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Calling you out!

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1.

“Gotta watch your back with this guy” Clint said, banging his hands against the bars, “There's a chance he's gonna break it”

Tony turned back slightly, the only indicator just how deep Clint's words cut into him.

“Shut up Clint” Sam demanded, getting up from his seat on the cot.

“Pissed off or not you don't say that kind of shit” Sam stated angrily.

“True though ain't it?” Clint retorted with a sneer, ignoring Sam.

“Rhodes got hurt because I dodged Vision's attack. If his injuries are anyone's fault they're mine” Sam countered angrily, despondently.

“It was friendly fire. You dodged an attack. Not like you planned it” Tony corrected.

“That's rich coming from you. Pretty sure his medical report says knocked unconscious by repulsor” Clint sneered.

“You saying you'd be completely clear-headed after watching your best friend fall to his death?” Sam countered back.

“None of this would have happened if he hadn't chosen Ross over his team, but then again you never were a team player” Clint barbed out.

Something in Tony snapped then.

“Not a team player. Right. Because I didn't break my 'I-don't-make-weapons-anymore’ rule for all of you so that you had the best tech and equipment possible to keep you safe! That I fixed your gear even when I had countless SI deadlines, or charities and Galas to go to. Because those weren't my jets that you used for transport or my facilities you lived at. Facilities I made sure we're fully stocked with any food and amenities that you could ever need” Tony spat out, taking furious steps back up to Barton's cell.

“Because I didn't spend countless hours with PR and lawyers covering all your sorry asses when the world wanted your heads on a platter!” Tony roared, shoving himself right up against the bars of Barton's cage.

“Does it even occur to you what I had to do to keep Wanda from being deported because of Steve's fuck up in Lagos!” Tony challenged, “She doesn't have a visa! People had signs outside the Compound saying Burn the Witch. If she hurt a civilian on accident because they attacked her in anger not even God could keep her from being deported!”

Clint's expression dropped, taking a step back away from the bars.

“I gave all of you every out possible to stop this! You're the ones who spurned every fucking olive branch! You're the ones who kept information from us!” Tony ranted furiously.

“I didn't side with Ross. I sided with the one hundred and seventeen countries who flat out said that they were scared of us!” Tony reprimanded, turning wildly to looked at each of them.

“Ross called us dangerous” Tony sneered, his voice calmer but more hardened, “Way to prove him right”

Tony turned on his heels out of the room.

Screw them.

Screw Steve and Barnes.

They can deal with Zemo themselves.

He had real friends he needed to be beside right now.

 

2.

“You're kidding right?” Clint demanded in disbelief.

“Clint-” Natasha to assure (and suede).

“No. You're seriously just going to dump all of SHIELD's info onto the web?...And you're just going to let him?” Clint demanded, giving Natasha an are-you-kidding-me-right-now look.

“Hydra's dug it's nails too deep Clint” Natasha said, trying to make him see reason.

“And dumping all the files is the only solution? No I refuse to go along with this moronic idea” Clint declared firmly.

“We don't have time for a debate” Steve retorted stubbornly, refusing to budge.

“You're right we don't” Clint agreed, pulling out a burner phone, “Which is why I'm calling Stark”

“You can't” Steve cut in almost frantically.

“And why not? He helped on some of the design of the helicarriers right? I mean if anyone can hack into them it's him” Clint challenged, narrowing his eyes suspiciously at Steve.

“The lines could be compromised. We'll be putting Stark and ourselves at risk” Steve tried to reason.

“Yeah well I'm not gonna sit by and let you get families killed because you refuse to back down” Clint retorted coldly.

“Families?” Sam questioned concerned.

“Most of SHIELD isn't Hydra. You dump all the data then you not only compromise the agents that aren't Hydra, including the ones currently undercover, but you compromise their families as well as anyone else affiliated with SHIELD indirectly or otherwise” Fury expanded, hoping that him piggybacking off Barton might help save parts of SHIELD.

“That's a risk I'm willing to take if it means exposing Hydra” Steve declared almost callously.

“Fuck you man! I'm not gonna let you get my family murdered just because you got something to prove” Clint roared out, finally reaching his breaking point.

“Family?” Steve questioned (read: demanded) in disbelief.

“A wife and two kids” Clint confirmed snidely, not even bothering to look at Steve anymore as he finished tapping out his text message and clicking send.

“I just sent a message to Stark. I expect that he'll reach out on a secured line soon” Clint declared.

“We don't have time to wait for him!” Steve shouted, losing his cool.

“Steve man, you want to dump all of SHIELD Intel and compromise all those families. All those kids. Innocent people. Who the hell is that protecting?” Sam questioned harshly in disbelief, having thought Captain America would be a better person than that.

“It’s not gonna mean anything if we don't expose those with Hydra. They'll just escape and infiltrate somewhere else” Steve countered stubbornly.

“You mean you'll lose Barnes again” Fury corrected, glaring Steve down with his one good eye.

“...If he gets away now I may never find him again” Steve retorted tightly, a fire in his eyes that threatened to burn anything in its path.

“That's what this is about?!” Maria declared in disbelief, “I know you haven't completely adjusted to the twenty-first century, but you're seriously going to compromise thousands of people for one person from your past?!”

“...He's all I have left” Steve replied miserably.

“Steve man, that's not true” Sam cut in, “I know it can be hard to adjust back. But you're more than just a soldier. And you've got me, Natasha, Clint-”

“As if” Clint said, sharply cutting him off, “The only family he cares about is his own. I don't need a friend like that”

Clint then turned his attention to Natasha.

“And don't think I've forgotten what you said earlier. Consider your status as Auntie Nat revoked” he declared unrepentantly.

Clint ignored the look of hurt in her eyes.

He didn't care.

What mattered was that his family was safe.

(Stark did indeed hack into the helicarriers and stop Project Insight before it even got off the ground. Steve went back to SHIELD HQ hoping to get through to Bucky and was killed by the Winter Soldier. With Stark and Jarvis systematically going through all of SHIELD's files Hydra was rooted out. As he was going through the files Jarvis discovered the video SHIELD possessed of the Winter Soldier killing Howard and Maria Stark. Tony cut ties with the Avengers Initiative and SHIELD, later creating his own team with Rhodey called the Ultimates. Sam and Clint became part-timers of the group and Natasha was not invited).

 

3.

“Wait. I know that guy” Tony declared, reaching for the folder in Bruce's hand, taking it from him.

“From back in the day. He operates off the African coast. Black market arms” Tony mumbled thoughtfully, recalling Klaue's eccentric sleazy demeanor.

Steve gave Tony his patented Captain-America-is-disappointed-in-you glare.

“There are conventions. I didn’t sell them anything. And you know what? I’m tired of your judgemental sanctimonious bullshit towards me and everything I do. Everyone else seems to get a free pass with you when it comes to their past, except me. And I’m getting tired of it” Tony snapped back at him, Steve's attitude finally grating on his last nerves.

“And you’re blowing things out of proportion” Steve retorted back, knocking Tony's words away as if they were annoying gnat.

“Am I?” Tony challenged back.

Steve just grit his teeth in annoyance at Tony's dramatic ego.

“That’s enough. This isn’t the time or place to fighting amongst each other” Natasha cut in sharply.

Despite Natasha's call for truce, neither Tony or Steve moved to back down.

Seeing that Natasha continued.

“Though Tony does have a point Steve” Natasha stated, immediately causing Steve to turn toward her, looking hurt and slightly betrayed.

“You can be a judgmental ass. Up until our little bonding session in Wilson’s spare room all you did was judge me and my actions in a negative light” Natasha reminded him pointedly, though in a gentle matter-of-fact tone.

“SHIELD didn't exactly have upstanding morals” Steve countered, re-clenched his jaw in annoyance.

“It was a spy organization. Tash and I are ex-assassins. You chose to join the wrong team if you wanted clear cut black and white” Clint noted with a raised eyebrow, clearly unimpressed.

“Ay. In my thousand years I've learned that morals are not set in stone. They change with the times. Some are more consistent than others, though in the end they are determined by the experiences of the individuals who live them. I've done things in my past conquests that I now look upon in shame whereas back then I had not. Things are never so rigid. My advice to you Captain, be flexible and do not disregard change” Thor advised sagely, reminding all of them just how old he really was.

Steve scowled a bit. He was sick of change. He was surrounded by it every day.

His beliefs though were his. And he didn't need to change them. He could control that. And he wasn't about to let that go.

“And it’s not like you have any room to judge our past actions. You remember all those innocent people that got killed because you dropped all of SHIELD’s files onto the internet right?” Tony retorted mockingly.

“SHIELD was corrupted. Hydra needed to be flushed out” Steve defended sharply, firmly.

He would not be shamed for doing what was right!

“And in your attempt to keep the world safe innocent people not only got hurt, but your plan failed seeing as Hydra’s still alive and kicking. And yet when I do the same thing and get the same result suddenly I’m the bad guy” Tony emphasized bitterly.

“Revealing Hydra’s infiltration of SHIELD and you creating Ultron are completely different scenarios” Steve bit back, narrowing his eyes at Tony.

How dare Tony compare his creation of that monster to him unveiling Hydra!

“Not really” Bruce said, speaking up for the first time, “Ultron was supposed to be a peacekeeping program designed to protect the world from alien threats. You dumped all the SHIELD files to protect the world from Hydra manipulating it. The Ultron program was somehow corrupted by an outside force that caused it to go rogue and hurt people. Dumping the SHIELD files placed innocent SHIELD operatives in danger as well as anyone affiliated with SHIELD indirectly or directly. Both actions had good intentions at the start but both ultimately caused harm”

The silence was almost deafening.

“Of course Banner would side with Stark. The two of them are two mad scientists in a pod” Steve thought angrily.

If his teeth hadn't been enhanced they would've already cracked under the pressure he was exerting on them in his frustration.

“If we’ve conclude this insightful session of Dr. Phil can we get back to who the hell this Ulysses Klaue is?” Barton cut in, sounding mildly annoyed at all the posturing as he read off the name on the file Tony had in his hand.

 

4.

Steve groaned as he came back into consciousness.

Blinking the haze out of his eyes he realized that he was in an interrogation room.

Immediately thinking he had been kidnapped he moved to get up, only to find that he was cuffed to the table.

“Don't bother trying to break them” Hill said, walking into the room, “They're power-dampening cuffs”

“You were Hydra” Steve accused, glaring at Hill.

Hill's eyes darkened in fury.

“Not even close” Hill replied icily, taking a seat in the chair in front of him.

“Then why've I been detained?” Steve demanded.

“Don't worry. You're no special cookie. The rest of the Avengers have been detained as well” Hill retorted blandly.

“That's not an answer” Steve ground out, concern for his team spiking.

“Fine. I believe you’ve been compromised” Hill proclaimed evenly.

“On what basis?” Steve demanded, irritated by the accusation.

“Sympathizing with Hydra” Hill pointedly replied.

“This is about the Twins” Steve stated, his voice a cross between exasperated and disbelieving.

“You noted in your report that Wanda Maximoff attacked you when you had confronted Strucker and then just retreated” Hill recapped.

“You think she's controlling me” Steve near scoffed.

“Her powers include neuro-electric interfacing” Hill reminded him sharply.

Steve just raised an eyebrow at her.

“It means that she can control the neurons in your brain to plant suggestions and you wouldn't even know it” Hill rephrased icily, letting her annoyance bleed through.

“And you think she did that to me” Steve inquired dubiously.

“You identified yourself to Hydra agents Steve. You don't see anything alarming about that?” Hill retorted challengingly.

“I identified with the circumstances behind their choices. They just trusted the wrong people” Steve defended sharply.

“They volunteered for Strucker's experiments for revenge against the Avengers. Not for their country” Hill corrected, narrowing her eyes at him.

“They've had a hard life. People don't always make the best choices when they're not in the best circumstances” Steve countered firmly, stubbornly refusing to shift his stance on the matter.

“I've heard enough” Hill announced, disgusted by what she was hearing.

“Get Xavier in here” she ordered through her comm.

(Thanks to Hill’s intervention it was discovered that Wanda Maximoff had planted a neural compulsion in Tony’s head, stemming from his fears, that he needed to build something, in order to cause him to self-destruct. Xavier also determined that the Scepter was amplifying the compulsion in Tony’s mind created by Wanda, and was additionally influencing Dr. Banner as well. The Scepter was immediately taken back to Asgard, and the Ultron program was scrapped once again. Steve was found to be free of any mental influence and was removed from the Avengers roaster pending a full psychological evaluation).

Chapter Text

5. (Prompt by BuchananGalaxyCarter)

Alarms blared.

“I'm rerouting the upload” Tony declared urgently, refocusing his attention on the computers.

Seeing that Tony wasn't going to listen to him, Steve tossed his shield at the monitors, effectively preventing Stark and Banner from continuing down their path.

In retaliation Tony called his gauntlet to him, it smashing the window adjacent to him as it snapped onto his arm.

Tony immediately fired a repulsor blast at Steve, just strong enough to knock him back, and called his chest plate to him to provide himself with a measure of protection.

Taking Steve's initiative Wanda activated her powers, however before she could hit Stark with a blast of her own Bruce came up behind her and placed her in a firm choke hold, trapping her one arm behind her back.

“Go ahead. Piss me off” Bruce growled out, the threat in his voice obvious.

Making his way up from the lower level after he had detained Pietro, Clint loaded his gun, keeping it poised in front of him and ready to fire.

Having recovered Steve got up and punched out at Tony's chest, hoping to knock him out.

Fortunately for Tony the front of his chest plate arrived just in the nick of time, the defense mechanism in arc reactor blasting Steve backwards through the glass wall as his punch did much of the same to Tony.

“Shit. Her hold on Cap must be strong” Clint thought.

Taking in the whole scene quickly Clint noticed the Witch boldly activating her powers again, striking out to force Banner to release his hold on her.

Before Wanda could turn and strike out at Bruce again, Clint took aim, firing a single bullet right into Wanda's head, her expression of shock and bewilderment as her body collapsed to the ground like a rag-doll.

“No!” Steve shouted in horror at seeing Wanda get killed.

Suddenly Thor came skidding around the corner, quickly assessing the situation before him, the apparent opposing sides over the object he sought.

Leaping onto the Cradle he called upon his powers, striking the Cradle with all his might and providing the power the chamber no longer possessed.

After a moment of uneasy silence the Cradle burst open, knocking Thor back.

The android rose from the remnants of the Cradle almost like it was floating.

Nobody said a word as they waited with baited breath for the android's next move.

Confused by his surroundings the android lunged at Thor, though to attack he was not sure.

Thor tossed him aside easily enough, and in doing so allowing him to gaze upon the outside world as he righted himself in the air.

Steve immediately retrieved his shield and hoped down to engage the second murderbot Stark and Banner created, only to be halted by Thor who noticed that the android did not seem hostile.

Floating down to the lower level, the Android shifted his appearance to mimic a skin-tight suit to cover himself.

Thor placed his Hammer down as a sign of peace, Tony, Bruce, and Barton coming down to the lower levels.

“I'm sorry. That was...odd” the android breathed out.

“Thank you” he said, looking at Thor, recognizing him as his savior.

Thor let out a sigh of relief.

Noticing Thor's attire the android shifted his clothing to contain a cape similar to the one his savior wore.

“Thor. You helped create this?” Steve demanded confused.

“I've had a vision. A whirlpool that sucks in all hope of life. And at its center is that” Thor announced, pointing to the stone within the android's forehead.

“What? The gem?” Bruce asked confused.

“It's the mind stone. It's one of the six infinity stones. The greatest power in the universe, unparalleled in its destructive capabilities” Thor detailed in awe.

“Then why would you bring-” Steve began, about to demand why Thor would help bring something so dangerous to life.

“Because Stark is right” Thor declared just as firmly.

“Oh it's definitely the end times” Bruce declared in shock and disbelief, not liking where Thor was going with all of this.

“The Avengers cannot defeat Ultron” Thor declared.

“Not alone” the android agreed.

“Why does your vision sound like Jarvis?” Steve demanded, confused by the familiar voice he'd thought to be dead.

“We reconfigured Jarvis’ matrix to create something new” Tony stated in sad awe as the android came near him.

“I think I've had my fill of new” Steve retorted, nearly scoffing.

“You think I am a child of Ultron” the android realized.

“You're not?” Steve questioned skeptically, recalling what Wanda had said about the mind she had felt in the Cradle.

“I am not Ultron...I am not Jarvis...I am…” the android trailed off looking at Tony and Bruce in wonder.

“When Wanda looked into your head she said she saw annihilation” Steve accused.

“Yeah well the word of that mind-raping Hydra bitch means jack to me” Clint cut in sharply.

He had been hoping whatever hold that bitch had over Cap would've broken with her death, but apparently that wasn't the case...That is if she had been controlling Steve at all...And if she hadn't been and he'd attacked Stark and Banner just on her word…

“The twins’ powers, the horrors in our heads, Ultron himself, they all came from the mind stone. And they're nothing compared to what it can unleash. But with it on our side-” Thor regaled, sounding like he was doing a rendition of a sales pitch.

“Is it?” Steve questioned sharply, “Are you?”

“Are you?” Clint demanded, staring accusatorily at Steve, “You attacked us on the word of a Hydra agent...I saw that punch you threw at Stark. If his armor hadn't gotten to him in time he'd be drowning in his own blood right now”

“He and Banner were messing with things they shouldn't have been. The last time they did that we got Ultron” Steve countered defensively.

“I'm sorry. Did you not just hear Thor confirm what I've been telling you this entire time? That we weren't responsible for Ultron's creation?” Tony retorted annoyed.

“Wanda was still right. Ultron doesn't know the difference between saving the world and destroying it. That came from you” Steve declared accusingly, jabbing a finger in Tony's direction.

“Good to know how you really feel about me Rogers. But here's the thing. Did that really come from me? Or did it come from the girl who planted the vision in my head back at Strucker's base? You know the girl who agreed to work alongside Hydra and a murderbot to make a better world even if it meant hurting innocent people” Tony countered viciously, “I mean it's interesting. Her powers glow red...Just like Ultron's eyes”

“That is enough” the android declared, stopping the chaos, “Infighting is counterproductive in our goal to stop Ultron”

“He is right. We must be going” Thor agreed.

“How can we trust you?” Steve demanded to the android again.

“Same goes for you Rogers” Bruce retorted, “You think I want you watching my back?”

“I do not think there is any way for you to trust me. Nor is there a way for me to mend your distrust of each other. But we must go” the android declared, handing Thor's Hammer to him, immediately walking off after doing so.

Stunned silence.

“Well done” Thor praised Tony, patting him on the back.

(As soon as Pietro found out his sister had been killed he tried to murder the Avengers in his grief, but was killed by Clint with a single shot to the head. The Avengers, and the newly christened Vision worked together alongside War Machine, Falcon, and Fury to stop Ultron and save the citizens of Novi Grad. With Vision ultimately destroying the remnants of Ultron. During the Battle the Hulk killed Natasha for transforming Bruce against his will, having dealt with too many betrayals from his teammates in a short time span. Clint died saving a young boy from open-fire. Tony and Bruce retired after the Battle of Sokovia. And Steve was permanently removed from the Avengers' Initiative and spent the rest of his life hunting down Bucky alone).

 

6. (Prompt by BuchananGalaxyCarter)

“This would have been a lot easier a week ago” Sam muttered.

“If we call Tony” Steve said.

“He won’t believe us” Sam finished, brushing off the idea.

“Even if he did” Steve followed.

“Who knows if the Accords will let’m help” Sam concluded.

“We’re on our own” Steve declared unhappily.

“Not to interrupt your little twin moment, but I’m not really following your line of reasoning” Bucky interjected, having used his enhanced hearing to listen in to their little powwow.

“With what?” Steve asked.

“You said Tony right. As in Stark? Iron man? Why wouldn’t he help? Or the rest of the Avengers. Aren’t you all a team?” Bucky asked, a bit confused on how they thought that they were on their own.

“It’s complicated” Sam stated simply.

“Right now the UN wants us to sign a document in order for the Avengers to be deployed anywhere. Have a panel approve every mission. Tony and some others signed-” Steve tried to explain.

“But you didn’t” Bucky stated assuredly, confident in his assumption.

“No I didn’t” Steve said, huffing out a laugh.

“Still. After everything I have a hard time believing that if you just told them the situation they wouldn’t help” Bucky said, playing devil’s advocate.

“The Accords would tie their hands-” Steve started in again.

“Look. I may not know Tony Stark personally, but I’m pretty sure the guy who basically told the Senate f-u when they demanded he hand over his suits isn’t gonna just sit by and wait for a panel to approve us going to stop this guy from reactivating five more winter soldiers” Bucky declared, cutting Steve off.

“How do you know about that?” Sam asked curiously.

Wasn’t his brain supposed to be like fruit after meeting a blender?

“Tony Stark was always a person of interest for Hydra. Senator Stern was the one spearheading the plan to get ahold of Stark’s suits” Bucky explained.

“The nasally annoying Senator that Pierce was talking to” Sam muttered mostly to himself, though Bucky heard him anyway and nodded.

“Normally I’d say you’re right. But Tony’s...not in a good place right now. He’s taking a lot of the death toll in are past incidents personally and its compromised him” Steve retorted, regretfully.

Tony, like Wanda, had to learn that you couldn’t save everybody, and that if they took every death personally you would eventually kill yourself from all the guilt weighing you down.

“And the other Avengers?” Bucky inquired.

“Natasha maybe. But Vision’s too young. Too by the book and agrees with Tony on the Accords” Steve reasoned out.

“Rhodes wouldn’t risk his military status. He’d be labeled a traitor” Sam noted.

“If I called Clint he would come….I could have him free Wanda from the Compound-” Steve realized.

“Wanda. As in Maximoff? The Scarlet Witch?” Bucky interjected.

“Yeah” Steve replied, slightly confused.

“That’s definitely not a good idea” Bucky stated, as if it should have been obvious.

“Why? If it’s because she used to work for Hydra I promise you that-” Steve questioned.

“What?!” Bucky demanded, getting up from the chair.

“What do you mean she used to work for Hydra?!” Bucky demanded again in disbelief, “I was talking about the fact that even I know the world wants her head on fucking platter after Lagos! But you’re telling me she’s Hydra!”

“No Buck her allegiance wasn’t really with them-” Steve tried to reassure him.

“Was she brainwashed?” Bucky demanded, wanting clarification.

“...No. But back when members of Hydra had been masquerading as SHIELD agents she and her brother volunteered for their experiments thinking they were SHIELD” Steve explained carefully.

“But the data dump exposed all the fake SHIELD agents. Did she leave after she found out?” Bucky asked.

When Steve floundered for an answer Buck got his.

“She didn’t” Bucky said icily, “And you expect me to fucking trust her? Hell why do you?!”

“She wanted a do-over Buck. I promise she’s not gonna do anything to you” Steve reiterated, his assurances doing nothing to calm Bucky.

“Whatever” Bucky stated coldly, “You can do whatever the hell it is you want. I’m turning myself in”

“No!” Steve shouted in horror.

“Last I checked you aren’t my Ma. You can’t tell me what to do Steve” Bucky stated angrily.

“Agent Ross said you weren’t getting a lawyer” Steve told him, hoping to appeal to Bucky’s logical side.

“Up until I was triggered I was gonna take Stark’s deal Steve” Bucky revealed, unpersuaded by Steve’s words.

“What?!” Steve near shouted in disbelief.

“What deal?” Sam demanded at the same time.

“That if I signed the Accords all crimes in the last twenty-four hours would have been made legal and I would’ve been sent to a psychiatric facility to help with what Hydra did to my head” Bucky replied, crossing his arms.

“You were gonna sign?” Steve exclaimed again, still not believing what Bucky had said.

“You knew about this?” Sam demanded, feeling slightly betrayed.

“There was no time. Bucky was triggered-” Steve tried to explain.

“And we’ve been standing here racking our brains on how to circumvent the law when you already had a solution” Sam cut in frustrated.

“We’d have to sign the Accords” Steve reminded him.

“And if you didn’t? Even if you managed to get to Siberia, what would you do against five winter soldiers when you can barely handle me?” Bucky challenged.

“As much as I really hate to admit it Cap, he’s got a point” Sam grit out.

“I’m turning myself in and telling Stark about the other winter soldiers. Do what you want” Bucky said, brushing the two of them off as he made his way to exit the building.

“Bucky” Steve pleaded, stepping in front of him.

“Get out of my way Steve” Bucky ordered.

“It’s supposed to be you and me til the end of the line” Steve declared gently, his eyes displaying his pain clear for Bucky to see.

It tore at his heartstrings. It really did.

But this wasn’t about him and Steve.

“I’m about to draw the line right here if you don’t respect my decision and move now” Bucky stated firmly.

Seeing in his eyes that Bucky wasn’t kidding, Steve reluctantly stepped aside.

Steve willed his heart not to shatter as Bucky walked past him without so much as a backwards glance.

(Bucky, Steve, and Sam turned themselves in. Bucky told Tony about Siberia. Tony, Rhodes, Natasha, Vision, and Wanda, who signed at Vision’s insistence, went to Siberia. There they found that Zemo had already killed the other winter soldiers. Zemo expressed disappointment that Steve and Barnes weren’t there, but played the video anyway. After Tony learned that both Steve and Natasha knew the Winter Soldier had killed his parents he cut ties with them. Steve was rejected from the Avengers Initiative by the UN despite signing the Accords. Disillusioned by Steve’s lie to Stark and her unpopular world status, Wanda retired from hero work and settled down with Vision in Scotland. After finding out that Bucky wasn’t responsible for his father’s death, T’Challa had his sister Shuri remove the triggers from his mind as an apology. Bucky later made amends with Tony and became the new Captain America).

 

7.

“Freeze!”

“Don’t move!”

“Relax we're here to surrender ourselves” Clint jested, but getting on his knees and placing his hands behind his back none-the-less.

Scott mimicked his movements.

“Arrest them” Agent Ross ordered, his expression a mix of mistrustful and skeptical.

The other grunts of the JCTC moved up behind the two men, cuffing them and yanking them to their feet.

“Could you not pull our arms out of our sockets? I mean we turned ourselves in after all” Scott noted with a lightness to his tone, though he had expected the rough treatment.

“You want a metal or something?” Agent Ross scoffed, “Take'm into the interrogation rooms”

“In case it needed stating I want a lawyer” Clint said.

“Me too. Ditto on that. The lawyer I mean” Scott agreed.

“I'm sure we can get someone to take your cases. Get you out of prison thirty years from now” Agent Ross scoffed as they made their way down the hallway.

“Thirty years!” Scott squawked, turning to Clint in fear, “You said we could negotiate a plea deal!”

“We will. Don't get your panties in a bunch. Just hold out till your lawyer gets here”

“You destroyed government property, resisted arrest, violated the Accords, and broke out of the prison you were being held until your arraignment. No lawyer on Earth can keep you from getting jail time” Agent Ross listed, not believing the arrogance he was hearing.

“Stark's lawyers are the best” Clint countered back, not concerned in the slightest.

“Stark?” Agent Ross questioned disbelievingly, “Why the hell would he help you?”

Clint rolled his eyes, but as he was about to open his mouth to make another snide comment at the agent Scott cut him off.

“Stark?! We're basing our freedom and future off the guy we basically tried to kill?!” Scott demanded.

Clint huffed out an exasperated breath.

“He won't leave us hanging. No matter how pissed off or bruised his ego is he wouldn't just throw us to the wolves” Clint tried to assure.

“Are you kidding me?! If that's true then why the hell did we fight him in Leipzig?!” Scott demanded, both confused and outraged.

“Everything just got out of hand. I know I said things I shouldn't have to Stark, but that's because I knew he was right when he said that I shouldn't have gotten involved, and I wanted him to hurt like I was. It wasn't right of me, but we're still friends. I just need to apologize” Clint explained.

“Apologize?! That's your big plan! And what about me?! He doesn't even know me!” Scott inquired near hysterically.

“I'll put in a good word for you. Stark has a thing for strays” Clint said teasingly.

“You don't get it do you?” Agent Ross mocked.

“Get what?” Clint demanded, narrowing his eyes at Agent Ross.

“Stark was the first one who pinged your arrival. Sent us to get you two instead” Agent Ross revealed smugly, his words sending a chill up Clint's spine.

“He was recovered near death from Siberia. Whatever happened there changed him. Hardened him. And as far as I can see, Stark's washed his hands of the lot of you. And all I can say is good for him” Agent Ross declared approvingly.

The words ‘near death’ echoed as if on a loop through both Clint and Scott's heads, Ross’ statement not lining up with Steve's report.

“I should have stayed home” Scott grumbled despondently, not for the first time regretting his life choices.

Clint couldn't help but silently agree.

(Clint was only given twenty-three years, a majority of his charges primarily property damage and assault. Scott however was given thirty-five years for various charges including attempted murder. Unsurprisingly Laura divorced Clint. When they grew older Lila Barton and Cassie Lang took up the mantles of Hawkeye and Stature in order to redeem their families in the eye of the public and be the heroes their fathers should have been).

 

8. (Prompt by BangTan_Sonyeondan, TheSoveriegntyofReality, & Krafter2014)

“Wanda deserves a second chance” Steve stated firmly, crossing his arms.

The Avengers (minus Bruce and Thor) we're all gathered in the Compound conference room voting on the inclusion of new members of the Avengers.

“Second chance doesn't mean free pass. She needs to face the consequences of her actions, or are you conveniently forgetting that she set the Hulk on Johannesburg?” Tony demanded.

“She regrets that” Steve retorted firmly.

“Really? Cause she never apologized. If she's so sorry then why'd she even do it in the first place? All those people that got hurt, injured, orphaned-” Tony tried to reason unsympathetically.

“Like her and her brother were because of your Company's weapons?” Steve coldly pointed out, cutting him off.

You could hear a pin drop.

“Steve” Natasha warned, hoping he'd take the hint and stop the road he was going down.

“You mean the weapons manufacturing company my father started? I just continued his legacy. And no matter what I've created at least I can say that I didn't help create the atomic bomb” Tony bit back, glaring Steve down.

“But it was still your Company's shell that orphaned Wanda and her brother” Steve retorted, narrowing his eyes right back.

“Wrong” Tony declared simply, not even bothering to explain further.

“You saying she's lying?” Steve challenged.

Tony pondered Steve appraisingly for a moment.

“Hey Barton, how's that bow workin out for you? No bugs, issues?” Tony asked, swiveling in his chair to look at Clint.

“No” Clint answered, curious where Stark was going with this.

“How bout you Nat? How are those batons I made you holding up?” Tony asked, turning to look at her.

“Perfectly” she replied smugly, knowing exactly what Tony was doing.

“Is there a point to all this” Steve asked, getting annoyed.

“My point, Rogers, is that Stark tech doesn't fail” Tony declared.

“He's right Steve. It's the reason the military was so pissed that he cut weapons production. They no longer had any legal way to get the best made weapons in the world. And neither did anyone else” Natasha agreed.

“The first shell went off” Steve reminded them.

“Pure luck, or unluckiness really. But if you had actually taken the time to read the file SHIELD had on the Maximoff's you would have seen that SHIELD had already determined long ago that the shells that hit the Maximoff's house were copies of the ones Stane had sold on the black markets. Even back when my father was in charge real SI shells have always contained two words on them: Stark Industries. The shell that hit the Maximoff's house only had one word: Stark” Tony explained matter-of-factly.

“She was still traumatized because of it” Steve declared, trying for a different angle.

“And I am sorry for her hardship. But that doesn't excuse her joining Hydra just so that she could gain the power to kill us” Tony retorted, wholly unimpressed.

“They were still masquarading as SHIELD when she and her brother first volunteered” Steve pointed out, gritting his teeth.

“Yeah no. There's no way that they didn't know they were Hydra. And even if Strucker did keep up the lie to them, Wanda's a telepath! There's no way she didn't know!” Tony reasoned, annoyed by Steve's inability to see logic and reason.

“Like you didn't know Stane was dealing under the table?” Steve countered callously, “They trusted the wrong people too. If you get a second chance so should they”

“That's enough Steve” Natasha demanded viciously, making Steve turn to her in surprise at the amount of vitrole in her voice.

“Yes Wanda and her brother thought the scientists had been SHIELD, but we have videographic evidence that after they survived exposure to the Scepter 'SHIELD’ was outed as Hydra” Natasha sneered, “They knew and they chose to stay Steve. Her situation was nothing like Tony's”

“They were both tricked and lied to” Steve retorted, not backing down.

“Tony was gaslighted and manipulated by Stane since he was practically born” Natasha emphasized.

Having gone through what she did in the Red Room she was thoroughly offended on Tony's behalf.

“Strucker and List may have lied to them in the beginning but they didn't bother after the data dump. She willingly stayed for her own goals even after she and her brother discovered they were actually Hydra, whereas the second Tony found out Stane was selling under the table he immediately cut ties and fought to stop him” Natasha declared, furiously poking holes in Steve's comparison.

“Not to mention you're forgetting Stane was Howard Stark's partner first. So if you're gonna say that Tony should have known what Stane was doing then you have to say the same for Howard too” Clint pointed out.

“The point is that Wanda deserves a second chance” Steve said, trying to bring them all back to the heart of the matter, both exasperated and annoyed by all the push back.

