“Wow Coulson and Fury at the same time? What did I do to deserve that honor?” Tony Stark looked up from underneath his armor that he was working on. Coulson looked around, it seems like Stark was almost fully settled into Stark Towers now. He even had to admit that the workshop here made the one in California look outdated.
“Keeping you on your toes Stark.” Fury chuckled darkly looking around. “How’s my pod-racer coming?”
Tony scoffed. Coulson sighed and decided to leave the two of them to it, he nodded at Fury before heading up the stairs to wear the Avengers were currently staying.
“Pod-racer? You sir … that’s offensive. Never compare anything I make to George Lucas’ imagination ever again. I’ll show you pod-racer … it’s a flying car you ass.”
Coulson shook his head as Tony’s voice faded at the top of the stairs.
“Agent Coulson!” Phil looked over to see Pepper Potts looking at him surprised. He gave her a small smile. “I didn’t know you were stopping by today.”
“It wasn’t scheduled.” He admitted as they walked to the kitchen. “The Director is downstairs with Tony at the moment.”
“Oh … okay then.” She glanced back obviously debating if it was a good idea to leave the two of them alone. “Well I’m too busy for this. You’ll call me if he can’t make his meeting at 3.” It wasn’t a question and Coulson nodded, she sighed as her phone rang. She gave him a nod and went the opposite way.
He liked Pepper.
He made his way to the kitchen to see Steve Rogers looking down at his Stark Tablet and eating a bowl of cereal. The man took on the new era with a bit of hesitancy but once he jumped in, he was in. Steve looked up and frowned at Coulson.
“No incident.” Coulson nodded sitting down at the table. “No assembling required.” Even under torture Phil Coulson would never admit how much he loved saying stuff like that to Captain America.
“Oh good.” Steve smiled with relief before pausing. “Would you like some breakfast?”
Suddenly the building shook like there had been an explosion and the lights flickered. Steve had his communicator out already calling the Avengers.
“Spoke too soon.” Phil sighed looking out of the building, there wasn’t any smoke. “JARVIS can you tell us what that was?”
“There’s been an incident in Mr. Stark’s lab, please hurry.”
Both men ran out of the kitchen, Coulson pulled out his gun when he got to the stairs and Steve was behind him with his shield suddenly in hand.
“What’s going on?” Clint was stepping in behind them wearing just a pair of jeans and his recurve bow. “Tony piss of Bruce again?”
“Bruce and Thor are at SHIELD at the moment helping up with a-” Coulson stopped short. Through the glass walls at the bottom of the stairs was Tony Stark looking wide-eyed at a young
Nick Fury. The man was looking around frantically in his army fatigues with his gun drawn on Tony.
“Both of you stay here and if he gets out of hand, Barton.” He glanced at the archer. “Tranq him.”
He opened the door and stepped in. “Stand down Ranger!”
“What did you do to me?! Who are you people?!” The man didn’t take his gun away from Stark but was staring at Coulson wide-eyed. Two eyes. Coulson couldn’t help but take in the sight. He took a few more steps forward.
“We’re on the same side.” Coulson tried since he didn’t fully know what had happened. He noticed one of the tiles on the ceiling move, Barton had moved fast.
“Cheese? What the hell? Is that you?”
Nick lowered his gun just slightly before wincing and reaching his hand to the back of his neck. “What-”
Phil managed to get over in time to catch the man and lay him gently on the floor. He grabbed the gun and disarmed it.
“What the actual fuck?” Stark finally put his hands down as Steve walked in. “Who is that?”
“Mr. Stark, I’m going to need you to tell me everything that happened down here after I left.” Coulson looked up at him sharply.
“Okay I’m just putting this out there but none of this was my fault.” Tony’s voice hitched. “I was showing Fury the schematics to the flying cars he wants oh-so-very-badly and next thing I know there was a beam of light and then …” Tony froze. “No way.”
“Tony?” Steve stepped closer to the other man.
“It came from …” Tony started walking to the other side of the room where there was piles of parts and have made gadgets. “It came from over here. There’s no way it can be that tho because it doesn’t work on organic materials yet.”
“Stark!” Coulson barked.
“Ah shit.” Tony mumbled. “Okay so … I invented this time machine and-”
“You invented a time machine?” Barton jumped down from the ceiling beside Tony. It has to say something that the other man only jumped a little bit.
“Kind of. It doesn’t work the way people would think. I built a time machine, but not like that.” Tony moved some parts around. “And apparently it got coffee spilt on it and it short circuited and hit Fury but it shouldn’t have worked because … “
“This is totally your fault.” Barton sighed.
“What does your time machine do Stark?” Coulson sighed. He could see what it did with his own eyes, but he needed to make sure the facts were right.
“It replaces items with themselves 10 years ago. So like … if I wanted to,” He looks around. “I could hit Steve’s shield with this and suddenly he would have a frozen shield because it was in the ice 10 years ago.”
“Please don’t.” Steve whispered a little startled.
