony said after a moment's thought. "Weird name. I think he goes by Percy, though."
Thor's eyes had gone very wide. "Are you quite sure that is his name?"
"Pretty sure, yeah. Perseus isn't a name people generally forget," Tony pointed out.
Thor smiled. "This will be a great honor. I have heard many stories about him in the halls of Asgard."
"You know about him?" Clint asked. "Who is he? He isn't a threat, is he?"
Thor laughed, the sound loud and booming. "He is only a threat to his enemies, which I can assure you are the enemy of all just and righteous people."
"Okay, good," Tony said, seeming marginally more relieved. "I don't want to deal with psychopaths. But who is he?"
"He is a great hero and warrior. Stories of his battles and quests are told frequently in Asgard to young children." Thor's eyes got a faraway look to them. Natasha thought he must have been remembering the stories himself. "Everyone knows of Perseus Jackson and his comrades."
Tony's mouth was slightly ajar. "Thor, this is a kid. He's only eighteen. Are you sure you have the right guy?"
Thor nodded emphatically. "Indeed, I do. As to whom his father is, it is Poseidon."
Natasha frowned. This was new. SHIELD had told the Avengers that the Greek gods had existed, but the team had never had to deal with anything related to the subject. "That would explain why he's so good at swimming."
"I am surprised that he has entered the Olympics, though," Thor said, frowning. "He is a very humble warrior. It is not in his nature to do anything that draws attention to himself intentionally."
Bruce shrugged. "Beats me. Anything else we should know about this kid?"
"He has saved the world twice," Thor put in casually. "I believe that is quite notable."
"Twice?" Steve asked in disbelief. "Heroes start too early these days," he murmured, shaking his head.
"When are we leaving, Tony?" Clint asked resignedly.
Tony closed his eyes for a moment. "At three o'clock today," he said without opening them. He looked like a man about to be hung for his crimes.
"I thought we were leaving at five o'clock!" Natasha accused.
"Fury moved it up so we would have time to get set up before we confronted the kid," Tony said guiltily.
"By the way, how are we even going to do that?" Bruce asked. "He's an Olympic swimmer. We can't just kidnap him for an hour and talk to him."
"Fury said he had it all worked out," Tony informed him. "Don't ask me how, he just does. Knowing Fury, we're all going to get blindsided by this, and the kid's going to get spooked and accidently drown us or something with his fishy powers."
"I do not believe that is very likely, Tony. Perseus Jackson has had six years of training to get his powers under control, so it highly improbable he will drown you," Thor said seriously. Natasha could see the glint of humor in his eyes, though. Thor wasn't as ignorant of "Midgardian sayings" as he put himself out there to be. Despite herself, Natasha smiled. Thor was different and unusual at first, but you learned to get used to him after a while. He was interesting to have around, to say the least.
"Yeah yeah, big guy. You know what I mean," Tony said good-naturedly, waving a hand in Thor's direction. He clapped his hands together once. "Alright guys, we need to pack for our vacation slash work…thing." Tony flailed a little on the last word, but managed to spit out something resembling what this "thing" was.
"Meet back here in an hour or so?" Bruce suggested.
Everyone nodded and voiced their agreements, and the group went off to their rooms, mentally comprising a list of what needed to be packed.
"Ah, isn't it beautiful over here?" Natasha sighed. It was certainly better than the backstreets and alleys of Los Angeles for a mission, she thought. She had hated that mission.
"It's a nice break from the city," Steve agreed.
The team stood loosely gathered in a circle, gazing around in appreciation of the cobblestoned streets in the area. Natasha smiled. Even though this was a recruiting mission, it was still going to be fun. It was a hot day, and the sun was burning brightly in the sky. The roads leading off from the one they were on wound lazily off in different directions, and beautiful vines clung to every stable surface they could find, giving the place a peaceful, relaxing mood. Athens, Greece, was certainly a dazzling place.
