“I had it under control, Stark,” Natasha snarls, from around the ice pack she’s clutching to her face.
“Is that what you call Loki about to kill you?” Tony retorts, from the other end of the Quinjet. “Because it looked like you were just prolonging the conversation about how many pieces he was going to leave you in.”
Natasha scowls some more.
“Many pieces,” Tony says. “He was going to cut you into many, spectacular pieces.”
“He did look like he wanted to,” Steve offers from the helm.
“I’m sure he did,” Natasha says. “I had it under control.”
“I believe you,” Clint says, from his position next to her.
“I sent Stark in,” Steve says, since Natasha is still glaring. “It was him or Hulk.”
“I went in myself,” Tony corrects.
“Thank you all for your help,” Natasha says, acidly. “My favorite part was where Loki bashed my head into Iron Man and got away. What was yours?”
“Not that part,” Tony says. “You should wear a helmet, you bled all over me.”
“Do you want me to take a look at your -?” Bruce offers, still half naked in his seat.
Natasha shakes her head and glares at him, too. Clint offers her a fresh ice pack and she takes it, muttering under her breath. They can’t hear her, but it seems to be about how much she hates everyone else on the jet.
Tony checks on Natasha the next morning. Clint, the only person she wasn’t pissed at, spent the night with her making sure the concussion didn’t kill her as she slept. For his part, Clint is now napping on her bed, having stayed up all night. Tony’s arrival wakes him, but he throws an arm over his eyes and tries to ignore it. He can’t, of course. But he feigns unconsciousness so he can at least pull her off Tony if it comes to that.
Between the two of them, they’d stitched up her head wound. Tony doesn’t admit it, but Clint figures he’s here to make sure she’s okay and apologize as only Tony Stark can. He doesn’t have to worry or offer to pay for a plastic surgeon. The stitches are hidden in her hairline. She looks fine, if a little wan.
Clint presumes Tony observes all this. What he actually says is something borderline sexual harassment about her over-sized black sweat pajamas. Natasha doesn’t hit him yet.
“Not disfigured,” Tony goes on, putting a cup of coffee on her nightstand.
“No,” she agrees, and Clint hears her pick the cup up. “How many stitches?”
“Thirteen,” she says.
“That’s lucky, right?” He moves on. “Luckier than decapitation by Loki, anyway.”
“Are you apologizing?” she asks, taking a sip of coffee. “Or arguing again?”
“I brought coffee,” he says, pointedly. “Just what the doctor ordered.”
“Me, I’m a doctor.”
“Thank you,” she says, accepting that this is as close as he gets to an apology.
“Fury said to stand down for a while,” he adds. “Cap debriefed to him. There was yelling.”
“I don’t debrief,” he reminds her. “They think Loki went back to Asgard, so we should get some time off.”
“Did you hear what Loki said?” Natasha asks, abruptly. “Before he vanished?”
“I got there when he was describing, vividly, skinning you alive…”
“Not that part,” she says. “When he hit you with me.”
Tony winces. “Psychopathic laughter?”
“I thought he said something,” Natasha says. “I didn’t understand it and then I was concussed.”
“You think it was a spell,” Tony realizes. “Why?”
“Because that’s what he does,” she says. “Random acts of violence and magic.”
She puts the coffee cup down with an audible clink.
“Is one of us going to turn in a rabbit?” Natasha doesn’t laugh, of course. “Why, do you feel…magical?”
“I feel odd.” Clint opens one eye when she says that.
Tony doesn’t like that admission, either. “We should get Bruce,” he says. “And Thor.”
He puts one hand on her shoulder to escort her out the door, and something flashes in the room. Clint sees it, but both Natasha and Tony flinch and snap forward like they felt something.
It’s gone, and in its wake, Tony grabs Natasha with his other arm, too. The motion is a little rough, and Clint sits up, sharply. He’s unsure what just happened, but it doesn’t seem good.
Natasha clasps her hands behind Tony’s head, and she’s pulling him down towards her face. Clint just stares, because unless this is a prelude to her throwing Tony through a wall, something is very wrong.
They’re definitely kissing. Like crazy, with tongue.
Clint clears his throat, loudly.
Tony barely turns his head towards him, pressed against the wall by Natasha’s body.
