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Friendship Set on Fire

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TO: Maria Hill
FROM: Pepper Potts
SUBJECT: Training?
DATE: 01 May 2014 09:30:14

Maria,

As per our conversation over lunch yesterday, please forward this email to the mutual acquaintance we discussed for the purposes we discussed.

Sincerely (if vaguely) yours,

Pepper Potts

--
TO: Pepper Potts
FROM: “.”
SUBJECT: Re: Fwd: Training
DATE: 01 May 2014 10:22:43

8pm Friday?

On 01 May 2014 at 10:05:23, Maria Hill wrote:
Pepper would like to get into contact with you.
MH

-----Forwarded Message Below-----
[...]

--
TO: “.”
FROM: Pepper Potts
SUBJECT: Re: Fwd: Training
DATE: 01 May 2014 10:45:34

Yes, that would work. Does Stark Tower work for you?

Pepper

--
TO: Pepper Potts
FROM: “.”
SUBJECT: Re: Fwd: Training
DATE: 01 May 2014 11:02:34

Yes. I’ll find you then.

--
TO: “.”
FROM: Pepper Potts
SUBJECT: Re: Fwd: Training
DATE: 01 May 2014 12:38:41

I’ll be on the 65th floor, in the gym. No need to search.

--
TO: Pepper Potts
FROM: “.”
SUBJECT: Re: Fwd: Training
DATE: 01 May 2014 12:42:01

Aww, you took half the fun out of it.

(Kidding.)

NR

--
There was no reply.

--
Transcript from JARVIS’s security video, generated automatically, starting at 02 May 2014 19:59:48; video was deleted as part of routine deletions 48 hours later

At this point Ms. Potts went to the treadmill and requested a soundtrack of loud girl-power tunes.

--

TO: Pepper
FROM: Natasha
SUBJECT:
DATE: 03 May 2014 11:42:34

We didn’t set a time for our next meeting. How about Monday morning, same time?

NR

--
TO: Natasha
FROM: Pepper
SUBJECT: Re: [no subject]
DATE: 03 May 2014 12:05:16

I have a board meeting at 9am on Monday so can we move it back to 5:30?

Pepper

--
TO: Pepper
FROM: Natasha
SUBJECT: Re: [no subject]
DATE: 03 May 2014 12:09:02

5:30 is fine. Don’t forget to practice falling on your left side as often as your right.

NR

--
TO: Natasha
FROM: Pepper
SUBJECT: Re: [no subject]
DATE: 03 May 2014 12:22:14

Yes, but it hurts more on the left side.

--
TO: Pepper
FROM: Natasha
SUBJECT: Re: [no subject]
DATE: 03 May 2014 12:24:36

That’s not my fault.

--
TO: Natasha
FROM: Pepper
SUBJECT: Scheduling
DATE: 05 May 2014 02:31:23

I’m going to have to cancel tomorrow morning. It’s 2:30 and I am still not done with this--well, you wouldn’t care what exactly but I’m not done with it. Tuesday morning?

--
TO: Pepper
FROM: Natasha
SUBJECT: Re: Scheduling
DATE: 05 May 2014 06:15:29

Yes. Get some sleep if you can. Do Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from here on out work for you, with allowance for our respective travel schedules?

NR

--
TO: Natasha
FROM: Pepper
SUBJECT: Re: Scheduling
DATE: 05 May 2014 08:33:06

Thank you, and yes, those mornings should work. I am going to be in California next weekend--not the one coming up but the one after that, the weekend of the 17th--but that should only lose us one session.

--
TO: Pepper
FROM: Natasha
SUBJECT: Re: Scheduling
DATE: 05 May 2014 08:36:19

Thanks for the heads-up. We’ll consider how to reschedule after you get back

--
TO: Pepper
FROM: Natasha
SUBJECT: Re: Scheduling
DATE: 09 May 2014 06:18:04

I didn’t get to tell you during Thursday’s session but you’re progressing very quickly.

NR

--
TO: Natasha
FROM: Pepper
SUBJECT: Re: Scheduling
DATE: 09 May 2014 08:31:28

Thanks. It’s probably the--well, you know.

--
TO: Pepper
FROM: Natasha
SUBJECT: Re: Scheduling
DATE: 09 May 2014 08:52:44

It’s not.

