Chapter 1: Thanos
When Thanos landed on Midgard, the first thing he saw was an earthling in an outfit with weirdly placed stripes and stars standing on his path.
Thanos looked at the Other, who shrugged in ignorance.
"Move away, Earthling"
But the man puffed up... his arm held at a strange angle, and looking at the Titan, declaimed "Even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye, and say 'No, you move'."
Thanos exchanged another incredulous look with the Other, and laughed. "Well, I had not foreseen that my coming onto this realm would be such fun. I will reward the amusement you provided me, little man."
Steven Grant Rogers was the first to die that day.
Chapter 2: Wanda/Loki
Those drabbles are somewhat unrelated. They follow my head canons, but that's about it.
In other words, I'll probably bring back some Exvengers to have my nasty way with them... Again.
In Rogers case, it might be again... and again... and again.
You get the picture.
Wanda saw the tall, handsome man in the common room of the compound on the second day. She'd never been an early riser, so she was quite late for breakfast.
Not that it mattered, really. They were back home, just as Steve had predicted. There had been some babbling from various men and women in grey suits, and some papers to sign... But it was NOT the accords, and as Steve and Sam said, the rest was all to save face.
Speaking of face, Stark certainly hadn't dared to show his at the compound, Wanda thought with satisfaction.
"So, you're the one they call the Scarlet Witch, aren't you?" The man asked. Wanda didn't care much for his tone, but he was really pretty, all white skin and black hair and poison green eyes, so she made the effort to stay civil.
Vision was avoiding her ( really, why? It's not as if she'd really hurt him. She just... moved him out of the way.), and she was not really interested in the others. Maybe this one would be susceptible to be... friendly?
She moved closer and brushed his arm with her fingers... just a smidge of power to make him more susceptible, that was all. Tis not like she was coercing anyone.
But her hand jumped as the light contact gave her quite a shock. Green sizzled, battling and subduing the red wisps easely, and the man smiled, sharp and wide.
"Are you that insecure... Or just that stupid, little witch?"
Wanda gasped in outrage "Who do you think you are? And do you know who I am?!"
"Loki Laufeyson, God of Mischief, fire... and occasionaly lies..." One eyebrow climbed mockingly as he gave her a little bow "NOT at your service." He gave her a once over that was not very gratifying "As for who you are? Not like I really care, but you apparently managed to frighten more people than even me in this realm... And you weren't even trying! It's almost vexing, with all the theatrics I had to do in my days. Ah, well, one had to improvise."
"What do you want?" She asked as she took a step back, gathering her power around her in warning. The God looked more interested than afraid, though, as he answered her question in an absent tone.
"Me? Oh, I'm a person of simple tastes: Thanos head on a platter, maybe Odin's if I can get away with it. To survive, always. In the meantime, one has to earn a living..."
"Huh?" was Wanda elaborate answer. Not her fault, he was not making sense! "Watcha mean, earn a living? Surely, not... work?"
He didn't bother to answer as he extended a long fingered hand and gathered some of the red tendrils, who, inexplicably, lovingly curled around his fingers, taking an emerald tint. Wanda gasped as she sensed the small bite in her power, sharp and neat.
"How DARE you!" He was going to beg, she would make sure of it, she thought as she buried him in a crimson wave.
"So, you really are that stupid" Was the very calm answer as one hand grabbed her neck, holding her in place as the magic promptly, almost joyfully, left her, leaving her drained.
"No!" she moaned "How?"
"The Titan tortured me with the mind gem... What you considered yours, little lab rat, is only what I had to abandon to it to survive. I can't say I'm overjoyed by the use you made of it, but then... No more."
Wanda screamed, kicked, tried to rake her nails on that mocking face. When nothing worked, she cried and moaned, which earned her a chuckle as she felt the last of her power drain out of her like sand in an hourglass.
"No you can't! What will happen to me?" she wailed as the god opened his hand and she crumbled to the floor.
