Pepper Potts sits in a pool of light at her desk in her darkened office in Stark Tower.
For several hours now, she has been writing contracts, reading contracts, answering correspondence, and taking care of whatever other bureaucratic things that Tony Stark has no patience for doing.
When she glances up at the clock on the computer screen, she realizes that it’s four in the morning. Where did the time go?
With a sigh, she rubs her tired eyes and focuses again on the contract she had been reading.
“You work much too hard,” a voice says.
“Tell me something I don’t already know,” she replies absently, still scanning the contract.
She looks up and gives a little shriek of surprise.
“I’ve startled you,” the God of Mischief murmurs. He doesn’t sound apologetic.
“Nice outfit.” The words are out of her mouth before she can stop herself. God, I must be really tired.
He smirks, and she watches, fascinated, as his emerald and gold armor melts away into a black suit, a gold and emerald striped tie, and a long black duster lined in emerald green.
He drops into a seat in front of her desk. It’s bizarre seeing him there, looking so casual and comfortable.
“Mister Laufeyson,” she begins, and is unsure how to continue. So we meet again, her mind supplies irreverently, but at least she manages to stop herself from saying it out loud.
“Miss Potts,” he replies, matching her tone. He leans back in his chair, studying her with those inscrutable emerald eyes.
“Look, I have work to do,” she says, and picks up a paper as if to illustrate her point. “So, if it’s not too much trouble, could you – ”
“And what is Stark doing now?” he asks. He sits forward in his chair. “Is he working?”
“Mister Stark is in California on business.” She feels no qualms about telling him this; it’s public knowledge, after all. Had he been so inclined, he could have read about it in the newspaper.
“Ah,” he says in a mocking tone. “Business.”
She frowns at him.
“Stark is unworthy of you.”
“You mentioned that last time, Mister Laufeyson.”
He rises and leans over her desk.
“I have asked you before,” he says.
He takes her wrists in his cold, cold hands.
“Call me Loki.”
She screams as the teleport takes them.
He releases her wrists and she stumbles, bumping into him, stepping on his foot.
“Sorry,” she says automatically. “What just happened here?”
“Maaaahhh,” a new, familiar voice says. And then, “JARVIS, lights!”
The lights blaze on, and she blinks.
She realizes that they are in Tony’s bedroom in his California home.
Tony is in bed.
He is not alone.
As she takes this in, Tony is gaping at her.
“Jesus!” he exclaims. “Pepper! Jesus!”
The brunette woman in bed with Tony wakes, blinking sleep from her eyes.
“Tony – ” she begins, confused.
“Pepper, this isn’t what it looks like,” Tony tries. Another head emerges from under the covers, this one blonde.
“Tony?” the blonde asks. “Who are these people?”
“Pepper. Pepper. Listen, I can explain…”
Pepper finally finds her voice. “Tony, you son of a bitch – ”
“Sir,” JARVIS interrupts. “Mister Laufeyson is here.”
“What? Laufeyson?” Tony’s head whips around, taking in the room. He stares at the god in utter disbelief. “Loki! Jesus fuck, what the fuck are you doing here?”
“I provided the transportation,” he says with a smirk.
“Well, shit. Thanks a lot, Loki. You’re a real pal, you know that?”
“Loki?” The blonde in bed with Tony stares at the god, her blue eyes threatening to swallow her face. After a moment, she dives back under the covers and pulls them up over her head.
“I wasn’t sure that you’d noticed, sir,” JARVIS continues.
“Shut up, JARVIS,” Tony says.
“Tony.” Pepper’s voice is subarctic, and it gets his attention.
“Pepper – ”
“Shut up, Tony,” she tells him. “Just shut up. Can you do that for once in your miserable, wasted, pathetic life?”
He opens his mouth, and then closes it again.
“I am through with you. Do you understand that? Done. Finished. The. End.” To illustrate this point, she pulls off her diamond engagement ring and hurls it at the wall behind the bed.
“Pepper – ”
“Still talking here!” she screams, and his mouth snaps shut with an audible click.
She has never been so utterly furious in her entire life.
And the fact that a grinning God of Mischief is watching this entire spectacle like it’s some kind of highly amusing play being staged entirely for his benefit isn’t improving her temper any.
“Here’s what’s going to happen,” she says with the complete calm of absolute fury. “I am going back to New York. And I am going to write up my resignation and you are going to agree with whatever stipulations I put in there. My severance package is going to be a staggering thing to behold.”
“Pepper – ”
She turns away, utterly dismissing him.
“Mister Lauf – ” she begins, then corrects herself. “Loki.” His emerald eyes open wide, but he says nothing. She holds out her wrists. “Would you mind very much?”
He grins, showing her all of his perfect white teeth. “I would be delighted!”
“Pepper – ” Tony tries.
Once again, Loki takes her wrists in his cold, cold hands.
“Sorry, can’t talk now, my ride’s leaving,” she says.
This time, she doesn’t scream.