It started like most things.
“In Soviet Russia...”
“Dear God, Nat, please do not finish that sentence,” Clint muttered with the bag of peas over her eye and Darcy hovering with a bottle of vodka and pitcher of Kool-Aid. “You are the Queen of Bad Ideas, Lewis.”
“We don't have time for Jello shots to set. And I'm celebrating the end of a disastrous relationship with Ed from Accounting,” Darcy said plopping down next to Natasha and poured her a mason jar glass half full of vodka.
“We have mason jars?” Clint asked accepting her own pink drink. Red Kool-Aid and pear flavored vodka was surprisingly okay.
Darcy clinked glasses with them. “Now let me tell you how very badly Ed sucked at getting me off.”
Jane was the next to join. She had regular access to the labs now and free reign over most of the common places in the Tower. Darcy was in the middle of crushing up mint leaves for mojitos and Jane wandered in, face slack with exhaustion and her hair ratted on one side. “You sadly have sex hair without the actual having of the sex, Jane.”
Jane stared at Darcy and held out her hand for the glass. “I think we just broke six laws of physics and possibly made a rip in space and time.”
Clint and Natasha yelled. “Chtob vse byli zdorovy!” They downed their drinks and called out for another round.
“Have another drink, honey. We'll see if we can't dig you up a TARDIS,” Darcy said patting Jane on the head and steering her toward a seat.
“The trouble with being a woman and working where we do,” Maria pointed her bottle of beer at Pepper's face with a scowl. “Not you, because you don't work for dickish assholes with weapon fetishes.”
Pepper sipped her martini and just stared at Maria.
“I concede your point,” Maria said and Clint plunked another bottle of Molson's in front of her.
“The guys are worried. Their emails are hilarious,” Darcy said, kicking her heels off and crawling around the curve of the couch to rescue the big bottles of orange juice and vodka from the cooler behind it.
Maria rolled her eyes. “Typical.”
These nights were a tradition by now. Not all of them were around at the same time for most other things, but for the last Wednesday night of every month they always seemed to be free. There weren't any ops that Clint or Natasha had to be on or board meetings that ran late or evil robots that ran amok those nights. The universe, it seemed in this, was kind.
“It has to be some kind of divine intervention,” Pepper said neatly setting aside her heels and undoing her hair from its bun.
Clint sprawled out on the floor and nodded. “They're calling it our Monthlies.”
The collective hiss was loud.
“Definitely going to have to institute some PR events for Stark Industries. Possibly with board members and their wives,” Pepper said taking her big glass of mostly vodka and a splash of orange juice with a grateful little smile.
“Sparring at 0800,” Natasha said with her head on Clint's stomach. “With knives.”
Darcy winced. “You would think they don't respect us.”
Natasha laughed and it wasn't a happy sound. “Welcome to the world we live in.” She rolled her head against the carpet to look at Darcy who was frowning on the couch. “When you can not make them respect you, fear works. Respect is better, but fear works just as well, matryoshka.”
“But... they're your co-workers and your teammates. They should respect you,” Jane said scratching her head and she sipped her drink through one of the many crazy straws Darcy kept bringing to their Talking Nights.
“They should. And they have so far not made me feel that they do not respect my skills or value them, but they are men and they tend to underestimate skills when they come in pretty packages,” Natasha tilted her head toward Clint's fingers as they combed through her hair. “But they are at times too stupid to realize that their assumptions are a valuable weapon as well.”
Clint smirked at that. “She once convinced a crown prince to give her his country because she was wearing a smile on her face and a song in her heart.”
They burst out laughing.
“I hit Thor with my car. Twice.” Jane offered with a grin.
Darcy raised her hand. “Tasered him.”
“You get a motherfucking high five for that shit,” Clint said holding her hand out. Using Thor's elements against him was a definite win.
“I blew up Tony's Bugatti. And his Roadster. And burnt his entire winter Dolce suit collection." The list went on and on because Tony was(is/continued to be) a handful. They all look suitably impressed at both Pepper's deviousness and Tony's exploits on earning said punishments.
“I once shot the Prime Minister of Khalikstan. Then slept with his wife.”
That got Nat high fives from everyone.
“I have pictures of three of the joint chiefs in tutus,” Maria said smiling faintly. “Making out with each other.”
They toasted Maria for that one.
“I got drunk on mescal and still managed to qualify for the Beijing Olympic trials.” Clint shrugged. “I didn't even know you could sneak into the Olympic trials.”
“You can't. You slept with the girl and took her credentials,” Natasha said flicking at Clint's nose.
“Ow! Quit it! Okay, okay. So apparently the Olympic officials think all blondes look the same in the daytime,” Clint said frowning.
There was a long moment of silence.
They poured Darcy a fresh drink for that.
“So, we should be concerned, right?” Tony asked watching the video feed.
JARVIS was limited to video and no audio.
“I should have taken up lip reading,” Steve muttered narrowing his eyes slightly and leaning forward.
Bruce grunted and angled the screen a fraction of an inch and pushed his glasses up his nose. “They're positioned in a way that means that whatever they're discussing is heated.”
“Sex! It has to be about sex!” Tony said pointing at the screen.
“Everything is sex to you, Tony,” Steve shook his head. “If it were something they wanted us to know, they'd let us in on it.”
Coulson swept into the room and glanced at the screen then frowned. “That is an invasion of privacy, gentlemen.”
Tony pointed a finger at Coulson. “You sound like a man who knows what they're talking about. Spill.”
Coulson set the folders down and eyed Tony. “They're talking about cock sizes and comparing. They have lists.”
Tony whooped and then stopped. “Wait. I can only count three who have intimate knowledge of our junk. Who else's junk are they talking about?”
Coulson flipped open the first folder. “I need signatures on these, gentlemen.”
“Seriously, Coulson. How are they getting intel?” Tony glared.
Coulson just smiled blandly and walked out. Tony kept squawking and yelling even as the lab doors slid shut behind him.
The elevator shut with a soft shush. “Agent Coulson, sir?”
“I would like to point out that the ladies are only speaking of the latest attack on the West Coast and nothing salacious,” JARVIS said with a faint note of reproach.
“I know, JARVIS,” Coulson said stepping out of the elevator and heading to his room.
“Ah, so you lied to them, sir.”
There was a short pause. “Sir, if I were programmed to cackle, I presume that I would at this moment.”