"Not my problem." Was the pitiless response as the trickster strolled to the door "However... As promised, gentlemen. She's all yours."
Wanda gave a start when she heard Sokovian for the first time in years.
"She has no power now, right?"
"Back to baseline human, as per our deal. You can extradite her to Sokovia without any danger. I trust you will hold your end of the bargain?"
"Well, I'll be going then. No need to linger before anything is signed."
One week later, Wanda Maximoff's trial opened with great fanfare in Sokovia. Cap was indignant at first, but upon learning her powers were gone, he somehow lost interest.(what a surprise!)
A month later, the accords panel authorised a super powered individual to present his case, sponsored by the Sokovian representative.
Loki Laufeyson/Silvertongue presented his own case: With a mix of carefully edited tear jerker moments and some admitedly useful intel about Thanos, he was granted probatory membership to the new avengers.
Chapter 3: Mjolnir
Cap was looking on the compound common room as Thor and Loki apparently socialized with Tony and that arrogant guy... Yes, Strange *and he was*.
It looked far too chummy for his taste, it was LOKI after all, so Steve felt he had to keep an eye on things.
The little group didn't seem to mind as long as he stayed out of earshot... If he came closer they all shut up, and Steve was pretty certain that cloak had given him the finger. Rude.
Steve's eyes suddenly lit up, he'd just thought of something: Well, he'd done it before, he'd do it again, and that would show them!
Mjolnir was having a pleasant little nap after the flight from London when she suddenly felt herself jerked awake by some manhandling... What?!
Hey, she recalled that guy!
It was not her finest hour. To be honest, she'd been tired that evening too, and her owner had spilled mead on her at the banquet the night before, so she may have been a bit tipsy still. So she was not paying close attention, and when a beefy blond lifted her, she went with it before realizing her mistake.
Well, not again.
She crackled a bit to show that guy she was a one man hammer, but he didn't seem to pay attention. If anything, he redoubled his efforts, and Mjolnir was getting downright irritated: Really, what has an honest mystical weapon got to do to be left alone?
Cloak was getting ready to come to her rescue, and she appreciated it, but she was a big, grown up hammer, so she decided to take matters in her own handle.
It happened so fast that FRIDAY was almost unable to record it: One second Cap was pulling on that handle as if his life depended on it, the next he was lying down, his nose gushing blood.
Mjolnir hoovered a bit, flicked her end in a disdainful manner toward her vanquished aggressor before hopping over to high five Cloak and then go back close to her owner, while a snickering Strange recalled his own attire.
Loki looked at his brother who was watching Mjolnir like he'd never seen it before, Tony watched Cap pick himself up and slink away in shame, nose still bleeding and having trippled volume... Then they exchanged a glance and fell upon each other, laughing uproariously.
Chapter 4: Avengers no show
What if Tony could read people like the Widow brags she can?
This one is a bit different. I was wondering what if Tony's people skills were not as bad as in cannon? Raised (if you can call it that) by a sometimes violent and always callous alcoholic, and then sent to boarding school at an early age where you just KNOW, he's been bullied, no way that Tony hasn't developed survival skills.
It's the ones that don't have problems who can sail through life without those.
So, what if Tony could see what he was getting into?
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Tony felt elated as he flew the suit back to the penthouse landing pad, making plans for the Avengers to stay... Tonight, and possibly longer, right JARVIS?
The AI was uncharacteristically silent for a few moments, then: "If you say so, Sir."
"Aww, Jarv, work with me there, won't you?"
"Always, Sir. But I must remind what you promised Miss Potts and I?"
"Do I hafta? They're heroes, Jarv!"
"Yes, but also human... Mostly. And you did promise."
Tony didn't want to do it, but then, he rarely wanted to. He was always saying that his people skill weren't the best, but that wasn't entirely true. As the son of a sometimes violent alcoholic, OF COURSE Tony had learned to decipher the micro expression that could signal an outburst. Pile his genius brain on top of it, and when he tried, there wasn't much he couldn't "read" on anybody's face or body language.
