Authors note: This is the last chapter for this story. I will be making another story that continues on from the events of "The breathless fall". It is called "Landing somewhere unexpected" and rest assured the adventures of Tony and Loki are just beginning!

Disclaimer: I do not own any marvel characters or their movie interpretations. I've done this for fun and I hope you enjoy! Also this is set after Iron man 3 and the avengers. Loki escaped to earth and Tony never had romantic feelings for pepper. (Hence the arc reactor is still in his chest)

Epilogue

"What Widow did."

"This is for Tony, you sick bastard!"

Natasha takes aim Loki, and fires off a shot. It hits the god squarely in the shoulder, throwing his arm back. Steve rushes in ahead of her and wrenches the Arc reactor from his hands, and then turns to Tony.

Loki curls up in a ball on the floor, hand clenched around his wound. She walks over to him and aims the gun at his head.

"One wrong move, and I blow your head off, understand?"

Loki Looks up at her, his face carefully constructed to show fear. But she will not stand for his games.

"Lady Natasha, do not harm my brother-" Thor starts, and leans towards Loki.

"Did you see what he did Thor? Look at Tony! He's been held captive by Loki for a week. The man is nearly dead."

"And he will pay for the harm he has caused!" Thor actually growls at Loki as he bends down to pick him up by the scruff of his shirt.

"Here! Not on Asgard." She retorts. "We do not have the time to debate this. Now ether you take him with me, or he leaves this room on a cold tray, got it?"

Thor tightens the grip on his hammer, and Natasha gives him her most treating glare.

"Don't even try me." she says icily.

Tony screams and she watches from the corner of her eye as Steve has puts the reactor back in his chest.

Thor scowls. "A truce then. I will allow you to take him, but I wish to question him myself."

Loki weakly grabs his brother's arm holding him aloft. His hands slick with blood, cant find a grip.

"Thor, listen to me. I did what I had to-"

"Enough lies brother!" Thor places his hammer on a table, and raises his fist. "I will not be swayed by your twisted logic. Loki, What you did to this man is cowardly and wrong."

"You do not understand, I needed -" Loki pretends to beg.

"Perhaps this time we can cure the madness that plagues you." Thor winds up his fist.

"Thor, NO!" Loki shouts, and Natasha watches as Thor punches Loki in the stomach. His brother's eyes roll in the back of his head, and he slumps like a rag doll in Thor's arms.

Natasha touches her earpiece and listens to the pilot's call-sign, announcing his arrival. "Get him to the rooftop." Natasha barks at Thor. "The S.H.I.E.L.D Heli-jet is on its way."

"But what of-"

"Hawkeye is already up there, now go! I'll take care of Stark."

Thor barrels past her, Loki draped over his shoulder. He skids on a patch of water, then runs through the door.

Natasha crouches beside Steve. "How is he?"

"He lost consciousness for a moment when I plugged it back in." Steve is cradling Tony in his arms and checking him over for injury. Tony's eyes are glazed over with pain, and he blinks slowly. "Stay still Tony, the medics are on there way."

"Loki really did a number on him." Natasha traces her hand along one of the dozens of tiny cuts that cover his bare torso. "This seems ritualistic."

Steve points to the fur and leather wrap in Tony's leg. "I think his leg is broken." Natasha catches a note of worry in the Captain's usually calm voice.

"Shit." Natasha presses her earpiece. "We need a stretcher down in the fabrication wing." She frowns when she notices the lack of body fat on Tony. "He was starved too."

Steve's shirt is slowly soaking up the water and blood from Tony's body. "He's freezing!" Tony shivers hard in his arms. His head lolls to the side and Steve tires to support him.

Natasha looks up and zeros in on a extinguisher case. Underneath is a fire blanket. She runs over and smashes the glass with the butt of her gun. She fishes out the red bag, and runs back to Steve. The back widow tears open the package with her teeth, and unfolds the blanket. She places it over Tony and cups his cold face in her hands.

"Stark, you stay with us!" She follows his rolling eyes with her own, until he fixes her gaze. The Iron man is delirious and begins to mumble incoherently.

Natasha's ears prick up at the sound of footsteps approaching.

"Down here!" she shouts and a team of S.H.I.E.L.D Medical personnel enter the room.

"Leg broken, acute hypothermia, dehydration, multiple surface wounds. He is conscious but has limited responses." She barks at the nearest S.H.I.E.L.D agent.

"Yes ma'am" The agent responds and wheels in the stretcher. One of the other agents pulls a neck brace from his bag and Steve gently moves Tony's head so that he can put the brace on.

"Is Loki secured?" She asks one of the security detail. -Castiel- she notices on his Id badge. Unusual purple eyes blink back at her. "Yes ma'am, Thor and Hawyeye are in the Heli-jet now. I've received confirmation that he is ready for transport."

