Who: Tony Stark and Grant Ward What: Ward has secrets he can't have revealed Where: Tony's bit of the Warehouse When Saturday night during the various festivities Rating: Guns and poison and Hydra oh my! Status:Complete
Scotch in hand and knowing what had to be done Ward followed the directions given to where the Avengers had been staying, where Stark had set up shop. And in truth he really hadn’t wanted it to come to this. But Stark had his suit which happened to apparently have intel on Hydra Agents from Maria ‘wishes she was Romanoff’ HIll. She was probably just pissed she’d vetted him. He couldn’t really fault that, he was a better spy than her.
That said, he had nothing against Stark. In fact the guy seemed alright, little crazy but he supposed he was a genius type. But he knew too much. Ultimately he knew more than Ward was happy with. And while normally he wouldn’t care who knew what. Simmons trusted him again and he’d missed that in a weird way. And of course Skye. Skye was here and he refused to let her know the truth. She couldn’t know, she couldn’t look at him the way she had in that cafe or on the bus. She’d despised him, pitied him too when they’d finally faced off, before May had attacked. It was too much, and he couldn’t do it again.
Garrett was dead, according to his guards. Very dead.
There were no orders coming, nothing left for him to plan for. And he wasn’t sure how he’d have done at home. But here, this place, he’d thought maybe he’d had a shot at normal. Even within the lies. Because he was very good at living the lie. Always had been.
Reaching the perimeter he pressed the button and waited to be admitted. Once he was he followed the route given to what seemed like a workshop/ living room but missing the typical showey that was so very Tony Stark. Ward was carrying of course but that wasn’t unusual for a SHIELD agent, especially one with his reputation. His real weapon of course was the scotch. Laced with something toxic he’d vaguely heard of from Simmons lab. It would be enough. It wouldn’t be traced back to him.
He had this.
“Stark. Thanks for meeting me”
Tony was engrossed in fixing the propulsion on his suit. It seemed to have been the first thing to fail when he’d been transported. So, it had seemed the logical place to start his repairs. He was still trying to get his head around this place. A place where apparently his life was a series of movies. He really didn’t want to watch those. Wished other people hadn’t seen him at his lowest points. But, apparently they had, on a big screen with surround sound.
“Sir, an Agent Ward from SHIELD is here.” JARVIS interrupted his flow of thought.
“Let him in, give him directions, JARVIS.” Stark said, as he finished the bit of wiring on his suite he was working on. Standing up, just as Ward entered the room.
“What’s up, Ward?”
“Thought you could do with a break from the downloads and I wanted to pick your brain on some stuff anyway. Its gonna sound entirely ridiculous. But its about Skye.”
Bring her up, make himself seem more approachable, unlike the robot he let everyone else see, persona’s could shift when they needed to, and the robot as it turned out had a heart. Stark would die before he knew how true that was of course. “Its why I brought this.” he added, clicking open the scotch bottle. Another simple act of misdirection, get Stark curious as to what he wanted to ask about Skye while ensuring he didn’t notice the bottle had already been opened. SHIELD had taught him a lot, but John had taught him a lot more. Do what you need to to survive, to get what you want, sometimes you had to just take it. And here he was, ready to do just that. It was best if Skye never knew the truth.
“So basically, you’ve seen SHIELD, how we work, well Skye. I’m her S.O. I’m supposed to be the one teaching her, showing her the ropes. Training her as an agent. What I’m not supposed to do is fall for her. But that’s sort of what happened. And back home, one of the last things I remember, we kissed. She kissed me back and god, we could have been something. But here, she’s from before. Which in some ways is better for her, in others, well, makes it complicated.”
He quickly found some glasses as he spoke and poured, handing one of them to Stark.
Quicker this was over the better, he’d get out, he didn’t know what that AI whatever would do, if it would try and lock him down, any of it. But he had a number of plans in place, he’d gotten out of worse situations.
“The girl who used to hang around outside my building?” Tony had no idea why anyone would ask him for relationship advice. He wasn’t exactly known for his ability to commit. There was only ever Pepper. Before her, his life had been a mis-mash of sordid one night stands, and casual affairs. Where he fled as soon as the girl got too serious. Usually leaving behind an expensive gift to soften the blow. “Probably a good thing for you that SHIELD no longer exists, then. You’re no longer her SO, Grant Ward.”
