Hello all! May I just say that all of you who reviewed are absolutely amazing; I was expecting maybe fifteen reviews at the most and there was more then that when I checked the next day!
Special thanks to two people. SilverReplay who has basically planned out the rest of this series for me (your amazing). The unnamed Guest who reviews literally five minutes after this story was posted (you absolutely made my day).
So, here is the sequel. I do hope it lives up to your expectations.
Pepper had had to put up with a lot over the years.
She had run the company with a seemingly arrogant boy, gone through emotional turmoil over that same boy being kidnapped for three months, had him come back only to announce at a press conference that the company aim was changing completely, watched as he was betrayed, hired an undercover assassin, learned he was dying, learned he wasn't dying, watched him fight aliens in New York from a cellphone cam, and was now having to host his team in her home.
This was not to mention that periodically Tony would leave for his girlfriend -because being honest it was kind of obvious from when Pepper had first accidently met her that he loved Raven- and Pepper had to hide the adorableness of their relationship and say she had no idea where Tony was.
So when she cracked, she felt it was justified.
Steve was ranting about Tony. Again.
"Why does Stark think himself above everyone else? These team meetings are scheduled months ahead of time! He should be here!" At this he turned to look at her as if it was her fault that Tony didn't know. She gave him the Look that she used to use when she thought Tony was actually sleeping with all those girls he took home instead letting them sleep their drunkenness off before heading home the next day.
Steve didn't last five seconds.
As he spoke Pepper looked around the room, bored already. Clint and Natasha were playing paper football, it being Clint's turn to flick. Thor was sleeping, snoring loud enough to block Steve's conversation from that half of the living room. She made a mental note to tell Jarvis to create sound blockers around him when he did that. Bruce was doing something on his Stark Tablet, probably some game if the hand motions were any clue.
She didn't know why she had to be here as a stand in for Tony. The man was old enough to make his own decisions so it wasn't like she was supposed to make him do what they decided, besides trying to make Tony do anything was a lesson in futility.
She wasn't a secretary anymore, damn it! She was the CEO and CEO's didn't take notes.
"If he is too selfish and busy with himself to be on the meetings, he just shouldn't be on the team! He never cuts the wire for the other guy, and is too wrapped up in himself to be a successful team player and Avenger!" Steve ranted. That was the final straw.
"Oh, shut up." Pepper snapped. The paper football missed by a long shot, Bruce lost his game -the sad music sounded- and Clint smacked Thor's foot to wake him up. Steve looked dumbstruck.
"Excuse me?" He asked.
"I said shut up, Kid America." She repeated. Clint was grinning and Bruce leaned forward. "I have sat in this uncomfortable seat that you insisted on for almost a year, listening to you rant. Now you may not have anything better to do then talk about Mr. Stark, but I do. I have a damn business to run, and if you can get the flag pole out of your ass and say something productive in the next minute I will stay for another hour, but if you -as I expect- can not I am leaving. Mr. Stark is busy, a concept you don't seem to understand if you have time enough to rant about your team member in these terms. He has to be many places at once, and when he gets enough time to visit the hospital, he does. Believe it or not you are not the most important thing in the world; some of us have lives outside of this room." She took a deep breath and arched an eyebrow. "Well, Captain? You now have fifty seconds."
She ignored Clint's snickering, Natasha's smirk, and Bruce passing five dollars to Thor. She just stared at Captain Spandex.
He stared back.
"As I thought." She picked up her bag and walked to the elevator leading downstairs. "Goodbye. Oh, and Captain? If you say that Tony should be kicked out of the Avengers after all he had given up, you won't have to deal with me. You'll have to deal with Jarvis. Good day." She stepped into the elevator and the doors swooshed shut.
It wasn't until she had gotten downstairs and sat at her desk that she realized she had told them about the hospital.
Raven pet Marwolaeth 's head lazily.
Tony had just left again and Marwolaeth was trying to distract her from missing him. Nurse Cali knocked on the door and poked her head through.
"Everything alright, Suzie?" Raven smiled and nodded. Suzie was the only name she was called these days that actaually started with the letter S.