“That means that this guy is Director Fury 10 years ago?” Clint pointed his quiver at the man on the ground. “Uh … shouldn’t we put him on the couch or something? Or take him back to SHIELD?”
“You’re time is off.” Coulson sighed. “This is Director Fury around 20 years ago.” He stood up. “And I really have no idea who has the clearance for this.”
“He recognized you sir.” Steve went over and picked
Nick up easily.
“He called him cheese Steve.” Tony rolled his eyes before looking at Coulson. “Unless?”
“That’s classified.” Coulson sighed when the man smirked. “Stark you need to fix your machine so we can undo this. Rogers, take
Director Fury to one of the empty rooms. Barton, keep your mouth shut. All of you are officially under lock down until we can figure this out. JARVIS can you call Ms. Potts to let her know Tony won’t be making it to his 3 o’clock.”
“Yes Agent Coulson.”
“Hey you can’t just-nevermind I’m getting out of that meeting. I’m not going to argue this.” Tony shrugged. “Alright … well half of this is burnt out. What are we going to do if I can’t fix it? It was already unstable as a test and it wasn’t even supposed to work on organic things.”
“Its not an option.” Coulson glared over at Tony. “You fix this or I’m calling Reed Richards so he can fix it. I don’t care who does it, I just figured you would like the chance to prove you actually know what you’re doing.”
Reed Richards ends up coming over anyway because he owes Phil a favor or six and Phil was willing to say working with Tony Stark could take up three of them if they actually succeeded.
Coulson really didn’t want to think about what would happen if they didn’t. He had put Hill in charge temporarily at SHIELD saying that Stark Tower was on lockdown and would explain everything after later. Hill had given him 24 hours of “no questions asked” before she was coming there herself to figure out why Fury wasn’t giving her these orders himself.
And people thought they didn’t get along.
He was sitting in a chair beside the bed with
Nick Fury in it. He was supposed to wake up any second now. He borrowed some civilian clothes from Clint and was grateful the archer didn’t question it. Steve and Clint were both sitting outside the room just in case they would be needed.
Hopefully they wouldn’t, but JARVIS was making it so they would be able to hear everything anyway. It was standard procedure.
“Hn? Cheese?” The man winced as he blinked his eyes open. He sat up and rolled his shoulders before looking around the room and then settling on Coulson. “What’s going on? You are Cheese right? Gen-”
“Yes.” Coulson nodded before Marcus
could give away his old name. “Marcus, I’m going to need you to stay calm and understand that we are going to fix this.”
“Dude what happened? Why do you look so old? Where are we? There was that guy in the lab...” Marcus
was sitting on the edge of the bed. “Cheese?”
“Marcus I’m going to ask you some questions just so I can tell you how everything happened correctly.” Coulson offered a smirk, “I’ll let you know that we are in America right now and that this involves super heroes.”
Nick laughed, “Damn, seriously? You know I don’t like any of those new supers.”
“Yes.” Coulson smiled, “You never thought they made them right anymore after Captain America.”
“Hey you can’t disagree, I saw the comics and cards you had in your bunk. Fanboy.” Marcus
sighed looking around. “Lets see … its 1992. George Bush is president and I was just about to get ready to go on patrol at Camp Bullis.”
“Camp Bullis.” Coulson let out a chuckle. It had been a long time ago. “Alright, answers. You are currently in New York city but because of an accident you have been transferred 20 years into the future. It’s 2012. We’re working on fixing it because I’m 100% positive that 1992 cannot handle the 2012 version of yourself without causing some sort catastrophe.”
“Aw you’re going to make me blush.” Marcus
looked serious for a second. “Man you’re serious aren’t you? It’s really 2012? It’s been 20 years?”
“We’re going to send you back.” Coulson said softly.
“How’s my mom?” Marcus
asked earnestly. Coulson sucked in a deep breath and closed his eyes.
“I’m sorry Marcus.” He leaned forward and put a hand on his shoulder. “She … she’s gone now. I can’t tell you anymore and you can’t ask questions like that. It could mess with things when we send you back.”
looked devastated for a split second before getting angry. “Tell me how. Was it natural? Can I stop it?”
“I can’t tell you that.” Phil deflated. “I can’t.”
“Which means I could stop it. If you could tell me.” The other man growled. “Fuck, Cheese just tell me, I would do the same for you.”
“I’m sorry.” Phil shook his head.
“Fuck you man.” He got up and went to the door and Coulson didn’t bother trying to stop him. He stopped at the door. “I can’t leave here can I?”
“No.” Phil shook his head again.
“Did you know they have known each other that long?” Steven looked over at Clint who was running his hands over his quiver.
“I figured they had some of story … no one really knows.” Clint shrugged looking at the video feed Jarvis was playing them on the wall as they sat outside the door. Steve probably could hear what was going on in the room but he made no comment. “I can’t even imagine the Director with two eyes let alone being a Captain America fanboy.”
Steve blushed red causing Clint to snicker.
