Title: Still Friends
A/N: I wanted to do a scene where Pepper and Natasha talk about Nat's lies while undercover in Iron Man 2.
Returning from their time off, both Clint and Natasha noted that Stark/Avengers Tower had been mostly rebuilt. A receptionist directed them to an elevator.
"Hello, Mister Barton. Miss Romanoff," greeted JARVIS.
"JARVIS," Natasha greeted, comfortable with JARVIS from her previous assignment with Stark.
Pepper was waiting when they stepped off the elevator. She looked lovely and polished as ever in the emerald blue button down shirt and black slacks. "Hello. Welcome. Tony and Bruce are in the lab… I'll show you around."
She showed them around the Team level. Once they were back at the elevator she told them each which level was theirs. "I'll let you explore your own levels. I'll be here if you have any questions. Feel free to change things on your level if you want."
Clint stepped towards the elevator, and gave Natasha a look when she didn't move. She gave him an almost imperceptible nod, which he returned with an almost imperceptible shrug. Seconds later the elevator doors closed behind him.
Natasha looked back to Pepper who was watching her with an expression of curiosity. "Can we talk for a few minutes, Pepper… Miss Potts?" Natasha corrected herself.
"Of course," Pepper said. "And Pepper is still fine, Nata…sha." They moved to sit on a couch in the main area.
"I wanted to apologize for lying to you when I was undercover. If it means anything to you - other than Clint and Phil, you're the closest thing to a friend I have. I lied about some things, but I told you more of the truth about myself than I have people who've known me for years."
"Really?" Pepper said, surprised.
"Yes. Tony was the target, not you, so I could tell you non-classified things if I wanted to. Things like I love ballet and hate opera. Only you and Clint know that. If I was after a target who loved opera, I loved opera."
"But if you were after a target who loved ballet…"
"It made the evening more enjoyable, but it still wasn't real. I loved the ballet because the target did, not because I did. That meant when I told him I loved ballet it wasn't any more real than when I told the other target I loved opera. When I told a mark I like my coffee black or preferred vodka to champagne, I said it because it's what he wanted to hear, not because it was the truth. Even the truth was a… manipulation. But not with you. I shared the truth with you because I wanted to… because I liked having a woman as a friend."
Pepper gave a nod.
"I just wanted you to know that it wasn't all a lie. If you can't forgive me…"
"Natasha… Of course I forgive you. It's good to have my friend back."
"I never thought I say this… but it's good to be back… as long as I'm spending time with my friend, not working for Tony again…"
Pepper smiled, and leaned in to give Natasha a hug.