Original Pranksters | Darcy & Tony
The stainless steel doors of the elevator slid open as they reached the ninety-second floor, Tony mindlessly tapping at his phone as he led a pair of deliverymen through the building. They carried a large crate marked ‘Special Delivery’ on the side, and after opening the door to the apartment on this floor he instructed them to leave it in the living room, noting that he would take care of the rest.
He and Darcy had been planning to do this for some time now, and while he recognised that this may not have been the best time to pull this prank, he had decided that Clint could use the laugh. And since Tony was always right, he couldn’t foresee (or rather, refused to acknowledge) any repercussions that could arise from this.
And Tony was looking forward to spending some time with Darcy and getting to know her better anyway. Bruce had nothing but good things to say about her, and Tony already loved drinking and going out with her, so it seemed only natural that the pair of them should hang out more.
Collateral Damage | Open
Thor barely heard the man talking over the insistent ringing. He thought he said something about Steve, but couldn’t be sure. As the stranger tried to help him, Thor noticed the piece of metal sticking out his chest. He looked at it as if the shrapnel had done him a great personal wrong, anger and adrenalin coursing through his veins.
He gripped the stranger’s shoulder and heaved himself up. The infuriated Norse god had only a singled minded purpose, to find who or what cause that explosion. With one hand held out for Mjolnir, he used the other to grip the object in his chest. With a cry of pain he yanked it out and blood immediately started pouring out of it in a steady stream.
Mjolnir thudded into his palm, and Thor almost dropped it again. He held it despite the pain caused by the burnt skin rubbing against the leather grip. With hazy vision he scanned the room. The explosion had tore open the garage door, and he saw the people gathered around outside, trying to peek in.
“What has done this?” Thor asked no one in particular, the sound of his voice muffled by the ringing. He looked back at the stranger, then scanned the wreckage again. Perhaps a Hunter? he pondered. No, the explosions from the Hunter’s gun produced blue flames, and likely he would have already been set upon by it- Thor’s train of though was derailed when the adrenalin wore off and the pain returned with a vengeance. He dropped the hammer and glared angrily at his charred arms.
Thor was even heavier than he looked. Bucky braced himself, keeping the larger man up on two feet. Part of him was vaguely disturbed by the violent shrapnel removal, even while the training in him kicked in, understanding that he wasn’t critically injured, Bucky would probably have done the same thing.
“My guess?” Bucky answered, still yelling for Thor’s sake. “Looks like a car bomb. Was anybody else with you?” It didn’t look there was anybody else hurt, as the flames started to die down, Bucky ventured a little closer. He could hear emergency vehicles getting closer, could only hope that whoever was sent knew enough to deal with super humans. Glancing up as the fire extinguishers finally started, he silently cursed Stark out for having shitty security. Second time somebody’s made their way past any sort of checkpoint.
Explosions of any kind never meant anything good, and the second Tony realised what it was he no longer needed coffee to wake himself up. Stepping onto the landing pad, the mechanical arms appearing and putting on the Iron Man suit, he took off toward the source.
The smoking crater caught his attention first, followed by the charred remains of his Audi R8. He swore under his breath as he landed beside it, seeing how far the damage extended and a crowd of people gathering quickly. Going through a number of possible scenarios that could have led to this point, he asked JARVIS to scan the perimeter for any more explosives or danger, as well as a full report on all recent visitors to the Tower and the security footage from the garage, then noticed Bucky and Thor. Something like worry hit his gut when he saw how badly the Norse God was injured.
“What the hell happened?” He asked despite having already putting two and two together and not really needing the answer. He didn’t have as much information on Asgardian biology as he would have liked, and that wasn’t really his field of expertise anyway, but Tony didn’t need it to tell him that with a bloody puncture wound in his chest and burns across his skin, Thor probably needed medical attention.
“This is bad,” he said redundantly, looking over to Bucky. “I could use some help getting those people out of here. Until the authorities get here and JARVIS finishes his scans everyone in the surrounding area is at risk. I need to work out how this happened and check on Thor and I can’t do that properly knowing they might still be in danger too.”
He turned his attention to Thor, who, to his credit, was standing upright, even if it was with Bucky’s help, but with those injuries looking as bad as they did Tony needed to check on him personally.
