Fandom: The Avengers (& accompanying movies)
Pairing(s): Betty Ross/Bruce Banner, Darcy Lewis/Bruce Banner, Darcy Lewis/Clint Barton, Darcy Lewis/Bucky Barnes, Darcy Lewis/Phil Coulson, Darcy Lewis/Steve Rogers, Jane Foster/Thor Odinson, Natasha Romanoff/Bruce Banner, Peggy Carter/Steve Rogers, & Pepper Potts/Tony Stark
Spoilers: If you’ve seen all the movies, you’ll be fine. If you haven’t seen the movies, and don’t want potential spoilers, avoid the following:
Haven’t seen Captain America? Avoid Peggy Carter, Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes
Haven’t seen Iron Man 1 or 2? Avoid Pepper Potts, Tony Stark
Haven’t seen Iron Man 2? Also avoid Natasha Romanoff
Haven’t seen Thor? Avoid Darcy Lewis, Jane Foster, Thor
Haven’t seen Avengers? Avoid everything
Oh, yes, and Bucky will be an important part in the upcoming Captain America movie – Winter Soldier. There are all kinds of strings on that one – if you don’t already have an idea of the story, you should probably avoid the internet and comic stores altogether.
If you’ve seen everything, OR don’t mind being spoiled, take a gander at the stories listed below.
Blurb: So, why do I like the Avengers? It is a fun, kick-@$$ group of superheroes out to save the day. The movies give us (and hint to us) so much depth, so many issues, and so much potential. This universe is wide open to play in. To quote Tony Stark (who leaves himself out of this line up) – “let's do a head count here: your brother the demi-god; a super soldier, a living legend who kind of lives up to the legend; a man with breath-taking anger management issues; a couple of master assassins” – how does this not sound like a fun bunch?!? From angst to fluff, from humor to drama, from clean to smut – you’ve got every genre; you’ve got alternate universes; you’ve got “fill-in-the-blank” and this fandom has you covered.
(Because the Avengers have been around in comic verse for so long, there are a bunch of different canons for the majority of these characters. I’m going with my favorite parts/head canon.)
The only daughter of General T. Ross and the main love interest in the Hulk storyline. She is a cellular biologist who was working with Bruce Banner on the Gamma Pulse experiment which ended up creating the Hulk. She loves Bruce very much, but her father strongly disapproves. What I like about Betty is that she can look at the Hulk and still see Bruce while everyone around them sees a monster.
Head canon – serene, soft, the type to soothe the Hulk’s rage – one of the few the Hulk will listen to; her biggest fault is being too much under her father’s thumb and finds it hard to tell him no. This is the hurdle she has to overcome.
Bruce Banner: You want to go to the review board on Monday and tell them we have developed a brand new method for exploding frogs?
Betty Ross: I think there's a market for it. I mean, what if there's a plague?
Bruce Banner: What have you had, Betty, like one beer?
Betty Ross: I'm... I'm just saying... frogs start falling from the sky... who do they come to? We'll be world renowned.
Genius scientist – one of those guys who comes along once a generation or so…if then. In an attempt to recreate the Super Soldier Serum that created Captain America way back in World War II, he ended up being exposed to too much gamma radiation, and now, when his heart starts going too fast, he becomes the Hulk – a very powerful man-creature. While on the run from the army (specifically General Ross), he helps less fortunate folks by providing medical care…genius here people.
Head canon – Bruce is the epitome of the absent minded professor with a deep desire to help. Despite the fact that Hulk scares him, he stays with the Avengers because he knows they need a heavy, hard-to-kill hitter. He doesn’t seem to realize they also seriously need Bruce, not just Hulk.
Betty Ross: [Betty and Bruce need to get across town in New York City] The subway is probably quickest.
Bruce Banner: Me in a metal tube, deep underground with hundreds of people in the most aggressive city in the world?
Betty Ross: Right. Let's get a cab.
Bruce Banner: Thanks, but the last time I was in New York I kind of broke... Harlem.