Raven rather liked Suzie, but hated the first 'S' names she had been called -("It's the Savior! We don't have to die today!").
Since Suzie was Cali's best friend's name in their youth. Raven allowed it for the time being, still prefering Tony's Raven nickname over the rest.
Cloudy. Chris looks up and rubs arms. Cold.
A knock on the door outside made Raven look up. She shook her head at the door, then nodded to the tea kettle Tony had brought. It started shrieking and a tilt of her hand had it pouring itself and the cup floating over.
Another knock at the door. Raven glanced at Marwolaeth but she just looked back. "Lazy dog. I swear you are getting old." Marwolaeth huffed before standing up and padding toward the door. She gave a slight yap before bounding back. "Harmless? Good. Door open." The door creaked open.
A man and woman stood in the door. Raven recognized them from Tony's memories. "Spider, Arrow." She nodded. "How may I help you?"
They stared back at her. "Who are you?" The woman asked. "Tony knows you." Raven leaned back in the couch and shrugged, petting Marwolaeth.
"I am Suzie Cathaway." She said. Both assasians gave her looks but didn't correct her. "You'll meet me later. You shouldn't follow Tony, you know. He gets dreadfully awkward when he finds out."
Child stands in by a window. Watches rich family eat. Rich mother notices him. Gets a smile for waving him over. Hungry. Cold. Tired. Comfortable. Content. Concerned.
"Who says we'll tell him?" Arrow asked. Raven smiled.
It was adorable that he thought that he stranded her there without further checking up on her. The man was an ex-weapons dealer for Merlin's sake. That job had to come with some secretive nature, not even mentioning they had never heard of her before.
The nargles even knew of his nature.
The door opened again and Nurse Cali walked back in. "Hey, Suzie. The main desk is malfunctionin again, it says someone is-" she paused and looked around. "Oh, two people are here. Well, sorry but anyone comming in has to check in first. When the doors just open alarms tend to start flashing."
Fire burning higher. Hooded man raising a weapon. Target is unaware and runs from flames. Run. Don't look back. Despiration. Hatred. Frightened.
White mush in pot, cooked too long. Ruined. Anger. Hunger.
Raven smiled at Nurse Cali. "Tell the cooks to start the potatoes later, lunch won't be on time tomorrow." She said. The nurse smiled fondly and nodded.
"Of course dear. Your friends can stay two more minutes before they are going to need to check in or leave, okay? Just don't tell anyone." Nurse Cali said. Raven nodded.
"Yes." Raven agreed. Spider and Arrow would leave soon. They had to get back to home before anyone notices. She turned away from the door but her two guests were gone. She frowned.
Talk. Bad. Tony near, warm. Good. Voices confused. Bad. "I will not let you touch her, you bastard."
Raven smiled, distracted. Tony would always keep her safe. In return, it was safe to love him.
"Ms. Potts, Sir wants to know if you could spare a few minutes and head to Level T2?" Jarvis asked. Pepper looked up from the paperwork she was looking over and nodded.
"Of course. Would you remind me tomorrow to call Fury and ask whether Tony is an Avenger or a consultant, because consultants normally get paid at the end of the month and the rest of the Avengers don't pay for damage control to public property?" Pepper requested.
"Of course, Ms. Potts."
"Thanks." She stepped out of the high heeled shoes and put them in the small elevator that Tony had installed from her office to her floor in the tower. Barefoot was better then having to wear those another minute. She walked out of her office and saw that everyone else had gone home for the day. The cleaning man, Joe Something, waved to her and she waved back.
He knew not to judge her. That was why she likes him so much.
She went up to Level T1, Tony's first level and pressed her necklace key into the pad to get to the floor above. It was sandwiched between Pepper's and Tony's, originally empty but recently decorated by Tony himself. He had kept the whole process quiet, insisting on doing everything himself.
The doors opened and Pepper was surprised at how nice it looked. Everything was colorful, nothing black except for the blank TV and some other electronics. A huge dog bed was in one corner, and Pepper began to smile as she realized what that meant.
"Marco!" Tony cried. Pepper followed the voice.