I have known you for years and don’t think we didn’t have a file about you almost as thick as Stark’s. I could tell you down to the inch the specific differences between how you moved four years ago and how you move now, and, taking all that into consideration, you are still progressing very quickly. The sparring is at least as much about your mind as your body and that, to my knowledge, was relatively unaffected.

Don’t underestimate yourself.

NR

--

Image: receipt for set of 8 black rose truffles from Kee’s Chocolates, dated 09 May 2014 10:02:34. A delivery charge was included.

 

Image: receipt for set of 8 black rose truffles from Kee’s Chocolates, dated 09 May 2014 10:02:34. A delivery charge was included.

--

Text messages, dated 09 May 2014, starting at 14:56:03  UNKNOWN: How did you know where to send the chocolate? Pepper Potts: I asked Maria. Natasha Romanoff: Ah. Natasha Romanoff: Thank you. They’re my favorites. Did you ask Maria that, too? Pepper Potts: No. I guessed, and then picked the flavor that sounded the best. NR: You chose well. NR: You don’t need to bribe me with chocolates to keep helping you but I’m not going to say no. PP: Obviously not. :-D You’re welcome, and thank *you*.

Text messages, dated 09 May 2014, starting at 14:56:03  UNKNOWN: How did you know where to send the chocolate? Pepper Potts: I asked Maria. Natasha Romanoff: Ah. Natasha Romanoff: Thank you. They’re my favorites. Did you ask Maria that, too? Pepper Potts: No. I guessed, and then picked the flavor that sounded the best. NR: You chose well. NR: You don’t need to bribe me with chocolates to keep helping you but I’m not going to say no. PP: Obviously not. :-D You’re welcome, and thank *you*.

 

--

Text messages, dated 19 May 2014, starting at 18:32:34  PP: I can’t make it tomorrow morning. NR: Bad weekend? PP: Long weekend, too much work. I don’t know when I’ll get to sleep. NR: All right. Thursday morning still okay? PP: Yes. Thank you for understanding.

--

 

Note, attached to a Heartbreaker blend macchiato from Cafe Grumpy’s and a pair of green tea truffles from Kee’s Chocolates, above

5/21/14

I’m going to be out of town for the next few weeks, and unavailable by either cell or email. My apologies; this was rather last-minute for everyone involved.

See you in July.

NR

--
Notes, written in cipher on scrap paper in a safe house in Middle of Nowhere, Russia and immediately burned on the stove, the ashes wet down and then scattered, because Clint is a persistent asshole and wouldn’t shut up, undated but written between 25 May 2014 and 29 June 2014

plan????
assume she’s been practicing alone for however long it is
done: falls, rolls, tuck
started: punches, kicks, blocks
need to start: throws, close fighting, anything where she might touch someone else for more than the length of a punch/kick (augh)

fireproof suit? human torch???

fireproof suit for me?
Cap’s suit is fire-retardant--who designed it? ASK COULSON

bring more coffee
wait no find out if she liked the last coffee first
(of course she liked the last coffee; you know she likes macchiatos macchiati?? them)

what else does she like? NOT STRAWBERRIES
chocolate (boring)
shoes (too many variables)
flowers (boring)
music (?)
ballet (??? probably already has season tickets. will check next time have computer access)
jewelry (have to wait until i get back to nyc or at least civilization)

WHAT ARE YOU DOING ROMANOFF-----

The rest of the paper was largely scribbled out drawings of flowers.

--
Transcript of notes, dictated to JARVIS and then immediately deleted, 22 June 14 22:24:11

--

Text messages, dated 01 July 2014, 05:34:23  NR: I’m back in the country. Do you want to meet on Thursday? PP: Oh yes please NR: See you then.

--
Transcript from JARVIS’s security video, generated automatically, starting at 03 July 2014 06:01:23; video was deleted as part of routine deletions 48 hours later

--
The following email was drafted and immediately deleted.

TO: Clint Barton
FROM: Natasha Romanoff
SUBJECT:
DATE: 03 July 2014 07:51:26

Pepper asked me to be her date for the Maria Stark Foundation charity gala tonight. I need your help with makeup.