“How did this even happen?” he said again, reaching an arm out to him. “This doesn’t… like I said, it looks bad. Should we get you to a hospital? Or whatever the Asgardian equivalent is? This whole thing is just…” he trailed off, unable to shake the sinking feeling that this wasn’t meant to be an attack on Thor, or the Avengers, or even any of the others living and working in the Tower. Whatever this was, it was supposed to happen to Tony, and now Thor had been hurt because of him.
Tick-Tock Goes the Clock | Barnes & Barton
Natasha saw a beaten Clint hobble out from Bucky’s grip. The blood was still thundering in her ears, sheer frustration at the two of them acting like idiots. Seeing the state of his already swelling eyes from the broken nose, she stomped over to Clint’s fridge and got a tray of ice out, looking round for a towel or something to wrap it up in. Steak would have been better but sure enough, there was no meat to be found. Dumping the ice in the towel, she tied it and walked back over to him, holding his hand out as he made his excuses.
“Tasha this isn’t… We…” Natasha raised an eyebrow as she pressed the ice into his hand.
“Here. Put this on your nose.” His pitiable excuses could wait for now, Nat just didn’t want to hear it.
Turning to Bucky, she was just about to ask what he was doing there and why did he chose to come into the building the way he had – when she saw him staring at hands that were covered in stickied blood. Her anger faded to be replaced with cold fear. Natasha recognised the blank stare, the heavy breathing as he appeared to either be having a flashback or a panic attack. She watched him dig his nails into his thighs and she reach across to squeeze his hand.
“James?” Tasha squeezed his hand to get his attention. “James. Come back, please.” She had a terrible feeling that his mind was in Russia or during World War II – both bloody era’s. No-one needs to relive those times.
Clint took the offered towel with a frown, her bad mood rubbing against his like salt on a wound. He knew she would react like this, he knew that the last thing she wanted was for him to act like an idiot about this whole thing. He’d let his feelings in the spur of the moment get the better of him, and here he was with a broken nose and rattled teeth to show for it. A pretty red mark on the floor to match the one on his shirt. He felt sick and his nose had begun to throb painfully by the time he placed the ice on it, his scowl turning quickly to a wince of pain.
He had promised her that she wouldn’t lose him and he’d meant it. She was his best friend, his partner his… his… She was more than he had words for, and seeing her so genuinely angry because of his actions was more than he could take.
Clint stood with a final backwards glance towards Bucky and Natasha. It didn’t take eyes like his to see what was going on. To see what kind of relationship those two had shared once upon a time, maybe even still shared. They were so similar in so many ways, years of shared experiences bringing them together in a shower of blood and bonds that transcended friendship. Clint had always been sure that he and Natasha had a bond like that, but he saw it now. He saw how wrong he had been.
He spat on the floor, adding another red smear to the already ruined carpet, and stood up, walking towards the door and Tony all at once. He gave the other man a look that read most like a warning. He didn’t want to talk about what had happened.
“I’m out of here. You coming or should I get you some carpet shampoo?”
The situation was much worse than he had anticipated. The pair were covered in blood and bruises and the anger in Natasha’s voice would have made Tony pale if he wasn’t suddenly so angry himself. Bucky had slipped past security and messed Clint up, and while Natasha had managed to get them apart, her demeanour changed completely when Bucky backed into a wall, seeming to shut down.
From what he could tell there was no forced entry. The window was open but the genius inventor was adamant in thinking some sort of alarm would have sounded- his security wasn’t that bad. Never mind that he’d be rewiring & upgrading the systems later that day.
The angry marks on Barnes’ face and throat showed that Clint had gotten a couple of good hits in, but those injuries were nothing compared to the other man’s. Tony was sure that whatever was going on with Bucky right now certainly deserved attention; and yes, this whole fight was probably idiotic and Natasha had every right to be angry with both of them, Tony thought the more obvious injuries should have been looked at first, and not merely passed over with a towel and ice.
Had things really escalated this badly over Natasha? The look on Clint’s face as she knelt over Bucky told him that apparently it really was over her. As childish as the whole thing seemed, Tony could see that there was more than just hurt pride there.