"Polo!" She answered as she stepped into the kitchen. It was slightly above everything else and she realized that was she had thought was a wall was actually one way glass, so everything could be seen.
Raven was perched on the counter, Laeth the monster dog beside her on the floor. Tony was doing something with the stove and Raven was stirring something. They looked positively domestic.
"Pepper!" Raven said. She waved happily, putting the bowl down and jumping down to give the other woman a hug. Pepper was surprised and raised an eyebrow to Tony who shrugged slightly, grinning fondly. "I escaped!"
"I can see that. You're certainly doing better." She said. Raven back up and nodded.
"Tony's helping me now that I'm out." She frowned slightly, tilting her head as if remembering something. "Tony, did you tell Spandex and Arrow about me? No, no you didn't. Oh, it looks like we are going to have a party." Tony frowned back and spoke but kept his eyes on her.
"Jarvis? Is Clint in the vents?"
"No Sir. You modified it so that if anyone tried to visits these vents they could get a nasty surprise." Jarvis's voice answered. Raven looked up excitedly, waving at what must be a hidden camera. "Hello again, Raven."
Pepper started in disbelief. "How come she doesn't have to be a formal title?"
"Raven does not like formal titles, Ms. Potts. She was friends with Sir when I was created and therefore has her first name programed as the only name I address her as. You have your full name and it would be impolite for me to call you by any other name." Jarvis said. "Ms. Potts."
Pepper narrowed her eyes at him. Now he was just saying it to get a reaction from her. She stuck out her tongue at the direction Raven waved. She turned when Raven laughed. Even though Raven's eyes seemed more unfocused she looked happier.
"So, do you have to go back to the hospital tonight?" Pepper asked. Tony looked guilty and Raven blinked confusedly at her.
Tony rubbed the back of his neck. "Uh, Pepper. Raven's actually going to be staying with us for a while. This is her floor." Pepper looked back at him, not understanding. "Raven couldn't stay at the hospital; some of the nurses were getting suspicious that she wasn't aging. This floor is purely hers now. Cali, a nurse Raven's friends with, is going to start coming here every day."
"Cali's married now and can't stay at the hospital while pregnant. Chris may even visit some too." Raven said. She was watching her hand fascinatedly as she Tony and her fingers together, waving it like a conductor. "Did I ever tell you that she was friends with a descendent of Moon's? A squib- Cali is, not Moon's family. Don't intermarry and you won't have a squib." She recited. Pepper and Tony exchanged a lost look before deciding to roll with it.
"Okay." She turned to the food. "What are you making?" Pepper asked. Raven instantly started talking; using nicknames for words that Tony had to explain.
They looked like they had when she had first met Raven.
Pepper had come into Tony's floor unannounced, walking in and stopping when she heard the distinctive sound of female laughter. She had thought it was another one of his girls, but then Raven had come sprinting through the room after a soaking wet mountain of a dog. Tony had followed and stopped when he saw Pepper standing there. Then he had told her to catch the dog like there was nothing wrong.
It had been later, once Raven was at the hospital and Tony and Pepper were cleaning the floor that he had addressed Raven. He had said that she was special, that she knew things that no one else did. Pepper hadn't believed but then Tony reminded her of how Raven had known her berry allergy and had never called her Virginia even before being told it wasn't her full name.
There was no name for beings like Raven; they just were.
It was a monumental day.
Tony was sitting at the latest team meeting, staring at the ceiling and running through the newest plan for Clint's exploding arrowheads. If he could make the explosions more specific then the damage control wouldn't be as bad.
"Sir?" Jarvis's voice spoke up from the ceiling. "Sir, the guest on Level T2 is requesting your presence." Tony snapped out of his thoughts and sat up listening to him. "There are people trying to break into the level."
Tony pulled up the tablet from his place under the table and flicked to the Stark security measures. It showed all the levels and the threat highlighted in purple trying to sneak up the vent.
"Took lessons from you, Hawkass." He muttered, pulling up a keyboard to type at. "See... if... that... stops them." He leaned back and watched as the highlighted people met the trap. "Jarvis. Send them to the security office." He put the tablet away and moved to lean back, ignoring the stares.