Name is actually James Barnes, but he’s always been “Bucky”. He is a childhood friend of Captain America, and was a member of the Howling Commandos, an elite unit of Allied soldiers during World War II. He protected Steve when they were kids and they became all-but-inseparable brothers. However, Steve was a sickly kid and couldn’t join the army. Bucky went off to war, leaving Steve behind. A year later the friends meet again – Steve has become Captain America and they end up fighting side by side. During their final battle, Bucky is shot from the train and is reported as missing in action. (FYI – that’s never how it ends in stories with super heroes.)
Head canon – Despite everything that has been and will be done to him, there is a core in Bucky that will not bend. It may be a person, a name, a face, but something keeps a part of his soul free. He’s got a couple of chinks in his armor, and they’re both tied to people he loved in his past – Steve Rogers & Natasha Romanoff. They keep him human when everything else is pushing him to become cold and heartless.
James 'Bucky' Barnes: [looking down a long and steep zip line they'll soon be traveling] Remember when I made you ride the Cyclone on Coney Island?
Steve Rogers: Yeah, and I threw up?
James 'Bucky' Barnes: This isn't payback, is it?
Steve Rogers: [grinning] Now why would I do that?
Code name – Hawkeye; he’s a SHIELD agent and a founding member of the Avengers – one of the master assassins. Unlike the rest of the team, he has no super powers, no weaponized suit, no scientific/genetic tampering, and he’s not an alien – he is an ordinary human man who has trained and pushed himself until he can keep up with the others. He is the world’s greatest marksman, especially with a recurve bow. He’s a good fighter and an exceptional tactician/strategist.
Head canon – He’s the observer, always watching, and he prefers some distance. He doesn’t let people close very often, and he gives his trust sparingly. Phil Coulson and Natasha Romanoff are probably the only two who have ever really gotten close. This leads him to becoming overprotective from time to time when people he care for are in danger.
Natasha Romanoff: [watching the aliens come toward them] This is just like Budapest all over again.
Clint Barton: You and I remember Budapest very differently.
Clint Barton: Do you want me to take him down, or would you rather send in more guys for him to beat up?
The only applicant for Jane Foster’s internship – a political science major who needs six hard science credits – it’s the only reason she was in New Mexico. So, of course, this is when Thor gets thrown to Earth. She sometimes exasperates those around her, but she’s pretty observant – she’s the first to see the light show before Thor arrives as well as being the one to spot the figure of Thor in the pictures of the event. She tough and has guts – she tasers Thor; she’s willing to back up Jane when it comes to finding him after he escapes the hospital; she doesn’t leave town when the Destroyer arrives; and at the end of the movie she seems just as motivated as Jane to get Thor back.
Head canon – Darcy is the voice of common sense in the Foster world – she’s the one that makes sure there are the everyday necessities on hand. She’s sarcastic and loyal – she never wanted to be the heroine, she always wanted to be the zany best friend. She has a deep seated need to take care of people. Her mouth is what will probably get her in trouble one day.
Thor: You! What realm is this? Elfheim, Nilfheim?
Darcy: [pulls out a taser] New Mexico?
Thor: You dare threaten Thor with such a puny weapon...?
[Darcy tasers him]
Darcy: [to Jane] What? He was freaking me out!
Jane Foster: Well, if there's an Einstein-Rosen bridge, then there's something on the other side. And advanced beings could have crossed it!
Erik Selvig: Oh, Jane.
Darcy: A primitive culture like the Vikings might have worshiped them as deities.
Jane Foster: Yes! Yes, exactly. Thank you.
A brilliant astrophysicist who ends up becoming the leading lady in a seriously star-crossed love affair…seriously considering the leading man is an alien. She’s strong, independent, feisty – and utterly devoted to finding the truth. An example of her focus can be seen when they first discover Thor. After he starts moving, she gets so caught up in the symbols in the sand that she’s willing to ignore the big, potentially dangerous guy ranting nearby.
Head canon – Her constant search for the truth in the universe sometimes leaves her unable to see what’s right in front of her face. She’s always looking and dreaming big and sometimes misses the mundane things – eating and sleeping are concepts that cannot get in the way of science!
Jane Foster: But you're the one who's always pushing me to chase down every possibility, every alternative.
Erik Selvig: I'm talking about science, not magic.