Clint marches them both down to Bruce’s lab.
“I had to pry them apart,” he says, once Tony and Natasha are seated at distant ends of a lab table.
“Killjoy,” Tony says. “There’s another term for what you are.”
“I think we all know what that is,” Bruce says, while Tony is mouthing “cockblocker” at him.
“I don’t,” Steve says, “But that’s okay.”
“You want to tell us what happened?” Bruce asks. “I put in a call to get Thor back from Loki clean up, but I didn’t tell SHIELD any details.”
Natasha looks vaguely grateful, but doesn’t speak.
When neither of them say anything, Clint takes over.
“They kissed,” he said. “They kissed and Natasha didn’t hit him.”
“Natasha initiated,” Tony jumps in.
“I did not,” Natasha says, weakly, then clamps her lips shut.
“I agree she should have hit him,” Steve says. “But isn’t this the type of thing that, you know, isn’t any of our business?”
“Yes,” Tony says. “Very much so.”
“Natasha said she felt ‘odd,’ Tony touched her, there was a magical flash, and then they were kissing,” Clint says. “It’s a spell.”
“Loki,” says Bruce.
Steve tilts his head. “A kissing spell?”
“It’s Loki, not Cupid,” Tony said. “Unless all his previous efforts have actually been really poorly executed meet-cutes with mass fatalities.”
“Maybe he thought she’d kill him,” Bruce says, thoughtfully.
Natasha clears her throat. “I, uh, might be affected as well.”
Tony nods emphatically.
“How do you feel?” Bruce asks.
“Horny,” Tony answers. “Very, very horny.”
“Impulsive,” Natasha answers, after a second. “And…” she trails off.
“Like kissing Stark?” Steve asks.
Reluctantly, Natasha nods.
“Why do you assume that’s part of a spell?” Tony demands.
“Do you feel like kissing anyone else?” Bruce asks, curiously.
Everyone looks at him. Natasha shakes her head, immediately.
“Just checking,” Bruce says. “So, it’s a very personal spell.”
“Thor will know an antidote,” Natasha says. She sounds weird and she’s trying very hard not to look at Tony. Her cheeks are a little flushed.
Tony taps his fingers on the table top. “I know an antidote. And I bet you do, too.”
“I’m going to go ahead and guess that acting on those urges isn’t in your best interest,” Bruce says.
“I disagree,” Tony says. “Let’s experiment.”
“Maybe it’ll make your junk fall off,” Clint says. “It’s Loki.”
“I’ll risk it,” Tony replies. “Nat?”
“I’m not going to let you do anything to her under the influence,” Steve speaks up pointedly.
“She can do stuff to me,” Tony answers. He stretches one hand flat across the table, reaching for her. Natasha stares at his hand, and then ridiculously, begins to lean towards him with her own hand.
“Natasha!” Clint raises his voice. “Snap out of it.”
Natasha withdraws her arm. She calmly folds her hands in front of her, interlacing her fingers. “I’m definitely compromised,” she says, trying for resolute and hitting a shaky note instead.
“I’m not going to let either of you do anything in this condition,” Steve reiterates.
“Who asked you, Captain Chastity?” Tony mutters.
“You know it wouldn’t be a good idea,” Bruce says, quietly.
Tony takes a deep, hostile breath. “I actually think the spell has removed all my critical thinking skills, so, no, Bruce, right now I don’t. It feels like the best idea ever.”
Natasha nods, slowly. “I agree.”
“That we should fuck like bunnies?” Tony whines.
“Stark,” Steve says, warningly. Tony throws his hands up, helpless.
“If I had been thinking clearly,” she says. “We would have knocked Clint unconscious before he reported us.”
“Hey,” Clint says.
“It’s true,” she says, shrugging.
“We can take them now,” Tony suggests. “Thor isn’t here.”
“Seriously?” Bruce asks, shaking his head.
“You’re considering it,” Clint says, staring at Natasha’s face. “Holy shit.”
“I am under a spell,” Natasha says, slowly, grinding the words out like she’s in pain.
“If you want a threesome with the Other Guy,” Bruce says, evenly, “Consider that.”
“You want me to take your guns?” Clint asks, moving to stand behind Natasha’s chair.