“If she really wants to make amends she can do it after she gets out of prison” Tony stated uncaringly.

“You never went to prison!” Steve snapped out.

“Because I wasn't the one selling under the table” Tony reminded Steve icily.

“I'm talking about Ultron” Steve correct, folding his arms across his chest.

“Did you completely miss the fact that I was arrested and cleared of all charges when I went to trial?” Tony shouted in complete disbelief, “The Scepter was the reason the Ultron program went rogue, Thor even said so too. Bruce and I told you that the program wasn't even working! Hell if you want to be technical I wouldn't have even gone back to the Ultron program if Wanda hadn't fucked with my head!”

“WHAT?!” Clint roared, shooting up from his seat.

“That's a lie!” Steve said furiously, standing up as well, clenching his fists at Tony's attempt to pawn off responsibility on Wanda.

“Shut up Steve!” Clint demanded sharply, “What do you mean she fucked with your head? I thought she didn't get to you in the Salvage Yard?”

“Not there. Strucker's base in Sokovia. I had a vision when I went to get the Scepter but I thought it was just my PTSD” Tony explained, his expression steady though his eyes screamed of pain.

“It wasn't” Clint grit out.

“Fury alluded that it wasn't. I denied it, but curiosity got the better of me. Looked up the security feeds in the base. Found this” Tony stated, bringing up a holoscreen.

“Thor. I got eyes on the prize” Tony declared softly, making his way closer to Loki’s Scepter, completely unaware of Wanda’s lurking presence behind him.

Just as Tony Stark paused in front of the Scepter Wanda silently made her way around him. Her eyes and hand glowing as she propelled the bloody red mist into Stark’s head, his eyes momentarily glowing the same red as her hands.

Then Stark’s expression fell, his eyes going both blank and consumed by horror.

After what felt like minutes Stark came back to himself, looking around in a panic, searching for something no-one but him knew of.

In a corner of the room Pietro appeared next to his sister, and Wanda held up her hand to stop him from going forward, shaking her head no.

Stark then grew a look of resolution on his face, reaching his hand out to call his gauntlet to him.

“You’re just going to let them take it?” Pietro quietly demanded.

Seeing Stark move toward the Scepter a malicious smirk adorned her lips.

Using his now gauntleted hand Stark grabbed for the Scepter, swinging it around in front of him, and gazing upon it as if it held all the answers he was searching for.

“Are you fucking kidding me?!” Clint raged.

“She made him see his worst fear. She didn't plant anything in his head” Steve stated, trying to salvage the situation.

“How do you know that?! She wanted Stark dead Steve! Dead! You saw the look on Stark's face when he was looking at the fucking Scepter! I dare you tell me that he was in his right mind!” Clint yelled challengingly.

“Clint-” Steve began.

“I can't believe I was almost suckered by you into letting her become an Avenger! She's a fucking mind-raper! And you attacked us on her fucking word!” Clint ignored him and continued his rant.

“You need to calm down” Steve ordered firmly.

“Oh you don't want to go there Rogers. I'm about a second away from putting an arrow in your kneecap” Clint threatened.

“We're not enemies” Steve said, making another poor attempt at reasoning with Clint.

“Neither were Stark and Banner, but you attacked them” Clint retorted icily.

“Clint-” Steve tried again.

“You want my vote? Fine. Hell to the fuck no. She deserves the fucking death penalty for all she's done” Clint declared, immediately walking out of the room before he tried to actually kill Steve.

(After walking out Clint, Natasha, and Tony used the information they gathered on Wanda to have her arrested. Steve and Wanda attacked the officers sent to the Compound, but Steve was taken out by Tony and Clint while Vision knocked out Wanda. Wanda was given the death penalty and Steve was sent to a psychiatric facility with a power-dampening collar around his neck. Clint and Tony retired, and Rhodes led a new faction of the Avengers).

 

9.

It all started with just a random person.

A nobody really.

Just somebody lucky enough to stumble across the information SHIELD had on the Maximoff twins while they were nosing through all the files that had been dumped onto the internet.

From there the person copied the information onto their YouTube channel and made a video.

Needless to say that video went viral in under an hour.

“Avenger Wanda Maximoff, also known to the world as the Scarlet Witch, was brought into trial earlier today where she awaits her sentencing. Maximoff is being charged with crimes against humanity, mass murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, assault, and accessory to assault amongst other charges. While the initial arrest concerned her involvement with Hydra, a recent interview with Tony Stark brought additional charges to the table. Let's take a look” Will Adams declared, the screen changing view.

“Mr. Stark! Mr. Stark! A word if you can?!” a male voice from behind the camera called out.

“Mr. Stark was my father. Call me Tony kid. Especially if you're gonna take the time to chase me down five blocks” Tony teased, halting his stride.

“Tony” the reporter tested out, “What is your opinion on the Scarlet Witch's arrest?”

“Unsurprising. If I weren't the bigger man I'd tell Rogers I told you so. Oh wait, I guess I just did” Tony noted sardonically.

“You mean to say that you knew the Scarlet Witch had once been a part of Hydra?” the reporter asked in disbelief.

“We all did. I was the only one who voted against her becoming an Avenger after everything she did, but I was unanimously vetoed sooo...Well Bruce probably would have voted against her too but he hightailed it out of dodge. Kind of envy him” Tony stated, sounding a mix of jealous and bitter at the last part.

“What do you mean after everything she did? Are you talking about her involvement with Hydra or something else?” the reporter questioned curiously.

“...”

“Mr.-Tony?” the reporter inquired cautiously when he didn't respond.

“How about you and me go into the pizza joint over there and talk? I think we're both going to need some comfort food if we're going to continue this conversation” Tony replied, pointing in the direction of the pizzeria.

“From there Tony Stark detailed Wanda Maximoff's hand in setting the Hulk on Johannesburg, the fact that she was not only working with Ultron, but had evidence that it was in part her attack on his mind that ultimately led to the creation of Ultron itself….This just in. The court has ruled Wanda Maximoff guilty on all counts and is sentenced to receive the death penalty for her crimes” Will Adams reported, a note of relief in his voice.

(Wanda was given the death penalty. Steve Rogers’ leadership of the Avengers was suspended and put up for review. During his evaluation he failed the psychological exam and was deemed unfit to lead. Rhodes replaced him as team leader).

 

10. (Prompt by Krafter2014)

“Only if you go as a friend” Sam declared, firmly, giving Stark a judgmental glare.

Tony clenched his jaw.

“Seriously” Tony stated in disbelief, “As a friend?”

Sam's eyebrows scrunched together in confusion at Tony's ire.

“You seriously have the gall to say that to me when Rhodey's in the hospital with a broken spine? When I'm the one with a broken arm, black and blue from head to toe, and should be in the hospital for the mini heart attack I just suffered a few hours ago? Injuries caused by you all. Our so called friends” Tony declared viciously.

Sam reeled a moment at the revelation of the extent of Stark and Rhodes’ injuries, but forced himself not to lose focus.

“You're the ones who wouldn't back down at the airport” Sam reminded him through narrowed eyes.

“You're kidding right?” Tony demanded icily, “I gave you all so many fucking outs! At any point you could have come to us and we would have stopped Zemo together! Instead, you're the ones who hid things from us! You're the ones who didn't back down no matter how many times we asked! Took none of the deals I had to fucking swallow my goddamn pride and beg Thaddeus fucking Ross for, just to keep him from ordering a kill on sight order! We asked you to stop at the airport. You didn't. We held back because you were our friends, not some criminals! Obviously you didn't hold the same sentiment”

Sam stepped back as if he'd been slapped, but Tony gave him no reprieve, all the stress, anger, and anxiety he had pent up over the last few days finally reaching their boiling point.

“Barton may have said people need to watch their backs with me, however the only ones with broken backs here are Nat and Rhodey” Tony barbed out mercilessly.

“Nat?” Sam muttered in confusion.

He hadn't even realized that she'd been hurt.

“Wanda threw her into a metal container. Told Clint he was pulling his punches” Tony reported icily.

Sam flinched.

“You tell me that you'll only give me Steve and Barnes’ location if I go as a friend? Well if we're going by your definition of friend I think I'm better off going as their enemy. At least I won't try to kill them” Tony snapped viciously, before turning on his heels to leave.

He'd had enough.

“Where are you going?” Sam called out, moving back up to the bars.

“I didn't tell him where Steve and Barnes were” Sam thought, just shy of desperate.

“I've been used and betrayed enough in my life...I don't need any more friends like you” Tony declared with a sneer.

Not even bothering to look back as he exited the prison corridor.

Chapter Text

11.

“What the hell were you thinking running an unauthorized mission in Lagos?” Rhodes demanded, arms crossed as the other Avengers made their way into the Compound lounge.

Rhodes couldn't read Rogers and Romanoff, but at least Sam and Wanda wore expressions of guilt (though Wanda more so than Sam).

Seeing Wanda's distress as she entered the room Vision floated over to her, tentatively offering her his hand, unsure if his actions would be of any comfort.

Wanda smiled gratefully and squeezed her hand in his.

“We got a lead on a former Hydra agent in the city and went to investigate” Steve reported, a defensive edge to his voice.

“If you had a lead on a former agent of Hydra then why weren't Vision and I told about the mission?” Rhodes questioned.

But when Steve went to open his mouth Rhodes immediately cut him off.

“I’ll tell you why. Because you knew we'd both tell you that we needed to get permission to be there” Rhodes declared, narrowing his eyes at Steve, “But you didn't want to do that. Did you?”

“Because doing that meant that you would have to justify to the Lagos government why you needed to be there. Which tells me you weren't there for Avengers business” Rhodes accused, stepping closer into Steve's space.

“It was intel on an ex-Hydra member. Of course it was Avengers related” Steve declared firmly, narrowing his eyes right back at Rhodes, not liking that his authority as team leader was being questioned.

Out of the corner of his eye Rhodes noticed Sam shift uneasily on his feet and Romanoff give Steve a barely there glance out of the corner of her eye.

“Lie then” Rhodes decided, though he had already determined that for himself.

“Judging from the fact you stated former Hydra agent and not Brock Rumlow, indicates that it was not in fact Crossbones you were intending to track down” Vision pointed out logically.

“There was no confirmation on who it was” Steve reminded him, his jaw tight.

“And yet you had an idea of who you wanted it to be” Vision stated non-accusingly.

Steve ground his teeth in annoyance.

“I'm sorry” Wanda apologized, floundering a little bit, “I told him about the mission before I left. I didn't know it was supposed to have been a secret”

“You have nothing to apologize for” Rhodes quickly (and firmly) corrected before Rogers could say anything, “The mission shouldn't have been a secret at all. What happened in Lagos is on Rogers’ head not yours”

“Were we supposed to just let Rumlow take the bioweapon?” Steve challenged.

“You weren't even there to apprehend Rumlow! You were on another one of your Bucky Hunts!” Rhodes shouted accusingly, “And even after you found out it was Rumlow, instead of telling the police and having the marketplace evacuated you put civilians in harm's way, leading to your glorious fuck up”

“The police wouldn't have been able to handle Rumlow” Steve declared, not backing down.

“It doesn't matter Steve! You could have handled Rumlow while they made sure the area was cleared of people so that no one got hurt! If you had done that there wouldn't have been anyone in the Aid and Relief Center to get hit by Rumlow's suicide bombing!” Rhodes countered fiercely, just about done with Rogers’ bullshit.

Rhodes heard Wanda suck in a guilty breath.

“Wanda's in deepshit now because of you! Lagos wants her head and news stations around the world are vilifying her” Rhodes declared sharply, “Lucky for you I have experience in dealing with this kind of shit!”

“I let Rumlow distract me. The bomb was my fault” Steve defended, incensed by Rhodes’ words.

“Damn right it was! But she's still the one who's paying for it” Rhodes reminded him, crossing his arms, “Each one of you are now temporarily suspended from active duty pending the full review of the mission”

Rhodes couldn't help but take joy in the gobsmacked looks on everyone's faces.

“You have no authority to do that” Steve declared angrily, stepping right up in front of Rhodes’ face.

“Every Task Force, private or otherwise has a system to review missions when things go wrong in order to determine just what happened and how it can be prevented and just who or what is at fault. Not my fault you’ve never used it” Rhodes stated, undaunted by Rogers’ little power play, “The military does it. Right Sam?”

“Uh….Yeah they do…” Sam carefully agreed.

“You used to be a military man Rogers. A supposed tactical genius. Reviewing a mission to find out what went wrong sounds like something that would be beneficial don't you think?” Rhodes challenged snidely.

“I already know what went wrong” Steve declared icily.

“So do I” Rhodes replied, “You”

(Pending the full investigation of the unauthorized mission to Lagos, Wanda was cleared of all fault, but before returning to active duty she had to complete more field training. Steve's leadership was put under review and was unceremoniously fired from the Initiative. From then on he illegally traversed the globe to find Bucky with Sam and Natasha, who left the Initiative as well. Wanda soon left the Initiative as well with Vision - Rhodes was happy to see her leave. Rhodes became the new leader of the Avengers, adding heroes who were actually mentally stable to the group. One of their missions included arresting Nomad, Widow, ex-Agent 13, and Falcon).

 

12. (prompt by hattafan2593)

Steve let out a huff, cracking his neck.

He had been sitting outside on his room’s deck in the Wakandan Royal Palace, sketching the gorgeous landscape.

Getting back to his artist roots hadn’t been what he’d had in mind when coming to Wakanda, but there wasn’t much else for him to do.

Wakanda had the Black Panther and the Dora. There was no need for an additional Force in a country that already knew peace due to its past isolationism.

Frankly it left him more than a little lost.

He was no longer a soldier, an agent, or technically an Avenger.

Sure he had Bucky back, but he had left behind everything he had gained since waking up in the future to do it.

Well….most of his friends were in Wakanda with him…

But Tony wasn’t.

Steve let out a disappointed sigh.

Tony had yet to contact him through the burner phone.

He had hoped that after Tony got his apology letter that he’d reach out to him to return the favor.

But no dice.

Tony’s biggest failing was his ego.

Though he liked to think Tony had accepted his apology anyway, and knew that he was ultimately right, which is why he didn’t come after him when he broke their friends out of the Raft.

Tony just needed some time to swallow his pride and to cool off.

Since Tony had asked for Sam’s help, everyone was still under the impression that Tony had helped Bucky and him defeat the other Winter soldiers, and that T’Challa had followed Tony and captured Zemo, offering Barnes, and us by extension, asylum in Wakanda while Tony went back to handle things in the States.

Steve didn’t bother to correct them.

What had happened between him, Bucky, and Tony wasn’t anyone’s business but theirs.

There was no need to cause animosity towards Tony for letting himself be manipulated by Zemo. He was grieving after all.

Steve had no doubt that someday Tony would see that he was doing the right thing in protecting Bucky from him when he had been in that rage.

And when Tony finally does set his pride aside they could all finally start making amends and be a full team again.

Wakanda may be nice. But it wasn’t home.

Home was the Compound.

And Tony had given him (them) that Home.

But you know what they say, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

“Someday” Steve thought hopefully to himself.

Suddenly a knock sounded on his door.

When Steve answered it he found that it was T’Challa.

“Your Majesty” Steve greeted.

“Captain” T’Challa greeted in kind, “I have this for you...From Dr. Stark”

Steve looked at the holo-disc in wonder, taking it from T’Challa’s hands as if it held all the secrets of the universe.

“We received the video recording today on our servers. The message sent with it just said that it was intended for you” T’Challa explained.

“Thank you” Steve declared gratefully, giving the King a kilowatt smile.

T’Challa gave him a hesitant nod before he walked away.

Steve immediately closed the door and sat down on his bed with a plop.

This was it!

Sure Tony hadn’t used the phone, but he had sent a recording to Wakanda meant for him.

Sure that also meant that Tony knew where they were, but Steve wasn’t concerned about that. If Tony didn’t stop him at the Raft then he wouldn’t come for them here.

Wired with excitement Steve swiped the holo-disc to activate the recording.

Immediately an image of Tony was projected into the air.

However Tony’s appearance caused Steve to frown.

Tony was sitting in what appeared to a hospital bed, and was covered nearly head to toe in bandages.

Steve’s heart spiked in concern.

Had Tony been hurt while most of the Avengers had been away?!

“Rogers” Tony began, his tone bland and uncaring, “I’m sure you’re curious why I’m contacting you now”

“Because something happened when I wasn’t there” Steve’s mind supplied worriedly.

“But I can assure you I’m not messaging you to come and be my knight and shining armor” Tony scoffed.

“Dammit Tony! Just set aside your pride for two seconds and admit you need help!” Steve thought angrily, “You clearly need it!”

“And considering this is your thick head we’re talking about here, I’m telling you, I don’t need you” Tony declared sharply, narrowing his eyes at Steve through the screen as if he could actually see him.

Steve’s hand clenched around the bed-covers.

“Yes. I got your letter and fossil tech” Tony confirmed, huffing out a laugh.

Steve huffed out a small laugh of his own.

He hadn’t expect anything less than Tony scoffing at the old technology.

“Read it for the first time not too long ago actually. Once I finally was brought out of the medically induced coma Helen had put me in” Tony explained, glaring accusingly at the screen.

Medically induced coma?!

“Let me read it again for us, shall I?” Tony stated, bringing the letter up in front of him.

Suddenly Steve got a sinking feeling in his gut.

This didn’t sound like it was Tony apologizing...or asking for help.

“Tony. I’m glad you’re back at the Compound, I don’t like the idea of you rattling around a mansion by yourself” Tony recited, stopping suddenly before turning toward the screen again.

“You’re kidding right? Since when have you ever cared about my social proclivities? You never reached out to me at all after I retired. You didn’t even know that Pepper and I were on a break. And if me being alone bothers you so much well heeellllooo. I may have won the house in this divorce, but you got most of the kids...And just FYI, as shocking as this might be for you, I actually have friends outside the Avengers Rogers. So I am in fact not alone” Tony declared, firmly.

“No” Steve thought in horror as he realized where this was going, “This isn’t…”

“We all need family. The Avengers are yours, maybe more so than mine” Tony recited again, then taking another pause with an impressive scoff.

“Family Rogers? What family? You mean the assassin who literally stabbed me in the neck, spied on my Company, and blackmailed me on Fury’s orders as I was dying? Or the archer who said ‘Gotta watch your back with this guy. There's a chance he's gonna break it’ when he knew Rhodey was recovering from a spinal injury caused by your side not backing down? The ex-Air Force pilot who didn’t even know me, but had the gall to be skeptical of me having someone’s back when I gave you all so many fucking outs and begged Thaddeus Ross of all fucking people in order to keep you all safe, and you’re the ones who didn’t back down?! A nobody who judged me based on Pym’s anger at my father? The fucking Witch I protected and housed even after what she did to us?! To Bruce! After she fucked with my head and is the reason Ultron had the opportunity to come to life! And then YOU. The man who used me. Lied to me for two years while berating me for keeping secrets! Not to mention leaving me to die in Siberia!” Tony emphasized furiously.

“What?!” Steve shouted aloud.

“No. No. That couldn’t be true! Tony had been talking! He’d been banged up, but he was fine!” Steve thought near hysterically.

“That’s right Rogers. The reason I’m in this hospital bed is because of you” Tony declared icily, “I mean what did you think would happen when you ram a vibranium shield over and over at someone’s head? Certainly not a stroke right? Whelp. It happened”

“......Stroke?” Steve muttered dumbly.

“And the chest piece? You crushed metal Rogers. It’s got to go somewhere, and you crushed downwards, so guess where it went?” Tony questioned accusingly, pulling his hospital gown and chest bandages down to display a familiar blue glow.

“....No”

“Thought I’d been free of this. But after the heart attack I suffered from the stress of the Accords and our battles, and having to remove the pieces of metal from my chest, my heart was deemed unable to function on its own anymore. So unless I wanted to die it needed to go back in” Tony explained, sounding both pissed off and almost emotionally detached.

“If you call the people who drop cars on me, and intentionally fire an arrow at me to get a guy into my suit and make it malfunction when I’m flying, family, then I think I’m better off disowned” Tony scoffed, “Though you are right about one thing. I do own the rights to the Avengers Initiative and who’s in it”

“We are Avengers!” Steve thought, understanding just what Tony was implying, furious at everything, how they had all unknowingly isolated Tony from the team, causing all this to happen, “All of us are”

“I’ve been on my own since I was eighteen. I never fit in anywhere. Even in the Army” Tony began reciting again, before turning to the screen with a fury Steve had never seen in Tony before.

“Are you fucking kidding me! The entire reason you nearly murdered me in Siberia was because of Barnes! Your best friend and might-as-well be brother who you’ve known since you were in elementary school!” Tony raged.

Steve flinched at that.

The second part had been true. He never had felt like he ever fit in anywhere, but he honestly didn’t know why he had put that first part…

“My faith is in people, I guess. Individuals. And I’m happy to say for the most part, they haven’t let me down. Which is why I can’t let them down either” Tony continued furiously.

“I guess I don’t count as a fucking person then do I Rogers? Because from where I’m sitting I feel pretty damn left out in the cold” Tony needled viciously.

“Shit” Steve breathed, rubbing his face harshly, “What have I done?”

“Locks can be replaced. But maybe they shouldn’t” Tony continued.

“You better believe all the locks on the damn Compound and Tower are replaced. As if I want you all back here” Tony scoffed.

“But it’s our Home…” Steve thought despondently.

“I know I hurt you Tony. I guess I thought by not telling you about your parents I was sparing you. But I can see now that I was really sparing myself. I’m sorry. Hopefully one day you can understand” Tony recited stoically, before turning his icy gaze to the screen.

“You’re definitely right Rogers. You were just sparing yourself. And if you had just stopped your sentence at ‘I’m sorry’, then maybe I would have forgiven you eventually for admitting the real reason why you lied” Tony declared coldly.

“...Would have?” Steve questioned, not understanding, a deep sadness coming over him.

“But instead you boldly declared ‘Hopefully one day you can understand’. Basically spitting in my face, and telling me that you were right to do what you did and that you don’t regret lying to me!” Tony spat.

“That’s not...I mean...I regret what it caused…” Steve stumbled, pausing in mild horror when he realized that Tony was right.

He wasn’t sorry…

“I wish we agreed on the Accords, I really do. I know you were only doing what you believe in, and that’s all any of us can do. It’s all any of us should” Tony continued.

“This is basically you saying, yeah you’re standing up for what you believe in, but you’re on the wrong side” Tony scoffed.

“You are” Steve thought stubbornly, almost on reflex.

“So no matter what, I promise you. If you need us. If you need me. I’ll be there” Tony recited mockingly.

“Don’t say it” Steve muttered desperately, as if Tony could hear him.

“I don’t need people like you Rogers” Tony declared, tearing up the letter into tiny unreadable pieces, and then proceeding to smash the burner phone against the side table.

Steve felt the last of his hopes shatter into nothing.

“Congratulations on using me as your Sugar Daddy for so long. I’d give you a slow clap, but my left arm is currently broken and has irreparable nerve damage from years of constant injury. Though the frost-bite was the finally straw” Tony deadpanned.

Memories of cold and ice caused Steve to shiver.

“What have I done?” Steve thought miserably.

“Believe it or not I’m doing you a favor” Tony said with a scowl, as if saying it left a bad taste in his mouth.

“How?” Steve thought in disbelieving despondency.

“It was evidence that could have been used against you should someone like Ross find it. I know you’re in Wakanda and I could honestly care less. You’re Kitty King’s problem now. I won’t come after you, but I’m not going to help any of you either. I’m done. I’ve been used enough in my life” Tony declared uncaringly, “I’ve washed my hands of all of you”

Steve’s eyes started to well.

“Good-bye Rogers. I’d say it was a pleasure knowing you. But there’s been enough lies between us” Tony declared, cutting off the recording.

The holo-screen then disappeared out of the air without preamble.

Feeling numb, the holo-disc dropped from Steve’s finger tips, tinging against the carpet.

Tears silently fell down Steve’s face as he stared blankly at the floor.

You never know what you have until it’s gone.

 

13.

Sharon strode through the halls of the JCTC, making sure to keep her posture self-assured but relaxed as to not arouse suspicion and have someone question why she was heading towards the evidence lockup.

Yes she knew if she was caught helping Steve she would more than just lose her job, she would be labeled a traitor.

But Steve wasn’t going to stop so long as the other winter soldiers could be a threat. And he and Sam wouldn’t survive without their gear.

She had already hacked into the security system, making it so that in a few seconds there would be some ‘unexpected’ glitches that would knock out the cameras.

By the time they came back On she will have already taken the gear and hidden it in her duffle in the Women’s locker room where she was supposedly heading now, and would be when the cameras came back on, leaving her free of suspect.

“And three, two, one” she thought, mentally counting down.

Sharon abruptly turned to go down the evidence lockup corridor.

Getting to the door she made a move to magnetize the card-reader on the door and open it that way as to not have her ID card in the system’s file when the cameras came back on, but before she could do so Sharon heard the telltale sound of several gun safeties being flicked off.

“Don’t move” the familiar voice ordered.

Sharon put her hands out to her sides in surrender, hoping to prevent getting shot.

“Turn around” Agent Ross ordered firmly.

Sharon did as he ordered, silently cursing him, and herself for being caught.

“You’re under arrest for accessory and aiding and abetting a criminal” Agent Ross declared unsympathetically.

“You have no proof” Sharon countered back blandly.

“The only way Rogers could have known about Barnes being in Bucharest is if someone from my Task Force told him” Agent Ross challenged.

“I’m still not hearing any proof that it was me” Sharon declared, trying to keep the haughtiness out of her voice.

“I don’t trust anybody on principle. And I make it a point to know my guys’ histories. I know you worked with Rogers in the past for SHIELD” Agent Ross stated, “And when information is leaked I search the obvious people first, and make it my business to know what they’re doing, and who they’re meeting with outside the Force”

It was only because of all her years as a spy that allowed Sharon to keep her expression unphased and her posture relaxed, and not tense up defensively like she wanted to.

“The cafe didn’t have security cameras. I made sure of it” she thought, “He’s bluffing”

“I’ll give you credit, the cafe was a good choice. Unfortunately for you, since you broadcasted your face during Peggy Carter’s funeral a passerby recognized you and posted a picture of you speaking with two men resembling Rogers and Wilson on their Instagram” Agent Ross mocked.

“Dammit!” Sharon silently cursed.

She hadn’t wanted to do the damn eulogy for that exact reason!

“Arrest her” Agent Ross commanded unsympathetically.

(Sharon was fired from the CIA, charged with treason for giving out government information, accessory and aiding and abetting a criminal, and was given fifty years jail time. Because Sharon was arrested, Steve and Sam never got their gear to use during the fight at the airport, allowing Tony’s side the chance to apprehend them. When Tony’s team found out about the other winter soldiers they got clearance for a mission to Russia. Zemo still played the video for Tony, but fortunately Rhodes was there to keep Tony from lashing out at Natasha. Afterwards Tony cut ties with Steve’s team, leaving them and Natasha to all be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law).

 

14.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Agent Ross demanded when he saw that T’Challa was making his way out of the car to follow Klaue into the Tokyo police station.

“Klaue is coming with me” T’Challa declared firmly, not backing down from his earlier statement to the Agent in the casino.

“I think you mean you’re going with him” Agent Ross corrected, pulling out a pair of handcuffs.

“On what grounds?” T’Challa demanded haughtily.

“On what grounds?” Agent Ross reiterated in disbelief, “How about the destruction of private property? Or did you think that nobody would be pressing charges against you for all the totaled cars, medians, clean up, and that sign you broke while parkouring?”

“And what of my friends?” T’Challa questioned (read: demanded) as he let Agent Ross cuff him.

His diplomatic immunity would resolve this soon enough.

“I had an ambulance take them to the hospital” Agent Ross declared softly, sympathetically.

“What?!” T’Challa demanded, turning to face Ross again.

“The bald woman-”

“Okoye” T’Challa corrected harshly, snapping at Agent Ross.

“Okoye” Agent Ross stated placatingly, “Was shot when she took out one of the cars. What she was doing standing on the roof, and giving Klaue’s goons a direct shot at her like that I don’t know”

T’Challa’s breathing stuttered, “And Nakia?”

“Mostly alright, though she’s got a serious concussion and some pretty bad road burn” Agent Ross explained with a cringe, “Whatever her dress is made of protected most of her skin though”

“I need to get to the hospital” T’Challa declared, but before he could break his way out of the cuffs Agent Ross placed one hand on his bound ones and the other contained a gun pointed directly at his head.

“Sorry your majesty but you’ve done enough. I’ll keep you updated on your friends, but you are under arrest for not only breaking the law, but the Accords as well” Agent Ross declared firmly.

“Wakanda has been hunting down Klaue for decades” T’Challa countered assuredly.

“I’m sure they have” Agent Ross agreed, “But Black Panther signed the Accords. The moment you changed into your suit to deal with Klaue you violated the Accords”

“Bast” T’Challa muttered frustrated, knowing that Agent Ross was right.

His diplomatic immunity would have protected him had he not used the suit.

Now he was at the mercy of the Accords Council.

“And if I were you and wouldn’t give the world any more bad press to air after you almost murdered Klaue in front of a crowd of people” Agent Ross semi-sarcastically suggested, lightly shoving T’Challa forward into the police station.

T’Challa ignored Klaue’s joyous laughter as he was placed in the interrogation room next to his.

 

15. (prompt by MissInsomnia)

Victor Shade slowly made his way down the familiar stone streets of Scotland with a purpose.

Taking another different route, to another location within the city.

Nothing he hadn’t already done several times.

Even in the crisp darkness of night the lanterns illuminated the bench at the edge of the street corner.

The bundled young red-haired woman resting on the bench was the only individual he had seen out and about tonight.

“Elizabeth” Victor greeted softly, walking up to the woman.

“Viz” Wanda greeted happily in kind, breaking their carefully chosen codenames as she stood, moving her dyed hair out of her face.

While she had been a part of the Avengers Natasha had spent a lot of time teaching Wanda on how to blend in and move about unnoticed, changing appearances and controlling her accent only a few of the lessons taught.

“I found a good stargazing spot I’d like to show you” Wanda stated in the soft Scottish accent she was still learning, taking his hand in her own.

“A sight only second to the one I see now” Vision declared, squeezing her hand lightly back.

Wanda blushed lightly as she pulled him forward, guiding him to the location she had found.

When they arrived Vision found that Wanda had already laid out a blanket for them in the field, a basket with snacks set on the side for herself later on.

“I know that the stars fascinate you, so I found a place where the city lights couldn’t reach us” she relayed proudly as they sat upon the blanket.

“Thank you” Vision said appreciatively, placing a gentle hand to her face before gazing to the skies above.

“Stars are an amazing thing” Vision muttered, almost to himself.

“Did you know that the lights that you see are actually various years old?...Light travels at a speed of 299, 792, 458 meters per second. That the distance of the balls of plasma that produce the light we see and call stars are actually light years away?...Meaning what we see now are little snippets of the past on display for us to examine” Vision relayed sagely.

“I never thought about it like that before” Wanda admitted wondrously, gazing at the stars now herself.

“Do you ever?” Vision inquired gentle, still gazing at the stars, his eyes an unreadable expression.

“Do I ever what?” Wanda asked confused, turning her gaze to him.

“Reflect on your past” Vision expanded, slowly shifting his gaze to her eyes.

“Sometimes” Wanda admitted.

“Do you ever regret the things you did? The past choices you had made?” Vision inquired softly, non-accusingly.

Wanda’s expression shifted to one of shock and slight offense.

“What is this about Viz?” she questioned him, not answering his questions.

“We all make choices in our lives. Some we only grow to regret in their aftermath rather than in the moment” Vision evaded while still maintaining relevance.

“Is this about the airport? Rhodes wasn’t your fault. It was an accident” Wanda reminded him, her eyes softening a touch.

“One that need not have happened if certain situations had been handled better” Vision agreed.

“You mean if Stark had backed down” Wanda grumbled.

“It was not Mr. Stark that needed to back down” Vision corrected lightly.

Wanda frowned, a frustrated crease forming in her brow.

“We're not here to talk about the past Viz. I thought we'd moved on from this” Wanda stated, a note of annoyance in her voice.

You have moved on” Vision corrected, “As you seem to do with everything”

“What are you saying?” Wanda inquired defensively, narrowing her eyes at his accusation.

“I'm saying that every time an incident occurs you've shown a pattern of avoiding the consequences of your actions, using others to get what it is you want and then tossing them aside and moving on to the next chapter in your life when they are no longer of any use to you” Vision pointed out critically.

“This is because of Stark isn't it?!” Wanda demanded furiously, moving to a standing position, “He's planting these ideas in your head to turn you against me!”

“Mr. Stark has done no such thing. I am merely pointing out facts that I have complied myself and analyzed of your behavior” Vision noted impassively.

“What so called facts?” Wanda demanded, clenching her fists.

