They’re all used to being targeted.
It came with the gig.
Loki, Doombots, Aliens, and mad scientists always wanting to take the Avengers out so that they can have control over the world. Which of course didn’t make too much sense to Clint because it wasn’t as if taking out their team that’s only been around for a couple of years would lead the world to getting on its knees.
Well that one time … but hey its was before he could really consider them a team.
The point is, is that they usually get targeted because they’re a threat.
Even as just a SHIELD agent being targeted wasn’t anything new. Being targeted when you weren’t on the field or even at home was sometimes a surprise but usually expected.
Clint really shouldn’t have been as surprised as he was when Coulson was targeted.
“Oh you have got to be kidding me!” Tony grabbed onto the counter as the building shook. He had just come to the kitchen for a cup of coffee so he could finally start his day … at 3 pm. “That better not be the Hulk.”
“It’s not me!” Bruce was sitting at the kitchen table trying to keep everything from falling off of it. Tony grimaced as the man gave him a little glare that said ‘stop blaming me for shit’. But really you can’t blame him, he had been awake for 72 hours before last night so he shouldn’t be blamed for his lack of observational skills.
“What’s the situation?” Steve slid into the room as the movement stopped. He was covered in sweat and had obviously been in the training room but still had his shield at hand. Tony rolled his eyes, there was being prepared all the time and then there was Steve Rogers. He was still getting used to it. He tried really hard not to mumble “show off”.
“JARVIS?” Tony took his eyes away from Steve to look out of the windows. There was smoke obviously coming from the building.
“Something has hit Stark Tower on the 85th floor. Minimal damage has been done to the structure of the building and evacuation alarms have been activated.” Tony cursed, that was one of the office floors.
“Too soon to tell sir but there have been several injuries and whatever hit the building is making its way up. I have notified the authorities as well as SHIELD to this attack.” Tony looked back at Steve as the man went into “Captain mode” as Clint and Tony liked to call it. Steve pointed at him.
“Get your suit on. JARVIS try to keep whatever hit us away from the civilians.”
Steve nodded at Bruce. “We might need Hulk, whatever hit us was large. Where’s Hawkeye, Black Widow and Thor?”
“Sir they’re on the 92nd floor in the pool area with Agent Coulson. I have notified them of what has happened and they are preparing to intercept. Thor left this morning but I have notified him as well.” JARVIS chipped in helpfully as Tony made his way outside deciding he didn’t have to stay and watch Bruce turn Hulk.
“I swear to god if my freaking tower gets knocked down-”
“Tony, we need Iron Man.”
Tony huffed running to the balcony it was the closest place for him to get his suit on. He coughed as smoke hit him but as he looked down he could tell the building wasn’t on fire. He could already see people getting out of the building. Good. He stepped on the platform letting the suit fall into place around him before flying back inside and following Steve, Hulk was ahead of them growling angrily.
“C’mon big guys those were automatic doors!” Tony sighed as they were thrown off their hinges.
“Tinman’s stupid doors are Tinman’s problems.” Hulk growled before continuing.
“Not now.” Steve glanced at him quickly before Tony could respond. Hulk was not his favorite .. right now at least.
There was another rumble and it sounded like there was already a fight going on just below them. Tony saw Hulk glare at the floor. He cursed quickly grabbing Steve as the green giant hit the floor creating a whole for them to fall through.
“Thanks.” Steve breathed heavily as the Hulk fell through and right ontop of some sort of mecha-warrior looking thing. Tony whistled, it looked eerily similar to the Hammer-droids from two years ago or something from a japanese cartoon.
“SMASH!” Hulk growled ripping it in half.
“Okay that was a little too easy.” He dropped Steve to the ground before landing. “Is that a Hammer drone? Is that the only one?” He looked around.
“It didn’t put up a fight at all.” Hulk growled looking around for more things to destroy. But they were on the floor where Tony put his large pool, ugh it looked like it was leaking. Someone was going to need to get on that before Pepper came up here and said “I told you so” about putting large swimming pools in an office building.
“Thanks anyway big guy.” Clint was suddenly there in a bathing suit but holding his crossbow. He patted Hulk’s arm gently. Out of all the Avengers, Hulk seemed to like Clint the most, though Tony couldn’t figure out why.
“Nope!” Clint even did a 360 to show off his lack of injuries. Steve was looking around frantically.
“Where’s Natasha and Agent Coulson?”
“Here Captain.” Natasha was there, sadly not in a bathing suit but still in civvies, she had a gash on her head and she sat down on top of a large piece of rubble. Coulson was behind her and he was in a suit like always. Tony lifted up his mask.
