"So how does it work now?"
Tony and Pepper had insisted on spending the afternoon alone, and everyone had found convenient reasons to be scarce. Even Bruce had made up some bullshit excuse to leave the tower, disappearing right after breakfast. Pepper had been very grateful to him for saving Tony again, but this was their moment.
Things had to be discussed.
Not that Tony really wanted to. This was a conversation he really, REALLY didn't want to have. Ever. In a perfect world, Pepper, Bruce, and him would live together as a big happy snuggle ball of love and this wouldn't be an issue. But Pepper deserved to hear it from him. She knew, of course. Everyone in the tower knew. Tony hadn't really bothered being subtle, and Bruce had even had to chastise him for public displays of affection. So here he sat, Pepper sitting across from him, and he really didn't know what to say. "How does what work?"
"Us." She lowered her eyes, staring at the ground. "I mean, is there an us anymore, Tony?"
He nodded rapidly. "Of course there is. I can't live without you, Peps." He stroked her arm. "I love you."
She smiled a little. "But you also love him."
Tony shrugged. "Maybe. Possibly. I may've said something like that at one point. Or a couple times. I dunno, it's still a little weird."
Pepper leaned into his shoulder, still not looking at him. "Does that mean there's no chance of us ever settling down and having a family?"
He gave her a look. "You really want me to be a dad?" They both chuckled quietly, and lapsed back into silence. Tony sighed. "Pepper, settling wasn't ever really in the cards. You know that. I'm kind of against settling of any kind, the matrimony kind especially. I never lied to you about that."
"Oh I know." She sounded so miserable. A pang of guilt hit Tony in the chest. "I just….I couldn't help but dream that maybe someday…"
"Hey." Tony took her face in his hands and looked into her beautiful blue eyes. "You deserve nothing less than a great big family and a man to love you every single day of your life. You deserve that. I just can't be that guy for you." It was true. Even with Bruce not in the picture, how could he have ever given Pepper what she wanted? At the best of times, he was conceited. She needed someone to WORSHIP her. "I will always be here for you, and I'll always love you. Okay?"
After a long pause, she sighed and nodded. "I know, Tony. I didn't doubt that." Finally, she smiled her warm, genuine, loving smile and wrapped her arms around his waist. She laughed shortly. "You would make a shit dad, though."
Somewhere, in the farthest reaches of the cosmos, Loki sat alone, tied to a great rock, screaming in agony.
He hadn't ever known pain like this. With every drop of the Midgard serpent's venom in his eyes, the pain would redouble. He couldn't die. He couldn't ever die. And he'd never go blind. So every fresh wound was to be felt, forever, until he repented of his crimes.
But he never would. He would lie, oh how he'd lie. He'd beg and plead and grovel at Odin's feet until he convinced the great God that he was truly reformed, and then he'd go back to Earth.
He would make every single one of those creatures pay. He would dance in their blood. He would turn them, brother against brother, lover against beloved, until not a single soul was left alive on that miserable hunk of rock.
And the Avengers would be first.
A/N: Just a small epilogue to 1, tie up Pepper and Tony's relationship in a neat little bow, 2, set the scene for the kind of sequel to this (GET HYPED! :D ), and 3, to offer a huge thank you to everyone who's favorites, reviewed, or sent me lovely messages concerning this fic. I really can't express how much I appreciate it all. I don't have the words. Only one of my fics have ever gotten this much attention, and that happened like two years ago. Much love to every one of my fellow Brony fans (or Science Boyfriends? what's the real term guys?), and I'll see you soon!