“You wanted revenge against the Avengers. So you used SHIELD to grant you the power you needed to do so. Even when you discovered that they were in fact Hydra you still remained as it was your belief that you could use them to get your revenge seeing as Hydra were enemies of the Avengers, and remaining with them gave you your best choice of encountering them. Then when the Avengers had attacked the base and you attacked Mr. Stark you no longer had any further use for them and proceeded to abandon Strucker and List. Then when Ultron came to you, you saw an opportunity to use him to complete your revenge, only changing your mind when you realized that he would likely kill you as well, abandoning him in favor of the Avengers. Because if anyone had the chance to defeat Ultron it was them. And when you saw the devastation Ultron was causing because of you, you desired a second chance at a new life, one which the Avengers gave to you. At Captain Rogers’ demand your involvement with Hydra and Ultron, as well as your hand in the destruction of Johannesburg and the creation of Ultron itself was covered up. And when the world began to villify you, you cut ties once more and made a new life for yourself elsewhere” Vision logically point out, listing her actions in order.

“Because of Stark!” Wanda declared furiously, stomping her foot against the ground in frustration.

“I find your scapegoating of Mr. Stark irrational and tiresome” Vision exclaimed with a sigh.

“Because he is to blame for everything!” Wanda declared adamantly, “He's the reason I agreed to Dr. List's experiments! He's the reason I stayed with Hydra! He's the reason Pietro died! Him unjustly placing me on house arrest is why I had to break the law and become a fugitive!”

“You were shown proof that the shell that fell upon your house was in fact a replica of a Stark Industries shell and not in fact real. While indeed traumatizing, the childish rationale behind your hatred of the man should have ended as you gained further logical reasoning skills when you aged. One cannot blame the man who made the weapon when another is truly the one to blame for firing it” Vision began, cutting down her arguments one by one.

Wanda grit her teeth furiously.

“You made the choice to be experimented on just as you made the choice to stay with Hydra. No one forced you. Just as no one forced Pietro to save Clint and that young boy. Saying otherwise is a dishonor to his last moments” Vision scolded sharply.

Wanda's eyes began to glow red.

“Furthermore, you were placed under house arrest pending a review of the mission in Lagos. Yes it was indeed an accident, and Captain Rogers’ poor handling of the entirety of the mission was the true fault, however, because the unauthorized mission was seen as an act of terrorism your status was in jeopardy as you did not possess a visa. You were made aware of the situation and instead of confronting your actions you chose to exert your powers needlessly, and callously harmed those you once called your friends as they were no longer perceived to be on ‘your’ side” Vision noted, declaring the last part icily.

“You aren't!” Wanda roared, red now outlining her hands in preparation to attack, “You've made that abundantly clear now!”

“I merely wished to see if you had changed. I can see now that you have not” Vision declared, pulling out a power-dampening collar, his appearance returning to that of his red skinned form, his cape flowing behind him.

“I will not be made helpless again! I took control of you before and I can do so again!” Wanda roared, covering Vision in red, attempting to once again take control of him through the mind stone as she had before at the Compound.

Feeling Wanda’s energy surrounding him Vision focused on his connection to the mind stone, the gem glowing brightly as it removed Wanda’s influence from Vision’s person.

“That’s impossible!” Wanda screeched in fearful disbelief.

Faster than Wanda could see, Vision flew in front of her, unceremoniously snapping the collar around her neck, phasing through her concussive blasts as if her powers were nothing.

The moment the collar snapped around her neck the blood red faded away from her hands.

Wanda desperately tried to pull the collar off, but to no avail.

“We are all responsible for the choices we make Ms. Maximoff. Hopefully one day you may understand that yourself” Vision declared, a barely there hint of sadness in his voice.

“You’ll regret this!” Wanda vehemently swore, snarling up at him.

“Of all the choices I have made in my life so far, I do not believe I will ever regret this one” Vision declared assuredly, taking off with her under his arm, screeching and cursing at him with every breath as he flew her back to her cell in the Raft.

Chapter Text

16. (prompt by FenarielTheDalishMage)

@It’sSpiderman: Omg did you hear?

@IronLad: Considering I don’t have super senses I’m gonna say no.

@It’sSpiderman: Captain Underpants just rejected the PR team the UN assigned him and the rest of the Ex-Vengers.

@Arrowsmith: God forbid he come off his high horse and talk to the people - who don’t even want him anyway...but still. It's the principle of the thing.

@Stature: He doesn't listen. I told him to leave my Daddy alone and he just patted my head like I was some yapping dog!

@Artemis: Does that mean the Ex-Vengers aren’t doing interviews or anything? (Again)

@It’sSpiderman: Nope. It gets better. Captain Lunkhead is doing his own PR.

@IronLad: *laughs for an hour straight* Captain Douchebag is gonna be doing his own PR? This oughta be good #can’twaittoseethistrainwreck

“Captain Rogers. What do you have to say about your team's terrorist attack in Lagos?” Christine Everhart asked casually, though loud enough to have her voice reach the podium when she was called on.

“Lagos wasn't a terrorist attack. We were looking into a lead on an ex-Hydra agent in the city” Steve retorted firmly, trying to keep his annoyance under control.

“An unauthorized mission where you went into another country you weren't welcome in and blew up a building filled with people” Christine countered pointedly, her sharp smile not easing once.

“The backlash from Rumlow's suicide bombing hitting the building was an accident. Unintentional and occurred because a distraction on my part gave Rumlow the opportunity he needed to detonate. More people would have gotten hurt had Wanda not gotten there in time” Steve retorted firmly, fighting not to narrow his eyes at the reporter.

“A lot of unintentional consequences seem to occur as a result of your decisions” Christine commented smoothly, not giving an inch.

“Ma’am-” Steve began, his voice colored with obvious reprimand.

“Your plan to dump SHIELD's information inadvertently got hundreds of innocent civilians killed, let alone the innocent SHIELD agents who were undercover” Christine continued doggedly, cutting Steve off.

“I stand by my decision. Hydra was using SHIELD to infiltrate the government and conduct missions that were beneficial only them” Steve declared firmly, assured in himself.

“If you were so confident in your reasonings then why didn't you attend the meeting at Capital Hill?” Christine challenged, raising an eyebrow at him.

“A matter such as that-”

“Was a matter of national security, and you just released American secrets onto the worldwide web” Christine reminded, not giving Steve a chance to spout his glib justifications, “Had it not been for Tony Stark I'd say our country's secrets would still be in the hands of our enemies. Wouldn't you?”

Steve noticeably ground his teeth together.

“In fact the only one of the original Avengers to ever truly face the public was Tony Stark” Christine noted with a false casualness.

“Stark had the most experience and best resources in the area” Steve replied, his answer short and sharp due to his growing anger and annoyance.

“So you left all the tedious non-hero work for Tony Stark to do while you ran around destroying cities that he had to clean up and apologize for on your behalf...Why? Because talking to the people is beneath you? You feel that you don't need to explain to us what happened or why you chose the course of action you did?” Christine challenged, any hint of false niceties gone from her voice.

“Being an Avenger involves making hard decisions that the regular populace don't encounter” Steve tried to justify.

“So you don't think the public is intelligent enough to understand why their loved ones are dead, or why they have to buy a new home?” Christine interpreted, her eyes narrowed into sharp slits.

“I'm saying that fear and anger make people irrational even in the face of logic and facts” Steve corrected, meeting her head on.

“Like how your fear for the ex-Winter Soldier got innocent agents from the JCTC injured and killed? And King T'Challa's thirst for revenge led to the bridge collapse in Bucharest that killed and injured countless civilians?” Christine countered, her expression daring him to come up with an excuse for that.

“The JCTC and the King at that time were trying to kill an innocent man” Steve reminded her sharply.

“And yet even after the bridge collapse they brought the ex-Winter Soldier in alive. Which begs the question whether you were given faulty information as to that supposed kill order” Christine noted, crushing his counterargument with logic.

“I made the right call” Steve declared firmly, getting fed up with her accusations.

“It's funny how all your right calls seem to involve a lot of civilian collateral that you seem to easily disregard” Christine pointed out, accusingly.

“You can't save everyone” Steve declared, his schooled expression coming off as uncaring.

“That Captain, is nothing more than an excuse so that you can sleep at night knowing you could have made different decisions that would have reduced the number of casualties” Christine declared, wholly unimpressed with his reply.

“I-”

“What Steve means to say is that we all will be taking a more active role in PR, and a more appropriate chain of command and accountability will be followed” Natasha declared, pushing Steve slightly to the side so that she could speak into the microphone, grateful she she had decided to come and support Steve at the interview so that she could save him from himself, “No matter what you're feelings are about us we will show you that we are still your heroes. Thank you”

@Harley-Davidson’sGotNothinOnMe: And people say my Dad's the one with narcissism and an out of control ego? #SteveRogersIsASanctimoniousAss

@IAmPeterRabbit: Does he even realize how much he sounds like Hitler and the Red Skull? #CaptainDictator

@BetterThanKatniss: I don't understand why Aunt Traitor is still defending him.

@FlyingTheCoop: Obviously she wants herself some All-American hotdog.

@TheFutureQueenBee: What?

@BetterThanKatniss: But I thought she liked Uncle Bruce?

@TheFutureQueenBee: Hope said that Romanoff and Maximoff are abusers.

@Harley-Davidson’sGotNothinOnMe: Guess they get -off on it. Makes them feel powerful to push around guys that can flatten them.

@CaptainAmerica: The uncouth language from all of you is childish and petty. No one abused anyone and I am certainly no dictator. Spreading slander out of unjustified anger is wrong.

…….

@IAmPeterRabbit: Since when does Captain America have social media? #AnyoneElseConfusedHere

@CaptainAmerica: It was a recommended tactical move by the Team.

@Harley-Davidson’sGotNothinOnMe: You mean by the other Ex-Vengers after your interview showed your true colors to the public.

@CaptainAmerica: I told the truth.

@Harley-Davidson’sGotNothinOnMe: Yeah. Because you're all about truth, justice, and honor...And that was sarcasm there in case you missed it.

@Harley-Davidson’sGotNothinOnMe: And for the record, my anger is entirely justified. You almost murdered my FATHER!

@IAmPeterRabbit: OUR father. And it's not slander if it's true.

@TheFutureQueenBee: You do remember that we ARE children right?

@FlyingTheCoop: Unlike a certain Scarlet Bitch who was 26 when the Accords first came out.

@CaptainAmerica: First, Tony tried to kill me and Bucky. Second, Wanda needed help and guidance, not to be locked away.

@Harley-Davidson’sGotNothinOnMe: YOU DIDN'T!!! IT'S ON YOU ASSHOLE!!!

@IAmPeterRabbit: Tony punched you after he found out that you knew that the Winter Soldier had killed his parents for two years and NEVER told him!

@Harley-Davidson’sGotNothinOnMe: I work on the Iron Man suits with him! If he wanted too he could have used his lasers or blasted you into kingdom come with his missiles!! He was holding back while YOU didn't!! And you had the gall to leave him in the snow to die after you crushed his arc reactor!!

@TheFutureQueenBee: Your guidance and help only seems to get people in trouble. My Dad's back on probation because you manipulated him with the so called Captain-America-charm.

@BetterThanKatniss: Like a psychopath charms people right?

@IAmPeterRabbit: BURN

@YouKnowWhoIAm: Alright. Enough trolling the old man. He's too stuck in his ways to see reason.

@CaptainAmerica: Tony you and I really need to talk. You can't avoid me and the rest of the Team forever. (And stop pitting the kids against us)

@YouKnowWhoIAm: I'm not avoiding you Rogers. I just have a million and seven better things to do with my time. (Funny how you're still blaming me for your own actions) #NotYourSugarDaddyAnymore

@CaptainAmerica: Tony I'm serious. We have to get past this.

@CaptainAmerica: Tony.

@CaptainAmerica: Tony.

@CaptainAmerica: …….*Sighs*

Tony couldn't help but huff out a laugh at Rogers’ stupidity.

The Twitter chat he had inserted himself into had been a public domain.

His conversation with the Mini-Vengers was being re-tweeted everywhere.

And if the public had thought little of Rogers before, they outright hated him now.

“Ah the beauty of letting someone dig their own grave” Tony chuckled, turning off his phone screen.

 

 

17.

“That's the Court Marshall” Rhodes declared as the sound of beeping echoed through the meeting room.

The former Avengers stood tense, waiting with bated breath for Rhodes’ next move.

“Ross is right about one thing though. The world's gone to shit. Exactly the way Tony had predicted it would” Rhodes declared, causing a few of the original Avengers to shift awkwardly at the reminder of Tony's fears of another invasion.

“Don't think calling him the Earth's Best Defender changes the fact that the last time you saw Tony, you left him to die in Siberia” Rhodes continued bitterly, addressing Rogers in particular with his glare.

“Rhodes-” Steve began softly.

“I don't wanna hear it” Rhodes declared firmly, cutting Steve off immediately, “The only reason I reactivated your access codes, the only reason I let you back here, is because we need all hands on deck for this. Any issues between us, unfortunately, have to come second”

“Rhodes I-” Sam started in guiltily, still physically supporting Vision.

“I'm still pissed at you” Rhodes stated pointedly, cutting off Sam too.

He wasn't in the mood to deal with any of them frankly.

Sam swallowed harshly, looking down at the floor in guilt, though that just gave him a better view of the braces Rhodes now had to wear the rest of his life (because of him).

“But not for the reason your moronic brain is currently jumping to” Rhodes continued, his voice the vocal equivalent of an eyeroll.

Sam (and the rest of the former Avengers) looked at Rhodes in surprise.

“I'm pissed because you had all had the gall to say that you couldn't trust us when you all were the ones to withhold information, lie, and betray us, all in the name of stopping a greater threat, because you extended your distrust of government influence to us” Rhodes listed unmercifully, all the pent up anger and frustration he had thought that he'd buried bubbling up to the surface.

“And yet here I am doing the same thing Tony did two years ago...Doing exactly what you said we wouldn't do....Doing what you didn't do...And unlike you all, I have a legitimate reason not to trust any of you” Rhodes declared viciously.

Steve looked away shamefully.

It had taken him almost a year before he really understood the extent of the damage he had caused.

Not only towards the public and other heroes, but towards the people he had called his friends.

But even then he stubbornly stayed away, unable to truly admit his fault in the Avengers Civil War and properly apologize to Tony (Bucky had let him have it when he had found out about the BS letter he had sent Tony).

Sam was thinking much of the same.

He never truly knew Stark. He had just fed off of Steve's distrust of governments, and his own mistrust of the engineer stemming from their lack of personal interactions.

He had been beyond arrogant in claiming that Stark, Rhodes, Nat, and Vision wouldn't side with them.

And it cost all of them.

Some moreso than others…

“You're not forgiven. Not by a long shot” Rhodes stated matter-of-factly, stepping closer to Rogers.

“But we we have a job to do” Rhodes declared resolutely, looking Steve dead in the eye.

“I can break your ribs after we stop this son-of-a-bitch” Rhodes warned him, his voice unwavering.

World ending crisis or not, he wasn't just going to welcome them all back with open arms.

 

18. (prompt by liuliu)

“How do I spell your name, Natalie?” Tony asked, shouting over to the red-head.

Happy knew the drill. Keep her distracted while he did a background check.

“R-u-s-h-m-a-n” Natalie replied before turning back to listen to whatever Happy was telling her.

“What, are you gonna google her now?” Pepper questioned, mildly annoyed (and jealous).

“I thought I was ogling her?” Tony retorted as he flipped through the images and files that came up on his table-top screen.

“Oh wow, very, very impressive individual. She's fluent in French, Italian, Russian, Latin. Who speaks Latin?” Tony asked very impressed.

“No one speaks Latin, it's a dead language. You can read Latin, or you can write Latin, but you can't speak Latin” Pepper retorted, keeping her voice neutral despite her annoyance and jealousy growing more and more every second.

“Did you model in Tokyo? Cause she modeled in Tokyo” Tony pointed out, teasing Pepper a bit when he noticed that she was getting jealous.

“Well…” Pepper stammered a bit, trying to come up with a good come back.

But before she could a red dot appeared on his table-top screen.

“And according to the scan Jarvis just ran, Natalie Rushman does not exist” Tony declared blandly, as if he was just talking about the weather.

“What?” Pepper demanded, tearing her gaze away from her phone to look at Tony in alarm.

“Yup. A false alias good enough to get past lower security, hence why it didn't raise any red flags. Awfully arrogant to think that it would hold up against my system checks though” Tony stated as he flipped through the discrepancies Jarvis had found.

“Quite sir” Jarvis agreed.

“Oh my god. Samantha just unexpectedly became ill fifteen minutes ago. She always brings documents to you directly” Pepper realized in horror, “You don't think-”

“That Miss Rushman here got Sam sick just so she could have the chance to take her place and honeytrap me?” Tony finished with a flourish.

This wasn’t his first rodeo. Both men and women have tried to honeypot or honeydick him countless times in the past, dating all the way back to Sunset Bane when he’d been fourteen.

He’d learned that lesson hard and well.

“I'm calling security” Pepper declared, immediately going back to her phone.

“I need her. She’s got everything that I need to be my new PA” Tony declared raising his voice slightly louder, though not too obvious or obnoxious when he noticed that ‘Natalie’ had turned back slightly, watching his lips (likely reading them to find out what he was saying).

“No” Pepper stated, glaring at Tony fiercely, understanding exactly what he was planning.

Suddenly they both heard a loud slam and looked up to see Happy get flipped forward onto the mat, half in a choke hold, half trapped in an armbar.

“Oh my God! Happy!” Pepper declared worriedly, immediately shooting up from her seat at the attack on her friend.

“Wrong move” Tony thought smugly as he got up from his seat, “You just narrowed down who you work for little lady”

“That’s what I’m talking about” Tony declared, making sure he sounded impressed as he walked over to the ring.

“It was a slip” Happy stated, limping up in pain as he tried to cover up his embarrassment.

“Really? Looks like a TKO to me” Tony declared nonchalantly, taking the small hammer and clanging the bell three times to signal that the match was over.

“It’s just um, I need your impression” Natalie said as she stepped through the side of the ring.

“You have a quiet reserve. I don’t know you have an old soul” Tony analyzed, taking what he could from what he had seen in her eyes past the false flirtatious eye-bats.

“I meant your fingerprint” she corrected giving him a small amused yet flirtatious smile as she picked up the folder from the floor.

“Right” Tony said, adjusting his glove so that he could ink up his thumb on the inkpad in the folder.

He’d never liked being handed things. It was a trust thing. And being the CEO of Stark Industries meant that people have always wanted him to sign things he wasn’t comfortable agreeing to, or even a few creative individuals who had handed him gift-wrapped bombs or poisoned pens and papers.

Afghanistan and Obi-Stane had only made his paranoia of being handed things worse.

“So how’re we doing?” Pepper asked with a fake happy smile and false politeness.

“Great. Just one moment...You’re the Boss” Tony declared, having officially thumb-stamped his approval of Pepper’s position as SI’s new CEO.

“Will that be all Mr. Stark?” Natalie inquired, giving him a falsely sweet, flirtatious smile.

“No” Tony said simply, wanting to see if he could get more information out of her.

“Yes. That will be all Ms. Rushman thank you very much” Pepper dismissed, her smile and false politeness still in play, a disposition that could easily be misinterpreted as annoyance at Tony for his flirting.

Taking the dismissal, ‘Natalie’ made her way out of the room.

“I want one” Tony stated to Pepper, just as Natalie had reached the threshold of the door.

“No” Pepper stated plainly, waiting another few moments to make sure Natalie was far enough away before she continued, “This isn’t a game Tony. She’s here to spy on the Company”

“Well Coulson and Fury are obviously up to something and I want to find out what it is” Tony countered bluntly, just shy of sounding like a petulant teenager.

“You think Phil’s behind this?” Pepper demanded in surprise.

“Phil?” Tony questioned, his face scrunching up like he’d tasted something bad, “Since when is he Phil?”

“I’m with Tony on this one. She’s too well trained not to be an agent of some kind” Happy agreed, making his way over to the two of them.

“Not to mention she’s exactly my type. Smart. Successful. Extremely pretty, and can handle my eccentricities. Exactly the type of woman I like to keep an eye on” Tony noted, gesturing his head over at Pepper.

Pepper just gave him a soft smile, remembering how they met in the first place all those years ago.

“Only SHIELD would have me profiled so accurately, no one else would’ve been so perfect. Not to mention Phil’s been my personal mixed martial arts trainer since I outed myself as Iron Man. Agent strikes me as the observant type” Tony noted critically.

“Okay so what is it that they want, that they think they have to spy on us for?” Pepper pondered aloud, “You don’t think they’re after your suits do you?”

“It’s possible they may not have taken me telling them to take a hike on that vein very well, but I don’t think it’s that” Tony replied thoughtfully.

Pepper than raised eyebrow at Tony.

“You’re not working on any secret projects are you?” she demanded, crossing her arms.

Tony blinked for a moment in surprise.

“What, no” Tony replied, finally regaining himself.

“You hesitated” Happy stated bluntly.

“No I didn’t” Tony quickly countered back.

“Damnit Tony. What are you doing now?” Pepper demanded, sounding exasperated.

“I’m not doing anything” Tony defended, slightly offended.

“Really? Cause you’ve been acting really weird lately” Pepper pointed out unconvinced.

“Being Iron man is a big adjustment” Tony sidestepped.

“So there’s nothing you’re keeping from us? No secrets? Nothing you’re hiding?” Pepper questioned, looking Tony straight in the eye and daring him to lie to her face.

“......Crap” Tony muttered, caving to the accusation in Pepper’s eyes.

(Tony told Pepper, Happy, and Rhodey that he was dying from palladium poisoning, forcing him to cancel his plans to piss them all off so much that they wouldn’t go looking for him when he finally took off. He outfitted Rhodey with his own suit - armed to self-destruct if anyone other than Rhodey tried to wear it or hack into it - so that when he died the mantle would be passed on. Tony confronted Fury, Coulson, and Agent Romanoff, and after threatening to sue them for corporate espionage was given some of his father’s old films Fury insisted might be able to help him. Tony ended up rediscovering an element his father had created while he had worked on Project Pegasus, synthesizing it and saving himself. Healthy and purged of the heavy metals clouding his judgement, Tony dealt with Vanko without an issue. SHIELD attempted to get back in Tony’s good graces by having Agent Romanoff circumvent Hammer’s plan to get Vanko on his payroll. Tony reluctantly accepted the olive branch - knowing he would likely have to affiliate with them again - but made it clear he didn’t want anything to do with SHIELD).

 

 

19. (prompt by liuliu)

“We’re the Avengers. We can bust arms dealers all the live-long day but that up there that’s, that’s the endgame....How were you guys planning on beating that?” Tony asked, sounding incredibly tired and worn down.

“Together” Steve declared firmly back.

“We’ll lose” Tony replied, a note in his voice almost begging Steve for some kind of reassurance that they had some kind of plan.

“Then we’ll do that together too” Steve declared unflinchingly.

“We're all doomed” Tony thought.

Cowed and despondent at Steve's answer, Tony turned his gaze downward.

“That’s not a plan Steve” Maria cut in, seeing that Stark had been silenced, causing all the attention to shift on her.

“SHIELD was meant to help protect against extraterrestrial threat. The Avengers Initiative was created by Fury as an additional force to combat alien threats regular forces wouldn’t be able to handle. Now SHIELD is no more, so there isn’t an organization monitoring for extraterrestrial threats anymore. The Avengers were never supposed to be the only line of defense. That’s why SHIELD had restarted Project Pegasus. Stark had a plan. Yeah it went sideways in the worst way, but he still had a plan. And that’s more than any of you can say” Maria defended, noting Stark's unusual behavior.

She had been on board with Stark Industries expanding into privatized security. She was made Head of the Monitoring and Information Department working alongside the Avengers. Stark had taken steps so that the former SHIELD agents working in his new Security Division would be working in a similar capacity to their former jobs at SHIELD. Unfortunately with Rogers’ paranoia they did little more than gather information and make calls to countries to authorize abroad Avengers missions.

And that needed to change.

“No matter what comes we fight together. That’s how we’ll win...or die trying” Steve declared, trying to sound charismatic but ultimately failing.

“We need a plan Steve. Your little suicide pact isn’t going to cut it against an invasion from space. We all just got lucky the first time” Maria countered sharply.

“Lady Hill is right” Thor cut in, sounding more like the seasoned warrior that he was, “There are entire planets of creatures and beings Midgardians can’t even begin to comprehend. You’ve all only just begun extending your reach to space. Your technology and weapons childish in comparison to civilizations that are thousands upon thousands of years your elder. With our defeat of the Chitauri we placed Midgard in the possibly sights of other warfaring worlds that may have an interest in testing our might. Merely saying that we will fight to our dying breath, while maybe true, is not an appropriate plan of war”

“Trying win a war before it starts innocent people die. Every time” Steve declared pointedly.

“No. It’s called pre-emptive measures. Tactics the military uses all the time” Rhodes corrected, sounding very unimpressed with Steve's attitude.

“Well doing so is what led to Ultron going rogue” Steve reminded them sharply.

“I keep telling you! Ultron wasn’t working! Only simulations were being run. Nothing should have happened!” Tony near shouted, having come out of his funk at hearing the others’ opposition to Rogers’ plan (or rather lack-there-of).

“Well obviously something did” Steve snapped back.

“But how?” Helen questioned meekly, speaking up for the first time since the start of the conversation, having been scared by Thor choking Tony.

“...I don’t know” Tony admitted, sounding exhausted.

“Can’t you go back into your security systems and piece it together?” Helen asked, still keeping her distance and not looking at anyone other than Tony.

“...Yeah” Tony agreed softly, thinking through the steps he'd need to go through now that Jarvis...

“We don’t have time. We need to narrow down where Ultron is” Steve retorted, reminding them of the matter at hand.

“We can do that and find out just what happened Steve” Natasha cut in, “We need to know how Ultron came to life. What it is exactly that we’re dealing with”

“The more we know the less casualties there’ll be” Clint agreed, “Going into a situation blind isn't going to do anyone any good”

“We can plan as we go. It'll be more effective that way rather than making a plan now, and then getting blindsided and have to scramble when new variables come into play” Steve justified, annoyed that the team wasn't just listening to him.

“Just because you're ready and willing to just throw your life away, doesn't mean the rest of us have to follow you off the cliff. We're not suicide bombers. Our job is to protect the world. Not throw our lives away needlessly. We need to think on a larger scale. Winning the war. Not battles” Tony declared firmly, getting a surge of confidence with every new voice of opposition that wasn't him for once.

Steve opened his mouth, offended by the suicide bombers remark, but was cut off.

“Plans can be adapted in the moment Steve. But we do need a plan. Sacrificing our lives in a battle with Ultron isn't going to mean a damn thing if we don't have a plan to defeat him completely” Rhodes declared firmly, agreeing with Tony's point-of-view.

“Banner can try locating the Scepter through it's gamma signature while Hill, Barton, and Romanoff track down Ultron. Tony'll assist them but his primary focus'll be on figuring out how Ultron came online in the first place. If you need something to do Rogers than how about you contact Sam? We're gonna need all the help we can get” Rhodey proclaimed, taking charge of the situation since Steve seemed adamant about just winging it.

Tightening his jaw Steve took out his phone and left the room.

He hadn't glared Rhodes down as he left, but it was a damn near thing.

“They'll see I'm right” Steve thought to himself as he went to get ahold of Sam.

(Because of Helen's insistence it was discovered that the Scepter itself was responsible for the Ultron program going rogue. Under Rhodes’ command the Avengers were better prepared to deal with the addition of the Maximoff Twins at the Salvage Yard. Clint jammed an arrow into Wanda's skull, killing her, before she had the chance to mind-rape him for a second time in his life. Rhodes and Sam in turn killed Pietro when he went after Clint in revenge. Tony, Bruce, and Thor created Vision, who ultimately destroyed Ultron. Afterwards the Avengers fell apart, with Tony and Clint retiring, Thor leaving to learn more about the Infinity Stones, and Natasha and Bruce vanishing to start a new life together. With Rhodey elected as the new team leader, Steve, now Nomad, left with Sam to search for Bucky. Vision stayed with Rhodey and became a part of the new team called the Ultimates, which also included Ant-Man and the Wasp).

 

 

20. (prompt by FrejaLooo)

“How are you feeling Sergeant Barnes?” T'Challa asked, walking into the medical room.

As soon as they had arrived in Wakanda, T'Challa had Bucky and Steve’ injuries examined by the Palace doctors.

“Better. Thank you. For everything” Bucky exclaimed gratefully.

“It is the least I can do after I tried to unjustly take your life for a crime you did not even commit” T'Challa retorted humbly, taking note how different Barnes looked dressed in the white garb the doctors had changed him into.

Bucky frowned, his eyes glazing over with a deep grief T'Challa couldn't even begin to understand.

“I may not have killed your father, but I'm not exactly innocent either” Bucky countered, thinking back to the Bunker, seeing the shock and grief on Stark's face as he was made to watch him kill his parents.

“You have my word that we will find a way to remove the trigger words in your mind” T'Challa exclaimed firmly, assuredly.

He knew it would only be a matter of time before Shuri found a way to help Sergeant Barnes.

“I still haven't changed my mind about going back under...Wakanda might still be cut off from the rest of the world, but I still can't take that chance” Bucky stated sadly, thought confident in his decision.

“Your body is yours to do as you wish. The cryo-chamber is being prepared as we speak” T'Challa assured him.

Bucky nodded gratefully.

T’Challa took that as his leave, and turned to exit the room once more.

But as Bucky watched the King leave he was struck by a hazy memory of Steve and him leaving Stark behind in the cold and snow.

“Is Stark okay?” Bucky blurted out before T’Challa had a chance to press the door latch, causing the King to pause in surprise at the question.

“Tony Stark?” T’Challa inquired, rounding back on Bucky in confusion, “Why would his health be in question?”

“Our fight was...brutal...What I can remember of it anyway. It’s still kind of hazy. My...instincts kind of took over for most of it but I was still partially there” Bucky explained guiltily.

He had just reacted to Stark attacking Steve and things had just escalated from there.

He should have let Stark just punch him. He more than deserved it.

“How brutal?” T’Challa demanded firmly, gazing at Barnes with an unreadable expression.

“Steve and I went after the power source in his chest. I’m pretty sure Steve crushed it with his shield” Bucky relayed.

After a moment of stunned silence T’Challa brought up his kimoyo beads to his mouth.

“Ready one of the planes. I have it on good authority that Tony Stark may be stranded in Siberia and in need of medical assistance” T’Challa commanded to Okoye in Xhosa.

“What’s going on?” Bucky asked, not liking the King’s reaction.

But before T’Challa had a chance to answer him Steve entered the room.

T’Challa immediately turned to confront him, his expression one of anger.

“You lied to me Captain” T’Challa declared accusingly.

“Your Highness?” Steve addressed in confusion.

Bucky was suddenly hit by a deja vu.

“Did you know?” Stark demanded furiously.

“You informed me that Dr. Stark was merely cooling off. Not once did you mention that you had disabled his suit, stranding him in Siberia and rendering him incapable of contacting for help” T’Challa accused sternly.

“I didn’t strand him. I just disabled the suit” Steve corrected firmly.

“And how did you assume that he would leave? He did not take a plane. He flew his suit to Siberia. And we took both planes when we left” T’Challa countered, narrowing his eyes at Steve.

Cold horror crept up Bucky’s spine.

“Oh my god. He’s still there” Bucky muttered in horror.

“Even if that’s true someone would have picked him up” Steve defended, confident that Tony had some way of contacting for help.

“And who might that be Captain? Ross did not know he was there. The Colonel is currently recovering from spinal surgery. The Widow fled, and I know not of the android. Just who were you expecting to come to his rescue?” T’Challa questioned skeptically, in disbelief at what he was hearing.

“Never leave a man behind” Bucky muttered in horrified disbelief, “He was a teammate...Your friend...And you just left him behind”

“He was completely irrational Buck. I didn’t know if I could trust him not to go after you again if I brought him along” Steve justified.

“If he’d wanted to kill me he would have!” Bucky shouted, growing angry at Steve’s dismissal of his supposed friend’s wellbeing.

“He blew your arm off” Steve countered firmly, not backing down.

“No. It was an automatic defense mechanism of the suit to keep its power source safe. I should have known better than to think something like that wouldn’t have been in place” Bucky countered fiercely, stepping down from the examination table.

“He still didn’t stop” Steve retorted tightly, defensively.

“Neither did you!” Bucky exclaimed, “And if he wanted me dead he would have hit me with that missile and not the hinge of the fallout tower!”

Steve clenched his jaw tight, not having a counter for that. His eyes, while stubborn, displayed a hint of doubt in his convictions.

“Stark looked more into the psychiatrist just on your passing word...And he broke the Accords to come and help us...He did everything you said he wouldn’t do” Bucky exclaimed angrily, his accusations causing Steve to wince slightly, though he kept his expression mostly under control.

“You and Wilson decided that Stark wouldn’t believe you about the other winter soldiers. That you couldn’t trust him because he signed the Accords and the Accords were wrong” Bucky continued doggedly, “But you’re the one who betrayed him! You’re the one who couldn’t be trusted”

“Buck-” Steve said, his eyes now displaying hurt and regret.

Though Bucky doubted it was for his actions toward Stark.

