Chapter Two: Confrontation
Chapter Two: Confrontation.
It was fair to say that Nick Fury was not a man who liked surprises.
His line of work had made him very, very good at dealing with them but that still didn't mean he liked them. That was why when a ranting and visibly furious Tony Stark stormed into his office closely followed by a cowed looking Bruce Banner he didn't so much as bat an eye, ingrained reactions training a perfectly blank look on his face.
"You have an absolute fucking nerve Fury!" The billionaire roared doing a fair impression of the giant rage monster he was so fond of.
Again the director of S.H.I.E.L.D was taken aback but he maintained his calm demeanor despite his genuine shock. Stark never addressed him like that, there was always some stupid sarcastic nickname, always some demeaning variation on his name even when the guy was aggravated beyond all comprehension. But this? This was something he'd never seen in the billionaire before; it was raw, open and volatile. Not that Stark wasn't already volatile but something about this seemed different. The man was not known for being so obvious with his emotions, it was certainly strange and maybe a little pushing was in order?
"Stark get the fuck out of my office I ain't got time for your bullshit right now." His voice was stern.
Tony's eyes glittered with malice and a deep, dark hatred that would have had lesser men probably pissing themselves in fear but it did little to dint Fury's armor, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D had been subjected to worse.
"No. I think now is a perfect time for my 'bullshit' since if you don't I will not be held accountable for what happens." Tony spat back venomously.
The director couldn't help but give a small snort of derisive laughter; he'd heard the billionaire spout that line many times before, usually before one of Tony's legendary tantrums.
"You would think you would have learned by now Stark that using the 'I'll cut all ties with S.H.I.E.L.D' line doesn't work with me."
The darkness in Tony's eyes seemed to harden and a ruthless smile crossed his lips, all teeth and no warmth and it took every ounce of Fury's resolve not to flinch at the sheer viciousness of that expression.
"I didn't say I was going to cut anything Fury, that would be far, far too easy. No, what I have planned would be so much more involved than that and make no mistake I will bury you and S.H.I.E.L.D."
Fury quirked an eyebrow curious but at the same time deeply disturbed by the other man's tone. Something big had happened, something colossal that had rocked Stark to his very core and now the man was lashing out at those he thought he was responsible. Fury knew that he had to tread carefully, the billionaire was clear skirting on the edge and it wouldn't take much to push him over the precipice.
"As much as I love the power plays Stark I'm busy. Now get the fuck out unless you have a point to make."
"Oh I have a point! Tell me where the fuck he is!" The billionaire practically screeched.
Fury's single visible eye narrowed in confusion as he tried to get a read on the deranged man in front of him.
"He? Who are you talking about Stark?"
"Don't play dumb with me! TELL ME WHERE HE IS!" Tony slammed his fists down on Fury's desk, spittle flying from his mouth as he roared.
The tension in the room was on a knife edge and Bruce finally seemed to snap out of the daze he'd been ensnared in since he stepped in the room. Tentatively he stepped forward and placed a hand on Tony's shoulder squeezing gently, the billionaire rounded still looking furious and ready to take someone's head off.
"Tony you need to calm down. This is going to get you nowhere... Except possibly a jail-cell." His voice was surprisingly calm considering he was essentially facing down a mad man.
The irony of Bruce Banner asking him to calm down was not lost on Tony but he was still feeling too raw inside to actually give a flying fuck about it. He needed to know what Fury knew, needed to know with every fiber of his being and neither S.H.I.E.L.D nor the goddamned Hulk was going to stop him.
He was Tony fucking Stark and he always got what he wanted.
"I will calm down when the director here gives me what I want. I'd prefer to do it peacefully but I have no objections to getting the suit out."
Banner sighed grip still firm on the billionaire's shoulder, his gaze measured and firm. Tony was going to land himself in some containment facility if he continued this course of action and Bruce understood that the other man was upset, had every right to be upset but this really wasn't the best way to go about this. Although to be fair if there was a right way to go about it he genuinely couldn't think of it, the situation was certainly unique.
"I don't think that will be necessary Tony..." He tried to reason but was cut off by a still visibly seething Tony.
"Really? Because I'm starting to think that it's going to be very necessary."
