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Facing Your Own Demons

By xXMistyImaginingsXx

Adventure / Action

1. Before The Storm

This all started after the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Tony ended up moving back to New York after the crisis had been averted. There was a lot of clean up, repairs and politic's to deal with. Now of which S.H.I.E.L.D could not take care of. Yes, many agent's had survived the chaos, but S.H.I.E.L.D was now so broken and dismantled no one knew if they could ever come together again. If anything the Avengers reassembling ensured security to the rest of the world. Although to Tony, this was all just a big game, a lot of fun. The whole Extremis fiasco had mellowed him out, but not that much.

Thor only lived there part time at first once the absence of Loki's scepter was found to be a bigger problem than anyone had originally thought. He spent the other half in Asgard, keeping peace between the nine realms and all that junk. It was clearly a hard job and very time consuming, but with a certain someone staying just outside the city for research, everyone found the demi-god becoming much more punctual. Soon he made a pact to stay on Midguard until the scepter could be secured and with all of the shit H.Y.D.R.A was sending their way it was proving to be quite a process.

Steve, of course, stayed in the city all along given it was the only place that at least resembled the home he used to know. He owned his own apartment and it wasn't too far, though he did tend to spend several night's a week at the tower. Tony didn't mind, he had a whole floor set up for him anyways, what was the point if it was never used? Steve spent most of his days assisting in any way he could with damages and ended up seeing Tony a lot because of it. Believe it or not, the two had actually reached an understanding...to an extent.

Clint, for his actions under Loki's control, had removed himself from S.H.I.E.L.D temporarily before the crisis had occurred. It turned out to be a way longer vacation from work that he ever thought it would have been with the collapse. Natasha had known that he had gone home to see Laura and the kids to try and clear his head, to try and get some sense of normalcy back into his life. That didn't last long however. Memories from what Loki had done brutally resurfaced once he got news of the scepter being still out there and used to do some of the most gruesome things imaginable. It made the man restless and unable to focus on much else. The decision for Clint to go back into the field with the Avengers was not a decision that was made lightly by both either him or Laura, but it was something that had to be done. So the archer moved into the tower with a few of the others. Tony had made the occasional joke of the matter of his payment since Barton was the only other one who lived there full time at the time being besides Banner. The only payment he had to give was being the occasional entertainment to the engineer.Though he wouldn't ever really say it, Clint still enjoyed the company.

Almost immediately after the battle, Banner fled the city. Then he fled the country. No one was surprised by this. They all knew he didn't want to be there in the first place. It was sad to say honestly, the man had more potential than he knew. No one, however, would have suspected that Banner would have practically come running back after the Extremis incident. Worried for his friend, Banner had made it back quickly and though it was never actually voiced between the pair, Tony needed his support and companionship from the new onslaught of PTSD from that incident. The two were nearly inseparable for the first few days after Bruce's arrival, it was evident that the engineer really needed his friend there, someone else he truly trusted. Banner had at first claimed that he was only going to be there for a few weeks, maybe a month if Tony still needed him. A few weeks turned into a few months, then a few more months after that. Maybe it was because Bruce felt like he owed Tony, maybe it was because he really wanted to stay.

That left Natasha. The spy had taken quite a bit longer to come around. After the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D she was left so bare, so exposed. Something a spy truly feared. She was left to nothing but herself, someone she hardly recognized when she looked in the mirror. She spent so much time being whoever others wanted her to be, told her to be that she lost grip on her own identity, but this also presented a rare opportunity for her to remake herself for once in her life. What better way to rebuild ones identity with the life of a hero? As far fetched a it was in her own mind, if it were to be anything else it wouldn't be good enough. She could reshape her future, but never change her past. The blood stained ledger she owned would never be satisfied unless she did some things very extreme to fix it.

Moving into the tower had just been a step to this. It's not like she really had anywhere else to go. She was on assignment so much at S.H.I.E.L.D she never had a permanent residence. Doing that also wasn't conducive to the life of a spy. She was given her own floor of the tower which was also beautifully designed. With all the security measures she knew Tony had put in place in the tower and with all the unique others around her, Natasha had never felt so safe and that was not a word she ever used lightly. There was just one problem. Banner. It's not that she hated him per say, but she certainly didn't trust him and she certainly didn't know about how she felt living with him. He was a nice guy as himself. A good man, one that she didn't mind at all, but she swore whenever she looked into his eyes, she could see the killer inside him, lurking in every part of his being. It scared her. For what reason? Many. Though some could say it was because when she looked in the mirror, beyond all the mask and mystery, she saw the same thing inside herself.

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