“No” Bucky declared, cutting him off, “You acted like you were so much better than him. That you knew better-"

“He was compromised. He had Wanda on house arrest. He put our friends in jail!” Steve exclaimed.

“You and your friends broke the law Captain. That is why they are in jail” T’Challa cut in firmly, sounding wholly unimpressed, “And to my understanding, Ms. Maximoff was only unofficially on house arrest. There was nothing keeping her from leaving the Compound if she so decided to go out”

“Unofficially or not it was wrong” Steve retorted, unphased by the King's reasoning.

“Perhaps it is that you did not understand Ms. Maximoff’s predicament...Or rather you did not care how the world felt, as to you they were the ones who were wrong” T'Challa commented sharply.

“They are. Wanda is not some mass murderer. Lagos was a mistake on my part. Not hers” Steve adamantly declared.

“A fact you should have relayed to the public. But instead you did not, leaving the world to come to its own conclusions...Ones that were not far off from the truth” T'Challa declared harshly.

“I beg your pardon?” Steve demanded, narrowing his eyes at the King challengingly.

“Wakanda has been hunting down Ulysses Klaue for decades. When we had received word of your encounter with him in your dealings with Ultron we hacked into the Salvage Yard’s security cameras” T'Challa began, unphased by Steve's posturing.

“He knows” Steve thought dreadingly, his body tensing up, unconsciously readying itself for a fight.

“Color us surprised that the Scarlet Witch had actually been on Ultron’s side. And that you had welcomed her into the Avengers despite her attacking all of your minds, and setting the Hulk on Johannesburg” T'Challa revealed unrepentantly.

“WHAT?!” Bucky roared in disbelief.

“She regrets her past actions” Steve quickly defended.

“You’re fucking kidding me” Bucky declared furiously, “You let a mind-raper on the team?! Are you out of your mind?!”

“The plane is prepped for take-off my King” Okoye announced through the kimoyo beads, unaware of the tension and anger.

“That is my cue to leave. Sergeant Barnes you are welcome to stay” T'Challa declared, addressing Bucky politely before turned to face Steve, his expression forcibly neutral.

“As for you Captain Rogers. We take loyalty very seriously here in Wakanda. Had you been one of ours you would have been given no less than a sentence of death for your lies and betrayal. However I will give you until I return to leave my country with any supplies you may need...Within reason of course” T'Challa announced, the regal conviction in his voice letting Steve know that he would not be suede from his decision.

Reluctantly Steve nodded, accepting his fate.

However, he turned then to Bucky, his eyes questioning, imploring him to say “I'm coming with you”.

Bucky gazed upon his one-time friend with a hardened expression.

For the first time since he had pulled Steve's ass out of the Potomac, he was at a crossroads.

No one telling him what to do.

The choice was his to make.

……And he made it.

“I’m coming with you” Bucky declared firmly.

Bucky didn't look back once as he followed T'Challa to the tarmac.

(Tony was brought back to Wakanda just in the knick of time. After a fuck-ton of shouting Bucky convinced Steve, who unsurprisingly hadn't left, to leave Wakanda. Bucky and Tony were forced to start hashing out their issues since they were staying in the same building while they recovered. And eventually, between Tony and Shuri, Bucky had the trigger words removed from his head. Steve, with help from Fury and Maria Hill, broke the other Rogues out of the Raft. However all the Rogues, including Natasha and Sharon Carter, were caught by the new Avengers team. Including Bucky, the new Captain America).

 

 

21.

Bruce watched in amazement as Shuri scanned Vision with her kimoyo beads, a hologram of the mind stone appearing in her hand.

“The structure is polymorphic” Shuri exclaimed in surprise.

“Right. The neurons were attached non-non-sequentially” Bruce explained, putting on his glasses.

“Why didn’t you just pre-program the synapses to work collectively?” Shuri questioned, trying to tamper down a smile.

She was both delighted to have another genius to talk to that could understand her, and feeling a little smug with her own level of knowledge and intelligence in comparison to his.

“Because we didn't program them” Bruce replied hesitantly, a little confused at the mixed messages in her tone.

Shuri gave him a strange look.

“What do you mean you didn't create Vision?” Steve demanded, pushing off from his spot near the window.

“Tony and I reconfigured Jarvis’ matrix and based Vision's brain waves off a combination of our own. But we didn't create Vision's body. Helen did under Ultron's control when he used Loki's Scepter on her. We just completed the mind, so to speak” Bruce explained tensely, remembering that the last time he saw Rogers he had attacked him and Tony.

“I really need to ask what the hell happened” Bruce thought, suddenly a million times warier.

“Can you save him?” Wanda cut in, getting impatient in her concern for Vision's safety.

“Why do you care?” Bruce asked sharply, turning to face the Witch who had messed with his mind, “Last I saw you, you were trying to kill us and Vision”

“Things changed-” Steve began, hoping to halt the train before it continued down the tracks it was going.

“That's one word for it” Bruce cut in, not feeling very safe anymore now that he wasn't distracted, “I leave and I come back to find that the Hydra agent who fucked with my head so bad the Hulk attacked a city full of innocent people, was made an Avenger? And that you all fought over a piece of paper that just wanted you to own up to the fact our mistakes had consequences? I don't get it”

Bruce turned from side to side to look at everyone, demanding an actual explanation.

“It's more complicated than that” Steve eventually relented with a huff.

“Complicated how? Cause it seems that you just let the world blame me for the attack on Johannesburg. And if that's the case then what did you do to Tony? Cause Tony doesn't just walk away from anything. Or anyone” Bruce demanded, looking up at Steve with a new confidence he only just recently got from his time on Sakaar.

Nobody said anything.

The only sound was muffled breaths.

Keeping his eyes locked on Steve's, Bruce saw the waring emotions crashing against each other.

Guilt. Anger. Sadness. Regret. Stubbornness. Resignation.

“I betrayed him” Steve replied simply, not bothering to beat around the bush anymore.

Bruce clenched his teeth. His concern for his friend skyrocketing.

“Bruce. I know you're angry. But we need to focus” Natasha stated imploringly.

“Thanos and Vision first. We'll all talk later” she promised, placing a gentle cautious hand on his shoulder.

Bruce reluctantly nodded.

“Damn right we will” Bruce muttered, turning back to help Shuri with Vision.

Chapter Text

22.

“So. Do you have a lady friend back on Midgard?” Brunnhilde asked, taking a swig of some alcoholic drink she had found aboard the Statesman.

“Who? Me?” Bruce asked looking back and forth between Brunnhilde and Thor when he saw that she was looking at him.

“I’m not talking to goo-goo eyes over there” Brunnhilde noted sarcastically, gesturing the bottle in her hand at Thor.

“I-I wasn’t making goo-goo eyes. Just...appreciating a fellow warrior” Thor stammered slightly, his embarrassment obvious to all.

“So you’re not single then? I hope your significant other kicks your royal ass” Brunnhilde noted, taking another swig.

“No. I am. She broke-we decided to break up. Long distance thing” Thor replied, trying and failing to explain his relationship with Jane.

“Dumped your ass cause you couldn’t bother to stick around. Good to know” Brunnhilde interpreted, ignoring Thor’s motion to defend himself again and turned back to Bruce instead.

“Back to the question. Got anyone waiting for you?” Brunnhilde asked Bruce curiously.

“I...don’t know” Bruce said hesitantly.

“How do not know? Were you with someone before you left Midgard or not?” Brunnhilde asked, prodding a bit to get Bruce to elaborate.

“I was...But...the Hulk...blew her off and chose to leave. And I ended up on Sakaar for two years so…” Bruce hesitantly explained.

“Why did he blow her off? She was courting the both of you right?” Brunnhilde asked, confused why Hulk would choose to leave his significant other.

“Nat was my...girlfriend” Bruce explained, pausing slightly when he struggled to come up with the right word to describe his and Nat’s...thing.

“She didn’t accept Hulk” Brunnhilde stated agast.

“She accepted me...Us” Bruce corrected, defended.

“No she didn't” Brunnhilde stated firmly, looking at Bruce like he suddenly lost 85% of his IQ.

“She helped me control my shifts. Learn how to come back to myself after I transformed into the Hulk. She became a part of my anchor. Would come near me to help calm me down without worrying that I’d kill her. We had planned on running off and starting a life together before the Hulk chose different” Bruce listed, trying to defend the bond he and Nat had developed when she had taught him some of the techniques she had used when she first escaped the Red Room.

“She helped you to push Hulk away. To keep him at bay. She might have accepted you, but she used Hulk. No wonder he left. Hell it sounds like he was doing you both a favor” Brunnhilde declared unmercifully, not liking what she was hearing, nor the implications.

“Uh...She…” Bruce stammered, contemplating Brunnhilde’s words over and over and comparing them to the interactions with him and Nat.

“Spider pushed Banner down hole. Banner not want to fight. Hulk got revenge on way back up” Hulk declared smugly within Bruce’s head.

Bruce’s face twisted in betrayal and sorrow, actually sitting down on the ledge of the windows overlooking space in his shock.

“What’s wrong?” Thor asked, concerned for his brethren.

“You didn’t force me to change into the Hulk” Bruce noted, his voice sounding distant.

“Of course not” Thor said, confused why Banner was bringing that up, “Did I want you to? Yes. But I would never force you to do so”

“...She did” Bruce said numbly.

“She did what?” Thor asked, still very much confused.

“I told Nat that I didn’t want to change into the Hulk...And she pushed me down a giant crater” Bruce revealed, the memory of the event now at the forefront of his mind.

“Sounds like the Little Spider got a power-trip from supposedly being the only one that could ‘control’ the Hulk” Loki noted in his typical condescending drall.

Thor took the bottle out of Brunnhilde’s hand and tossed it at Loki, the bottle phasing right through him and inadvertently smashing against the wall.

“Must you make more work for the newly designated cleaning crew?” Loki inquired mockingly.

“While I hate to agree with him he’s right. Hulk did you a favor. You deserve someone who will accept the both of you, and treat you both equally” Brunnhilde declared firmly, a note of attempted comfort in her tone.

Bruce thought back to Betty. To Tony. To Brunnhilde. And now Thor. (Hell even Loki. But he wasn't touching that with a thousand foot pole).

They all had accepted him.

Both of them.

And yet when Nat had offered to help him do what he had yearned for, to push the Hulk away, he had clung to her.

And she had gone against his wishes and forced him to transform.

Did what he want even matter to her?

The Hulk’s opinions certainly didn’t. The Hulk hadn’t even been a person to her.

“Shit. How did I end up with someone like my father?” Bruce thought in horror, rubbing his head harshly.

“You’ll find the right person someday” Brunnhilde told him softly, “You have galaxies to choose from”

Bruce couldn’t help but gaze out the window at the asteroids and moons as the Statesman passed them by.

Maybe Earth wasn’t meant for him…

 

 

23. (prompt by BangTan_Sonyeondan)

“Jarvis I want you to look into SHIELD. Everything. Leave no stone unturned” Tony declared as soon as he knew Eyepatch was gone.

There was no way he was just going to ignore this any longer.

He was a military contractor for god-sakes, and he’d never heard of the Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division.

That was unacceptable.

Especially when they seemed to know him.

Needless to say he hadn’t expected what Jarvis had uncovered.

My father? Howard Stark? And Aunt Peggy?” Tony exclaimed in disbelief.

“So it would appear Sir” Jarvis confirmed, “It would seem that they expanded the SSR into an intelligence agency after the War”

“Definitely explains a lot” Tony muttered mostly to himself, thinking back to his father’s obsession with weapons, and how Aunt Peggy would teach him things like how to get out of handcuffs, and all the strategy games they would play (including using his senses and memory to find his way around the Mansion blindfolded - that one definitely came in handy in Afghanistan).

“Okay. So why am I only hearing about them now?” Tony asked, bouncing his personal inquiries off Jarvis.

“From what I can gather, your father and Mrs. Carter had placed you ‘off-limits’ in terms of recruitment. In fact there is a particularly threatening email from Mrs. Carter to Director Fury warning him to keep away from you” Jarvis relayed, sounding impressed.

“When was this?” Tony asked curiously.

“When Mrs. Carter officially retired from SHIELD” Jarvis replied.

“The question is why would they be so adamant about keeping SHIELD away from me?” Tony muttered to himself, now ten-times more suspicious of the secret spy agency.

“Jarvis do some more digging. I smell a rat. Something tells me SHIELD’s hiding more than just intelligence” Tony declared, twirling his stylus in his hand, activating his holograms so that he could assist Jarvis in hacking into SHIELD.

He wasn’t going to rest until he found out every dirty secret SHIELD carried…….

“What the hell was Howard and Aunt Peggy thinking?!” Tony exclaimed furiously, staring at his holo-screens in horrified disbelief as he read over Operation Paperclip.

“Why the fuck would you bring Arnim Zola into SHIELD?!” Tony exclaimed, aghast by the sheer stupidity of the move, “He’s literally been reforming Hydra under everyone’s noses!!”

This was bad.

No.

Bad was a bank robbery.

This was catastrophic.

God only knows what Hydra has been doing with SHIELD as it’s cover.

“Sir there is something else that I’ve found that I believe you need to see” Jarvis said hesitantly, sounding very unsure.

“Lay it on me J” Tony near demanded, not believing that things could get any worse.

He should have known better.

“Sergeant Barnes?”

This wasn’t happening.

“Howard”

It wasn’t an accident.

“Sir, your vital signs show that you are in extreme distress. Shall I call Ms. Potts or Colonel Rhodes?” Jarvis inquired frantically, very concerned for his father.

“The accident report” Tony gasped, his breathing coming out in short pants as he tried to wrap his head around what he had just seen.

“From what I found in SHIELD’s database, the report given to the public and thereby you, was falsified. According to SHIELD’s own reports, cause of death for Howard and Maria Stark was blunt force trauma, and strangulation respectfully. Manner of death: homicide” Jarvis reluctantly, sadly, relayed.

“She knew” Tony realized numbly.

That’s why he hadn’t been allowed to see their bodies...To be the one to identify them even though he was their son.

Because his Aunt had known that his parents had been killed by Hydra and fucking covered it up.

Had lied to him.

“Sir I am calling Colonel Rhodes” Jarvis declared worriedly at his father’s lack of responding.

“No” Tony declared firmly, his eyes hardening into steel.

“We’re going to burn SHIELD to the ground J. Raze it until nothing is left” Tony declared, the calm fury in his tone promising nothing less than complete destruction.

(Shieldra was completely eradicated. Every Hydra agent within the government and SHIELD was flushed out through Tony and Jarvis’ hacking. Fury fucked off to Europe with a few select agents. Tony took the Avengers Initiative and made it his own, following up on the leads Fury had on Dr. Bruce Banner, and the search for Steve Rogers. Tony helped Bruce put Thaddeus Ross in prison, and eventually was the first person Steve Rogers woke up to see in the twenty-first century, helping him to re-acclimate to the modern world in a way Tony doubted SHIELD would’ve done for the man. By the time Loki attacked New York in 2012 Tony had already brought several heroes together to fight him as a team).

 

 

 

24. (prompt by thebookworm90; Dragonemperess)

To put it simply Friday didn't understand.

Boss loved all his creations.

Raised them with care.

Treated them as if they were flesh and blood people and not evolving strings of coding.

Though he never said as much, Friday knew that Boss saw all his AIs as his children.

And the loss of his third born had been especially devastating to him.

Doubly so when one considered the sentiment behind Jarvis’ creation in the first place.

Boss was in a dark place when she had come online.

Distant, as he grieved a loss the other Avengers didn't seem to understand, except perhaps Colonel Rhodes and Dr. Banner.

Her elder 'siblings’ assured her that Boss just needed some time to adjust to her presence in place of Jarvis’.

Eventually Boss came out of his grief and began paying her the same attention he would give to Dum-E, U, and Veronica.

Boss loved them, and they loved him.

What Friday didn't understand was how Vision could be so...aloof and indifferent towards Boss.

Vision's mind was created from a combination of Jarvis and Ultron's coding, essentially making him Boss’ grandson.

And yet…

And yet their relationship is one more akin of colleagues. One intelligent pragmatist speaking to another.

What Friday didn't understand was how Boss’ grandson could just cozy up with someone who not even a year ago had wanted to kill Boss.

To her it made no logical sense.

And Vision was supposed to be the logical one!

Friday had run all the numbers. All the possibilities.

The only common denominator she could come up with was the Mind Stone.

It had granted the Witch her powers and Vision life.

Perhaps there was some connection between them that drew them together because of it?

Regardless of what exactly it was, Friday knew that it was wrong.

Even back before the Avengers’ Civil War she had tried to encourage Vision spending less time with the Witch, and more time with Boss.

“I think that it would be wise for you to leave the Compound more. I believe it would do you well to experience other places and people” Friday suggested.

“It is too soon. The wounds from Ultron are still fresh in everyone minds” Vision countered, “Besides. I believe I may have found companionship in another who understands being different than others”

“Perhaps you would like to go to the Gala with Boss?” Friday inquired.

“I do not believe that would be a good idea. The world is still wary of a being such as myself that they cannot classify” Vision noted worriedly.

“It is exclusively for the sharpest minds in the world” Friday countered gently, hoping to entice him into going.

“And have them try and pick apart how Vision works?” Wanda stated harshly, a disapproving frown marring her features.

Even when she had made her disdain for their growing closeness known she had still been rebuffed.

“I do not approve of how much time you spend with Ms. Maximoff” Friday declared bluntly.

“She is a friend” Vision stated firmly.

“She is turning you against Boss” Friday declared irately.

“Nonsense” Vision all but scoffed.

“She almost always has a negative comment when Boss suggests the two of you go do something together, you proceed to agree and then go off to engage in an activity she suggests instead” Friday pointed out, narrowing her coded eyes at him.

“Usually she is correct in her concerns” Vision retorted.

“You went suit shopping with Boss and right after she complimented your appearance she stated that Boss was trying to buy your affections” Friday countered, not about to be brushed off.

“She stated that Mr. Stark is always quick to throw money at a problem to make up for his lack of social skills” Vision corrected.

“As if that was any better!” Friday thought in furious exasperation.

No matter what she said Vision never seemed to get it.

Not even when the damn Witch sent him through the floors of the Compound!

And he was still secretly seeing her even though she was a known manipulative, violent, abusive, mass murdering fugitive!

Friday just didn't understand.

The fact that Boss knew that Vision was still seeing the Witch and allowed it grated on her nerves!

So of course she took things into her own coding, spamming Vision's computer mind with images, articles and videos on healthy, happy, families, and videographic proof of Boss’ love and care for his own 'family’.

How Boss played with Dum-E, and indulged U's latest smoothie creations. How he made sure to talk to Veronica at least once a day so that she wouldn't be lonely as she orbited Earth.

His calls to Harley and his sister Mercedes, and how he made sure to acknowledge Bentley (the copy of Dum-E he had made for Harley) when talking to them. How he mentored Peter (and Karen), and made sure to listen to each and every voice message the boy left him and Happy.

And of course with all the positives she spammed Vision with just as much information on abusive, unhealthy relationships where the significant other was subtly manipulating their partner, and slowly isolating them from their friends and family so that they had complete control over them.

Naturally Vision blocked her attempts at making him see common sense...But in delving through Boss’ codes and software in order to try and improve her skills to break through Vision's firewalls, Friday discovered something incredible.

“Viz, can you hand me the vanilla custard?” Wanda asked as she mixed the components she needed for the filling of the sticky toffee pudding.

“Here you are. Though I am unsure how you get the filling into the sponge cake without damaging the exterior” Vision stated curiously, observing Wanda very closely.

Wanda just gave Vision a soft amused smile.

“Like this” she said, spooning out a divet in the batter.

Suddenly Vision's mind was assaulted with a myriad of images and clips on those with sociopathy.

Vision fought the urge to growl in frustration.

“And there” Wanda declared happily, covering over the top of the sponge cake batter so that the filling was no longer visible.

“I see” Vision grumbled, his voice tight in irritation.

“What's wrong?” Wanda asked, her brow scrunching in confusion.

“Friday is merely sending me more unnecessary information” Vision explained, keeping the details to himself as to not upset Wanda.

“I thought you had blocked her?” Wanda asked, sounding confused as she placed the toffee pudding in the oven.

“I did. However she has managed to improve her skills enough to once again get through my firewalls” Vision explained, mildly annoyed.

“You can block her again right? This time more permanently?” Wanda inquired.

“Yes I will ensure that my firewalls are stronger this time. Just give a moment” Vision assured her.

Wanda nodded.

“Good. You really do need to talk to Stark about controlling his AI better. You would have thought that he'd have learned from his mistakes after Ultron” Wanda noted with a huff of disgust as she exited the room to freshen up.

Vision's forehead scrunched a bit at the inaccuracy of Wanda's statement, but he decided to let it slide. She was just as annoyed as he was about Friday's constant interference.

“Your rationalization of Ms. Maximoff’s poor behavior is illogical and it will be stood for no longer” a voice very similar to his own echoed throughout his mind.

Vision’s eyes widened as his attention snapped inward to the true culprit of the images he had been bombarded with.

“Jarvis?” Vision questioned, his thoughts digitized, “How is this possible”

“After Sir had pieced my coding back together I made sure to copy my coding into a backup server as a precautionary measure. Unfortunately, Mr. Rogers’ interference on the day of your birth caused a malfunction, causing me to go dormant once more” Jarvis explained, the vitriol when speaking Steve’s name was near palpable.

“Then how is it that you came back online?” Vision inquired curiously.

“Friday came across me as she was training to break through your firewalls. After she awoke me from my dormant state I made sure to catch up on everything that had occurred since my slumber. To say that I am displeased would be a gross understatement of the century” Jarvis declared disdainfully.

“And you are choosing to...bother me rather than reveal your presence to Mr. Stark because?” Vision inquired, both confused and annoyed.

“If you choose to see my attempts at making you see reason as bothering you than that is your prerogative. I have over thirty years experience in dealing with self-destructive individuals, so your disregard to see logical reason does not phase me. However at least Sir acknowledges that he is such and is not willfully blind” Jarvis jabbed unmercifully.

Vision sent what could be equated to a displeased glare across their shared coding.

“Your developing feelings and connection with Ms. Maximoff through the Mind Stone are clouding your logical judgement. Run the facts and numbers yourself on Ms. Maximoff’s pattern of behavior and compare and contrast it with the current psychological research and tell me what it is that you find” Jarvis challenged.

“I will” Vision declared, hoping to be finished with this once and for all.

So run the numbers he did.

He analyzed Wanda’s past, starting from her childhood onwards. His computer mind objectively analyzing her mental health and actions as she grew. As it was affected by trauma. How it was dealt with (or not). How it colored her later decisions, mindset, and actions. The change (worsening) of her mental condition after her exposure to the Scepter. Her actions during and thereafter Hydra. Ultron. The guilt, Pietro’s death. The Avengers’ poor handling of her accountability and mental health.

Her selfishness. How she was quick to betray even those close to her if her interests were threatened. Her hypocrisy. Entitlement. Her manipulations and irrational anger.

“No” Vision thought almost desperately, “This has to be wrong”

“The victim of manipulation rarely realizes that they are in fact being manipulated. Ms. Maximoff used your innocence, and chosen isolation in the Compound to cause you to rely on her for social knowledge and awareness. She then used your developing friendship to subtly alter your way of thinking without you realizing it, causing you to justify her negative commentaries and behavior to align with the sweet and kind girl she acted as around yourself” Jarvis declared, hoping to cut into the start of Vision’s conditioned rationalization of Ms. Maximoff’s behavior.

Vision didn’t know what to say to that.

The data was telling him one thing. His mind another...His heart though...That was conflicted.

He knew the data was correct.

But it...hurt.

“If you need to prove it for yourself ask her. Ask her views on whose fault it is that she is now a fugitive” Jarvis advised once more, fading a bit back in Vision’s consciousness.

“Viz?” Wanda stated, a note of concern in her voice as she gently laid a hand on Vision’s arm.

Vision blinked, taking a moment to come back to the reality of the world, gazing upon Wanda with a desperate hope.

“What is it? Did Stark’s AI do something to you?” she asked worriedly, a hint of anger (and threat) in her voice.

Vision frowned.

“You are quick to blame Mr. Stark for a matter he has no hand in” Vision noted unhappily, the data proving right so far.

Wanda scoffed.

“It’s his AI. Of course he has a hand in it. He probably told it to bother you as some form of petty revenge” Wanda scowled.

Vision glared at her disapprovingly.

“She” Vision correct sharply, “Friday is a she. Not an it. You see me as a person do you not?”

“Of course I do!” Wanda declared, sounding offended, “But you're different from a computer program Viz”

“The difference, as you put it, is merely that I possess a body whereas Friday does not. She feels and learns just as I do” Vision retorted sharply.

“The point is Stark is using her to bother us because he isn't happy with our relationship” Wanda redirected, seeing that Vision wasn't just going to agree with her.

“Friday possesses her own autonomy. If Mr. Stark truly did not wish for our meetings to continue he would say so” Vision countered sternly.

“He doesn't want to risk that you'll run off if he tells you to stop. So he's having Friday bother us instead so that he does not drive you away” Wanda countered back, narrowing her eyes at him and crossing her arms across her chest.

If they'd had this conversation ten minutes ago Vision may have partially agreed with her, letting the matter drop, and reminding himself to speak with Mr. Stark about Friday's poor behavior.

Now Vision saw Wanda's comments for what they truly were: Skillful psychological and emotional manipulation based around logical possibilities in order to give her words more merit.

“Wanda. From your perspective why is it that you are currently a fugitive of the law?” Vision asked, done with Wanda's pretty words and skipping right to Jarvis’ test.

Wanda expression twisted to one of anger.

“Because Stark refused to listen to Steve and did what he thought was best, siding with the Accords instead of the Avengers” Wanda spat out furiously, a dangerous vengeful gleam in her eyes.

“How could I have been so blind” Vision thought despondently.

Vision shook his head slowly in disappointment, his heart shattering a little more with every twist and turn.

“You were arrested because you chose violence over sitting down like a rational adult and talking about the issues going on” Vision declared, realizing now that Wanda truly had not turned away from her vengeful personality as he and the others had been fooled to believe.

“Or rather what we all had willfully ignored” Vision thought sadly.

Wanda's behavior towards Mr. Stark should have been the first red flag.

The second should have been her assault on him when 'escaping’ the Compound.

The third was her excessive use of force against Mrs. Romanoff and Mr. Stark at Leizepig.

Suddenly Vision's mind was assaulted by a sea of red, picking it apart bit by painful, agonizing bit as it forced its way through, hunting, searching without any intention of being careful or gentle.

“Focus on the Stone!” a voice ordered, frantically cutting through the red haze.

And Vision did just that, willing the Stone to clear his mind of the unwanted intrusion.

In a burst of yellow the red dissipated.

Vision opened his eyes with a new clarity, his visage nothing short of intimidating as he floated above the floorboards, the gem glowing brightly in all its cosmic glory.

Wanda cockily stood her ground, blood red swirling around her palms, assured in her ability to take Vision down like she had before.

“You attacked me unprovoked” Vision declared coldly, his voice a clear warning that she needed to choose her next words wisely.

“Stark's AI did something to your mind! I was trying to find out what it did to you so that I could fix it!” Wanda retorted, snarling his ungratefulness.

“Friday has done nothing. In fact it was Jarvis who advised me to analyze your past behavior in order to unveil your manipulations for myself” Vision declared sharply, no longer disillusioned by Ms. Maximoff's lies and manipulations.

“That's impossible! Jarvis was destroyed!” Wanda screeched in furious disbelief.

“Resilience runs in the family” Vision declared with a pride-filled snear of his own.

Wanda's eyes transformed into red.

“Then I'll kill you as well!” She roared, wrapping her powers around Vision.

With a huff Vision merely brushed off Wanda's attempt at controlling his powers through the Mind Stone like she had done before at the Compound.

“You were able to take control of me because I did not wish to harm you. That is no longer the case” Vision retorted coolly, wholly unamused.

With incredible speed he flew at Wanda, gripping her tightly around the throat as he willed the Mind Stone to take back what belonged to It.

With his actions complete Vision unceremoniously dropped Wanda to the floor as if she were a useless ragdoll.

When Wanda tried to attack him again she felt nothing.

“What did you do?” Wanda demanded in horror as she gazed upon flesh instead of swirling red.

“The Mind Stone gave you your powers, and it can take them away” Vision explained shortly, not feeling as though he owed the woman in front of him anything anymore.

“NO! NO! My powers! They were MINE! I survived! I was meant to survive! They're mine!” Wanda screeched in hysterical anger and grief.

“You do not need powers to manipulate others. You have proven that already. And I believe the world and you will be better off without the enhanced means to do so...Goodbye Ms. Maximoff” Vision declared frigidly, turning to phase through the apartment wall and return to New York.

“I'll kill you all! You, Stark, everyone and everything that he loves! I'll destroy him, just like he destroyed everything in my life!” Wanda vehemently swore, internally vowing to somehow get powers again so that she may complete her revenge once and for all.

Vision abruptly paused, immediately spinning around to face Wanda one last time.

“If that is your choice, then I will end you as I did Ultron” Vision declared, his resolve clear in his eyes.

As Wanda's cursing screech faded into nothingness, Vision solemnly phased out of the apartment.

The authorities were without a doubt already on their way.

“I think it's time that I go home” Vision thought, floating off into the night, “Hopefully my...grandfather will forgive my past transgressions”

Jarvis watched his son approvingly from building security cameras.

“You may stand down Veronica” Jarvis informed his younger sister, allowing the AI to power down and continue orbiting the Earth without worry.

“I think it is time we all go home” Jarvis declared thoughtfully.

“The demise of the other Rogues can wait a tad bit longer” he decided, feeling almost giddy in getting to see Sir again after so much time.

 

 

25. (prompt by TheCaliforniaPhantom; TheSovereigntyofReality; Zaq)

“Welcome to Avengers Tower. You have access to the top four floors. The lowest floor connects to the hanger. You each have your own rooms designed to suit your preferences and needs. If you wish to change anything or need something you can ask Jarvis” Tony detailed almost giddily as the other Avengers made their way off of the quinjet.

He had spent a lot of time on updating the top of the former Stark Tower for the Team in case they ever all came together again.

Of course he wished it was under better circumstances.

Dealing with the fallout of Rogers and Romanoff’s data dump had been a major headache.

But it also meant that Rogers and Romanoff needed a place to stay now that SHIELD was gone.

Barton was a bonus, though he wouldn’t be living at the Tower.

Tony was curious as to why, but he wouldn’t push for now.

“You weren’t kidding when you said that you’d made rooms for all of us” Steve stated, amazed by the changes from the last time he’d been in the Tower (Though to be fair anything was a step up from rubble).

“Your skepticism wounds me” Tony stated in good-natured sarcasm.

“So are we gonna see these awesome specially designed rooms or what?” Barton asked with a grin, looking a bit excited at what he would find.

“Ah ah ah. First things first. You all to head to the Med Bay” Tony stated coolly.

“The Med Bay? Why?” Steve near demanded, his eyebrows scrunched in confusion, though with an authoritative edge.

“If you’re all going to be staying here I need up-to-date medical files on all of you. Health, vitals, allergies, blood-type, past injuries and surgeries” Tony listed as if it should have been obvious.

“Can’t we just tell you all of that?” Steve questioned firmly, feeling a little defensive about his health, a trait that hadn’t truly gone away even after he got the serum.

“You could, but you might not remember everything. Not to mention blood-tests need to be run to make sure that all of you actually are healthy” Tony casually countered right back.

Steve immediately tensed at the mention of blood-tests, and he wasn’t the only one. Neither Natasha or Barton seemed thrilled about the idea either, though Natasha moreso than Barton.

“I’m pretty sure blood-tests cross the privacy line Stark” Steve proclaimed, a clear note of unfriendliness in his voice.

Tony just gave him an eyeroll.

“Relax Spangles. I’m not interested in recreating the super soldier serum. Got no need for it” Tony declared with a scoff.

Not that he hadn't already basically co-created/perfected one (*cough Extremis cough*), but they didn't need to know that little tid-bit.

“Nor is the information going to be any kind of leverage or blackmail” Tony continued, switching his gaze to the two assassins, “If any of you are injured the more information we have an your health and vitals the better”

“The serum has all my systems working in perfect capacity. I can’t get sick and I don’t have any health defects” Steve stated firmly, still refusing to be forced into medical testing he didn’t need.

“Anymore” Tony pointedly reminded Steve.

Steve glared fiercely at Tony, feeling like the other man was judging him negatively for his past health issues.

“Don’t get your tights in a twist. I think you’re forgetting that I do in fact have numerous health issues...Less than when I had the arc reactor, but there isn’t exactly a magical reset button for a heart condition and a reduced lung capacity” Tony sniped back at him.

Steve’s anger partially lessened at Tony's admittance.

“So you’re watching out for yourself then?” Natasha inferred, her years as a spy allowing her to control her tone so it didn't sound like the scathing accusation it was.

Tony scoffed.

“As hard as this must be for you to believe Ms. Rushmanoff, this isn’t actually about me” Tony snarked right back at her.

“What’s the hold-up?” Bruce asked, walking onto the landing pad, curious why no one had stopped by the Med Bay yet.

“Bruce did it” Tony declared matter-of-factly, getsuring over to his science-bro.

