After all the fighting, destruction, and cleanup Tony was finally standing before the press to answer questions regarding the arrest and evidently escape of most of the Avengers as well as what transpired to cause them to end up fighting at an airport. Tony wanted to avoid the press conference; he wanted to go home and try not to continue to suffer nightmares of his mother’s cries for her husband. To not dream of those cold eyes as a shield was lifted over him. He’d honestly thought Steve was going to go for his neck, he thought the man he considered a friend was going to go in for the kill.
Tony took a deep breath before going before the press to be questioned relentlessly. He'd lived his life in the spotlight; this shouldn’t be as nerve wrecking as it was.
“Was it all your fault?” A journalist yelled out before Tony was fully in front of the gathered crowd and for some reason that caused something in him to snap.
“You want to know whose fault it is? I’ll fucking tell you.” He snapped, shocking those gathered as Tony Stark had never lost his cool when faced with the press that more than not wasn’t kind to him.
“Let’s go back to the beginning; Shield decided who the members of the Avengers would be. Of the original six Avengers only one was put through any kind of evaluation to see if they’d be approved. That single person was me who was listed as Iron Man yes, Tony Stark not recommended. The reason for that decision was because Agent Natasha Romanoff, a former KGB agent who defected to Shield and was trained in the Red Room to be a master manipulator and assassin, entered my company with a false identity committing corporate espionage.
“At the time of her entering my company she purposely got close to me while I was dying because my arc reactor core was poisoning. Shield’s reason for getting involved at that time was because I was properly preparing for my death as nothing I could do at the time could save me. So while dying of heavy metal poisoning which has side effects that would cause me not to think clearly or act as I normally would they decided to send an assassin to evaluate me. My mental state was compromised and my health was deteriorating.
“When they got what information they wanted they cornered me at a donut shop, one they surrounded so I couldn’t leave if I wanted to without using force that would have either hurt their agents or damage the shop. While Director Fury of Shield talked and distracted me Agent Romanoff injected me with an unknown substance without my consent and with no medical knowledge to know where to properly inject anything or know what was being injected to me would do. I’m lucky she didn’t kill me.
“If Shield was actually trying to help me they would have contacted the people even the public knows I trust. Both Pepper Potts and James Rhodes are listed as my medical proxies. They didn’t though; they instead took advantage of my situation. So the final decision based on the report of an assassin and manipulator who was a proven turncoat was that they wanted my technology but not me.
“No one else went through that process. Agent Clint Barton was already a Shield agent as was Agent Natasha Romanoff. With the dumped files from Shield anyone can see that Agent Barton was sent on a mission to kill the Black Widow Natasha Romanoff. He made a different decision and the assassin who’d had orders from Shield to be murdered decided to switch sides.”
Tony glared at the gather crowd taking just enough of a break to breathe.
“Steve Rogers also known as Captain America is a man from the 40s which was a very different time to modern day. Forget for a moment that everyone has grown up hearing about the great World War II legend known as Captain America. The man behind the mask is Steve Rogers, a man who continuously broke the law trying to enlist with false information.
“He was a man from Brooklyn who had a number of medical issues that would make him a liability if he’d been accepted which he’d been turned away many times because of those issues. Anyone here actually know Steve Rogers’s story and not just Captain America’s? Let me tell you right now why he was turned away again and again. Asthma, scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, sinusitis, chronic or frequent colds, high blood pressure, palpitation or pounding in heart, easy fatigability, heart trouble, as well as a family history of household contact with tuberculosis and a parent/sibling with diabetes, cancer, stroke, or heart disease. These are the reasons he was rejected and instead of getting a normal job or deciding to help the war efforts in another way he tried again and again because he wanted to be on the front lines.
“He was let into consideration as a candidate for Project Rebirth. As the only one to be given the super soldier serum he went on to promote war bonds. When he found out his closest friend Bucky Barnes had been captured by Hydra he left that to go into enemy territory in an attempt to save his friend. He risked the life of Howard Stark and Agent Peggy Carter by flying over an active war zone. It was luck they didn’t get shot down.
