Chapter 1: Rock What You Got - Superchick
It shouldn’t work.
It really shouldn’t.
All of them, save maybe Natasha and Barton, didn’t know the meaning of the word ‘team’, and even those two only understood it because they were paid to.
Phil Coulson hadn’t really subscribed to the Avenger’s Initiative. Not at the very beginning, anyway. But he did as he was told and so he started collecting up the little group of oddballs that might make a good addition to the group if for just a minute they would shut the hell up. Well, that only really applied to Stark and Thor. Doctor Banner was painfully quiet, and the less said about Cap the better.
Only there was an unforeseen problem. By the time he got to Rogers, Coulson had kind of been won over by the whole stupid idea.
And he hoped, quietly so that no one else would notice, that maybe there was a place here for him too.
Chapter 2: House of Fun - Madness
By the way, these aren't going to be in any particular chronological order or anything. And in some of them a certain character is dead and in others he isn't...so yeah. Just FYI
Everyone blamed Clint for corrupting Steve, for teaching him all of the best places to hide in the SHIELD base so Fury couldn’t find him, for teaching him all of the practical jokes that he knew so Steve could defend himself back at the mansion. Everyone blamed Clint because they had no one else to blame – Steve would never tell where he learned it, and if it wasn’t Tony – who was the butt of the jokes – then it had to be Clint…right?
Everyone blamed Clint for corrupting Steve, but Clint didn’t like that. He much preferred the word ‘enlightening’.
Chapter 3: You Got It - Roy Orbison
Tony hadn’t been exaggerating about the ten floors of labs. Nor was he anything but serious when he moved Bruce into one of his guest suites, bought him some new clothes because ‘Honestly, Banner, you look like a hobo!’ and gave him almost unlimited access to JARVIS and the code to the workshop door.
He was working on specs for Hulk-proofing the lower levels when Bruce began to panic, worried that somehow something was going to go wrong. Tony didn’t see his unease, but Pepper did. Pepper always did, and so she pulled him into a corner and whispered in his ear.
“Tony doesn’t know how to show affection with anything but money,” she said softly, “Money and jokes. He’s trying to tell you that he’s psyched you’re his friend. Humour him, for me.”
Bruce stayed, because he was kind of psyched too.
Chapter 4: Vaults of Heaven - Whistle Down The Wind
“I am told that the Son of Coul was a great friend of yours.”
“He sure was,” Clint murmured, eying Thor with something close to mistrust, because why on earth would he bring it up now?
“He was a great warrior,” Thor said, and held out a bottle of beer, “Drink to him with me, for surely such a man is now safe in Valhalla.”
And despite himself, Clint took a sip and grinned, because Thor was trying really hard, and the thought of Valhalla was kind of nice.
Chapter 5: Singin In The Rain
She found him up on the roof, in the middle of a summer downpour that New York so desperately needed. Tony was standing with his arms spread, face upturned to the torrent. He looked so – relaxed – that she didn’t say a word.
“You gonna watch me all day or you got something to say?” he asked eventually, turning to her with his hair plastered to his head.
“I never took you for being at one with nature, Stark.”
And he looked at her, just for a second, before he grinned.
“Then that’s one thing that you don’t know about me, Miss Romanoff.”
Chapter 6: What If - Kate Winslet
It’s not that Bruce doesn’t like Steve.
In fact, he finds his presence soothing in many ways – so much calmer than the rest of them. No, Bruce likes Steve just fine. It’s just that the man is a walking, talking reminder of the dreams Bruce once had. He represents a level of scientific perfection that Bruce would once have done anything to achieve, and one that he paid far too high a price for. So looking at Steve sometimes physically hurts, and Bruce is so, so tired of pain.
Chapter 7: We'll Meet Again - Vera Lynn
The gravestone was small, non-descript, in a quiet corner of the cemetery far from the noise of everyday life. Clint couldn’t imagine a better spot. Phil would have loved it.
The words on the stone were scarce, but Phil would have loved that too. He secretly liked using the anonymity of the suit and the shades and the scary badge to terrify people.
Philip J. Coulson
Lost Serving His Country.
“Hey, Phil,” Clint said quietly, standing with his hands in his pockets, “I don’t know what to say.”