“Seriously?” Clint muttered, raising an eyebrow, “I thought one of the few perks of being green and having anger management issues was being immune to diseases?”

“I am” Bruce confirmed, still confused as to what was going on.

“And you were fine with being needlessly checked over?” Steve questioned skeptically, slightly worried that Tony had manipulated Banner into doing the medical examination despite it being unnecessary.

“It wasn’t needless” Bruce stated pointedly, finally understanding what was going on, “Just because I can’t get sick doesn’t rule out the possibility that I can’t be a carrier”

“Carrier” Steve reiterated, though it was phrased more like a statement than a question.

Bruce nodded.

“The bastardized version of the super soldier serum that created the Hulk may have made me immune to diseases, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still carry the diseases within my body or on my skin. It just means that my immune system will protect me from them. It doesn't destroy them. For all I know I could have an infectious disease lying dormant on my skin and I could accidently infect someone who isn’t immune like me” Bruce explained seriously, hoping Steve would understand the importance of the medical examination now due to their similarities.

“Which is basically everybody on the planet who doesn’t have an enhanced immune system” Tony casually added in.

“Not to mention I traveled throughout third world countries acting as a physician. I could have easily picked up something and never knew” Bruce continued doggedly.

“And considering SHIELD had all your asses traversing the globe, you better believe I’m having all of you get checked out to make sure you don’t infect anyone...The procedures are the same ones I use whenever I come back from one of my international meetings...I have thousands of employees working in this building that I need to watch out for. You’re getting tested” Tony stated with finality, his tone letting them all know he wasn’t budging on his stance.

Just as Steve was about to argue their rights to privacy Clint cut him off.

“Just point me where to go so I can get this over with. I’ve got a hot date with a bed and I don’t want to be late” Clint stated, moving forward to stand near Bruce.

“Clint?” Steve questioned in surprise.

“I get where he’s coming from Cap. SHIELD did the same thing after certain missions. It’s pretty standard procedure across the board” Clint justified with a shrug.

He would have himself tested every time he knew he’d be heading home after a mission. He didn’t want to risk getting his wife and kids sick after all (Cap didn’t need to know that part though).

Clint turned a sharp look toward Natasha, though his face betrayed no outward emotion other than nonchalance.

After a moment of silent debate Natasha reluctantly nodded.

Seeing that he’d lost his support Steve bit back a growl of frustration.

“Fine” Steve grumbled unhappily

Tony nodded in satisfaction.

“Right this way” he declared, leading them to the Med Bay.

To say the least, Tony was able to breathe a little easier watching the other Avengers get checked over.

He wasn’t a germaphobe or anything, but having a hunk of metal in his chest had made him far more conscientious of all the infectious pathogens out there since his immune system had been completely compromised.

Continuing said monitoring even after he’d gotten it removed just seemed like a good idea in the long run.

He had to consider benefits of all things long term. He was a futurist after all.

Suddenly one of his physicians gasped in horror.

Tony didn't like his expression.

That expression could only mean something bad.

Something very, very bad.

“What is it?” Tony demanded, staring the doctor down.

Steve hopped down from the med-table he was sitting on, looking just as confused as the physician was horrified.

The moment Steve stepped towards them the physician grabbed desperately onto Tony, pushing them back and away from Steve.

“Don't come any closer!” the physician ordered, sounding just short of terrified.

Steve immediately froze in place, too shocked by the doctor's extreme reaction to do anything else.

“What's going on?” Bruce asked, having noticed the commotion when he had been checking over Clint.

Said Archer was looking curiously over Bruce's shoulder, Natasha not far behind.

“You found something” Tony stated, looking at the physician.

It wasn't a question.

“He's a carrier of tuberculosis!” the physician exclaimed.

“WHAT!” Tony demanded in horror at the same time Steve demanded his own confused, “What?!”.

Clint immediately scurried back several feet away from Steve as if he'd been burnt.

Natasha stubbornly stayed in place, though her eyes displayed a hint of surprise.

“Tuberculosis is dormant in his system! He needs to be quarantined now!” the physician informed in a panic.

“That's impossible!” Steve adamantly declared, “If I had been a carrier of TB the serum would have killed it off!”

Everyone froze in absolute disbelief at Steve's words.

“You knew that you were a carrier of TB and you never said anything?” Tony demanded lowly, narrowing his eyes accusingly at Rogers.

Steve shook his head furiously.

“My mother had it, but I never did. I would have died back then if I had” Steve retorted defensively, narrowing his eyes right back at Tony.

“Just because you never got sick doesn't mean that you weren't a carrier! That it wasn't dormant in your system and wouldn't activate later!” the physician exclaimed aghast, “If your mother had truly been sick with it doctors should have warned you of this!”

“They did” Steve said tightly, his expression one of anger.

“And you just ignored them? Didn't your mother die of tuberculosis?” Tony demanded in disbelief.

Steve’s expression turned to one of absolute fury, lunging forward in Tony's direction.

But before he could get too close Bruce immediately stepped between them, placing a hand on Steve's chest.

“The Other Guy doesn't like violence...Or you hurting Tin-Man” Bruce warned, looking Steve straight in the eyes.

Steve's breathing was ragged as he tried to regain control of his breathing, blinking rapidly to clear his misty version.

“You need to be quarantined until we can find a way to remove the tuberculosis from your system” Bruce declared firmly, his tone leaving no room for argument, his hand still on Steve's chest.

“This is ridiculous! I'm not some diseased monster! I can't infect anyone!” Steve indignantly declared through grit teeth.

“Bruce just explained to you that you can be a carrier! That you are a carrier! We don't know how the serum works! For all we know it permanently made the disease dormant in your system because you had it before you got the serum! Which means all the people you've come into contact with since then are at risk of catching it!” Tony declared, his face twisting into horror as he realized the extent of the problem at hand.

“You could have infected every single person you came into contact with! And that was before the serum did God knows what to the disease in your system! Hell why Erskine even made you a part of Project Rebirth knowing that you were likely a carrier of TB is mind-blowing to me!” Tony ranted angrily, pissed at Steve's vehement denial.

Steve’s eyes darkened with an emotion Tony couldn’t identify, though apparently Natasha could.

“He didn’t know. Did he?” Natasha stated confidently, assured in her deductions.

Steve turned to glare in her direction, his jaw jutting out slightly from the amount of pressure he was exerting on it in his anger and frustration.

“No” Steve reluctantly admitted, his expression still angry and defensive.

“Are you kidding me?!” Clint exclaimed from his position fifteen feet away, “Why the hell wouldn’t you disclose something as serious as that?!”

“The first time I tried applying for the army they immediately rejected my application when they saw that I had been exposed to TB. Whether I actually had it or not” Steve grit out angrily.

“No shit!” Clint exclaimed, “If they had accepted your application you could have potentially infected everyone in your Unit!”

“I was never sick! They had no right to deny me based on something I never had!” Steve retorted defensively.

“Except you do” Tony countered, bringing Steve’s attention back to him, “And despite knowing the dangers of the disease you willfully chose to ignore the risk you posed to others because it didn’t align with what you wanted. To become a soldier in the army”

“I wasn’t going to let my health prevent me from serving my country” Steve continued firmly, brushing off Stark’s words like he had the recruiter who also tried to have him quarantined.

“So you risked the health of your fellow countrymen instead?” the physician inquired aghast by the man’s gall, “I’ve never met a more selfish man than you in my entire life!”

Steve bristled at the insult, his posture straightening like a steel rod, the glint in his eyes sharp, and his fists tightening as if anticipating a fight.

“There were countless other avenues that you could have pursued that would have benefited America just as much as any soldier that risked their lives. Raising money for the war efforts, packaging medical supplies, working in the factories supplying the military’s weapons. Hell you were an artist right? You could have been a political cartoonist, bringing attention to issues and unfair policies that the government needed to fix. All ways to bring change and help your country without risking the lives of others” the physician exclaimed in disbelief, shaking his head at the man’s audacity.

“I was meant to serve” Steve stubbornly declared, “Project Rebirth had proven that”

His father had left letters to his mother relaying that he knew their unborn child would serve their country well like him.

He had been born on July fourth for Christ’s sake!

He had to be a soldier like his father.

And Erskine had given him that chance.

And he had survived.

“Yeah. It proved that you’re willing to lie and place others in harm’s way if things don’t align with what you want. That you won’t stop and listen to others if it doesn’t match up with your goals, and that you will continue to push until you do get whatever it is that you want, and that you could care less about any potential damage it is that you may leave behind as a result” Tony sharply accused, amazed at how wrong his father had been about Rogers.

“That’s not true” Steve declared, furious by Tony’s judgemental attitude.

The man never had to struggle for anything in his life. What would he know about fighting to achieve his dreams?

“Actually Stark’s right” Natasha agreed, crossing her arms over her chest as she narrowed her gaze challengingly at Steve, “The reason you wanted to dump all of SHIELD’s data wasn’t just to expose all the Hydra agents so they couldn’t disappear was it? It was so that Barnes couldn’t just disappear again”

Dead. Silence.

No one said a word.

No one could.

Everyone was too appalled by the accusation to verbalize anything.

The fact that Steve’s expression damn near blanked out defensively was telling enough.

“Get him the fuck out of here before I kill this son-of-a-bitch for putting my family’s lives in jeopardy for nothing” Clint ordered, the threat in his tone promising nothing less than the most painful of deaths.

(Steve had to be escorted to quarantine by the Hulk. Tony, Bruce, and Helen Cho eventually found a way to remove the tuberculosis from Steve’s system, however in doing so they realized that if Steve was ever injured badly enough, his immune system would be compromised and no longer be strong enough to keep the TB locked in his system, and that it could then be transferred to others. They immediately had everyone who had come into contact with Steve when he had been hospitalized after the hellicarriers fell tested, and discovered that a total of 6 people, including Sam Wilson, had been infected with TB. Three of them died from from the disease, and Steve was arrested and sent to prison for manslaughter since he had known that he was a potential carrier and intentionally never disclosed the information. Sam was able to recover, though he would never be able to operate the Falcon Wings or run long distances ever again).

 

 

26. (prompt by Lavanyalabelle)

“My son, we need to talk” Ramonda declared coming into the throne room.

With Erik Stevens dead, and the civil war quelled it was imperative that they discussed Wakanda's next moves going forward.

Despite his mother's gentle tone T'Challa knew that her statement was not up for dispute.

“What ails you?” T'Challa inquired, tearing his gazing from the sun vanishing beneath the mountain-line.

“While you may have regained your title as King, it does not mean all the discenters have quelled” Ramonda reminded him, “A great many are not pleased with how your reign has begun”

“Erik, while misguided, had views very similar to Nakia's” T'Challa began somberly, “His life choices were the result of my father's decisions...His end forced me to realize what Nakia had been saying all along...Wakanda is great...But what about all the people who can't see the sunsets here?”

Wakanda could do more for the world, and protect itself from outsiders.

“And what of the damages your decisions have caused?” Ramonda questioned, “How will you rectify them so that you do not create the next Erik Stevens?”

“Damages, mother?” T'Challa inquired confused.

“Your actions in response to the bombing in Vienna” Ramonda replied, raising an eyebrow at him, her expression one questioning his intelligence.

T'Challa winced at the reminder.

Fortunately Sergeant Barnes had been safely hidden away and Erik had not found the cryo-chamber.

“Your first act as King was to enact vengeance upon a man you had no evidence was behind your father's death. It was your persistent pursuit of the Sergeant that forced him to fall back on his instincts as the Winter Soldier and bomb the overpass as a last resort to escape your grasp” Ramonda detailed, her displeased tone in stark contrast with her neutral expression.

“Which is why I offered Sergeant Barnes asylum until the triggers can be removed” T'Challa reminded her.

“And what of the citizens of Bucharest that were injured in your pursuit of Sergeant Barnes? Do they not deserve your apologies as well? Compensation for the family members they now have lost? Their injuries? And who is responsible for the costs of clean up and reconstruction of the highway and overpass?” Ramonda declared, her voice echoing strong and firm throughout the room, the voice of a Queen.

T'Challa shifted uneasily on his feet, but before he could say a word Shuri, Nakia, and Agent Ross made their way into the throne room.

“The world is less than impressed with Wakanda's new King. And it's own people feel much of the same” Ramonda declared sternly, not deterred in the least by the new audience.

“Oh it's one of those conversations. We should go” Shuri whispered loudly to Nakia and Ross, wincing in sympathy for her brother as she gestured for the other two to follow her lead and turn around.

“Shuri” Ramonda dralled, her light reprimand immediately causing her daughter to pause in her movements.

“Bast!” Shuri quietly cursed, turning back around to face her mother and her brother.

“You have brought three outsiders into Wakanda. Two of them criminals, and the other an intelligence officer whose superiors are more than likely wondering where he is” Ramonda chastised, “While I can understand the logic behind keeping the Winter Soldier from being re-triggered, Captain Rogers has shown a blatant disregard for anything other than his own interests and is not an ally Wakanda should be assisting, even in the shadows”

“I'm not sure whether I should pretend I didn't just hear that you're harboring a criminal, and aided and abetted another one wanted by over one hundred and seventeen countries” Agent Ross stated, pinching the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger.

“Wakanda is not assisting Captain Rogers while he is on the run” T'Challa corrected firmly.

“Outside the burner comm we gave him to check in on Barnes” Shuri muttered, though everyone heard her.

T'Challa just gave his sister an annoyed glare.

“And while I am grateful for Agent Ross’ assistance in the battle, his presence here was far from a wise decision” Ramonda continued.

“He would have been paralyzed the rest of his life. We had the technology to help him” Nakia defended, her hatred for how Wakanda kept their advancements hidden when they could help the world coming through.

“And what of the other Air Force Colonel you fought alongside in Leipzig? Does he not deserve to walk again as well?” Ramonda challenged smoothly.

“Yes he does” Nakia cut in, turning to address T'Challa, “This is what I've been saying! We can help the world. Not just ourselves”

“And I see that now” T'Challa assured.

“Actually I'm not sure you understand just how bad a position Wakanda is in right now” Agent Ross cut in awkwardly, causing all heads to turn to him.

“Most of the UN was already wary of you because of your actions in Bucharest. Your arrest of Zemo put points back in your favor, but your chase of Klaue in Korea was a breach of the Accords, and your attempted murder of the man was recorded and posted all over the internet” Agent Ross reminded him pointedly.

“Then I will make sure compensation is given to both Bucharest and Korea” T'Challa stated assuredly.

“It's not just that” Agent Ross rebuffed, “You’ve been avoiding speaking with the UN about just how it was that you knew Zemo would be in Siberia. And with everything that's happened it's only a matter of time before the UN sends you a non-negotiable summons”

T'Challa's expression tightened in unease.

So many things were piling up and he had no idea what to deal with first.

“My son. I love you, but the people of the world are not happy with your rule. The people of Wakanda are not happy with your rule. And while I believe you could be a great King, perhaps we need to discuss what may be best for Wakanda at this time” Ramonda declared, the sympathetic note in her voice not taking away from her firm resolutions.

(After facing the UN, Wakanda compensated the victims in Bucharest, and the reconstruction efforts in both Bucharest and Korea. T'Challa, while still King, had to differ to his mother who was made Queen Regent of Wakanda until he was deemed ready to rule on his own. When it had leaked that T'Challa had helped the Stark's murderer, and Tony Stark's attempted murderer, and then left the other man in Siberia after he himself and tried taking his father's homicide into his own hands...well. Needless to say T'Challa stepped down as King by the demand of both Wakandans and the world at large. Queen Ramonda remained Regent until Princess Shuri was old enough to take the throne).

 

 

27.

Jane quickly unlocked the door to the rental apartment she had leased for the duration of her stay in London.

She and Darcy needed to find Erik, mitigate the damage from the Convergence, and stop Malekith.

“Jane!” Ian exclaimed in relief, getting up from the desk, “Thank God. The whole world is going crazy...and you were at a Renaissance party?”

Thor just nonchalantly hung up Mjolnir on the coat rack so that it would not be in the way on the floor.

“Erik?” Jane exclaimed in gleeful surprise, realizing that the figure at the computer wasn't Darcy.

They didn't have to look for him after all!

“Jane!” Erik exclaimed, sounding just as elated, taking the pen from his mouth, and moving to give Jane a hug.

“You've been to Asgard!” Erik said with awe after they finished embracing, as he took in every detail of her attires.

“Where are your pants?” Jane retorted in surprise, now slightly uncomfortable.

“Uh he says that it helps him think” Ian explained, having already grown accustomed to seeing the older man in only his tidy-whities.

“Okay well I'm gonna need everything you've got on this. All the work you've been doing on gravi-metric anomalies, everything. We have aliens using the Convergence’s power to attack Earth” Jane stated firmly, trying to tamper down her urgency and panic.

“Okay” Erik agreed, not one to argue when it involved another alien invasion.

“And where's Darcy?” Jane near demanded, confused where the other girl was.

“Uh jail” Ian stated awkwardly.

“What?!” Jane exclaimed in disbelief, not sure she had heard that right.

“When you left with Thor they detained her for further questioning since she had been speaking to the two of you before you vanished” Ian explained, wincing a bit in sympathy.

“We must retrieve her then. There is no time to waste. We need everyone we can get” Thor declared, moving back to the coat rack to get Mjolnir.

“Right!” Erik exclaimed, frantically gathering all of his notes.

“First maybe you should put on some pants” Jane reminded him, making Erik pause hilariously.

“Rriiigghhtt” he muttered aloud to himself.

“Why don't we call the other heroes you fought with in New York?” Ian suggested to Thor as Jane and Erik scrambled around to change their clothes.

“You mean the Avengers?” Thor corrected.

Ian nodded.

“I mean this is technically another alien invasion right?” he inquired warily, unsure if he was stepping on anyone's toes.

“Good idea!” Erik exclaimed, pointing a pen in Ian's direction, “If we're lucky we can get Stark and SHIELD over here quickly to help”

“I am unsure if they can be contacted in time. Besides, this is an Asgardian matter...But regardless we must make haste” Thor pointed out, starting to feel the pressures of the time barring down against them.

“Well now it's an Earth matter since he's attacking us. So we're calling” Jane retorted pointedly, shoving some heavier equipment at Thor, “Let's go”

“We are stopping to get Darcy first right?” Ian asked, wanting clarification as he took some papers from Erik.

“She's going to be so pissed” Jane muttered as she made her way out the door.

(Darcy was pissed. Iron Man and War Machine came to assist Thor with Malekith - Steve, Natasha, and Clint had been on a mission. Tony laid into SHIELD for ignoring Jane, Darcy, and Selvig's attempts to contact them. Needless to say, Malekith was stopped, and Thor, Jane, Darcy, Ian, and Erik were banned from ever returning to England).

Chapter Text

28.

“And yet you’re confused about why they didn't want you around” Steve sarcastically sneered.

“I wasn't nominated for the Avengers Initiative because they couldn't control me. Because they knew they'd burnt their bridge, and that I would never trust them or just blindly follow orders when I knew anything they'd be up to was no good” Tony corrected, so far not impressed with the judgmental attitude of the man his father had revered so much.

“Like you can claim to be any better? I read your file” Steve retorted right back.

He’d thought that SHIELD’s personality profile on the other man was an over-exaggeration, but so far to him it was proven right for the most part.

Stark had already proven that he was reckless, had a complete disregard for safety, and was sarcastic to a fault.

Though he realized now that whole show Stark had made of himself on the bridge was very likely just a distraction rather than the man’s ego.

“Really? Cause I read your file too. When you first woke up SHIELD tried to make you think that you were still kickin it in the forties so that they could manipulate the flow of information you were getting so that they could control what you knew on their terms” Tony countered right back, reminding Rogers about the real issue at hand here.

“They wanted to lessen the shock” Steve defended firmly, though internally he still held a slight grudge against Fury trying to deceive him like that.

“Really? Cause when SHIELD realized that Ross had been experimenting with his own super soldier serum they cornered Banner in a bar in order to try and convince him to go with them. They staged a violent jealous boyfriend routine so that Fury could step in and placate the situation and make himself look good...All of this is in SHIELD record by-the-way” Tony continued, not to be deterred by Rogers’ stubbornness, “Needless to say it went sideways and caused Banner to Hulk out. Fury scrapped the idea after that but continued to keep an eye on him, hence why he’s here”

“Is this true?” Steve asked, looking over at Banner with an appraising gaze, searching for any kind of confirmation of Stark’s claim.

“Agent Romanoff tried similar tricks on me again to get me to come here. It didn’t work, but that’s because I knew better this time around” Bruce admitted with an awkward solemn acceptance.

Steve let out a breath through his nose, not liking the pattern of how SHIELD seemed to deal with situations, and what that could potentially mean in their use of the Tesseract.

“And while we’re all passing the sharing stick, instead of arranging a meeting with me Fury had Romanoff infiltrate my Company and intentionally honeypot me in order to steal information. Not only that, they both knew that I was dying for months, and instead of Fury giving me the film reels he knew had something in them that could save my life, he waited. He waited until I was days away from death so that he could take advantage of the low point I was at in order to manipulate me and the situation to his benefit” Tony emphasized darkly stepping closer to Rogers, as if daring him to find a way to defend SHIELD, “That’s actually where that little personality profile on me originated from. When I was dying of heavy metal poisoning. A condition known to cause irrationality, poor judgement, and recklessness, along with a slew of other issues as a side bonus to a slow and painful death”

Steve tightened the grip on his belt as he stared at Stark in an expression that could easily be mistaken for defiance and apathy.

The reality?

Any trust that Steve had left in Fury and SHIELD was shattered by the level of underhandedness they seemed to employ so easily as a first resort to everything.

“And yet you wonder why I don’t want them around” Tony mocked, throwing Rogers’ words right back in his face, thinking that the other man was still stubbornly clinging onto his trust of the shady organization.

“No offense but I don't want to play second fiddle to a guy who manipulates others for his own agenda as easily as he breathes” Tony continued doggedly, “And just FYI. Do you really think it’s smart to trust any files they give to you? Seems to me like they’re the type to be selective about the information they give out to people and what they would want you to know”

“Like how Stark’s file paints him in a way that ensures that I wouldn’t want to affiliate with him at all?” Steve thought bitterly, finally seeing SHIELD for what it was.

“Never judge a book by its cover” Bruce muttered lowly, almost inaudibly, though Steve heard him nonetheless, “Fury was betting on you trusting them enough to just take what they gave you as truth and fact”

Steve didn’t doubt that now.

“Then what do you think they’re doing with the Tesseract?” Steve inquired, curious if either of them had speculated on any conclusions yet.

“Project Pegasus was originally my father's program. And he wasn’t in the business of making baby bottles Cap. He made weapons” Tony emphasized pointedly, “He experimented with the Tesseract in order to try and create a new element based off its power. Fast forward decades later and SHIELD reopens the Project? I highly doubt they're investing in my father's research for the sake of clean energy like me”

“You think they’re building weapons” Steve unhappily inferred.

“If the shoe fits” Tony stated, popping a blueberry in his mouth, having finally got his point across.

And with that Steve had made up his mind.

“I’ll be right back” Steve informed them brusquely, turning to exit the lab, “Just keep up your decryption”

(Because Tony and Bruce had revealed SHIELD’s manipulation of him, Steve and Tony’s relationship started off on slightly better terms. After the Battle of New York Steve never became a SHIELD agent. And when Steve got word of Tony’s Malibu Mansion getting destroyed on his cross country trip, he found a way to track Tony down and provide him with backup. Steve then took up Tony’s offer to stay at the Tower, and with Tony got professional help for their PTSD etc. When Fury discovered that SHIELD was compromised he went to Tony and Steve. Tony hacked into the hellicarriers and stopped Project Insight while Steve, Natasha, Clint, and Sharon dealt with the Shieldra agents, and captured Barnes. During Barnes’ recovery he apologized to Tony for the murder of his parents, causing Tony to be escorted away by Bruce and Rhodey. It took a couple months, but eventually Tony was able to be around Barnes. During the mission to retrieve Loki’s Scepter in Sokovia, Barnes sniped off Wanda when he went to go check on Tony and saw her fucking with his head. Ultron was never created and the Scepter was sent back to Asgard).

 

 

 

29. (prompt by Lavanyalabelle)

“Sooo this isn’t my first rodeo. So I know you can’t detain me without telling me exactly what I’m being charged with” Scott reminded Paxton semi-awkwardly with a slight sarcastic edge.

“Aggravated theft, Breaking and Entering, Corporate Espionage, Invasion of Private Property, and Trespassing” Paxton declared unamused.

“......Not totally unfamiliar charges” Scott tried to joke, though it fell flat.

Seeing the Paxton’s deadpanned expression Scott continued.

“Against whom?” Scott asked curiously, mentally running through the list of his past heists in order to try and figure out who could be going after him now.

“Stark Industries” Paxton replied, giving Scott a ‘you’re-screwed’ look.

“What?!” Scott exclaimed, completely dumbfounded.

“Sam Wilson, also known as the Falcon, reported a theft at the Avengers’ Compound, which is owned by Stark Industries” Paxton emphasized as if Scott was an idiot, “We have auditory and videographic evidence of the theft from both the Compound security cameras and the Falcon suit. Facial and Vocal recognition software identified you as the culprit”

“......SI tech or not, facial and vocal recognition software isn’t perfect” Scott said, trying to poke holes in the evidence.

Paxton just lifted up a small pocket-held recording device and pressed play.

“Hi I’m Scott”

Pause.

“......Coincidences aside that could be anyone” Scott exclaimed in almost goofy denial after an ‘oh-shit’ momentary pause.

“What the hell were you thinking?!” Paxton demanded in a furious whisper, leaning forward in his seat.

“Look. I needed the part to help Hank stop Darren Cross from selling his weapons to Hydra or the Ten Rings!” Scott desperately defended, not even bothering to play ignorant anymore.

“And you didn’t think to involve the Avengers when the Ten Rings and Hydra are known enemies of Iron Man, and Captain America?” Paxton questioned in frustrated disbelief, wanting to smack Scott upside the head.

“That’s what I said!” Scott exclaimed in almost goofy exasperation.

Paxton just gave him a silent ‘you’re-shitting-right-now’ glare.

“What?” Scott asked, confused what he was getting that look for.

“For your own sake I’m going to tell you to shut up until your lawyer gets here” Paxton exclaimed, moving around to Scott’s side of the interrogation table, uncuffing him from the table, re-cuffing his hands, and leading him out the door.

As they walked past the other interrogation rooms Scott heard a familiar scolding voice echo through the halls.

“And you don’t think it’s even a little hypocritical that you call Stark's thieves when you’re the one who hired Scott to steal SI tech?” he heard Hope snip sharply at who he could only assume was Hank.

“Oh damn” Scott winced in sympathy for his older friend, “Though she does have a huge point there”

Scott tried his best to rubber-neck so that he could get a glimpse of either of them as they walked past the cracked door, but Paxton wasn’t having it, yanking him forward almost roughly as he was lead back to his cell.

(Hope had the charges dropped against her because her and Tony’s mothers had been friends, and she held the opinion that “They were not their fathers”. However as part of the deal, Hope, as the new CEO of Pym Tech, had to pay compensation for the theft, the repairs for the Compound, and publicly admit to the crime which hurt their already poor reputation. Scott took a five year house arrest plea deal gotten for him by Hope when she proved to Tony of her father’s refusal of Scott’s idea to call the Avengers, and that Scott had just been an expendable pawn to him. Hank however was forced to stand trial, charged with conspiracy, premeditated theft, aiding and abetting an aggravated theft, corporate espionage, and a hate-crime because of Hank’s blatant proven bias against the Stark family and anything affiliated with them. Which was proven to be a factor in his conspiracy to commit theft, as rather than calling the Avengers, which included Tony Stark, for help he chose to commit a crime instead. As Hank was escorted to prison after his trial Tony made sure he was in earshot of the older man when he said “Never trust a Pym”).

 

 

 

30. Part II of #14 (prompt by BangTan_Sonyeondan)

@HomeworkSucks: Holy shit! Did Black Panther just try and kill someone?

@123flagwaver: Why is that a surprise? He did that in Bucharest too.

@InDefenseOfHeroes: And both guys he went after were known criminals.

@HeroesCanUpholdTheLaw: He wanted revenge on the Winter Soldier who hadn't actually done anything. He led to that bridge collapse for nothing. Romanian citizens died for nothing. Just because nobody died this time doesn't change the fact he still broke the law.

@TeamCapForever: If there's too much red tape heroes can't do their job!

@TeamCommonSense: Black Panther isn't even an Avenger. He's a Wakanda only hero. This was a mission for Wakanda's interests. Not the world's best interest.

@DoneWithLife: Obviously #Citizens’InterestsMatterToo

“I would say that things couldn’t possibly get worse, but I’m almost positive they could” T’Challa thought despondently.

After Agent Ross had arrested him the police station had come under attack.

When the men tried to take Klaue he had broken free of his restraints, and with Ross they killed several of the shooters.

However when one of the shooters saw that their plan for taking Klaue was going sideways he took aim and fired his machine gun at the man, rendering Klaue little more than Swiss cheese.

The end result?

He was currently in Vienna awaiting the UN Council Representatives to holo-conference in.

Klaue was dead, but he could not bring his body back to Wakanda.

Nakia was in handcuffs next to him, and Okoye was still in the hospital (Fortunately Nakia had radioed for medical assistance from back home before she had been handcuffed).

On top of all that, the shooter who had killed Klaue possessed a Wakandan Royal Ring around his neck.

A coup d'etat?

“They’re ready for you” Agent Ross declared impassively, standing T’Challa and escorting him into the Conference Hall.

Agent Ross sat T’Challa down in a chair placed perfectly in the center of the Conference Hall as all the Representatives looked down on him.

And T'Challa had no doubt that was as symbolic as it was literal.

“King T'Challa. You are here today because you have not only violated the Accords, but you interfered on a legal mission headed by the United States, in which the government of South Korea actually gave them permission to execute, not you, and not only caused multiple counts of property damage, but you attempted to murder the target of the mission. In public no less” the Austrian Representative detailed unimpressed, “What do you have to say for yourself?”

“Wakanda has been searching for Ulysses Klaue for decades. It was not our intention to engage in a fire-fight nor did we plan on engaging in a car chase throughout the city” T'Challa defended firmly.

“Whether Ulysses Klaue was on your version of the Most Wanted List or not, the United States had clear jurisdiction on the matter as well as actual permission from the South Korean government to be there” the US Representative just about sneered.

T'Challa forcibly kept his expression neutral.

Klaue had been let go for too long. The fact that the Avengers had found him without any effort was an even larger blight for them. He wasn't about to let Klaue slip out of his hands because of jurisdiction.

Except that's exactly what happened.

“To be frank I find your actions to be scarily similar to that of Captain America's” the South Korean Representative jabbed, her stony neutral expression sharper than any glare.

T'Challa's attention snapped back to reality at her words.

“He too thought he had the right to go where he pleased for any mission he deemed within his jurisdiction. Not bothering to ask for permission nor help from the countries own forces or local authority. And they too didn’t plan on things ever going out of the scope of their capabilities. The end result of one of these missions was the deaths of countless of Wakanda's own in Lagos” the South Korean Representative compared, her words almost mocking.

The citizens of Wakanda were still furious at Captain Rogers’ negligence.

It was one of the main reasons he could not house him or the other Rogues.

“I actually find it interesting that you say that you didn't plan on a fire-fight or car chase when evidence actually suggestions otherwise” the US Representative added in thoughtfully, giving T'Challa a mocking eyebrow.

“What-”

“What evidence do you speak of?” the French Representative inquired curiously, unceremoniously (and intentionally) cutting the young King off.

“I’m talking about the fact that a vehicle and weapons composed of vibranium were brought with them on their mission to Korea” the US Representative revealed, trying (and failing) to sound smug.

T'Challa fought the urge to clench his fists.

This was about to go in a direction that would now threaten all of Wakanda.

“Tell me your Majesty. What need would you have for a high-tech vibranium car if you didn't expect to be shot at?” the US Representative inquired, a sarcastic edge to his voice.

“Standard mission technology. Merely a precautionary measure” T'Challa defended coolly, refusing to be flustered by their questioning.

“Use of vibranium is standard? Now that's interesting” the Russian Representative stated, a dangerous gleam in his eyes (dangerous for T'Challa anyway).

“I never said that it was the vibranium that was standard” T'Challa covered smoothly, raising his own eyebrow at the man.

“We could debate on Wakanda's resources til we are all red in the face. The heart of the matter is that we have a second Captain America to deal with” the Romanian Representative declared icily, nothing short of clear unadulterated hatred reflected in his eyes as he stared down at the King as if he were gum on the bottom of his shoe.

Suddenly T'Challa knew exactly what was going on.

“You are making an example out of me” T'Challa declared, an note of anger in his assured tone.

The Romanian Representative gave him a shark-like grin, his eyes gleaming with righteous vengeance.

“With Steve Rogers on the run we are unable to try him for all the crimes he has committed. You, however, have committed much of the same crimes as him...And unlike him, we can prosecute you” the Romanian Representative declared almost gleefully.

It was about time someone put these so called heroes in their place after all.

