When in Goode
Percy Jackson screwed up big during the Battle of Manhattan. Now, he has a science fiction pirate and the Avengers, including their newest recruit, Spiderman, on his tail. / "I'm a normal kid!" "Is that why we're standing fifty feet below the surface of the ocean?"
A/N: Hey guys, tPToC here. First off, I normally write Fanfiction one-shots or first chapters, and then save them to my desktop and forget about them. This was just one of the luckier stories.
This story is part of my 'Hell to Pay universe', which means Peter is a part of the team.
NOTE- IF YOU HAVE NOT READ 'Hell to Pay', DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT. THIS STORY COMES FIRST IN THE TIMELINE ANYWAYS.
The Battle of Manhattan has just taken place where this story begins. During the battle, in this universe, some mortal didn't fall asleep by sheer chance- maybe they were an undiscovered demigod- but they managed to get a picture of Percy swinging from the Clazmonian Sow. Then they posted it on their blog and the picture went viral.
Bruce and Percy are the main two characters, with smaller appearances from people like the team, Fury, and Thalia and Nico.
The pairings are canon! I don't ship Stony, or Science Boyfriends. I think Pepperony is cute and Percabeth is adorable. But there will be no appearances by Annabeth, and Pepper's role is very small. No fluffy romance- sorry!
(While Thalia did become a Hunter in the series, I think it was more so she wouldn't have to deal with the prophecy. Therefore, she really does like boys. In this universe, there probably won't be any Thalico, but once the battle finished Thalia left the Hunters.)
We fear violence less than our own feelings. Personal, private, solitary pain is more terrifying than what anyone else can inflict.
Percy always knew that some of the mortals hadn't fallen asleep during the Battle of Manhattan. Rachel was a prime example of that. There was obviously going to be at least one more mortal in New York City that could see through the Mist. He was talking about one of the largest cities in the United States- hell, maybe even in the world. (Percy wasn't sure, and he sure as Hades didn't have time to check.)
But still… Percy figured they would have walked outside, seen mortals strewn about on the streets, panicked, and ran back inside before they could have gotten a second glance. He sure as hell didn't expect to see a picture of himself dangling from that stupid Clazmonian Sow with the Hermes statue, (or whatever in Hades that stupid pig was called), in a blog. So when suddenly a picture of a teenage boy with black hair and a baseball bat is dangling thirty feet below a small pink airplane appeared one day on the Internet (taken during the time that people were conked out on the streets), the mortals knew something was up.
Apparently, the Mist even worked on pictures, so reports were filing in that some people saw a boy with a sword dangling from a flying pig. (Percy figured there was probably a special mental hospital for them somewhere remote, like maybe Area 51. Poor clueless mortals.)
Also, a nation-wide man-hunt was going on, and the poor shmuck they wanted this time (again) was Percy. Obviously they didn't know they were looking for Percy, but that's who they were targeting. Percy was well aware of the search. His friends and teachers talked about the mysterious 'pig-boy' every spare second they got, discussing what may have gone down while everyone was asleep, and how they thought the mystery teenager was involved. Percy wasn't sure whether to scowl or laugh when he heard that the debate team had used him as their newest topic.
Unfortunately, Percy was unaware that a man named Director Fury was already hot on his tail. SHIELD had narrowed down the search much faster than the rest of the country, using common things like his skin tone and his height compared to the statue he was holding on to for dear life. (Fury couldn't get over what the idiots in the rest of the country were thinking, ignoring skin tone, and hair color and height comparison with the big Hermes statue.)
So far, they had him narrowed down to being a student in Goode High School, but Fury knew that the only way they were going to find the kid was if they infiltrated the place. There were at least two thousand kids in all.
A lot of SHIELD agents couldn't set foot in a classroom. Most of them were trained assassins, and if a kid got a little too rude they might end up pulling a gun on the brat. Fury knew Stark was definitely smart enough to teach a high school class, but he was Stark. There was no way Stark plus the profession of a high school teacher equaled happiness all around. While Steve would be an excellent professor for Goode High's early 1900's semester-long history class, he was shy and awkward, and high school was like a second home for cigarettes, drugs and inappropriateness.