I don’t know if she meant date or date. I don’t know what to wear. She offered to help but I said no, I had my own resources. I have about four hours to find someone to do my hair before I’ll have to do it myself.

I have no idea what I’m doing.

You know what, I’m just going to call.

--
The following email was drafted but never sent.

TO: Maria Hill
FROM: Pepper Potts
SUBJECT: Natasha
DATE: 03 July 2014 10:23:02

Maria I think I just asked Natasha on a date or something that could be a date and I don’t even know if she likes women or if she knows that it could be a date what am I doing oh god this is a disaster

--
Explosion at Maria Stark Foundation Gala
Reuters, July 4, 2014
By STAFF

At 8:32 P.M. in the ballroom on the second floor of Stark Tower on Park Avenue during the Maria Stark Foundation’s Independence Day Gala, an explosion of unknown origin occurred. Captain Gregory Villacana of the NYFD says that the explosion was mostly localized; the bar, which was attended only by a single bartender at the time, was destroyed, along with nearly a hundred thousand dollars’ worth of wine, beer, and liquor. The bartender sustained minor injuries, but was not taken to the hospital.

Industrialist and recent parolee Justin Hammer, formerly of Hammer Industries, suffered the brunt of the blast; he is in serious condition at Mount Sinai Beth Israel.

Virginia “Pepper” Potts, CEO of Stark Industries, and her date, an unidentified redheaded woman, were near the blast as well, but neither woman suffered more than superficial injuries.

The Maria Stark Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charity based in New York City that sponsors community development initiatives and has been working to help rebuild neighborhoods in need since the destruction in 2012. It was founded in 1965 by Maria Stark, wife of billionaire industrialist Howard Stark and mother to former Stark Industries CEO and current CTO Anthony “Tony” Stark, also known as Iron Man.

--
Maria Stark Foundation Gala Explosion: I Was There
The Gothamist, July 4, 2014
by Melissa Follett

As a restaurant critic, I am rarely called upon to discuss hard news, such as an explosion in a building, or business news, such as the goings-on of a local non-profit foundation and what seems to be a new volley in the ongoing war between Stark Industries and Hammer Industries. And yet, last night I was present at an event that, while not perhaps important enough to rate a front-page headline, still caused my editor to send me a request for my thoughts on the matter.

Well, I can say that the canapes were delicious. The Maria Stark Foundation has always chosen excellent catering for its events, and this was no different. I had several tiny foie gras savory truffles and two of the most exquisite crab cakes that I have had in weeks before I succumbed to the glory of the raspberry-brie bites and the Belgian chocolate cheesecake. Possibly more important was the drink I had, a traditional dry martini perfectly mixed by the bartender, a young man named Peter Parker who I am given to believe works for another publication in town and only moonlights as a bartender.

If you ask me, he should give up photography and mix drinks full time, but that is immaterial at the moment.

I was just fishing the last of the olives out of my glass when, lo and behold, I heard the not-so-dulcet tones of Justin Hammer behind me. We have met; he fancies himself a foodie. However, it was not myself that he was greeting; it was Pepper Potts, Tony Stark’s former PA now CEO and, I’d thought, girlfriend, but she looked rather cozy with the woman who accompanied her that night, whose lush red curls were many shades darker than Pepper’s famed strawberry-blonde locks.

Then again, this also isn’t a gossip column, so I shall continue with the story.

I couldn’t discern the actual words being spoken, but I did hear the tones, and Ms. Potts’s tone was not that of a woman overly pleased with the person speaking to her. A few moments later, pitches began to rise, and Pepper’s lovely friend, I presume, commented in dark, throaty tones. I couldn’t actually say whether it was a threat or not but, oh, dear readers, it was either that or a very strong promise.

What with and a lucky passing server carrying more of those raspberry-brie bites, I missed exactly what happened next, but when I turned around, Justin Hammer was on his back on the bar and young Mister Parker was dragging him off just as several bottles of what I presume was high-proof alcohol exploded. Pepper and her date were running away, as graceful in sky-high heels as ever, and the security guards hastily cleared the scene, including yours truly.

No one appears to be clear about what exactly happened while I was otherwise occupied, but I am certainly glad that I was not injured and neither was much of anyone else. Justin Hammer’s injuries do not appear to be life-threatening and I have heard that he will recover without any problems. It was, I must say, a much more exciting gala than was predicted.