“Were you guys just watching Barton swim?”
“Natasha are you okay?” Steve was at her side in an instant as she tried to wave him off.
“I just got here, Stark..” Coulson looked around. “Is there anything of importance on this floor?”
“No, just the pool.” Tony motioned at them. “Obviously.” He looked back at the robot. “This looks like a knock-off Hammer-roid … which is sad because that was already a knock-off.”
“We need to figure out why it attacked.” Coulson suddenly had a phone and turned away from the group.
“Could it be because we keep ruining people’s plans to take over the world?” Clint asked leaning against Hulk who was now pulling apart the robot even more.
“Barton, take Banner upstairs so he stops breaking the android.” Coulson snaps causing everyone to look at him. “Natasha you are to report to medical and I’ll know if you skip. Captain, Mr. Stark, we need to figure out what its goal was and who created it.”
“Fine but I’m not filling out any paperwork on this. You know how much this damage is going to cost me?” Tony groans.
“I told you not to put an olympic swimming pool in this building.” Clint snickered as he watched Pepper Potts glare at Tony with her hands on her hips. She had the man filling out paperwork. “You realize that the damages from the water alone cost more than the hole ripped into the building by a freaking robot? Tony what are you thinking?”
“Barton do I have your attention?” Clint flinched as he turned back to Coulson who was glaring at him with his arms crossed. Natasha rolled her eyes at him from beside Thor who was eating a box of pop-tarts, apparently that had been why he had left earlier. Steve was pacing at the side of the room and seemed to be dividing his attention from Coulson to watching Tony and Pepper worried. Clint made a note of that before leering at Coulson.
“Always sir.” He winked at Coulson’s blinked twice - which in Phil Coulson speak was practically rolling his eyes with a big sigh- before turning back to the group.
Clint wasn’t an idiot contrary to some people’s beliefs. He liked watching people, he liked watching some people more than others. He knew he was feeling something extra for a certain Agent of SHIELD but what could he say, Clint had tragic tastes. Ignoring people he fell in love with before he was 18, because seriously he was a kid and shouldn't be responsible for some of his choices, the last time he felt anything remotely close to this was with Natasha and even then that was different. But he wasn’t an idiot, he was allowed to look, allowed to flirt but he didn’t lie to himself and think he had any sort of chance with the other man. Coulson was a SHIELD man through and through. The only person that was more dedicated was probably Nick Fury himself.
Clint knew Coulson wasn’t married, even before the Avengers Coulson was practically at SHIELD 24/7 or on missions away. The man was dedicated to his work so Clint treated himself in knowing, he was part of that work. Besides at this point Clint liked the think of them as colleagues maybe even friends. According to SHIELD baby-agents they all believed Coulson had two friends, Nick Fury and his gun.
“We can rule out a distraction because there hasn’t been any moves or attacks other than the one this afternoon.” Natasha spoke up before looking at her cell phone She had three stitches on her forehead from medical. “It could just be a test run for a future attack? They did just send one.”
“Aye, it could be a scout.” Thor nodded eating the pink pop-tart. “The cowards even sent a machine instead of a man. Not that there is anything wrong with machines ever-watchful JARVIS.” He quickly corrected himself looking up at the roof.
“We’ll have to consider this an attack for now. Mrs. Potts.” Coulson turned to Pepper who was on her phone. She looked up at him surprised before saying a few words and hanging up. Coulson waited for her full attention before continuing. “As the Avengers are staying in Stark Tower I think it would be prudent to leave the top half of the building empty of civilians. We were lucky there were no casualties today and that there hasn’t been a direct attack sooner.”
“You’re saying more than the 10 floors we already emptied.” She sighed. “I’ll see what we can do.”
“Thank you Ms. Potts.”
“Hey shouldn’t this be my decision?” Everyone ignored Stark.
“Could they have just been after any classified Stark tech?” Steve spoke up and it wasn’t the first time anyone thought it but-
“SHIELD is investigating the droid and until we figure out where it came from consider all options open.” Coulson glared at Stark who let out noise.
“I want to play with the- I mean I want to look at the Hammer-drone knock off too. I could help.” Clint snickered.
“Fine. Stark you can come with me to the helicarrier. Everyone else, keep one eye open.” Coulson grabbed pulled his phone out of his pocket to call for a transport. Clint hopped up and fell in step behind him with a smile ignoring Natasha shaking her head with a smirk.
