I am so sorry it's been so long! Exams really got me beat this year. I did see Age of Ultron and loved it though! Really liked the character development. But for the remainder of this story (only a couple chapters left- there will be 39 with an epilogue), we will pretend AoU hasn't happened yet...including the ships that the movie provided. Reviews REALLY motivate my pitiful being. I also got a Tumblr this summer, so please follow me at "Cooliocoulson." If you scroll back on my dash a bit, you'll even be able to see what I look like. I'm the one with the glasses. :D
Warnings/Disclaimer- I do not own Marvel. No real warnings I think, except for brief mentions of Avengers' pasts. Wellllll, please excuse the awful cliché plot and many, many page breaks. ALSO, I know I marked a section with ***. I hate to leave long A/Ns, so if you're really curious about the political theme of this chapter, PLEASE PM me.
Chapter 37- Don't Run Away II
Natasha walked out of the living room where a loud Mariokart tournament was taking place, shifting the phone from one ear to the other.
"Sir, doesn't the White House have a department set up specifically for this type of situation?...Well, no... It's just I'm not sure if this team is suited for this type of operation...Yes, Sir...I'm just worried that this will backfire on us...And they're being sent in with us?...Okay...Just send over the coordinates...Yes, sir." Natasha slipped the phone back into her pocket as she walked into the living room.
"What's the news?" Tony asked, eyes glued to the TV screen. He was clearly frustrated as he rocked his body in time with his Mariokart wheel. "Clint, if you blue shell me again I swear that I'll make your arrows pink and sparkly."
"Bring it," the archer replied.
"The President has been kidnapped," Natasha stated bluntly, interrupting the commotion.
All eyes snapped to her, and many drinks were set down. Tony didn't seem to hear her, and if he did, was clearly indifferent.
"That's not our problem," Tony snorted. "Besides, I hardly think the President can be considered a kid. You'd think he'd be able to take care of himself. He's a big boy."
"Well, Fury said the kidnapper left coordinates on the Oval Office desk. He clearly wants us to find him," Natasha replied, ignoring Tony's complaints.
"Any idea where they lead to?" Steve asked.
"It just looks like the middle of the Atlantic. I'm guessing there's a small island out there," She paused, slightly hesitant to continue. "Well, there's a bit more."
Tony looked up. "No," he blurted, a smile spreading across his face. "Really? Please tell me I'm right."
"Calm down, Tony," Natasha said. "I haven't told you yet."
"Am I only one missing something?" Clint asked.
"Definitely not," Bruce replied, his eyebrows furrowed.
Natasha rolled her eyes in annoyance. "Although we are leading the mission, the government is sending a squad with us. Some Secret Service type of group as backup." ***
"I hardly think that's necessary," Steve muttered.
"What do you mean, Cap?" Tony asked. "I thought you, of all people, would want the government's help defending the red, white, and blue?"
Steve shrugged. "I thought we handled New York pretty well, I hardly think that the government needs to send a team along with us."
Tony paused his game, clearly interested. "Woah now Captain, what's got your panties in a twist? You realize that the government isn't the enemy, right?"
"I just know that sometimes they stick their nose where it sure as hell doesn't belong," Steve answered, taking a sip of his drink.
Tony scoffed. "I'd never imagine that I'd hear this. Captain America insulting his government. What's next? The Black Widow becoming the head of a pest control spray?"
"I just think that the government is taking the wrong approach towards powered people," Steve protested. "It's this vicious cycle. The government tells them that blood samples and testing are optional for their safety. Then it becomes mandatory. Then they are actually hunting down these powered people, and we're left with a government no more righteous than Hitler's. I bet the only reason that a squad is being sent with us is so that they can bring the person down if they are enhanced." Steve turned towards Thor. "You of all people know how they treat alien objects and people," he stated, imploring the god to speak.
"That is true," Thor replied. "They had kept Mjolnir away from me, and refused to let me see him."
"Well..."Clint argued, his voice rising as he sat up. "Coulson wanted me to wait before shooting; he wanted to see if you could really lift it as you claimed."
"Which I failed to do," Thor added, sounding downtrodden. "The good professor had to advocate on my behalf, and managed to let me out of that place."
