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Faults, Rifts, and Other Gaps in the Firmament

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The sudden darkening sky made Tony look up and he quickly hopped off his stool and rushed over to the window to watch the fireworks. Below, the deck workers of the helicarrier scrambled to clear the area as the grey clouds began to spiral and lightening began to flash above. Tony felt his hair stand on end as the vortex shattered apart and the blue lightening arced down to strike the helicarrier deck. He squinted against the bright light as it danced from sky to helicarrier and then faded away. The clouds dispersed in the next second and the sky was once again a clear blue.

Thor stood where chaos had just raged, shifting the Tesseract transporter in his arms. The distinctive knot pattern that always appeared when Thor arrived from Asgard was burnt into the metal deck below his feet. The thunder god raised a hand in greeting, his hair and red cloak whipping around in the wind. The high altitude of the helicarrier did not affect Thor as he strode across the deck and went inside. Tony grinned and went back to his worktable now that the lightshow was over with.

(**)

It started off with small things disappearing around the helicarrier; staplers, rulers, small electronics.  Things like that. Pretty much anything that weighted a couple of pounds and wasn’t nailed down. Someone even made off with Bruce’s favorite pen. They were either very brave or very stupid to steal from Bruce. Steve told Clint to knock it off but the archer said it wasn’t him. Steve told Tony to knock it off but the engineer said it wasn’t him either, followed by a long rant about being innocent until proven guilty in the United States and pretty much chasing Steve from the lab with the sheer volume of his protests. Coulson told Clint to knock it off but the archer still said it wasn’t him and spent the rest of the day pouting while hiding at the shooting range. Fury told them all to knock it off and Natasha favored the men on the team with a deadly stare. The little statue thing that usually sat on the corner of Fury’s desk disappeared that evening and one of Natasha’s favorite knifes went missing the next day. Neither was very pleased.

A few days later Tony and Bruce were in the big lab on level seven when Jarvis suddenly informed Tony that tablet number three seemed to be moving by itself. “What do you mean ‘by itself’, Jarvis?” asked Tony, wandering around some of the bigger machines, trying to remember where he had left tablet number three.

“I mean that the tablet is moving but you and Dr. Banner are nowhere near it,” replied Jarvis dryly.

“Cute, Mr. Sassy Pants.” Tony went over to the table and looked down at the empty spot where the tablet should have been. He tapped the table top with a fingernail. “Tablet? Here tablet! Here boy!”

“It’s not a dog, Tony. It’s not going to come on command,” said Bruce.

“Works on Dummy and the other bots.” Tony turned in a little circle, looking around. “Ok, I give. Where is it, Jarvis?”

“Five feet to your left, sir.” Tony followed Jarvis’ instructions until he was crouched under another table, digging tablet number three out of the dusty corner.

Tony stood, turning the tablet over in his hands. “So, do you want to tell Fury the helicarrier is haunted or should I?”

“The helicarrier is not haunted, Tony,” Bruce said, taking tablet number three out of his hands and inspecting it himself.

“Well, it didn’t crawl under there by itself, no matter what Jarvis says,” snapped Tony.

“Maybe it fell to the floor and we kicked it there by accident?” Bruce suggested.

Tony snatched tablet number three from Bruce’s grasp and clutched it to his chest. “You monster! How dare you suggest that I mistreated one of my babies! I would never.”

“It’s a computer tablet, Tony. Not your offspring,” said Bruce with an exasperated smile.

Tony gasped and then began to pet the tablet’s casing. “Don’t listen to him, number three. He doesn’t understand,” he muttered to the device. The computer gave a little chime.

Bruce threw up his hands. “I give up. You are not normal.” He went back over to his stool and returned to fiddling with the device scattered in pieces across the table. “If you are really going to tell Fury the helicarrier is haunted then make sure to tell me so I can be there to watch his reaction.”

Tony opened his mouth to reply, still cuddling tablet number three to his chest, when the Avenger’s alarm blared through the com system. Tony winced and set the tablet carefully on the table. “That is an awful sound,” complained Tony as they both made their out of the lab to see what was wrong. “I’m hacking the computers and changing that when we get back.” Bruce couldn’t fight back a grin in response.

Tablet number three, the silver stylus Tony had been using, and several pieces of the machine Bruce was working on were gone when they got back.