|Sophia Warren (twostepsahead) wrote in doorslogs,|
@ 2012-05-27 23:52:00
|Entry tags:||door: marvel comics, pepper potts, thor|
|Thor had excellent timing. He’d chosen to return on a day that she had decided to come in for work and although she was busy, she didn’t mind the interruption. They needed to talk, particularly about the fact that he needed to make more of an effort to include the others in his plans and about the night he spent in her apartment. Of course, that was where she intended to take him again, but she was pointedly ignoring the events of that night. His communication device was in her office in Malibu so she snagged it on her way out the door to Passages.|
So far, she had stuck to her promise to give more time to Felicia, who was somewhat surprised but otherwise pleased with the turn of events. She didn’t ask, she didn’t pry, and she certainly didn’t say anything to Silver and Pepper was grateful for that. Whatever her issue was with Tony, it didn’t need to taint Felicia’s relationship with Silver. Mindful of the last time she waited by the door for Thor, she stood just to the side so that he would see her - in Felicia’s form - as he opened the door, though she wouldn’t be at risk of being squashed if he decided to fall through again.
This time, unlike the last, Thor came striding through the door, Mjolnir in hand. He no longer looked like he'd gotten into a fight with a mountain, nor did he smell as ripe as he had the last time they had seen one another. The manacles were wrapped up tightly and bound by a leather thong at the small of his back, hidden from casual discovery. It had left him feeling strangely when he had held onto them for too long, but he didn't want to leave them somewhere and not have them readily available for when he saw Loki next.
Seeing her off to the side, he stepped out, shifting easily from Thor to Ben, though it was clear that it was Thor in control as he held out a hand to her. "Shall we?" Ben was eager to get home and to see Lizzy again and as Thor had said that he would return the other man in a few hours, he intended to keep true to his word. Ben had been gracious with so much time spent in his own world, it was the least Thor could do.
Given that they were in Passages, Felicia had the ability to interject occasionally and she certainly appreciated the figure Thor cut in the doorway. An image of a very nude Thor came unbidden in Pepper’s mind and Felicia was even more appreciative of that. Her lips pressed together in a thin line, trying to forget that particular incident. There was a bit of anger simmering beneath the surface and although not all of it was directed at the Norse god, he would likely bear the brunt of it.
“Yes,” she said shortly, shutting the door and using her key to open it to her apartment in Malibu. She took his hand and led him through, shutting the door behind him. Today, she was dressed in a black pencil skirt and black silk blouse with black MaryJanes, though those were slipped off at the door out of habit. Pepper held the small box that had delivered the communication device in her other hand and led him even further into her living area. She sat down on one end of the couch and angled her body toward him as she gestured for him to take a seat. “Did you get whatever it was you needed then?” she asked, and her tone was somewhat cooler than all their previous conversations.
The tight line of her lips was somewhat surprising. Usually he did not earn that look, but it was Loki that did, except for the occasional indiscretion that Frigga disapproved of. Odin never gave him that look, preferring to yell instead. Their arguments were occasionally won by the sheer volume they could create. Frowning slightly, he still followed her through, though his confusion was evident in the line between his brows.
Even the cool tone was somewhat unlike her. Oh, Thor had heard her use a similar tone on Tony during the time they were in the office, but not this one, and not directed towards him. "Pepper?" He asked as he sat down on the offered seat. Mindful of the damage Mjolnir could do, he sat it down by the couch, tilted slightly so that the handle rested against the leg.
Just seeing him was a reminder of how worried he’d made Felicia and her conversations with Tony about him. She wasn’t mad at him, exactly, or at least not completely, but the fact that he was confused by it frustrated her. Didn’t he know anything? What was so difficult about communicating with the others? He didn’t have to talk to Iron Man. Captain America, Black Widow, even Doctor Banner, would have gladly accepted the information. Why did he have to give her vague references to mythology that hinted at his plans? She took a deep breath to stop her train of thought from working her up too much.
“The bindings. I found the myth you were referring to. Is that what you were doing? Finding something to bind Loki with?” She kept her tone even though everything in her posture said that she was tense. “Here, by the way. It’s the communication device Doctor Banner sent you. It should prove more immediate than the journals. I’m not sure of its limitations and to test it, you’ll need to speak with one of the others in possession of a device.” She was all business today and there was no creeping fondness in her tone. She had yet to even crack a smile.
The straightforward tone was still concerning to him, especially given their last interaction. Still frowning, it didn't stop him from taking the communication device or answering her questions.
"Yes," he answered simply, though the truth was far from it. "The dwarves of Nidavellir are skilled with such things, but it had to be forged. I did not want to speak of it until it was complete." Thor was not one to count the battle won until it was fought; he was no different here. He did not want to give them the hope that he could bind Loki until the bonds were made. Hope could be crushing when it failed.
Opening the box that contained the communicator, he got his first truly good look at it. Though she had already said that he would need to speak to the others that had one already to find out its range, that didn't stop him from holding it up to his mouth and bellowing into the small piece of technology. "HELLO? HELLO? ARE YOU THERE?"
