“What do you mean you lost her!?”
Pepper screeches storming into the Avenger’s common room, her furious gaze landing on the three out of the four boys in front of her. The three look up at her expectantly with guilty expressions, the worst being Bruce who looks on the verge of tears.
“P-Pepper um… we- we’ll I-I,” The poor scared doctor stammers, a hand coming to take his glasses of his face. He wipes the glasses on the hem of shirt to buy him time, his feet tapping impatiently and his face contorting into worry. “You s-see.. we- we-“
“Pep. your giving Banner a heart attack.” Tony points out putting a reassuring hand on Bruce’s shoulder. Bruce sits down in the reclining chair. Wringing his hands together nervously, Bruce avoids looking up into Pepper’s eyes and takes for staring at the living room carpet. Looking over at Pepper, he shrugs off her fury and continues speaking, “He cant help stress remember. Don’t be mad at him, it wasn’t his fault. His job was to save Little Red from dying and he did it perfectly. It was not his job to watch over her while she recovers. That job fell upon birdbrain and I. So if you need someone to blame, I will correctly show you who is at fault for this… It was Clint!”
“Hey!” Clint shouts, but Pepper’s voice overpowers his completely,
“Tony, you and I both know that from the minute you said Clint you were lying.” Pepper says, her face starting to turn red as she stalks up towards him. Backing away from her with every step she takes, Tony places his hands out in front of him as if to protect himself. “Now. Tell. Me. The. Truth.” Pepper demands through gritted teeth.
Sighing in defeat, Tony bites him bottom lip nervously trying to search for words. Words that won't anger his girlfriend more. The first thing that pops in his head is, 'Hey Pep, so yeah, I technically lost little Red because it was my turn to watch her, but I got distracted and left the room for a second. And when I came back, she was gone.' But he knew that explanation wouldn't sit well with Pepper. And would get him in even more trouble than he already was. The look on her face already sends chills down his spine.
Chuckling nervously, Tony offers Pepper a sheepish smile. "I would just like to say," he starts. "That you left me in charge of a spy. One that could've easily slit my throat if she wasn't so injured-"
"That makes it even worse Tony!" Tony jumps at Pepper's sudden exclamation and interruption. "She was injured and needed help walking. How could she gave gotten out of your line of sight if you were suppose to be watching her?"
Tony's response is so quiet, so inaudible, Pepper has to ask him to repeat it. "... I got distracted." He says louder shifting uncomfortably.
"Clearly," Pepper scoffs shaking her head. "Tony I can't believe you could be so irresponsible. What were you thinking?! You know Natasha is as stubborn as you and yet you let her out of your sight. I knew-"
"- we shouldn't have left her in your care." Pepper concludes, JARVIS' s voice going over her head not even hearing the AI trying to get her attention. Tony is quick to his defense trying to keep Pepper from putting all the blame on him. He already felt guilty enough.
"Now hold on a minute. This could've easily happened to anyone of us."
"But it didn't, it happened to you." Pepper says crossing her arms over her chest.
"Look I'm sorry. I just left the room for a couple of minutes. I thought-"
"- she was still asleep. How could I have known she would wake up!? It's not my fault Pepper!" Tony shout throwing his hand up in the air.
"Really because it seems like you were the one that was supposed to watch her."
"IT'S NOT MY FAULT!!!"
"Man of Iron, please kindly refrain from yelling at Miss. Potts. She only means well." Thor interrupts, shifting uncomfortably in the corner of the room where he had stayed quiet throughout Pepper's and Tony's bickering.
Pepper pinches the bridge of her nose and takes three calming breathes before letting her arms fall to her sides."Your team is already vulnerable right now with Steve as a child. Now with Natasha out there with more enemies than I can count, no weapons, nothing to use for protection and two bullet wounds on her, your team is down to four when it was originally six. Your team can't lose another teammate Tony, you need to find her."
"You should've just stayed with her like you were supposed to do Stark." Clint rolls his eyes and bounces his leg nervously.
"So you're siding with her to, huh?" Tony asks raising an eyebrow in disbelief. "Going to pin this all on me? You know I wasn't the only one on guard duty."
"Yes, but you were for those three hours. I was before you, Bruce was after you than Thor, and lastly Pepper. Right after her, our rotation should've gone on until Natasha was out of the hospital. But the first day it was established she disappears!" Clint shouts.
"Agent Barton." JARVIS says, his annoyance at being ignored layered heavily on his tone of voice. But of course, just as usual, he's ignored. By everyone, not even Bruce and Thor notice the AI speaking.
"So you think your so perfect and innocent. Just because she didn't escape on your watch."
"That's not what he's saying Tony." Bruce butts in fed up with all the arguing. "Now stop fighting-"
"Bruce I thought you'd be on my side! I knew Thor and Clint would side with Pepper, but not you! You know that I didn't do it on purpose!" Tony practically winces.