“You’re armed?” Steve asks. “In your pajamas?”
Natasha nods. At who, it’s not quite clear, but she doesn’t resist and sort of helps Clint get to her shoulder harness and then her back up piece off her ankle.
“Anything else?” he asks, while he’s kneeling on the floor.
“Can we move this to the Champagne Room?” Tony says from the other end of the table. He has one hand over his eyes, but is peeking through his fingers anyway.
“Tony, why don’t I get a blood sample?” Bruce interrupts, while Natasha is giving Clint verbal instructions about the locations of all of her knives and her tazer.
“There’s no blood in my arms,” Tony says, but he allows Bruce to distract him for a few minutes.
“That didn’t help at all,” Tony tells them all, afterwards. Natasha is disarmed and Steve takes it upon himself to carry most of the weapons out of the room. Clint keeps the tazer. It might come in useful.
Bruce takes blood from Natasha, too. He checks her vitals, then goes back to Tony.
“I’ll play doctor,” Tony says, desperately. For all he’s whining, he’s stayed glued to his chair. Clint wonders if that impulse control is going to change. Natasha hasn’t moved either. She’s resting her head on the table top and seems to be trying to ignore everyone around her.
“I’m a little worried,” Bruce says. “Elevated heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure on both of them.”
“Is it dangerous?” Steve asks.
“It’s not good,” Bruce says.
“How not good?” Clint asks.
“Well, it’s magic,” Bruce says. “And it’s Loki.”
“We need to talk to Thor,” Steve says.
“That’s not what I need,” Tony says. “FYI.”
“We’ll just sit here,” Steve declares. “Until Thor gets back.” He pulls up a chair beside Tony. “And you’ll keep your hands to yourself.”
Evidently, Steve needed to be more specific about what parts of Tony and Natasha weren’t allowed to touch. Steve is a little too naïve, maybe, to notice, but Clint isn’t. Clint is also sitting right next to Natasha. She’s stealthy, but her breathing changes noticeably all of a sudden. Clint looks up and sees Tony slumped backwards in his chair, suspiciously quiet.
“Feeling better?” he asks them.
Tony barely glances at him, but Natasha nods and lolls her head back.
Steve catches on, as does Bruce from his position at a lab station.
“What’s going on?” Bruce asks.
Steve looks down at where Tony’s legs vanish under the lab table.
“Are you playing footsie?” Steve asks, while Clint can’t help but put his head in his hands. This is ridiculous.
“He’s not touching my foot,” Natasha says, with a lip quirk.
Steve stands up and grabs the back of Tony’s chair.
“Separate corners,” he says, dragging Tony backwards.
Tony practically growls in response. Clint glances over and sees he’s lost one shoe, and he very deliberately chooses not to think about that.
“Maybe separate floors,” Bruce suggests. He pauses, and then goes on. “Maybe keeping their hands to themselves might, ahem, be the way to go.”
Clint tries not to giggle, but it comes out, anyway, as a sad groan.
“Oh my God,” Natasha whispers. Steve looks absolutely mortified.
“Are you prescribing masturbation, Dr. Banner?” Tony asks, of course.
Bruce shrugs. “I,” he breaks off. “Really don’t want to talk about this in detail, but it seems the least problematic route and I don’t want you two going at it on my lab table.”
“Can we have some privacy?” Tony asks, not nearly as cunning as he seems to think he is.
“I’ll take her back to her quarters,” Clint volunteers, causing Natasha to stare at him accusingly. “Because I don’t trust you to go,” he answers her silent question.
“I’ve always been a proponent of mutual –” Tony begins, causing Steve to give his chair a sudden, warning shake as interruption. Tony looks up at him, glares. “I get lonely.”
Natasha follows Clint to the elevator, obedient but very obviously not herself. She can’t even walk straight, and Clint has to guide her away from Tony because she starts drifting towards him.
He stays outside her quarters. Without any lewd comments, which maybe he can make later when this is over. Clint also asks JARVIS to tell him if Natasha goes out the window.
He doesn’t ask JARVIS to alert him if she does anything else, like disable JARVIS’s surveillance and then crawl through the ductwork until she finds Tony Stark. Which is what she actually does.