Clint shrugged. "Hey, from our standpoint, you looked a little sick in the head."
"That's my point," Steve said. "We don't see what they see, which leaves room for error."
"Listen," Tony interjected, "We can give orders not to shoot on command, can't we?"
"Not really," Natasha answered. "We 't don't have that kind of jurisdiction where the President's well-being is concerned."
"Surely we can ask that they don't shoot upon sight?" Bruce questioned. "It seems wrong that a squad following a group of powered people won't listen them in regards of how to handle another, probably hostile, powered person."
"We can ask the squad when we get there," Natasha replied. Her phone buzzed, so she pulled it out of her pocket. She frowned. "We're needed at the White House."
"Why?" Clint asked, a whine hidden in his voice.
"Who cares?" Tony exclaimed. "You don't just turn this opportunity down. Maybe we'll actually get the press coverage we deserve."
"Tony," Natasha warned.
"We've talked about this," she responded, crossing her arms.
"Hey," Tony defended, "all I'm saying is that is we want the people to like us, we have to be visible."
"But is working for the government how we want to be visible?" Steve asked. "With all that's gone wrong, especially the way the government has treated new developments…"
"New developments?" Tony interrupted. "Steve, you're treating this like it's a soap opera. Aliens, gods, they're all synonyms for 'threat.' Shouldn't we be helping the world protect against that?"
"Yes," Steve countered. "But not the way we've been doing so. S.H.I.E.L.D. is on the brink of a collapse, and even I'm questioning their motives."
"Which is why we need to be on their side," Clint said. "They need someone to show the feds that they're helping, not hurting."
"Are they?" Steve asked.
"We'll save this argument for another day," Natasha said, shutting the mouths of her teammates. "We need to go get ready. Pack up your things, and put on a suit."
"My favorite," Tony added gleefully, hopping up from the couch and rushing to his room.
"Tony, come on!" Natasha hollered up the stairs. The rest of the team was waiting down in the living room, all dressed up, and carrying small duffel bags with their uniforms and weapons.
"Okay mom," Tony called, sauntering down the steps. He had two briefcases in his hand- one with the Iron Man suit, and the other unrecognizable.
"What's in the bag?" Bruce asked, referring to the black brief case.
"New comm units," Tony replied, clearly proud. "The other ones were damaged, so I came up with some better ones. I even managed one for the Other Guy, if you both are willing."
"I'll sure try, but no guarantees that He doesn't rip it out," Bruce answered.
"No problemo. Are we taking the Quinjet?" he asked.
"Yes," Natasha said, picking up her bag. "I'll let you know the plan once we get in the air."
Everyone walked out unto the platform on Stark Tower. It was a warm day- the breeze was blowing nicely, ruffling their hair and ties as they got into the large jet.
"I'll drive," Clint said hurriedly, jumping into the pilot's seat.
"I don't trust him!" Tony argued. "He's an awful driver in Mariokart, always cutting corners and throwing shells everywhere. Who says he'll be any better at driving a real plane?"
"Shut up, Stark," Clint shouted from his seat.
Tony shrugged, ducking his head as he entered the jet. Everyone else was sitting down, but Natasha was standing by Clint, mapping out their course.
Tony looked at Thor, who was fiddling with his tie. His large fingers were not very agile, and thus made the soft tie difficult to maneuver. Bruce, who was sitting next to the god, reached over and helped him.
"You look nice in a suit, Goldilocks," Tony commented. "A little tight in the shoulders, but I doubt that can be helped."
"My thanks," Thor replied, his grin widening. "I find this all very exciting- it truly is an honor to be meeting the leader of your people."
Tony shrugged. "It gets boring after the first couple times. It is fun to mess with security though."
"Tony!" Bruce chastised. "Plus, we aren't meeting the President...well, yet. Hopefully we'll be the ones finding him."
"So why are we actually going to the White House?" Steve asked.
"I think they want to evaluate us," Natasha said, walking down to where the others were seated.
"Why now?" Tony asked, confused. "They didn't bother to evaluate when saving the world was left up to us, but now that the oh so mighty President is involved, they have to check us out?"
"Apparently," Natasha replied, packing her duffel bag into the compartment. "The issue was that previously it was an emergency, so there wasn't time for following procedure. Now the government has to be extra careful, especially considering that Thor isn't from this nation, let alone planet."