Of course she knew about his little crush, Clint had never been good with keeping things away from her.
“Plus one sir.” Clint nudged Coulson’s shoulder.
“You’re not coming with if all you’re going to do is sit in my office and throw things at the new agents.” Coulson put his hand over the phone and glared. Clint smiled innocently.
Coulson’s lips twitched slightly so Clint counted it as a win. He tried to think of another reason to go with them. He glanced at Stark who was obviously being mother hen double-teamed by both Pepper and Steve. Oh.
“Actually sir since there was an attack I figured it would be better to stay in groups. Just in case they were trying to distract us with the drone when they were really aiming for just one of us. You do know how those bad guys really like trying to kidnap Stark and all.”
“Screw you Barton.”
“Thats not a bad idea.” Steve was looking at everyone. “We should try to keep together just in case.”
“Well I do not believe these wrong-doers are after me since they had many a moment to attack while I was in the grand Wal-mart.” Thor leaned back.
“Lets not take chances.” Coulson spoke up since it still seemed like he was the only one everyone on the team would listen to at all times. “Thor and Captain Rogers can stay here and keep an eye on the place with Mr. Banner. Natasha for the time being would you accompany Ms. Potts to the rest of her meetings and keep an eye open.”
“Wha- Why if I may ask?” Pepper looked startled.
“Its not a bad theory and if they can’t get to Stark because he’s protected they might go after those closest to him. As CEO to Stark Industries and an ex-lover,” Clint noticed both Stark and Pepper flinched slightly, obviously the wound was still too fresh. “You would be an excellent target. Mr. Rhodes is on an air force base at this moment.”
“Well … okay.” She deflated brushing a strand of red hair behind her ear. Pepper smiled at Natasha. “Welcome back to Stark Industries I guess.”
No one asked if Natasha would need back up, Clint had a feeling she would kill anyone who tried before they finished the sentence.
“Barton, Stark, lets go.” Coulson snapped his fingers once and Clint went immediately to his side but Stark fumbled.
“I’ll meet you at the elevator!” He kissed Pepper on the cheek mumbling a quick “stay safe” before winking at Steve and then running out of the room. Probably to get his briefcase suit, Clint mused. He glanced back at Steve who was blushing slightly looking to where Stark ran to. Shit, that was either going to be a really horrible thing … or a really fantastic thing. Clint made a mental note to ask Natasha about it.
Hey, he liked gossip as much as the next guy.
Okay he liked gossip more than a bunch of menopausal mom’s with too much money, too much free time and probably their own show on a cable network. He’s also seen Real Housewives Atlanta and is Team Nene, thank you very much.
Coulson blinked before walking to the elevator and Clint followed with a smile. “What’s so amusing Barton?”
“Just happy to have a moment alone with you sir.” Clint winked and Coulson actually sighed this time. “You sound like you need a vacation.”
“The last time you went on vacation it ended with us finding a hammer that belonged to an alien.” Coulson smirked, “Imagine what would happen if I decided to take a few days off.”
“Thor prefers god over alien.” Clint tried not to sound as gleeful as he felt. “And sir are you bragging? You’ve never been on vacation?.”
“Classified.” Clint swore he noticed Coulson’s eyes crinkle before the man put his sunglasses on. Dammit.
“You’re a bastard sir.” He laughs low but now he has an image of Coulson laughing in his head and he doesn’t think he’ll be able to die happy without seeing it.
He’s got it bad.
“Okay, lets go.” Tony comes down stairs looking as smooth as ever with his briefcase in tow.
“That is not a Hammer-drone.” Slips out of his mouth as soon as he walks into where SHIELD has been taking the thing apart. The whole thing has been taken apart and there’s blueprints from them reverse engineering it, they moved fast. Tony’s sad they took most of the fun parts.
“How can you tell?” Tony almost jumps, he forgot that Clint was following him since Coulson dropped them off in this room with orders for the archer not to leave Tony alone with any of the tech. Clint was already pouting, Tony rolled his eyes and wondered if Coulson was blind or really just didn’t give a damn about how a certain Avenger felt for him.
Either way, sucked for Clint.
“For one, it works.” Tony grinned decided to be nice and play entertainer. Clint snorted. He looked over the blueprints. “Well okay, they have something in common with Hammer.”
“Hm?” Clint picked up one of the arms and made a movement like he was going to shoot one of Tony’s gauntlets.
“This design is mine.” Tony frowns grabbing a red sharpie and writing over it. “Well the basic idea … and all the good parts. Looks like someone’s been stealing my shit again.” He grabs his phone and send JARVIS a message to go over all the security measures.