Fortunately, Thor shows up around this time. Clint gives her a minute after Bruce calls with the news, and then busts down her door when she won’t answer. And, she’s gone.
“Cap, where’d you put Stark?” he asks, over the intercom.
“Level 19,” Steve answers. “His ‘party time room,’ in case you were wondering.” He sounds pained.
Clint warns him that Natasha is on the lam, and then he sprints off towards Tony’s designated place of perversity.
Cap beats him there, of course. Before Tony and Natasha got completely undressed, though they’re both missing shirts. This is way more distracting with Natasha. It’s probably part of how she got the jump on Steve.
Clint stalls in the doorway for a second, mostly because he can’t believe what he’s seeing: half-naked Natasha and Tony, both beating the hell out of Steve. At least Steve is fully-clothed.
“Oh, shit,” Clint says, before pulling Nat’s tazer and rushing inside.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” Tony yells, raising his hands like he’s surrendering. Natasha doesn’t stop strangling Steve. “You know what that’ll do to my arc-reactor?”
“No,” Clint says, and then he tazes Natasha.
Natasha crumples to the floor, letting go of Steve’s neck. Tony yells out, and then decks Clint across the face. The blow stings, pain blossoming across his eyes. It also sends him stumbling backwards. Tony makes as if to lunge on top of Clint, but Steve grabs him from behind.
Clint thinks about it for a second, and then shoves the tazer into Tony’s exposed ribcage.
“Asshole,” Tony gasps, and slides to the floor.
“That’s not going to kill him, right?” Steve asks, looking like he wants to check for a pulse.
Clint shrugs. “Maybe it’ll end the spell?”
Clint figured, correctly, that Tony’s arc-reactor could take a tazing and keep ticking. Unfortunately, the same can be said of Loki’s spell.
Both Natasha and Tony are up in a few short minutes, still incredibly lustful for each other.
“Thor’s here,” Clint tells them. Natasha starts crawling towards where Tony lies on the ground. Clint grabs her feet and drags her the opposite direction. She half-heartedly tries to kick him, meaning she only connects with his ribcage and not his balls.
“Separate elevator trips,” Steve says, rubbing his neck.
“Livin’ it up while I’m going down,” Tony sings on the floor. “Love in an elevator.”
Steve stares at him. “I think the spell’s getting worse,” he says.
“No, that’s actually a song,” Clint sighs. “Nat, put your shirt on.”
Natasha takes her sweet time. Clint knows her well enough to practically watch the violent plans flash across her face. He’s glad Captain America is here.
“You can hit me later,” he says, as she follows him to the elevator.
Natasha ignores him. She leans against the back of the elevator, fixing the neck of her shirt.
“The spell’s getting worse?” he asks. She shrugs. “Or you just felt like choking out Steve?”
“I can’t tell,” she says, finally. “He was in the way.”
“You don’t want to have sex with Tony Stark,” Clint tries. “He’ll tell everyone. Fury. Youtube. A video billboard on the side of the building.”
“I don’t want to,” Natasha agrees, sounding distracted. “But I really, really, need to.”
“He flies around in a giant metal man suit,” Clint says. “I bet he’s got a needledick.”
Natasha looks at him for a second, and then laughs like he actually got through the haze of magic covering her brain.
And then she reaches out and grabs him by the collar, pulling him towards her face and suddenly kissing him.
There’s another flash of light, and this time Clint feels the strange impact of it, blasting through his body like a tangible wave. It snaps through Natasha, too.
She draws back until their lips no longer meet.
“Still want to bang Stark?” he asks, after a second.
Natasha grimaces, then nods reluctantly. “I do,” she admits.
“Well,” he says, leaning against the back of the elevator. “We have something in common, then.”
She stares at him, eyes wide. “Please be shitting me,” she says.
He shakes his head, and she looks horrified.
“We could probably tag team Captain America now,” he says. “I bet Tony would be up for a threesome.”
“Oh my God,” Natasha says.
Thor is already in Bruce’s lab. He looks just about as exasperated as he always does when Loki pays a visit to Midgard.
Clint doesn’t immediately announce that Natasha decided to share the spell with him. He’ll wait until Steve brings Tony down. Or maybe not even then, since clearly the others will try to stop him. He understands now what Tony and Natasha are feeling. And it’s a terrible, itchy longing that doesn’t make any sense and yet has a clear and carnal solution. He’d totally choke out Captain America, too.