"Send him to Site B."

"Yes ma'am!" Agent Castiel touches his earpiece and Natasha hears him relay the information.

There is a groan from Tony as he is loaded onto the stretcher. The medics strap him down, and Steve places the blanket on top of him.

"Rogers, you're coming with me." The black widow follows the stretcher out of the room and up the stairs.

Quickly they reach the roof and Natasha runs up the Heli-jet ramp and into the cockpit. "Move." she snaps at the pilot , and he jumps out of his chair. He hands her his headset without a word and and shuffles to the empty co-pilot seat.

"I'm going to need someone to inform Miss Potts that we have Stark and are on route to site B." Natasha calls out as she flips the pre-flight switches. The engine engages with a hum, and she turns to see Steve sitting down and holding onto the stretcher near Tony's head. The Captain's face is an open book of sorrow, and Natasha can see him whispering something to Stark. Tony's hand fumbles under the blanket, and Steve gently clasps The Iron man's hand.

"Miss Potts is on her way now. She'll meet us in docking bay 4."

"Agent Castiel, please also inform Dr. Bellamy to have the OR prepped for us. I want Stark in there the moment we land."

"Yes Ma'am!"

Natasha closes the back hatch and takes off.

An hour later...

"OH MY GOD! TONY!" Pepper shrieks as she watches Stark being wheeled down the Heli-jet landing pad.

She immediately makes a be-line for him, but Natasha intervenes.

"Hey!" She catches Pepper in her arms and holds the struggling redhead. "Don't touch him, the medics have it covered."

Pepper hits her over the shoulders with her tiny fists. "Let me go! I have to get to him!" she wails.

Natasha is not in the mood for this.

"Listen to me!" she clasps Miss Pott's face in her hands, making her look directly into her eyes. "If you don't get control of yourself I will ban you to the waiting room."

Pepper breaks into sobs and Natasha is left holding her up. She sighs, and her heart goes out to the poor woman in her arms. She softens her tone and begins again. "Look, why don't I wait with you, alright?"

There is a small nod against her chest and Pepper manages a small affirmative sound.

Stark is wheeled out and Natasha calls out to Steve. "Rogers! Stay with him, and don't let him out of your sight!"

"I wasn't planning to!" Steve yells over his shoulder as Stark is whisked through the doors.

"Come on Pepper," she cajoles and leads the sobbing woman through the waiting room doors.

Much, much later...

Pepper has cried herself to sleep, and her head is resting on Natasha's lap. She absentmindedly strokes the strawberry blond hair as she listens to Clint in her earpiece.

"Nice shot by the way, you missed his head." Clint grumbles sarcastically.

"I wasn't aiming for it. I had to get the reactor away from him." Natasha places her hand on Pepper's shoulder, stilling her movements as she stirs in her sleep. "How is our prisoner?"

"Loki's still out like a light, but Thor and I are taking shifts watching him. What do you think happened to him over there?" She hears the slight crinkle of his jacket, and years of camaraderie tell her he's perched up along the railings in the containment room.

Natasha whispers as so not to wake up Pepper. "I don't know. Stark was pretty beaten up. You let me know if he so much as twitches in his sleep, ok?"

"Ya I know. But seriously, were not going to keep him here are we?" She can hear his anger creep into his voice.

"Just until we find out what we need." she sighs.

"Then what?"

"Fury hasn't decided yet."

Her headset beeps.

"Hold on, its Steve."

"We're going to talk about this later." Clint mutters darkly.

She switches channels and Steve pipes up in her earpiece.

"Tony's just being wheeled out of surgery now. Dr. Bellamy says it went well." There is a pause and Natasha hears a door being opened. "Here you go miss," the Captain politely says and Natasha can envision him holding the door open. "Ah, Thank-you. No its quite alright, the chair will be fine."

"You staying the night, Rogers?"

The door shuts over her headset and there is a rumple of a blanket being unfurled. "Yes Ma'am. I'll take the first shift. Doesn't feel right to leave him alone. How's Pepper doing?"

"She fell asleep about an hour ago. I'll wake her up to tell her the good news." Natasha shifts her legs slightly, seeking a more comfortable spot.

"Let her sleep." Steve yawns in her earpiece. "She'll need all her energy to yell at Tony tomorrow."

Natasha chuckles. "For a tiny thing she really packs a wallop." She rotates her arm, still sore from Pepper's outburst.

Steve laughs. "I bet she does... Goodnight Natasha."

"Goodnight Steve." She replies.

Natasha gently tucks a stray strand of Pepper's hair around her ear.

"Goodnight Pepper." she whispers softly.