Jane Foster: Well, "magic's just science we don't understand yet." Arthur C. Clarke.
Erik Selvig: Who wrote science-fiction.
Jane Foster: A precursor to science fact!
Erik Selvig: In some cases, yeah.
Jane Foster: Well, if there's an Einstein-Rosen bridge, then there's something on the other side. And advanced beings could have crossed it!
Thor: What you seek, it's a bridge.
Jane Foster: Like, like an Einstein-Rosen Bridge?
Thor: More like a Rainbow Bridge.
Jane Foster: God, I hope you're not crazy.
Code name – Black Widow; she’s a SHIELD agent and a founding member of the Avengers – the second of the master assassins. She’s also the only female member of the Avengers at this time. She started training as a spy and assassin when she was a child in Russia in the “Red Room”. It involved some kind of biotechnological enhancements – so she’s older than she looks. At some point in the past, her life hit a turning point when she met Clint Barton. He was sent to kill her, but saw something in her and went off grid to recruit her. They are friends and partners.
Head canon – She’s not a remorseless stone-cold killer. She can kill, no question, but she’s got a conscience. She’s also got a heart – she just guards it very, very well. Clint is one of the few who has ever been allowed into it, as is Bucky (under a different name). Phil Coulson was also someone who earned her trust. It takes a while before she will trust someone, but once she makes them hers, she will go to the wall for them.
Bruce Banner: Should have got paid up front, Banner.
Natasha Romanoff: [comes up behind him] You know, for a man who's supposed to be avoiding stress, you picked a hell of a place to settle.
Bruce Banner: Avoiding stress isn't the secret.
Natasha Romanoff: Then, what is it? Yoga?
Bruce Banner: You brought me to the edge of the city, smart. I uh... assume the whole place is surrounded?
Natasha Romanoff: Just you and me.
Bruce Banner: And your actress buddy, is she a spy too? Do they start that young?
Natasha Romanoff: I did.
Bruce Banner: Who are you?
Natasha Romanoff: Natasha Romanoff.
Bruce Banner: Are you here to kill me, Miss Romanoff? Because that's not gonna work out for everyone.
Natasha Romanoff: No. No. Of course not. I'm here on behalf of SHIELD.
Bruce Banner: SHIELD. How did they find me?
Natasha Romanoff: We never lost you, doctor. We've kept our distance, even helped keep some other interested parties off your scent
Full name – Margaret Carter; she was an agent with the British Secret Intelligence who became the main love interest for Steve Rogers during World War II. She served as a spy and rescued the man who would turn Steve Rogers into Captain America by posing as a maid at the headquarters of Hitler’s top secret science division, HYDRA. She is gutsy, intelligent, and loyal. Her fate is not known, but her file is marked “retired”.
Head canon – not much different than above, but I have trouble leaving her in the past. Mostly though, I see her as tough enough to keep up with the boys while never, ever losing her femininity. Her major downfall would either come through investing too much of her heart, or, contrary-wise, not investing enough. She may end up walking that fine line a little too long instead of letting herself go.
Steve Rogers: [showing his shield to Peggy] What do you think?
[Peggy unloads her gun into the shield]
Peggy Carter: [sweetly] Yes. I think it works.
Full name – Virginia Potts; the power behind the throne – Pepper Potts keeps everything moving the way it should for Tony Stark and Stark Industries. Being the personal assistant (she later gets other titles) of the richest man on the planet can’t be easy, especially when Tony is the way he is, but she pulls it off. She keeps her cool and does the job. She originally worked in finance, found an error, and went to Tony to get it corrected. She had to get past the bodyguards, and she did so using pepper spray – thus the nickname. Tony hired her as his assistant, impressed with her determination.
Head canon – the most scarily organized woman…ever. She would have to be to manage Tony, Stark, and all of the little details of everything. Her major fault line is the near total dedication to Tony – it is what will likely get her into trouble one day.
Virginia 'Pepper' Potts: [after Stark's one night stand with Christine] I have your clothes here; they've been dry cleaned and pressed. And there's a car waiting for you outside that will take you anywhere you'd like to go.
Christine Everheart: You must be the famous Pepper Potts.
Virginia 'Pepper' Potts: [smiles and nods] Indeed I am.
