Author's Note: Stories in the After 'verse series are not related to each other. They are not fix-its, they are possibilities as to what could've happened.

Happy Hogan had been many things to Tony Stark over the years, from bodyguard to chauffeur to head of security at Stark Industries to babysitter, unofficially to Peter Parker and officially to Morgan Stark. And sometimes to Tony himself when the other man needed supervision. But most importantly he was Tony's friend.

As Tony's friend, Happy was determined that nothing would go wrong at his private memorial service, especially considering the location. Only those specifically invited were to be allowed past the guard station erected on the main road leading to the Stark cabin and surrounding property.

Happy had set up roving bands of additional security to keep away reporters and morbid curiosity seekers. The guest list was relatively small, taken from a list provided by both Tony, in a hastily scribbled note written shortly before the time heist, and Pepper.

A few on the list were unable to attend. And one was standing near the back of the group, a man who hadn't been on either approved list, former Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross.

Happy waited until after the service was over, unwilling to disrupt it. He then walked to where Nick Fury stood on the porch, just above SHIELD Agent Maria Hill and Ross.

"Did you bring Ross here?"

"I did," Fury replied after a moment's hesitation.

"You knew he wasn't welcome."

Fury shrugged. "Secretary Ross wanted to attend. I agreed to give him a ride."

"And now you're going to give him a ride off the property."

Ross spoke up. "If I don't want to leave yet? There are some people here who I need to speak with."

"Call them later. If you refuse to leave voluntarily, I'll have you escorted out of here."

"I don't think that would be a good idea, Hogan."

"Director Fury, I don't work for you. I don't work for Ross. I work for the Starks. Neither Pepper nor Tony wanted him present for the memorial service, so he's leaving one way or another."

When Fury didn't respond, Happy started back down the stairs to where Ross was standing, a scowl on his weathered face.

"Fine," Fury said, stopping Happy's approach. "Hill, get the car. Secretary Ross and I will be leaving."

"Yes, sir." Maria Hill nodded at Happy as she left, a hint of a smile on her face.

Ross glared at Happy. "Who the hell do you think you are?"

"Right now, the man who is ordering you to leave," Happy explained.

"You were nothing but Stark's pit bull. Now that he's dead, you'll be the one kicked out. What would a woman like Pepper Potts need with someone like you?"

Fury stepped between the men. "Mr. Secretary, don't do this. The car is here. It's time to leave."

"You've made a bad enemy in me, Hogan. A very bad enemy."

"According to what I've heard, you'll soon be too busy to worry about coming after me."

"What does that mean? Are you threatening me?" Ross strode forward, attempting to push past a suddenly very interestd SHIELD Director.

"Seems like when you were dusted, your successor did a complete audit of your office. Now that you're back, the DOJ is very happy to follow up on what was found." Happy was done with them all. "Leave. Now."

Fury gripped the former Secretary by his upper arm, guiding him to the waiting car. Hill had the back door open, waiting for the men.

As Ross reluctantly climbed into the car, Fury quietly told Happy that he would be in contact. He then followed Ross. Hill securely closed the door before slipping behind the wheel to drive off.

As soon as the car was out of sight, Happy took one of the Stark golf carts used to get around the grounds. He needed to have words with whoever allowed Thaddeus Ross past the main gate.

~ September 2019