Chapter 1: Marvel Cinematic Universe
Pepper had grown used to the unusual when it came to Tony Stark… even before the Iron Man debacle. So when she entered the workshop to find the bots frantically rolling around with various items and Stark throwing things into a bag; it took her a minute.
Then she realized he was desperately packing clothes, not machine parts. “What are you doing?” she demanded.
Her tone froze him for a moment before he resumed his actions. A few impatient foot taps brought an answer thrown over his shoulder, “I’m packing. Leaving on vacation in thirty minutes.”
“Isn’t your whole life a vacation, Mr. Stark?”
Chapter 2: Marvel Cinematic Universe
Clint Barton /+ Natasha Romanov
Natasha eyed the file folders they’d been handed with distaste. “Don’t you think this is beneath us?” she asked Coulson.
Their handler’s mien didn’t change, but Natasha could still read the long-suffering expression in his eyes, which turned pained as her partner, Clint Barton (code-named Hawkeye), chimed in, “Seriously, Coulson, this is a milk run. A level one could do this.”
“Then the two of you should be able to accomplish it easily. Without extensive property damage,” Coulson replied. He held up a hand when they started to protest. “I am positive that if Director Fury had more of a sense of humor, you would get a mission more suited to you… talents. But since he does not approve of your recent shenanigans… these are your orders.”
Still grumbling, but admitting silently they had it coming, the two agents flipped open the folders.
“We’re posing as tourists?!” Clint exclaimed.
Inwardly, Coulson rolled his eyes. It was going to be a long mission.
Chapter 3: Stargate Atlantis
“Mer, thank goodness!” Jeannie ushered her older brother into the house. “You’re just the person I needed.”
“Are you doing psychics? Do you need a bigger brain?” Rodney asked.
“No.” Jeannie grabbed his hand and towed him through the house to a bedroom that was in the condition of transitioning from girlie to more adult. Pulling him through the open door, she explained, “Madison has a sore throat and I need a babysitter.”
“And you think I’m qualified?!” Rodney demanded.
Jeannie rolled her eyes. “You’re an adult. She knows you. You take care of however many hundreds on Atlantis. You’ll be fine.”
“I save their lives, not take care of them. Carson’s the voodoo doctor, not me!”
Jeannie ignored his protests, kissing Madison on the head, and hurrying back out of the room. “I’ll be back in an hour. Two tops.”
Rodney considered his niece as the front door slammed, still a bit dizzy from the whirlwind of his sister. “What am I supposed to do with you?”
Madison indicated a book on her nightstand. “Read to me?”
Almost mincing across the room, Rodney picked up the book. “Black Holes,” he read from the cover. “Okay, I can handle this.”
Madison moved over so he could sit beside her and he opened the book. As he began reading, he added comments and editorials.
Two weeks later, Rodney had his own sore throat.
Chapter 4: Marvel Cinematic Universe
It was bound to happen sooner rather than later. To be honest, Clint had been half-holding his breath waiting for it. Ariana had learned to walk two months, three weeks, and four days ago. Two months and two weeks ago, she’d started running.
It stood to reason that at some point she would fall.
Clint scooped her up before she could cry; the look of surprise still on her face. Cuddling her close, he had a moment where he remembered his mother doing the same… once. A quick shake of his head banished the memory and all of his attention was on Ariana and her skinned knee.
A swift wash, a Band-Aid, and a kiss to her knee and she was all smiles again. Clint set her down to run off… as he started holding his breath for the next disaster.
Chapter 5: Original Work
“What are you making?”
“Beef stew. Want a taste?”
“Depends. Did it come out of a can?”
“Nope. I chopped and diced and poured and stirred this all on my own.”
“I’m not sure if I should be terrified or impressed, but all right. I’ll try it… tastes good.”
Chapter 6: Captain America
Author’s Note: I have never played craps, nor do I know anything about it. (Other than what google tells me!)
Bucky recognized the voice coming from the alley before he even got close enough to see. Picking up his pace, he turned into the alley and a sight he was fully expecting.
Steve was facing off against two men that towered above him. At their feet was a small pile of money, two dice, and half a cardboard box.