"Are we gonna walk to our room?" Tony asked. "I don't know how far it is from here."
Bruce frowned. "Tony, you were supposed to remember the directions. Didn't you look that up on the way here?"
"Oh, that," Tony said dismissively. His eyes grew brighter as he continued to talk. "I forgot about that when I got this cool idea about a new material to wear instead of just spandex that had protective padding but the same form and design and look to it and really it's a cool design and just needs some tweaking and I think—" Clint cut Tony off mid-word vomit.
"Luckily for us, I looked it up," Clint said. And really, Natasha was pretty sure she could kiss him for that. Because while it was a nice day outside, it was hot. Natasha could definitely see herself sweating through a few shirts on this mission slash vacation. "It's just three blocks from here," Clint continued. "The place where they're holding the swim events is only about two blocks from our hotel." He pointed to left, where Natasha guessed the hotel was.
"Let us go," Thor said, wiping his brow. "I do not believe that I can manage comfortably much longer in this heat."
"Right there with you, buddy," Tony agreed, starting off in the direction of air-conditioning. "I'm pretty sure the Dead Sea is filled with the sweat of the people who come here during the summer."
"You know, when I was kid, I didn't have air-conditioning," Steve put in, starting to follow Tony. The rest of the team took up the space behind Steve. "Don't be a baby, Tony."
Tony turned around to begin walking backwards and shook his head. "This kind of heat makes me genuinely fear hellfire."
"Don't be melodramatic, you giant girl," Natasha teased. "People might think you're having a certain time of the month."
Tony grinned at Natasha like a Cheshire cat. "How do you know I don't, Tasha?"
Natasha shoved his shoulder and turned to look at Clint. "Why don't you lead the way since Tony sure as heck doesn't know what he's doing?"
Clint shrugged. "Sure. But I have a question." Natasha nodded for him to continue, and everyone looked at him expectantly. "Does Tony ever know what he's doing?" he asked seriously.
The team laughed while Tony pouted indignantly. "Okay, you're all just jealous," he proclaimed.
"Definitely his time of the month," Bruce stage whispered to Natasha, his eyes sparkling with humor. Natasha laughed again, enjoying the carefree back-and-forth between the team.
Gosh, it felt good to laugh and smile. It wasn't like she didn't do it all—it was impossible not to laugh with all of them living in the same tower—but it just seemed like it was a lot lighter and abundant on this trip.
"So, besides what we're supposed to do, what else do you guys want to do on this macation?" Tony asked after a few seconds of silence. He was obviously too excited to remember he was supposed to be irritated at the team.
"May-cay-tion?" Steve wondered out loud, slowly saying the syllables. He looked at Natasha with a confused is-that-another-new-thing-I-don't-know-about glance. Since he had gotten back, he and Natasha had had this silent agreement that she would help him out with anything that confused him. The others still helped him, but he usually turned to Natasha first, out of instinct. Natasha raised her eyebrows and shook her head at him. She didn't know what Tony meant any more than Steve did.
"Macation," Tony repeated in a duh voice. "As in mission and vacation combined, but mostly just vacation since this is mostly just vacation."
Thor swept his blonde hair out of his eyes while staring at Tony with his typical baffled face when talking about things he didn't know about. "Is this a Midgardian thing?" he finally asked.
"It's a Tony thing," Bruce corrected. "Where did you even get that, Tony?"
"That's an original Tony saying," he said smugly. He turned to the right with Clint. "I just made it up, so it's a thing now. But you guys still didn't answer my question. What do you wanna do?"
"I want to try some of the food around here," Natasha said. "And maybe some of their big kid drinks. Sorry, Tony, I think you'll have to stick with juice while the adults have some fun."
"I can almost hold as much liquor as you," Tony shot back.
"No one can beat a Russian," Natasha said, grinning. "I so beat you."