“So you think it was just after your tech?” Clint puts the helmet over his head and Tony snorts because its looks ridiculous.
“I don’t see why they just sent one.” Tony scribbles some more before looking at all the pieces. “And they obviously have some way to get my blueprints, but not the new ones. This was something I designed when I first became Iron Man. A suit I could run by remote in case I somehow couldn’t make it to my own. I never finished it because well … things happened.”
“So someone came, took it and finished it.” Clint crosses his arms and leans against the wall by the door. “How did you not notice that when you saw the thing?”
“Well obviously they made changes.” Tony waves a hand over the thing, it was bulky and ugly. “This looks like something from Ghost In The Shell, not Stark Industries. The design is still … there’s this big empty pocket right here.” He waved at the blueprint. “Which doesn’t make any sense unless it was planning on carrying something in there. So either SHIELD messed this up and I should rebuild the thing just to check or the people who designed this wanted there to be room for a person but didn’t want them to pilot it.”
Tony closed his eyes and cursed.
“I don’t get it.” Clint is glaring at the robot pieces on the table.
“I think it had something inside of it that it left at the Tower.” Tony curses again pulling out his phone and calling Steve. Clint grabs his arm and suddenly they’re making their way down the hall and he can hear the archer talking to Coulson.
“Tony?” Steve answers and he sounds a little breathless.
“Steve I think there was something inside the robot-”
“Yeah.” Steve half-chuckles and Tony feels his blood go cold. “Its … a robot.” Steve’s voice is slurred and Tony starts snapping at Clint to get his attention. “Its looking for something. It … JARVIS … Bruce …” Then Steve obviously dropped the phone.
“Shit shit shit.” Tony looks up to see Clint and Coulson looking at him. “There was a robot in the suit and its in the tower and its taken out Steve. He said it was looking for something. It had to do something to JARVIS.” He tried to reach his AI that should be connected to his phone. “Shit.”
“Both of you suit up.” Coulson looked them both in the eye, “meet me at the transports in five minutes.” And with that the man was ordering other Agents around and making his way to the bridge.
“Fuck.” Clint ran the opposite way as Tony already threw his suitcase on the floor and was suiting up. It wasn’t the best suit but it would do for this.
Fifteen minutes later they were at Stark Tower. Tony looked up. “I’m going up there.”
“No you’re not.” Coulson grabbed his arm. “Not alone. Once we have the area clear we’re going to take a transporter up to your landing pad. You are going to take Agent Woo and fly up and enter through the other side, Natasha’s room has a balcony. JARVIS is offline so we do not know where this robot is or what we’re up against but we do know that it has Steve, Bruce and Thor.”
Pepper and Natasha were at the Commissioner’s lunch benefit right now.
“I don’t see any lightning, I don’t think that’s a good sign.” Clint had his quiver at the ready.
“Fine.” Tony agreed with clenched teeth. It was so much easier when he didn’t have anyone to answer to. He grabbed Agent Woo and they made their way to Natasha’s balcony as Coulson, Clint and other agents went to the landing pad.
They broke through the glass doors and Tony was slightly disappointed that the robot or whatever wasn’t there. They made their way through and Agent Woo opened the hallway door before going out. Tony tried to connect with JARVIS again.
“We’re in.” Tony tapped his earpiece.
“Eyes open Stark.” Coulson answered, he could hear the Agents entering the building from the landing pad. First he needed to find Steve, Bruce and Thor, then he could worry about where the robot was.
That was if it hadn’t found him first.
At first it looked liked a large grey preying mantis but the second it jumped on Agent Woo who let out a startled yelp, Tony could see the gears and the metal spinning. The robot’s long limbs had the agent pinned before it scanned over him with a green light. Tony turned his gauntlet at them cursing the fact he didn’t have a good shot without hitting Woo.
“Hey! Over here!” He waved his arms.
The robot-mantis, as Tony was going to call it in his head, shot a dart out of its mouth that hit Woo and the man immediately went laxed in its grip. Shit, Tony hoped he wasn’t dead.
Oh and of course now he has it’s attention. Tony cursed as it jumped at him but he quickly flew out of the way. “Agent Woo is down! I found it!”
“Bring it to the kitchen.” Coulson’s voice was calm. “If you can manage that.”
“Fuck you Coulson.” Tony chuckled. “I really hope your agent isn’t dead.” He jumped to the other side of the hall as the robot-mantis jumped at him again but this time it caught him with its long arms. Shit shit shit, he blasted it with his reactor and it jumped off. Shit it barely did any damage.
