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 just had an offer I couldn't refuse. My old marine buddy from way back turned out to be a the spy in charge of SHIELD.
He wanted me to join one of his more secret teams. His incentives:
A) He wasn't going to either kill me out of hand for attacking one of his marines, which I would have understood by the way.
B) He wasn't sending me up the river to death row.
Both were pretty good incentives in my book. He was always a believer in negotiation from a position of strength.
I looked at the stranger in the mirror one more time. The scars from the face change operation had healed up before my eyes. At least he wasn't lying about the regeneration. I had already tested the restraints on the bed. The admantium held, but the titanium frame may have been bent, a bit.
I decided to look at the mirror again. Not much else to do, what with being 'stuck' in bed and all. That's when the mirror flickered and turned into a screen.
Stark and a man I recognized from the street battle, were standing in an office when the door opened and Nick Fury walked in.
Nick must have said something, because the young man sat down in one of the seats in the office. Stark stayed on his feet. I don't think the seats would have survived intact if he sat in them with the armor on.
The sound came on. Nick probably wanted his impressions later.
Manhattan, New York.
Offshore SHIELD Hellicarrier.
"Have a seat gentlemen. To what do I owe the honor of this visit? I was sure you'd be celebrating your victory over the aliens." he sat behind his desk, and pressed a button on one of the hidden control panels beneath the desk.
"don't look at me." said Tony Stark, "I'm just the driver."
"Yeah thanks by the way." Xander turned away from Nick and nodded to Tony.
"Don't mention it. Really! Don't mention it."
"What do you clowns want?" Nick had better things to do with his time than to listen to these clown test their stand up routine on him.
"That's kinda harsh Nick. Don't you think that was harsh Xander?"
"Meh. I've heard worse. I live with Faith after all. That girl can do harsh like no one else. If you want lessons Nick I can arrange something...cheap too."
"Nothing about you is cheap Harris. Now. What do you want?" his eyes narrowed suspiciously.
"I don't want much. Will not even cost you one red cent it's so cheap."
Nick made with the give already gesture.
Xander gave him his shark smile number three. It helped that he had a bit of shark in him.
Tony shivered, but Nick was made of sterner stuff.
"I just want to know who?"
"Who, what?" Nick knew what the class clown wanted.
"No. Not what. Who? Who ordered a nuclear strike against two watcher teams, while they were engaged in an ongoing operation. Not only did they just throw the treaty of 1799 out the window. They were willing to kill my girls. I need to have few quite words with them. And Don't worry about the treaty. Rupert Giles and a team are willing to renegotiate the treaty. Wouldn't dream of leaving you without supernatural protection."
"No. If you want to renegotiate the treaty. That's fine. You have that right and truly I expect nothing less, but I am not giving you those names." Nick then pressed another button on his panel, and Commander Maria Hill's face appeared on the screen, "What is it Hill?" he asked, before she could speak.
"Sir?" she wasn't sure what her commanding officer wanted, so she just came up with something. "You're needed in the ward." she wasn't sure if that would fly, but then she didn't call him.
"Lord. Already?" with a tired sigh he got up, straightened up the papers on his desk made sure it was in a neat pile, and went to see a man about a decision. "I'll be right back. Don't make a mess if you can help it." he sneered.
Tony didn't believe he, they were being dismissed out of hand like that. He was never dismissed out of hand like that. Especially not when wearing the suit. Never been done.
Xander saw through the act. He let Tony be the distraction. He got up and walked around the office and glanced down at the papers that were, oh so neatly placed on a desk that otherwise had no other papers on it. Everything else he'd seen so far was digital. You couldn't run an organization the size and complexity of SHIELD using paper. He saw the list of names on the top paper. He mesmerized them in a glance. 'Gotta love that enhanced memory upgrade.' he thought. He recognized a few names on the list. Especially the general's. His grandfather's memories knew the man, he could very well see that man ordering a nuclear strike on a city of millions. He would see it as cauterizing the wound to save the limb. Par for the course. Oh he'd have the New Watchers Council intelligence division verify the names, but he was sure that he was looking at the right list. He made sure that anyone watching the video feed from this office would have a hard time figuring out what just went down.
Tony continued to provide the distraction and Nick was letting him. It was always nice working with someone who understood the realities and complexity of the game.
Nick saw that Xander got the information he was looking for and he really didn't have time for the Tony Stark show and his partner. Mainly Stark's ego. "I don't have time for this Stark. We can pick this up when I come back." he turned his back on the man and left the office.