Steve and Tony arrive and take seats at the opposite end of the table. Clint almost gets up and walks over there, but Natasha grabs his elbow.
“If I can’t, you can’t,” she hisses.
Clint stays seated, but he jerks his arm away. He doesn’t feel the insane attraction to Natasha. In fact, she seems annoying in the same way Steve and Bruce are.
“My brother cast a love spell?” Thor asks, like he hopes it isn’t true.
“Lust spell,” Tony corrects. “I don’t love her, I just need conjugal visits.” He pauses. “I bet if we get married Captain Wholesome will let us have sex.”
“No, I won’t,” Steve says, sighing.
Tony’s gaze drifts over from Natasha to Clint. “Uh,” he says, tilting his head. “That’s new.”
“What’s new?” Bruce asks, curiously. “A new symptom?”
“I think the spell is contagious,” Natasha says, when Clint refuses to speak.
“Why do you think that?” Steve asks, while sliding his wheelie chair a little away from Tony.
“Because he has it now, too,” Natasha says, pointing at Clint accusingly.
Clint doesn’t deny it. But he can try to act normal so maybe they’ll trust him.
“You’re drooling,” Natasha tells him. Maybe his act’s not working.
“How, exactly, did you discover this?” Bruce asks, while Steve rolls even further away. “What kind of contagion are we dealing with, Hawkeye?”
“Uh,” Clint says, because he’s been addressed directly. “Contact?”
“What kind of contact?” Bruce prompts.
“I punched you!” Tony crows. “I hit you and it felt like a kiss.”
“Yeah, okay,” Clint says.
Natasha decides to go with that, while Bruce looks doubtful.
“You both hit me,” Steve says, slowly. “A lot.”
“Then you probably have it, too,” Natasha says, stone-faced.
Damn, she is good at that. Clint just looks at her in admiration.
“One at a time, lady…and gentlemen,” Tony says. “There’s enough of me to go around.”
“A love spell may be spread only through a kiss,” Thor says, flatly. “Not violence.”
“Are you sure about that?” Natasha asks, pulling her most genuine face.
“They will resort to any means, including deception, to access the object of their affections,” Thor tells Bruce.
“Yeah, we’ve noticed,” Bruce answers. “No more swapping spit or any other bodily fluids, huh?”
“No promises,” Tony says. “Hey, since Clint isn’t a lady with a virtue to protect, can I at least have him?”
“No,” Steve says.
“Okay,” says Clint, automatically rising. Natasha grabs his arm and drags him back down.
“He has the same virtue as I do,” she says.
“They’re policing each other,” Bruce observes. “That’s actually helpful.”
“Not to me,” Tony says
“Thor,” Steve says. “We need an antidote.”
“Orgy,” Tony whispers. “Say orgy.”
“And that’s not an option,” Bruce interrupts, sounding like he’s afraid it might be Thor’s answer. “We’re not letting anybody at anybody else when they’re out of their minds on Loki’s voodoo.”
“The spell will expire,” Thor says, trying to sound comforting.
“Will we?” Natasha asks, capable of more rational thought than Clint is at the moment.
“We don’t feel so good,” Clint reminds everyone. Tony nods emphatically.
“Discomfort is the purpose,” Thor says. “Resistance to the spell –”
“Nobody here is resisting!” Tony yells. “Those puritanical assholes are resisting!” He points at Steve and Bruce.
“Maybe we can throw them in the cells at SHIELD until it’s over,” Steve says.
“Would that work?” Bruce looks doubtful.
“I have no idea how to escape from a SHIELD cell,” Natasha says, sweetly.
“Me either,” Clint says, since he can lie, too.
“I’m a billionaire,” Tony reminds everyone. “How much do the SHIELD guards make, again?”
Thor apparently thinks it’s a good idea to introduce bondage to the situation. Tony has lots of opinions on this, none of which dissuade Bruce or Steve from tying Clint, Tony, and Natasha up. Separately. Well, they hobble Natasha to Clint, which isn’t what he wants.