“C’mon … follow me …” Tony cursed as his back hit the wall. He quickly spun and ran down the hallway which felt weird considering he was in his armour. The robot-mantis immediately followed and Tony had to take to flying just so he could get out of it’s way in time. He suddenly missed JARVIS’ voice.
“Down Stark!” Tony turned his repulsors off and hit the floor. He watched as the robot-mantis flew over his head obviously missing catching him.
“What the hell is that?” Barton’s voice came up before there were sounds of gunfire.
“Uh boss, bullets aren’t working.”
“Barton move!” Tony got up just in time to watch the robot-mantis jump on Clint who shot it in the face with an arrow. The arrow hit but now the robot was moving with an arrow through its head obviously not affected.
“Dammit!” Tony went to go grab the robot but Coulson was there suddenly and did he just punch a robot in the face? “Both of you move so I can blast it!”
“What the fu-” The robot-mantis shoved Barton’s face into the ground and grabbed Coulson with its long arms, the agent shot at its body as it scanned the both of them with its green light. It let out a sharp high pitched noise that Tony decided didn’t bode well for anyone but then Captain America’s shield came out from behind him and hit the robot-mantis causing it to release both of them as it flew across the room.
Tony turned to see Steve catch his shield, still in his civvies so they were definitely caught off guard and he had four of those darts that the robot-mantis hit Agent Woo with on his shoulder, the blonde slumped against the wall glaring at the robot-mantis. “Steve!”
“Blast it Iron Man!” Steve ordered so instead of running over to help the blonde he turned around and shot at the thing with his repulsors. It was still letting out the high pitched noise that almost sounded like a siren, Tony wished there weren’t so many people in the room so he could use his other weapons.
“I need you all to get out of here so I can destroy the thing! I think it’s communicating with whoever sent it!” He really wished he had his other suit on, it had more toys to shoot this thing with. The robot-mantis jumped at Clint again who Coulson was pulling back but Tony grabbed it and slammed it into the wall. As soon as he was sure everyone was far enough away he let shot it with everything he had.
The robot-mantis and the wall it was half inside of both fell into the next room. Tony grabbed its “neck” with both hands, sparks flying everywhere as it glitched and the noise was coming in short spurts now, he pulled and ripped it in half thankful for the extra strength the suit gave him, but even with that it wasn’t as easy as he thought it would be.
Finally the noise stopped.
“Thank Christ.” He breathed as the reading on his suit let him know he was low … on everything. “I think its dead.”
“Couldn’t have started off with that?” Clint joked coming over and poking the pieces with his quiver.
“Captain you need to sit down.” They both turned to see the an agent looking at Steve worried.
“Thor and Bruce are upstairs, they … these things pack a punch.” Steve’s words were still slightly slurred as he started pulling the darts out of his shoulder. He looked over at Tony. “You alright?”
“Yeah big guy.” Tony pulled at the releases on his side and the suit started undoing itself. “So how many of those things did it take to put Thor to sleep?”
“Like twenty?” Steve winced as Coulson pulled out the last one with a frown. The man’s knuckles were red from when he punched the robot-mantis in the face which Tony was going to remember forever.
“AIM.” Coulson sighed. “Stark, you said that it was communicating?”
“AIM? Are you freaking serious?” Tony groaned stepping out of the suit and picking it up as it was a briefcase again. “I hate those guys.”
He really hated those guys. They were always stealing his shit and messing it up.
“Yeah, from what I could tell with just half my system running, it looked like it was sending out a signal. I figured whatever it scanned on Clint was what it was looking for.” He looked over at the archer who started looking over himself just in case it struck him with anything. “But why him?”
“Seriously? Is there anything on my back? This isn’t cool.” Clint tried to look at his own back before going to Coulson. “Is there?”
“You’re back is fine Barton.” Coulson sighed and was obviously ignoring the way Clint leered. “What do you have on you?”
“Just the usual.” Clint shrugged. “Nothing that I would think AIM would be interested in.” He started emptying out his pockets onto the counter.” Tony wondered if some of those pockets were bigger on the inside with the amount of weapons he was pulling out. He walked over to Steve who looked a little woozy but the medics were done talking to him so he had to be okay.
“No Stark hasn’t slipped me any weird untested weapons, jeez Coulson.” Tony looked up at Clint who was now getting patted down by the senior agent. He gave the man a thumbs up as Clint looked slightly flustered. “Shouldn’t we check on Bruce and Thor?”