"I want to go see the sights," Steve said, interrupting whatever Tony was about to say. "It's not every day you're in Greece on a vaca—I mean macation," Steve corrected himself hastily at Tony's Look. "I probably won't get another chance to see this for a while, and it might be a mission if I do."
"I'm up for that," Clint said. "Everything else we can just play by the moment. How long are we staying here, Tony?"
"Counting today, we've got five days," Tony said, counting on his fingers. "So, plan accordingly, young grasshoppers."
"When does Percy Jackson swim?" Thor asked. "We must plan around his swimming schedule it seems."
"He swims tomorrow and the next two days, but after that we're free to do whatever before SHIELD drags us back to Avengers' Tower," he answered. "I'd have to check the times."
The team and Natasha took another right, and she saw the hotel they were staying in up ahead. She wiped her forehead, rubbing the sweat on her shorts. It was really, really hot, she thought. They'd have to remember to drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration… Natasha shook her head. This wasn't a real mission. She didn't need to worry about survival like this. It wasn't the desert. She had the team to watch her back, anyway.
"This isn't the worst macation I've ever been on," Natasha mused aloud.
"Of course, it isn't!" Tony exclaimed. "I'm on it."
"And it goes downhill from here," Natasha muttered drily as they walked through the doors of the hotel.
If Tony heard Natasha, he ignored her. He walked up to the check-in counter and flashed a smile at the receptionist. "We had the Penthouse suite, I think," he said, automatically putting on the charm. The poor girl didn't stand a chance, Natasha thought. She blushed and tripped her way over to where their key was and handed it to Tony. She stuttered something about it being on the fifteenth floor. Tony grinned. "Thanks... Whitney," he said, looking at her name tag.
Natasha was certain Tony was going to give the young girl a coronary. And at such a young age, Natasha lamented, trying not to be amused by this whole thing. Natasha pushed Tony forward in the back and snatched the keys from him. He gave her a dirty look, and she raised an eyebrow challengingly at him in response. He rolled his eyes finally after a few moments, and they moved toward the elevator, but not without another a sly smile from Tony thrown in the receptionist's direction.
Once the elevator doors were closed, Natasha very pointedly didn't look at him and asked, "Really, Tony?"
"What?" Tony asked innocently. "I didn't even do anything."
"She's about fifteen years younger than you," Natasha said mildly still looking straight ahead, already knowing what his answer would be.
"I know." Tony smirked. "But it's oh so amusing to see people get themselves in a fluster."
"Watch your back tonight, Tony," Natasha tossed over her shoulder as she walked out of the elevator to their room, which took up half the floor. "I'm feeling pranksy. Clint'll help me." She chuckled as she heard him shout "That's an unfair advantage!" behind her.
Maybe this macation wouldn't be that bad.
"So," Steve said over his bowl of Cheerios the next morning. "What's the plan for today?"
"I checked the times for his swim competitions," Tony said through a mouth of toast. "He has one a day. The time for today's is at five o'clock."
"How exactly are we going to do this, anyway?" Bruce asked, pushing his glasses up. He was on his fourth egg that he cooked. He certainly didn't look like he ate a lot, Natasha thought, but he knew how to put away some food. "Just walk up to him and tell him he has to join SHIELD? Most people don't actually want to be a part of SHIELD if you think about it."
"I figured we could just watch him today, and then find a way to get a hold of him in the two days after," Tony said, shrugging. "Maybe we can pull some strings and get an 'interview' with him or something."
"That does not seem like a sturdy plan," Thor said, frowning. He polished off his sixth poptart and reached for another one.
"I know," Tony consented. "I was hoping you guys had a different idea."
"How about we mull over it the whole day and see what the event and security's like today and go from there?" Natasha suggested. She popped another piece of the pineapple she was eating into her mouth.
"Sounds good to me," Clint agreed. He nabbed a piece of fruit from her and then continued eating his chocolate-chip pancakes. Natasha wrinkled her nose at the amount of syrup he had generously poured over his pancakes. They were practically drowning in it.
