Natasha needs a ride after a mission and gives her teammate a call, cue road trip and sleep-over at 2am. Also Tony in a red-head sandwich.
When Natasha woke up, her head hurt and her eyes were sore as she tried to gauge her surroundings, blinking uncomprehendingly into the darkness. The motion she felt in her muscles informed her she was in some kind of moving vehicle and judging by the strap she had across her chest and the terrible 80's music on the stereo, she was able to deduce she was in a car. Rain lashed against the window and she could hear the metallic sound it was creating on the roof above her head.
A dull tapping sound caught her attention and she turned her head to the left, only to find Tony Stark sat in the driver's seat tapping the fingers of one hand against the steering wheel to the awful disco music on the radio and resting his head in another hand against the window as he drove through the darkness, the narrow beams of the lights illuminating the road somewhat and the windscreen wipers clearing the screen as he stared straight ahead.
Natasha rearranged herself in the seat as she leant towards the left to face him, watching his face. He looked tired and his expression was blank and unreadable, fingers still tapping out the song.
'Sorry if the radio woke you up,' he said, noticing she was awake and giving her a smile. 'Need to stay awake.'
'No worries,' Natasha said yawning as the day's events clinked into place. A mission gone bad leaving her without a ride or backup and forcing her to trudge twenty miles to the nearest town in the rain to call someone to pick her up, the closest person being Tony. 'Thanks for coming to get me.'
'Any time,' he replied. 'There's water under the seat.'
Natasha found the water and took a long glug. 'Ah that feels better,' she said, noticing the clock where 2am blinked cheerfully at her. 'How far away are we?'
'Not far, about ten minutes,' Tony replied, taking the turning for Manhattan. 'Pepper said she'd put the oven on, we've got lasagne leftover from yesterday if you're hungry and your room is exactly the way you left it.'
Natasha chuckled. She'd stayed at Tony's for a while after the helicarriers-trying-to-kill-everyone incident but had found a flat in Washington that was a little too far for Tony to drive, she vaguely remembered leaving most of her clothes spread out across the floor as she tried to decide what to take and what to leave.
'Is anyone else there?' she asked.
'No, just me and Pepper,' Tony replied, and Natasha could see the bright lights of Stark Tower appearing in the distance, the shining 'A' a beacon for weary travellers in the dark sky.
'What's it like?' Natasha said after a while, 'being back in New York.'
Tony didn't say anything for a while, and when she looked at him he was chewing on his bottom lip and finger drumming again.
'I'm getting used to it,' he said. 'Steve introduced me to a buddy of his, Sam. He's giving me some tips and Pepper got JARVIS to block out the skyline and to project pictures of Hawaii onto the windows so that helped too, except now I'm really starting to wish I was in Hawaii and Pepper is getting fed up of me saying "Aloha" whenever I see her.'
'Can't convince her to take a trip?' Natasha asked.
Tony chuckled. 'Give me time; I think she knows she needs a holiday. Only problem being all the holidays we take tend to end in disaster.'
'Oh yeah,' Natasha said remembering Monte Carlo. 'That was a problem.'
'That's putting it likely,' Tony sighed. 'First vacation in three years and we all nearly died.'
'But you didn't; bright side of life and all that.'
'Try telling Pepper that,' Tony chuckled, slowing in front of Stark Tower to wave at the security guard so they could be buzzed through into the underground car-park.
Once he'd parked and had Natasha leaning heavily on him (she'd twisted her ankle pretty bad) Tony started drumming his fingers against his leg and kept looking around like he expected someone to jump out at them.
'Don't be so paranoid,' she told him, gripping the back of his t-shirt tightly as he helped her to the elevator.
'Says the super spy,' he snarked back.
Natasha chuckled and Tony let out a breath she didn't realise he'd been holding when they were safely in the lift and ascending to the penthouse.
'Why no elevator music?' she asked, slightly dizzy from the pain and more slumped than leaning on him.
'JARVIS?' Tony asked, bending slightly to scoop up Natasha's legs behind her knees to cradle her protectively against his chest.
'Girl from Ipanema' began to play and Natasha chuckled and tried not to bury her face in Tony's neck. Not that she had any romantic feelings for him at all, but when he'd come to collect her, his wet hair had been an indication of a recent shower and, while his hair had dried slightly curly at the base of his neck, he smelled good.
'Name that film,' he told her.
Natasha replied with 'Blues Brothers' without even really thinking about it and looped her arms lightly around his neck, yawning as the elevator dinged and Pepper stood up to greet them.
She was wearing sleep shorts and a vest top with 'Ah! The Element of Surprise' on it and her long hair was loose around her shoulders and slightly mussed up.
'Oh!' she exclaimed. 'Are you alright?'
Tony set her down gently on the sofa and wrapped his arm around Pepper's waist, kissing her cheek as he disappeared into the kitchen.
'I'm fine,' she replied. 'Just tired and my ankle is a little sore.'
'ICE!' Pepper yelled into the kitchen.
'ICE BABY!' Tony yelled back and Natasha laughed, and then regretted it as her ribs complained. Not broken, just sore.
Tony reappeared a couple of minutes later with a plate of hot lasagne that hit Natasha's nose and made her mouth water and two bags of ice wrapped in tea towels.
Pepper ruffled his hair affectionately. 'He's learning,' she said, planting a kiss on his forehead.
Ten minutes later, the lasagne was gone and Natasha was curled against Tony's side wrapped in a blanket with one bag of ice on her ankle and the other against her ribs as the three of them watched Singing in the Rain. Pepper was tucked into Tony's other side with her nose pressed against his neck, fast asleep. The two of them were wrapped in their own blanket and Tony was resting his cheek on the side of his girlfriend's head, also asleep with the fingers of one hand curled into her hair.
Natasha gently pulled down Tony's arm from where it was resting against the back of the sofa so it was across her shoulders. Subconsciously, Tony pulled her in tightly and Natasha remembered a conversation she had with Pepper not too long ago where she was informed that Tony Stark was a serious cuddler, anything close by that could be latched onto would be latched onto.
JARVIS dimmed the lights and Natasha fell asleep to the sound of Tony's soft snore and Donald O'Connor singing Make 'em laugh.
As sleepovers go, this was pretty good.