“We are here comrades.” They all turned to see Thor helping Bruce into the room. Tony noticed Agents picking up the robot-mantis parts and putting them in some thick containers. “I am glad to see you defeated that vile creature who attacked us from behind.”
“Just glad you guys are okay.” Tony smiled and sat down wearily beside Steve who smiled back but still looked woozy. “But that was easier than I thought it would be.”
This is all Stark’s fucking fault.
He said those freaking words.
Of course he was a walking jynx, the bastard. Clint was going to punch him in the face. “Easier than I thought it would be” his ass, might as well have said “Oh it can’t get any worse” or “at least its not raining”. Because no matter what, it can and it does.
All Clint knew was one moment he was about to tell Stark to knock on wood for being a fucking jynx and the next moment this little disc flew into the room. It was just a tiny little metal disk with a green light on it but no one realized it was there until it landed on Coulson’s arm.
Then time slowed down.
Clint looked up at Coulson who was looking at him like he wanted to punch something because this day could not end soon enough. Then Coulson pushed him away as the disc let out a small beep and then Coulson crumpled to his knees letting out a pained yell and grabbing at his arm.
“Coulson!” He grabbed the man but immediately let go as he was shocked. “Shit! Its electrocuting him!” He went to the count and grabbed one of his arrows but was stopped by Thor’s large hand.
“Let me try.” The God let him go before leaning over Coulson whose fists were clenched so tightly his knuckles were white. He hadn’t let out another noise since the first yell of pain. Clint bit his lip, Thor would be a lot better at this than just poking it with an arrow.
“Please just get it off of him.” He didn’t know what to do.
Thor moved Coulson so he could grab onto the disc, the god hissed through his teeth and made a pained expression as he grabbed the metal piece before trying to pull it off. Thor cried out before letting go, he made an angry noise before trying again.
“Avengers! Incoming!” Agent Sitwell suddenly ran into the room with a gun at hand. He looked surprised at Coulson. “Coulson!?”
“What’s incoming?” Stark jumped up and Clint turned around just in time to see a group of robots that were similar to the earlier one from this morning flying outside the window. He turned around grabbing his bow from the counter and more arrows but making sure to keep his body in front of Coulson.
“Guys I think they’re after Coulson!” He shouted.
“I’m sorry Son of Coul I cannot remove this without damaging you.” Thor said solemnly and Clint cursed mentally but didn’t turn around to check on his old handler. Coulson was going to be okay, he just had to protect him.
And then the robots rushed the building.
Clint shot off arrows as fast as he could. He saw Steve’s shield out of the corner of his eye and the first robot’s legs were cut off causing it to crash right in front of them. It gave Clint and Coulson better cover but it also didn’t help with him being able to shoot the other ones. He chanced a glance behind him to see Coulson staring at the ground with a blank look, but he looked pale and he tell his teeth were clenched. He was still in pain. Hopefully it wasn’t any more pain that SHIELD agents were trained for.
“Coulson I’m going to get that thing off of you as soon as we destroy these things.” He promised and ignored if his voice cracked a little bit.
He didn’t know how he did it but suddenly Tony was flying around in his newest suit and not the briefcase one and shooting at the robot-droid things. There was a loud roar and Clint grabbed Coulson ignoring the shocking sensation enough to throw them both against the wall as the Hulk ran by and tackled one of the robots out of the window … and down 95 stories.
Clint cursed as something hard and metal grabbed his leg and threw him across the room. He let out a shout of pain as he collided with a wall and hit the ground. He could hear SHIELD agents shooting their guns and there was shouting around him. He curse forcing himself to get back up as he coughed some blood onto the ground.
He had to get up and protect Coulson, he didn’t know why these guys wanted the other man but hell Clint wanted him first. Fucking dibs man.
He winced putting weight on his right leg, something was injured there but he didn’t have time for that. He got up and ran to the counter before looking over where Coulson was supposed to be beside the wall. Except he wasn’t there.
“Coulson!” Clint turned just in time to see the man in question shoot the android with no legs as it was dragging him across the floor.
“Let go foul robot!” Thor boomed throwing his hammer at the thing.
“No!” Clint’s eyes widened as the hammer hit the robot causing it to fly out of the building and over the balcony, its grip still tight on Coulson’s arm. From the look on Coulson’s face, he was just as surprised as Clint was before he went over the side with the robot. “COULSON!?”
No no no no no no - “Hawkeye stop!” Clint’s arm was grabbed as he looked over the edge but before he could get a good look he was being pulled back by Steve.