“You don’t have to say anything,” came a quiet voice from over his shoulder. Turning, he glanced at Natasha. Her face was remarkably soft, and Clint knew that she had read him like a book. Well, that was okay – he could read her too.
“I didn’t believe you,” Clint said slowly, his gaze turning back to the stone, “I kept expecting him to check in on the ear piece.”
A wave of grief hit him suddenly and he hung his head. If it had been anyone but Natasha, they wouldn’t be seeing this. No way. But it was Nat and it was Phil and it was all too much.
A gentle hand squeezed his forearm and slid down to his own hand. Silent, he gripped it tightly and thought of the last time he had spoken to Phil. It had barely been anything. Clint knew, he just knew, that if he had been there instead of Fury, he’d feel more at peace than he did now. But he wasn’t there. Phil’s last moment was just something else that Loki had taken from him.
“You’ll see him again,” Natasha said simply, “I know you believe that.”
“Yeah,” he sighed, “But that’s a long way off. I hope.”
“He’ll be waiting for you, Clint. Just remember. He’ll be waiting.”
She first met him on a SHIELD plane, this unassuming looking guy who Clint informed her was his handler and who would hopefully be her handler too. The guy shook her hand politely enough, and then he and Clint proceeded to have a lengthy conversation using nothing but their eyes and hands. They seemed to be arguing, and she didn’t need any help figuring out why.
“It it’s all the same, please don’t talk about me when I’m in the room.”
The little guy- Phil, he was called – turned to her, and she thought for a minute he was going to say something snarky. But then he smiled and his face relaxed and he shook his head wryly.
“Well, Miss Romanov, I can see why Clint likes you.”
And his voice was so warm that she just had to smile back.
Chapter 9: Back To College - Avenue Q
Tony Stark had been called a lot of things, and sentimental was not one of them.
But sometimes, when he was alone in his workshop because he couldn’t sleep, and he was working on something that just wouldn’t go right, and he hadn’t eaten anything decent in three days because Pepper had the time off - and although JARVIS was smart he wasn’t smart enough to cook – he’d find himself thinking about MIT and wondering what life would be like if he could back there and start again. Before his parents got into the car to go on the journey that bought his life crashing down around his ears. Before he was left on his own, to do his best with the enormous responsibility that he had been landed with.
Before everything, really.
Well, for one thing, his father would be here besides him and he’d know what was wrong and he’d know how to fix it. And his mother would be there making sure that he’d not forgotten he needed to eat, and forcing him to at least rest even if he couldn’t sleep.
Tony Stark was not sentimental.
Not all the time, anyway.
Chapter 10: Friend Like Me - Aladdin
They bond, although Bruce doesn’t know exactly how. Phil says even less than he does, and sometimes their entire conversations consist of a greeting at the start of lunch and a goodbye at the end. Sometimes they talk about the latest mission, or about something Bruce is working on, but oddly enough, he finds he enjoys the silent ones more.
Because whilst it’s nice to have a friend like Tony, who can keep up with science talk, or like Natasha who pretends to be indifferent but brings snacks to the lab, Bruce really appreciates the value of someone who understands that silences aren’t always awkward and that the words don’t always say it all.
Chapter 11: Crazy, Crazy Nights - Kiss
It was purely a self- preservation thing, something they only did when one or the other or both of them were so high on adrenaline that the only way to be free of it was to squeeze it out of each other. Clint liked to be in charge, liked the way he could make Phil’s eyes roll back in his head and how he could take the guy apart, bit by bit until he was mess, a wreck.
But then by the morning, Phil Coulson would be back and Clint would go back to doing whatever he was told. It was a self- preservation thing. They both knew it. It worked.
And you couldn’t argue with results.
Chapter 12: It's My Life - Jon Bon Jovi
“Why do you do that?”
Tony shook his head to refocus his eyes, and found that he had been staring at Steve’s very irritated looking face.
“Stare at me like you can’t believe I’m real.”
“Because you were a story that I grew up with. A shadow that haunted my father until the day he died.”
“When I was a kid I hated you. Did you know that?”
Steve’s face flushed dark red and he opened his mouth again.
“Calm it soldier. I said ‘hated’. Past tense.”