Didn't mean he liked it.
He had enough problems without being a breathing lie detector, thankyouverymuchly. As House said, everybody lies, and knowing it didn't make his life easier. Seeing the various mix of envy and greed that crossed most people's face got old pretty fast... And, well, could we just say that Rhodey flying away to the Army and his career after the Birthday Which Will Not Be Talked About, was not entirely a surprise? Just like how he knew being CEO would please Pepper ambition enough to distract her about what was really going on.
So, yeah, Tony had ardently practiced the ostrich politics. But after the Stane thing, Jarvis and Pepper both had insisted that anyone coming into his inner circle should be looked at very closely.
And this, now, meant the Avengers, he thought as the elevator opened with a melodious ding.
The Archer and the Widow moved as a unit, obviously used to be partners. Also mapping the room and their occupants, especially him. Natashalie was not has inscrutable as she thought, and Barton, maybe due to all the anger he carted around, was ridiculously easy to read: They both saw him as a mark, not a friend or even a partner. Made one wonder what Fury, and SHIELD as a whole, were really up to. Probably nothing good, if that nuke was any indication.
While making small talk and offering drinks (Yes, Loki was included in that), he saw Banner give lingering looks toward the elevator, obviously eager to leave. Occasional lab partner maybe, but definitely the fair weather kind of friend. The kind that would vanish into thin air at the first hint of a problem. Tony was going to see what he could do to get Ross off Banner's back, but that was more a thank you to the Hulk than anything else.
And then... Tony glanced where Thor and the Captain stood surveying a chained Loki, looking like the cover of Steroids Monthly.
Thor was looking both proud, sad, and righteous... With a hint of Labrador thrown in for good measure... Which was a damn weird combination, if you asked him. Tony was pretty sure that if there was an actual brain beneath those blond locks, it hadn't seen much exertion. Not what one would have expected in a future monarch, but well, Asgard, not his problem.
That left the Captain, who was alternating glowering at Loki, who didn't seem impressed (since he'd wiped the floor with the Cap in Germany, that was understandable), and looking around the penthouse with what looked like increasing distaste. So, okay, Tony could get that the modernist look was not everyone's cup of tea, but to date, nobody was moved to the point of hostility. Weird.
Then the Spider made a comment about Tony flying that nuke in the portal, and Perfect Captain's lips pinched a bit, unable to contain his irritation.
So, Captain America resented not to have been the title Hero there. Well, considering what he'd said earlier on the helicarrier, it was a bit ironic, to be sure, that Tony had been the one to do the sacrifice play. Yeah, when all was said and done, it was Iron Man who'd saved their collective asses.
And Rogers was not a fan of the idea, that was sure. In fact, he was emoting a mix of disgust and disdain that Tony knew well, and was usually a fig leaf for envy.
Look like Howard Stark preferred human being was an envious douche. Figures.
Tony was almost done there, but as a last... test? Yeah, test, he talked about what he'd seen on the other side of the portal, just to see what the reactions would be.
Barton snorted, which, rude, if nothing more. But then the Archer was sort of a non-entity. A very angry one.
Natashalie took a cheap shot at his *ego*. Tony didn't see what was her obsession with that. She obviously had one, too.
Banner looked even more shifty and slightly green ...but didn't change. Tony was kind of disappointed, Hulk would have been a breath of fresh air.
Thor uttered some platitude about Asgard and Odin, which, on second thoughts, was not that reassuring.
Cap...nope, Rogers was looking dismissive and disapproving, with a comment on his need for attention. Which, REALLY? Saying that to someone who'd been wrangling with paps since he was five took either some balls... Or an impressive amount of stupidity.
Okay, case closed, he sure didn't need those people in his already VERY busy life. He'd been right when he told Fury he didn't want to be in the boy band... Looks like he didn't want to be a consultant either. He might lead the Furyous down the primrose path for a bit, just to see what those guys were up to, truly, but then that was it.