Clint and Natasha were both assassins and had very short fuses, and Thor would do well in a Norse Mythology elective, but he was too loud and naïve to the rest of life. That left Dr. Banner. Obviously he'd fit right in as a teacher, him being a genius and all, and the public had no idea he was the Hulk. The only thing Fury had to worry about was a bunch of rude high-schoolers setting him off. That would be the end of Dr. Banner's trips outside of the Stark Tower.
Fury was willing to risk it.
Bruce Banner leans forward in his straight-backed chair, pushing his glasses up his nose. "You want me to infiltrate this high school and look for a kid." He speaks slowly, as though he is speaking to a child. "Yeah, that'll be easy." He rests his elbows on the conference table, looking wearily around the room. Fury stands at the head of the table, flipping through a slim file of papers. The Director rolls his eyes at the sarcasm.
"Yes, Dr. Banner. I do. We're looking for a boy believed to be in his junior year with tan skin and dark hair. All you have to do is teach a simple science class for the kids who are behind and look out for a boy matching the description we have on him. He will most likely act weird, or miss class periods sporadically. I assure you Dr. Banner, it is a fairly simple task." Bruce scowls when Fury slides the blank grey file across the table top to him. The cover swings open with the momentum, and unfortunately, Bruce has always been curious. He picks up the folder, flipping through the thin stack of papers clipped to the file.
"Why are you so interested in this kid anyways? What is he, an assassin?" Bruce mutters, shooting Fury a glance. The papers are mostly gibberish, or public surveys SHIELD got from the basic government databases. No names or physical descriptions are listed beside what Bruce assumes the rest of the world already knows: he has a nice tan and raven hair. Instead, strings of words most likely taken directly from hurried notes are clumped together and highlighted. Some of the more important looking ones are 'Shield Watch Pen Sword Croquet Stick Baseball Bat Mallet', and 'Earthquake Gun Thor Water'. Bruce furrows his eyebrows and squints at the random words on the page.
Fury pulls a thick envelope from his cloak pocket and hands it to Bruce. "This contains everything you need to know: instructions, a set of car keys and where your fake address is. Hell, we even included a teaching schedule with worksheets and pop quizzes. And directions on what to do when you have confirmed your suspicions." Fury turns to leave. Bruce watches him go, leather coat swishing against his ankles rhythmically. He makes the job sound so easy.
He flips past another page of random words, then an article on the New York City Shutdown, as the public is calling it. Buried underneath a picture of two statues strangling each other is a widely known photograph. The only actual photograph he's going to get of the kid. Bruce takes one look at it and makes up his mind. He's going to do the mission.
He already knows why Fury wants him to do this. Bruce leaves the picture in its spot near the back of the packet, having already committed it to memory.
Underneath a stack of confusing phrases and clumps of words is an image of a boy in orange, grasping a bronze sword in one hand, the other hooked around a statue's shoulders and swinging from a rope. The rope is looped tightly around a large sow's bright pink wing.
Tony is sprawled across Bruce's favorite armchair when he returns to Stark Tower. He mentally cusses Stark out in his head, because after his day, he needs that chair, a cup of tea and a really good book. And maybe a nice little table lamp and some peace and quiet. The team can go eat shawarma for all he cares, Bruce is staying in tonight.
"Heyy Brucie! How was your day?" Tony drawls, head tipped back against the armrest of the chair. He grins mischievously at the frustrated and cranky genius, who happens to be close to an all-out Hulk-out. Bruce narrows his eyes at the billionaire. He has half a mind to call the guy out. He could remark offhandedly "Go home Tony, you're drunk," like all of the times he hears him mention the cliché to a team member when they do something stupid.
"Not today Tony. I'm not in the mood." He grumbles. Bruce shuffles past the armchair, sofa and enters the kitchen, his sour mood having doubled in two short minutes. Tony is hot on his heels. He plunks himself down ungracefully on a bar stool and watches as Bruce sinks into a kitchen chair. A weary sigh escapes his lips.
"Seriously, what happened?" He asks, getting up lazily. Tony fills a mug with water and sticks it into the microwave. Bruce watches him curiously. The guy always demands Pepper or Steve or Bruce make his drink.
"You don't like tea." He states when Tony pulls a box of Lipton tea bags from the overhead cupboard. He shoots Bruce a look when he pulls the ceramic mug from the microwave and plunks a teabag into the steaming water.
