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Match Game

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"Okay, that's it," Jan said, sitting down in the chair across from Peter at the kitchen table. "Cap needs a girlfriend."

Peter blinked, his spoon frozen halfway between his bowl of cereal and his mouth. Then he slowly looked up, staring at Jan. "Huh?"

She rolled her eyes. "I said that Cap needs a girlfriend."

He thought about it for a moment and opened his mouth to speak. Then he closed it again, thinking some more. "Okay, no, I'm still confused," he said slowly. "Cap needs a girlfriend?"

"Or a boyfriend," Jan added. "I mean, I don't know if he's into guys, but if he is then a boyfriend's a possibility."

He gave up on eating his cereal, letting the spoon drop back down into the bowl. "I'm probably going to regret asking this, but why does Cap need a girlfriend?"

"Or a boyfriend," Jan repeated, narrowing her eyes.

Peter held up his hands. "Or a boyfriend," he corrected, trying not to let his voice sound quite as skeptical as he felt. "Seriously, GG, what gave you that idea?"

Jan rolled her eyes. "Storm and Thor are seeing each other, right?"

Peter nodded slowly. "Uh-huh, yeah."

"Then there's me and Hank," she continued.

He tilted his head. "Wait, you're officially dating now?"

Jan ignored him. "Tony has a new girlfriend every week, and Tigra never seems to be lacking for dates with men or women. And according to Storm, Wolverine's got something going on with one of the X-Men." She paused. "Well, at least one of the X-Men. It might be two of them. She didn't really go into specifics that much."

He kept staring at her.

"Even Bruce is seeing someone right now!" she said, shaking her head. "I mean, it's online dating so I'm not sure if it counts, but still!"

Peter held up his hand, waving it in the air a bit. "I'm still confused."

"You even have a girlfriend," Jan said, still ignoring him.

"What does that--" Peter stopped, trailing off. "Could you possibly sound less surprised about that?"

Jan raised an eyebrow at him.

Peter sighed. "So you think Cap needs a girlfriend--"

"Or a boyfriend."

"--or a boyfriend," Peter said, "because everyone else has one?"

Jan nodded.

Peter rolled his eyes. "Luke Cage isn't dating anyone."

She coughed. "He has a girlfriend."

"Okay, okay, bad example. What about--" Peter stopped. "Wait, Luke Cage has a girlfriend? Who? How? When?"

"Jessica Jones."

"Jessica Jones?" Peter repeated slowly. "Why does that name sound familiar?"

Jan shrugged. "She's Jewel, if that helps any."

His eyes widened in comprehension. Then he grinned sheepishly. "There's also a possibility that she, uh, went to high school with me. And junior high." He paused again. "Actually, she might have been there for elementary too."

"Peter, stop changing the subject!"

Sighing, he leaned back in his chair. "Okay, okay. So maybe Cap needs a girlfriend."

Jan opened her mouth.

"Or a boyfriend," Peter said quickly. "What are we supposed to do about it?"

Her mouth twisted into a smile.

Peter stared at her. "Oh God, I know that look. You're about to get me into trouble, aren't you?"


"Well, that was a spectacular failure," Peter said. He was sitting on the rec room wall, his arms crossed protectively over his bent legs. "Just like the last six times. When can we just give up already, Jan?"

She glared at him from where she was sitting on the sofa. "We're not going to just give up!" she exclaimed. "Okay, yes, the last few times haven't worked out that well--"

"The last girl you tried to set Cap up with was an assassin working for HYDRA," Peter cut in, his voice dry.

Jan waved her hand in front of her. "Like I said, they haven't worked out that well. That doesn't mean we should just give up! Would Cap give up on us?"

Peter rolled his eyes. "Cap wouldn't be trying to set us up on dates in the first place," he muttered.

She glared at him. "What did you say?" she asked, narrowing her eyes.

He sighed. "Nothing."

"Good," Jan said. Her mouth twitched slightly, like she was hiding a smirk.

Behind them, someone cleared his throat.

