6:12 AM - Somewhere over the Atlantic
Tony Stark ran his fingers through his well-cared for (curtsy of Pepper Potts and being a former man-whore) mop. He had just been in the lab with Bruce, working on a formula for some top secret, hush-hush item - presumably of mass destruction (which the "Council" would call protective measures against alien attack) - when he had been called by Pepper. Normally, Pepper respected his time in the lab, unless it was something important, and seeing as she briefed him daily, it must have been urgent. Either that, or she was jonsing for a piece of the genius-playboy-billionaire-philanthropist. Convinced that it was the later, Tony took the call, his smug face rapidly falling into shock, his color fading so fast Bruce watched him with apprehension. Ending the call faster than usual, Tony dropped his million dollar personally modified Smartphone on the grated ground, the glass cracking along the front, and he walked away with a dazed expression.
Ambling casually from the lab after his friend, hands in his pockets, Bruce found Tony leaning against the wall just outside the lab, running his fingers so obsessively through his hair, he feared that the other man would transfer from robotics (and whatever else it was that Tony did) to the field of hair restoration. Tony was a wreak, and not the way that he was famed for.
"Tony?" Bruce was more than just slightly concerned for Tony, Iron Man's eyes gorgeous brown eyes wide and dilated with fear, nostrils flaring as panic overtook him.
Looking over at the currently reserved scientist, neck moving as if by the will of a puppet-master, he lowered his hands, examining them as if he had never seen them before, Tony croaked with a dry throat, "I've spent my entire life living in my father's shadow. It was always, Stark Jr., or the son of the brilliant Howard Stark."
"I know what its like to have daddy issues, trust me." He thought bitterly of his own father and of how he had been abused by him as a child, "But what could Pepper possibly have told you to send you off the handle so suddenly?"
Had Tony not been terrorized by his girlfriend's words - whatever they were - he would have made some snarky comment about the irony of Banner's words, but in his current state, it was a miracle that he could speak at all, "Pepper's pregnant."
Less than an hour had passed since news had broken about Tony and Pepper's bundle-to-be, and it seemed as if the entire Helicarrier had heard the news. A mentally mending Stark thought of three people who could be responsible for that, all of whom ratted him out as some form of a sick joke, but Fury had no sense of humor, and Natasha was even harder to get an emotion out of, so that only left one possible person: Thor, the Asgardian God of Thunder. The blonde didn't seem to bear his "friend" any ill-will on the outside, but Tony still wasn't entirely convinced that he had gotten over being shown up during any given encounter that they had ever had. He couldn't help it - he was just better than everyone else, including deities.
The point is, people continued to wish Pepper well, one or two giving Tony their condolences.
11:36 AM - Conference Room
Assembling the team in the bridge of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, Director Fury stood with his back to the heroes, arms crossed behind his back, skin taut over his knuckles, "I hear that one of our own is going to have an additional responsibility soon."
Shifting in his seat (the one closest to the door), Tony wondered if this meeting wasn't meant to merely torture him, "That's the word on the street."
"Contrary to how you live your entire life, not everyone gives a rat's ass about Tony Stark." He turned to face the tantruming diva with access to technology far beyond the public's wildest dreams, one eye darting a chair over to the only immortal in the room, "Thor, would you be so kind as to explain?"
The blonde nodded, "Aye."
"And keep it short, will you?" Tony rudely interrupted, marking the time on his watch.
Disgusted with the son of one of his closest friend's, Steve politely dipped his head towards the Asgardian, "What Mr. Stark means is that he's probably anxious to talk to Ms. Potts."
Clint and Widow exchanged a look that said something along the lines of 'Great, another Tony'.
Unruffled by the cross talk, Thor continued grimly, "Friends, I have tiding from Asgard, and they are not to be taken lightly nor jested about."
"Just the kind of news I hate most." Tony sighed, leaning back in his chair, his arms crossed over his chest, a motion of boredom that Thor incorrectly took to be bracing oneself for the worst, "Good ahead, Goldilocks, what's new in Ass-guard?"
Steve shot Tony a disappointed look, but said nothing.
"The Allfather has grown weary of my brother. Loki has sat in his cell for days, just staring at the wall. He never moves, and his food goes untouched," Thor seemed edgier than the others had ever seen him be, "Our mother offers him words of kindness, but he will answer to no one. The Allfather fears for his safety, and for the safety of the realms."
