This is a VERY short chapter, but I'm just wrapping up this story to make way for the follow up. (Read end note).
"So, let me get this straight." Maria rubbed the bridge of her nose as she paced The Avengers' common room.
"You," She pointed at Hawkeye, "Shot Pepper Potts in the leg with an arrow." Clint nodded awkwardly.
"And you," Hill proceeded to point at Thor, "Broke her ankle." Another small nod.
"And you poisoned her." She focused her glare on her semi-boyfriend.
Steve shrugged, "It wasn't really poisoning…I just maybe caused a minor allergic reaction. But how was I supposed to know—"
"Are we really going on semantics right now? Because I think if you want to get through this at all, you'll let me speak!" Maria snapped. Everyone closed their mouths and exchanged uncomfortable glances. "Did either of you do anything?" She turned on Natasha and Bruce.
"I turned into the Hulk…" Dr. Banner admitted.
"Not your fault, you can go." She waved them off.
"Can't we watch?" Natasha pleaded, but backed down when she received an infamous Hill Glare. "I'll go…check on Pepper."
Once the two left, Maria turned back to the sheepish men sitting on the couch. "Now, I have been given specific instructions by Director Fury and Mr. Stark, to see that the three of you are kept busy for the next two weeks while Miss. Potts recovers from her ordeal."
"Kept busy? How?" Steve questioned nervously.
"Well you see Pepper Potts is a very busy woman." Maria explained sitting on the coffee table casually. "She's in charge of co-running Stark Industries, making sure everything in the tower is running smoothly, as well as organizing everything Tony Stark does day-to-day, which I'm sure you all know would be a very daunting task."
The men nodded in agreement.
"Well, with two injured legs, she's somewhat out of commission at the moment. But she's luckily able to do most of her duties on her computer." She held up her finger when Clint chuckled at the word duties. "Do you want to finish that thought birdy?"
Clint sobered up quickly and shook his head. Thor and Steve looked clueless.
"There is one job that Miss. Potts felt secure enough to pass off onto you guys, considering that it's somewhat simple, and it wouldn't be the end of the world if you completely screwed it up." She paused and made eye contact with each of them, "You three will be planning Mr. Stark's birthday party."
"My poor Peppy-weppy." Tony cooed nuzzling her nose. Pepper laughed and pushed him off of her.
"Call me that again, and we'll see who needs the sling." She gestured the device Natasha and Bruce made for her. The two were spending the day locked in their bedroom—away from the menacing team—watching movies and playing board games.
"I think we should put shock collars on all of them, so that whenever they step off of the elevator and into our space…" He pretended to convulse. "It'll be beautiful."
"That's a little harsh Mr. Stark." Pepper rolled her eyes and slapped the stack of cards between them.
"There wasn't a Jack."
"Damn." He let her take the stack, "I don't think I'm being harsh at all. They may have all been accidents, but you could have been killed. He should have asked if you were allergic to strawberries."
"It's not a common allergy. How would he have known to ask?"
"I don't know. He's a wise old fellow. He could have figured it out."
"You're being ridiculous."
Suddenly the door swung open. Tony let out a startled yell, and grabbed Pepper when Natasha walked in. "Back Cretan! We don't like your kind!"
"Stop." Pepper warned him, smacking his arm. "How can we help you Agent Romanoff?"
"I think after everything you've put up with in the past few days, you've earned the right to call me Natasha, Miss. Potts." The assassin gave her one of her rare, genuine smiles.
"Only if you'll call me Pepper."
Tony looked between the two as the smiled contently at one another. "Kiss." He whispered, effectively ruining the moment. "OW!" He rubbed his arm from Pepper's swift punch.
"I'm sorry to bother you, but I have a little proposition I'd like to make." Nat sat on the trunk at the foot of the bed.
"Now I really like where this is going, do I need to get the camera?" Tony moved to climb off of the bed but Pepper glowered at him.
"Do you need a time out?"
"Well, you see, Valentine's Day is coming up and I can't help but think that Thor and Dr. Banner are feeling slightly lonely." The Russian explained.
"First of all." Tony interrupted, "Thor doesn't even know what Valentine's Day is. It's a day of love. And he's from a planet of odium. And secondly, my birthday is before Valentine's Day, so that should be in the forefront of both of your minds."
"Oh believe me, it will be." Nat replied cryptically, chuckling at the conversation she'd overheard when she pretended to leave earlier.
"What do you mean by that?"
"Hush Tony." Pepper snapped before turning back to the woman. "Now, what did you have in mind?"
Natasha smiled and raised an eyebrow.
"We'll need the jet."
A/N: Now, I'm thinking of starting this all on a new story. I kind of thought of a whole new direction to take all of this, so I wanted to leave the theme of this story as it is. I might be in need of a beta of sorts to proof read (as well as tell me what they think of my plan), so if there are any volunteers, please PM me and/or REVIEW with your e-mail address.