"Sir. If I may, the guest knows about the attempted break in and is not dealing with the news well." Jarvis announced. Tony cursed and ran a hand through his hair. "Mrs. Nurse Cali is currently out of the tower." Natasha and Clint exchanged glances.
This got Tony up and running to the elevator door which open before he had reached them and shut as soon as he had passed them.
"Does anyone know what just happened?" Bruce asked. There was the general answer of no in response. "Okay. Just as long as I'm not alone in this."
The door dinged open and Tony walked back in this time carrying a girl and a creature following. The creature looked like a Thor sized wolfhound. It was growling at everyone, keeping everyone back as it flashed its teeth. The girl was a different matter entirely.
Bruce would have been surprised if she even knew where she was.
She was gripping Tony's shirt in a tight grip, her face buried in the fabric. He was whispering things to her, kissing her head and caring her slowly into the room. She seemed so tiny, small enough to be comfortably rolled into a ball and carried around. Her hair seemed taller then she was.
Tony carried her to a stool by the bar and she unraveled enough to sit down. Tony gripped her chin gently but tight enough to keep her face turned toward his. "Calm down, Annwyl. You're alright. You're in the tower. You're safe. No one will hurt you here. Not even the decedents can hurt you here. Eich bod yn ddiogel." This seemed to snap her back slightly and he repeated it a few more times.
"Tony, beth... ble?" She murmured. Tony smiled at her.
Bruce looked away. The scene seemed too intimate to watch.
"Hey, you back with me now? You had me worried there." Tony said, rubbing her cheek with his thumb. She leaned into it. "Are you back here?" The girl closed her eyes and nodded slightly.
"The Dark is gone until another day, but Memory is here to stay." She said. "The men that attempted to sneak in, where are they?"
"With Security." Tony frowned. "Didn't you See that?" The girl whimpered and Tony pulled her into a hug, and she rubbed her forehead against his chest.
"Everything's jumbled; a puzzle without the picture on the box to define it." She said. "Past, Present, Future; three puzzles with all three pieces' in one pile." She sighed and scrunched up her forehead. "Is there any blue potion left?" She asked.
Jarvis answered. "There are a few more vials left. Would Sir and Raven like Birdy to bring one to you?" Tony nodded and the elevator opened to reveal an oval robot on wheels speed over excitedly, a glass vial in its hand. The dog, which had followed the girl and Tony and was glaring at the rest of the team, gave it a short growl before resuming glaring.
The robot stopped beside them, beeping happily as Tony took the vial and took out the cork. He handed it to the girl and she took a deep breath before swallowing it completely. She closed her eyes for a moment then smiled.
"Much better." She blinked and looked over to where the team was gaping at the two of them. "Ah, the party has started unknowingly. Tony, I think we may be late for tea."
Tony blinked down at her. "I knew I should have blocked Alice in Wonderland from the instant movies, but Cali assured me that she would watch you to narrow the Mad Hatter references. I guess she forgot?"
"I watched it with Pepper." The girl said, smiling up at him. "She encourages movie references. You should see her after Winnie the Pooh."
Tony nodded slowly. "Somehow I don't doubt that." They turned back to the team. "Want to see how long it takes for one of them to ask a question?" She smacked his stomach. "Fine. Raven, this is the Avengers. Avengers, this is Raven." Raven smiled at all of them, waving slightly.
"Spandex, Arrow, Spider, Green, Your Lordship." She nodded. When she got to Thor she stood and swept into a sort of curtsey bow. Thor seemed surprised and bowed his head in response.
"How is it that you know the greetings of Asgaurd?" He boomed. Raven gave him a secret smile but didn't answer.
"Raven knows many things." Tony answered for her. He looked at her again and you could almost feel their love by the casual gesture. "She is a genius." He suddenly seemed fully aware of the team and turned to blink at them. He opened his mouth, shut it, and opened it again. "Team meeting tonight. Pepper will be there, and for once so will I. Everyone can ask one question each then." With that he smiled and coaxed Raven off the chair and standing beside him.