Tony raised his hands. “I don’t like being handed things. Put it on the table”. He said, raising an eyebrow at the very expensive bottle of scotch. Tilting the glass towards Ward in a gesture of thanks, he raised it to his nose. “Where did you get Glenmorangie Signet Highland Single Malt anyway? I’d have thought it was above your pay grade.”
Then, as a true connoisseur, he sniffed the whisky. It had always had a complex nose, with a wide range of fruit, nuts and spice. With chocolate booming through followed by...wait. that didn’t smell right. He sniffed it again, the base scent of the whisky was there, but there was also a sickeningly sweet and tarry smell. Was that, Phenol?
“Phenol? You ruined decent scotch with Phenol?” He shook his head, appalled at the tragedy of a wasted bottle of wonderful scotch. “And, you thought that would work on me? You must have been desperate.” He wondered what on earth he could have done, and then it occurred to him. “You’re on the list, aren’t you?” He laughed, “You’re the one Hill kept bitching about. Garrett’s bitch.”
He hadn’t counted on him smelling it. He probably should have, but he didn’t drink the stuff himself. Still he’d taken mistakes into account and the gun was in his hand quicker than even someone like Tony Stark could react without his suit. “Yeah I’m on the list. Hands where I can see them Stark, I know the little trick you pulled on Loki back in New York.”
He really didn’t want it to play out like this, if nothing else the guy really had saved their asses from the stupidity of...well, SHIELD back during the Invasion. And even if he wasn’t really SHIELD. He’d appreciated what Stark had risked for the city. “Look, its not personal. It never was. I’m Hydra in name. If even that, it was never about their ridiculous mission like it was for Pierce or Sitwell. Call me what you want but Garrett saved my life. And I owed him everything. So yeah, I did what I had to to try and save him in return.”
This wasn’t ideal by any means. A bullet in the head would point to him if Simmons or any one of a number of people here got to the bullet. And what was he going to do, cut him open for it. ...He supposed he could in theory.
“I wasn’t lying you know. About Skye. I really do love her. Which is why the only way out of this is you dead and that file destroyed. She can’t know. Neither can Simmons. This place is my second chance and you can’t take that away from me. I won’t let it happen. So, this, I’m sorry, I honestly am, I didn’t want to kill you. You’re a damn hero in a lot of peoples eyes for what you did with that bomb. But I can’t...you have to understand, I’m probably from around when you are, it played out, Garrett didn’t make it and I did and they took me in. But that’s not what this is about. I don’t care about that, about how they think of me. It’s her. I can’t have her look at me like that again. She called me a Nazi Stark, I’m so far from that its....I can’t let her think that. I just, I had my orders. I followed them. I tried to save the life of someone that saved mine. Is that wrong? Is that why SHIELD promised me I’d suffer for what I did.”
Tony put the glass down before holding his hands at shoulder height, palms facing outwards. “And you think she’ll never find out? Even if you kill me, what happens if another member of your team shows up from the same time as you?” Woah, this guy was crazy. But, he’d faced down crazy before. In fact most of the people he’d faced down were crazy. It seemed to be a trend.
“And, you did get told all about us being fictional, right? Our lives are spread all over the internet.” His eyes were quickly scanning the room, trying to work out a way around this. But, he knew how this guy was trained, and he seemed like he might be a bit trigger-happy. Any movement could set him off, and without his suit. It seemed like his only option might be to talk him down.
He'd thought about that. About the fiction of it, but he had a plan for that too. This wasn't about what it would eventually lead to. "I just need more time. Time to make her understand. So if any of them show up or if she finds us on the internet, then she won't react like she did back home. I can explain it but you and your files, its too soon. And I can't let you tell her, show her a name on a list, she'll never understand that. Or why I did any of it."
He wasn't stupid. He wasn't even crazy. He was desperate. And he needed to do this. Because he needed to know he'd still have Skye at the end of this.
"You have to understand that at least right? That finding out like this, I have no chance. The things I did."
Ward noted exactly what Stark was doing. Looking around. Planning.
"Hey...Do you think I won't shoot you? If Hill really did rant about me then you know that I'll do it and you know that I don't miss. I've gone after people I've known a lot longer than you, Avenger or not. So no tricks."
Tony rolled his eyes. “Come on. You’re SHIELD. You know who I was before Iron Man. You think I don’t know about redemption?”
