Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: The Avengers (MCU)
Era: Post-Avengers movie
Genre: Action, drama
Rating: M / FRM
Characters: Bruce Banner (Hulk), Clint Barton (Hawkeye), Jane Foster, Nick Fury, Happy Hogan, J.A.R.V.I.S., Loki, Pepper Potts, James “Rhodey” Rhodes (War Machine), Steve Rogers (Captain America), Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow), Lady Sif and the Warriors Three (Fandral, Hogun and Volstagg), Tony Stark (Iron Man), Thor
(Brief/smaller appearances: Odin, Maria Hill, Darcy Lewis, The Other, Benjamin “Benny” Pollack, Erik Selvig, Jasper Sitwell, Claire Wise.)
Pairings: Happy/Pepper, Jane/Thor. Mentions of: Benny/Claire, Pepper/Tony
Summary: Iron Man never fell back through the portal. The Avengers must deal with the loss of their comrade and move on – until Earth once again comes under an attack from the Chitauri and their new-found weapons that decimate everything in their path with unmatched power and intellect. As cities and nations collapse around their decreasing resistance, the heroes of Earth must find a way to defeat their enemy before there is nothing left to avenge.
Work in progress.
Written for: Apocalypse Big Bang, Round One (apocalypsebang at LiveJournal)
Art: Imaan (insteadofdeath at dA/DW/LJ)
Warnings: Graphic description of torture, major character death, apocalypse & invasion themes (including but not limited to: mass destruction, terrorism, holocaust, death, violence and gore), brain-washing & mind-control, language (including some remarks that could be seen as racist). Serious spoilers for the ending of The Avengers (and other random spoilers for the rest of the movies in the Avengers cinematic universe).
Nick Fury had lost many men over the years. Names without faces, soldiers, agents, friends…
Then he lost Tony Stark and for a moment the Avengers he had brought together with difficulty, risks and the potential for disaster were very close to falling apart.
Even after all the years and numerous missions in between, Fury still remembered the reactions of the team when they were brought back from Manhattan:
Clint Barton had kicked a metal can lying on the floor, quiet and stewing, clearly blaming himself for things he wasn’t responsible for. His psychological evaluations kept him off the field for months but eventually Fury allowed him back there to keep all of them sane.
Thor had gripped his hammer in a worn out fashion, his posture not as tall and proud as when he first entered the Helicarrier, a shadow in his eyes revealing the loss he felt as keenly as any human being. He took his brother and the Tesseract home and returned occasionally, always ready to help his human friends in any way he could.
Bruce Banner, who had still been recovering from his battle as the Hulk, had looked confused and was most openly grief-stricken at the fact that their comrade was gone. He ran a week later, disappearing off the radar; he was hard to trace and Fury kept tabs on him when he could, out of necessity.
Steve Rogers had carried his shield like a man who lost the war, shoulders slumped and the heavy weight of the decision hanging on his shoulders, guilt and doubt gnawing at his insides; he had made the call and felt responsible for losing one of his team. He continued to feel that way no matter what consolations people whispered in his ears and it remained a sore spot between him and his future dealings with S.H.I.E.L.D. although he never turned his back on them when they truly needed him.
Last had come Natasha Romanoff, watching them all yet clearly having a difficult time deciding how much emotion to show. She had known Stark the longest; she had infiltrated his company and personal life and although it was a betrayal he had never forgotten, Stark had played it cool during their mission to find the Cube and stop Loki’s plans. Fury had heard that she was the one to close the portal in the end, with Doctor Selvig’s instructions, and she and Rogers both would carry the brunt of those actions for a long time to come. Perhaps that was why she took some personal time before returning to covert missions around the world, away from ill reminders.
The world had moved on, though. S.H.I.E.L.D. had prevailed, running its operations as before, monitoring the safety of the world, and when they were needed he would call some of the Avengers back to aid them in the most perilous of times. At each such time he feared whether the heroes would pick themselves up for another fight, yet every time they did and prevailed; each time they came back and emerged victorious and that was enough for him. It was all he could ask of them.
There were times, though, when Fury allowed himself to reminisce and wonder – usually with a tall glass of scotch in hand and Pepper Potts on the TV screen, telling the world once again what a great man Tony Stark had been and what a loss it was to go on without him. She didn’t speak like a lover, although the emotion was hiding just behind the mask of appropriate sorrow. He knew she felt betrayed, had heard as much from her very lips the day they brought her the news. She had lost the man she loved…
What had Fury lost? A man who constantly stoked his ire, who lived to annoy him – and a man whose brilliance had taken them steps ahead of anyone else and who had, when the time came, given his all to the cause he had never promised to serve.
He had dealt with Stark long enough to predict what had lurked beneath the surface… yet he hadn’t thought it would end like that.
Like Rogers and Romanoff, he sometimes entertained the idea that they could have waited, could have stalled, yet Fury knew he would have made the same call to ensure no more enemies slipped through. It honored Stark’s choice and sacrifice…
If only it were that simple.
If only it had ended that way.
to be continued…
A/N: story will be updated daily!