“Then again I think everyone has a soft spot for you. Hell, everyone knows your Coulson’s favorite.” He chuckled as the man played with his shield shyly.
“It’s weird to think about.” Steve admitted. “I prefer it when people don’t treat me like a national icon.”
Clint went back to watching Coulson on the screen. He looked like a different person sitting there in civvies.
“You think he was a Ranger too?” Steve asked quietly.
“I wouldn’t be surprised.” Clint offered with a smile.
They didn’t have much to talk about since there wasn’t much Phil could tell him. They sat there in silence for a while.
“You’re not married.” Marcus
nodded at Phil’s finger.
“No.” Phil shrugged. “Our lives are pretty busy.”
“What happened to Sue?”
“Didn’t work out.” Phil leaned back in his chair. “She’s happy now.”
“Am I married?” He asked raising an eyebrow. Phil glared at him slightly. “Fine I get it, you can’t answer it. I was going to be nice but where’d your hair go?”
“You’re the bald one here.” Phil tried not to smile.
“On purpose.” Marcus
rolled his eyes. “Sorry for getting mad at you. I know you have your reasons.”
“I would be pretty pissed to.” Phil shrugged. “But I’ve seen people mess with the timelines and it never works out well.”
“So … who’s fault is it that we’re working with superheroes and apparently dealing with time travel on such a regular basis that you’re all chill about it.” Marcus
waved his hand at Phil. “I bet this is all your fault fanboy.”
“Classified.” Phil smirked.
“You’re an ass.” Marcus
“I’ve been hanging out with you too long.” Coulson snapped back. “Your kind of ass-hole is apparently contagious. In fact being an ass is a requirement in order to work with you.”
“Haha its good to know you’re still around.” Marcus
humms with a smile. “You’re still a good guy Cheese.”
“Yeah well, don’t get used to it.” Phil looks towards the door as it opens and Reed and Tony walk in holding a small machine. “You probably won’t remember any of this anyway.”
“Okay I think we got it.” Tony glares at Reed who glares back.
“You think?” Coulson hisses.
“It will work.” Reed corrects offering a small smile.
“Time to go?” Marcus
stand up from the bed. He gives Coulson a hesitant look.
“Yes, does he need to stand anywhere?” Coulson moves beside Marcus
. It’s a habit he never thought of breaking.
“He should be fine but you need to move away.” Reed starts pressing buttons.
“Any last words? Last advice?” Marcus
grins. Phil bites his lip looking into both of his eyes. He clenches his hands into fists before stepping back.
“You’re probably not going to remember any of this.” Reed mentions before the machine lights up.
Phil opens his mouth before he can help it. “If there’s one thing you can remember. Its to trust me you ass hole. When you’re life is on the line I’m going to put myself right there with you. When you don’t think you have anyone you but your sorry ass you do. When … when everything starts going to hell don’t you dare start thinking you need to protect me.”
looks at him surprised before the light hits him. And Coulson can’t believe he just did that in a room with four other men.
They certainly don’t have the clearance for his breakdowns.
“Shit.” He mutters as
Nick Fury appears looking around and pissed.
“What the hell happened? Stark this is your fault.” He says looking at Reed and Tony. “Reed what are you doing here?”
“Sir.” Coulson steps forward. “Mr. Stark invented a time machine that switched you and yourself from 20 years ago into this time. Mr. Richards came over and they fixed the machine so they could bring you back.”
Nick looked down at Coulson blankly before looking at Stark. “What the hell is the point of that? Now destroy that thing, that is the most useless fucking time machine I have ever seen in my life.”
“Hey now.” Tony seeths. “We just brought you back!”
“Yes with a crappy as time machine that doesn’t even do it right. Now if you’re going to build one at least make it, oh I don’t know, watch some Doctor Who and come up with ideas. Now where the fuck are my pod-racers?”
“Welcome back sir.” Steve smiles as Tony starts shouting angrily about Star Wars.
“Flying cars you asshole!”
“Sir.” Coulson sighs a little relieved and still horrified at his actions a few seconds ago. “You’re going to want to call SHIELD before Hill gets comfortable in your office. The only people who know what has happened are here in this room.”
“Dammit Coulson I would prefer if you put yourself in charge before Hill.”
Fury rolled his eyes taking out his phone. Reed and Tony started arguing as they left the room and Phil watched Steve follow them worried. Clint was leaning against the wall with his arms crossed staring at Coulson.
“Thank you for letting me borrow your clothes Barton.” Phil nodded at the man as he passed the archer. The man fell into step behind him. “Would you like me to have them dry cleaned before I return them?”
“Naw just throw them on the floor.” Clint shrugged. “Sir.”
“What Barton?” Coulson stopped and glared at the other man.
“It’s just … I wanted you to know …” Clint sighs and his cheeks go a little pink. “What you said in there. I wanted you to know that I will always have your back sir.”
Phil blinked, that wasn’t what he had been expecting. “Thank you Barton.”