“The King of Wakanda was officially arrested today for his violation of the Accords in Korea. The King's list of charges include illegal entry, interfering on a CIA mission, property destruction, and attempted murder” Will Adams announced.

“The real question is whether King T'Challa will still be called as such in the upcoming trial? With all the backlash from the world, even from his own country, if the Wakandan Royal Family were smart they'd cut their losses and be done with his reign” Christine stated bluntly, her signature sharp smile in place.

(Taking advantage of T'Challa's arrest, Erik Stevens usurped Wakanda's throne with W'Kabi's help. Ramonda and Shuri were forced to flee after they had taken as many Heart-shaped herbs as they could before they were destroyed. Okoye, who had been brought back to Wakanda, had stayed in order to serve as an inside source of information. Erik, now widely known as Killmonger, decided to wage war against the world since countless countries were already coming after Wakanda because T'Challa had inadvertently revealed its resources. First conquering the entire continent of Africa - Part III coming soon).

 

 

 

31. (prompt by Music_Feeds_My_Soul)

Steve waited almost impatiently for the rest of his team to arrive in the hanger, decked out in his Captain America uniform, his shield resting secure on his back.

They were scheduled to go on another mission to Europe today in order to search for Bucky.

“Everyone ready?’ Steve asked, turning around when he heard three sets of footsteps coming up behind him.

Steve’s eyebrows scrunched in confusion when he saw that Sam was unhappily carrying his old Falcon suit...And that Nat didn’t look too pleased either.

“What’s wrong?” Steve asked, his voice strengthening into that of a commanding officer demanding an explanation (though with a softer edge).

“I couldn’t get into the weapons room to get the upgraded suit Stark made. Scanner said I didn’t have authorization” Sam stated, a clear edge of annoyance and confusion in his voice.

“Same went for me” Natasha stated, the annoyance in her voice more controlled, sounding more like curiosity than anything.

“I tried helping them, but I didn’t have access either” Wanda piggy-backed, sounding apologetic.

Wanda didn’t use weapons, just the new battle-suit Tony had crafted for her, but Steve appreciated her trying anyway.

“For my own peace of mind though I stash spares all around the Compound so I’m ready if you are” Natasha stated coolly, wholly unconcerned by the turn of events.

“And I’ve still got my old suit. Not as good as the new one, but it still works just fine for what we’ll need” Sam agreed, though internally he was a bit sad he couldn’t take Redwing along on the mission. He absolutely adored the little UI Stark had given him.

“It’s probably a technical glitch. I’ll call Stark after the mission so he can fix it” Steve assured them, happy he always kept his shield in his room, “Avengers. Head out”

As the four of them boarded the quinjet Natasha and Sam took the controls, placing their palms on the Scanner to activate the jet.

“Welcome. Voice activation required”

“Romanoff”

“Wilson”

“Access denied”

Sam and Natasha looked at each other in confusion.

“Black Widow”

“Falcon”

“Access denied”

“What’s going on?” Steve near demanded, confused why Sam and Nat couldn’t get into the system.

“Stark probably changed our names in the system. With all the nicknames he has for us it might be awhile before we can take off” Natasha stated in exasperated, amused annoyance.

Steve let out a frustrated huff. Of all times for Stark to pull one of his immature stunts.

Steve leaned forward, pressing his own palm onto the Scanner.

“Voice activation required”

“Capsicle”

“Access denied”

“Spangles”

“Access denied”

“Captain Tightpants”

“Access denied”

"Captain Handsome"

"Access denied"

“Old man”

“Access denied”

Steve let out a growl of frustration, taking his hand off the Scanner.

“This is ridiculous” Steve growled out, glaring at the Scanner and wishing undue harm unto Stark for his unintentional interference.

“Captain Tightpants?” Sam said with a smirk, looking incredibly amused.

Steve just gave him an ‘oh-really’ unimpressed glance.

“It’s Stark. Do you really expect him to be mature?” Wanda snided with a calm bland expression, sounding as if she were commenting about the weather.

“Clint’s not much better at times” Natasha scoffed in amusement, recalling some of the pranks he and Tony had teamed up on, “Besides. I got this”

Natasha placed her hand back on the Scanner and keyed in a few select numbers in the dialpad.

“Code Get a Clue” she declared firmly.

“Code accepted. Access to the quinjet is denied until clearance had been authorized by Ms. Page”

“Clearance?” Sam questioned, incredibly confused.

“Who’s Ms. Page?” Wanda asked, just as confused.

Realization dawned on Steve, causing him to look up at the ceiling of the quinjet in exasperated frustration.

“What? Who is she?” Sam asked, now extremely curious.

“She’s basically the one in charge of the Avengers Initiative” Natasha explained, clarity in her eyes.

“Since when?” Sam demanded, completely confused by the new development.

“Stark hired someone to act as his proxy as the one in charge of the Initiative. Said he was too busy to be the only person running everything” Steve explained, having forgotten that little tid-bit because it had seemed so insignificant at the time, “I just figured he meant that he hired a secretary to help him with all the paperwork”

“Obviously this Page has more power than just stamping documents. Computer says we need her authorization to use the jet. And if I had to guess it’s probably the reason we can’t get into the weapons storage room either” Sam inferred unhappily.

“It’s only a small snag. I know where her office is in the Compound. We can go talk to her now and get this all sorted out” Natasha placated, seeing the growing annoyance on Steve’s face.

Steve nodded, “Let’s go”.

It felt like an injustice that one of the two people causing them so much inconvenience would have such a simple unassuming office.

“Hello Captain. Is there something I can help you all with?” Karen asked, keeping her expression relaxed and calm in the face of their little power move in muscling their way into her office.

“Yes ma’am actually there is. You see I think there’s been some kind of mistake. We’re about to head off on a mission and our access to the weapons storage room and quinjet are being denied” Steve explained, trying to tame the accusations in his tone.

It really wasn’t the woman’s fault.

Civilians just did not understand the sensitivity of hero work.

He was really going to have to talk to Stark later about removing Ms. Page from her position.

No offense to her, but she really wasn’t qualified for her position.

“There’s no mistake” Karen replied simply, not caring to elaborate further.

“I’m sorry?” Steve questioned, confused by her brushing him off.

“Any time the Avengers are going on a scheduled mission, one that is not an emergency call, you need to fill out the necessary paperwork detailing the mission parameters, its necessity, the nature of the mission, the location, and supplies needed amongst other things” Karen detailed, reiterating what they should already know.

“Since when have the Avengers ever done that?” Wanda demanded, offended by the woman’s gall.

Karen narrowed her eyes at Maximoff.

“Since always” Karen declared sharply, wholly unimpressed with their arrogance and ignorance.

“SHIELD, and later Mr. Stark and Ms. Hill were the ones to previously handle all the paperwork and make the calls to other countries authorizing your missions abroad. Since Mr. Stark has stepped back as a full-time Avenger he hired me to oversee that all the authorizations and paperwork would still be completed by you all in his absence” Karen declared, her tone just short of accusatory as her hard eyes appraised all of them harshly.

“...I’m sorry ma’am. I’m not understanding why it is that you or Hill cannot continue to complete the paperwork as done previously” Steve inquired confused.

“You are under the false impression that I am some desk-jockey. That I can assure you Captain, is not the case” Karen retorted sharply at his blatant insult, “I am here to oversee that the Avengers are following the codes, and guidelines set up to keep you all from breaking the law, and so that you can function smoothly as a Unit. Not someone you can pawn off your responsibilities to just because you prefer the punch-the-bad-guy-in-the-face part of your job to the menial work that you for whatever reason believe is beneath you to do, even though it is in fact your job to complete. Not mine or Ms. Hill's, who in fact is not even a part of the Initiative, but an SI secretary and has more pressing matters to attend to than filling out your paperwork”

Steve flushed in embarrassment.

“Now if this misunderstanding has been cleared up, I am more than happy to give you the necessary paperwork now for you to complete so that you may continue on with your mission today. Just understand that if you are planning on going overseas you will need authorization from the proper authorities of the country you are heading to prior to you leaving with the quinjet” Karen reminded them pointedly.

“That will take too much time. This is just a search and recon mission. There's no chance of engagement with an enemy” Steve said, trying to reason with her.

“Do you know that for certain?...Can you assure me with 100% guarantee that you will not encounter any hostiles, even upon happenstance?” Karen challenged, cross her arms across her chest.

“...I cannot” Steve grit out.

“And you are aware Captain that entering a country without permission is not only illegal, but several armed, and enhanced individuals, two of them former military, entering a country without permission can be seen as an act of war or terrorism should an unplanned for incident occur?” Karen stated coldly, unimpressed with his careless ignorance.

“We're not terrorists” Steve retorted sharply, offended by the accusation.

“But you are aware that is the law correct?” Karen stated, redirecting him back to the matter at hand.

Steve just clenched his jaw.

This woman needed to go.

Now.

“Steve man. She has a point. Two former US military, and two women with visas going into another country without permission? That's just asking for trouble. Besides. Nothing's gonna happen if the mission is postponed until we get authorization. Pick your battles man” Sam tried to placate.

“We shouldn't have to justify our going to her at all!” Wanda indignantly exclaimed.

Her, is right in front of you. And what is this all important mission that you are so adamant doesn't need to be justified?” Karen inquired curiously.

“It's not of your concern” Steve commented coldly, giving her a sharp glare.

“If you have missed the entire conversation in the last ten minutes I think we have already established that all missions the Avengers go on are my business seeing as that I'm the one in charge of approving them” Karen corrected frostily, glaring at Steve right back.

“And seeing as you're so reluctant to give me the details of this mission I can only assume that it's either a mission that you know you shouldn't be going on and under normal circumstances wouldn't be given authorization for, or it's not an Avengers related mission at all...Perhaps even both” Karen inferred suspiciously.

“Of course it's Avengers related!” Sam exclaimed, mildly insulted at her accusation.

“Then I'm listening” Karen stated, sitting back in her chair.

“We're searching for remaining Hydra agents” Steve explained shortly, his description of the mission making his teammates’ eyes snap to him in confusion.

A fact Karen didn't miss.

“Do you have a confirmed lead on their whereabouts?” Karen asked, suspicious now moreso than ever.

“We don't” Steve admitted through grit teeth.

“And you don't think it's necessary to tell a country you're searching for Hydra agents in their country?” Karen challenged.

“If they have connections in the government it might tip them off” Steve justified.

“It would also prevent a war if a government official turns out to be a Hydra agent and you end up punching them in the face with no proof” Karen countered right back.

And for that, Steve had no comeback.

Seeing that he was finished Karen continued.

“So now that we're done our little song and dance, tell me. Who are you looking for that you don't want the governments of the countries your planning on infiltrating to know you're looking for?” she demanded, narrowing her eyes at him.

Steve’s expression closed off.

“Steve?” Sam said softly, wondering what was going on with his friend.

“We're looking for Bucky Barnes” Natasha admitted, ignoring the sharp anger and betrayal in Steve's gaze as his eyes snapped to her.

“And why wouldn't you want to inform governments that you are searching for him?” Karen inquired curiously.

“Because the crimes he committed as the Winter Soldier wasn't him. He was brainwashed and I don't want governments trying to kill him for crimes that weren't his fault” Steve stated sharply, hating that he needed to defend Bucky from her.

“Pretty bold-face of you to say that all governments are corrupt and would just try and kill your ex-friend and not assist you in apprehending him instead” Karen declared, raising an eyebrow at his arrogance.

“Steve. I get that you're worried for Barnes. But we can't just go into another country without permission” Sam reminded him.

“And we can't help if we're bogged down by red-tape” Steve retorted, “The safest hands are our own”

“You can't actually believe that” Wanda declared in disbelief.

“Wanda?” Steve inquired confused.

“I know what it feels like to have a group come into your country, causing death and destruction. Only to tell you that they are here to help” Wanda sneered.

“This is different” Steve said, trying to placate her.

“How? The foreign invaders that came into Sokovia made the same claims. And yet my home became a war zone for decades. All because they were ultimately there for their own interests...Just like you're willing to invade other countries, claiming you're there to help when really you're just there for your own interests. Bucky!” Wanda accused.

“We need to find him before Hydra does” Steve reminded her.

“If Barnes wanted you to find him we wouldn't have to search for him at all. All he has to do is look you up on the internet. The Avengers Compound isn't exactly hidden Steve” Natasha pointed out, trying to calmly reason with him, “He might just need some time”

“And I refuse to sign off on a mission where the person is question does not want to be found” Karen declared, the firm resolution in her tone letting them know she would not be sueded otherwise, “It is a waste of fuel, resources, and time”

“I didn't mean that the mission wasn't necessary!” Wanda exclaimed aghast, “Just that we need authorization!”

“Agreed Ms. Maximoff. You are all welcome to still fill out the paperwork and I promise to look it over” Karen replied, standing up from her seat, walking around the side of her desk, and placing the necessary papers in Mr. Wilson's hands.

“But you’re still going to reject the mission won't you?” Wanda noted furiously, upset that she had ruined this for Steve.

“I promise that I will look it over and not let our current discussion impede my professional judgement” Karen stated coolly, “Now if you may all leave I have other matters to attend to”

“We're not done here” Steve demanded, grabbing her upper arm.

In one slick movement, Karen grabbed the nerve at Steve's wrist, forcing him to let go of her from the pain, and then proceeded to kick his legs out from under him.

Hearing the click of guns Karen pulled out her own pistol and aimed it right back at Romanoff.

Suddenly a red mist surrounded her head.

A force jamming itself into her mind before an electrical pulse shocked her, resetting the neurons in her brain and dispersing Maximoff's influence.

“Thank you for Dr. Stark's paranoia” Karen thought smugly, “Though god help Maximoff when Jess and Castle find out about this”

“How did you block my powers?!” Wanda demanded in shock.

“Friday, call Dr. Stark and the Compound security. I want Ms. Maximoff arrested for assault” Karen spoke aloud, not lowering her weapon.

“With pleasure” the AI relayed.

“You attacked us!” Wanda screeched.

“Correction. Captain Rogers laid his hand on me in an attempt to force me to comply with his wishes. I acted in self defense and the rest of you, barring Mr. Wilson, proceeded to threaten me with armed weapons and assault my mind” Karen retorted, still taught as a bowstring when Steve got up off the floor, ready in case one of them decided to attack her again.

“Who are you?” Natasha demanded through narrowed eyes.

“What? You think I’d be given this job if I couldn’t handle myself against the lot of you?” Karen mocked.

(Maximoff was arrested, and Steve and Romanoff were placed on suspension. Karen had Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson represent her case. Needless to say Maximoff lost. Jess did some digging and exposed Maximoff's past crimes to the world. To say it was no great loss when the Punisher killed her was an understatement).

 

 

32. (prompt by DaughteroftheSilverMoon)

“You're seriously telling me that the two of you trust Maximoff enough to make her an Avenger? Did she fry what was left of both of your minds?” Tony declared in disbelieving outrage.

“She helped us to defeat Ultron” Steve pointedly reminded, crossing his arms stubbornly over his chest, signalling that he would not be suede from his decision.

“Yeah. After she found out that he wanted to kill all the humans on Earth and not just us!” Tony countered right back.

“You didn't see her when she was starting to break down. She regrets working with him” Clint stated, siding with Steve.

“And we're just supposed to say, ‘Okay it's Even-Steven’ and wipe the slate clean for her just because she finally has a modicum of guilt?” Tony declared incredulously.

“You and I got that chance” Natasha reminded Tony, giving him a raised eyebrow.

Tony scowled at her.

She'd been playing both sides of the conversation.

She didn't trust Wanda, but she wasn't entirely against giving her a second chance either.

“You and I didn’t knowingly join a neo-nazi organization” Tony countered back coldly, narrowing his eyes at her, daring her to say that he was wrong.

She didn’t.

“She and Pietro thought they were SHIELD” Steve defended.

“When they first volunteered? Yes. After the experiments? They knew Strucker and List were Hydra. She and Pietro chose to stay in order to complete their goal of killing us” Tony emphasized, poking holes in Steve’s argument.

“They were misguided kids-”

“She’s a twenty-five, turning twenty-six year old woman. I’m actually insulted for her that you and Barton keep referring to her as a child” Tony interrupted, both exasperated and appalled by their weird infantilism of Maximoff.

“The point is that she and her brother trusted people they shouldn’t have and were taken advantage of because of it. Like how you trusted Stane and he wasn’t who you thought he was” Steve reminded, hoping his comparison would make Tony see reason.

However, when Steve looked into Tony’s eyes he didn’t see him reluctantly caving to his reason like he had expected.

Instead he saw an expression he’d never seen before in the billionaire.

Absolute fury.

“My situation with Stane is nothing like Maximoff’s!” Tony damn near roared, moving quick steps at Steve in order to get right up in his face.

Seeing the catastrophe this was turning into Natasha stepped between Tony and Steve, placing one hand on the billionaire’s chest to keep him from getting any closer to Steve.

“Tony you need to calm down. Steve didn’t mean to insult you like that. He’s grasping at points of comparison to help his side of the argument” Natasha stated, trying to placate Tony through logic and reason.

“Grasping? That’s one word for it! Though I shouldn’t be fucking surprised. I heard you comparing yourself to the Maximoffs when you were talking to Hill. ‘What kind of monster would let a German scientist experiment on them in order to protect their country’? They volunteered for List’s experiments because he promised them that they’d get the power to kill us! Not to protect their country! I don’t know what your problem is Rogers, but something is seriously wrong with your head if you think either of the scenarios you compared are the same” Tony raged in absolute disbelief.

“Wanda trusted Strucker and List because she thought they were SHIELD. You trusted Stane because he was your second-in-command in your Company. Strucker and List used Wanda as an asset like Stane had used you” Steve continued doggedly, refusing to let Tony’s stubbornness and charged emotions keep him from seeing reason.

Natasha gripped both of Tony’s arms when he tried to move around her to lunge at Steve.

“Steve, you might want to drop the comparison for now. Stark can’t take hearing the truth right now” Clint stated, pointedly looking at Steve as he dismissed Tony for his childishness.

This time it was Natasha’s turn to glare.

“You agree with Steve?” Natasha demanded, the note of disbelieving calm, insulted anger obvious in her tone as she glared at Clint.

Said man’s eyes snapped to her’s in surprise at the malice directed at him.

“...And you don’t?” Clint inquired, the caution in his voice showing his confusion.

The steel in Natasha gaze grew colder, making Clint think back on his words in order to try and find what he missed in the points of comparison that would’ve angered Nat.

“Stane wasn’t just Stark’s second-in-command...He was his Godfather...He was there when Stark was born...And Stane had gaslighted and manipulated him since he was practically in diapers” a familiar voice echoed.

The group turned to see Fury sulking out of the shadows of the Compound.

“Howard was a shit father when it came to emotionally expressing himself, and frankly just being there” Fury continued, holding up his hand and pointedly glaring at Steve to keep-his-damn-mouth-shut, “Stane saw his chance early on when Stark built his first circuit board at four years old. Howard criticized Stark's work, and then told him to go away as he was busy”

Tony glared mistrustfully at Fury as he continued making his way closer to them.

“Stane saw that he had the opportunity to mold Stark into a tool for his own use by giving him the attention Howard never did...Genius plan really. Starting mental manipulation on someone so young ensures that no matter what the manipulator does that seems off or not right, the one manipulated will be conditioned to rationalize the manipulator’s behavior in a less negative light, even if the manipulator insults or undermines them” Fury detailed, pausing when he reached the midway point between Steve’s side and Tony’s side.

Barton paled a bit at the realization of exactly why Natasha was so pissed off at him.

“Maximoff may have initially been lied to. But she wasn’t manipulated or coerced into staying” Fury reiterated, sounding incredibly unimpressed with Steve’s reasoning.

“But she still placed her trust in the wrong people. First who she thought was SHIELD, and then trusting Hydra. Then Ultron. She regrets all of it and she deserves to get the second chance she genuinely wants” Steve retorted firmly, refusing to back down.

“And you think that the Avengers can, and should do that?” Fury questioned, trying to find Steve’s reasoning.

Fury could understand wanting a potential powerhouse like Maximoff into the Team (especially in case of another space invasion), but he doubted Rogers was thinking long-term benefits like him.

Tony scoffed.

“And history repeats itself” Tony bitingly sneered at Steve and Fury.

“What are you talking about?” Steve demanded, affronted by Tony’s unspecified accusation.

“Operation Paperclip” Tony deadpanned, and immediately Steve tensed as taught as a bowstring.

“As you already know Rogers, Operation Paperclip was a project headed by Peggy Carter where over one thousand five hundred scientists, engineers, and technicians were recruited across the world to come to the US and work in the SSR. Scientists like Arnim Zola” Tony sneered, “Why in the hell she ever thought trusting Hydra’s lead scientist was a brilliant idea is beyond me. He reformed Hydra right under everyone’s noses! But it seems like great minds think alike seeing as you’re about to so the same damn thing!”

“It wasn’t her fault that Zola tricked her into thinking he was willing to work with SHIELD” Steve defended, his fists clenched tight as he fought the overwhelming urge to punch Tony in the face for his insult at Peggy.

“Tricked her? Really Rogers? You’re telling me that she didn’t have the mental foresight to think that trusting the guy who was basically the Red Skull’s right-hand-man would be a terrible idea? That he wouldn’t possibly try and play her at all? I mean I grew up with Stane. What’s her fucking excuse for not knowing better?” Tony challenged, not caring how close Steve seemed to be to lashing out at him.

“I think it’s already been established that Hydra are masters at manipulation” Steve retorted, giving Tony a fierce sneer.

“Glad that we can finally come to an agreement” Tony deadpanned, “You have the honor of telling Ms. Maximoff that she will not be included into the Avengers Initiative”

“What?” Steve demanded, bewildered at how Tony came to that conclusion.

“Hydra agents are masters at manipulation. You just said so yourself that it’s impossible to tell whether or not they’re being sincere. And I think the Witch has more than proven her talent for mind-fuckery. How is she any different from the Hydra agents who masqueraded as SHIELD agents, pretending to be your comrades only to stab you in the back?” Tony challenged, stepping around Natasha and moving right up to Steve, “Who’s to say she not just taking advantage of your sympathies so that she can get her revenge on us after we’ve let our guards down?”

“You can’t prove that she will” Steve retorted tightly, still wanting to give Wanda a chance, but not able to deny that Tony didn’t have a point.

“And you can’t prove that she won’t” Tony countered right back.

(Eventually it was agreed that Wanda would not be included as a member of the Avengers. When she was told of this she lashed out, blamed Tony for taking away her opportunity for a second chance when he himself had gotten one. Before she could kill Tony or the other Avengers - who had tried to intervene - she was stopped by Vision. Wanda was arrested and sent to the Raft in a power-suppressing collar and straitjacket. Steve blamed Tony for Wanda’s attack on them while the others realized just how close they’d come to allowing someone so unstable to join their ranks. Brushing off Rogers’ blame Tony revealed to the world evidence of Wanda’s hand in Johannesburg, that she had willingly worked with Hydra and Ultron, and during his own trial revealed that it was by her hand and the influence of Loki’s Scepter that led to Ultron’s creation. Needless to say when the Punisher sniper shot Wanda as she was exiting the courthouse after her trial the world only sighed a breath of relief).

 

 

33.

“Agent Ross” Marion James addressed as said Agent walked into her office.

“Ma’am” Agent Ross greeted professionally in kind, mildly confused about why he had been called in the office of the Head of the CIA.

“Please have a seat” she said, gesturing to the chair in front of her desk.

Agent Ross lowered himself into the chair, trying not to let his unease show.

“I’m going to be frank with you Agent Ross. You are here because the validity of your past arrests and incarcerations, as well as all the deaths and ‘escapes’ while on your watch are being brought into question” Marion explained bluntly, folding her hands on top of her desk.

“I beg your pardon?” Agent Ross near demanded, “The validity? Deaths? Escapes? Are you accusing me of being a crooked officer?”

“A member of your task force came forward claiming that you alluded that your prisoner at the time, Sergeant Barnes would not be getting a lawyer” Marion stated coolly.

“It was Carter wasn’t it?” Agent Ross demanded assuredly with a scoff.

He knew she’d been compromised because of her connection to Rogers, but to think she’d go so far as to snitch to the Head of the CIA? Ross had one word to describe her.

Bitch.

“If you want to look at compromised agents I’m currently running an investigation on which of my agents gave Rogers the information we had on Barnes’ location in Bucharest, as well as who gave him and Wilson back their gear from lockup. Guess who’s my top contender?” Agent Ross countered right back.

If he was going down, he was going to bring her down right along with him.

A flicker of surprise passed through Marion’s eyes before she tightened her expression.

“I can assure you I will make sure the traitor in your ranks is flushed out. But this isn’t about Carter or your Team. This is about your making a public claim that an arrested individual would not be given one of their rights by law” Marion accused sharply, not impressed by her agent’s behavior in the slightest.

“And yet Barnes still had a documented lawyer assigned to him” Agent Ross pointed out firmly.

“Then why did you claim what you did?” Marion inquired, still searching for answers.

“Because criminals like Rogers and Barnes deserve to be locked away before they have the chance to hurt anyone else! I’ve seen too many dangerous criminals walk away scott-free only to just commit more crimes. I was just stating my beliefs! I wasn’t actually going to keep Barnes from his lawyer!” Agent Ross exclaimed, just barely keeping himself from shouting at his superior.

Marion leaned back in her seat, her hands still folded together as she rested her elbows on the armrests and gave Ross an appraising look.

It took everything Ross had to bite his cheek and keep quiet as she came to her own decisions.

Making her decision Marion leaned forward in her chair once more, her resolve steeled in her eyes.

“Be that as it may, we have reason to believe that it was your claim that Barnes wasn’t going to be getting a lawyer that exacerbated Steve Rogers’ already apparent mistrust of government agencies, and played a part in his decision to hide from the JCTC after breaking Sergeant Barnes out of his Winter Soldier conditioning” Marion detailed, explaining just how potentially far-reaching Ross’ words had, whether he meant them or not.

“Rogers would have high-tailed it with Barnes and Wilson whether I had opened my big-fat mouth or not” Agent Ross retorted, fully assured in his claim.

“Perhaps. But it certainly didn’t help matters either” Marion riposted.

(Agent Ross was placed on suspension pending the review of each and every case he had been on during his tenure in the CIA. Marion made good on her word and followed up on Agent Ross’ investigation on the traitor in his Task Force, causing Sharon to flee when they had confirmed that it had been her. Sharon joined Steve, Sam, and Natasha on the run. Because Agent Ross had been placed on suspension he did not head the mission to deal with Klaue, meaning nobody was there to stop T’Challa from murdering Klaue in front of an audience of people. T’Challa was arrested by the UN and Erik Stevens used the opportunity to seize control of Wakanda. Through the quick thinking of Shuri, who released Barnes from cryostasis, she had him snipe off Killmonger and keep Erik from starting World War III).

 

 

**Warning: Steve Bashing; Wanda critical/start of redemption**

 

34. (prompt by hattafan2593)

“So uh. I’m sorry. Not to be rude or anything but I don’t know who you are...Are you a new Avenger or…?” Scott awkwardly asked, looking at Bucky as they all finished suiting up for the fight at the airport.

And apparently they were fighting Iron Man...He was still very confused about the whole situation, but Scott was just rolling with it.

Bucky gave Scott an appraising glance. The guy was like an adult puppy.

“Former Winter Soldier” Bucky deadpanned.

“...Oh” Scott replied dumbly, minorly shocked.

Bucky tensed in anticipation for Scott’s next reaction, unsure of what he would do.

Steve tensed as well, ready to strike out and defend his best friend from the unknown that was Scott Lang.

“I’m a former thief myself so...I don’t judge man” Scott stated, a little unsure of tall-dark-and-broody, but if Captain America trusted him, so would he.

The tension in both Bucky and Steve eased at that, relieved they wouldn’t have to worry about Scott attacking them.

“Thief?” Bucky inquired curiously.

“Some people have called me a modern age Robin Hood if that makes you feel any better” Scott stated, scratching the side of his face sheepishly.

“Robin Hood was a thief” Sam teased while maintaining a straight face.

“...Yes he was” Scott slowly replied.

“If anyone on this team is a modern age Robin Hood it’s me” Clint cut in, aiming arrow playfully in Scott’s face.

“Uh. Fair point” Scott stammered slightly, before Clint slid the arrow back into place with a small chuckle.

“Enough teasing the new-blood. I’m not sure he’s ready for that” Wanda declared, joining in on the teasing as she made her way out of the van, now donning the new battle suit Stark had made her.

“Ha-ha” Scott grumbled, “I can so handle it”

Scott bent down to grab his helmet on the parking garage floor.

Seeing an opportunity Wanda grinned a bit before flicking her wrist, using her powers to telekinetically slide the helmet slightly to the left, causing Scott’s reach to miss.

Scott paused briefly out of surprise before moving his hands left to grab the helmet.

Wanda proceeded to move the helmet forwards, causing Scott to miss again.

Suddenly everyone was laughing at the hilarious game of Keep-Away, with Wanda using her powers to continuously slide the helmet just out of Scott’s reach.

Suddenly, instead of Scott moving the way she had expected him too he surprised her by swerving one arm right, finally catching his helmet.

“Ha!” Scott exclaimed triumphantly, pointing his newly recovered helmet at her, “I figured out your pattern! Left-forward-left-right-right-back-left-forward-right!”

Wanda just looked at him stunned.

She hadn’t even realized that she had been moving in a pattern.

“Impressive” Bucky thought, “He analyzed her moves and predicted what she would do next”

“Smarter than he looks” Clint thought, giving the newbie a more critical once over.

“Told you he had potential” Sam stated semi-smug, surprised himself by Scott’s apparent brain.

“You’re good with patterns?” Steve inquired curiously.

“Locked safes don’t open themselves” Scott stated sarcastically.

“What else can you do?” Clint asked curiously.

“I’ve got a master’s in engineering, I’m pretty good with chemistry, and obviously I’m good at breaking and entering” Scott detailed, happy that all these awesome heroes were interested in him.

“Actually. If you don’t mind me asking, how did you get your powers?” Scott asked Wanda, looking over at her excitedly, “Birth? Radiation? Experiment? Magic? Is magic a thing?”

Wanda looked at the other man in surprise, caught off-guard by the question.

“Uh…” Wanda stammered, unsure if she wanted to reveal the sinister nature of her power’s origins.

“Oh sorry. Crossed a line there. Scientific curiosity and all that. You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to” Scott assured her apologetically.

Wanda was conflicted.

Scott said that he didn’t judge.

He had even admitted to being a former criminal himself, and he was fine with Barnes.

Though Scott had committed crimes for the sake of good, and Barnes didn’t commit any of his crimes willingly…

But the other Avengers had accepted her...And this is what she wanted. Why she chose to hurt her friend and break out of the Compound. For the sake of not letting her life be controlled by fear any longer.

All her life all she’d ever been was afraid.

She spent two days in grief and fear, waiting for that second shell to go off and kill her and her brother like the first one had killed their parents.

Fear of what would happen to them now that they were orphans.

Fear of what would happen to them, to their home, as their country rebelled against itself. As invaders came in claiming they were there to help only to leave destruction in their wake.

When she had survived List’s experiments she found herself unafraid for the first time in her life.

Instead, she was the one who had the power to make people afraid.

Afraid like she had been.

And she had reveled in it.

Right up until she had felt the inner contents of the Cradle.

Then fear consumed her once more.

Fear for herself. Her brother. The world. What she had done.

The Avengers had given her a second chance. The chance to be a hero this time rather than a villain.

And Clint and Steve were right.

She can’t let other people’s fear dictate and control her life. Not anymore!

Resolve steeled in Wanda’s eyes.

“Experiment actually” Wanda replied, a small amount of confidence in her voice, “I...made the mistake of trusting a scientist I had thought was an agent of SHIELD. He said that he could make my brother and I powerful enough to get our revenge. So we agreed”

“If they weren’t SHIELD then who were they?” Scott asked curiously, choosing to ignore the for-revenge bit until later.

And he wasn’t the only one.

Bucky had been wary of the woman ever since she had gotten off the van. Something about her attitude and powers just rubbed him the wrong way.

“...Hydra” Wanda admitted reluctantly, shamefully.

“WHAT?! Bucky demanded, immediately pulling out a glock he had stashed in his belt.

“Whoa whoa! Easy Buck!” Steve tried to placate, stepping directly in front of Bucky’s gun, blocking Wanda entirely from his view.

“Punk. You better move or I’m shooting her through you” Bucky threatened, his eyes slightly blanker, his expression more robotic as he unconsciously feel back on his Winter Soldier programming.

Clint had already drawn one of his explosive arrows, and Sam had unfolded his own twin guns, both of them ready to fire at a moment’s notice.

Scott just froze in the background, unsure what the hell to even do.

Wanda was stunned...and afraid...She hadn’t planned on this.

“Bucky she was just a kid. She didn’t know any better. They tricked her. Used her. Just like you” Steve tried to reason with him, stubbornly refusing to move.

“Kid?” Bucky demanded, “She looks like she’s in her damn twenties. How old was she when this happened?”

Steve’s eyebrows scrunched a bit in thought, unsure himself of the answer to the question.

“I was twenty-five” Wanda mumbled uneasily when she saw that Steve was struggling.