“I’m not going to jump!” He yelled trying to pull his arm free but he couldn’t breath, it hurt so much. “I need to see!”
“Iron Man went after him.” Steve pulled him away from the edge. Clint hadn’t even seen Tony go after him, maybe he had been flying out there already after Hulk jumped off? Shit, he was supposed to notice these things but his mind was just running on Coulson Coulson Coulson he ran a hand through his hair and closed his eyes.
“The robots?” He asked through clenched teeth.
“I think we got all of them.” Steve whispered close to him. “Incoming.” Clint let himself be pulled as he watched Hulk jump onto the landing pad, he noticed the SHIELD transport was missing, probably destroyed. Iron Man landed beside them when he noticed that Hulk was carrying Coulson.
Relief hit him like a bullet in the stomach. His legs were shaking as he looked the man over then he noticed Coulson’s wide-eyes and white face. He gasped following the man’s gaze to Coulson’s right arm where the disc had attached itself except now there wasn’t an arm.
Coulson’s right arm had been ripped off and instead of the mangled flesh that should be there it was metal and gears and torn wires. There was red as if he had been bleeding. Clint opened his mouth he could feel his face twisting, confused. He looked up and noticed Coulson was holding onto his mangled robotic arm, it was covered in blood but you could still see metal piercing through the skin.
Coulson had a robotic arm? Clint looked up at the man’s wide-eyes, still staring at where his arm used to be.
Coulson hadn’t known he had a robotic arm. It was the only way that expression, so open on the usually blank face, made any sense.
“Sir?” Clint tried. The back of his mind knew that things were happening around them but he didn’t have time to process that right now. Coulson needed him. He was surprised Hulk was remaining still with Coulson in his hands. The man didn’t look up at him.
“Coulson, boss …” Clint tried again getting closer and touching the man’s hand that was holding onto his severed arm with a tight grip. Coulson jumped and looked up at him.
Clint’s throat felt tight, he had never seen that expression or anything close to it on Coulson’s face before. “Sir?”
“What am I?” Coulson’s usual voice was calm, collected and sexy. This voice sounded like metal mixed with the sound of dial-up internet and it was absolutely terrified.
Tony had been shocked when Coulson’s arm was torn off and revealed to be robotic but seeing the Agent’s face when he saw his own arm fall to pieces, Coulson had been even more surprised.
Tony had a feeling it had more to do with the mechanics and less to do with his actual arm being ripped off, after all SHIELD agents were apparently expected to deal with all sorts of bodily harm.
All of the Avengers were sitting in a debriefing room at SHIELD. They had taken Coulson the second Fury and his team had arrived on sight. The one-eyed man demanded they all go to the helicarrier and then they were all shoved into this room. Natasha had joined them only after Clint had escaped the third time to go find Coulson, now they were both sitting in a corner of the room seething.
Tony watched as she ran her hand through Clint’s hair as he glared at the door wanting to go find Coulson. He looked away confused, if Coulson was a robot he would have known a lot sooner than now. He had seen the man get injured in the line of duty, had that been some sort of duplicate robot? If so why had it been so surprised? Or was it just the arm and somehow Coulson hadn’t known?
He looked over to see Steve pacing back and forth, his lips in a tight frown. Thor was tracing the symbols on his hammer and mumbling things that Tony figured was “asgardian” language. He looked over to Bruce who was sitting beside him quietly helping Tony go over JARVIS’ code to see what the AIM bastards had done to him.
The tension in the room was high.
The door slammed open and Fury stepped in shutting and locking it behind him. He looked furious. Tony glared at him.
“Where’s Coulson? Is he okay?” Clint shot up immediately but was being held back by Natasha which was probably smart.
Fury paused and took a deep breath. “Agent Coulson is going to be fine. That’s all I can say about that situation.” He glared at all of them daring them to challenge him.
Well Tony always liked challenges.
“Oh no no no. You owe me … us … well especially me, some information.” He stood up and crossed his arms ignoring Steve’s protest for him to shut up. “My Tower is practically destroyed because AIM was aiming for your man and I want to know why.”
“I don’t ‘owe’ you anything Mr. Stark.” Fury bit out angrily. “You knew your tower had a high chance of being torn down when you invited a group of superheroes to live with you in it.”
“I want to know why Coulson was attacked sir.” Clint speaks up again and the room goes silent. “If we had known there was a possibility that this was going to happen I feel like we could have managed the situation with less damage. We did not have all the facts sir.” Clint bit out the ‘sir’. Tony would have whistled at the angry tone but even he knew not to stop Clint when he was on a rant like this. “Since they failed to achieve their objective, ‘sir’. I suggest you tell us what the hell is going on so I fucking protect him this time!”