Bruce heard Natasha gasp as they were able to see the tiny girl standing in front of them. She had art dancing up and down her arms, swirls peeking on her neck and a familiar triangle sign on the inside of her wrist. The hair only fell to her back, but Bruce only vaguely registered that in the shock of the symbols and art.
That night would be interesting to say the least.
"So, why am I showing up if you will be too?" Pepper asked again. She was sitting on the floor of Level T2 with Tony and Raven, eating Chinese out of the take-out containers.
Pepper smiled slightly at the shock on the poor delivery boy's face when Pepper had come to collect the food. She didn't know if he was more surprised at the fact that he was in Stark Towers or that the scary Pepper Potts was talking to him barefoot and in sweatpants and a t-shirt.
Probably made him the most popular guy at parties for a little while with that story.
"Tony is being shy." Raven said. Pepper raised an eyebrow. Of the entire thing Tony could be accused of, shy was not one of the top one hundred. "He is. He wants something to distract from me being there." Pepper nodded.
That she could believe.
"We should probably head up." She said, standing up and stretching. Tony stood and helped Raven stand, Birdy rushing in happily to clean up the leftovers. "Thank you Birdy. You're such a good girl." Birdy chirped excitedly at the complement.
"You spoil her. Both of you do." Tony said, but pat the robot on the head. "Jarvis? You got the elevator?" The doors dinged open in response. "Thanks, J."
"You are welcome, Sir. Might I suggest bringing a headache potion for Raven? The rest of your team seems to be agitated." Jarvis said.
Tony nodded and grabbed one of the vials by the door. "Thanks, J. This is why we pay you the big bucks."
"You do not pay me, Sir. If you would like to start I could figure out the numbers?" Jarvis said. Pepper snorted. For an AI, Jarvis had sass.
"Just knowing you would." Tony said. He punched in the number of the Avenger's main floor before stepping back and pulling Raven into a hug. She allowed it, resting her head on his shoulder contentedly. "You two ready?" Pepper and Raven nodded. "Let's do this then."
The floor was noisy. All of the team was around the dreaded table, talking over each other in chaos. Bruce seemed to be breathing harder then normal and was turned away from the others. He saw them first and waved.
Then the rest of the team saw them and it got quiet.
Everyone one of them was staring at Tony's arm around Raven and her head on his shoulder.
"Spandex, Arrow, Spider, Green, Your Lordship." Raven greeted them. Pepper held back a smirk at Captain's. "You are confused over something. What?" They stared at her and Pepper let out a snort of amusement.
"They are confused over you, Raven. Tony has the reputation of a playboy, remember?" Pepper explained. She waited and when it seemed no one else was going to take control Raven spoke.
"No table." She said, she pulled Tony to the circle of couches in the corner and sat down. "Tables are for strategy, not talk. You all want your questions answered, and that is talk. Come sit down and we will start." The rest of the team slowly walked over and Pepper smiled at the other girl proudly.
Taking charge of her very first meeting; Pepper had taught her so well.
"What do you want to know?" Tony asked once everyone was situated. Raven was curled into his side and he threw an arm around her casually. "Make the question count, you only get one."
"Who are you?" Steve asked.
"That was a waste of a question." Tony sighed. "She is Raven. Next."
"How long have you been dating?" Clint asked.
Pepper leaned forward. She never knew the exact length of time. "Years." Tony said. He tilted his head. "Um, maybe ten, twelve years?"
"Around that." Raven said. "The year starts on Samhain."
At the curious looks Tony explained. "Pagan holiday. You can google it."
"Are you not Misguardian?" Thor boomed. Raven looked away; grabbing Tony's hand and watching their fingers weave together.
"When you were younger, Frigga asked the same." Raven whispered. Tony stiffened and stared at her. Was she going to answer his unasked age question? "I don't know. I did know once, many moons and many stars ago, but being unmade unmakes Memory as well as Mind." She said. She looked up and stared the god in his face. "There is no word for what I have become." It was quiet after that for a few minutes, and Tony kissed her lightly.
"What do you mean unmade?" Bruce whispered. Pepper noticed that Natasha and Clint both blinked suddenly, a normal person's jump back in pain.