Never knowing when to keep his mouth shut, and unsure if Barnes would even hear him, he looked at Natasha with a frown. He’d already OK’d him to move into the tower, and because he wasn’t going to go behind this woman’s back to tell Steve about this incident, Bucky was being given one last chance.
“He needs to get his act together before moving in here. I don’t care what this is about, who started what, or even who he’s friends with but I’m not putting up with him starting fights with mine. Got it? Make sure he gets that message when this- whatever this is, is over,” Taking one deep breath, and one last look around the room, Tony turned to follow Clint as he tried to leave.
Iron Reaver | Logan & Tony
Repulsors aimed at the small group of men in ugly yellow jumpsuits, their guns trained on him in return, and, well, better him than the panicked New York citizens that weren’t wearing any high-tech armour for protection, Tony couldn’t help the smirk that tugged at his lips. With an eight foot drone incapacitated behind him, and having met with (and defeated) AIM a few times before, he couldn’t help feeling a little arrogant in this situation. For a group of supposedly intelligent scientists, they seemed to have trouble learning that their inferior weapons tech had nothing on the Iron Man.
He’d been a little annoyed when he caught them in the middle of the city, at first because they didn’t seem to recognise who he was without the suit, and frankly the lack of recognition lately was starting to offend him; he’d had to stop himself from saying ‘You really have no idea who I am?’. Secondly, they were conducting an experiment with the drone on a helpless building, though Tony failed to see the scientific merit one could gain from using it to destroy the building while people were still inside. But after overloading the drone’s circuitry and taking out the biggest threat, he knew that he could take the four men on with ease. Even if the suit’s power levels had been reduced by sixty one percent.
“So, two options for you,” Tony said, “The easy way, which involves you surrendering and me sending you off with SHIELD, or the hard way, which involves me handing your asses to you then sending you off with SHIELD.”
“I vote option three,” the man who appeared to be the leader replied, pumping the shotgun in his hands for what Tony could only guess was supposed to be dramatic effect. “You lose and AIM finishes this experiment then salvages the remains of that armour, deal?”
“Uh, did you guys miss the part where I disabled that rust bucket and ruined your weird experiment, or-” Tony never got to finish that sentence as the display on his HUD flashed, his readings on the drone spiked and then there was a surge of power. Said rust bucket was up and pinning Iron Man to the ground, moving faster than it had before and not as disabled as Tony thought it was. It still had power that JARVIS’ initial scanners hadn’t picked up- there must have been a circuit breaker he hadn’t accounted for, or maybe it simply managed to hide its full potential from the AI, and that just shouldn’t have been possible and-
Okay, this wasn’t the time to get caught up in how it happened, Tony needed to fix it. With the suit’s power depleted, he struggled to free himself from its grasp, meaning AIM now had the upper hand in this fight. He needed to get up again before the situation got any worse; he needed to divert power but also conserve it so he had enough to handle the drone and the agents- he needed-
If he didn’t do something soon he was going to need help getting out of this one.
Memo: The one they call Loki
From: Anna Marie
To: Tony Stark
Re: The one they call Loki
Dear Mr. Stark,
As you may or may not be aware, I have become friendly with Loki since meeting him. I understand that he is being kept away from most people but I was wondering if I might be added to the list of approved visitors. I’m sure more human company would do him some good.
Thank you for your consideration.
From: Tony Stark
To: Anna Marie
Re: The one they call Loki
I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about you being friendly with Loki but as long as he’s in that cage I guess there’s no harm in letting you see him. You know he asked to be put in there? It’s like a weird Cuckoo’s Nest thing going on.
I’ll have JARVIS give you access but do you want anyone to accompany you? He monitors everything anyway but you can’t be too careful with the god of crazy mischief magic in there.
And while I’m sending messages could you cancel my 10:00 for tomorrow? I’d ask Pepper but she’s mad at me about something or other, probably that unscheduled trip to Macau with Rhodey. Or maybe the road trip to Niagara Falls, I’m not sure.
Awesome. Great. Thanks, I’ll pay for lunch sometime.
