Disclaimer: Cover image is by voisb on Tumblr.
I uploaded this fic a while back, but I wasn't happy with my writing style at the time so I took it down, revised it, and reuploaded it mostly due to the Age of Ultron craze reviving my Avengers obsession. The characters may be a bit OOC because this is a humorous fic, but I did my best not to make it too ridiculous and nonsensical.
A note I almost forgot to make: for this story, Loki is good/redeemed so he's part of the team. I'm not gonna go through the trouble of how and why. That's for more serious stories. ;)
It started off like any other day in the Avengers mansion, formerly the Stark Tower. Tony Stark climbed out of bed to begin his morning with a swig of beer.
"Mornin', JARVIS," he mumbled after a few gulps. "What's goin' on today?"
"Good morning, sir. Today is October 13." The ever-polite and informative computer system began reporting the time, year, weather, and various events currently happening around the globe. And for last, any personal highlights marked on Tony's calendar. When Tony heard the last piece of news, his eyes lit up with interest.
"Really? I had no idea it was today. I better go call the guys. JARVIS! Sound the alarm!"
"But sir, I would not recommend it. The alarm is reserved for emergencies and crisis on a level of global threat-"
"Just do it, JARVIS. This is pretty damn important."
"Right away, sir."
The siren sounded throughout the Tower, including the individual levels built and furnished for each of Tony's teammates.
Thor leapt out of bed with Mjolnir in hand. He swaggered out in gusto, uttering battle cries and promises of feasting on Pop-Tarts after yet another day of glorious deeds.
Loki was showering and almost slipped in the bathtub. The walls of his bathroom echoed from a snarling curse that exploded from his mouth. He scrambled out to dress up so he wouldn't teleport naked.
Bruce Banner had been quietly meditating. Then he jolted and looked like he wet himself. He fumbled for his glasses and ran out into the hall.
Clint Barton, ever vigilant and ever ready, grabbed his arsenal of bow and arrows and dashed out of his room without a word.
Natasha Romanoff was nowhere to be found.
Tony waited for his teammates at the circular meeting table. He was the only one who didn't look utterly panicked and disheveled as they burst into the room en masse.
"What is the matter, Man of Iron?" Thor boomed. "What urgency summons us to this gathering hall?"
Loki came in with a scowl on his pale face and black hair still wet from the shower. "I demand to know the reason for your calling at this horrendous and untimely hour."
Bruce looked unusually irritated. "This better be good, Tony. I was meditating when the alarm sounded. It took all I could to keep the Big Guy from coming out."
"Good to know, science bro."
Steve sighed. Tony was the only one who could get away with such comments without pissing off one of the most dangerous creatures on the planet.
"Guys! Chill your tits and calm your asses, will you?" Tony exclaimed with a huff. "It's not a real emergency meeting. This is a secret emergency meeting."
At this, everyone relaxed considerably.
Bruce lightened up the quickest, and he chuckled. "Whatever is so secret, Tony?"
Thor beamed. "Ah, I know why. Is your lady with child?"
Tony's face turned as red as his suit. "No, Thor! Jeez, you're so embarrassing! Pepper is not pregnant!"
Clint suppressed a laugh. "I'm surprised that she isn't by now."
Tony groaned. "That has nothing to do with this."
Thor threw up his hands in the air. "Then what in the Hel of Niflheim are we here for?"
"I concur," Loki remarked. He was still fuming as he sat in his chair with arms folded and shoulders hunched.
Clint finally halted the commotion with his quiet interjection: "It's Natasha's birthday today."
Five full seconds of silence reigned among the Avengers present. Then all at once, everyone quietly went "Ooooh..."
Tony folded his arms in disappointment. "Hmph. I was gonna be the one to spill the beans."
"Hey, where is she anyway?" Steve inquired.
"Espionage in Russia," Clint replied. "Got some business with mafia guys trafficking drugs in Moscow."
Tony clapped his hands together. "Perfect! The scruffy gun-toting, drug-pumped gangsters can keep her busy while we set up the party. I call getting the cake! I love buying cakes. Or anything sweet for that matter. I'll buy twenty-seven candles!"
Clint looked uncomfortable. "Uh, Tony-"
"And every candle will be big fat Roman numerals that'll be set up Red Square style!"
"And maybe we can stick in the Kremlin in the middle."