Raven stared at him, eyes completely unfocused now. "The man was mad, so, so mad. He had no soul left to destroy, and wanted forever life. I tired, Book tried, Lion tried, even Moon tried. Both Laughs could not touch him, and they resulted to his followers. He got his prized Girl-Who-Lived in the end. He wanted to live forever, but that curse I never gave. He didn't like that." Raven whimpered her face crunching up in pain and unable to go on. She shook her head slightly and Tony whispered to her until she had calmed slightly.
Bruce looked crushed and kept apologizing. Finally Tony waved it off and asked Natasha for her question.
"Why do you have the symbol of Hydra II on your wrist?" She asked.
"What symbol? Oh, you mean the Deathly Hallows. Hydra II stole what is mine! For the Hallows are mine and I am their's." Raven said. She went as if to continue, but then paused and tilted her head, back arching slightly. Then she straightened and turned to Pepper. "The deal with the Mr. Grisham? His son is a fan of Iron Man; get him a picture get the deal." Pepper grabbed her Stark Phone and typed the note it.
"Now it's my question." Pepper said. Tony raised an eyebrow and moved to protest, but Pepper held up a hand. "You said that everyone gets a turn; that means me too. Be more specific next time." She stuck out her tongue at her boss. Raven giggled slightly. "If you two have been together for that long, what about the playboy days?"
Tony and Raven started protesting. "That is a secret."
"Skip that question, next!"
"You already know the answer! You don't need it again."
Pepper laughed and shook her head, turning to the nearest Avenger that happened to be Bruce. "This is the best answer ever. I seriously love this." She whispered. Bruce smiled cautiously. Then Pepper turned to the protestors. "You said any question we wanted. That is what I want answered."
Tony frowned at her. "I don't like you Ms. Potts."
Pepper shrugged. "Fire me."
Tony stuck out his tongue now. Pepper was glad they were so mature. "One of these days I will; I just have to learn where everything is first." He sighed and Raven looked up at him curiously. "Those days were fun." He turned to look at Raven as he spoke, not the others. "The affairs that the papers got a hold of were not real. Girls that were too drunk to stand straight and either Pepper or I knew would come home with me. They would make the usual show of walking out with me, usually again because they were so drunk they needed help walking. Then they would come home, sleep in the guest bedroom, and wake up the next day and go home. If anyone asked they would make vague comments that sounded raunchy."
"It was rather amusing. The nargles enjoyed the show very much." Raven laughed. "My favorite was when Amanda got drunk."
"You just liked that she was a reporter." Tony accused. "You loved the irony." Raven smiled and kissed him slightly.
"Yes. It was rather fitting. The irony of the whole thing was deliciously sweet." She giggled. He shook his head at her fondly.
"So your affairs were made up?" Natasha asked. Tony nodded. "Why?"
"Give the public want and they will leave the locks on your doors." Raven said. She turned to look at Clint suddenly. "Do you like to dance? Tony doesn't, but I do." Clint shrugged and she smiled. "Good! Jarvis, play music, would you?" She asked. A waltz started playing and Raven stood, motioning for Clint to do the same.
They started off awkwardly for a few minutes, but then danced smoothly. Raven was humming along to the song while it seemed that Clint was trying not to laugh. He smiled slightly and she smiled back.
"Dancing is a way to be free. No one is nosey while dancing." She said, twirling slightly before coming back. The song ended and both took their places were they were but before they did Raven leaned forward slightly and whispered. "The man you look for is watching carefully." She whispered. He looked at her puzzled.
"What man?" He whispered. She simply smiled and twirled back to her seat by Tony.
The Avengers passed the test. They were good for him, Raven decided. Each would now watch over Tony, even if she did have to talk to Spandex about his cynical views on Tony.
I do try not to throw in too many foreign words, but in this case I felt it necessary. In a panic attack, according to , people tend to want to hear familiar sounds and voices. By touching Raven, Tony is allowing her to feel familiar emotions and thoughts and speaking helps with that.
Translations: (Welsh to English)
Eich bod yn ddiogel- you are safe
Beth... ble?- what... where?
Review! Tell me how I did on this one (its my longest story yet and I need to know if I rambled too much).