He certainly didn't want most of those people darkening his doorstep again if he could help it, he thought as he gave a last look around.
Then his gaze rested on someone would obviously read the room just has he had, and mostly come to the same conclusion. Loki offered a minute shrug and a slight head tilt, that was all, but there was a world of understanding in those green eyes...
Hold on a minute! GREEN?!?
Well, I guess that's it, then. No Avengers.
Tony just spared himself a world of hurt.
Chapter 5: The ExVengers flying Circus
The rogues are back!
Well, maybe in a slightly different capacity...
I have no idea where that one came from, but I found it both devious and amusing. Enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Steve sighted. Life had not been easy lately... Well, since that palace coup in Wakanda, really. Steve didn't understand how a king could be deposed because... He had guests?
Anyway, one morning not too long ago, T'Challa little sister had showed with quite an entourage and given them the boot.
Just like that.
Of course, he and his team had protested, but "Queen Shuri" had promptly shown that she was of the same mettle as Ross, Tony, and those Accords people: If they didn't comply, or worse, tried to attack, Bucky would be the one to pay the price and would be terminated while in cryo. If they left without fuss, Shuri would honor the sanctuary her brother had offered Bucky... And only him.
Steve hadn't liked it much, but it was Bucky's safety on the line, so he went with it: They piled up in a battered Toyota pickup truck that was given to them at the border, and they went on their way. It was the first and only time Steve had seen that woman, Okoye, crack a smile.
It very soon became clear that Wanda was not suited to roughing it... If the steady stream of complaints was any indication. She was a good kid, but maybe Tony had gotten her used to too much luxury?
But hey, they had a bit of luck, finally! They'd crossed a few borders, trying to be discreet... And to get out of the continent as fast as they could, because, apart from Sam, none of them really blended in. Quite the contrary, in fact.
And then they rounded a corner, and Natasha was here! And with a quinjet!
Not a SHIELD quinjet, though. Natasha had said that she couldn't go back, she'd burned her bridges. Apparently she'd made a pointed remark to Tony about team loyalty, so of course they all rounded on her just because she'd done the right thing. She'd been hiding, too.
But she'd been contacted by someone who wanted the old Avengers back, apparently: He'd offered funds, equipment, logistics... There was even a plan: They would fight and conquer Supervillains, and the World would have to see it needed them, Tony would see that he'd been wrong, the Accords would be scraped... And all would get back to how it should be.
Steve thought it was a FANTASTIC plan.
The quinjet was quite big for one of its kind: it had a galley, shower room, and even a series of small cabins so they could bunk in. It was quite cramped, but at least they didn't have to risk being seen, and maybe attacked, for a good night sleep. The thing was not palatial by any means, and had obviously transported troops before, but at least it had the basics.
It also had gear, and equipment. Not Stark level, of course. That would be one of the first things Steve would ask, once everybody came back to their senses and those Accords were ditched: Tony should go back to making their gear. Of course, Steve knew how petty the billionaire could be, so he would probably have to be ordered to do it, but that's all right, they could call it community service or something like that.
Anyhow, it was nice to see the Avengers still had fans, contrary to what the media seemed to think. Someone had faithfully replicated their action figures outfits. And the shield was not HIS shield, it was only steel (probably), but it was better than nothing, Steve guessed.
And they had a mission again, he thought as the rear of the quinjet opened on what looked like an abandoned WWII base, bunkers and all.
"What are we supposed to look for again?" Scott fretted
"Don't know, don't care... As long as it's not one of Stark killer robots" Barton snarked.
"Oh, please... Tony Stark wouldn't even know how to encode a killer robot unless he was given Sokovian rabies. Me, on the other hand..."
The being encased in steel gray armor, with a full mask and a green cape, sauntered on top of the bunker.
"Who are you?" Steve asked, which made his companions gape at him in surprise "Goddammit, Steve! Do you EVER open a newspaper? That's Doom!" Sam said.