Christine Everheart: After all these years, Tony still has you picking up the dry cleaning.
Virginia 'Pepper' Potts: I do anything and everything Mr. Stark requires. Including occasionally taking out the trash. Will that be all?
A SHIELD agent who answers directly to Nick Fury and is a central figure for most of the Avengers. He’s got an interestingly sarcastic relationship with Tony Stark, considered Steve Rogers a role model, was the first main contact between Thor and SHIELD, and was a handler who worked with both Clint Barton and Natasha Romanoff. Phil became a catalyst for the team in the Avengers movie.
Head canon – Stoic, calm, and unwilling to let his nerves show, Phil is the male Pepper really. He’s the guy who can take care of whatever needs to be done, and will go to any length to take care of the people assigned to him. I can see him, Pepper, and Darcy combining to create a unified front to take care of the team or to face down anyone who might try to take advantage of the team.
Agent Coulson: If you try to escape, or play any sort of games with me, I will taze you and watch "Supernanny" while you drool into the carpet.
Agent Coulson: [interrogating Thor] It's not easy to do what you did. You made my men, some of the most highly trained professionals in the world look like a bunch of minimum-wage mall cops.
Once a sickly young boy, he grew up hating bullies and wanted desperately to help his country during World War II. Unfortunately the army wouldn’t take him because of his ill health. He volunteered for the Super Soldier program, and became the only man to go through and survive the full regimen of the original program. He became Captain America. (People have tried to recreate the program, and have managed various results, but no one has recreated the actual serum that created the Captain.) During his work in World War II, he saved (then lost) his best friend Bucky Barnes, fell for Peggy Carter, and fought alongside the Howling Commandos. He became a legend before he had to crash land a plane in the North to avoid a major death toll in New York. Considered lost, he went into hibernation – only to be found and revived around 70 years later. The world he knew, the people he knew – they are all gone.
Head canon – Steve’s got an innocence, but he’s not as innocent as most people think. He did manage to pick some stuff up. Also, in the modern era, he’s a prime candidate for posttraumatic stress disorder. While the rest of the world considers World War II (with all its horrors) as ancient history, for him it was literally last week/month/etc. He has not had the time to mourn his loss, let alone get used to the changes. Also, technology does not throw him as much as people might think – after all, consider all of the advances made in the 20’s, 30’s, & 40’s. Plus, of course, he knew Howard Stark and would have seen some cutting edge stuff (for the time) during his work in the Super Soldier program.
Red Skull: Arrogance may not be a uniquely American trait, but I must say, you do it better than anyone. But there are limits to what even you can do, Captain, or did Erskine tell you otherwise?
Steve Rogers: He told me you were insane.
Red Skull: Ah. He resented my genius and tried to deny me what was rightfully mine, but he gave you everything. So, what made you so special?
Steve Rogers: Nothing. I'm just a kid from Brooklyn.
Steve Rogers: There's not gonna be a safe landing, but I can try and force it down.
Peggy Carter: I'll-I'll get Howard on the line. He'll know what to do.
Steve Rogers: There's not enough time. This thing's moving too fast and it's heading for New York. I gotta put her in the water.
Peggy Carter: Please don't do this. W-we have time. We can work it out.
Steve Rogers: Right now I'm in the middle of nowhere. If I wait any longer a lot of people are gonna die. Peggy, this is my choice.
Steve Rogers: [turns the plane toward earth] Peggy...
Peggy Carter: I'm here.
Steve Rogers: I'm gonna need a rain check on that dance.
The privileged heir to the throne, hot-headed, impulsive…he gets Asgard drawn back into a war and Odin banishes him to Earth to learn humility. Through meeting Jane Foster (& her two companions) as well as spending time as a human, Thor learns to put others ahead of himself – he learns that all actions have consequences and they must be considered before a truly reasoned decision can be made.
Head canon – Once Thor gets the idea of humility, of being concerned for others, he is still a warrior, still a fighter, but it’s no longer a “fun” thing. War, fighting, they might be necessary – for defense, to defeat evil – but war is a grave, dangerous thing and the consequences must be considered before going headlong into a fight (as he did previously). Compare his desire for a fight at the beginning of Thor to his reaction to the war Loki brings in the Avengers? At war, Thor is a deadly enemy; at peace, he is a friendly giant – he will go to any length to protect those under his protection.