"I fail to see how that is relevant," Thor interjected.
"It could be seen as...taking sides," Natasha said slowly. "This news has clearly spread to other countries, and they'll want to know why America has a god on her side."
"Ah," Thor responded. "I suppose that makes sense. My father warned me about getting involved in other worlds, especially conflicts such as this."
"It's a messy business. They'll probably call us all in for interviewing, which will be easy," Natasha said.
"What are we supposed to tell them?" Bruce asked. "How much should be true? I've never done this kind of thing before."
"Clearly," Natasha muttered. "Fury has decided that for now, we aren't completely forming an alliance with the government. This mission is a test to show them that we are willing to help, but under our own parameters."
"They're not really ours," Steve argued. "The government is insisting to send in their own team along, which means that they don't completely trust us."
"Which is exactly what we want," Clint spoke up from the pilot's seat. "We aren't sure where we stand with them now, so this will be a great opportunity to determine that. We just went over this earlier Cap, you sure your old man head can keep up?"
Steve glared at the archer. "In my time, governments weren't so complicated and secretive."
Tony groaned. "Please grandpa, no more 'back in my day stories.' Besides, I think you were a pretty big government secret, until they used you on every piece of propaganda they could find."
"If my 'old man head' recalls correctly, your dad was actually in charge of the project and keeping it a secret," Steve replied with a smirk.
"Whatever," Tony sneered, sticking his tongue out. "So back to the matter at hand…"
"We are lying to them?" Bruce asked, filling in where Tony left off. "I'm still not sure what I'm supposed to tell them during questioning."
"The best lies are truths," Natasha answered. "If they ask you about your past, tell the truth. This eliminates any error, and makes you seem trustworthy. Don't go into details though- details make it seem overdone and forced."
"It doesn't really matter," Tony said, "The feds have records on all of us anyways."
"True," Clint added, shrugging from the pilot's seat. "The only thing to lie about is any S.H.I.E.L.D. info. S.H.I.E.L.D. is still trying to establish a base with the government, meaning that any information given can be harmful to the agency. However, there's really no need to lie about the Avengers Protocol. They, clearly, already know about us."
"Alright, I think I got it," Bruce said, loosening the collar on his suit a bit.
"You'll be fine Brucey," Tony encouraged, patting the scientist on the shoulder. "You've got a pretty cool demeanor if I may say so myself."
Bruce smiled, but suddenly gripped his seat as the jet lurched. The whole crew grabbed onto their chairs as the jet rocked with turbulence, before regaining stability.
"Calm down there, Robin Hood," Tony exclaimed, running a hand through his hair.
"Sorry," Clint apologized, "Trying to navigate city air is tricky. Too many tall buildings in D.C."
Tony rolled his eyes. "Excuses, excuses."
"Are we at our destination already?" Thor asked.
"Yeah," Clint replied. "D.C. isn't that far away from Manhattan, plus by air it only takes a little while."
They all looked out the window at the rapidly approaching White House. D.C. had a sort of nobility to it- tall buildings framed the green parks and stone memorials.
"Hasn't changed much," Steve muttered, his gaze facing the window. "Just a lot more cars and buildings."
"I think you'd be surprised," Tony said. "They've got quite a few war memorials that you've missed. "
"Which I would hate to hit," Clint added annoyingly. "Where am I supposed to land this thing?"
Natasha walked up to the pilot's seat, pointing to the electronic map. "They opened up a helicopter pad for us, and I think there will be agents there to escort us."
Bruce loosened his tie, clearly nervous. Tony, taking notice, leaned over and lowered his voice.
"You'll be fine," he said, patting the scientist on the shoulder. "We're helping them, remember?"
"I know," Bruce replied, laughing nervously. "My mind is telling me it'll be fine, but my heart won't slow down. Just nerves."
"Big Green isn't gonna make an appearance, is he?" Tony asked, eyes widening a big.
"Definitely not," Bruce answered, reaching into his pocket. He pulled out two small white pills. "Beta- blockers," he muttered, tossing the two pills into his mouth. He tilted his head back, swallowing the two pills dry.