Pepper was mollified slightly by his answer because she could understand the motivation there. Still, he should have at least told them that he was going to be elsewhere because it put her in an awkward position with her employer. That, of course, just reminded her of why she was being so distant with him. She was lost in thought until he began bellowing, which caused her to jump. “What are you doing?” she cried, obviously annoyed with him. “You do not need to yell.” Pepper swatted at his hand in reprimand and nearly tried to take it from him but decided better of it. He could crush it if he wanted to and she didn’t want her hand near his if he was so inclined.
“It’s off, so no one can hear you, no matter how loud you yell.” She pushed herself up off the couch and strode into the kitchen, the tension in her body growing. “Honestly, do you know anything?” Her question was muttered under her breath, but the agitation and anger she felt made it a bit louder than she intended, making it perfectly reasonable for him to overhear. She yanked the cabinet open for a glass and then the fridge, pouring herself a glass of water in an almost petulant manner.
The swat, the cry, these things deepened Thor's frown as he promptly forgot about the little device in his hand and dropped it back into the box. Whatever was going on with Pepper needed to be dealt with now, especially when she made that little muttered quip. "Pepper," he said as he stood and followed her into the kitchen, the box left, forgotten, on her coffee table.
"Something is upsetting you," he stated. It did not take a brilliant mind to figure that out, but he did not know what was causing her to act this way. Especially as she appeared to be pouting as she poured herself a glass of water. Sif and Frigga did not act in such a way. At a loss as to what he might have done to cause such a reaction, he asked Ben. These Midgard women had to be handled differently. Ben snorted in the back of his mind.
'Find out what you did and apologize,' was all that Ben could tell him. "I have done something to upset you," Thor risked. "Tell me what I have done so that I may make amends," he said as he ventured closer to her.
She was determined to ignore him until she got a lid on her emotions but he had to go and state the obvious. Pepper didn’t bother to stop the inevitable eye roll that came in response and focused on putting the water jug back in the fridge. It wasn’t Thor’s fault that Loki had pushed her buttons, nor was it entirely his fault that a wedge was slowing coming between she and Mr. Stark. No, that wedge was partly Tony’s fault. She drank nearly half her glass before she turned on Thor.
“I cannot be the only person you talk to about your brother. You’ve put me in a very difficult position with Mr. Stark and I do not appreciate it,” Pepper started rather evenly. She was proud of herself for that. “I am a personal assistant. I run a company so that Mr. Stark can focus on trying to stop Loki and he cannot succeed if he doesn’t have all the variables. You are a very important variable in the equation. Do you understand that? You can’t just disappear for a week and only tell me.” She was starting to gain some steam as she spoke and her grip tightened considerably around the glass she held.
As she gathered steam, Thor's arms started to cross and whatever good mood he'd been in when he came through the door was quickly diminishing at the rate the words were coming out of her mouth. "Loki is not his to stop," Thor said, voice pitched low like the rumble of thunder some miles off. Loki was of Asgard, and his brother. If anyone was responsible for stopping him, it was Thor, and that was why he'd ventured to Nidavellir.
If he could stop Loki without bloodshed, he would do so, but he had no desire to hurt his brother, nor to place anyone in the path of his brother's madness. "What would you have me do, Pepper?" The less people that knew, the better. If Loki had somehow gotten news that Thor was off planet, was unavailable he was sure that his brother wouldn't have stopped at a broadcast of his intentions.
Pepper glared at him, wanting to continue to vent her frustrations at him, but as soon as he insisted that Loki wasn’t meant to be a problem for the others, she sighed and set her glass down on the counter. “No,” she said simply, and she sounded tired as she said it. “That’s what you don’t understand. Loki made it their problem when he attacked New York City. He brought the fight to Earth and Mr. Stark, Captain Rogers, Doctor Banner, and Agent Romanoff are the only people with the skills necessary to stand a chance against your brother. I’m sorry that it’s come to this, but it’s not their fault. They are trying to protect Earth, just like you are.”
She closed the distance between them and put one of her hands over his crossed arms. “I understand why you wanted to keep your travels a secret, I do. It just put me in an awkward position because I don’t think I was supposed to know about the communication devices and then Felicia got worried about Mr. Sorenson...” Pepper trailed off, knowing she was only making excuses. “I have faith that your brother will be stopped. I know that it’s difficult to trust them and I know that it hasn’t been easy so far, but if you could just try? Especially now that you have a way to bind him, please,” she implored, sliding her hand from his forearm to where his hand was tucked in the crook of his elbow, doing her best to slip her hand around his.
"There is nothing you have here that can stop him, or hold him if you catch him. He is of Asgard, and he must be tried by our laws, not yours," Thor said simply, anger simmering along the surface until she came closer. Proximity meant either an attack or something else and considering it was Pepper, Thor did not believe that she would attack him.