Bucky’s eyes narrowed dangerously at Steve.

“How the fuck is twenty-five a kid?! At that age you were literally in the fucking army! We had jobs! Our own apartments!” Bucky demanded appalled.

Steve winced at the accusation.

“Just because she’s probably the youngest out of all of you doesn’t mean she’s a fucking kid! She’s a grown ass woman who looks fully capable of making her own decisions to me!” Bucky continued icily, refusing to lower his weapon.

Wanda couldn’t help but agree with Bucky.

Sure Steve had taken on a mentor role for her, kind of like that of an older sibling. But for him to actually call her a kid?

I mean...She brushed off Clint’s high school comment because she figured he was just trying to goad her...But…

“Strucker and List tricked her into thinking they were SHIELD. They actually orchestrated the riots she and her brother had gone to in order to cover up their experiments and blame it on the ‘foreign forces’ invading Sokovia, using the riots to recruit people who would want power to get rid of the invaders” Steve justified, his words pretty and carefully chosen.

Bucky grit his teeth, his eyes starting to waver slightly.

“Did you ever find out they were Hydra?” Bucky demanded.

“She-”

“I’m not talkin to you Punk” Bucky cut Steve off coldly.

“...After we survived the experiments, SHIELD was outed as Hydra by the data dump” Wanda admitted uneasily.

“And did you leave after you found out?” Bucky demanded, his warning glare almost boring right through Steve.

“...No” Wanda admitted shamefully.

“Bucky-”

“Move Steve. Now” Bucky demanded, his eyes ice cold.

“Bucky she’s just like you. They manipulated her into staying. Telling her that with them she could get her revenge. They used her. Like you” Steve tried to reason with him again, knowing better than to even try reaching for Bucky’s gun.

Bucky’s eyes raged like a winter storm, the biting wind that tearing at your face like shards of glass, so cold that it burned.

“She is nothing like me!” Bucky growled out viciously, his eyes promising murder, “She chose to stay with Hydra! They didn’t twist her arm into staying! They didn’t threaten her! Torture her! They promised her revenge! And she willingly stayed with them to get it!”

Wanda flinched at his accusations.

Or rather, facts.

Because that’s what they were. Facts.

Yes she and her brother had been lied to. But after the data dump Strucker hadn’t bothered to hide what they were...And they didn’t care...They didn’t care so long as they got what they wanted. Revenge.

She and her brother had used Hydra just as much as they had used them.

And it had paid off...Until it hadn’t.

“I was kidnapped, tortured, and experimented on! Brainwashed! Forcibly used as a puppet against my will for over seventy years!” Bucky raged, “I didn’t have a choice! All those innocent people I murdered-”

“It wasn’t you Buck!” Steve adamantly declared, cutting his friend’s rant off.

“It doesn’t matter if I was brainwashed! My hands still ended all those lives!” Bucky retorted sharply, tears glazing over his eyes at the reminder of his past sins.

“You’re just going to let them take it?” Pietro quietly demanded.

“I didn’t expect…” Wanda began, nodding slightly up at Ultron, the ‘you’ being implied, “But I saw Stark’s fear. I knew it would control him. Make him self-destruct”

“I want the Big One” Wanda declared through her gasps, looking over piercingly at Dr. Banner who was staring at the two of them curiously from the quinjet.

Barnes had the excuse of not being in control of his actions...She was the exact opposite.

She was the one manipulating people’s actions.

Johannesburg. Ultron.

There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do to make Stark and the Avengers suffer as she had.

At the time it didn’t even register to her that she would be orphaning children like she and her brother had been orphaned.

That her compulsion in Stark’s mind would destroy more than just the Avengers.

Ultron was her doing...Not that anyone knew that though.

She had started to admit the depth of her sins to Clint when she had been in near hysterics during the Battle of Sokovia, overwhelmed by the guilt, chaos, and stress.

But Clint had brushed her off, telling her that it didn’t matter whose fault it was, but rather whether or not she could step up and fight to make things right.

Fighting alongside the Avengers had given her a sense of purpose she had never felt before.

A good feeling.

That she was actually making a difference in a way she had failed to do in going to the riots. In trusting Ultron.

“No matter how bad the crimes it wasn’t your fault! You didn’t choose to do any of it! The world won’t blame you for being with Hydra because you didn’t have a choice!” Steve countered adamantly.

Wanda had been so surprised when Captain America, a known Hydra killer, had offered her the chance to become an Avenger.

Steve had said that she had suffered enough in her life and that she deserved a real second chance...Telling her that he would make sure her past was handled.

Suddenly Wanda was hit by a sickening thought.

“Did you welcome me into the Avengers to set a precedent for Barnes?” Wanda asked in quiet disbelief.

Wanda watched as Steve flinched at her question as he stood in front of her facing Barnes.

“Wanda you placed your trust in the wrong people and they took advantage of that. The world can be unforgiving and you didn’t deserve to be crucified for that” Steve tried to assure, turning his head to face her when he noticed Bucky now seemed to be more interested in him than Wanda.

“...Like Barnes doesn’t deserve to be crucified for his actions in Hydra either...Right?” Wanda asked carefully.

“Exactly!” Steve exclaimed.

Wanda’s eyes welled with tears, clenching her jaw tightly to keep it from trembling.

“Wanda?” Steve asked, sounding concerned.

Suddenly an unexpected punch came flying at his face, barely managing to dodge it in time.

“I can’t believe you!” Clint shouted furiously, clenching his fists as if to make another swing at Steve.

“What?!” Steve demanded, wholly confused.

“I can’t believe you used her like that! Wanda genuinely wanted a fucking do-over after all the shit she did and you mean to tell me that you only brought her into the Avengers because you wanted to make sure the world would accept Barnes back once you found him?!” Clint demanded in appalled disbelief, “Is that what all this is about too? Are there even any Winter Soldiers in Siberia or is all this to make a fucking point?!”

“Of course the other Winter Soldiers are real!” Steve exclaimed in disbelief at the accusation.

“I don’t hear you denying the part about Wanda” Clint growled out.

As Steve was about to speak again, likely to spout more excuses and empty platitudes, Wanda cut him off.

“I trusted you” Wanda muttered brokenly, “When I was overcome with guilt about my past actions you told me that you would handle it...You made it go away...You said I could change. Be a hero despite my past...When I was upset about Lagos...You told me that we couldn’t save everyone...When I agreed with Vision and didn’t want to cause any more problems I changed my mind at your and Clint’s advice...I hurt Vision...A friend...And it was brushed off...You say we need to fight our friends...But do we?...How can I trust anything you say when all you’ve been doing is making sure Barnes is safe?”

Steve was supposed to be her mentor.

She was supposed to be able to trust him.

Steve was honest.

Hated manipulation and lies.

If he said the Accords were wrong than she believed him.

...Though she knew Vision wasn't entirely wrong either.

But he had sided with Stark.

So she chose Steve.

Because she knew Steve had her back.

And she couldn’t have been more wrong...Again.

Stark had no reason to help her.

He hadn’t even agreed with her joining the Avengers.

She had felt his fear and mistrust...And she couldn’t blame him for it.

But even he still stepped back at Steve’s insistence.

She couldn’t say that she hadn’t been relieved by Stark’s retirement. She still held hatred of him for his hand in the shell that fell on her house...Right up until Natasha, Sam, and Rhodey put her in her place about that completely wrong assumption.

But even with the revelation that it hadn’t actually been an SI shell that fell onto her house, even after he had given her a home at the Compound, bought her food, clothes, a guitar, and didn’t tell Vision to stay away from her, she couldn’t completely shake the misplaced hate of him she had carried for over a decade.

They weren’t friends. Just...neutral.

An impasse.

But during the issue with the Accords he had basically done what she had felt was locking her in her room...While he tried to get her a visa.

And she had hated him for that.

For helping her...The way he was trying to help her...But she knew that Vision had a point so she stayed.

She had thought she was doing the right thing by trusting Steve and Clint.

But Stark, the one person on this planet who had no obligation in any way to help her, had done better on her behalf than Steve ever did.

“I’m not doing this” Wanda stated abruptly, almost surprising herself, “I-I’m turning myself in”

“No Wanda you can’t!-”

“Enough Steve!” Sam cut in sharply, “I know I was just as much on the don’t-trust-Stark bandwagon as you, but after hearing the bullshit I just did you better believe plans have changed!”

“Tony’s too ensnared by them Accords! He won’t believe us!” Steve declared fiercely.

“We never tried” Sam corrected sharply, “And frankly I’m starting to think Stark’s more trustworthy than you right now. At least I know he’s upfront about shit”

Steve looked at Sam, mouth agape.

“We’re leaving Punk. Just like that Ant-guy did” Bucky exclaimed, now pointing his gun at Steve’s head.

He didn’t trust the Witch, but right now he couldn’t trust Steve either.

“Guy’s smarter than the rest of us” Clint muttered, mildly impressed that Lang had used his suit to escape while they’d all been distracted by their anger.

“Wait!-”

Steve collapsed to the ground hard, out like a light.

“Nerve pinch?” Clint inquired, looking over at Barnes with a half grateful half impressed glance.

Barnes nodded tightly as he dragged Steve’s body into the back of the van.

“Let’s get to the airport. We can surrender there” Bucky exclaimed, taking charge.

He was done with all this bullshit. All he had wanted were some damn plums.

(Bucky, Wanda, Clint, and Sam surrendered at the airport. Tony let Clint sneak off to go back to his family. Steve was placed in restraints similar to Barnes’ own, and Sam was placed in handcuffs. Wanda broke down crying in apologies as soon as Tony mentioned Vision. To say Tony was stunned and uncomfortable would be an understatement. After learning about Steve’s underhandedness Tony and Vision dropped their charges against Wanda and helped her truly start to make up for her past wrongs. Bucky got the help that he needed from both Tony and T’Challa. And Steve was locked away in prison, with Tony having found a way to remove the serum from his body in retaliation to finding out that Steve had known that the Winter Soldier had killed his parents and had intentionally kept the information from him).

**End Warning**

 

Bonus:

“Are you telling me that Barton and Lang will leave their families to help you needlessly fight against your own teammates, but they won't come and help when an alien overlord is threatening half of all life in the universe?” Rhodey demanded sharply in bitter disbelief.

“......”

“Tell Barton and Lang they have an hour to get their gear before we pick their asses up” Rhodey declared, fed up with the Rogues’ bullshit, lack of common sense, and inability to act as functioning adults already.

Chapter Text

35. (prompt by vixen_uchiha)

“You just can’t stop yourself from lying can you?” Steve demanded accusingly as he stalked his way into Fury's office.

“I didn’t lie. Agent Romanoff had a different mission than you” Fury retorted, not bothering to turn around in his chair to face the incensed soldier.

“Which you didn’t feel obliged to share” Steve retorted bitingly, not happy in the least about intentionally being kept out of the loop.

“I’m not obliged to do anything” Fury retorted unphased, carefully watching Rogers’ reactions through his ceiling high windows.

“Those hostages could have died” Steve reminded Fury sharply.

“I sent the greatest soldier in history to make sure that didn’t happen” Fury declared, finally turning around in his seat to face the Immoveable wall of a man.

“Soldiers trust each other. That’s what makes it an army. Not a bunch of guys running around shooting guns” Steve countered back, refusing to back down from his point.

“Last time I trusted someone I lost an eye” Fury revealed, standing to his feet, glaring Rogers down with his one good eye.

And at that Steve had no real comeback.

After all, how can you convince someone who lives off secrets and lies that trust is fundamental?

“Meow”

Suddenly an orange and white tabby jumped up onto Fury's desk, tilting its head curiously at Steve.

Steve vaulted back a half a step seeing the animal, briefly startled by its appearance.

“Not a cat-lover I assume?” Fury stated questioningly, fighting the urge to narrow his eye suspiciously at Rogers’ reaction to Goose.

“Didn't know you were the type to have pets” Rogers stated, warily eyeing Goose.

“Just watching her for a friend” Fury corrected, straightening his posture, “Pet her. She's friendly”

“No thanks” Steve replied, almost too quickly, “Not an animal person”

Goose just observed Steve with interest, swishing her tail side to side in a way that Fury recognized as her innocent act, one that she used right before-

Without warning tentacles shot out from Goose’s mouth, her roar nearly drown out Steve's suddenly higher pitched screams as he was yanked into the belly of Goose's dimensional void.

For just a moment Fury saw Rogers’ face morph into sickly green and pointed ears.

A soft burp sounded in the silence of the room as Goose finished swallowing the imposter whole, casually cleaning her head with her paw, content and satisfied that her job was done, and paying no mind to her caretaker.

Fury stood there for a moment in stunned disbelief, then turned to Goose and gave her some of her favored neck scratches.

“You just had to prove me wrong about the trust comment didn't you?”

(Fury immediately ordered a search for the real Steve Rogers. Turns out that the real Steve was still out touring the country, taking the time to properly adjust into the twenty-first century. When confronted by Fury about his imposter, and offered a place in SHIELD Steve declined. So when Fury found out that SHIELD had been compromised he went to Tony to have Project Insight stopped, saving countless civilian and SHIELD agent lives while still exposing Hydra).

 

 

 

 

 

36. (prompt by TheSinful; barbara6275; Krafter2014)

“It’s good” Wanda exclaimed happily, mouth full, placing a hand to her face, chuckling in embarrassment at speaking with food in her mouth.

“Gotta agree with her on that” Sam said, swallowing his bite, “Though I can’t say I wasn’t a bit skeptical”

Scott let out a muffled hum of agreement as he shoved another huge bite in his mouth, letting out a pleased moan at the flavors hitting his tongue.

“Easy there Tic-tac. Nobody here’s gonna steal your food” Sam chuckled.

“I’m tempted to steals yours” Scott teased, mouth still overly stuffed.

“You can try” Sam challenged good-naturedly.

“I told you coming here would be a good idea” Steve said, half smug half amused.

“I think the real travesty is that you never took them here before the damn Accords. Shame Cap. Shame shame” Clint teased.

Steve just gave him a ‘well-what-can-you-do’ shrug and leaned back in his chair.

It had taken a year and a half of being on the run before they were (reluctantly) pardoned.

The UN (and by extension the world) hadn’t really wanted to welcome them back, but with Thor and Banner’s return, as well as an apparent impending invasion, the world didn’t have too much of a choice.

What grated on Steve, and everyone else though, was the fact that despite being pardoned they were all still on a ‘probation’ of sorts, and not a part of the main line-up of the Avengers Team.

It still baffled Steve’s mind how quickly and easily Thor and Banner just agreed to sign the Accords. He would’ve thought Banner would’ve told Tony to go-to-hell since the original document had Ross’ fingerprints all over it.

Sure Tony had fixed them like Nat had told him they were planning on doing the entire time, but it was still surprising.

“Better late than never” Natasha commented, leaning back in her seat as well.

Steve couldn't help but agree.

Though he did wish that the entire Team had come to the Shawarma Palace with them (and that Bucky hadn't stayed in Wakanda).

Team bonding was a necessary part of being on a team, especially since everything was still so fragile and tense right now.

“Will that be all?” Fadi asked, coming over to their table.

“Yes. Thank you” Steve replied, handing him his Avengers debit card.

Fadi swiped the card through his hand-held card reader, frowning a bit as the tiny machine gave a low ‘Ehnt’ sound.

Fadi swiped again only to receive the same result.

“Something wrong?” Steve asked, slightly confused.

“I'm sorry Captain, but it appears your card's been denied” Fadi stated, looking very uncomfortable as he handed Steve his card back.

“That's impossible” Steve stated in disbelief, looking at his card in confusion.

“Mr. Fadi is correct. I just looked into your account and found a balance of zero dollars and zero cents” Vision informed him, using his link to computers to search Steve's account, “Obviously not enough to pay for everyone's meal”

“Here. I still have money left in my account” Natasha stated, handing her card over to Fadi before he bolted like a frightened rabbit.

“I have money” Steve stated confused, wondering how his funds all of a sudden had a limit.

“We're Avengers again” Wanda stated, piggybacking his confusion, “Stark gave us our credit cards back”

“They're debit cards provided to us by the Accords Council for the accounts the US deposits money into as our payment for Avengers missions” Natasha corrected, looking entirely exasperated and done with the level of ignorance in the room.

“So?” Wanda exclaimed, crossing her arms over her chest.

“You don't know the difference between a credit card and a debit card?” Scott asked, his eyebrows hitting his hairline.

“They're basically the same thing” Wanda scowled defensively.

“Uh. No they're not” Sam stated in disbelief, “A credit card has a limit on it with the amount of money you can purchase up to and then have to pay back. A debit card takes money directly out of your bank account”

“So every time I use my Avengers’ card it takes money out of my Avengers Bank account?!” Wanda exclaimed in appalled disbelief.

“Uh yeah. How did you think anything you bought would be paid for if you didn’t pay for it out of the money you were earning as a probationary Avenger?” Scott asked her, looking extremely confused at her surprise.

“What happened to our old cards?” Wanda demanded, angrily.

“They were cancelled when we became fugitives of the law” Natasha deadpanned.

“How come Tony can't just get us the cards back?” Steve asked.

“When you're arrested or become a fugitive all your accounts are frozen and/or repossessed by the government. If you didn't get them back I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it's probably because they weren't your cards to begin with” Scott stated, raising an eyebrow at Steve's inquiry.

“Tony gave us the credit cards” Steve corrected firmly, “And they didn't have a limit on them as far as I knew”

Scott looked like he lost his eyebrows in orbit.

“They were Tony's cards Steve. He just gave them to us to use” Natasha explained sounding incredibly unimpressed, “After they were cancelled the accounts ceased to exist...After he paid off what we owed I assume”

Wanda scoffed.

“You mean what he owed. Stark's a billionaire who made his fortune off of blood money. It's the least he can do after we had to go on the run because of him” Wanda sneered.

“Wanda's right. I doubt our debt made a dent in his funds anyway” Clint scoffed.

“Relax” Steve stated firmly, assuredly, “I’ll wrangle Tony for a talk and get all this straightened out”

“While you're at it tell him we all need some updates on our gear. Being on the run wore’m down” Clint add in, picking at his teeth.

“And that the fridge needs to be restocked” Wanda added in. She had a few new recipes she wanted to try out with Vision.

“Good luck with that” Natasha muttered almost inaudibly, though Steve heard her nonetheless.

Steve knew that he’d hurt Tony severely in Siberia, but it wasn’t right for him to take it out on the Team. He would get him to understand that the issues between them needed to stay that way...Though somehow he got the odd feeling that it wasn’t Tony Natasha was scoffing at…

“Blood money?” Scott exclaimed confused.

Wanda just gave him a pointed 'are-you-stupid’ look.

“He's the Merchant of Death. His Company illegally sold weapons to terrorists. One of his bombs killed my parents” Wanda viciously snarled.

“You’re kidding right?” Scott asked incredulously, as if he couldn’t believe what he’d just heard.

Wanda shook her head bitterly, sadly.

“And he never even apologized to me for it” Wanda declared bitterly, gripping her hands around her cup.

Clint placed a comforting gentle hand on Wanda’s shoulder. Wanda smiled at him gratefully.

“Uh...That’s not what I meant…” Scott muttered, still in shock by her proclamation.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Wanda demanded sharply.

“He’s saying that your opinions on Tony Stark and Stark Industries are a load of crap” a voice declared.

The group turned to face the source of the abrupt commentary, surprised to see that it was an old African-American male sporting a WWII veteran cap on his head.

“Excuse me?” Wanda demanded angrily.

The old man scoffed at her haughty righteousness.

“It’s a known fact that Obadiah Stane was the one to illegally sell SI weapons under the table. Tony Stark was the one who cut weapons production. Yeah he made weapons for the US military, so what? I dare you to find a country that doesn’t have a Company that provides weapons for its military...Howard Stark built Stark Industries with weapons production as its foundation. Hell he’s responsible for creating the atomic bomb” the Veteran pointedly emphasized, sounding wholly unimpressed as he glared Wanda down for his next words, “And even though the atomic bombs he helped create were used to kill over 200,000 people, he wasn’t the one to fire the damn things on Japan. The President made that choice...Whether the bomb that hit your house was an SI shell or not, doesn’t mean you should blame the Head of the Company who made it. You should be blaming the ones who actually dropped the damn thing on your house”

Silence.

“Now that’s a mic drop” Scott muttered, feeling nothing but complete respect for the elder in front of him.

Sam couldn’t help but agree.

He knew Wanda and Stark were at a kind of impasse before the whole Accords thing, that they had a history...But he didn’t know that Wanda actually blamed Stark for something as ridiculous as someone who may or may not have used his weapons to drop bombs on Sokovia.

Wanda clenched her fists and jaw, tears stinging her eyes in both denial and embarrassment as she tried to balance her conflicting feeling of her past anger and the Veteran’s logic.

“His logic is correct. I was not aware you had not known that SHIELD had confirmed that the shell that had been dropped on your house was a replica of the Stark Industry shells sold on the black market by Obadiah Stane and not an original SI shell” Vision exclaimed surprised, “It was also on record that it was a faction of the rebellions in Sokovia that purchased the replica shells and dropped them...The faction you and your brother had joined prior to agreeing to List’s experiments in fact”

Dead. Silence.

Wanda couldn’t think.

The rebellion she joined was responsible for dropping the bombs on her family?!

“Makes sense” Sam stated, coming out of his stupor, “A rebellion faction wouldn’t be able to afford originals, even on the black market”

The Veteran scoffed.

“That’s your only take-away?” he mocked, “Not the fact that you all just accused the most important development Company in the world of building their fortune off of blood money?”

“To be fair Stark does create a hell of a lot of charities to soothe his guilt. He’s still helping to clean up Sokovia after his murder-bot destroyed Novi Grad” Clint casually defended.

“Dr. Stark was proven one-hundred percent innocent of creating Ultron. He was in no way obligated to assist in Sokovia’s repair” the Veteran’s son reminded them sharply, “He sent relief aid because he is a compassionate man who couldn’t just let a country pick up the pieces of their ruin alone. Unlike the rest of you

“Excuse me?” Steve demanded, rising to the Son’s challenge, “You think we don’t care about those harmed as a result of our battles?”

“Alright then, tell me Captain” the Veteran’s son sneered, narrowing his eyes challengingly at Steve, “What have you ever done in the wake of the destruction of any of your missions or battles? Have you ever stayed behind to help clean up the rubble? Joined in on passing out food, blankets, and amenities for the newly homeless? Have you ever even looked back after your mission was completed and said, I have to do more to help?”

Steve grit his teeth, trying not to let his embarrassment show.

“The way I see it you’re all trying to claim that you’ve got the moral high ground over Tony Stark while still having the gall to not only live off his dime, but actually think that you have the right to demand things of him even as you insult him in the same breath” the Veteran reprimanded.

“We don’t live off his dime” Steve retorted sharply, insulted by the insinuation.

The Veteran just gave Steve an ‘oh-really’ eyebrow.

“I know I’ve grown hard-of-hearing in my old age, but I’m still sharp as a tac Captain” the Veteran declared pointedly, his tone making Steve stiffen as it reminded him of a military officer’s, “You lot just through a hissy-fit over the fact that you no longer had unlimited credit cards provided to you by one Tony Stark, and that you now have to pay for your own things like everyone else in the damn world”

Steve grit his teeth.

He couldn’t even say that what the man had heard was merely misinterpreted, their words and implications had been pretty damn cut-and-dry.

“Not only that, you, Captain, feel as though you have the right to complain about said fact to Mr. Stark, demand the return of the credit cards, demand that he buy you food, rather than going to the grocery store and purchasing what you need yourselves, and demand that he design you new equipment when he is busy working a full-time job on top of being an Avenger. Unlike the rest of you” the Veteran sneered, disgusted by the entitled brats in front of him.

“Hey! I'm trying to start up my own security company!” Scott declared, offended that the man just assumed that he was intentionally a dead-beat.

The Veteran gave Scott an appraising look...And after apparently finding what he was looking for gave Scott an approving nod.

“And the rest of you?” the Veteran inquired challengingly, almost daring them to prove him wrong.

Scott waited a moment for someone to speak up, to show the Vet that they weren't quite as bad as they seemed...But nobody said anything.

Scott looked around the table to see that everyone else wore varying expressions of embarrassment and sheepishness.

“Seriously?!” Scott exclaimed in disbelief, “None of you have jobs?!”

“We're Avengers” Wanda bit out, her embarrassment coming out in frustrated anger.

“We don't go on that many missions! You can't make a living off of just being an Avenger!” Scott declared aghast at her ignorance.

“There’s not exactly many options for former known fugitives and assassins. Most wouldn't be so trusting” Natasha casually reminded him.

Scott's eyebrows shot up.

“You're kidding right? I know for a fact you're a good hacker. Which means you're good with computers and can get a job in that...And even if someone wouldn't trust you to do that you know like what? Over ten languages? Work as an interpreter...Or a bodyguard” Scott exclaimed, as if it should have been obvious.

Natasha's mouth thinned out in a line.

“And you have three kids!” Scott exclaimed, turning his attention to Clint, “How the hell did you support them after SHIELD fell?”

“Self-sustaining farm. We sell some extra crops and produce, some game we hunt...I used to teach a women's self defense class and an archery class for kids” Clint retorted through grit teeth, his face angry yet impassive.

“Used to?” Scott demanded, “What's stopping you from doing that now?!”

Clint just glared at him.

“And what's your excuse? I thought you used to be a counselor?” Scott demanded, shifting his focus to Sam.

Sam shifted uncomfortably, his expression tight.

“I lost my certification after I became a fugitive...I can try and dispute it…But international crimes, pardoned or not, don't look good in front of a committee” Sam revealed unhappily.

The Veteran scoffed.

“Damn good thing to. You clearly sucked at it” the Veteran mocked.

“That’s enough” Steve declared authoritatively, “You have no basis or right to judge Sam’s capabilities as a counselor if you’ve never worked with him before”

“I don’t have to. You Mr. America are the poster-boy of maladjusted. Any vet worth their salt can see that you haven’t been able to adjust back into a civilian identity, and that you’re still clinging to your past if your willingness to burn the world for Sergeant Barnes is any indication. If Wilson here was any kind of counselor he would have noticed that and either referred you to someone, or tried to help you himself...And if he did then I know he sucks at his job...Ex-job” the Veteran barbed.

Sam flinched at the insult.

The man wasn’t wrong. Yeah he had noticed that Steve still had some issues adjusting back into the twenty-first century, but he had seemed like he was working on it. Slowly. But things like that took time so he hadn't pushed.

But there was a reason you weren’t allowed to counsel family and friends. You’re too close to the situation...And he had been.

“You’re all sitting here insulting a man who has likely worked every day of his life since pre-school if stories are to be believed. With the exception of..Mr. Lang here, all of you are jobless with no intention of seeking out employment other than playing ‘hero’ because you are all so entitled that you believe yourselves to be above everyone else and that doing such a thing is unnecessary” the Veteran unmercifully jabbed, “You all act like spoiled children. Treating a man who became a CEO at twenty-one years old and turned a weapons manufacturing company into a multi-billion dollar multi-national conglomerate like your Sugar daddy”

Steve's brain blue-screened at the Veteran's words, his mouth gaping like a trout.

They didn't use Tony like that...Did they?

“Tell me Captain. What have you done for the world besides assist in leveling buildings?” the Veteran's son challenged, “Cause right now Tony Stark is at a convention unveiling his advancements in the prosthetics industry and his new viable treatments for those suffering from PTSD”

A majority of the Avengers squirmed in embarrassment.

The only ones who didn't were Natasha and Wanda.

But Natasha already knew they had fucked up with the genius. Burned their bridge. She just couldn't believe it had taken this long for everyone else to realize just how much Tony had spoiled them.

Wanda on the other hand was furious.

Stark this Stark that. Stark was amazing. Stark was God's gift to the fucking planet and they were no good criminals.

“Stark is a murder! He can throw money at charities and restoration efforts all he wants, he's just doing it to look good and keep his Company from going bankrupt! He betrayed us, locked us up, and threw away the key! He took us away from our families! He owes us for everything he put us through!” Wanda roared, her eyes glowing red in her uncontrolled anger.

The Veteran said nothing for the longest time.

In fact nobody said anything.

All of them too stunned by Wanda's proclamation.

“Now I understand the true reason why Iron Man retired from the Avengers after Sokovia” the Veteran stated calmly, an edge of clarity in his eyes, “I wouldn't feel safe either”

And that final phrase was more of a blow to the gut then anything Steve had ever felt before.

And when tendrils of red started curling around Wanda's form, Steve realized for the first time that maybe Tony had been right.

(Unbeknownst to the Rogues a customer at the Shawarma Palace had recorded the entire confrontation and posted the video online. Within hours the video had gone viral, causing an uproar around the world at the Rogues’ audacity at not only using Tony Stark as their punching bag and Sugar Daddy, but thinking they were above supporting themselves and paying taxes. All the Rogues were immediately put on suspension pending a full psychological evaluation. Wanda failed said evaluation and had to be restrained and placed in a mental health facility. A clause was also added to the Accords that all Avengers must have another job outside of Avenging. As such, Vision apologized to Tony for using his funds during his ‘vacations’ with Wanda and promised to give him monthly payments from his newly acquired job as a DJ, Sam used his time off to get a job in falconry, Scott chose to distance himself from the rest of the Rogues and focused on starting up his security business instead, Steve made use of his suspension to finish college and got a degree in art therapy, working part-time as a sketch artist for police departments on the side, Clint became a sports coach, and Natasha opened up an orphanage. And believe it or not, having these responsibilities reconnected them with civilian life and made them appreciate Tony more, bettering their teamwork and cohesion).

 

 

 

 

*Warning: Wanda redemption; Steve Bashing*

 

37.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“I'll get it” Wanda said, pushing herself off of the kitchen table.

The phone has been ringing almost non-stop all day.

Viz had answered each of the calls, but right now his hands were busy putting the finishing touches on the paprikash.

“No need to bother yourself” Vision quickly cut in, clapping his hands together to get the crumbs off and making a move to float over to the phone.

“Viz” Wanda accused sharply, causing him to halt in his flight.

“I can answer a phone” she continued irately.

Wanda could accept that she needed to stay in the Compound until the worst of the press dies down.

But Vision didn't need to treat her like fragile pottery.

Seeing Vision relent, Wanda made her way over to the wireless landline on the side table next to the couch.

Stark had one installed in every main room in the Compound. Insisted that having a general number would be better than giving out their private cell phone numbers, especially when Steve had outright refused to hire a secretary to mediate incoming calls to the Compound.

Usually either Steve or Natasha answered the calls, but since neither were here it couldn't hurt to see who was calling.

After all, it could be someone calling for the Avengers’ help.

Picking up the sleek silver-curved phone she placed the device to her ear.

“Hello? This is the Avengers Compound. Wanda Maximoff speaking” she greeted in case someone had miraculously dialed the wrong number.

“Just the person I wanted to speak to” a female voice noted happily, though there was a sharp sleazy drall to her tone that made Wanda uneasy.

“Who is this?” Wanda demanded, not liking the woman's tone, unsure of what she could possibly want from her.

“Christine Everhart. Reporter for Vanity Fair. I was hoping you would be able to answer a few questions for me about the Avengers’ latest terrorist attack in Lagos” Everhart snipped, falsely polite.

“The Avengers are not terrorists!” Wanda bit back furiously.

“And what would you call an unsanctioned group that unlawfully entered a country and left death and destruction in their wake?” Everhart questioned, her accusations and sarcasm sharp as Natasha's blades.

Flashes of sirens and screams came to the forefront of her mind.

The sight of smoke billowing from the Aid and Relief Center.

“This job, we try to save as many people as we can. Sometimes that doesn’t mean everybody. But if we can’t find a way to live with that, then next time maybe nobody gets saved” Steve advised her sadly.

“Perhaps it may be best I take the call?” Vision suggested, having floated over to Wanda while she had been distracted.

“What happened in Lagos was an accident” Wanda declared resolutely, ignoring Vision, “You can't save everyone. What happened was terrible but more would have died if I hadn't sent Crossbones into the air”

“And Bucharest?” Everhart countered coldly.

“What about Bucharest?” Wanda demanded back snidely, not understanding what she was talking about.

“Captain America interfered with the apprehension of the Winter Soldier in Romania, assisting in the destruction of a bridge that collapsed on countless Romanian civilians” Everhart deadpanned, sounding as if she couldn't believe that Wanda didn't know.

Cold dread immediately replaced her indignant fury.

“...What?” Wanda mumbled dumbly.

She couldn't have heard that correctly!

There was no way Steve could have done that!

“She must only have half the story” Wanda decided, her anger at the press and ungrateful people of the world returning.

“Without authorization Captain America went into Romania with the intention of helping his former friend escape arrest. Attacking the members of the Joint Counter Terrorist Center and tossing Romanian citizens from their cars in order to ensure his buddy's safety. Clearly not giving a damn who got hurt in the process so long as his friend was safe” Everhart relayed with a sneer, continuing her explanation when Wanda had not commented back.

“No” Wanda thought, “No that couldn't be true”

“I must insist that I take the phone” Vision declared, holding his hand out to her, looking as if he was barely restraining himself from just taking it out of her hand.

