-Stark Expo, New York-

-June 2, 2010, 2105h local-

"Bruce! What the hell man! You left me at Culver!" Erik was the first to respond, still casually carrying his sniper rifle.

"Don't blame me. Blame the other guy..." Bruce replied before a gust of wind caused him to shiver. "Anyone got a change of clothes?"

"I got some..." Naruto said from out of nowhere which part of the course for him. "Catch." He tossed a plastic bag to Bruce.

Bruce caught it clumsily using only one hand. He can't exactly take his hands off his loose pants.

"Thanks. Uh, I'll be over there..." Bruce awkwardly points to where the outdoor units of the air conditioners were. "You guys do what you do." He added before shuffling away.

"Nice guy. A little low on self-esteem, though..." Naruto commented before pulling an envelope from his jacket pocket and walking towards Erik. "Nice job. Here's your pay..." He then got a little closer and whispered something. "Wait for the message from T'Challa."

Erik took the envelope and nodded. He took another look around and started to disassemble his rifle.

"Ok. One business down, I know I owe some of you favors..." Naruto started. "I don't even know why I bothered. You guys should deal with this anyway..." He added as a whisper. "So, what now?" Everybody just stared at him weirdly for a moment. "Come on, don't make this all awkward now."

The last part made Steve's patience crack.

"You let us deal with those... things! You could've ended that with a snap! A lot of people died! People that could've lived!" Steve shouted what others were thinking while threateningly approaching Naruto. The difference was, they knew Naruto better. Steve grabbed Naruto's shirt and lifted him up. "Tell me why! What were you doing!?"

Naruto just remained nonchalant even with a super-soldier lifting him high in the air. He just stared Steve dead in the eye with one eyebrow lifted. However, it didn't take long before someone else reacted and not in the way Steve expected.

"Put him down." Erik said while pointing his pistol at Steve's head.

"You sure you want to do that kid?" Steve asked with a serious tone without removing his eyes from Naruto. Naruto, for his part, was now flashing an amused grin.

"First of all, I'm pretty sure we're at the same age, Cap. You don't age when you're on ice..." Erik started. "Secondly, I don't really need to do this. I'm not doing this because you may hurt him but because he'll kill you. Without blinking an eye... Seriously. He'll just substitute you with a clone."

"It's true..." Naruto piped in. "You want to know why? I can give you the truth or I can give you a more practical reply."

"You hear the man. He'll answer, so out him down slowly." Erik said while taking a few steps back.

Steve, for his part, suddenly let go of Naruto causing him to fall back to the ground. Naruto made a show of fixing his jacket and dusting himself off.

"I want to say that it's just too easy if I was more involved but that answer is obviously not to your liking so I'll just tell you the thing you might accept..." Naruto pulled a knife and easily carved the word Avengers on the ground. "Like I said to her..." He pointed to the masked Natasha. "best friend. This whole thing is an unsolicited favor to Fury. You know who that is. The one-eyed pirate."

"I don't know who that is." Bruce asked as he rejoined the group.

"Just think of him as the king of spies..." Bruce nodded but he's still mostly unsure. "Anyway, that..." Naruto tossed his blade towards the word 'Avengers' on the ground. "is Fury's Endgame. Bringing a group of people to deal with the world-ending scenarios."

"So this really is a test run." Tony let out.

"More like a proof of concept but you get the point..." Naruto could feel the increasing hostility from Steve so he continued. "I could just let everything play out a lot more people could've died. At least that way I don't have a guy shouting to my face like the moral high ground matters..." That took some wind out of Steve's metaphorical sails. "Don't get me wrong. I didn't do this out of the goodness of my heart. I just need to make sure that when Fury comes knocking, you'll at least be able to work well enough to do your jobs..." Another Naruto appeared behind him with something with covered with a black fabric on his shoulder. "And to make sure my girl doesn't get stuck with the job of herding cats."

"That's sweet, I guess?" Jessica commented.

"Just imagine reeling in an ego-filled super-genius, a super-soldier from the '40s with a 'holier-than-thou' attitude, and an awkward scientist with record-breaking anger issues. You'll get what I'm saying." Naruto answered with a shrug. The clone removed the fabric and placed the woman on the ground before disappearing.

"Betty!" Bruce exclaimed while moving towards the unconcious Betty Ross.

"Passed out from the Hiraishin but otherwise, she's fine..." Naruto told Bruce. Of course he lied when he said that. He knocked Betty after she decided to join Bruce. "Where are you off to? Keep in mind she basically said she'll go wherever you go."

"Or you could just wait for her to come to." Natasha weighed in.

"But that's boring."

"No, that's responsible."

"You're no fun." Naruto pouted.

""You had enough fun today."" Natasha and Jessica said at the same time.

"Dr. Banner..." Tony called out before his faceplate folded up. "If you want, I have something to work on that's just a little outside your ballpark. Even got a safehouse upstate you could hole up in."

That got Bruce's attention. Just the right time to as Betty was starting to wake up. The first thing she saw when she woke up was Bruce looking at her with a worried expression. She took a quick look around and was astonished at what's happening around her. There's the crazy blond guy, four ninja's, a soldier, and two Iron man.