And he did, before he’d been a selfish playboy, with no regard for what the weapons he was inventing were being used for. He’d never given it any thought. Not until The Ring. He’d had his epiphany then, and he suspected Ward had had his. And, if he had had a second chance, he supposed he could give this Agent of SHIELD one.
“I won’t tell her, or Simmons. But, you need to. You do know about the TV series, right? Not just the movies.”
What the hell was this? It had to be a trick, no one was like that. It would be stupid to trust that he wasn’t going to tell anyone. “So what? I walk away and you give me time? How does this work, cause what happens if I don’t, you tell them?”
But he had a point. The show. Skye would find it. Of course she would. And it was better coming from him. On both counts.
“I didn’t do it cause I believed in their Hail Hydra crap” he said again. “It was never about that. But I can’t make her believe me. And I don’t know if you heard, well you wouldn’t have, you thought Coulson was dead. But he killed him, Garrett, and I’m trying to move on from that. I thought here, I could do that. I could figure it all out and start again but how the hell am I supposed to do that when its followed me here.”
It was a weakness, if he didn’t kill Stark. Just another weakness. He could almost hear Garrett telling him so, wondering where he’d gone wrong with him. When the little 084 had begun to mean more to him. Begun to break through the walls. The carefully constructed persona.
“She never loved me. Not the real me. She loved the act. Deep cover, I’m good at it. Best there is some say. Better than Romanoff. Tell me then genius, how do I get out of this without you and Barton and whoever the hell else shows up out for my blood.”
“No. Because your tech-savvy little girlfriend will find it all out on her own in a couple of days. You know she will. I can see it on your face.”
And then, what he said about Coulson sunk in. “Fucking Fury! Phil’s alive? And they kept it from us?” He shook his head in disbelief, sinking into the couch near by.
“Oh, put the damn gun away, Ward. Killing me won’t exactly help your cause now, will it?” He said, waving in his direction. Reaching for the whisky on the table, he picked up the bottle of whisky he’d been drinking earlier.
“Are you really asking that question? After all the crap that seems to have been thrown about the boards?” He poured himself a glass of whisky, “Grab yourself a glass from over there, would you?”
“Did you just offer me...” Ward was unsure if Stark was the genius he’d been made out to be or actually just nuts. Maybe both. Both was entirely likely. “Stark, an admitted Hydra agent is pointing a gun at your head, threatening to kill you because you know too much and you’re offering him whiskey? How is this even...”
In the end he just rolled his eyes and moved toward the shelf of glasses gun still pointed. He did need a drink and the whiskey was not poisoned. Stark would never poison alcohol. Also he was back to drinking it. He was too okay with having guns pointed at him.
“Fury said it was need to know. Clearly the Avengers didn’t need to know.” he added, noting how much the revelation Coulson was alive had bothered him. No sense in being a dick about this. “If you try anything, I’m a faster draw than you without your suit.” Ultimately he was right about Skye. Annoying as that was.
“The crap on the boards isn’t about second chances.” he said, lowering the gun and handing over the glass. The gun was still in his hand of course. “Its about second chances for a few. You saw what I got for daring to question Loki’s motives. And you, what will you say about tonight? Thought you’d be calling for Barton by now if I’m honest”
Stark nodded briefly, then rolled his eyes. “Typical Fury. Damned SHIELD and their secrets!” He said, accepting the glass from Ward, and pouring him some scotch.
“Second chances for some and not all, is a load of bullshit.” He offered the glass back to Ward, and gestured at a chair. “Sit down, Ward. You’re giving me a crick in my neck.”
“Besides, if I can cope with Loki. The man I almost killed myself to stop, I think I can manage to find it in my heart to give you a second chance.” The young man sort of reminded him of a younger him. Messed up, snarky, not good at working with others. “This conversation is on a need to know basis. Barton doesn’t need to know.”
It took everything he had. But he did sit. Gun resting in his hand still. Just in case. “So you’re going to let me tell her. My way. You’re going to let me do this and you’re not gonna tell Barton this happened.” Ward downed the glass in one and winced before offering it back. “Gonna need a few more of those before I even get close to the point telling her makes sense.”
He didn’t know why he trusted Stark not to lie about this, and not to tell Barton it had even happened. But something told him he should. Guess that trust thing had to start somewhere.