Did Cupid steal your bow and arrow?
Today is a day that the Avengers would consider as less than average; finally they have no missions, and thankfully no chaos. It is practically silent throughout the tower, save the soft hum of the news flashing on the television, or the quiet chatter at the dining table, or the occasional beep of machines in the laboratory.
In the safe comfort and luxury of Stark Tower's renovated residential floors, the six members, plus their favourite God of Mischief, live together, finally happy in each other's company. As the sun rises overhead, it's warmth glows through the large, glass wall panels, shining over the bodies that occupy the large open space.
Steve Rogers sits comfortably on the sofa watching today's strangely peaceful news, with the Hawk's bare feet thrown on his lap; he has no intention of starting an argument by making him move them. Clint Barton contentedly lets himself be swallowed up by the large sofa cushions, his comfort almost lulling him back to sleep.
Sat at the dining table with a strong cup of coffee in hand, Tony Stark and his newest best friend, Loki, enjoy the feeling of their drink settling in their stomachs, a warm wake up. Their talk is quiet but with an unexpected ease, a discussion between the two planning for their day ahead.
Absent from the room, Bruce is down in the lab — Natasha keeping him company — working on his latest experiment. Thor's presence is also noticeably missed, the lack of his loud, booming voice secretly pleasant for the calm ambience that has settled in the room.
"Hey, Stark!" Clint's almost sleepy voice echoes from his place on the sofa. Tony looks up to see the archer looking intently at him, but turns back to his previous conversation. "I haven't seen the wife around recently, where've you been hiding her?"
Now fully paying attention to the almost to smug Clint, both Loki and Tony stare at him, equally confounded by his question. Loki shifts uncomfortably in his seat, his mind running a million miles a second trying to figure out what the Hawk was talking about. Tony didn't have a wife, right? He didn't have a wife… Tony's eyebrows crease in confusion, no actual recollection of a marriage, he hasn't been that drunk in a while.
Ah wait, his mind reminds him of the awesome weekend the Avengers spent in Las Vegas a few months back. Sin City itself, or Steve's appropriately named Devil Country — old man, Tony thinks — could not have accidentally tamed the playboy, philanthropist, surely? There's only one person currently on the cards that has any hope of that, and they definitely are not married.
"Is that panic I see you in your eyes, Mr Stark?" Clint's voice is hauntingly mocking, a large grin plastered to his face. I'd like to rearrange that smile. "Don't worry yourself, there was only oneunwanted wedding that night."
Steve slaps Clint's ankle harshly, clearly not wanting to remember the aftermath of that night. Tony and Bruce had somehow managed to create a substance that worked against his serum and managed to actually get the Captain drunk off his head. He awoke the next morning, death banging his head against a brick wall, his body weakened from the unfamiliar hangover, and a strange sight next to him on his bed. "Pretty sure it's not even legal for a drunken Asgardian to get married in a cheap Vegas chapel to an equally drunken super solider…"
"One day you'll forgive he'll for that." Clint quips to Tony, the hilarity of the situation still not having worn off. Steve however is still not sure if he would ever get over the trauma of explaining to Fury why himself and Thor needed an annulment for their marriage.
"Can we get off the subject of Steve's denial? We all know about his burning love for a certain thunder God with flowing, blond hair. I just want to get back to Clint's original conversation starter." Tony's patience is waning. He is clearly going to bring up Cap's misfortune later, and then again next week, and the week after. Hell, he'll never let the Capsicle forget about that night — it's just too priceless — but right now, he wants to get back to his own predicament.
"About your wife?" Tony's eyes beg with Clint's, he needs to know what the hell happened that night! Clint laughs before finally explaining. "As much as I like to see you squirm — and I mean, I really, really enjoy seeing you squirm under the threat of commitment — I wasn't actually talking about a proper wife. More your metaphorical wife."
Tony can't decide whether it is because he hasn't completely awoken yet, he is still only on his first mug of coffee after all, or his mental capacity is waning. His optimum brain capacity has clearly not kicked in yet. "I was talking about Pepper… who else?"
