The Avenger's Tower was not what Tony Stark had originally designed the building to be.
Once considered a Billionaire's ego manifested into a physical form, the structure slowly transformed into a beacon of hope and courage. A safe-hold for the world's mightiest heroes...
...and as Virginia Pepper Potts stood on the helipad at the top of the tower, waiting for said heroes to return, a hush could be felt over the entire structure, as if it too were waiting on its occupants return.
Flicking her hair behind her ear for the umpteenth time, Pepper glanced up at the inky black sky; her ears straining for any sound that would signal the return of her odd little family. That revelation had surprised the secretary at first, but after sitting down and truly thinking about it, it wasn't that hard to believe.
Tony had always been her family, ever since he had decked a pervert hitting on her at a function for some random organisation. With him had come Happy and Jarvis, which she grew to see as brothers and fellow sufferers of Tony's insanity. Rhodey had whirled his way into their little group not much laterl and quickly cemented a place in her heart; not that either of them realised that until much later.
Harry had surprisingly been dragged in by Pepper, not Tony, and for a while they had been happy. Then everything had blown up around them. Tony was broken, Harry gone, and the rest of them lost in their grief.
Pepper had honestly worried if they were ever going to heal, or if Tony would finally have enough and not only throw himself off the cliff, but the rest of them with him. And then Natasha and Phil appeared. Phil became the shoulder that the red head had needed, whilst Natasha with the help of Fury brought her friend back from the edge of the cliff and onto sturdier ground. The fact that she was an Agent came as no surprise to anyone involved. Since Tony had first run into Phil, he had researched any and every Agent working for SHIELD; making sure that the rest of them knew who they were whilst he was at it.
Once the Hammeroids were taken care of and the brunette was no longer dying, the pair retreated back to their stations in the dark, but not without making sure that the small, fractured family would be ok. The realisation that the two agents had wormed their way into their little group did not come to any of them, until Tony decided one night to call Natasha and tell her about some ideas he had been toying with for a new set of guns and ammo.
The rest of the team quickly feel into place after the Battle of New York. With the return of Harry, Tony slowly returned to the state of peacefulness he once held
Glancing up at the sky as the familiar sounds of a SHIELD Quin-jet hit her ears, Pepper stifled down a shriek of happiness. Fury had called her not an hour before to tell her that they were on their way, but she had honestly expected to be waiting on the roof for at least another hour.
Clenching her hands together as the black metal bird touched down not meters away from her, Pepper watched as the weary, mud splattered team tumbled down the stairs in what could only be a mockery of a single file. Coulson was the first to file out, Steve right on his tail and Thor stumbling down right beside him. Natasha followed a few steps later, forcing Clint to use her to lean against no matter how much his protests could be seen otherwise. Bruce shuffled out a second after them, his speed and lack of watching where he was going almost causing the trio to faceplate the tar mat. Not bothering to flick the strand of independent hair out of her face this time, Hazel eyes watched with shining hope as the last two occupants exited the jet.
Running as fast as her five inch guchi's would allow her, Pepper bolted past the rest of the worn out team, and up to the two brunette's leaning against each other for support. Not bothering to even glance at her battered and bruised boss, the red head flung her arms around the lithe wizard and squeezed gently.
"Oh my god Harry," she cried out, tears coming to her eyes as she felt the shorter man's arms hug her back. "You left and then next thing I know there's a head in the fireplace and everyone's racing off to the other side of the world, and I couldn't talk to them because there was magical interference, and-"
Stopping mid rant, Pepper lifted her head off the wizard's shoulder and for the first time since his return looked him dead in the eye. The time as a hostage had done nothing for the man that much was clear. He had only been gone a short period of time, but between the gaunt facial appearance and the wince that she had noticed as she hugged him, Pepper knew that Harry would need medical and then rest before he saved the world again. Placing her two well manicured hands on each shoulder, Pepper locked emerald with hazel. "If you ever do something like this again without back up, forget Iron Man, I'll take them down myself; and then I'll wrap you up in bubble wrap and lock you away in the Hulk's time out room. Understood?"
He was tired and sore and so deeply scared from his latest meeting with Rabastian that he felt that he might never quite be whole again. But as he stared up at the worried and loving face of his dearest friend, Harry couldn't help but feel his chest tighten with emotion. Wrapping his arms back around the red head, Harry nodded into the trembling shoulder. "I love you too, Pep."
After the heart warming meeting on the roof, Pepper had taken great delight in returning to her normal bossy self and forcing everyone down stairs for showers, blankets and hot cocoa. Handing the last of the mugs to Steve and Phil, Pepper perched herself on the coffee table and glanced around at each and every one of the team members. Snuggled up in their pj's and socks, each person had their own blanket wrapped around themselves, and a steaming mug nestled in their hands.
"So," she started, clapping her hands on her knees. "Anyone want to tell me what happened?"
The silent glances passed around by everyone but Harry and Tony was not missed by the red head. Taking a sip from his favourite Stark Industries' mug, Tony ran a hand through the wild hair lying in his lap, and shook his head slowly. "Nothing to tell. We ran in, took down the bad guy and saved Harry. Stock standard."
Pepper knew that her boss was lying, and she knew that he knew that she knew it too. Eyeing the brunette for a moment, Pepper caught a faint shake of the head and knew to drop the subject. Glancing at the rest of the room's occupants, hazel eyes took in the weary glances shot Tony's way and knew that if she didn't change the subject soon, then one of them would set off the Stark rage. "Ok, well since you've been gone, there have been no major disasters. A new superhero has popped up on SHIELD's radar, but Fury was quite clear in stating that he will debrief you all on him when you come in for debriefing tomorrow at eleven hundred hours. He also stated that if he sees any of you; yes this does include you Phil, before said time, he will demote you and use the poor soul to train newbies for the next twelve months."
Glancing at said agent, the team snickered as what could only be described as a pout crossed the man's face.
Smirking at the look herself, Pepper picked up her tablet from beside her and continued on. "I have a medical team set to come in at seven thirty tomorrow as I wasn't sure what time you would be returning. There is a board meeting at three tomorrow to discuss recent events and the new changes you wish to make in your will that pertains to the company. There is a press conference scheduled at four-thirty, the entire team is to be there, no exceptions. I will have to go over the final details with you all about the charity ball next week at some point in time in the next few days, and I have Happy set to pick up Rhodey tomorrow morning from the airport for his stay here. Will that be all Mr Stark?"
Looking up from her tablet, a small smile bloomed across Pepper's face as she took in the site before her. Stretched out in whichever position they had originally been in, the seven protectors of the world snored lightly, their chest's moving acting as the only sign that any of them were alive at all. Standing from her spot, Pepper silently moved around, grabbing each empty mug as she did, and tucked the sleeping Avengers in. Coming to a stop at the three all tangled up on the largest couch, the red head sighed deeply. "Oh Tony," She whispered, pulling Bruce's blanket back up before covering Harry's toes as they laid on the scientist's legs. "I hope you know what you're doing. They deserve much more than this."
Dumping the mugs in the kitchen, Pepper sent on last glance at the slumbering heroes before flicking off the light and clip-clopping her way down the hall.
"Sweet dreams guys. Hope you find the peace you're looking for."