Fury watched with interest as the two scientists stared one another down, neither one giving so much as a millimeter. Banner's iron calm and fortitude versus the volatile inferno that was Stark, it was a bet that he certainly wouldn't take; there were far too many variables. But as he watched Fury realized that there were still a few things missing from this whole scenario and he had a feeling that he was going to have to go around Stark for answers as the man was still far from rational at the moment.
"Doctor Banner care to explain what the fuck he's raving about?"
The physicist released Tony's shoulder and pinched the bridge of his nose in exasperation. Beside him the billionaire growled in warning and folded his arms across his chest. Bruce blatantly ignored him, his head was starting to ache and he could feel the 'Other Guy' starting to push at his control. The sooner this was over the better for everyone around him. Ignoring Tony's glare he reluctantly handed the tablet he'd grabbed on the way out of the lab to Fury, he'd had a funny feeling that he'd need it.
The director frowned at the quiet finality in Banner's voice almost like a death knell and took the pro-offered tablet his eye scanning down the documents. What had riled Stark up so much about a bunch of medical documents? His eye flicked up to the top and he felt his jaw drop open as he read the name at the top of the screen.
This was impossible.
This was beyond impossible.
But the proof was right in front of his, well, eye.
"Where did you find this?" His voice was quiet and full of anger that was not directed at the men stood before him.
Tony looked completely aghast at the look of utter shock on Nick Fury's face; no one was that good of an actor not even the spy among spies. Finally realizing that perhaps Fury really didn't know what he was talking about he backed off, still a little disturbed by the blatant show of emotion.
"On a cryo-lab server flagged under a S.H.I.E.L.D emblem and buried under more defense measures than New York after 9/11."
The billionaire's voice was hollow as the rage and adrenaline filtered from his body. Fury just shook his head at the rather tasteless comment, a hollow chuckle escaping his lips. He knew Stark well enough to know that this information had not been obtained lawfully but that was nothing unexpected. The man was a constant thorn in his side creating more chaos than any person should be physically able to but then so were the rest of the Avengers and he wouldn't change that, it had literally saved the world. He could understand why Stark was so hurt over this, he didn't trust easily and this was a deep betrayal of everything they had worked toward with him.
But what to do now?
To say that the situation he'd been put it was a cluster-fuck would be the understatement of the god-damn year and that was really saying something considering the year he'd had. Someone had orchestrated this whole shit-storm under S.H.I.E.L.D's banner and there were only a handful of people who could do that under radar.
This reeked of the council and the last thing he wanted to do was deal with their brand of bullshit.
Grimacing he handed the tablet back to Banner and steeped his fingers in front of his face deep in thought while the two scientists watched on somewhat twitchy.
Fury came to a quick decision.
"I'll help you find his location..."
Tony's jaw dropped in shock, he'd honestly been expecting Fury to tell them to fuck off and deal with it themselves. The director gave a weak chuckle at the flabbergasted look on the billionaire's face, a vast contrast to his usual smug arrogance.
"You forget Stark he was my friend too, you ain't the only one feeling betrayed here. So I'll help you find his location but beyond that you're on your own; S.H.I.E.L.D can't be seen to be actively involved in this, especially if who I think is behind it."
Composed once again Tony gave a small nod, after seeing the other man's reactions he had a good idea who was behind it too, the same fuckers who had sent the nuke in to Manhattan. He just about repressed the angry growl at that particular memory and from the look on Bruce's face and the slight flecks of green in his eyes Tony surmised the physicist felt the same way.
"You got it Captain Pugwash."
It was lame even by Tony's standards, the dual groans attesting to that fact but both Bruce and Fury were relieved that he seemed to be more like himself rather than the raving, homicidal lunatic he'd been mere minutes prior. Stark turned to his companion and shot him a cheeky smirk before turning toward the door and heading toward it, he hadn't exactly gotten the information that he'd wanted but at least he was on the right track and he wasn't the only person pissed off by the whole shit storm. As he reached the sliding doors closely followed by Bruce, Fury called out to them his face once again serious.
"Can you at least try and keep this quiet until I find something out?"
Tony gave a thumbs up before turning and walking out the door. It wasn't as if anyone would actually believe him anyway, they would probably say he was having a breakdown or something equally ridiculous.
The man in question had been dead for twenty five years after all.