"Br-bruce. A little explanation, please." Betty shakily asked.

"I don't know..." Bruce kissed the top of Betty's head. "I'm just riding along on the ride myself."

"Elizabeth Ross. No need to introduce myself, of course..." Tony said as an introduction. "I heard you wear the pants in this relationship... Ugh. I'm too tired to say it again. Just do the pitch yourself, green bean."


-Natasha's Safehouse, New York-

-June 3, 2010, 0500h local-

Stark made his pitch and the pair quickly accepted the proposition. The chance to research a new energy source like the 'Starknium' or 'Badassium' was right up their alley. The unique biological interaction of the energy released by the new element was also an interest of study.

Now while Tony was discussing terms with the scientists, Naruto started paying his 'debts'. Steve didn't want to cash in on the favor as 'I'm not going to take something in exchange for doing what's right.' It's a good thing Peggy has some sense in her and decided to just bank both hers and Steve's tabs. They both left right after the exchange.

Tony finally found an 'in' to the thing he always wanted. Something Naruto wouldn't even let him have. Chakra metal. Naruto basically pledged a ton of the stuff, including the chakra alteration of it which consumed Rhodey's favor, to Tony. Now Tony could do some serious shit with an indestructible metal with customizable properties in his hands.

Naruto just knew, there would be a lot of sleepless nights coming with that one. Not to mention Pepper's angry face chewing the fuck out of Tony and Naruto as collateral.

Nat and Jess decided to copy Peggy's lead and hold onto their favors. It's not like Naruto would deny them anything.

It was the day after what the media dubbed as the 'New York Rumble' and Naruto, Nat, and Jess were having a well-earned day-off when one of Naruto's clones from across the globe popped and delivered some vital information. Information Naruto couldn't believe he didn't know. That's what he get for 'respecting privacy.' What a stupid idea.

Naruto decided to look into it more while the girls were still asleep. He summoned a clone and quickly dismissed it, sending the order across the network.


-Natasha's Safehouse, New York-

-June 3, 2010, 0710h local-

Two hours was more than enough time for Naruto to uncover some secrets. Like big fucking secrets. Even Naruto was surprised how the fucker was able to stay off the radar. Who says SHIELD files were reliable. That's what get with not looking up or in the middle of the ocean.

"What got you stressed out?" Jess asked seeing Naruto's blanked look in front of the stove.

"I want to wait for Nat to come out of the shower before I answer. I don't want to repeat myself." Naruto replied before flipping the omelets. He's cooking three omelets while waiting for the toasts.

"Ugh. A heavy talk? Can't we just push it off like the day after tomorrow? I'm still wiped out." Jess groaned out.

"I can but Nat wouldn't appreciate it."

"I wouldn't appreciate what?" Nat asked as she walked into the kitchen. She still has a towel on her hair to dry it off.

"Perfect. You're here..." Naruto transferred the omelets to individual plates and placed them on the kitchen island. The toasts also made it on time as it dinged off not long after. "Talk before eating, eating before talking, or talking while eating."

"We can multitask..." Nat answered while pouring milk in three glasses. "So what's this thing you want me to hear."

"Yeah. I'm curious too." Jess placed the utensils on top of a napkin.

"Well, I was looking into Ivan Vanko to make sure there were no loose ends. Standard after job protocol..."

"You have a protocol?" Jess interjected, clearly surprised.

"Yes..." Naruto replied before continuing. "I kinda went on a deep dive on Vanko to make sure. Of course, I look into Vanko Sr..." He took a bite from the omelet. "Vanko Sr. got a twenty-year stint at a gulag from '67 to '87 but got thrown in again from '98 to '03. He died in 2009 but that's not important. What's important is who was his cellmate in his five-year sentence."

"Who is it?" Jess asked in between bites.

"I want to play a game with Nat. See if she gets it. Here are the clues. One... The years he's in prison - '98 to '03. Second... He's thrown into a gulag in Siberia. Three... He's a high-value prisoner with some exceptional abilities. Any clue who was Vanko's cellmate."

Nat was a smart girl, smarter than most gives her credit. However, no matter how smart someone was, some information would slip by the memory, and Natasha has a lot of it. In her long 'career', she knows a lot of individuals who were disappeared in one of Russia's infamous Gulags.

But Naruto wouldn't be stressed if it was someone from Nat's jobs. Hell, he'll be enjoying the shit out of it. So, she concluded that it would be more personal which narrows it down a lot. By a lot, it means it only leaves one person since she makes it a habit to make everything 'not personal.'

"You've got to be shitting me." Nat cursed with as much emotion as she could convey.

"Who is it? Come on. I'm out of the loop!" Jess exclaimed.

Nat released a breath before answering.

"Alexei Shostakov... The Red Guardian... USSR's Super Soldier... My adoptive 'father'"


AN

Steve's still adjusting to the modern world so he's still a little short-tempered.

I hope it's okay I jumped right into the Black Widow storyline.

Enjoy!