As he drew nearer, Bucky could make out Steve yelling something about a seven and winning.
The two men noticed him before Steve did, cutting off their words to glare at him.
Bucky glared right back, flexing some of the new muscle he’d gained from working at the docks. The two men might be older, but slighter than Bucky. “Beat it,” he growled when Steve finally noticed him and fell silent.
“He cheated!” the taller man protested.
“That’s a lie!” Steve exclaimed.
Bucky wanted to roll his eyes at these two meatheads thinking Steve would cheat. Instead he scooped up the dice, balancing them in his hand. It only took him a minute to figure out what had happened. “More likely you couldn’t believe he won with these dice.” Tossing them at the men, he repeated his earlier command, “Beat it.” When the smaller man bent to scoop up the money, he added, “And leave his winnings.”
The men appeared to consider his order for a minute before grabbing the dice and box and swiftly leaving the alley.
“I could have handled that,” Steve grumbled as Bucky bent to gather his winnings.
“But isn’t it nice when you don’t have to?” Bucky grinned. “Besides this way you don’t have to explain it to our Mas.” He held up the handful of money. “And we can buy dinner.”
Chapter 7: Captain America
Author’s Note: I’m not sure how well I did annoyed.
Bucky had orders to go to the store and fetch some medicine for his mother. He was certainly expected to go straight there and back, not make any side stops. But when he heard the thumping sounds coming from the alley, he immediately made a detour.
He recognized the blond boy immediately. Or at least he recognized that the boy lived in his building. Although he didn’t know the names of the two bigger boys, they were clearly beating up on the other one. “Oi!” he yelled, “Pick on someone your own size.”
The boys turned around and grinned at the sight of the new mark. Bucky took a moment to size both of them up before stepping into the fray. A few short minutes later, the boys were running away, yelling curses and threats back at Bucky.
Bucky turned his attention to the blond on the ground, trying to remember his name. Shrugging off the issue, Bucky held his hand out to the blond. “Come on. I’ll walk you home.”
The boy brushed off his hand before struggling to his feet. “I coulda taken them!”
“Sure, kid,” Bucky returned with a grin. “I just thought you might like a hand.”
The boy…Steve…that was right, glared up at Bucky. “Next time just leave me alone.”
Bucky shrugged, although he could feel a low-level annoyance start to simmer. “Whatever. Come on, I’ll walk you home.”
“I don’t need an escort.”
“Fine. I’ll walk in the same direction as you since we live in the same building.”
Steve eyed him suspiciously, but decided Bucky was to be trusted. “Fine.”
Bucky kicked the wall once he got to the bottom of the steps. Steve could be so annoying. The older boy couldn’t believe Steve was being so stubborn. Bucky might have been joking about Steve sleeping on the floor, but there was no reason the boys couldn’t help each other out.
But Steve had always been trouble… and yet Bucky loved him. He’d figure out a way to help.
“I just don’t see how you could enlist, knowing how much I want to go!” Steve almost yelled.
“Could ya keep your voice down?” Bucky asked. He didn’t want the neighbors to be awaken by a row.
Steve threw his arms up in the air, waving them around as he tried to articulate his annoyance. “How could you?” he demanded.
Bucky sighed. At least his partner had lowered his voice. “I didn’t plan to enlist,” he replied. “It just happened.” He clutched his enlistment papers tightly in his hand. There was no way he was telling Steve that he’d been drafted… and the enlistment was the outcome. “Can we just enjoy the time we have left?”
“We’re not done with this discussion,” Steve said, pointing a finger at Bucky.
“Of course, we aren’t,” Bucky said as Steve stomped away.
Bucky growled to himself as he watched the blond running around the reflecting pool. He hadn’t saved the idiot to have him kill himself just a few days later. He might still have questions about who he was, but his bones knew he needed to watch out for the blond…the one the museum had called Captain America.
After another few minutes of watching the blond run, he swung down into the grass. He wasn’t ready to approach him yet so it was better if he left.
He’d be back when he was ready to see the blond.
Bucky held himself tensely. He didn’t want to fight with Steve, but he felt this was the best choice. A few moments after Shuri walked away to check something, Steve walked in.