(The raspberry brie bites were still the best part of the evening.)

--
Comment on the Gothamist article by Pepper Potts, typed out under an anonymous name and deleted before posting:

THEY WERE CAMEMBERT TARTLETS WITH RASPBERRY-GRAPE-CARDAMOM COMPOTE YOU UNEDUCATED NINNY

--

Text messages, starting at 04 July 2014 13:34:02  NR: The Reuters article was suitably vague, wasn’t it. PP: It’s true. It’s probably better that they didn’t get all the details of the fight. NR: I don’t think they noticed you setting your cocktail on fire. PP: I don’t think they saw you pulling me out of the way.  Text typed out by NR but deleted: You mean that part where your hand ended up in my cleavage?

NR: Like you said, it’s better that way. That was a great right hook you had, though. I didn’t teach you that. PP: No. Happy did. He’s actually a decent boxer, traditional techniques, when he’s not distracted by his opponent. PP: Not important, though. NR: It was a lot of fun to see you plant that on Hammer and then throw your flaming drink at him. PP: Yeah. Too bad it then set the entire mess on fire. (some minutes later) PP: There’s a Gothamist article with more details. It’s on the front page right now, if you didn’t see it. I didn’t even know that Melissa Follett was there. NR: I wouldn’t know what she looked like anyway. PP: She was the one wearing the ironic 80s prom dress. NR: Oh. *Oh.* PP: Yeah. PP: Is there anything in the Gothamist article that you would like the PR department to fix? NR: No. Is there anything incorrect in the article?

NR: Like you said, it’s better that way. That was a great right hook you had, though. I didn’t teach you that. PP: No. Happy did. He’s actually a decent boxer, traditional techniques, when he’s not distracted by his opponent. PP: Not important, though. NR: It was a lot of fun to see you plant that on Hammer and then throw your flaming drink at him. PP: Yeah. Too bad it then set the entire mess on fire. (some minutes later) PP: There’s a Gothamist article with more details. It’s on the front page right now, if you didn’t see it. I didn’t even know that Melissa Follett was there. NR: I wouldn’t know what she looked like anyway. PP: She was the one wearing the ironic 80s prom dress. NR: Oh. *Oh.* PP: Yeah. PP: Is there anything in the Gothamist article that you would like the PR department to fix? NR: No. Is there anything incorrect in the article?

NR: Like you said, it’s better that way. That was a great right hook you had, though. I didn’t teach you that. PP: No. Happy did. He’s actually a decent boxer, traditional techniques, when he’s not distracted by his opponent. PP: Not important, though. NR: It was a lot of fun to see you plant that on Hammer and then throw your flaming drink at him. PP: Yeah. Too bad it then set the entire mess on fire. (some minutes later) PP: There’s a Gothamist article with more details. It’s on the front page right now, if you didn’t see it. I didn’t even know that Melissa Follett was there. NR: I wouldn’t know what she looked like anyway. PP: She was the one wearing the ironic 80s prom dress. NR: Oh. *Oh.* PP: Yeah. PP: Is there anything in the Gothamist article that you would like the PR department to fix? NR: No. Is there anything incorrect in the article?

NR: Like you said, it’s better that way. That was a great right hook you had, though. I didn’t teach you that. PP: No. Happy did. He’s actually a decent boxer, traditional techniques, when he’s not distracted by his opponent. PP: Not important, though. NR: It was a lot of fun to see you plant that on Hammer and then throw your flaming drink at him. PP: Yeah. Too bad it then set the entire mess on fire. (some minutes later) PP: There’s a Gothamist article with more details. It’s on the front page right now, if you didn’t see it. I didn’t even know that Melissa Follett was there. NR: I wouldn’t know what she looked like anyway. PP: She was the one wearing the ironic 80s prom dress. NR: Oh. *Oh.* PP: Yeah. PP: Is there anything in the Gothamist article that you would like the PR department to fix? NR: No. Is there anything incorrect in the article?

 

--
Transcript of phone call between Natasha Romanoff and Pepper Potts, 04 July 2014, starting at 13:50:42

(the end)