Magic is interesting; Clint can recognize that Tony is being ridiculously obnoxious, and a giant asshole, and also not actually helping the situation at all. It doesn’t make him less handsome.
Clint is having active fantasies about throwing the other Avengers out the window, which is about as strange as the attraction to Tony Stark.
Natasha actually kisses Thor’s hand while he’s tying her up, which is a brilliant plan for a few seconds.
Bruce gasps in horror, but Thor shakes his head. “On the lips,” he says.
Natasha kicks the floor in anger.
After that, Steve and Bruce keep their distance.
The spell gets stronger as time goes on, in some ways. Clint finds he can think more clearly, as his mind desperately searches for a solution. Impulsive violence, like Tony and Natasha tried earlier, definitely comes first. But now Natasha is trying to talk them into it, and she’s very, very good at that.
Bruce tapes her mouth shut. If Natasha could Hulk-out, they’d all be in deep shit right now. Her eyes are blazing with anger.
“How long is this going to last?” Steve asks, as Natasha starts chewing through the duct tape.
Thor looks uncertain and Tony arches angrily into the chair they’ve tied him to. “I am going to have an aneurysm in my pants!” he yells. “Do you know what that feels like?”
“Can we tape his mouth shut, too?” Steve asks, quietly.
“Try it and you lose a finger,” Tony warns. “Let’s see if that serum can regenerate body parts.”
“We should hand them over to SHIELD,” Steve says, in response. He’s too polite to say it, but his tone has a distinct “they get paid for this shit” ring to it.
Bruce doesn’t look thrilled with that option.
“There is a possible solution,” Thor says, after a moment. “If acceptable.”
“Go on,” Bruce says, though Clint is pretty sure it’s not going to be acceptable.
“The cure for all love spells is natural love,” Thor says, sounding kind of like a fortune cookie.
“I profoundly hate you all,” Tony says, and Clint mostly agrees with him. He wants to hit Tony almost as badly as he wants to do some other stuff.
Bruce ignores him. “How does that help us?”
Thor looks at Tony. “Lady Pepper,” he says.
“Oh, no,” Tony crows. “We’re not bringing her into this. Don’t think I didn’t consider that avenue of relief, but, unlike a certain master spy who’s supposed to know better, I realized that just maybe kissing someone else would make it worse.” He looks pointedly at Natasha, who says something unintelligibly rude under the duct tape.
“What would Pepper have to do,” Bruce says, after a beat. “Theoretically?”
“I said, no,” Tony repeats.
“She is immune to the spell,” Thor says, since Tony is getting worked up. “Presumably.”
“Presumably,” Clint says, and Tony glares at him.
“She can cure them,” Thor says, dipping his head at Clint and Natasha.
“How’s that?” Clint asks. Natasha says something that sounds similar, garbled by her gag.
“She’s not curing anybody,” Tony says. “Untie us and we’ll have a party, and then it will be over.”
“Consummation is not a cure,” Thor says. “It will worsen.”
“I’m having trouble imagining that,” Clint says, honestly.
“Pepper cures them by…” Bruce prompts.
“The same way the spell is passed,” Thor says.
“Violent headbutt?” Tony asks.
“A kiss,” Clint says.
Thor nods. “Loki cast the spell when he touched both of you, it only came into effect later, when you would have been drawn to each other and touched.”
“Yup,” Tony says. Natasha nods.
“Okay,” Steve says, sounding relieved. “Let’s do that. I’m sure Pepper will want to fix this, right?”
“You’re sure I’m not going to turn into a newt, right?” Pepper asks.
She’s been summoned to Bruce’s lab and the situation explained. Clint is not totally sure she believes it, which he gets.
“No, we’re not sure,” Tony says. “This is Loki’s magic, so someone turning into a newt or growing a penis they shouldn’t have, or any number of insane outcomes is entirely within the realm of possibility.”
Pepper looks worried. Thor doesn’t say anything comforting.
“Our other option is to throw them in SHIELD’s brig for the foreseeable future,” Bruce says. “We don’t know how long the spell is going to last.”
“Loki has a poor understanding of Midgardian time,” Thor says. Clint tries not to think about what that could mean.