"Will you be able to transform later on in the mission?" Tony asked. "There's a good change Big Green will need to make an appearance."
"I've got a couple shots of adrenaline," Bruce said, motioning to his duffel bag with his head.
Tony frowned slightly. "I know you're a doctor and all that, but I don't think it's a good idea to be controlling the Other Guy with medicine."
"I'll be fine," Bruce chastised, but he wasn't very convincing. "With all these government people around, I want to be extra careful. No mistakes."
"I know," Tony said, choosing his next words very carefully. "I also know that when Ross tried using chemicals to induce or keep the Hulk at bay…"
"This is completely different," Bruce argued. "Nothing major; these are practically over-the-counter medications. As if you haven't taken Beta-blockers before."
"Not when trying to stop a rage monster," Tony responded jokingly.
"Hold on everyone," Clint interrupted, "we're gonna try landing smoothly."
"We've got official guards watching," Tony said loudly, "so you better make this one hell of a landing. Maybe shoot glitter out of the blasters? Give them some pizzazz."
"Will you ever grow up?" Steve asked.
"Will you ever age?" Tony countered. "Because I swear the second you look your age, I'll personally address you with maturity."
The plane took a (surprisingly) smooth path downwards as the view of the back of the White House appeared through the small windows. Three people were waiting down for them on the launch pad- two male and one female.
"Look nice boys and girl," Tony said, nearly jumping out of his seat in excitement. The plane came to a complete stop, and Clint opened the large hatch before getting out of the pilot seat.
Tony threw his sunglasses in his face, clapping Bruce on the shoulder. He did that quite often now that they were close. He gestured for Natasha to exist first.
"Ladies with a scary amount of testosterone first," he commented. She glared at him, and sauntered out of the plane in her heels. The rest of the Avengers followed, with Tony coming last…but not before straightening Bruce's tie for the umpteenth time.
They were met on the launch pad by two large men in suits with earpieces- security escorts no doubt. The female had cropped blonde hair, which was frazzled from the wind. She looked very nervous, nearly dropping the clipboard she was holding. She stuck out her hand.
"Welcome, I'm Lisa Calhorn," she said, shaking each of their hands briskly. "I'm the replacement secretary for the president."
"I thought so," Tony muttered, nodding his head. "I didn't recall meeting you. I'm Tony Stark."
"I knew that," she replied. "Let me show you around."
Lisa led the group through the back doors, with one security guard in the front and one in the back. "I'm afraid you'll be subject to security screening first," she said, leading them to where a couple more guards were waiting.
Each of them emptied their pockets, and walked through a screening device. Tony beeped, which wasn't a surprise to anyone. The reactor could barely be seen underneath his nice shirt, but the guards still requested a pat- down.
"Go ahead," Tony answered smugly. "I've got nothing to hide."
Thor was the only one unfamiliar with the device, and took great fascination in how it detected weapons. "Heimdall could surely use one of these devices at the gate of the Bifrost," he exclaimed loudly."
"Except that it picks up all metal," Clint said. "All of your armor would go off. Besides, don't Asgardians carry weapons everywhere?"
The security guards looked up, and Natasha glared at Clint. "Not the best choice of words," she hissed.
Needless to say, Thor was also patted down.
Lisa continued leading them down the hallway once they were finished.
"If you'll follow me this way, I'll show you the conference rooms where you'll be questioned." Her phone buzzed, and she reached into her pocket. "The press conference hasn't been appointed yet, but we will keep you informed," she spoke into the phone, shoving it back into her pocket. She closed her eyes, taking a deep breath. "Sorry, this is all new for me. Kind of overwhelming."
"No doubt," Tony sympathized. "How new are you?"
"It's my first week," Lisa replied, turning and leading them down a new hallway.
"What happened to the president's old secretary?" Natasha asked curiously. "Seems like an awful first week, to have to deal with the president being kidnapped."
"That's for sure," she replied. "Carol, the old secretary, just found out she was expecting, and wanted to spend more time with her family. The stress wouldn't be good for the baby either. Right this way."
They all got into an elevator, which was much, much larger than expected. It fit the whole team comfortably. Tony winked at Bruce, who was pressing his fingernails into his palms. His face was slightly pale, which made Tony nervous. What if he had taken too many Beta- blockers? What if his heart slowed down too much?