“You done Agent?” Fury raised an eyebrow but otherwise his face was blank.
“No sir, not until we know what is going on here.” Clint crossed his arms and Natasha glared at Fury causing the man to sigh.
“What I am about to tell you only three people alive today know, well now apparently that’s not true anymore if AIM has figured it out. We’re going to assume that they have all the facts and aren’t just playing a guessing game.” Fury paused making sure he had all their attention. “Agent Coulson is not human.”
If anything the tension in the room rose.
“What!? But he-” Clint was forced in a chair by Natasha who sat beside him. He frowned and crossed his arms. Tony wondered what it would be like to find out the man you had a crush on was a robot. He looked at Steve warily.
“As I was saying.” Fury glared at Clint. “He was created for SHIELD as ‘Correctional Observing Unit and Licensed SHIELD Operative N’, we used letters instead of numbers at the time. He was created by Howard Stark actually you two actually have the same birthday Stark.”
Tony choked on air. “What?!”
“We wanted the perfect Agent.” Fury crossed his arms. “We created it and used it to train our new agents. We kept his origin a secret because of how advanced he was engineering wise and we did not want our enemies getting ahold of that. He was a robot created to learn and observe us while remaining above standards in all things. I don’t know if your father meant to but he actually made Coulson better and more human than we expected. He actually started believing he was human. And after an incident 15 years ago he forgot that any part of him was not human, and as part of keeping him secret to the world we let him believe it.”
“But he’s been injured before! He bleeds just like us.” Clint was pale as he yelled at Fury.
“Yes, it wouldn’t be a good secret if we didn’t cover the basics.” Fury answered calmly.
“I would have known if he was a robot! None of this makes sense, I have scanners built all around my house in Malibu and my penthouse here.” Tony glared at Fury. “I would have known, I would have seen it in my father’s notes somewhere.”
“Believe it or not your father was good at a few things and keeping secrets was one of them.” Fury turned his back on them. “SHIELD adjusted the coding of your computers and detectors and even JARVIS when we first became involved. I knew I was going to assign Coulson to you and we couldn’t have you figuring it out so your scanners never saw him and JARVIS only saw him as human.”
“You can’t do that!?” Tony bristled.
“We can and we did.” Fury replied calmly. “Coulson has several components on him that help keep other mechanical devices from detecting him. We believe it had been fully functional until now, if AIM has discovered him we do not know who else knows.”
“What do they want with him?” Bruce spoke up surprising everyone. “I mean, no offense.” He looked at Clint and everyone pretended not to know why. “But isn’t he out dated now? Howard Stark has been dead for around 20 years now. The maintenance on him couldn’t have been easy without him figuring out what he really is, and shouldn’t he have the strength of a robot? Weigh more than your average person?”
“Yeah who’s been doing the maintenance on him since good ol’ dad died?” Tony asked bitterly. He wanted a drink.
“Howard trained Agent Sitwell under him to take care of anything should he not be able to make it in time. Sitwell has been able to keep upgrades in tact. The rest of that information is need to kno-”
“But doesn’t Coulson have a higher clearance than Sitwell?” Steve asked.
“That’s classified Rogers.” Fury sighs like this isn’t life changing information, it might not be for him but the rest of them are pretty surprised. Tony still can’t wrap his head around them having the same birthday let alone “creator”. Ugh, he was not going to call Coulson ‘bro’ anymore even if it was just to piss him off. “And Hank McCoy of the X-men has also been helping us keep Coulson, intact. Listen, I know this might be hard for you to wrap your heads around but now that you know, you can help us stop AIM from getting their hands on him.”
“Aye, but I wish you would have shared this fact with us sooner Man of Wrath.” Thor sighed. “How does the fair Son of Coul handle this information?”
Fury frowned and for the first time wouldn’t meet any of them in the eye.
“What other reasons would AIM want him, it can’t just be because he’s a highly sophisticated robot.” Tony crossed his arms. “I have plenty of those, there’s got to be something else.”
“He’s been with SHIELD for a long time, he has a lot of storage space.” Fury crosses his arms behind his back. “Now I have things that are more important than your feelings being hurt by me keeping secrets. I would suggest you pull yourselves together and figure out how to stop AIM.” He made his way back to the door to leave. “Or if you don’t feel like helping you can stay out of our way because I sure as hell will not let them take Coulson.”