"But you do." He replies, handing the steeping drink to Bruce. The two men sit in compatible silence while the herbs from the teabag seep into the water. Finally, Bruce takes a tentative sip: green tea. What a comedian Tony is.
The billionaire offers Bruce a cheeky grin and wiggles his eyebrows. Bruce rolls his eyes; the antics he puts up with aren't even worth the strife. The tea is good though, and he feels a little bit better.
"Well, at least you're good for one thing." He says finally, eyes glued to the wall behind Tony. Said man gasps, hand clutching his Arc Reactor dramatically.
"After all I do for you?" He cries, staring dumbfounded at Bruce. "I might as well pry this out, and save myself a world of pain." The frustrated doctor laughs, which Tony count as a win. Not many people can say they're professional 'Hulk-calmer-downer's'.
"So really. What happened today?" Tony asks, ignoring Bruce's glare. The way he's sagged over the table, eyes drooping in fatigue… guy must feel miserable. Tony returns the look with vigor and Bruce's shoulders slump in defeat. "Was Fury on your case about something?"
"Ugh. Don't remind me." Bruce pauses to take a long swallow of the tea. The heat warms his tongue, making him feel even drowsier than his tiring day. Tony watches him expectantly while he swishes the drink around the inside of his mouth.
"But what happened?" Tony whines, leaning forward to rest his elbows on the countertop. Bruce directs his gaze down into the swirling tea water.
"He gave me a mission." Bruce finally says after several minutes of silence. Tony's expression betrays nothing. His face remains impassive as Bruce sighs and takes another gulp.
"Last I checked, I wasn't even a SHIELD agent. And I still said I would do it." Bruce's expression is sour. Instead he focuses on draining half of the remaining tea. Tony doesn't push for answers, which shocks Bruce. Instead, he stands there with a lukewarm cup of coffee in one hand, eyes trained steadily on Bruce.
The silence is thick enough to cut with a butter knife. Bruce recognizes that Tony is dying inside as he waits for Bruce to spill the events of the day. But he doesn't want to deal with the idea of him as a high school teacher.
"Okay! I can't take it anymore!" Tony whines again. Bruce looks up from his mug and his empty teabag, startled by the childish outburst. "You have to tell me!" This time there is no tea to drink to escape answering. His glasses look smudged, don't they? He should probably clean them. Bruce pulls them off his nose and wipes the lenses along the hem of his shirt.
"Fury wants me on an infiltration of some high school." He says eventually. Tony stands off to the side, eating up the details. "They're looking for a junior with dark hair. They think he could be a hostile."
"So? What's so special about him that makes him a hostile to SHIELD?"
"He fights with a sword. I assume he's good, but I can't make assumptions. Nobody has seen him in action before." Bruce reaches a hand underneath the table and retrieves his bag. Tucked inside a pocket is the file Fury gave him earlier that day. Tony watches as he flips through the sheaf of papers. Eventually Bruce holds up a large photograph.
Tony's eyes widen instantly. They've all heard about the mystery man with the sword. They've all seen the picture of him swinging from a giant flying pig. And they've all been briefed on the varying reports of what people saw. Some claimed the kid was dangling below a blimp. Others were convinced he was swinging a lacrosse stick.
"Whoa. This is a serious mission. What are you posing as, a janitor?" Tony asked, taking the picture from Bruce. The man's back is turned towards the camera. One of his arms is hooked securely around a large statue of Hermes. His other hand holds a long bronze sword.
"No. I'm a science teacher." Bruce scowls at the way Tony snickers. He doesn't want to spend eight hours a day teaching kids about the periodic table, and how to properly dissect a frog. He's not that kind of doctor. Heck, he's not even a qualified teacher! Sure, he can read through a ninth grade textbook and understand what the big-kid words mean, but he doesn't do children unless they're foreign and dying.
Wow, he has to get out more.
Bruce rubs the lenses a bit harder, and Tony steps forward. The spectacles are practically pried from Bruce's hands in an effort to preserve the lenses. "Okay. Just calm yourself down and I'll make you some more tea." He roots around for another box of teabags. Bruce sits on the edge of his chair, breathing slowly.
"So when do you start?" Tony asks conversationally as he pops the mug into the microwave.