“We have our doubts about SHIELD’s ability to keep them contained,” Steve says, quietly. “Those two will just escape.” He points at Clint and Natasha. “And Tony-“
“Will bribe someone to let him out,” Pepper interrupts.
“I could also escape,” Tony mutters. “I just prefer the easy way.”
“Okay,” Pepper says. “I’ll do it.”
“Bad idea,” Tony says. “Bad.”
“Who do I have to kiss?” she asks. “Just them?”
“You could act pained,” Tony says. “Or less excited.”
“He’s tried to get me to kiss you before,” she says, approaching Natasha. “No spell involved.”
Carefully, Pepper pulls down the wet, chewed duct tape wrapped around Nat’s face.
“I know,” Natasha says, wetting her lips.
“Someone take pictures,” Tony complains.
“Someone cover his eyes,” Pepper corrects, and Steve obediently puts a big palm over Tony’s forehead.
“This isn’t a reward,” Pepper says. “I don’t want you going near Loki on purpose.”
Pepper kisses Natasha, and it’s not lascivious at all. It’s just a peck, but there’s the flash of light and Natasha flinches like she’s been knocked backwards.
She blinks for a second, tilts her head up. “Thank you,” she tells Pepper.
“You’re welcome,” Pepper says, sincerely.
“You feel okay?” Bruce checks.
“I feel like I got pulled out of bed in the middle of the night because my boyfriend managed to get dosed with a Norse love spell that made him even worse than he usually is,” Pepper says, tiredly.
“So, normal then,” Bruce says.
“It’s the middle of the night?” Natasha asks. “I thought it was morning.”
“We have been dealing with this for more than 24-hours,” Steve says, humorless. “Time flies.” He takes his hand off Tony’s face.
“Tony?” Bruce asks. “How you feeling?”
“Remarkably gay,” Tony answers.
“So, it worked, right?” Pepper asks, hopefully. “You don’t want to –”
“I feel that answer might incriminate me,” Tony interrupts. “So I’ll just say that the only person I am magically compelled at anymore is Hawkeye.”
“Yeah, I still got that going for me, too,” Clint volunteers.
Pepper takes a tentative step towards Clint, looking at Bruce and Thor for permission.
“Go for it,” Bruce says.
“Can you cover my eyes again?” Tony requests. “I don’t want to see this.”
“Tough,” Steve says, crossing his arms.
Pepper leans down. Clint puckers up and Tony makes a loud, irritated noise. The moment her lips touch Clint’s, light fills his eyes and he feels the same odd sensation flying through him.
“Okay, you can stop now!” Tony orders.
Immediately, just for kicks, Clint tangles one hand in Pepper’s hair. They aren’t kissing anymore, but Tony can’t see that.
“Hey!” Tony yells.
Pepper pulls back, grinning at him.
“Thanks,” Clint tells her, dropping his hand. “Seriously.”
“Glad I could help,” she says.
“He is all yours,” Clint says.
“Well, that’s over,” Steve says, thankfully.
“Are we sure?” Bruce asks Thor. “There’s not going to be a second act or anything?”
Thor shakes his head.
“I can kiss other people,” Pepper offers. “Pretty much anyone except Loki, I’ll kiss.”
“No,” Tony says, sharply. “All better.” He wiggles in his bonds. “Someone untie me.”
“Me, too,” Clint says.
Bruce and Steve start untying Tony. Pepper goes over there, too.
Natasha, for her part, is already wiggling out of the ropes.
“You could do that all along?” Clint asks her.
Natasha frees herself and starts on his knots. She nods. “If Pepper didn’t show, or that didn’t work, I was going to get loose, kill everyone, and drag Stark off by his hair.”
“Ah.” Clint flexes his wrists. “Well, I think I know what Loki’s plan was, then.”
Natasha nods, face blank.
“Were you going to share him with me?” Clint asks, rising from his chair and stretching.
“No way,” Natasha says, evenly.
“Selfish,” he says. Now that he’s not mind-controlled in love with Tony anymore, Clint is actually starving. “You wanna go eat?” he asks her.
“I could,” she says. “But maybe we shouldn’t share food or anything, just in case.”
“So you should definitely not kiss in the elevator,” Bruce says, as they pass him. “Just in case.”
“Probably not,” she agrees, following Clint out of the lab.
~Please feed the author~