Chapter 13: Hurt - Johnny Cash
Going a few rounds with Cap was never going to be easy, but Clint wasn’t having a good day. Week. Month. Yeah, month. That was it.
SHIELD headquarters didn’t offer up much opportunity for getting away, unless you knew where to look, and Clint and Natasha had long ago scouted it out. In a month of fog and dark moods, one of the worst of his life, Clint was more grateful than ever that he knew where to go and that Nat would leave him alone. She understood. Of course she did.
But then he found himself in the gym one morning, and Cap was there and they hadn’t seen each other since Thor took Loki home and one thing led to another and they decided that training together would be a great idea.
Well, it started out as a good idea. Steve soon realised that there was something up with his partner. Something manic. There was a set to Clint’s jaw and a gleam in his eyes that was slightly too much. Steve tried to take it easy but Clint threw himself into the sparring and Steve actually needed to defend himself.
“Clint, take it easy-”
Steve was cut off by a crack to his jaw that made his eyes blur and he knew enough was enough. Clint wasn’t going to stop. Within seconds, Steve had the smaller man on the floor, blood pouring from his nose, but still Clint struggled.
“That’s enough!” Steve growled.
If there was one reaction he wasn’t expecting, it was for Clint to go limp in his grasp. Well, he was expecting that, but not the tear that streaked down the archer’s cheek.
“It’s alright, Cap,” Clint murmured, pulling himself to his feet and careering towards the door, “I’m sorry.”
“Clint, do you want to talk about it? About him?”
Clint froze in the doorway and his shoulders dropped and he turned, his eyes downcast.
“I don’t. Jesus, Cap…I really don’t.”
Chapter 14: Downtown - Petula Clark
Perhaps in hindsight Bruce wasn’t the best person to take Thor on his first real tour of New York, but in his defence, nothing went that badly wrong and Thor could pull a face like a kicked puppy that hit Bruce right in the chest.
So yes, maybe they lost track of time, and maybe they ended up in some dive bar with people stupid enough to actually pick a fight with Thor and maybe Bruce was drunk enough that he kind of roared at them and maybe Thor cracked some skulls and maybe when Thor eventually stumbled home with Bruce slung across his shoulder Coulson and Steve were waiting for them like anxious parents on Prom Night. Maybe all that happened.
But they also had a great time, and Coulson couldn’t say anything when he’d gone on so much about team building exercises.
Chapter 15: You Belong With Me - Taylor Swift
Little did Natasha know that Clint decided long before he met her that he wasn’t going to kill her. He read all the reports, all the files, everything SHIELD had that even vaguely mentioned her, and he knew that she wasn’t what she seemed. He could recognise another lost soul when he saw one, knew that but for the grace of God, he could have been the hunted and she the hunter.
He’d never had a partner before, always refused the ones Phil offered him, but Clint knew that if he ever got close enough to Natasha Romanoff, he’d have found his own partner, and one that he could really belong with.
Chapter 16: Joy Ride - The Killers
“I give Barton lifts all the time!” Tony exclaimed, “It’s safe, I won’t drop you.”
“I’m heavier than Barton,” Steve shook his head firmly, “Why are you so bothered about this?”
“You’re a speed freak, Rogers. Nothing in the world feels like this.”
Perhaps Steve should have noticed the glint in Tony’s eye a second or two before he was plucked from the ground and taken for the fastest spin round New York City he had ever experienced.
Perhaps he should have noticed. But he also found he really didn’t care.
Chapter 17: Fearless - Taylor Swift
Sometimes, Steve would look around after a battle and marvel. Natasha and Clint would be there patching each other up, laughing at some private joke, and just not caring that they had almost died. They followed a super soldier, a Hulk, a demi-God and Stark into every fight and they never even blinked.
They were mad.
They were the bravest people Steve had ever known.
Chapter 18: Obvious - Westlife
“Barton’s been compromised.”
Three words that told Natasha more of what Phil knew about her than she had ever known before. It was there in his voice, surprisingly gentle, less business-like than usual. He knew. Of course he knew. He was Phil Coulson – he always knew more than he should. So what if Barton meant a little more to her than he should? Phil wouldn’t care, that much she knew. She just wondered when it had become quite so obvious.