"And I'll order seven different flavors! Natasha's is the biggest portion, of course. It'll be red like her hair-"
"TONY EFFIN' STARK!"
"What do you want, Katniss? There's one thing I hate more than repeating myself, and that's being interrupted while making party plans!"
"Natasha is not twenty-seven years old."
Tony threw a confused glance at the archer assassin. "Wait. She's not?"
"No, she isn't."
"But she looks exactly like Scarlett Johansson. And Scarlett is twenty-seven. So with my superior skills in mathematics and logical calculations, I'd say she's-"
"Natasha. Is not. Twenty-seven. She's way older than that."
Tony threw up his hands in exasperation. "Well, then. What year was she born?"
"1928. Now put your 'superior skills' to use."
Tony's brow furrowed as he subtracted 2012 from 1928 in his head. It only took a split second. His eyes widened. "Holy crap...you're telling me she's turning eighty-four this year?"
Steve also looked shocked. "She's been alive for that long? Wow. I guess that's why she knows so much about the Cold War when she explained it to me."
Bruce adjusted his glasses. "But how does she look so young after all these years?"
Tony raised a hand. "Maybe she's a Russian vampire. Considering she's a spy with a forged identity surrounded by secrets and all, that may as well be true." He laughed at his own joke.
It was Clint who solemnly answered, "I'll put it this way. She was given the Captain America treatment...via years of psychological torture and brainwashing by the Soviet Union."
No one spoke for a few seconds. Tony looked as if he regretted his joke. He smiled awkwardly and tried to change the subject. "So uh...the cake! I'll go get it. And after that, Cap and I are going to Russia!"
"Russia? What for?" Steve asked.
"To get her a gift, duh. And maybe bring in some cuisine for authenticity. You've been there, right?"
"Once or twice. Over sixty years ago," Steve replied wryly.
"We're not going to Moscow, are we? Because that would be stupid."
Tony looked offended. "Puh-leeze, Cap. I'm not that stupid. Why we would we go there and get caught by the birthday girl? No, we need to go somewhere with more Russian flavor."
"Yeah, like where?"
"Hey, JARVIS!" Tony called.
The always-present computerized butler replied, "How may I be of assistance, sir?"
"Find me a village in Russia with the longest name no one can hope to pronounce."
Steve rolled his eyes. "Seriously?"
JARVIS was indeed serious. A holographic map of Russia appeared before them as JARVIS searched for the query suited to Tony's...needs. JARVIS presented the satellite location and various photos of the town. "Novokuznetsk. Located in Russia, 300 miles from Moscow. This village features a small, quaint community known for dedication to creating authentic Russian crafts-"
"Yeah, that'll do," Tony cut in. "Store the data in my phone. Coordinates and everything."
Steve shook his head and massaged the bridge of his nose. "You're hopeless."
"By the way, we're taking a private jet. Flying by Quinjet would be glaringly obvious."
"What can the rest of us do, Man of Iron?" Thor inquired.
Normally, everyone would turn to Steve for leadership and guidance. But 'normal' meant global catastrophes and emergencies. This was a party plan, and Tony was the self-proclaimed guru in the matter. Tony loved every opportunity he could get to take charge.
"Clint can stay in the Tower and tidy things up. Pepper will pitch in too. Thor and Loki can head back to Asgard and fetch some nice otherworldly goodies to decorate the Tower."
"A splendid idea!" Thor shouted. "Along the way, we could also get gifts for Lady Natasha."
Loki didn't look very excited, but he followed Thor anyway as the God of Thunder grabbed him by the arm and towed him out of the room. A few moments later, everyone heard the Bifrost whisk the two away to their realm.
Tony pumped a fist in the air. "All right, Avengers! Let's hop to it! Or fly, whatever." He and Steve headed upstairs to a Stark Industry private jet while Clint asked JARVIS to contact Pepper.
Five hours had passed since Tony's secret meeting. Clint didn't look forward to the decorating at first. He suggested to JARVIS and Pepper that instead of sugarcoating the entire Avengers mansion with decorations, they would concentrate it in the gym for the element of surprise. And for convenience. They liked the idea, and decorations were done shortly before noon.
Thor and Loki returned to Earth around the same time. Clint heard them arriving via Thor unleashing a loud burp as he burst through the gym doors.
