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

Fandom: The Avengers
Characters: Phil Coulson, Clint Barton, Natasha Romanova, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Steve Rogers, JARVIS, Betty Ross.
Medium: Fiction
Warnings: No standard warnings apply.
Summary: After a mission goes awry, Agent Coulson falls apart. The Avengers put him back together again.
Notes: Asexual character (Clint). Aromantic character (Natasha). Asexual relationship. BAMF!Avengers. Teamwork. Angst. Fear of loss. Hurt/comfort. Non-sexual ageplay. Fluff. Cuteness. Sleepover. Bedtime stories. Nightmares. Night lights. Shadow puppets. Personal growth. Family of choice.

Skip to Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.
The sequel is "Touching Moments."


"Turnabout Is Fair Play" Part 1


The mission went wrong before it even began.

One minute, the Avengers were riding quietly in the quinjet. The next, Black Widow was yelling, "Incoming!" over Banner's startled, "That's a gamma signature!" A green ray slashed past the window.

"Abandon ship," Captain America ordered. He knew they might manage to dodge missiles; beams of light, probably not.

Iron Man could fly, and simply opened the hatch. Black Widow and Hawkeye punched out, parachutes opening above their seats. Captain America had his own chute strapped to his back, and barely made it out before the evil green beam reduced the aircraft to metallic vapor. Banner didn't need a parachute: he had the Hulk.

It took an hour just for Captain America to reassemble his team one by one. He didn't worry too much about that. He'd done scatter drops before, including unplanned ones. It was nice not having to do that over an active war zone, just the half-frozen and probably empty forest around an enemy base. With no flack spattering the clouds around them, they had all landed safely. Thank God for that, thought Captain America.

"Bit of a problem," Iron Man said once they reconnected. "The nimbus of the beam killed all my external connections, so I've lost my comm and my link to JARVIS. The suit's insulation protected the internal components, though, so most of my gear still works and the arc reactor is fine."

Nice to know that Iron Man wasn't about to drop dead, but the break in communication posed a challenge. Then it turned out that nobody else's comm had survived either. They were completely cut off. That was a nuisance. The whole team remained intact, though. The situation could have been much worse.

"Oh well, let's get on with the mission," Captain America said with a shrug. "We can liberate a phone line or something after we take the AIM base." He'd done silent ops before too. Not fun, but he could work around the limitations.

It took them four hours to hike from the impromptu drop zone to the base itself. At least the effort kept everyone warm. Hawkeye complained about the length of the hike. Iron Man speculated about the gamma weaponry, with an occasional word or two from Hulk trying to relay murky input from Bruce. Captain America took advantage of the time to scrap the original battle plan and make a few new ones accounting for the shift in resources and line of approach.

They spent another three hours waiting for Black Widow and Hawkeye to infiltrate the AIM base and redo the surveillance, since somebody back at SHIELD had obviously missed vital information. Captain America and Iron Man sheltered under the boughs of a fallen evergreen. No one could see them from the base or the air.

Hulk simply hunkered down and made a boulder of himself. It was eerie to see the "giant green rage monster" so quiet, yet still clearly angry enough to maintain his form. Captain America recalled that Hulk was good at running and hiding as well as fighting. If you didn't know what he was, from a few yards away Hulk would just look like a big rock, thought Captain America. It was impressive in a whole new way.

The actual fighting only lasted about an hour. They smashed through the outer defenses into the heart of the base. Captain America listened to the faint thwip, thwip of Hawkeye's arrows and the surging rush of Iron Man's repulsors, over the chime of his own shield bouncing off walls to level the opposition. Hulk made a loud green streak in the corner of his vision. Black Widow was deadly silent and unseen.

Then it took three more hours for the Avengers to sweep the base and confirm that all enemy personnel were dead or captured. They also had to secure the equipment to make sure nothing was set to explode, summon reinforcements, or otherwise cause problems.

This led to a brief scene in the basement lab when Hulk waded into a herd of terrified scientists, picked up one in particular, and snapped the long chain that had tethered him to a wall. "John," Hulk rumbled. "Quiet."

The man clutched at the huge green shoulder and stopped screaming long enough to stutter, "Wh-wh-what?"

"I know the big guy looks like he's all muscle, but he likes scientists, and it seems as if he knows you. So if you could calm down a bit, that would help," Captain America said. He fingered the end of the chain, glanced around the lab, and noted that most of the equipment lay within the scientist's bound range. Put that together with Hulk's response, presumably courtesy of Banner knowing the man in question ... "AIM kidnapped you to build gamma weapons for them?"

The scientist nodded.

Captain America heard the whine of weapons charging. "Iron Man, don't cook the overseers. We need them for questioning," he said without looking around.

"Gentlemen, it's your unlucky day," Iron Man said to the AIM guards formerly in charge of the scientists. "You've just been spared from a quick death to be flung on the tender mercy of Black Widow. Of which she actually has none whatsoever."

Captain America looked at Black Widow's distinctly predatory smile and repressed a shiver. I would not want to get on her bad side, he thought. She was one of SHIELD's best interrogators. Hulk's deep, booming laugh echoed through the room.

Eventually they found the AIM communication array. Iron Man made short work of its security, disabling the password protection and self-destruct programs. Then he patched in a connection to SHIELD. "Avengers reporting in, mission accomplished. We need pickup and a cleaner team," Iron Man said.

It was not Agent Coulson who answered, but Dr. Ross. She said only, "Acknowledged," to Iron Man before yelling to someone else, "Assets are alive, repeat, assets are alive. We now have a clear signal to the AIM base."

Captain America got a sinking sensation in his stomach as he correlated the explosion of the quinjet with their comms going offline.

Then Agent Coulson came on, ordering, "Sound off."

The Avengers obediently called out their names and conditions. Nobody had gotten significantly injured. Hawkeye whined, "I got a blister on my heel. A blister. From hiking for miles in boots designed for stealth rather than travel. This is why I am not infantry." Well, nobody had gotten injured in combat.

"Support teams en route," Agent Coulson said. "Iron Man, liberate whatever you can safely salvage of the gamma equipment. Dr. Ross wants to start analyzing that immediately."

"On it," Iron Man said.

Captain America looked around at the wrecked base, the AIM operatives laid out like logs against the far wall, Iron Man already tinkering with the captured appliances, and Hulk still balancing a skittish scientist on one shoulder. The process may have turned into a mess, but the Avengers completed their goal anyway. "Good job, everyone," he declared.

* * * 

Notes: 

AIM is a Marvelverse terrorist organization specializing in mad science and superweapons.

Kidnapping and slavery may result in PTSD/PDSD, making it difficult for people to respond rationally even when rescue is available.  Iron Man is extra-sensitive to this issue due to his own experiences in Afghanistan.

Blisters really are a hazard of long hikes.  There are ways to prevent them, most dependent on advance preparation for a ground trek.  Careful treatment of blisters is important.  Just because you're a superhero doesn't mean you're immune to problems when dumped into a situation you didn't expect.


[To be continued in Part 2 ...]

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-19 08:08 am (UTC)
pinkhairedharry: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pinkhairedharry
Phil and Betty had to have been freaking the heck out on the inside at least. Can't wait for more

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-19 09:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] antivol.livejournal.com
Time must have passed very slowly for Phil and Betty... Very interested by the new developpement! Great start, and thanks for sharing!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-20 05:39 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Aand I'll be following this one, too.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
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