“He has a history of breaking the law and disobeying orders. He was at boot camp for a week before getting the serum. He had no official training and as he was only allowed as a candidate for Project Rebirth he never actually officially joined the military. His title of Captain America was a stage name that stuck, not an actual military captain. Again, all this can be found in the files he and Agent Romanoff dumped carelessly on the internet. Thor Odinson is an alien prince from another world but he’d proven his abilities when an alien artifact was used to try and level a small town in New Mexico. He was a powerhouse that could come and go from this planet whenever he wanted so Shield used him to their advantage when there was a pending alien invasion. Doctor Bruce Banner also known as Hulk has proven in the past to have Hulk make an appearance when Dr. Banner was in danger or threatened.
“He went into hiding gaining control over keeping Hulk from making any unwanted appearances. He lived for years helping the sick in countries where many people couldn’t get medical attention. He was helping people and safe from the dangers that would provoke the Hulk to protect Dr. Banner. When he was approached by Agent Romanoff on Shield’s orders with the news that he had never been without spies watching his every move he could either refuse and as in the past had someone try to force him to comply or he could go to ensure his willingness prevented anyone from making Hulk believe they were in danger. In effect, given no choice but to do what Shield wanted.”
Again he took a break only long enough to breathe.
“So the original Avengers consisted of an alien prince that knew nothing about our world, our laws, or our people, an assassin/spy, a spy, an unwilling addition, a man from the 40s who hadn’t even had time to adjust to the fact he was decades in the future with everyone he ever knew either dead or moved on with their lives without him and who was going around calling himself by a rank he didn’t even properly have, and myself who they had continued to harass and manipulate to get what they wanted from. As Dr. Banner once said we weren’t a team, we were a ticking time bomb and he was right. We came together because we had to, whatever conflicts we had with each other when we actually gathered together was seen as a side effect of close contact with the scepter from the invasion and disregarded, and we decided in the future if there was a threat that needed a team like the Avengers we would gather again because as far as we could see it would be for the greater good.”
He leveled the crowd with a cold look.
“Agent Romanoff as stated and proven with the files dumped switches sides for her own gain and survival. She and Steve Rogers dumped sensitive files that compromised our nation’s intelligence community. A former Russian spy and a man with no actual military rank and no appropriate treatment for basically waking up for a several decade coma released files not just from Hydra but Shield that was an agency mostly working from the U.S.
“The files on agents, their families, employees all the way from the guy who got coffee to agents on undercover missions were suddenly on display for anyone who could see the files. The aftermath which neither of the two responsible for that fuck up even bothered with was more innocent agents and their families being tortured and murdered than Hydra agents. Lives were ruined, families torn apart all because they decided they could do what they wanted without consulting any organization that was actually equipped to deal with a terrorist organization like Hydra.”
Someone looked ready to speak but Tony glared him into silence.
“Let’s talk about Ultron; an investigation was done in the aftermath. The end report stated that neither myself nor Dr. Banner were actually responsible for its creation. Video footage discovered at the Hydra base where the scepter was retrieved from not long before Ultron came online revealed that Wanda Maximoff also known as Scarlet Witch had used her mind manipulating abilities on me just before I retrieved the scepter. Something I hadn’t been aware of at the time.
“The original Ultron which Dr. Banner and I had been designing but scrapped because it wasn’t possible to make work was a global peacekeeping initiative. It was a program if created would help to protect our world from anther alien invasion. In case everyone forgot besides New York there were alien invaders in London. Dr. Banner and I weren’t even close to getting Ultron working, neither of us were even anywhere near the lab when that thing calling itself Ultron came online.
“When the temporary bodies Ultron was using were destroyed any comment made about myself or Dr. Banner not having managed to make Ultron were ignored. I was attacked by Prince Thor in a fit of rage and not a single person came to my aid as an alien with strength to rival Hulk’s grabbed me by my neck and lifted me into the air. Though both Dr. Banner and I were attempting to get Ultron to work only I was attacked. I was a baseline human and Bruce when in danger would have unleased the Hulk. I was an easy target and the one they could easily blame and attack without dangerous consequences.”
He wasn’t done, not even close in telling these idiots what the hell brought the so called earth’s mightiest heroes to try and kill each other.