"Ah, what a satisfying meal!" the god of thunder boomed. "My father had greeted us with a fabulous feast and the biggest boar I had ever laid my eyes on!"
"Looks like someone had a pretty good lunch," Clint remarked.
Loki seemed less grumpy; now he had his usual expression of aloof indifference. "After witnessing Thor's boar binge, I may have to go vegetarian for a few days," he mumbled.
Pepper laughed at that. "Good afternoon, you two. What are those in your hands? Presents for the birthday girl?"
Thor held aloft his large box with pride. "Yes indeed, Lady Pepper. I believe that Lady Natasha will enjoy it immensely."
Loki too brought a present. Unlike Thor's, which was large, white and overdecorated with gold ribbons, Loki's was dark, slim and devoid of ostentatious decorations.
Clint gestured to a purple wrapped box on the counter. "You guys can put your presents next to mine."
Loki inspected Clint's gift curiously. "What are you giving her this year?"
"Not telling you. Nat will definitely get a kick out of it, though."
"When will the Man of Iron and Warrior of America return from the land of Russia?" Thor inquired.
"Tony Stark and Agent Barton have just arrived, sir."
It took Thor a good ten seconds, and Loki's explanation, to realize the disembodied voice that informed them of Tony and Clint's arrival was just JARVIS.
Tony entered the gym carrying a bottle-shaped object wrapped in gold and red. Steve followed behind with heavy boxes in tow.
"Hey baby!" Tony hooted to Pepper. "Look who's back from the good ol' Motherland!"
They exchanged a quick, affectionate kiss. Pepper gave Steve a smile and a curious stare. "Hey, Steve. What's that you got there?"
"Food from Russia. Our dinner."
"Wow. All that survived the flight?"
"Yes, ma'am," Steve replied cheerfully. "Portable, plugless fridges sure come in handy. 21st century technology is amazing!"
Tony rubbed his hands. "Now, Pepper...time for the woman's touch."
"What woman's touch?" she asked.
"Heating up the food and making it look like a presentable gourmet dinner, of course!"
She rolled her eyes. "Yeah, I figured. I'll get to it."
"Oh, don't take the cake. Everything else can go to the kitchen."
Pepper lightened the load off of Steve's hands, while the Captain handled the cake box carefully and set it a few feet away from the presents. About twenty minutes later, Bruce showed up with a small, rectangular present. He looked as if he had rushed to the spot. He adjusted his glasses and smoothed out his ruffled hair anxiously.
"I didn't come too late, did I?"
"Not at all, science bro!" Tony replied. "The party's just getting started! Well, the setup, that is. Want to help Pepper prepare the food?"
Bruce's face beamed. "Sure. There's one thing I like just as much as having fun with chemistry, and that's having fun with exotic food."
After depositing his gift, the physicist left to assist Pepper. The Avengers spent the next hour making finishing touches to the decorated and lavished gym. Clint, Thor, and Loki did most of the work hauling away the punching bags, weights and mats. Tony pretended to help them. He multi-tasked between that and communicating with Pepper via his suit's communication system.
"Pepper? How's it going in the kitchen?"
"Just a few more minutes and the food will be ready," she replied. "Bruce has been a great help."
"Awesome." Tony closed his eyes and sighed with content. "Seems like everything's going swell. What could go wrong?"
Then JARVIS spoke. "Sir? Agent Romanoff is approximately fifty square feet from the premises of the Avengers mansion."
Tony's eyes looked like they would pop out of their sockets. "What? She's back in the States already? Shit! Quick, you guys! Distract her, o-or something!"
Loki was first out the door. "I will go!"
Thor dashed after him. "And I shall join you, brother!"
Steve exhaled in relief. Loki was the God of Mischief, the Trickster, the Father of Lies. He would be suitable in distracting the intelligent Russian agent. Then Steve thought of Thor, and his heart sunk. He hoped that Loki would keep his adopted brother from spilling anything and doing stupid things in general. He sighed as he returned to removing the last of the punching bags. No promises...
Yes, I broke the fourth wall when I brought up Scarlett Johansson. No, I will not apologize for it. xD
This originally started out as a oneshot, but it got pretty long (around 6000 words), so I bisected it. Now it's a twoshot. Please read on for more if you like how it's going so far (and want to know how the birthday party will turn out).