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Tony's New Assistant

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"Sir? Stark appears to have acquired Banner."

Standing at the helm of his ship, Fury took a moment to consider that statement. Agent Hill looked spitting mad and Fury imagined he was supposed to be angry too. Maybe he was supposed to go fight for control of Banner.

He suppressed a shudder at the thought. Fuck it. "At least that means we don't have to try to deal Banner ourselves."

"Sir!" Agent Hill looked shocked. "You can't just let him acquire an asset like that! It's too much power for a civilian like Stark."

"Banner was already a civilian, Agent Hill. Nothing has changed that." He spoke as gently as he could, which admittedly wasn't very. He rather liked Agent Hill for all that he knew that she didn't like him at all. She respected him, certainly, but it was a grudging respect and probably made her dislike him all the more.

"Banner also has a warrant out for his arrest, a price on his head, and an Army General gunning for him." Hill spoke stiffly. "While Banner was in India, we could plausibly overlook him. Banner staying with Stark is a bit too obvious for us to ignore. Sir."

That last "Sir" was a bit much, but Fury ignored it. Hill was just so rule-bound. Fury had been just like that once upon a time. For the young and inexperienced, it was important to be rule-bound because the people who made the rules knew a hell of a lot more about life than some young sprat of an agent did.

But with time and experience and a whole hell of a lot of errors, pain, and death, came instincts that let Fury know when to follow the rules and when to throw them out the window. Maria Hill had the potential to learn the same… if she survived for long enough. In the mean time, she hated that she couldn't always understand why he was doing what he was doing.

"If the army wants him, they can try to get him from Stark, themselves."

"And start world war 3 in downtown Manhattan? Sir."

"Exactly." Fury couldn't help the grin that spread across his face. It was, he had been told on previous occasions, not a very nice grin.

Hill didn't back down, which was what made her one of his most promising officers. She did look considering, and the antagonism had been replaced with real curiosity when she asked, "Sir?"

"Something is coming. Something big enough that Tony Stark felt he needed some backup." Fury let that sink in for a moment. Hill's eyes widened as she realized the implications. "If the army is gunning for Banner, then when the shit hits the fan for real, and Stark has dragged Banner into the middle of it, at least the army will be pointed in the right direction."