Are You In?
Disclaimer: I don't own either the Buffy verse or the Marvel verse. See previous disclaimers.
I would like to thank my Beta MissE.
And a big thank you to all those who reviewed.
Manhattan, New York.
Offshore SHIELD Hellicarrier.
Punisher's War Journal
I woke up slowly. I didn't know how I got here, or for that matter where here was. I was still out of it. I kept my eyes closed and regulated my breathing again. As I took stock of all my body parts, just to make sure they were all there, I tried to reconstruct what happened. I think there was an alien invasion, and I was right in the thick of it.
Somehow I must have tipped off my hand to the marine officer that shot me with a tranq gun of all things.
That would mean I was either a guest of SHIELD or in a prison hospital of some kind. I wasn't that hard to identify after all. Both the civilian and the military knew who I was.
All of my limbs were still attached. But I couldn't move a thing. That would mean restraints. That's when I heard a voice from the past. A voice I hadn't heard since the closing days of 'Nam.
Manhattan, New York.
Offshore SHIELD Hellicarrier.
"How long are you going to keep pissing me off by pretending to be asleep, Frank?"
Frank Castle opened his eyes slowly to an ugly sight. "Ugh. You got uglier in your old age, Nick."
"Cut the crap, marine. What the hell were you thinking taking out one of my men? Were you even thinking? Are you so far gone you don't even recognize one of your own anymore?"
"What the hell was that? Speak up damn it!" Frank could tell that Nick was furious. And he knew better than to make that stupid pun out loud. Nick was known for putting people in the hospital for making that stupid pun. Although he was already in the hospital. This might be his one shot at...nah. He was too old for that crap. Truth be told he was too old for it forty years ago.
"I said that young marine got the drop on me. If I didn't have the van booby trapped he would've gotten me. He's okay by the way. Just sleeping is all."
"I know he's okay. Otherwise we wouldn't be having this here conversation. Will you stop trying to break out of the restraints. That's pure leather coated adamantium. You're breaking it. Or the reinforced titanium bed frame. How did he get the drop on you anyway?"
"I don't have time for these stupid games Frank. Believe it or not I'm a very busy man..." Nick waited for Castle to repeat himself.
"I said I got old when I wasn't looking. I was so busy lining up my shot that he snuck up on me. He wasn't even trying to be sneaky. One minute I'm taking aim the next he's there pointing that Buck Rogers gun you guys pulled out of somewhere, and asking me, and politely mind you, to put my weapon down. I didn't have a choice, or the time to explain. A life was on the line. I had to make that shot count."
Nick grunted, "At least you still have your priorities straight. Tell me what happened?"
"You know more than I do. What do you want my version for?"
"I'm a curious man these days, Frank. Indulge me."
Frank shrugged, he was about to start his tale when he felt the stiffness of his limbs and face. His limbs he could understand. Why the hell was his face numb? "Why can't I feel my face?"
"I'll tell you later, now. Tell me what happened."
Frank shrugged. There wasn't much he could do at this point so he started telling his tale from the beginning.
Nick listened without interrupting him at all. When he was done, Fury got up. The door to the private ward opened and a beautiful SHIELD commander came in with a tray.
"They just finished the first batch. Are you sure about this sir?" she glanced at Frank when she said that.
"Yeah, Hill, I'm sure. Send in the nurse I want those bandages removed. I want to see his face."
"You're not going to recognize much, sir. His face will still be swollen from the operation."
"That will not be an issue, Commander Hill."
"Yes, sir." Maria Hill saluted and left the ward. She knew a dismissal when she heard it.
"I'll tell you later."
A nurse came in and cut the bandages. She removed them gently, one-by-one. When she was done she put up a mirror across the bed.
"That'll be all, nurse." Nick was none too gentle with his dismissal.
For a second it looked like the nurse was about to challenge the top dog on the ship, but after a moment’s consideration she decided against it. Rumors were flying and the message was clear. Fury's days were numbered. She'll choose a better battlefield than this one. She left walking slowly out of the ward with her dignity intact.
Nick opened the case and took out a vial. He filled a long needle with green twinkling contents and injected them into Frank Castle's arm. All the while he blocked Frank from looking into the mirror.
Frank looked at the needle as it left his arm. A burning sensation started from just below his elbow and quickly spread to the rest of his body. It burned, but he felt a lot worse in his time. He felt like his skin was about to burst.
It went on for what felt like hours, but couldn't have been more than a few minutes. When the feeling subsided he looked up and saw his reflection when Fury moved out of the way. The face that greeted him wasn't his own.
Frank wanted to scream, yell, shout his head off, but for some reason he kept his cool. "Why?" he simply asked.
"We were attacked and we were helpless. A town in New Mexico was destroyed by a single weapons platform. Since that day we've been scrambling to come up with a response. The Avengers was the result."
Fury explained the idea behind the Avengers. A first response strike team that was the main attacking force. SHIELD would be the follow up and reinforcement.
"You want me to be an Avenger? This is what this whole thing all about. Changing my face, what did you inject me with?"
"A variant of the Rogers Super Serum formula. After this you can call Steve Rogers a blood brother. Him and a guy called Bruce."
"Bruce? Bruce who?"
There was. Beep from Fury's comm. he glanced at it, "What is it Hill?"
"Mr. Stark and Director Harris are about to land."
"Show them to my office. I'm on my way." Gotta go Frank I'll be back, but before I go. What I want you for is the secret Avengers. The team that will handle all the dirty jobs the main team is too well known to handle. Are you in?"
"What about my war?"
"Frank the shit you'll be going after makes the sharks you usually swim with look like guppies. 'Sides what you do for a hobby is none of my business. Just don't bring your shit to my house. Now. Are you in?"
Frank looked at his new face in the mirror. "Yeah I'm in."