Tick-Tock Goes the Clock | Barnes & Barton
He lay mostly still, planting his feet firmly on the floor, knowing that his only chance for escape lay in Bucky getting angry enough that he let his guard slip. It wasn’t likely to happen, but it gave Clint enough of a glimmer of hope to make him bold again, so even when fingers raked roughly through his hair, Clint stared up in grim defiance, not once breaking eye contact.
“So this is Bucky Barnes, huh?” He asked, his mouth splitting into a grin that was closer to a grimace, his teeth shining red in the low light. “This is the man that Steve cares so much about?” He laughed, somewhere low in his chest, spitting out the salty blood that was running from his throbbing nose into his mouth. “Or is this the Winter Soldier? The one Natasha still has nightmares about?”
The hand that Bucky had used to tug at Clint’s hair had left the archer a free hand, and he swung it at Barnes’ face as hard as he could manage from his position, fingers scrabbling for purchase on the other man’s face after the blow had landed.
Barton’s punch was well aimed, the contact to his jaw sending Bucky back, breaking his concentration. He was still processing Barton’s words, something about Steve and Natasha and the Winter Soldier. And nightmares. Barton had no idea what he was even saying. Bucky roared, head jerking aside to avoid fingers trying to gouge out eyes, his own hands coming down, flesh on flesh, metal pressing into a shoulder, aiming for whatever damage he could do.
Bucky could feel Barton trying to get out from under him, one of Barton’s knees jerking up to hit him. He shifted away, pushing down harder with his own leg, on Barton’s ribs. Bucky’s arm seemed to have a mind of it’s own, clench Barton’s shirt in a tight fist, pulling him up off the floor only to just throw him back down again. Barton might have his head, Bucky couldn’t be sure, but the hands at his face and neck paused for a heartbeat, long enough to Bucky to grab them and twist, sending Barton up off the floor again, his arm pulled tight against his back, Bucky’s mouth in his ear.
“Move, and I snap it.” His voice was low, threatening, barely even a growl. Bucky could hear his heartbeat in his own throat, the adrenaline rushing through his veins. “You want to know what a nightmare is like? It would be so easy to kill you right now.” His cybernetic arm moved up to press against Barton’s pulse in his throat.
“You think you know me.”
As an annoyed Tony jumped into the elevator to Clint’s apartment, he couldn’t help but analyse the situation on the ride up. While on the surface it didn’t make a lot of sense that Bucky would bypass security to fight with the SHIELD agent, Tony had already run through a number of the most likely scenarios in his head.
There was however, one that stood apart from the rest; one that Tony really had the most evidence on (which was to say not much at all) and one that had to do with something he’d asked Clint and Natasha about in the past. Ever since shawarma he’d poked and prodded them about their relationship no matter how many times they had denied it, and Bucky coming into the picture now was sure to complicate things on that front. That is, if what Bucky told him about Russia and the Soviets and Natasha was actually true. If it was then it was hard not to imagine that the pair of them had been involved in that lifetime. Tony thought he’d reached an age where he wasn’t going to come across Days of Our Lives style problems like this anymore.
Wait, just how old was Natasha anyway?
Tony didn’t get to dwell on that thought much longer as the elevator stopped, and he found himself outside Clint’s apartment. Despite Natasha’s hints he’d forgone the suit; for one thing she’d asked him to keep this from Steve and Tony walking around in it wasn’t exactly inconspicuous. Also his pride was somewhat hurt that she didn’t think him capable of breaking up a fight like this without it. He’d seen the arm already and thought he had a pretty good idea of how to deal with it, and for all he knew Clint already had the upper hand in this situation anyway, what with all that SHIELD training and all.
And the Black Widow’s going to back me up as well, he thought as she arrived, giving her a look. Not that he was going to admit that to her this time around.
ooc: I know I said I’d try to be better with writing replies and stuff but the holiday season has really kept me busier than I thought. I’m sorry about being bad with para replies in general (and Tony’s head is kind of all over the place at the moment…) but while things are crazy at work I’m just not going to be able to concentrate on the RP right now, no matter how hard I try to make it work.
My work hours are going to be bad for at least another two weeks so my hiatus is going to go on for that long, at minimum. I really am sorry to everyone I owe stuff to!