It is now that Tony's brain sparks into action — Pepper. Of course it was Pepper Clint was talking about! She is one of two women he has managed to maintain an actual friendship with, the other being Natasha. Their relationship however, is a strange one. Can you really have a normal friendship with a woman who has the ability to kill him in over a hundred different ways without leaving a trace? No one would find his body if he said the wrong thing, or looked at her the wrong way. Other than that terrifying thought, she is pretty cool. She can usually take his usual sarcastic wit in pretty good humour, and will, on some occasions, actually laugh with him.
Pepper on the other hand, it almost did seem like they were married, but that really wasn't the case. They had tried the whole dating thing, and it was... well, it was weird. It was like kissing a relative in a way that wasn't particularly legal. Pep was like Tony's sister, sometimes he'd stretch so far to say even his mother.
Before the Avengers initiative, when Tony had decided becoming more self-sufficient would be beneficial for not just him but the team as well, Pepper had pretty much run his life. She made sure he wasn't killing himself, and ensured he was behaving, scolding him when he wasn't. At times she had even ended up doing his laundry. Tony, nearing the big 4-0 milestone in his life, had never really left his teenage years. His name and wealth allows him to do pretty much what ever he wants with only the minimal consequences.
Pepper was in charge of everything, even including his baby, his pride and joy, Stark Industries. Tony had signed the company back into her capable hands when it became impossible to be a superhero, saving the world and running a multibillion-dollar corporation. She wasn't his wife, there was no ring, no romance, but that being said, he did depend on her heavily. Just not in thatway…
"You know that Pepper resides in Malibu, it's easier to run the company from there, and it's just safer in general. The house is pretty badass too if you ask me. It's much better than this place. She's also not really a big fan of Manhattan. Why do you ask?"
Tony notices the almost disappointed look that dashes across Clint's face. But being the spy he is, with his terrific poker face, it is gone a moment later. But since he is much more alert, his neurons working faster and faster as the caffeine gets into his system, Tony successfully manages to pieces together the puzzle of Clint's original line of enquiry.
"Oh… oh! This is golden. Truly golden! Did Cupid steal your bow and arrow and shoot you in the ass or something?"
Clint goes from a peaceful resting face to hysterically panicked in a matter of milliseconds, "What? No! No, that's not it!"
"Oh my Norse God of Fire, you like Pepper!" Tony's mouth grins wider and wider.
"Who likes Pepper?" Natasha questions as she strolls into through the elevator door. She notices who's in the room and knows immediately who exactly Tony was talking about. A sly grin appears on her lips. "I see."
"Barton and Pepper, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!"
Tony sings, waving his hands in a childish manner. He throws himself from his chair at the dining table, as he watches Clint launch from the sofa and in his direction. Cackling as he goes, Tony dodges past his attacker, and successfully avoids Natasha, not without difficulty though. He's not a nimble as the arrow-wielding spy, even the Cap, being the old man he is, has more agility than he does. Tony's achievement is short lived as he runs directly into the block of muscle that is Thor.
"Ah, Anthony, why do I find you being chased down by a vengeful Clint Barton this fine morning?" It is still a strange sight for all of the Avengers to see Thor walking around in clothes that aren't his armour. It's even stranger to see Loki no longer wearing his typical ceremonial clothing or carrying his sceptre and magnificent horned helmet. Knowing that he probably will not understand what is going on, Thor shrugs it off. "Never it mind. My brother, I notice his absence, do you know of his whereabouts?"
Tony takes a moment to turn around, looking to the table where he had spent the morning with said brother. He is surprised not too see him sat at the dining table. Loki must have left whilst Tony was messing with, and defending himself against Clint.
"Well, he was here, but now he's not." He looks to Steve, who just shrugs. Confused by his sudden departure, since Loki usually likes to stick around to see Tony in such situations, since it happens on a regular basis, he decides he needs to find him. "Don't worry, I'll find him, Thor."
He nods in response, trusting the Man of Iron with his brother, "Thank you, Anthony, I appreciate your efforts."
NotesLet me know what you think, my darlings.
Can also be found (completed) on my AO3, FF, and Mibba.