"Okay, so we have until five to do whatever. What say we do a little sight-seeing like Cap here suggested?" Tony asked. "We'll leave in twenty?"
Everyone nodded and was back in almost exactly twenty minutes. "Where to first?" Bruce asked, glancing around at the scenic area around them.
"I say we just wing it and wander around until we see something that catches our eye," Tony said, slipping on his sunglasses.
For the next few hours, they visited various shops that captured their attention and stopped for lunch at a small restaurant they stumbled upon. After they were done, they walked around the streets more, enjoying the beautiful cobblestoned paths and the cute cottages. The team went back to the hotel at three to relax and freshen up before they went to the competition.
"That was fun," Steve sighed from where he was slumped down on the couch in the livingroom. Natasha and the others mumbled their agreement from their various sprawled positions on the couches.
"We probably need to get up and get there early," Tony said, groaning as he got up. He stretched languidly, glancing wistfully at the seat he had just vacated. "A ton of people are going to be there, and even with our saved seats we need to be there early to 'observe' and all that crap."
Natasha reluctantly stood up from her comfortable position leaning on Clint and nudged him and everyone else up. They were ready to leave in ten minutes.
Natasha felt a small smile creeping on her face as she looked around at everything. There were venders on the streets left and right, selling everything from t-shirts to food to souvenirs. They showed their tickets to the man at the station and allowed themselves to be patted down. The team made their way over to their seats. Tony whistled appreciatively, and Natasha couldn't help but agree with him.
Their seats were dead center and about ten rows up from the bottom row—the perfect seat, in other words. The Avengers, surprisingly, weren't noticed by anybody yet, which Natasha was eternally glad for. They could enjoy the show and do their job without people getting in their way.
Natasha forced herself to focus and start observing what happened during the event. She saw the trained guards and policemen at different stations everywhere and saw the doorway where the swimmers were supposed to walk out. She glanced over at the huge pool, its water as smooth as glass.
Her near-two hours of observing slipped by in no time; before she knew it, the announcer was speaking into the microphone.
"Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to begin the 400 meter freestyle swimming event!" The man went on to talk about a lot of other things that didn't really matter, and Natasha concentrated on the swimmers walking out and waving to the crowds. She saw the young-looking one near the back, waving almost shyly at everyone and smiling sheepishly. He had dark hair and tanned skin, showing he was outside a decent amount. He had a toned body, but wasn't a body builder for sure.
The swimmers walked over to their stations and began stretching. Percy Jackson looked like he was just stretching for appearances, however. Natasha supposed if your father was a sea god, you didn't really need to stretch.
The man that was announcing started announcing all the men at the pedestals. When he got to Percy, Natasha was surprised by the amount of cheering for him. "And our youngest competitor from the United States, Perseus Jackson!" the announcer exclaimed. Percy's face appeared on the jumbo screen. He grinned, and Natasha could tell he was blushing from her seat. He waved and looked away. He went back to stretching.
The man went on to announce everyone else. Then the time came for the race to begin. The men lined up on their boards and got ready to dive. Tony leaned into the center of the group to whisper, "I bet you a zillion dollars Percy Jackson's gonna win," and the swimmers were off.
Percy was good. Natasha wasn't a professional on swimming, but even she could tell this kid was good. It wasn't so much that he was swimming in the water and moving through it, but he was a part of the water. It was hypnotizing to look at, and Natasha found herself clapping with the rest of the crowd when Percy finished first by five whole seconds, which was almost unheard of for anyone, let alone an eighteen-year-old kid. Natasha was impressed. And she had a strange sixth sense that this guy wasn't even trying his best.
"And the final results of today's race are at hand! This was the finals for the 400 meter freestyle, and we now have a winner. The winner of 400 meter freestyle is Percy Jackson!" the man yelled over the microphone over the cheering crowd. Percy's image appeared on the jumbo screen again, and it was apparent that he was in an obvious state of shock, not expecting to have won. The other swimmers grinned and went up to slap him on the back. It seemed like they had gotten to know him and ended up liking him, despite their being rivals.
