ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This story is a sequel to "Love Is for Children" and "Eggshells."

Fandom: The Avengers
Characters: Phil Coulson, Clint Barton, Natasha Romanova, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Steve Rogers, JARVIS, Betty Ross, General Ross.
Medium: Fiction
Warnings: No standard warnings apply.
Summary: Phil Coulson finally talks Betty Ross into letting him visit. General Ross is not pleased, but is no match for the opposition. Betty decides to take refuge with the Avengers ... and the interpersonal dynamics get complicated.
Notes: Asexual character (Clint). Aromantic character (Natasha). Asexual relationship. Past abuse. Verbal hostility. Angst. Control issues. Hurt/comfort. Non-sexual ageplay. Fluff. Cuteness. Toys and games. Teambuilding. Personal growth. Howard Stark's A+ parenting. General Ross' A+ parenting. Making up for lost time. Family of choice.

If you've been reading this series for the fluffy ageplay, that's about the second half of the story. The first half contains an assortment of drama and emotional whump, because well, these characters have cruddy pasts and that keeps coming up to stir trouble periodically.

Skip to Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13.
The poem "Saudades" was written much later, but best fits the timeline after this story.
There is now a sequel, "Turnabout Is Fair Play."


"Dolls and Guys" Part 1


Phil Coulson climbed the steps of the pleasant wooden porch. The house itself was charming and quiet, located in an out-of-the way neighborhood. It was small, too, because Betty Ross lived alone now, having left Leonard Samson behind. Phil's overtures, although initially ignored, had perhaps helped rekindle her hope of seeing Bruce again. It took months of gentle persuasion to get this far. Phil felt grateful that Betty finally agreed to a meeting. She's a remarkable woman, he thought. I just hope I can convince her to take a chance on us.

Taking a deep breath, Phil knocked on the door. It opened at once, revealing Betty Ross in a white blouse and blue jeans, her dark hair tousled over her shoulders. "Good morning, Dr. Ross," he said. "I'm Agent Coulson, and I'm here to--"

"Get inside, you fool, before he sees you!" she snapped. Betty grabbed his wrist in a surprisingly strong grasp, yanked him inside, and slammed the door behind him. Then she threw all three of the deadbolts. "Are you certain that nobody followed you? My father is an expert stalker."

"Quite certain, Dr. Ross, it's my job to make sure of things like that," Phil said smoothly. Under cover of his cool professional mask, though, he was steaming. No wonder Bruce couldn't stand to have anyone flanking him too closely, not even the SHIELD agents intended as bodyguards in case Hulk went down in combat and changed back to the far more vulnerable Bruce. "This house is covered at long range and short range, just in case." Following wouldn't have been required if General Ross already spied on his daughter's neighborhood.

"Great. Let me just grab my getaway bag and we can leave," Betty said.

As she bent to retrieve a backpack from the closet, Phil saw the outline of an object through the pocket of her jeans, just right for a can of mace. That and her word choice firmed up his suspicions about General Ross being an abusive bastard to more than Bruce. "Of course, Dr. Ross," he said.

"Just call me Betty," she said as she settled the straps of the backpack over her shoulders.

"Betty, then," Phil agreed. "We have a jet waiting."

From the back yard came the sound of a scuffle.

"He found me again," Betty said, her face paling. "Oh shit, oh shit ..." She reached for her pocket.

"Don't worry, Betty, everything is well in hand," Phil said. He put his hand on his gun, just in case, but none of the emergency alarms had triggered so he knew nothing had gone too far wrong.

"If you bite me, I will sue you, and I will win because I have more lawyers than you have soldiers," said a cold voice. Tony Stark dragged a rumpled General Ross through the back door. His own expensive Italian suit was somewhat the worse for wear, and his designer sunglasses sat slightly askew, but Tony had the older man's right wrist twisted past his shoulderblades and another hand over his mouth. From the smashed and bloody state of Ross' nose, Tony had also indulged in a little payback for the army's rough treatment of Bruce.

"You caught him ...? Just like that ...?" Betty said faintly.

Tony gave her an incandescent grin. "Good morning, Dr. Ross. I'd hoped to make a more civilized impression on you, but I ran into a little problem with trash pick-up in your back yard. Seems this fellow was violating that restraining order you filed against him, and didn't take kindly to me telling him to leave. He thinks he's tough, but let me tell you, he's no Chitauri, no Vanko, not even as much trouble as an Afghani warlord -- and I could go on, but I'm pretty much just repeating myself here."

"I trust you've notified the appropriate authorities?" Phil said, carefully keeping his smirk off his face.

"They won't come," Betty said. "He blocks the restraining order every time I try to file it, and he bribes or bullies the police."

"The restraining order went through this time," Phil assured her.

"Also SHIELD personnel will take him down to the police station," Tony said. "If he comes back out instead of staying in a cell where he belongs, they'll lock him up at headquarters. There's a cell on the Helicarrier with an amazing view." His captive twitched. "Built for something a lot stronger than you," Tony hissed at him, "so don't go getting any bright ideas. As if you could."

Betty's eyes narrowed as she gazed at her father. "Hmm ..." she said. Something about her reminded Phil of Tony's laser ramping up to cutting power, that upward-scaling hum and glint of razored light.

"You look like you've got something to say, so why don't you get that off your chest while I hold him for you," Tony invited, for all the world as if he intended to pin General Ross in place while Betty beat the snot out of him.

"You're not my father," Betty said, and oh yes, that laser beam had reached full power now. "You have never been a father to me. You may have fed me and housed me and dressed me up to show your friends, but it wasn't for my sake, it was for yours. I was nothing but a big doll to you. You wanted a trophy daughter. I just wasn't it. When I was too smart to fall for your lies and your promises anymore, you hit me."

General Ross struggled in Tony's grasp. Tony held onto him. It wasn't easy to escape from someone who had enough muscle to forge metal by hand if circumstances called for it. That was even before Tony started sparring with Steve and Natasha and Clint.

Betty did not hesitate to take advantage of her captive audience. "All you did for me just aimed at running my whole life," she said. "When I got my degree, you manipulated everything so the only jobs I could possibly get were army jobs. When I fell in love with a man, you kidnapped him and treated him like a lab rat. All because you couldn't stand the idea of me making a life of my own, outside your shadow. Well, I told you that I'd never stop trying to get away from you until I succeeded, and I finally did. God, you make me sick, you abusive control freak. You're not my father! You never were!" Betty stomped toward the door.

* * * 

Notes: 


Leonard Samson appeared as Betty's love interest in The Incredible Hulk.

General Ross' actions in canon clearly constitute stalking and overcontrolling.  This tends to correlate with harassment, intimidation, abuse, emotional/psychological manipulation, possessiveness, and generally being a control freak.  Domestic abuse and child abuse often occur in the same household -- some abusers just plain mistreat everyone.  Add human trafficking with regard to Bruce.

A "getaway bag" is a helpful tool for escaping from an abusive situation.  It should contain necessities such as money, medicines, emergency snacks, identification, toiletries, and a change of clothes.

Confronting an abuser can be very cathartic if it is safe to do so.


[To be continued in Part 2 ...]

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-07 05:20 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Ooooo, I like & respect a woman who knows herself and can do that!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-07 08:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] antivol.livejournal.com
I don't know this character (Betty) but I think it's great she was able to say her piece to the one who hurt her. I'm also glad you're continuing this story!

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