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Two Sides of One Coin

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“It’s been two years since our superhero showdown titled, Civil War; and there is still no update to the missing case of the infamous Anthony Edward Stark. After getting into a fight with his teammates, the billionaire suddenly disappeared, seemingly without a trace.”

“Обратить внимание Asset”
“Forgive me Sir.”

“Two years going strong with our new team of avengers, most are displeased that former fugitives Rouge Avengers have been allowed back to join the new team. Many are uneasy to have the rogues back, especially with Tony Stark, still missing. Many rumors suggest the rogues have something to do with the playboy’s disappearance.”

“Report Mission Objective.”
“Objective; Take out target no matter what.”
“Who is your target?”
“Thaddeus Ross.”
"Отлично, Hail.”
“Hydra.”

“Thaddeus Ross is holding a conference later today to discuss how well the team has been holding up this year and to address the disappearance of Mr. Stark. The Avengers and Ms. Virginia “Pepper” Potts will be present. They will disclose if they will continue with th- “

“FRI, turn that off please.”

“Of Course, Ms. Potts”

Rhodey turned around to see a calm Pepper, giving him a disapproving look. Rhodey sighed and rubbed his face and turned around back at the black screen. “Jim you’ve been re-watching the news articles over and over again. I’m getting worried dear.” She said softly as she slowly moved closer to him. Her heels clicking softly against the tile, she sat down next to him. “Watching them again is just going to make you sad again.” She stated, placing a soft comforting hand on his arm. He didn’t remove it and just sighed weakly. “I know, I just hate this.” He admitted, voice barely above a whisper. Pepper gave a tight-lipped sad smile in understanding.

It had been exactly two and a half years, 30 months, and 912.501 days since Tony had gone missing. Rhodey still couldn’t believe it some days, a part of himself broke when he learned the news. He felt so lost at this point, he was paralyzed from the waist down, his best friend and brother had disappeared after going on a mission with Rogers and Barnes. He held so much distrust towards Rogers when he came clean to what really went down, actually, no. When Barnes came forward and told the truth, apparently Steve left some serious information out of his story. Rhodey felt so disgusted in himself and in Rogers, he should’ve stepped in when the Avengers started treating Tony like shit years ago, but he didn’t. Sometimes he wonders if Tony just couldn’t take the shit he keeps having to deal with and left, Rhodey wouldn’t blame him for it. Sometimes he fears the worst, how could he not? Tony, oh his sweet brother, was left alone in the cold for hours in a dead suit, in a Hydra base. It may have been abandoned but god, he has nightmares thinking of the worse, it’s so easy.

“Not a day goes by I don’t miss him, sometimes I find myself missing the most annoying things if it only meant he was back…” He admitted, moving his arm so he can take her hand and intertwine it with his. “I would settle for five minutes of him yelling at me, just to hear him again.. to know he’s okay.” Pepper squeezed his hand with a watery look in her eyes.
“You’re not alone, I wish for that too, pray for it even.” She paused, clearing her throat. “It’s wrong of me, but sometimes..” She choked up. “Sometimes I hope he’s dead, so he- “She shudders. “So, he can finally be at peace, so he doesn’t have to deal with anyone anymore.” She admits and Rhodey tightly squeezes her hand comfortingly. “I know,” He whispers. “I know what you mean, I get it, he honestly deserves it, a moment of rest… even in the form of death. He never got a wink of peace, did he? He always had something to do, people to please.” He shook his head.

They often do this, sit together and discuss their darkest fears over his disappearance and confide in each other. They sit in silence for a few minutes just holding each other, squeezing tightly as if the other would disappear from the others sight.
Pepper was the first to break their little session, she sighed and wiped her tears away. She stood slowly and fixed her appearance and put on her professional face, not letting emotions show. If someone saw her red rimmed eyes, no one would comment on it. Rhodey rubbed his face and unclasped the lock on his chair. Pepper nodded to him and started pushing his wheelchair out the lab and into the elevator.

“FRIDAY, please take us to the lobby, and inform Happy were on our way.”

“Of course, Miss Potts. I hope it goes well, Miss.” Her voice had such melancholic tone to it, Pepper would’ve taken a double take. But she simply nodded and thanked the AI with a smile. Ever since her creator’s disappearance she’s shown more sorrowful emotions with the pair. A part of Pepper thinks the AI might be feeling guilty over Tony’s disappearance and it makes Pepper’s heart tug sadly. While FRIDAY showed more emotions towards her, Rhodey and Happy, she makes herself sound as robotically as she could addressing the rouges. She held a professional tone with the other avengers though and had been pleasant towards them.

Pepper sighed and shook her head softly, preparing herself for another press conference, it was going to be a long day.

The duo had made it downstairs and settled into the car, the drive was 15 minutes long and they prepped each other with questions. The press conference started without hitch and all the avengers acted calmly in front of the public, answering each question that got thrown respectfully, harboring any unnecessary information away. The reports calmed down as Ross got up to the podium, addressing the crowd. Once they were quiet, he had started talking to them.

“As you all can see the Avengers are doing well, and are bonding together nicely. It is their best intent to get along to work together to protect the public. In other news, we would also like to address the Iron Man situation. Two years ago, he had gone missing and not along after the Rouges were pardoned after the New Avengers institute was put into motion by Colonel James Rhodes and then approved by the UN.”

“The two-year grace period had ended and the avengers have gotten along well enough to keep them going, and so were going to have to put Mr. Stark’s search on hold since the avengers are now active. We will still be looking out for him and having some members going on any leas, but we cannot prioritize his search over the public.”

“Target spotted.”
"You know what to do Mechanic.”
“Objective; Take out Target at all costs. Calculating best course of action.”
“Course Chosen, Hail Hydra.”

The crowd erupted in screams while the Avengers jumped to their feet, ushering the public to safety. In the mist of chaos, no one could hear Ross’s body hit the floor, no one could see the satisfied solider leave the scene.

“Thaddeus Ross Shot and Killed during Avengers board meeting! What was supposed to be a comforting meeting ensuring our safety, turned to be a nightmare showing us that even with our protectors we are never 100% safe!”

“Outrage in New York, Thaddeus Ross shot and killed during Avenger conference in front of hundreds. Who is responsible for this brutal crime? The Avengers aren’t making any forward comments at the moment but we should be expecting one very soon. Is New York as safe as it seems?”

“The public will never see us coming. Your plan worked like a charm.”
“It’s all thanks to our Asset, The Mechanic is our best weapon yet.”
"Отлично! He shall be better than that traitorous Winter Solider, yes?”
“Absolutely.”
“Good. Reward the Mechanic.”
“Copy that. Hail Hydra.”
“Hail Hydra indeed.”