There were very few things that could piss Pepper off. She prided herself on her ability to be calm, cool and collected no matter what situation she found herself in. She had to be, working with Tony all these years - the man had once spent a whopping twenty minutes in the same room as the Dahli Lama, and he still ended up with something thrown at his head, for crying out loud - and her ability to keep the peace had saved his ass from the fire more times than she could count.
There were still a few things, though, that really get under her skin, most of which revolve around people trying to take what is hers. Tony, Stark Industries, the Avengers… they were hers. And now, instead of just saving their ass from the fire, she was the fire – and heaven help anyone who tried to hurt what was hers.
Loki had tried to take her things more than once. His name is at the top of the list of Things That Piss Her Off, so of course she is less than pleased when she finds out the Avengers need him if they want any hope of defeating Thanos. And with SHIELD torn and scattered four ways to the wind, Phil still trying to rebuild the agency from the ground up, and the Helicarrier nothing but a twisted wreck in Washington DC, it turns out the Tower is the only place with accommodations secure enough to hold him.
She may have accidentally lit the person sitting closest to her on fire when she heard that particular announcement. Luckily, she was having a pow wow with the heads of NASA (which had received a very, VERY substantial budget increase after the Chitauri), Reed Richards and the rest of his team on how they might create smaller, less wasteful and more easily maneuverable shuttles that worked just as well within Earth's atmosphere as they did the vacuum of space when the news reached her, and Johnny was used to that sort of thing.
Loki arrives at the Stark Tower lobby at a little after 10 am on a Thursday morning, not long after Pepper had finished up a board meeting in one of the buildings many, many conference rooms. She’s waiting at the receptionist desk , exchanging notes with her PA (part-time only; Jane refuses to give up Miss Lewis full time and the tiny woman can be surprisingly possessive when someone wants what is hers. Needless to say, she and Pepper get along swimmingly) and waiting for the next round of big wigs.
She looks up and smiles politely when she hears the doors ding open. The smile freezes on her face half-formed, though, when she sees a tall, smirking trickster god instead of the small, well kept Director of Financial department she was expecting. Even surrounded on all sides by Avengers and well-armed, renegade SHIELD agents, he smirks, as if they are nothing but toy soldiers that will remain standing only for so long as he finds them amusing.
He smirks and, not surprisingly, Pepper discovers that she really, really wants to wipe that smirk of his smug, beautiful face.
She goes deathly still for a moment, pen hovering over the clipboard that Darcy had just handed her, Extremis-fueled anger boiling to life beneath her skin. Then she takes a deep breath and places the clipboard on the receptionist desk, pen laid neatly across the top page, though the effect is spoiled a bit when it leaves scorch marks on the crisp, white paper.
As she turns to face the group fully, the anger only builds – anger which she focuses all on Loki, feeling her eyes going molten and Extremis fire snaking across her exposed skin. Renegade agents and Avengers alike step aside as she stalks toward him, melting away until there is nothing between her and the green-eyed God of Lies.
And then Pepper Potts, 120 pounds soaking wet, resplendent in a forest green business suit and four inch heels, wraps her hand around the fallen trickster god’s throat and slams him into the wall, leaving his feet dangling a foot off the floor.
“Loki Laufeyson,” she tells him in a quiet, deadly voice, “I am very, very unhappy with you.”
“Really,” he wheezes, snarky to the core, even when he’s staring a ticking time bomb in the face. “I never would’ve guessed.”
Her hand tightens reflexively and his face starts to turn purple, little sizzling sounds coming from where it makes contact with his skin.
“Pepper,” someone says quietly, and the golden haze clouding her vision clears long enough for her to see a flash of crimson at her side. Natasha then; she always was the only one brave enough to approach Pepper on a war path. “Pepper, as much as we are all enjoying this, we need him alive,” she points out.
“So we do,” she breathes, like the hiss of steam escaping from a boiler that is about to explode. “But know this, you son of a bitch,” she continues, and she doesn’t even try to hold back a malicious grin as Jane and Darcy step into position on her other side, the four of them creating a wall of righteous anger and menace between Loki and the men they had claimed as their own. “If you so much as even look at any of our boys cross-eyed, we will end you. Do I make myself clear?”
“Crystal,” Loki chokes out, and she is gratified to see a flicker of real fear in his eyes.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, after all. It would be best if Loki learned that particular Midguardian lesson well.
“I lied,” Tony says into the burning silence that follows her ultimatum, voice tight and strangled, briefcase strategically placed in front of him. “Every single time I’ve said it before it was a lie, because this, This, what just happened right here, is officially the hottest thing I have ever seen, bar NONE, and Pep, baby, if you don’t take me somewhere right fucking now to have your wicked way with me, there will be a very embarrassing mess all over our tower’s nice clean floor.”
Pepper doesn’t even bother setting Loki back on his feet, she simply releases him and watches in satisfaction as he crumples to the floor, coughing and gasping. Apparently even gods need to breathe.
“Darcy,” she asks, turning her back on the fallen god as if he were nothing more than a mess to be cleaned up. “Would you be so kind as to let the Director know I may be a little late to our meeting?”
“No problem, Boss Lady,” she replies, already making her way toward where the man in question stands in shocked silence just inside the lobby door. “By the way, you’re my new favorite boss ever,” she tosses over her shoulder. “No offense, Jane.”
With the director in Darcy's more than capable hands and her schedule temporarily rearranged, Pepper starts quickly toward the elevators, grabbing Tony by the collar on her way past because they've discovered that when it comes to Extremis, her blood isn’t the only thing to get hot whenever she’s angry these days.
Halfway across the lobby, fist still wrapped firmly in the jacket of a very willing Tony Stark (Mine), she grins an evil little grin when she hears a raspy, formerly smug voice scratch out, “Perhaps your appeal for these Midguardian woman has some merit after all, Brother.”
They don’t quite make it all the way up to the Penthouse, of course, but JARVIS just politely seals the elevator doors and locks the lift into place before setting himself on private mode for the interim. With the Avengers all in residence now, it is a process with which he has become quite familiar.