He's a doctor, jeez, Tony. He won't give himself too many.
The elevator dinged, and Lisa led them into a large conference room. "You will be called out for questioning, and them be debriefed as a team on the way over. Our detective, DI Clarence, will question you all. In the meantime, can I get you anything to eat or drink?"
"How were you recruited into S.H.I.E.L.D.?" DI Clarence asked, sitting across from Tony.
"I wasn't recruited into S.H.I.E.L.D.," Tony answered. "I am part of a superhero team that just happens to be put together by their leader."
"Well, if that's what you like to call him. I prefer Patchy the Pirate," Tony replied, leaning back in his chair.
"What is your view on powered people?" the detective inspector asked, his head turning slightly.
"That's a biased question," Tony said. "What is your definition of 'powered?' Because from my standpoint, the president is powered. I'm powered. That term just refers to those given power, and some not necessarily deserving."
"Enhanced people then," Clarence corrected, his eyes rolling. "Gifted, whatever you would like to call them."
"Well, I'm sure gifted with the looks," Tony said, smirking. "But because this is official and I should probably answer- I don't have an opinion."
"Come on, hear me out. Some people are born enhanced. Others become enhanced. So when 'normal' people complain about how enhanced people are a danger, or have an advantage, that isn't fair. Are some people born with powers? Yeah. But it's just as easy to become enhanced. All it took was for me to be locked up in a cave and threatened."
"Mr. Stark, wouldn't you agree that you have a genius level IQ?" Clarence asked.
"I wouldn't simply agree; I would applaud you for allowing me to boost my ego."
"Then wouldn't you agree that it isn't possible for everyone to achieve an enhanced status?"
Tony sat up. "Are you serious? Arguing that my IQ invalidates all hope of a hobo becoming enhanced? The only people I grew up around to age fourteen where Spanish nannies that barely spoke English. Just because I came from a wealthy household doesn't mean that I was automatically granted an insane IQ. That's something that everyone has to work for. I would argue that in everyone's defense, there are people out there who are trying to enhance humanity as a whole. Not just the powerful and elite. One of my greatest enemies was a Russian guy who practically lived in a cardboard box and built electric whips. There are people out there advocating for the weak.
"And the problem is, the government is so concerned about a select few being a threat that they fail to see the benefit of it all," Tony continued. "An enhanced generation. I see…I see a giant suit or armor around the world, and I'll sure try my damnest to make it possible. If the government wouldn't be so worried that I'd use my gift for selfish, destructive purposes, I might be able to help them."
"Mr. Stark, you did help the world already."
"What, with my weapons?" Tony exclaimed. "I don't think so. I watched innocent people blown up because my weapons got into the wrong hands. I want to do something that will benefit everyone, not just a select few. Any more questions? Because I could go on for days."
"Thank you Mr. Stark, I think we're finished here," Clarence said, opening the door. "Hopefully your friends won't be so problematic."
"Natalia Alianovna Romanova."
"Country of origin?"
"Russia. But that shouldn't be a shock."
"Miss Romanoff, I think you and I both know that asking about S.H.I.E.L.D. intelligence would be pointless," Clarence said. "And I know that your interrogation techniques and responses are nearly flawless. So how about I simply ask other, more prominent questions, and you answer honestly?"
"Sounds like a smart move on your part," Natasha said, smirking.
"Do you know anyone who would want to kidnap the president?"
"No other agencies, groups…?"
"No," Natasha replied. "The US has quite a few enemies at the present moment, but considering the sudden circumstances, I'd say that it's a group closer to home if anything."
"What is your opinion on Nick Fury's leading style?" the detective inspector asked.
"I think he's a good leader," Natasha replied, sitting forward. "I think he's good at making the right call."
"Would you agree that…"
"Don't do that," Natasha interrupted with a small smile. "I thought you knew I was smart enough to know what I'm being asked a leading or baited question."
"Sorry," Clarence said, smirking slightly. His brown hair was greying at the roots, which stood out more prominently as he looked back down at his file. "I forgot I was dealing with an expert. Do you think that he makes risky, impulsive decisions?"