"Hey. We're not done. You can't just leave..."
"Tony. Let him go. He obviously has to take care of something. If lives are on the line I'd rather wait a few minutes than have that on my conscious."
"...but this is just as important. I mean a nuclear strike against an American city is a big thing. He can't just walk away from that. Can he?"
Xander shrugged, "He did. Now we wait. Not like we don't have the time. 'Sides...not like he's getting away or anything. Where's he gonna go? It's his office after all." Xander sat back down. He grabbed some candy from the candy dish and put one in his mouth. "Say..." he sucked on the candy appreciatively, "...this is really good. Try some." he held out the rest of the candy to the distracted and confused billionaire. Xander shrugged when Tony ignored the candy. More for him. He wasn't about to let Nick hang out to dry after he was so nice, providing him with the names like that. These people must have really put the screws on. No wonder Nick gave them up so easily.
"What the hell am I missing?" Tony wasn't clueless. He was a very smart man, but something just went down and he had no idea what. He hated being left in the dark. Harris had better make with the sharing, or he was dropping him into the ocean on the way back.
Manhattan, New York.
Offshore SHIELD Hellicarrier.
Nick walks in to the ward where Frank was held. He was still looking at Stark and the Kid do their comedy routine.
Stark as the straight man was different. The man was too used to being the smartest man in the room. He knew he was being played. He just didn't know how.
He didn't care. His massive ego would survive and the power armored man was Harris's headache.
He knew that control of theAvengers had slipped from between his fingers, but that was alright too. Harris would do the right thing by the planet. He preferred to operate in the shadows. It's where he did his best work.
Frank would be the place to start and maybe recruiting a second team under SHIELD's control would be the way to go. To mask what went on behind the scenes. Enough talent had come out of the woodworks to work with. They wouldn't be as high powered, but they would do for the more common problems.
The main team would still be available for the bigger, badder and uglier threats. Fielding three teams was beyond what he envisioned, but then Harris and his accident gave him a few more options he didn't have before.
"What do you think?" he asked Frank.
Frank looked away from the screen, " That is one dangerous man."
"Who? Stark. I am not worried..."
"No, no. Stark's a fighter plane. You can see him coming from miles away. Gives a man time to prepare a proper welcome. It's the kid. What did you call him? Harris?"
"Yeah. Alexander LaVelle Harris. It's been a long time since he was the class clown. It's a mask that he wears often. It fools a lot of people. Who did you pick him?"
"It's the eyes. He's a man who's willing to get his hands dirty to get the job done. Besides, I saw the man fight. No mercy. Went straight for the kill. Sword, gun, whatever came to hand. That is one stone cold killer."
"If you had to go to war who would you rather have on your team. Him or Captain America?"
"Oh definitely him. This man has been to hell and back. No offense to Captain Rogers. He's a fine soldier, but that is one truly dangerous individual. By the way I'll need a copy of that list he was looking for."
"No way in hell Frank. Now are you in, or what?"
"I'm in. I'm not stupid. This crap you injected me with comes with a price tag. I'm no sure what it is just yet, but when the time comes to pay the bill, it better be something I can deliver. If you ask for more than I can give... We're going to have a problem."
"Don't worry. It's not gonna be something you haven't already done before."
"Now you really have me worried." he went back to looking at the screen, "What kind of organization does he have?"
"What makes you hunk there's someone behind him?"
Frank gave him a look that said, go ahead pull my other finger after the stink was already in the air. "You don't ask for the heads of an agency like SHIELD without someone behind you. I saw the girls that were fighting with this man. They looked like a group of sharks. Utterly merciless and as efficient a bunch of killer in a pretty package I could wish for. Well equipped and too much power behind them. That takes some serious organization and pull."
"You got that right. They fight the things that go bump in the night. They're the SHIELD of their world. When the shit comes down. They are probably our only allies for defending the world. If it's a domestic or even an international situation and we're I the wrong...let's just say they can be your worst nightmare. They're run by a bunch of idealists who have been to hell and back. They know the score, but they will not put up with bullshit from any government and few government who want their help will ever play them."
Like I said. A very dangerous man. Are you sure you can't give me a copy of that list. I won't say anything. Promise."
Nick ignored him. The council were no longer a concern Harris and his people will take care of the current roster. He just hoped their replacement were a little smarter.