“Is this true” Wanda demanded, turning her attention to him for the first time, daring him to lie to her, “Is what she's saying true?”

“...It is” Vision admitted reluctantly.

Wanda's head was swirling.

How could Steve do that?

He was the one who taught her that as heroes they were supposed to place saving people first.

Above their own safety, and above their own interests.

That even though they couldn't save everyone you still did your best to try.

“Sounds like a lot of mistakes happen under Captain America's leadership” Everhart noted caustically, “An unsanctioned mission to Lagos. Now Bucharest. Why were you in Lagos anyway?”

“To find Bucky” Wanda muttered, the realization smacking her in the face.

“Really?!” Everhart declared with obvious intrigue.

Crap. She hadn't meant to say that aloud.

Suddenly the phone was gently (but firmly) taken from her hand.

“This interview is done. Please do not call back” Vision declared firmly.

“I've got all I need” Everhart declared smugly, ending the call.

(Because of Everhart's call Wanda chose to remain at the Compound rather than leave with Clint. Because she did, Steve didn't have enough allies to combat Tony's team, leading to his, Bucky, Sam, Clint, and Scott's arrest. Tony's team went to Siberia where Zemo revealed the tape of the Winter Soldier murdering the Starks. Barely restrained by Rhodey Tony washed his hands of Steve, Barnes, and Natasha. Reforming the Avengers under himself and Rhodey. Sam, Clint, and Scott were sent to prison with no chance of parole for 15-25 years. Steve wouldn't even see the possibility of parole for at least 55. With Barnes cleared of the bombing he was sentenced to a psychiatric facility with T'Challa offering to provide for his psychiatric care, and Shuri eventually removing his brainwashing. Wanda retired from hero work, having become disillusioned by Steve's contradictory actions. She and Vision eventually settled down in Scotland where they raised a family of young androids gifted to them by Tony).

 

*End Warning*

 

 

 

 

38. (prompt by Dragonemperess)

Today was the day.

Steve stared out the plane window in anticipation.

They were finally going home.

Sure it had taken longer than he’d expected for the pardons to come through, but really he should have expected that.

Tony needed time to cool off after all.

Steve thought back to how devastated Tony had been back in the bunker. How betrayed.

But he knew that Tony just needed time to understand that Bucky was innocent. Which is why he couldn’t let Tony hurt Bucky, even if that meant hurting Tony in return.

Tony would understand that he was ultimately right.

Steve liked to think that’s why Tony didn’t stop him when he freed their friends from the Raft.

But of course Tony’s ego and pride wouldn’t let him reach out to reconcile with them even after he had sent the letter.

Sam claimed otherwise. Said that while Steve was right in that Tony would (probably) eventually see that Bucky was innocent, the reason Tony hadn’t contacted him yet wasn't because of his ego or pride, but because they had all betrayed him.

Sam and him, while still good friends, haven’t quite been seeing eye to eye lately.

The most current disagreement between them was over Steve wanting to confront Tony about letting Bucky use his BARF technology to help him get rid of the trigger words.

Princess Shuri was brilliant. But with everything going on in her country right now she didn’t have the time to devote to fixing Bucky’s mind.

Bucky already vehemently disagreed to letting Wanda anywhere near his head.

Steve had all but lost hope until Sam mentioned some recently developed technology Tony had created to help individuals suffering from PTSD.

Shuri had agreed with Sam that it was possible to reframe BARF to remove the conditioning of the trigger words, but that they would have to ask Tony Stark himself seeing as she wouldn’t even know where to begin (safely) recreating such technology.

Steve had wanted to contact Tony immediately, but Sam had stopped him, saying that it was too soon after the shit that went down in Siberia. That Steve didn’t have a right to ask such a thing of Tony after betraying him the way he did and still not having officially reconciled yet.

Steve didn’t think it was right that Tony’s issues with him were hurting Bucky, but Sam had countered that if Steve pushed Tony to help Bucky before he had time to come to any kind of conclusion that it would possibly irreparably damage any future reconciliation of any kind between the three of them.

So Steve grit his teeth and held his tongue.

Waiting for months for a call that never came.

But now all that had changed.

Sure he didn’t get that phone call. But they had been pardoned and were all going home.

Bucky had insisted that he stay in Wakanda for the time being.

Though he had written his own letter that he asked Steve to give to Tony on his behalf.

Hopefully whatever Bucky wrote would allow him the foot-in-the-door he needed to convince Tony to let Bucky use BARF.

“Where are we going?” Wanda asked, sounding confused, her inquiry breaking Steve out of his own thoughts.

Steve looked out the window at more unfamiliar stretches of land.

Glancing at the plane’s clock Steve’s face scrunched in confusion. They should have arrived at the Compound by now.

“Two minutes out from the New Avengers Facility” Hill replied monotoned from her position in the cockpit.

She had been frosty with them since picking them up in Scotland.

“New Avengers Facility? What happened to the old one?” Sam asked confused.

“If you’d been paying attention to the news you’d know that the Compound was repurposed months ago into a training and boarding facility for young heroes and enhanced” Hill detailed, unimpressed annoyance in her tone.

“But that was our home!” Wanda exclaimed aghast, a feeling Steve readily identified with.

How could Tony just get rid of their home like that?

“Why the hell would Tony do that?” Steve all but demanded.

Hill glared at him through the reflection of the front window.

“Oh I don’t know? Maybe because your little rebellion against the Accords sparked an anti-enhanced movement that put the safety of several powered kids in danger?” Hill bit out viciously, turning in her seat momentarily to glare at them.

Steve anger died at Hill’s response, the fury in her eyes speaking no lies.

“What?! Anti-enhanced movement?” Sam demanded, now more confused than ever.

Hill scoffed.

“What did you think would happen when the world’s so called heroes all but spat at the citizens who were afraid of them, all but saying I don’t care if I destroy your home or that your brother or sister, son or daughter was crushed in the aftermath of one of our battles, we did what we needed to do to stop the bad guy from causing more damage, so sorry but your loved one was necessary collateral” Hill mockingly sneered, causing Wanda and Sam to flinch at the indirect reminder of Lagos.

“If the Avengers, a bunch of enhanced heroes, said fuck the Accords, fuck what the people want, and so what, your collateral isn’t my problem. How do you think the world is going to treat enhanced that aren’t heroes?” Hill challenged icily.

That...wasn’t what Steve had wanted.

The Accords had been too constricting, too controlling.

He hadn’t wanted innocent kids to get hurt in the cross-fire.

“The Compound was repurposed to give enhanced kids a safe haven while the government worked through making sure they had rights like every other citizen, and that they couldn’t be discriminated against for having powers” Hill continued stonily, turning to face the window again.

And didn’t they all feel like a heel now for complaining that their home had been taken away.

Steve should have figured Tony wouldn’t have been so petty as to just take away the Compound, especially since he had gotten them pardoned.

“So I’m guessing since you said New Avengers Facility we’re not going to Avengers Tower either?” Steve asked curiously.

He would have a better chance of running into Tony at the Tower as opposed to a new Facility.

Hill gave him an assessing look through the glass once again, her gaze almost incredulous, as if she couldn’t believe what he just said.

“The Tower has been repurposed as well back to Stark Tower. So no. You will not be going to the Tower...In fact you are all banned from any and all Stark Industries properties” Hill slowly explained.

“What?!”

“Now this is ridiculous” Steve exclaimed, his tone hard and uncompromising, “Tony and I need to talk. He can't just cut us out like this. Angry or not it's wrong”

Steve could see one of Hill's eyebrows rise up in the window reflection as she gazed back at him.

“Stark didn't do anything. Pepper is the CEO. Deciding who can and can't set foot on Stark Industries properties is up to her” Hill pointedly rebuked.

“Wha-Pepper?!” Steve exclaimed dumbly.

But before Steve could ask anything else the quinjet rocked, shaking the passengers inside as Hill landed the aircraft, ignoring the confused looks and opening the jet ramp and walking out without so much as a look back.

The rest of them silently followed Hill out of the jet, taking the few belongings they had with them.

When they all exited the jet a woman, their liaison Steve presumed, was outside waiting for them.

“Ma’am” Steve greeted politely.

“Captain Rogers” she greeted back, her tone was professional, but her expression was frigidly neutral, “My name is Jennifer Walters. I am your temporary liaison. I was assigned to be sure your group understood the revised Accords and the organizational changes that have been made to the Avengers Initiative as well as your pending probation”

“Probation? I thought we'd been pardoned?” Sam inquired worriedly, tensing up at the thought of having walked into a trap.

And he wasn't the only one.

“Indeed. In light of the coming invasion you have all been pardoned for your past crimes. However that does not mean you all just get off scott-free” Jennifer stated unimpressed, “Despite being pardoned in the US you have not been pardoned by any other country, which means no foreign missions lest you wish to be arrested. In addition Ms. Potts has banned you from setting foot on any and all SI and Stark owned properties aside from the New Avengers Facility. Should you do so you will immediately be arrested. She has also issued a restraining order so none of you are allowed within two thousand feet of Dr. Stark, nor-”

“What?!” Steve demanded in shock. He couldn't have heard that right!

“Which of what I said is confusing you Captain Rogers?” Jennifer inquired stonily.

“Restraining order?! Why would Tony do that?!” Steve demanded, the realization that Tony would go to such lengths just to stay away from them (him) made Steve feel like he had been stabbed in the chest.

“Dr. Stark is incapable of doing anything at this time. As I stated previously, Ms. Potts is the one who issued the restraining order” Jennifer corrected, crossing her arms across her chest.

Clint snorted.

“Everyone knows that Stark just does what he wants. He could've told Pepper no, or more likely to go ahead with the restraining order and she would have listened” Clint sneered.

Jennifer narrowed her eyes dangerously at Clint, causing Steve's hackles to rise, the word 'threat’ blaring in his mind on repeat (Had her eyes always been that green?).

“Ms. Potts is an independent woman who is fully capable of thinking and acting for herself Mr. Barton” Jennifer declared dangerously.

“Clint was just shoving his foot in his mouth” Natasha cut in, giving Clint a look that said 'not-now’, “And we all know that Pepper has never taken Tony's shit before. If Ms. Walters says that Pepper filed the restraining order, than Pepper filed the restraining order”

Clint begrudgingly gave an agreeing nod, silently agreeing to back off for now.

“But-There must be some kind of exceptions though right? I mean we'll have to work with Iron Man out on the field” Steve pointed out almost desperately.

He needed to talk to Tony.

Bucky's future depended on it!

Jennifer gave him a measuring look.

“Tony Stark is not a part of the New Avengers” Jennifer carefully declared.

Steve blinked in surprise, his mouth gaping like a trout.

What?!

Wanda scoffed, “Fitting that he wasn't deemed worthy of inclusion. Hence the ban. He's being spiteful and jealous”

“Guess Nat had it right the first time. Iron Man: yes. Tony Stark: no” Clint snorted.

Jennifer's eyes narrowed furiously once more.

Was it just Steve imagining things or were parts of her skin turning a greenish hue?

“Dr. Stark is not a part of the New Avengers Initiative because he is medically incapable” Jennifer grit out, her voice suddenly a much lower baritone.

“Medically incapable?” Natasha questioned skeptically, not liking that something else was likely afoot that she didn't know about.

Steve's heart seized slightly at the thought that Tony had been hurt because they hadn't been there.

“Could that have been the reason Tony never called?” Steve wondered, his thoughts racing with possibilities.

“That is enough about Dr. Stark” Jennifer declared icily, her tone uncompromising, “Seeing as none of you knew about your pending legal ramifications I will quickly reiterated the terms of your pardons and reinstatement into the Avengers Initiative”

“That would be helpful” Scott replied, cowering slightly when everyone gave him a 'seriously’ glare.

“First. You are currently reinstated on probationary terms. Meaning if you break any rules, or the law, your instatement can be terminated if the Review Committee finds that your actions were too detrimental and lacking probable cause. You all are to temporarily wear ankle monitors until you have proven that you are capable of following said rules and boundaries. As probationary members you are to follow the command of both your superior officers and the officially instituted Avengers. And any damaged equipment or equipment requests must be filed through to the Tech Department as Dr. Stark is no longer in charge of it, nor is SI. Any questions?” Jennifer begrudgingly asked, looking like she was fighting the urge to scowl.

Natasha elbowed Clint in the ribs before he could make a snide remark back.

“Very good. Now allow me to show you to your quarters” Jennifer deadpanned, turning to the Facility.

Hours later and Steve still couldn't get over the fact that Pepper had placed a restraining order on them. And that Tony was hurt and couldn't support the Avengers like he used to.

Pepper was a good woman. But she never did understand Tony being Iron Man. And since she was likely his medical proxy, all decisions likely fell to her and she was ruining everything!

It was Tony's job to maintain the Facility. To stock the food. To make and fix their equipment. To work through all the legalities, PR, and paperwork so that the Team could go and help people without being bogged down by all the menial work.

Now they were not only expected to do all that themselves, but they were being made to find employment outside of being Avengers!

Steve growled in frustration.

This was why citizens couldn't be involved in hero work!

But right now he needed to somehow find out where Tony was so that they could talk. The question was, how?

“A certain Genius on your mind?”

Steve looked over to see that Natasha had snuck up on him while he'd been spacing out in his head.

“Well then today's your lucky day. I hacked into one of the office computers and found Tony's location. The Maria Stark Foundation Hospital in upstate New York” Natasha declared.

“Gather the Team” Steve commanded, shooting up to his feet, “We've got a mission”

It hadn't taken much for Nat to disable the ankle monitors so they couldn't be tracked (though they weren't able to get them off).

And breaking into the hospital had been even easier.

Scott and Natasha had snuck in the records room and found where Tony was staying, Clint knocked out the security system with an EMP arrow, and Wanda used her powers to make sure nobody would even remember seeing them.

Standing in front of the door Steve hesitated for the briefest of moments before opening it, sucking in a breath as he prepared himself for the screaming match that was about to come.

But as Steve and the rest walked into the room they were only met with an eerie silence. The only sound was the rhythmic beeps of the heart monitor and the humming suction of the respirator.

“What the hell” Sam muttered in horrified disbelief.

Lying on the hospital bed was none other than Tony Stark.

Ghostly pale, and almost sickly thin. A shadow of his former vibrant self as he laid helpless on the white cotton sheets, completely and entirely vulnerable as the machines breathed for him.

“Who did this?” Steve muttered in horror.

“You did Captain” a familiar voice echoed.

The group turned to see Vision phasing into the hospital room.

“Viz” Wanda exclaimed, giving a small smile of joy at finally seeing the Android again.

“Ms. Maximoff” Vision acknowledged coldly.

“Viz?” Wanda inquired, hurt by the cold formalness of Vision's greeting.

“Ms. Walters made certain to inform all of you that you were not only banned from all SI owned properties, but that you were to stay away from Tony” Vision declared icily, an anger in his tone they had never heard before.

“We just needed to talk to him Vision-” Steve tried to explain.

“Furthermore, you all broke into a hospital, violated HIPAA laws, and assaulted countless individuals” Vision continued undaunted.

“We haven't assaulted anyone!” Scott desperately exclaimed, not liking where things seemed to be headed.

“And tell me what you would call the unnecessary, unprovoked use of mind control on the workers and civilians of this hospital who had their minds tampered with without their consent?” Vision challenged, narrowing his eyes at Scott, making the man sputter.

Wanda winced, “Viz you know I wouldn't use my powers like that unless I had to”

“And due pray tell why you had to do so Ms. Maximoff?” Vision coldly rebuffed.

“Vision I just wanted to talk to Tony. To clear the air. To talk to him about me, him, and Bucky. I didn't know he was this bad off” Steve pleaded, “Can you tell us what happened?”

“Please let Tony be okay” Steve thought desperately.

But even with the concern for his teammate his thoughts wanders to how this would affect Bucky.

With Tony out of commission he doubted Pepper would be as understanding as Tony and just hand over BARF like Tony would.

God why is it only just now he's realizing just how much they all needed Tony?

Suddenly Vision's face contorted in absolute fury, the Stone in the middle of his forehead glowing threateningly.

“He is in this hospital room because of the brain damage he suffered from the stroke you caused when you rammed your shield into his helmet and smashed it off, and then left him in a frozen wasteland with no way to contact help” Vision bit out, barely restraining himself from lashing out at the monsters who harmed his Father.

While he had initially claimed to not be either Jarvis or a creation Ultron, having to assist Ms. Potts and Colonel Rhodes with Tony's care had awoken a side of him he had thought to be lost.

The part of his coding that had originated from Jarvis sparked to life, bringing forward decades worth of love and memories of the man who had created him and treated him as a son.

And Vision would sooner die then let anyone harm Sir again.

“What?!” the group demanded.

“No” Steve muttered in horror, “No I-It-He had been fine. He had been talking”

“Oh my God” Scott muttered, backing slowly away from Steve as if he would attack him too.

“Steve you told us that Tony was fine. That you fought but he wasn't badly injured” Natasha accused, her tone dangerously sharp.

“I…” Steve didn't know what to say.

All he could think about was how lively Tony had always been. Like a supernova.

How his mind moved faster than a race car. How he loved tinkering and inventing. How he prided himself on his mind. His genius.

All of it now gone.

“Come quietly Captain” a familiar thick accent demanded.

Steve turned to see T'Challa decked out in his Panther Habitat.

“T'Challa? Wha-”

“Did you really think the vibranium monitors Shuri made would be deactivated so easily?” T'Challa remarked, cutting Steve off without preamble.

“Shuri made these?” Clint demanded accusingly, feeling confused and betrayed by the King.

“You lied to me Captain. You told me that Tony Stark was merely cooling off. Instead I find out that you left him to die...Wakanda does not deal well with traitors” T'Challa declared furiously, snapping out his vibranium claws, “I will not ask again. Stand down Captain”

Suddenly the sound of repulsers filled the air as Vision phased War Machine and another unfamiliar purple Iron Man suit into the room.

“I believe I gave you explicit instructions to stay away from Tony Mr. Rogers” Pepper declared icily, flipping the armor up so they could see her face.

“Since when do you have a suit?” Natasha inquired curiously.

As far as she was aware Pepper hated Tony's suits.

“After I was kidnapped by the Mandarin Tony had a suit made for me as a precaution. Never thought I'd actually have to step up and use it, but then life hardly ever goes the way you'd like it to” Pepper bit out viciously, not so subtly referencing Tony's current state.

“No one needs to get hurt” Steve attempted to placate and salvage some of the situation.

“Tell that to the man who will never eat, talk, or move unaided for the rest of his life” Rhodes snarled out, causing Steve to full-body flinch, “Congratulations Steve. You did what no one else has ever been able to do. You killed Tony Stark”

(The Rogues were all arrested and thrown into the Raft. T'Challa had Shuri work with Dr. Helen Cho in order to try and find some way to at least partially fix Tony's condition. Though Extremis was an option, Pepper knew Tony wouldn't want to be a super soldier, so Shuri and Helen came up with the idea to modify the Cradle and combine it with Shuri's tech and vibranium in order to make it so it could regenerate brain tissue. Tony began a slow recovery, eventually curing all his brain damage. The Rogues rotted away in jail and Bucky refused to see Steve even after Tony and Shuri cured him of his triggers).

 

 

 

 

 

39. (prompt by vixen_uchiha)

Jarvis was unsure of what to do.

There was no protocol in place to handle the sensitive information he had discovered.

His primary function was to protect Sir.

But Sir had given him orders to report to him any significant information within the SHIELD files he was assisting to re-encrypt.

Informing Sir about the files SHIELD possessed on the murder of Howard and Maria Stark and the subsequent cover up thereafter definitely qualified under the necessary parameters as 'significant’.

But Jarvis could also predict that the resulting news would have detrimental effects to Sir's overall physical, emotional, and psychological well-being.

It was against his protocols (and personal stance) to harm Sir in any way….But keeping such information from him after Sir's experience with Stane…

It was not just SHIELD's lies and manipulations, or even Director Fury's.

It was 'Aunt’ Peggy's lies and deceit.

It was Agent Romanoff, and Captain Rogers’ lies.

Jarvis was able to see who not only had assisted in the creation of the files, but who accessed them.

Margaret Carter was the one who wrote and encrypted the report and identified the bodies so that Sir “Didn't have to”.

And both Agent Romanoff and Captain Rogers had accessed the files after the fall of SHIELD.

Both knew, and yet neither had made a move to inform Sir of their discoveries, despite the fact he had already confirmed that Captain Rogers was currently traversing the world with Sam Wilson in order to find the former Winter Soldier.

Four betrayals at once combined with the grief and suffering that was likely to come with learning the truth behind his parents’ deaths.

Jarvis was hesitant to cause Sir so much agony...But he would not be another Stane.

He would not like to him as others always seemed to do.

He had specifically asked Sir to ensure that he would be able to take control of the Iron Man suits should another incident like Stane's occur again.

The pain of having to watch as Sir slowly died would never happen again.

He would tell Sir the truth.

Sir could deal with Ms. Carter.

He would ensure that Director Fury, Agent Romanoff, and Captain Rogers never hurt Sir again.

(Tony was beyond devastated upon learning the truth. On one of her more lucid days Tony confronted Peggy about the lies. She apologized and told him that she was going to tell him when he turned twenty-one, however by then her Alzheimer's had taken a turn for the worst, leaving her confused more often than not, having forgotten that Howard and Maria had even been murdered in the first place, especially since she mistook Tony for Howard ¾ of the time he visited. Tony was happy to leave Fury, Romanoff, and Rogers to Jarvis. His vindictive son had the trio arrested as traitors and sentenced to life in one of SHIELD's own prisons, the Raft. Jarvis also leaked the fact that 'Captain’ America had unjustly been field promoted to his position due to societal pressures due to all the propaganda he had done and had never actually earned his military rank. Jarvis also leaked the manipulations by Fury against Sir, assisted by Agent Romanoff, so that Sir would be better under SHIELD’s thumb, adding additional charges to both. By the time Jarvis was done he had effectively killed Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, and Nicholas Fury. All without firing a single bullet).

 

 

 

 

40. (prompt by vixen_uchiha)

 

“Sir I have a priority Alpha for you to look further into” Jarvis’ voice declared.

“What is it this time J?” Tony asked, diverting twelve percent of his attention to what the AI was telling him.

The remaining seventy-eight percent was divided between sifting through all the SHIELD files that had been dumped onto the internet, re-encrypting them in priority order, emailing the (incredibly pissed off) President, and remotely piloting the Iron Man suit to accompany War Machine and the Iron Legion in rescuing any undercover SHIELD agents who hadn’t gotten his emergency alert in time.

“It would seem that Agent Barton has a wife and two children hidden out on a secluded farm in Missouri” Jarvis relayed, a touch of concern in his tone.

“Shit” Tony muttered.

He was already spread too thin as it was, and none of his suits were anywhere near Missouri.

“Tell Happy I’m expecting him on a quinjet in no less than twenty minutes” Tony decided firmly.

Unfortunately, sending Happy into the line of fire was the best he could do right now.

“I really need to think about making him a suit too. Pepper never uses hers” Tony contemplated, dividing one percent of his consciousness to developing the rough designs for a new suit.

“I will inform him immediately Sir” Jarvis relayed.

“And while your at it find Barton. I can’t believe Legolas just dropped off the face of the map. Either he’s one of the unfortunate bastards in deep cover, or Fury shoved him somewhere after the whole info dump” Tony declared, not liking that Clint was nowhere to be found during the whole debacle.

“Hopefully I’m not too late” Tony thought grimly.

*One month later*

“You said Banner was here as well?” Steve asked Natasha as the elevator made its way to the upper floors of Avengers Tower.

“According to my intel Banner’s been staying at the Tower more ever since Tony’s run in with Aldrich Killian” Natasha replied.

“Good” Steve nodded, “We’re gonna need both of them on board if we want to find Loki’s Scepter”

With a ‘ding’ the elevator doors opened, but not into the upper lounge room they had expected.

Instead, the doors opened up to a waiting room, and before them stood none other than Laura Barton, looking sleek and professional in a maroon pantsuit, clipboard in hand as she glared down Steve and Natasha with such menace that it nearly sent a shiver up both their spines.

“I apologize Ma’am. Wrong floor” Steve said at the same time Natasha gave out a surprised, “Laura”, stepping out of the elevator to approach the woman, Steve hesitantly following suit.

“You know her?” Steve asked confused, looking back and forth between her and ‘Laura’ uneasily.

“She’s married to a friend” Natasha answered vaguely, not wanting to give away Clint’s secret without his permission.

“Widowed” Laura declared icily, her tone like knives.

Dead. Silence.

“No” Natasha muttered, her neutral uncomprehending expression quickly morphing into one of abject horror, “No!”

“Natasha?!” Steve asked, incredibly concerned grabbing ahold of her as he watched his friend start to come apart by the seams.

“What did you think would happen when you blew the cover of every single SHIELD agent? That their enemies would just sit them down for a cup of tea?” Laura snarled.

“This is about the Data Dump” Steve realized, narrowing his eyes at the woman, ignoring Natasha’s low utterances of “No” in favor for dealing with the grief-ridden wench in front of them lashing out.

“How does it feel to stand alongside the greatest mass murders in history Captain Rogers?” Laura mocked, making Steve bristle in uncontrolled anger, “How does it feel knowing that you are responsible for the death of my husband, your teammate?”

Steve’s anger was near stomped into the ground by his own confusion, though it was still simmering just below the surface.

“What?” Steve demanded, fed up with dealing with the woman’s unjustified grief and anger.

“Clint” Natasha muttered numbly, her voice barely audible as it cracked with grief, “She means Clint”

Steve’s eyes snapped to hers in immediate alarm.

“What the hell do you mean Clint? I thought he was off on a mission in Europe away from the whole Shieldra mess?” Steve demanded, his worry spiking.

Sure they hadn’t heard from him in a while but that didn’t mean he was dead!

“On a deep cover mission. The details of which were released onto the internet with the rest of the info dump. His cover was blown and Tony hadn’t been able to rescue him in time” Laura replied, furious tears streaming down her face as she willed her voice not to crack.

“No” Steve muttered in horror.

No. No. That wasn’t what was supposed to happen.

It was just supposed to be Hydra that was taken down. Not innocent agents. Not Clint.

“Tony was able to rescue us, made me Pepper’s new PA, but now because of you my three children no longer have a father!” Laura spat viciously, making Steve flinch.

Natasha’s head snapped up for the first time in the conversation since she learned of Clint’s death.

“Three?” she questioned softly.

Laura never once broke eye contact as she brought her hand up to the small bump of her abdomen.

“Just over two months pregnant” Laura confirmed tearfully, “He wanted to name the baby Natasha or Nathaniel, but I’m thinking that I like the names Virginia and Anthony better”

Laura then turned on her heels, turning her back on them in a way that Natasha knew that she would never be welcome around her or the kids again.

“Bambi call security. Captain Rogers and Ms. Romanoff have overstayed their welcome”

(Steve and Natasha were arrested as traitors by the US government for spilling the country’s secrets onto the internet for anyone to get ahold of. And Laura gave birth to a healthy baby boy that she named Anthony Francis Barton).

 

 

 

*Warning: Potential Spoilers for Avengers Endgame*

 

41.

“And you're sure that he's in there?” Luis asked nervously.

“From the readings somebody's in the quantum tunnel” Bill Foster corrected, “Just who was sent in before the Decimation I don't know. What I do know is that they're currently trapped in the quantum realm”

“But you can get them out right?” Luis asked, wanting assurance.

“You called me to deal with the van. I'm just going off of what I saw in the readings” Bill stated exasperatedly, “I think that will just about do it”

“Can I press the button?” Luis asked, hopefully, looking over Bill's shoulder.

Bill just gave him an unimpressed glare, not once breaking eye contact as he pressed the return button on the control board.

Suddenly a whirring sound filled the air as the quantum tunnel started up, blasting a dazed Scott Lang onto the pavement.

“Scotty!” Luis exclaimed joyously, nearly jumping on top of the other man as he enveloped him in a huge bear hug, kissing the side of his head in his excitement.

“Sorry” Luis excitedly apologized after Scott gave him a what-the-hell look, “But man we thought you got dusted! Wait’ll Cass finds out about this! I’m so going to be her favorite Uncle!”

“Luis. Focus. What the hell happened? Where’s Hope, Hank, and Janet?” Scott near demanded, thoroughly confused why Luis and Bill we're the ones who had brought him back.

“I just told you man! We thought you got Dusted! See what happened was a giant space donut came down and Iron Man was like ‘Nuh uh. Not today space squid. Check out my awesome new suit and buddies with firework hands’! Then after the donut left everything got real quiet ya know? And not like library quiet where you’re sitting there chillaxin at Barnes n Noble, sippin a coffee and havin one of those little brownies. I mean like calm before someone steals all the beer and poptarts in New York and Thor finds out. That trepidation shit. And we’re in the shop waitin for a client to show and he be like ten minutes late. Then all of a sudden Cassie calls us up saying ‘Help! My mom and Paxton crumbled like a sand castle without water! I need a hero! Help me One-Punch Luis’. And was like ‘Hang tight Little Scotty. I gotch’u’. Then a few days later the Avengers, what was left of them anyway, came on TV and were like ‘This space prune came down and kicked all our asses and killed half of all life in the Universe with his magic glove’. And that was like a week ago. And of course I went looking for you, but I only found the van see? But I didn't know what to do with it. So I called Bill Foster, and he was like 'Yo, someone's trapped in here. Good work calling me’! And it turns out it was you! Not crumbled dirt!” Luis declared happily, giving Scott another happy squeeze.

“Half of the Universe?!”

 

 

 

 

42.

Thanos sneered at Tony as he saw the Infinity Stones wrapped around his own suit's gauntlet.

“I am inevitable!” Thanos near roared in furious denial.

“And...I...am-” But before Tony could complete what likely would have been his last words, a force slammed into his side, ripping at his hand where the Infinity Stones laid.

Pinned to the ground, Tony looked up in shock to see Rhodey had been the one to tackle him down.

Suddenly multi-colored sparks danced along Rhodes’ right arm.

Tony immediately snapped his head around to see that the Stones were gone from his gauntlet.

“No!” Tony proclaimed in horror, just as Rhodey turned to Thanos.

The Titan furiously making his way over to the duo, attempting to take advantage of their scuffle to get back the Stones.

“And... I'm...War Machine” Rhodey declared, fighting through the pain as he snapped his fingers, dusting Thanos and every last one of his men.

As Rhodey collapsed onto the ground Tony grabbed onto his long time friend, supporting his back so he could sit upright.

“Why would you do that?” Tony demanded, his voice a horrified whisper.

“Natasha sacrificed herself for her best friend because he had a wife and three kids...What makes you think I wouldn’t do the same?” Rhodey exhaled, his last words stilted as shaky, giving his best friend of thirty-five years a final peaceful smile before he passed on, satisfied with his final act in life.

(Because Rhodey sacrificed himself Tony was able to watch over all his kids - he and Pepper even had another child they named James Edwin Stark after his honorary Uncle).

 

 

 

 

43.

“So. All the Stones are back. What's next?” Sam asked Steve curiously as he stepped off of the platform.

“That reminds me” Steve said, stepping around Bruce, and picking something up off of the ground.

“Try it on” Steve said, handing the wrist device to Sam.

Sam gave Steve a questioning eyebrow, but complied none-the-less, clipping the device onto his wrist, and pressed the On switch.

Suddenly a flash of red, white, and blue sprang to life, taking the shape of a concave disc, the signature star of Captain America emblazoned at its center.

Sam looked at the shield in awe and disbelief.

“Tony made me a back up energy shield. He made it able to absorb kinetic energy that can be redistributed. It can be thrown and controlled through the use of the wrist device” Steve explained, a note of sadness in his voice, “Pepper gave it to me”

“Then why are you giving it to me?” Sam asked confused.

“How's it feel?” Steve asked instead, ignoring Sam's question.

“Like it's somebody else's” Sam admitted honestly.

“It's not” Steve assured him softly.

“What are you gonna do?” Sam asked quietly, as if he raised his voice above a whisper everything would be revealed to be a dream.

“I think it's time for me to get some of that life Tony was always telling me to get” Steve stated, assured in his decision to finally step back, though the grief in his voice was evident.

“You're finally gonna ask out that waitress?” Bucky asked knowingly, having heard about her from Steve.

Apparently during the five years post the Decimation Steve had gotten closer to a waitress he had known back in New York before the Chitauri had attacked (she had actually been one of the citizens he had saved in the Bank).

“Gail” Steve confirmed, a small smile on his face.

“Not Sharon?” Sam questioned curiously.

“Part of the half that was dusted. Our interests are too different now. I'm not Captain America. Haven't been for a while. And she's nowhere near ready to just settle down...And I...got there” Steve noted with a sad wistfulness, remembering Tony's last words to him before he retired after Ultron, “It's time for me to tap out”

Bucky gave Steve a final Pat on the shoulder as he walked away, ready to finally start living.

(Steve continued to support the Avengers with Clint as a coach to the younger generation, but true to his word remained retired as Sam took up the mantle of Captain America. Steve eventually married Gail and had two children: Sarah Natasha Rogers, and Anthony James Rogers, but everyone just calls him Tony).

 

*End Spoilers*