"Sometimes. They may look dangerous and stupid from an outsider's perspective, but once you get an idea of the severity of the situation, they seem rational."
"Alright," he said. "Do you think that anyone on your team is a threat to this mission?"
"No," Natasha answered confidently. "Honestly? We're all threats. But we work well together, and know how to preform a safe mission. The real question is are your people you're sending in a threat?"
"You know I'm not allowed to give that type of information," Clarence said. "They follow orders."
"So do we. But as I'm sure you got from Tony, we're a tight group. It will be difficult working with people from the outside, especially if they don't want to take the same side or mission plan that we do."
"Thank you miss Romanoff."
"First off, I would like to say that it is an honor to be meeting you, Captain Rogers," Clarence said, but unlike Coulson usually did, he did not seem flustered.
"Thank you, sir," Steve replied, smiling.
"Now onto official business- how did you become an Avenger?"
"I'm not really sure," Steve answered, his brow furrowed. "Fury called me the 'First Avenger,' so I'm guessing because of the serum. I was the first successful 'superhero,' or at least that's what they say."
"And you doubt that?" Clarence asked. "You don't think it was anything else?"
"No," Steve said slowly. "I was never the first hero. I saw men die out on that battlefield that were ten times the man I was. Or am."
"Do you think that enhancing humans is a good or bad thing?" Clarence asked, setting his file down.
"I'm not sure," Steve replied. "In the wrong hands, it can be devastating. Red Skull destroyed himself with the serum he used. It did horrific things to him, but great things to me. I think that it not only depends on the person being enhanced, but the purpose."
"Do you think that enhancing humans is the future? Do you think that it will become mandatory?"
"I think so. From Red Skull to the villains we're fighting now, the message is the same- make man better. Evolve. It's almost as if man has reached the end of the line, and rather than evolving by nature, we're forcing ourselves to evolve. I know that back when prey had predators, they forced themselves to evolve to avoid being eaten. Mankind doesn't have a superior, so now we're forcing ourselves to evolve. After Manhattan, that changed. Now we're no longer the biggest kids on the playground, and we're evolving to beat the enemies in the sky. Sometimes I wonder whether or not it's a good thing," Steve muttered.
"Do you think S.H.I.E.L.D. is the right agency to speed up enhanced humans?"
"If any, yes," Steve replied. "I think that they would be the only agency to be willing to work with the government, if it came to that. I hope it doesn't though."
"Do you believe the Avengers will have any issues working with the team we're sending in alongside you?" Clarence questioned. "One of your teammates expressed concern in this area."
"I'm not sure," Steve answered. "It depends. Many of my teammates are worried about what your squad will do if the kidnapper happens to be powered. With the amount of people on this team who are powered, it makes for a very uneasy setting."
"But none of you were born that way," Clarence pointed out. "More and more people are popping up that were born with abilities, and we want to shut that down."
"It doesn't matter," Steve replied. "The government needs to rethink its position on powered or enhanced people. You hunted down Dr. Banner for years, your government couldn't rescue Mr. Stark when he was taken, and you sure as hell didn't do very much to make peace with Thor. So when you wonder why the majority of these powered people are hostile, or hesitant to come forward, look at the way you've treated them."
"I'll take that into consideration, but that wasn't the question. Will this squad be an issue for your team?"
"I'll keep them under control," Steve said.
"Are you sure? Because if there is any hostility in the ranks, your team might not be sent."
"I'll spread the word."
Clarence shut the file. "You're free to go, Captain Rogers."
Steve stood up. "Thank you. Please take what I've said and spread it to your superiors. Because if you keep hunting people like us down, you won't even have us as allies." Steve opened the door, but ducked his head back in as he was exiting.
"And by the way- I'm not actually a Captain."
"Thor, heir to the throne of Asgard, son of Odin, son of…"
"Alright, that will be plenty Mr...Odinson," Clarence interrupted. "What are your intentions for Earth?"
Thor shrugged. "I have no intentions for this planet. Heimdall watches over it, and sometimes tells me of its events, but nothing more."
"What do you mean 'he watches over it?'"
"Heimdall is the gate keeper. He has access to watch over all planets, and does so. However, he refuses to intervene."
Clarence's eyes widened. "So you're saying that this gatekeeper knew that the Chitauri would attack? Why didn't he warn Earth? Can he tell the future?"