The car SHIELD has provided is nondescript; black coloring, tan leather interior, mediocrely tinted windows. It seats four comfortably: Bruce's alias consists of him being a man named Joseph Perkins, who has a wife away on a yearlong business trip and a son serving overseas. Nothing too atypical for your average New Yorker.
Of course, Fury has the easy job, setting Bruce up with a name, a car and a small apartment he doubts he'd use for storage space, let alone his living accommodations. No, Bruce is the one getting up at five twenty in the morning with a work bag full of study guides and worksheets.
Also, Bruce is there to act as a semester-long replacement for the previous science teacher, who broke her leg during a particularly exciting lab involving cow hearts, extension cords and two mischievous students. (After that he will be returning to his full-time job as a scientist in Stark Tower, who needs to take a small breather after the invasion of the Chitauri six months ago.)
Bruce has always hated lying; it was essential when he was still on the run from Ross, the psychopathic general, or when he needed a job to pay for his research on a cure. But now it felt wrong. He has a luxurious room in Stark Tower, and friends who provide him with a job and food and the technology he needs to continue researching. And he's still lying to people… innocent people, who never signed up to be attacked in their home city.
This is why Bruce doesn't do well dealing with emotions.
"You must be Joseph Perkins." Bruce turns to look at the man beside him. He has salt and pepper hair and kind brown eyes. A hind is extended towards him. "I'm Paul Blofis. I teach English in room 306."
"Ah. Yes, that would be me." His response is short and somewhat tight, but the man – Paul – doesn't notice. Instead the teacher smiles kindly at him and shakes his hand.
"I was instructed by Mr. Denman to show you around. Kind of like the kids do, with the student buddy and all that." He laughs and Bruce forces a few quiet chuckles. The man is nice and a little too energetic. And not at all shy.
"I appreciate the help. Would you mind showing me to room 412?" He says, looking at a sheaf of attendance papers with his fake name and room number on them. Paul takes the paper and nods earnestly.
"Sure!" He exclaims, handing the stack back. "I can show you. Right this way." Paul gestures down a hallway with overdramatic flourish and a smile. Bruce resists the urge to shield his eyes from the too-bright grin being shot his way.
"Erm, thanks." He manages, meandering slowly after the enthusiastic man. The school is middle-class, like any regular high school. Gunmetal grey lockers stacked two high line the walls. The classroom doors are painted a plain mahogany brown.
"Here we are!" Paul Blofis finally exclaims. He twists the doorknob on the door marked 412, and flips on the light switch inside. Bruce looks around in earnest. Inside the large room are several fire-proof tables with simple stools. A safety shower and an eye-wash machine are clumped in a back corner. Sinks line the far wall, complete with gas and air valves. A wide teacher's desk is situated off to the left of the door.
All in all, the place looks like a standard science classroom.
"I'll leave you to unpack. Class starts in half an hour." Paul waves goodbye and talks until he's out the door, rambling about how he doesn't want Bruce to be unprepared for his first class.
Home sweet home, huh?
"Hey. Who was that?" A voice rings from behind Paul. The teacher turns to face the speaker.
"Oh, that was Mr. Perkins. He'll be your replacement science teacher for the rest of the year." Paul says, staying put. The teen runs to catch up with him.
"Oh. So Mrs. Dooley is going to be out for the rest of the year?" He asks, a frown tugging at his lips. Paul sighs sympathetically. He's aware that Mrs. Dooley was one of the only teachers who actually tried to help with his stepson's dyslexia.
"I'm sorry Percy. But I think you'll like Mr. Perkins. He doesn't seem like the type to berate people for no reason." Paul defends. Percy scowls at the ground while they walk.
"Whatever you say." He finally mumbles. If the guy has earned Paul's approval, Percy decides he deserves a chance.
"That's the spirit." Paul encourages. "Now, go on and get to class."
Percy shoots him a grin. "Sure thing, Mr. Blofis."
A/N: Well I like it… So do you? I love reviews, you guys eriously rock. I was looking at Hell to Pay, and all of you who favorited, followed or reviewed, you have no idea how elated I was to see that scroll bar on the right hand side of the screen!
Keep it up! I'll try to post ASAP, but like I said, school is hard, and the homework they give us sometimes takes from the moment I get home to when I fall asleep… Then again, I am a major procrastinator.