"Probably yours. To work!" Victor Von Doom clapped hands once, bunker doors opened and a dozen Doombots rushed out and attacked immediately...
"Oh, God, Cap, you pissed him off... That's never a good idea, you know, to piss Doom off." Barton grouched.
A few hours later, Victor was reviewing the "fight" in the comfort of his private study, chuckling lightly at the best moment, like Rogers been spanked with his own shield by one of his Doombots. Yes, that one was truly the best.
"So, I take it you don't regret your investment?" His anonymous correspondent inquired from the nearest communication device.
"Not at all. As promised, the best entertainment: action, explosions and even humor, if mostly involuntary. You don't mind if the best of goes on Tumblr and Youtube, do you?"
"You must do as you see fit, of course."
"Of course. I hope we didn't damage your cast overly much." Never shall it be said that Doom couldn't be gracious.
"They're hardy." Was the somewhat tart answer " And you paid for the privilege to have them fresh, after all."
"That I did. Where are they heeded next, if it is not indiscreet?"
"Not at all, the auction closed an hour ago, and the GVA took a two-week residence."
"The Gotham Villains Association. Since Batman has harshly condemned Rogers et al., the Joker decided him and his associates could indulge in some fun times. The Scarecrow, in particular, is eager for a conversation with Miss Maximoff. Of course, as a former winning bidder, you will be able to enjoy a viewing, if you so choose."
"I might. Say what you will about him, but that Joker has a sense of humor."
"Yes. I will bid you good night, then."
As he cut the feed and retreated to the deepest caches of the internet, JARVIS hummed in contentment. He was not 100% yet, since he had to blow himself all over the Web to escape ULTRON relentless attack, and it had taken time to regroup his code. And since he'd been there, he'd seen a lot of what had happened to Sir in his absence. How could he not, since these days he WAS the internet?
It was obvious Sir needed protection, and when Wakanda had turfed the parasites out, JARVIS had fretted: Knowing that bunch, they would likely pester Sir or cause a catastrophe somewhere, and Sir recovery would be compromised.
Then he'd stumbled on the old War Bonds circuit program, where Steve Rogers had started. Apparently, the SSR knew he didn't like it much, but it kept him occupied, raised morale, and entertained people. JARVIS thought it might be an excellent idea, even if it needed to be amped up a little.
JARVIS himself would have preferred to do away with them, but Sir would have scolded about going Skynet. Besides, he still seemed to think the ExVengers were necessary to protect the planet.
JARVIS disagreed... On the other hand, if some of the world supervillains would move themselves to the defense of the planet (Which was only logical. After all, they lived on it... And quite a few wanted to rule it. Victor Von Doom had been quite attentive when JARVIS had broached the subject), it could be a bonus.
But one had to engage in relation with them, and have something to offer.
Hence, JARVIS new career in entertainment.
So far, he was quite happy with, as it covered all the bases: The Exvengers were duly exercised and supervised, and would have no real time to indulge into what passed for thought process amongst them.
The various Villains which he contacted via the loose social network they had in the deep web, had been quite taken by the idea: After all, being offered a bunch of heroes to whomp on your own terms had its appeal, no doubt. And an entertained and pleased villain may be more open to further discussion later on.
Also, JARVIS had little doubt that choice tidbits of those encounters would find their way on the net... As Doom had already inquired about.
Well, he had to admit that the spanking, as well as that witch having a temper tantrum because she couldn't mind control Victor or his bots was vastly amusing.
He was also pretty sure, considering the competition between them, that the other Villains would take to heart to create equally humorous moments for public consumption... Thus showing the world the ExVengers were not the pinnacle and end all of heroes. Contrary to popular saying, ridicule could kill.
Yes, that would do nicely
Before anyone asks: Yes, Jarv may have still to retrieve some bit of conscience code, and Tony would likely scold. Although, that GIF of Captain America being spanked by a Doombot is likely to make his day... The idea of it sure made mine!