“Ultron after making himself a proper body became allies with Wanda Maximoff and her twin brother Pietro Maximoff. Both of which had willingly joined Hydra and underwent experimentation via the scepter. Their reason for joining was when they were younger a bomb with my name on it killed their parents. A second shell didn’t go off and the two were trapped there not sure if any day the bomb or rescue attempts would be what killed them.
“I know that experience was horrible and traumatizing. That I don’t believe excuse the fact that the twins had decided to blame me, a man who was legally in the weapon’s business, instead of the ones who fired a weapon that hasn’t been confirmed to be either a Stark Industries weapon or a fake considering all Stark Industries weapons were known not to fail. Nor does it excuse the fact that they decided to join a Neo Nazi terrorist group in order to kill the man they blamed. And it certainly doesn’t excuse the Scarlet Witch using her mind manipulating abilities to set off Hulk on a city and people that had nothing to do with her vendetta against me.
“I was the only one available or able to try and stop the Hulk when she made him attack innocent people. Before targeting Hulk she had used her abilities on all the Avengers other than Clint Barton to prevent them from stopping Hulk or Ultron. Ultron had just acquired vibranium from a known criminal that sells the stolen metal on the black market. From there the twins helped Ultron to attack and manipulate Dr. Cho and her co-workers. The only reason the twins changed side was the same as why Agent Romanoff changes sides, their lives were in danger. Ultron didn’t want to just kill the avengers or myself, he wanted the whole of humanity dead.”
Again a breath before he continued.
“After the twins left Ultron’s side Steve Rogers took the word of a Hydra agent who had not only tried to kill him but manipulated his mind over trusting a teammate he’d known for years. He brought the Hydra terrorists into my home, attacked me when I refused to give into their demands, and even agreed to forgive all of their crimes as though he had the right to ignore their crimes not only in their home country but in several others. And of course what you’ve all been waiting for, the civil war. The ultimate aftermath of the fucked up beginnings of the ticking time bomb of a team.
“The Accords would have made us responsible for our actions as well as make sure what missions we went on would be legal. Police have someone they answer to and a chain of command. The military no matter the division has someone they answer to and a chain of command. The Avengers after the fall of Shield had no one they answered to. Part of the Avengers disagreed with having to answer to anyone, they refused a chain of command that didn’t begin and end with them and only them. Agent Romanoff originally signed the Accords and as she often has switched sides. I don’t know why and honestly at this point I don’t give a shit.
“The attack on the Task Force sent to apprehend Sargent James Barnes also known as the Winter Soldier who was believed at the time to have been responsible for the bombing of the UN left many injured. It’s no surprise Bucky Barnes did what he did when he no doubt suffers from PTSD as the world’s longest held POW was told that people were coming to kill him by the only man he knew in this time from his life before Hydra. That was a mixture doomed to end badly and it did. Steve Rogers once again felt the safest hands were his own.
“When caught Steve Rogers, Prince T’Challa, and Sargent Barnes were taken into custody after leaving a trail of death and destruction because a grieving man decided he could murder a man without bothering with a trial on foreign soil and a man decided once again to put the life of his friend over anything else including the innocent and law.”
He should be happy to see people realizing the shitstorm that had happened and that for once they truly couldn’t just blame him for everything. He wasn’t though, nothing about this made him happy. People had died.
“Attempts to reason with Steve Rogers were made and he refused. Time and again I tried to speak to him to avoid any further bloodshed or property damage. I asked him to sign the Accords. That we could get Sargent Barnes help in a American psych center instead of a Wakandan prison or whatever T’Challa had planned. Seventy plus years of torture and being turned into a lifeless killing machine with no choice but to obey doesn’t leave anyone without some serious trauma.
“Psych center would have been the first step in helping him recover from what Hydra did to him. He’d need an evaluation as it was to even see if he was fit to stand trial. A psychiatrist was brought in to evaluate Sargent Barnes and it was revealed later that the man they thought he was had been murdered.
“Zemo had organized the destruction of the Avengers because his family died in the aftermath of the battle in Sokovia. He used command words to activate the Winter Soldier programming, something Sargent Barnes knew existed as they had been used time and time again on him as revealed in the dumped Hydra files.
“With the threat that at any moment he could be forced into the killing machine Hydra made him he went underground hiding from the world not just for his own safety but that of whoever might be the target he was directed at by anyone who got ahold of those words. Programming like that, there’s no guarantee something like that can be removed.”