Thor: Your ancestors called it magic...
[Thor skims through a book on Norse mythology]
Thor: ...but you call it science. I come from a land where they are one and the same.
Thor: This mortal form has grown weak. I need sustenance!
Jane Foster: What happened?
Thor: He's fine! We drank, we fought - he made his ancestors proud!
Jane Foster: Put him on the bed.
Erik Selvig: [to Thor] Oh, I still don't think you're the god of thunder. But you ought to be!
A billionaire industrialist, genius, inventor, playboy, philanthropist…the hero know as Iron Man – Tony is a complicated mess of a man. He’s got definite daddy issues, can’t get through a day without Pepper taking care of him, and probably has closer friendships with robots than with human beings (a couple of major exceptions excluded). He used to build bigger and better weapons until he spent time as a prisoner of terrorists and decided to make changes.
Head canon - Tony is a genius with a heart of gold buried underneath a snobbish, selfish personality. He wants to be surrounded by people he cares about, but he finds it hard to believe they care for him. In order to sway them into staying, he creates apartments, floors, labs, etc. for them as incentives. His personality is a bit abrasive, but it’s mostly because he was smacked down (emotionally, not physically) too often as a kid when he reached out. (The betrayal he suffered in Iron Man 1 didn’t help.) He is NOT known for his trust.
Tony Stark: Okay now, the copper wire - you got it?
Virginia 'Pepper' Potts: Yeah, I've got it.
Tony Stark: Now pull it out, gently, and just make sure you don't touch the s...
Tony Stark: AH! - i-i-i-des!
Virginia 'Pepper' Potts: Sorry, I'm sorry!
Tony Stark: Don't touch the sides, that's what I was trying to tell you before. Now, just gently pull that out, and whatever you do, don't pull out the...
[Pepper pulls out the end, Tony's heart monitors go off]
Tony Stark: The magnet at the end of it. See, that was it. You just...
Virginia 'Pepper' Potts: What?
Tony Stark: What I was trying to tell you - no, don't put it back in! Just put it over there, we have to hurry...
Virginia 'Pepper' Potts: What's wrong?
Tony Stark: Oh, nothing, I'm just going into cardiac arrest, because you...
Virginia 'Pepper' Potts: *What*? I thought you said this was safe!
Tony Stark: ...just yanked it out like a trout!
Tony Stark: Well, you can forget it. I am Iron Man. The suit and I are one. To turn over the Iron Man suit would be to turn over myself, which is tantamount to indentured servitude or prostitution, depending on what state you're in. You can't have it.
Senator Stern: Look, I'm no expert...
Tony Stark: In prostitution? You're a senator. Come on.
Below you will see my recommendations per pairing – I’ve put the pairings in a countdown format, so 10 pairings counting down to my favorite of the fandom.
Number 10 – generally I like reading them sweet or sweet with a hint of sorrow
Fic Rec #1: Unexpected
Why This Must Be Read: Specifically, chapter 2 of this story (it’s a 5+1). This chapter handles the beauty and the sorrow of their romance wonderfully well. It shows the difficulty they have in being together without being maudlin, while hinting at both the passion and the sweetness these two have at their best.
Number 9 – They have so much promise and it is cut so short.
Fic Rec #2 Stop All the Clocks (series)
Rating/Warning(s): PG mostly, but one is explicit
Why This Must Be Read: This series explores what might have happened if Peggy got more from a kiss than just a happy memory. (The first story is called – “Mono – the Super-Soldier Serum Strand”). She stops aging, and things change.
Number 8 – Hard to find as the main couple, but they can be both sweet and fun when handled right.
Fic Rec #3: The Morning After
Why This Must Be Read: This is a sweet little one-shot, mostly introspection on Jane’s part about being Thor’s bride.
Fic Rec #4: Scientists and Saints
Why This Must Be Read: Cute one-shot from Tony’s point-of-view actually: Thor is trying to get Jane to take care of herself, like Pepper does to Tony…but Pepper never had the ability to toss Tony over her shoulder like Thor does Jane.