"We are sworn not to interfere with other planets out of our realm," Thor said stoically. "Early during Earth's history, we were worshipped by people. I believe friend Tony said they were from the parts of this planet known as the Land of Ice, Way of Nor, Land of the Mighty Fin, and Mark of the Great Den."
"I think you mean Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Denmark," Clarence corrected.
"Ah, yes," Thor replied, nodding. "Those people worshipped us. We would aid them in battles and in their journeys across the cold land. Loki always took a fondness to them, and the land they lived on. He always found some soothing quality in the ice," Thor said, looking off at the wall. "Sorry comrade, I am rambling. It was nice to receive such worship. However, the people soon wanted to become like us. Some of the men set up traps to try to capture us, as if we came down to walk among them. Then when things went wrong, they forgot about us. Worshipping us became more like a pastime than a necessity. They stopped worshipping us once they realized they could never become us.
"Then, the stories of us died down as the people picked up new, 'more powerful' gods. And so we were forgotten. It was then that we warned our people to stay away from Earth. Even from centuries ago, we knew that the people of Earth were not to be trifled with. They had their hearts set on dominance, which can be an awful poison to both the heart and mind. We don't interfere with your activities for good reason.
"Even though Heimdall can see each universe, he is not a future teller. He can predict smaller events, but not on their own." The detective inspector sent Thor a questioning look, which told him to elaborate.
"Heimdall cannot tell when an independent event will happen on its own. However, he can judge cause and effect. When tensions are running high on Earth, he knows that a conflict will be caused. He can understand the planet's feelings and emotions, almost like a stream of consciousness.
"So what are my intentions for this planet? Nothing. I am came here first as a punishment from my father, but stayed to remedy the hurt my brother has caused."
Clarence paused, taking in al this information. "The Chitauri are gone, and from what I understand, you took the Tesseract back to Asgard. So why are you still here?"
"Because we started this all."
"If Loki had not chosen this planet as his target, humanity would not have been exposed to all this new information. You would not know about the other beings in the stars. You might have found out further on, but humanity was not ready for this burden yet. Now you people destroy yourselves trying to be prepared for a battle between you and them that may never transpire," Thor said gravely. "You have to understand that not all gods are as my brother- they are not all waiting to take over planet Earth. Some even look upon this planet with fondness, even if they know it is dangerous to do so."
"But some do wish to take over?" Clarence asked, but it sounded more like a statement.
"Aye. But I am sure that many of your people look at our dominion the same way. Your people looked up at the moon, and the first thing they did was mark it with the mark of this country. We laughed. You mark a moon that is not even yours, and call it a marvelous achievement, a battle feat even. You petty people know nothing of space."
"I think you'd be surprised," the detective inspector commented, continuing. "Do you have any ill intentions for our president?"
"No," Thor answered bluntly. "I have no hostile intents towards Earth at this moment."
Clarence said an eyebrow at the conditional statement, but shrugged. "Thank you Mr. Odinson; you're free to go."
"How were you recruited into the Avengers, Dr. Banner?"
"Natasha came and found me," Bruce answered.
"Where were you at the time?" Clarence asked, reading his file.
"I was in India," Bruce said hesitantly.
"And why were you there?"
I was running away from your people. "They desperately needed a doctor in Calcutta. Plus, it's a great place to study meditation," Bruce added with a nervous smile.
"Dr. Banner, I hope you know that we do not affiliate ourselves with General Ross, and do not want to hurt you. He took his powers as general too far. I hope that you can answer these questions truthfully, and without fear," Clarence said, and his weary eyes took on a much softer tone.
"Thank you," Bruce replied.
Clarence looked up inquisitively. "Dr. Banner, why did you willing become part of the Avengers? It's dangerous to be known all over television, isn't it?"
"Absolutely," Bruce said. "I wasn't recruited because I am part monster; I was recruited to help find the Tesseract. Then I needed to transform, and here we are. I help Tony with a lot of the science regarding the team, but he's also come up with a lot of solutions to managing and embracing the Other Guy."
Clarence nodded. "On that note, do you believe that the squad we're sending in will be a problem for you, or any of your other teammates?"