Jan spun around, looking over the back of the sofa, while Peter looked up toward the doorway. Tony was standing there, a slightly confused look on his face, like he'd heard just enough of their conversation to make him worried.

"Do I even want to know what the two of you are up to?" he asked slowly. "This isn't going to be a repeat of the Halloween candy incident is it?"

"What makes you think we're up to something?" Jan asked sweetly.

Peter tried to make his face look innocent. He suspected he probably just looked constipated, judging by the skeptical way Tony was looking between the two of them.

"Uh-huh," Tony said slowly. "I'm going to pretend that I didn't even see the two of you in here. All I wanted to know is whether or not you've seen Steve."

Peter froze, a deer-in-the-headlight look on his face.

Jan shot him a warning look. Then she shook her head. "Sorry, Tony, not since this morning. We, uh, had a slight HYDRA incident. Well, another one."

Tony frowned, but he didn't ask. "Okay, well if you see him, can you tell him that I'm going to be a few minutes late for dinner tonight? We're supposed to be meeting at that pizza place he likes, but Pepper just called me about a last minute meeting that I really can't afford to miss. And he's not answering his phone."

Peter nodded. "Sure, we'll tell him."

Tony gave them a weak grin. "Thanks, guys," he said, nodding. "Please try not to blow anything up, okay?"

"We promise," Jan said. She was suddenly smiling broadly. "Now, go. Get your meeting over with so you don't keep Cap waiting too long."

A faint hint of skepticism on his face, Tony nodded and continued down the hall.

Once he had been gone for almost a minute, Jan let out a high-pitched noise and turned toward Peter. "Did you hear that?" she asked, not even trying to hide her excitement. "Steve and Tony are going out to dinner tonight."

Peter stared at her. "Yeah," he said uncertainly. "They go out for dinner a couple times a week. It's, you know, a thing."

Jan stared at Peter. She slowly raised an eyebrow.

Peter stared back at Jan. Then his eyes widened.

Her grin grew even bigger.

"You don't think--" Peter said thoughtfully, his gaze drifting back toward the now empty doorway.

Jan clapped her hands together. "Operation Get Steve and Tony Together starts right now."


"You did what?" Hank closed his eyes, a frown line appearing between his eyebrows. "Jan, they're going to kill you."

"No, they're going to kill us," Peter put in helpfully.

Jan blew a loose strand of hair out of her face. "They're not going to kill anyone," she said, rolling her eyes. "Our plan's going to work perfectly, and then they're going to thank us."

If anything, Hank's frown lines grew even deeper. "Jan, they're already dating," he said, his eyes still closed. "They have been for months now. I thought you knew!"

Peter opened and closed his mouth a few times, no words coming out. "They're going to kill us," he moaned.

Jan gaped at Hank. "What?" she asked. "Since when?"

Hank opened his eyes, obviously reluctantly. "I thought you knew," he repeated.

"No, I didn't know!" Jan said, her voice growing louder. "How do you know?"

"I walked in on the two of them--" Hank trailed off, his face flushing a bit. "Actually, it's not really that important what I walked in on the two of them doing. All that matters is that it was very obvious they were dating."

Peter brought his arm up, hiding his face. Somewhere in the hallway, there was a quiet scuffling sound.

Jan paused, a thoughtful look on her face. Then she walked over to the door and poked her head out.

Hank sighed. "How much mistletoe did you put up?" he asked tiredly. "Maybe we can get it all down before they notice that it's placed everywhere in the building where the two of them spend time?"

"Yes!" Peter said, moving his arm away from his face. "That's a great idea. We can take it all down, and then no one will--"

"Too late," Jan said, sounding pleased. She was still looking out of the doorway down the hall.

Peter and Hank looked at each other. Then they walked over to where Jan was standing and peered around her.

Tony and Steve were standing at the far end of the hallway, locked in the type of kiss that was usually on seen in the movies. Neither of them was paying attention to anything else going on around them.

There was a sprig of mistletoe hanging above them.

Jan giggled as she pulled her head back into the kitchen. "Mission accomplished."

Hank and Peter both knew better than to say a word.