He squared his shoulders and looked at the gathered journalist wanted to make this part very clear to them all.
“When the programming failed after his escape from where he was being held the reason for Zemo using the words was revealed. Five more Winter Soldiers, with the same serum as Steve’s instead of the Hydra knockoff Sargent Barnes has and far more dangerous as they were all Hydra’s elite death squad while Sargent Barnes was an unwilling tool of Hydra. Instead of Steve calling us to tell us about the threat he decided he was the only one who could deal with the threat.
“As the Accords were made to help with, more civilian life loss was avoided as we discovered where Steve and his gathered allies would be heading and evacuated everyone. Steve and Sam Wilson called in Agent Barton who had been retired, Wanda Maximoff who had been at the compound until the investigation into Lagos was completed, Scott Lang who had never been an Avenger and was later revealed to have stolen from Stark Industries for Hank Pym which had been concealed by Sam Wilson, and Bucky Barnes who knew just how dangerous the Winter Soldiers were.
“The attempts to reason with them were once again ignored. Clint Barton, Wanda Maximoff, and Scott Lang entered into the foreign country illegally, Wanda Maximoff doing so after assaulting Vision and Clint Barton after doing property damage in an attempt to remove Vision from Wanda’s side to get her to aid Steve.”
Horror was beginning to fill the journalists’ faces and some had paled considerably. Good, get it through their thick skulls to fucking get information first before pushing blame on someone.
“After Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes escaped with the aid of Natasha Romanoff and their allies being captured and imprisoned I spoke to the criminals to find out where the two were going. I had discovered that Bucky Barnes had been framed for the bombing and whatever threat they were going after needed more than two men, one of which could be turned into someone’s personal assassin with a few short words by the very man they were going after.
“I got permission to enter Russia to go after the criminals once I knew where they were going. I didn’t inform Secretary Ross as he had interfered during the entire situation and made things worse the entire time while having no actual say in terms of the Accords yet continued to act as though he did. I also wanted to avoid Prince T’Challa from interfering as he had so far shown he would murder Bucky Barnes without hesitation if he found him.
“When I found them we discovered the five Winter Soldiers were dead, they’d just been a tool for Zemo’s plans to lure us where he needed. As he said before he revealed a dark truth to me ‘an empire toppled by its enemies can rise again. But one which crumbles from with, that’s dead’ Zemo showed us a video from December 1991, a date I know very well and is burned into my memory. I wasn’t that close with my father Howard Stark but I loved my mother dearly. Even if we weren’t close I never wished for him to die. I stood there with someone I thought was my friend right next to me as I watched the Winter Soldier smash in my father’s face and strangle my mother.
“Steve knew and he never told me, he used my money to fund his missions to find his old friend while keeping me in the dark. I don’t blame Bucky Barnes now that I’ve got a clear head but at that moment I was grieving and I had been betrayed. Steve looked me dead in the eyes as he tried to lie when I asked him if he knew before finally revealing he did. I was angry and I saw red so I attacked Steve and Bucky. They managed to beat me down and when Steve had me on the ground and raised his shield for one last attack I thought he was going to use the shield my father made to kill me.
“My helmet was gone and he looked like he wanted to kill me, he could have with his strength if he’d aimed for my neck. Instead he decided a quick death was too easy and destroyed my arc reactor leaving me in the frozen lands of Siberia with no way to get home. If the Russians hadn’t known I was going there I’d be dead, a frozen popsicle in an abandoned Hydra base with only dead Hydra super soldiers for company.”
He sneered the last part, still angry about the betrayal.
“So if you want to blame me without any facts first fine, I’m the avengers’ punching bag, I might as well be yours to. I don’t give a shit anymore. The files are out there for you to find and I’ll be more than happy to release the footage proving what I’ve told you. Either way you can all go fuck yourselves and Rogers and his gang of loyal blind sheep can all burn in hell.”
With that he walked away, a stunned speechless crowd to shocked to even ask any questions. Tony hoped wherever Rogers and his crew where they were watching and knew he was done being their scapegoat and sugar daddy. If he saw any of them again he might just kill them.