Bruce startled everyone when he spoke up, moments ago his fingers laced in thought as he listened to an older brother worry about his little monster of a brother, "I understand why you're concerned, but I don't see why your father thinks placing Loki in your care is the best option."
As usual, Bruce's brain was ahead of the rest, and Fury didn't doubt for a moment that Stark's was the same, but he knew that Tony was probably a million miles from here, thinking about his progeny, taking in only enough for the moment to make wise cracks if given the opportunity. Fury was not about to give him that chance.
"Thor isn't the only one that has been chosen to monitor the war criminal known as Loki. As Avengers, it's your job to protect the earth."
Tony, who had been absorbing more of this than Fury had given him credit for, jumped to his feet in anger and panic, as if he hadn't been feeling enough of that today, "Bullshit! No, I won't allow it. Not going to happen. Pepper needs all the peace she can get. She's in no condition for that kind of stress."
All that Steve got was that Tony was upset over Ms. Potts, as evident to the rest of them by his baffled inquiry, "English, please? We're not all geniuses here."
Hawkeye, who was still bitter about the brainwashing he had suffered at Loki's hands, took this one, keeping up well enough, "Apparently, Asgard is returning Loki to our custody, in the one place that can contain him - "
"My house." Tony snapped in a clipped voice, ready to launch himself at the man in charge, though legally, he knew that he had no grounds to do so, as joining Fury's boy-band (and Widow) had waived his rights as a civilian, as they all had. Unfortunately though, he had not read the fine print of the paperwork, just signing it to get rid of S.H.I.E.L.D. as soon as he could. "I guess I should be flattered that my house is the most securely advanced, high-tech prison that S.H.I.E.L.D. could find."
Rolling her eyes at Tony and his vanity, Natasha crossed her legs, glaring at the billionaire, "Your house is one of our options, but as we're the only ones qualified enough to handle the hostile, we're as much a prisoner as he is. So unless you want to raise your child underground, I suggest that you cooperate with S.H.I.E.L.D.'s generous offer."
Tony turned to Hawkeye, pointing at the redhead as if he were four years old again, "How do you put up with her?"
Her stare turned even icier, the others waiting for Tony to just drop from the sheer ferocity of her disdainful annoyance with the richest one amongst them all (at times she actually was fond of him, but he somehow managed to make that feeling last for all of a second), "Clint doesn't 'put up' with me. We're partners who know each other's boundaries."
"Bruce, help here?" Tony looked to the only other brain in the sky, knowing as well as the rest of them of the odd friendship that the meek scientist had taken up with the brutal assassin.
He shrugged, at a loss for what to say, turning back to the problem at hand, "What do you mean by 'fears for his safety, and for the safety of the realms'?"
"Loki's behavior started only a day or two ago, and my father is worried that he is either trying to contact someone, or is trapped in his own mind."
Seeing some silver lining at least, Tony decided that now wasn't a time to be too picky about where it came from, "At least he should be quiet. Are you sure he isn't dead? I could always poke him with a stick to make sure he didn't die."
Unamused by his joke, Thor frowned at the metal-man, "My brother lives still."
"Whatever you say. So, when should I be expecting tall, dark, and psycho?" Tony stood up, clapping his hands together excitedly, "I think that I'll take the last shift, so you can just sort that out amongst yourselves."
Everyone just ignored him and acted as if he hadn't spoken, which is usually an insurmountable task, successful once every six months or so.
"So let me get this straight, you want us to live together, keeping our eyes on Loki? That'll be easy," Bruce snorted audibly, clearly at doubt about the situation, though it was unclear about whether or not he meant living with his teammates or with a sociopath.
"Don't forget about Pepper and the baby." Natasha reminded the team gently, and Tony could have sworn that she was smirking through her unreadable demeanor.
Tony hated them all...
They had actually somehow become friends, but at that moment, he hated them all so much...
I think I actually did alright with this chapter! Ok, now before I get flambeed for making Pepper preggers, know that I have a reason - *minor spoiler if you haven't seen the movie* The twelve percent of her "baby". I mean, come on, how hilarious would it be to actually see Tony get that scare? I love Tony, and I really love him with Pepper. And as for the rest of this story, there is a story, but there will also be some crack-esque/zany shit going down too.
Reviews would be lovely, thank you very much!