The conversation went about how he expected, but at least Steve didn’t really fight him on his decision. Bucky sighed as Steve enfolded Bucky in his arms. He was too tired to be annoyed by it all.
Chapter 8: Iron Man
The first few days of isolation weren’t terrible. Pepper kept busy with making sure SI was ready to be shut down and that all orders were packed up to be shipped. They had already informed all employees that they were on paid vacation until further notice. SI could afford to be generous and Pepper, with Tony’s backing, planned to be. Although everyone was on call if they were needed, Pepper wanted them to be able to focus on their families in this time.
While Pepper organized, Tony retreated to the workshop. With JARVIS playing tunes and providing updates, Tony worked on whatever caught his attention. Pepper knew he felt helpless in the face of something he didn’t have all the knowledge on and suspected that he was spending some of the time gaining all the knowledge he could.
It was once everything that was quiet that she realized she was going to stuck…alone…with Tony.
Hopefully they wouldn’t kill each other before this was over.
Chapter 9: Original
I looked around what had once been my pristine house. Food was splattered on the wall and ground into my carpet. A noise made me turn to see my fiancé. He actually had food in his hair… and an amused expression on his face. “It could have been worse,” he commented. “At least it wasn’t boring.”
“It could have been worse?!” I exclaimed. “Our parents hate each other! You have food in your hair!”
Devon ran a hand through his hair, grimacing as he felt what was stuck in his hair. “So, it wasn’t the best introduction.” He grinned. “But it’s over now, Lily.”
“Over? You think this is over?” I picked up a plate, intending to take it into the kitchen and then sighed. “We have a lifetime of dinners like this to look forward to.”
Devon snagged my arm as I started to walk by him, pulling me into him. “Next time we’ll do this in public.” His grin widened. “Who knew your mom had such a good arm.”
I laughed, my breath catching in my throat. “I didn’t even realize she knew how to throw.”
Looking around, he tugged the plate out of my hand. “Let’s go shower. We’ll deal with this later.”
Reluctantly, I let him pull me back towards our bedroom. The mess would wait. Unfortunately it would still be there in the morning. At least nothing was on fire.
Chapter 10: MCU
Happy birthday, Brumeier
“Aw, finger, no,” Clint whined as he dropped the paper that had cut him.
Natasha looked up from her own paperwork. “Really? You’ve been shot and you’re whining about a papercut?”
Clint held up his hand, showing off the thin line that was just starting to bleed. “It stings!”
She rolled her eyes. “You’ve. Been. Shot.”
“But, Tasha, I was injured in the line of duty!”
“It’s a paper cut, Barton, and you’re doing paperwork.”
“It’s still work related,” he protested as she got up.
Natasha rummaged around the desk; opening drawers and shifting things aside. Finally, she found what she was looking for and moved back to Clint, grabbing his hand. A moment later, he had a gauze square tapped to his finger and she dropped back into her seat. “Shut up and finish your paperwork,” she said.
He opened his mouth, but changed his mind at the look on her face and bent his head over the paperwork.
Two Weeks Later
“Hawkeye!” Steve yelled as the archer hit the ground.
By the time the super solider reached him, Clint was trying to leverage himself up. “Where are you hit?” Steve asked, trying to bat the other man’s hands away and see the injury for himself.
“I’m fine.” Clint finally got his feet under him and stood up, almost immediately collapsing. “Why did the ground move?”
Natasha had reached them by then and rolled her eyes at Clint. “The ground didn’t move. You can’t stand up.”
“Noooo,” Clint protested. “I’m just fine.” He looked at his arm to see blood flowing down it. “Aren’t I?”
“Sure, Clint,” Natasha told him. “It’s just a really big papercut.”
“That papercut was evil!” he said, even as Steve got an arm around his waist and hefted him up. Clint groaned as Steve draped him across the bigger man’s shoulders.
Steve took a step, with Natasha falling into stride with him, and said, “Well, then why don’t we get the papercut taken care of.”
“That’s fine,” Clint said and was silent for a few minutes. “Hey, Steve? That really is America’s Ass.”