Natasha looked over at the others knowingly and smiled. Tony grinned smugly and said, "Told you."
Natasha rolled her eyes at him. "No one ever said you were wrong, Tony."
The team went back to watching the events unfold: Percy's receiving of the gold medal, Percy standing on the first place pedestal, and finally, the singing of America's national anthem. Percy was smiling at the end of it, if looking faintly unsettled by everyone looking at him and cheering.
The team got up after a while and started their walk back to the hotel. It was about six o'clock, and the sun was still shining enthusiastically. Natasha figured it would start to go down in another half hour or so, but until then, the sun would continue to cause the team to drown in their own sweat. Tony turned around to start walking backwards again.
"Okay, that kid is so awesome!" Tony nearly shouted excitedly. "No freaking wonder SHIELD wants him! I swear he wasn't even trying. He wasn't even breathing hard!"
"If he was trying, it wasn't a lot," Steve said.
Thor nodded his head knowledgably. "That is but a minor thing he is able to do. He can bend water to his will, and he is quite the extraordinary sword fighter and on-the-spot thinker."
"I have to admit, I'm kind of impressed," Clint admitted.
Tony opened his mouth to say something else but was immediately cut off by another body barreling straight into his. Steve's quick reactions were the only thing that kept Tony and the Unidentified Flying Human from tumbling to the hard ground.
"Oh my gods!" the UFH exclaimed. He was smushed between Steve and Tony in an awkward sandwich-hug. He had a shock of untidy black hair, and tanned skin. He appeared to have dressed quickly, his clothes completely askew and his shirt mis-buttoned. Natasha noticed his hair was still wet and frowned. It couldn't be…
The boy's head popped up, and Natasha found herself staring at what was none other than Percy Jackson. "I am so sorry!" Percy Jackson panted, disentangling himself from Steve and Tony when he got his bearings. "I didn't even see you there. I was just trying to, uh…" Percy trailed off awkwardly and blushed. "Uh, nervermind." Percy's bright sea-green eyes darted to the side.
Natasha whipped her head around to face the swarming crowd of adoring fans come around the corner shrieking Percy's name. "Oh, gods," she heard him whisper. His face had gone paler, and he was desperately turning his head trying to find a way out. Natasha sighed and shoved the whole team and Percy quickly into a miniscule back alley. She pushed against their backs. "Keep going!" she hissed.
The team got to the end of the alley and turned around, waiting anxiously and listening for any strain of a triumphant shout or the sound of a thousand feet pattering on the cobblestones toward them. After five minutes of nothing, Natasha cautiously slinked out of the alley with the team and Percy following behind. Percy didn't walk out of the alley completely until he had double checked no one was there to get him by peaking around the corner childishly. Natasha smiled slightly.
"Thanks," Percy breathed. "Oh my gods, that's worse than monsters," he said to himself. He rubbed a hand through his hair.
"Sorry, what was that about monsters?" Tony asked, winking knowingly at Percy.
"Uh, I didn't—uh, nothing," Percy stuttered. Then he glanced at the team, and Natasha could tell when he finally connected the dots with who they really were. His first reaction was to groan. "Oh, you have got to be kidding me," he said self-despairingly. He looked at all of us. "This isn't a coincidence is it? Oh gods, I'm probably in trouble. What did I do this time?" he asked resignedly.
Steve shook his head. "You aren't in trouble."
"Then what do you want?"
"We just want to talk to you about the SHIELD Initiative."
A/N: So as you can clearly see, all this is entirely made up about Athens, Greece. I was purposefully vague about the Olympic events because I didn't want to get anything incorrect since there's always something that changes about them. Besides, that's not even the important part! So, I don't know when I will update this again, but I won't abandon it! You have my word. Until next time, my dears.