"There are no sides Tony! Your being such a child!" Bruce exclaims shaking his head and rubbing his temples gently.
"Can't we please just-"
"No we cannot." Tony interrupts childishly and stubbornly.
"Tony." Bruce says sternly.
"Bruce." Tony mocks his time of voice rolling his eyes. "You know what?"
"No, do you know what?" Clint asks rolling his eyes in annoyance. And just like that everyone burst out, practically screaming at each other. Tony trying to defend himself against more than one person blaming him, Bruce and Thor trying to get everyone to stop fighting and Pepper and Clint insulting and blaming Tony. Finally having enough of it, JARVIS does the only thing he knows will get everyone's attention.
"SIR!" JARVIS' s speakers let out a loud piercing static sound making everyone cringe and go silent at the sound. Hands cover ears as the sound seems to gradually get louder until all together it stops. Seeming pleased with gathering everyone's attention, the others detect the sound of relief in JARVIS' s voice when he continues speaking at finally being heard. "Thank you. I apologize for gathering your attention like that, but I thought you'd like to know that Miss. Romanoff is completely fine. She's currently in your room sir with young Captain Rogers."
At first the room is silent as everyone processes the information they just heard. The color of their faces seem to come back into place unlike before when they all looked ghostly pale at the thought of something happening to the teammate or her being lost somewhere in the huge city.
It takes a couple of minutes for it to process and just as quick as Pepper stormed into the common living room, all five of them rush out of the living room and into the hallway. It's a blur of chaos as the four of the five bodies jerk upward suddenly into a standing position and push their way past each other to go investigate. To see if what JARVIS has said was true. That Natasha wasn't lost and somewhere in New York, injured, trying to get home. The Avengers, sans Steve and Natasha, and Pepper cant help the huge grins that spread across their faces at the sight before them.
Natasha and Steve are cuddled close together in the large bed, her arms wrapped around his small waist and his face now pressed against her chest, a visible smile on his face. The sight is so sweet, so shocking to some that they just stand there for a couple minutes watching them.
They all offer each other guilty glances before Pepper shoos them back into the living room and closes the bedroom door. Once she joins them, she stands at the front of the room a sheepish grin on her face. “I guess we owe each other apologies.”
“Look who it is! Little Red and The Star Spangled Man with a Plan.” Tony says when Natasha walks into the room with Steve perched on her hip, his small arms wrapped tightly around her neck. “Or should I say Star Spangled Toddler with a Plan.”
“Doesn’t fit.” Clint comments taking a bite of his plate of eggs.
“How about baby?” Tony asks. He frowns when the archer shakes his head. Ignoring the two’s comments, Natasha makes her way over to Bruce and Pepper, sitting right in between them Steve on her lap. Pepper tickles Steve’s stomach bidding him good morning to which he replies, “Good morring Peggy!”
“Good morning Natasha. I see you're up and about.” Bruce says shaking his head in disapproval at the redhead. “When you should be-“
“Don’t say it.” Natasha declares putting a finger up to shush him. Turning her head to glare at him, she says in a dangerous voice “Still haven’t forgiven you for completely drugging me yesterday.” Bruce shrugs, neither ashamed or scared of the look Natasha is giving him.
“It’s was the only way to keep you in bed.”
“Not for very long.” Natasha mutters scooping up a plate of eggs, pancakes, and bacon. Steve leans his head on Natasha’s chest pulling on the sleeve of her shirt to get her attention. Looking down, Natasha smiles warmly at him. “Yes, Мой принц (My prince)” Brushing a couple of strands back from Steve’s face, she watches his tiny hands points out towards the food in the middle of the time.
“Hungry.” He says sticking a thumb in his mouth.
Gently slapping his hand away from his mouth, Natasha sets to putting together Steve’s plate, laughing when Steve squeals in excitement as the plate is placed in front of him. The others watch the entire interact with amuse, smiles playing on all the boy’s faces. This is the first time they’ve ever seen the soft side of Natasha.
Leaning over Tony stage whispers something in Thor’s ear, “I guess we found Natasha’s weak spot. Children.”
Rolling her eyes, but making no comment Natasha continues to feed Steve his food, speaking to him in Russian and giving him praises when he finishes all his food.
After eating her own breakfast, Natasha tosses Steve up in the air catching him on his way back down and places him on her hip- the child giggling controllably. “Come on, Мой принц, I have something for you. Got it just for you in England.” Steve claps his hands together excitedly, a huge smile on his tiny face.
“Did you get something for me?” Clint and Tony asks looking expectantly up at the redhead women. Natasha pretends to mull over the question for a second before shaking her head, laughing and walking out of the room with Steve still attached to her hip. The two boys frown while Bruce shakes his head,
“You both had to have seen that coming.”
It’s a while before both boy shrug in agreement, continuing to eat their breakfast than join Natasha and Steve in whatever they were doing.