"I don't think so," Bruce answered. "I know I should be alright, and the rest of the team is even better than I am."
Clarence nodded. "Do you have any adversities to our President?"
"Are you aware that the Hulk should not appear unless both your team and our squad agree that he is necessary?"
"And I am also required to inform you that should the Hulk get out of control, our team has a sedative," Clarence said slowly.
Bruce froze. "I-I don't think that's a good idea. At all. Cli- Hawkeye has arrows that have a special sedative that Tony and I have tested out. I think that would be much better. If it would make your team happier to hold on to them, that's fine. But if the Hulk has to be put down, I'd much rather use sedative that we've experimented with before. The Other Guy has an adverse reaction to many drugs, so this would definitely be best."
Clarence looked down at his chart, clicking his pen repeatedly. After a tense minute he spoke. "I will talk to the leader of the squad. Although, I can't see him having a huge problem with it."
Bruce let out the breath he had been holding. "Great."
"That stuff better work," Clarence muttered as he scribbled something into the file.
"It will," Bruce said confidently. "We've tested it out in a closed environment many times. "
Clarence nodded subconsciously. "I think that's all I need from you. Actually…Dr. Banner, the government is possibly looking into mutant genes. If you are ever willing to donate blood…it won't be anything like what Ross did to you, I promise." Clarence handed over a small card with a number written in neat, black font on it. "You know who to call…"
Bruce smiled nervously as he stood up, nodding. The second he exited the room, he ripped the card in two with shaking hands.
"Clinton Francis Barton."
"Mr. Barton, I understand you worked for a circus? How did you get involved in S.H.I.E.L.D.?"
"I was recruited for being an excellent marksman by an agent in the audience," Clint answered. He clearly was used to being interviewed.
"And I'm assuming that it was just a coincidence that Agent Coulson was in the crowd at a circus?" the detective inspector asked.
Clint felt his heart skip a beat.
Coulson, chest covered in blood, gasping. It was his fault. Coulson was dead. Gone. Left with a gaping hole in his chest.
Clint looked up, shaking his head a bit. "Sorry. Coulson had heard rumors about me. He came with the intent of bringing me back to S.H.I.E.L.D., with my permission or not."
"I'm sorry to hear about his death," Clarence said quietly. "I didn't know him well, but he came here a couple times on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s behalf. He was full of energy, and loved what he did."
Clint said nothing, but simply nodded.
Clarence looked back down at his file, clearing his throat. "You're close to Fury. Do you think his actions are justified?"
"You don't have anything you'd change about his leadership style?"
"Well, he does like his expletives," Clint said contemplatively.
"Why do you stay with S.H.I.E.L.D?" Clarence inquired. "You have the qualifications to come work for the government, and yet you stay with a hated agency that works with aliens."
"I like to mix it up," Clint answered. "Being an agent isn't enough for me. Just like the circus wasn't. Working for you wouldn't be interesting enough."
"I think you would be surprised, Mr. Barton."
"Nope. Sure, you might have a new terrorist group every month, but that's just a different name slapped onto the same exact problem. I think everyone has a sense that there's something else out there. We can't be alone in the universe, just the 'supreme humans.' With S.H.I.E.L.D., I get that satisfaction. I get to see what's really out there.
"I might not be a scientist like Banner or Stark, but I still get fascinated by what else is out there besides us," Clint continued. "And now I get confirmation of that. And to tell you the truth…it's wicked awesome."
Clarence shrugged, smiling half-heartedly. "I'm alright just working with terrorist groups. I'm too old for alien tech. Just one more question, Mr. Barton. Do you think anyone on your team is a threat?"
Clint snorted. "You want the truth? Hell yeah. We all are Class A threats." Clint stood up, pushing in the metal chair in the interrogation room. "You better hope that the government doesn't do anything stupid, or you're screwed. That isn't a threat, or a statement to start a war with you guys. We don't have a problem with you all. But if you do something stupid like hurt one of us, or make some new law to round up powered people, me just might."
Clint walked out, closing the door behind him. DI Clarence looked at the door for a bit, then back down at the six files, each of the Avengers's faces staring back at him. He ran a hand over his face, and stuck his pen back into his shirt pocket.
"Well, this'll be interesting."