Number 7 – Passion and anger and trust and fear all wrap around these two, making them very volatile
Fic Rec #5: Neither Wild Nor Tame
Why This Must Be Read: This is part of a series, and the other parts might help, but this one is a fabulous Natasha/Bruce read. It gets into how both of them have these dark, fairly inhuman sides – his is just more visual.
Number 6 – These two just feel like a whole – there is a feeling that there is no Pepper without Tony and no Tony without Pepper
Fic Rec #6: call every girl we ever met maria
Why This Must Be Read: This one is really quite funny with a couple of poignant moments about Tony & Pepper becoming parents.
Number 5 – She’s the right amount of serious and fun to catch his attention while he desperately needs someone to support, push, and believe in him
Fic Rec #7: I’m Gonna Be a Part of It
Why This Must Be Read: A nice long fic on how Darcy gets her life together in SHIELD…and gets a nice surprise in the form of a scientist/Avenger.
Number 4 – A new ship for me, and I totally blame tumblr – but they have the same feel of belonging in this world while being totally lost all at the same time
Fic Rec #8: Living in the Western World
Why This Must Be Read: This is more pre-ship, but it is an interesting look at how he comes back to life through snapshots. She gives him reality when he’s having problems finding it himself.
Number 3 – I once would have said “never”…and then I got hooked on a couple of stories. He gives her a solid foundation, a center to hold onto, while she gives him a jolt of electricity and new life.
Fic Rec #9: There is Gonna be a Flame (series)
Why This Must Be Read: SERIES IS WIP. What if Darcy was the cellist? The first story is sad, and the second one will make you mad. It’s most recent update was today. I look forward to each new chapter because I really, really want to know what happens next.
Fic Rec #10: View Askew (series)
Rating/Warning(s): PG mostly, but the last is mature
Why This Must Be Read: I fell for this series in the first story because Darcy let her secret slip in such a normal, “I can see this happening” way.
Number 2 – I like them because he needs someone fun, not solemn to bring him into the new century while she has someone who is willing to both let her be strong and weak whenever she needs to be.
Fic Rec #10: The End is the Beginning
Why This Must Be Read: More pre-ship, but you can see some strong potential – this is a lovely first meeting. Neither of them have any idea that the other would comprehend the weirdness of their lives, so it’s a completely innocent meeting without any of the baggage.
Fic Rec #11: Promises & Pie Crust
Why This Must Be Read: This is really a fun read – Darcy decides to work in a pie shop instead of all of the other zany stuff (like herding scientists or joining SHIELD). Of course, that doesn’t mean she’s not going to have her life turned upside down (again) by an Avenger.
Number 1 – My absolute OTP for this fandom – the archer and the intern – I love the sheer potential for passion, snark, sarcasm, and love in this pairing. He needs someone to bring some sunshine into his shadows while keeping up with his snark. She needs someone who can handle her sarcasm while shielding her from the insanity of her new life.
Fic Rec #12: Simple, Not Easy
Why This Must Be Read: This is a wonderful look at Darcy’s life with the Avengers, especially Clint. In this one, she really should have known that hanging out with this bunch would put a target on her back.
Fic Rec #13: Cupid’s Nap
Why This Must Be Read: Her Valentine’s Day doesn’t quite go as planned, but she can live with it. This is just sweet.
Fic Rec #14: Witness
Why This Must Be Read: The Senator is after the Avengers, and Darcy is called to testify. Clint is her bodyguard. Where do you think that’s going to go? Yeah…there. In the end though, Darcy makes a fabulous testimony.
Fic Rec #15: when the lights cut out
Why This Must Be Read: They both have nightmares, and they find solace in each other’s company. One day it changes and they become even more.
Fic Rec #16: Road to Joy (series)
Rating/Warning(s): Mature – Rape/Non-con
Why This Must Be Read: Darcy ended up in New Mexico because she needed to get away from the bruises and the black eyes. She’s got trust issues, but it looks like a certain archer may have the key to gaining her trust.
Mods: I need a ship tag for Darcy Lewis/James "Bucky" Barnes. Thank you.