He relaxed further, arms dropping down as her hand slid into his, warm and thin like the rest of her. "I did not intend to put you into a difficult position," he said quietly, his voice losing that threat of thunder in it. "And Lizzy knew where Benji was, I was sure to tell her and update her as I could. I know they care for one another." Of course, Thor was also assuming that Felicia's concern stemmed from her. Other's that might care about Ben's well being had simply slid from his concentration. There had been other things to dominate his thoughts.
"It must go both ways, Pepper. I will do what I can, but I know my brother. You must trust in that. Loki is not theirs to stop. He will think nothing of killing them and I cannot allow them to risk their lives to stop him. Not while I am here. I understand what he has done and that they may want justice, but there is no justice your people can provide."
She wasn’t naive enough to think that they could contain Loki on their own. They would try and no doubt they would eventually find something, but she saw the reason in his words. Extradition between countries was possible. Why couldn’t extradition between worlds be considered? It wasn’t her place to bring that up though and the argument would sound much more reasonable coming from Thor, provided that he managed to hold his temper. Pepper offered him a smile as he relaxed, glad that some of the anger was dissipating between them.
It took her a moment to place the name of Mr. Sorenson’s girlfriend, connecting it to the woman who had seemed, at one point, to have an interest in Felicia. At least it appeared that the pair were in a stable relationship and it was certainly considerate of Thor to say something to the lawyer. “Felicia ensured that Ben will still have a job to return to after this, though he’ll need to make up some shifts,” she explained, giving his hand a squeeze. “She and I are quite similar in that we try to take care of the people important to us.” It was implied, of course, that Thor was important to Pepper.
“It will likely be a frustrating conversation for everyone, but I think it’s important that you share your reasons and concerns with them. If it’s possible for all of you to work together, I see no reason why anyone would need to die. That being said, they aren’t as fragile as I am. They might not be immortal, but they are certainly stronger than I think you’re giving them credit for.” She could hope that the conversation didn’t turn to a physical fight, but it was a very real possibility. At least she was fairly certain that Thor wouldn’t kill them while they were working at their differences.
They'd completely forgotten about Ben's job. Saving the world seemed far more important than keeping a job doing security at a club at the time. "I will have to thank her," he said quietly, returning the squeeze with a careful one of his own. He didn't need to say that Ben would likely join in that thanks. Felicia's friendship had given him much more than a job, but to know that she took care of him keeping it was more than he would have expected.
"I am not saying that they are without talent, but they are mortal. They can die." As could Thor and Loki both, but it was a great deal harder to kill either one of them -- nor was it something that Thor was going to point out to anyone. And if Loki was willing to attempt to kill him, not knowing what his death would bring, Thor did not think he would give any pause in attempting to kill the humans defending Midgard. "You should not underestimate my brother. His mind is fully in the grip of madness." Whatever strengths they had they would need in full in order to withstand his brother's attack.
"I have already reached out to speak to them," he confided. There were things they should know, things that might help them. While he might not want them to take on Loki alone, there were other things they could do to defend Midgard and if he could give them some small thing to tip the scales in their favor, he would.
“She’s having a difficult time of things herself. I think it helped give her something to focus on other than her personal problems,” Pepper explained softly. The whole situation with Hailey Fulton would be the death of them if Loki didn’t beat her to it. It wasn’t something Thor should concern himself with, or Ben for that matter, but she’d said it and there was no taking it back. She focused, instead, of the rest of their conversation and when he said, rather bluntly, that they could die, Pepper’s hand squeezed his tightly in fear. She didn’t want any of them to die and the thought of it was painful.
She recalled her conversation with Loki and how well he seemed to know not just her, but Tony as well. “Your brother knows exactly which buttons to press and they won’t ignore his posts on the journals. It’s up to you to explain to them the gravity of Loki’s madness. They just need information.” Pepper stopped there to consider what to say next, but he filled the silence for her. He’d already begun to reach out to them. A wide smile broke out across her face and she released his hand, moving her arms around his middle in a warm, happy hug. Her cheek was pressed against the cold metal of his chest plate, but she didn’t care. “Thank you,” she said softly. “I hope they’ll listen.”
The hug surprised him, but he returned the embrace warmly, careful to not squeeze her too tightly, nor to crush her against his armor. "I do not want to see them hurt," Thor confided to her softly, one massive hand stroking up and down her slender back. As much as he wanted that though, he knew the reality was not likely to be as favorable. In war there were injuries, casualties, and their words on the rooftop had been evidence enough that this was war. Loki intended to take what was not rightfully his and it would come with a death toll.
He would do what he could to minimize it. Lost in his own thoughts for a minute, he simply continued to hold Pepper, his head falling down, nose barely touching the crown of her head. "As much as I am able, I will protect them, Pepper." Tony as well, even if he did not entirely trust the other man, he knew that Pepper valued him. That, if nothing else, meant he would look after Tony. He knew better to promise that they wouldn't be hurt though; there was no feasible way for him to keep that.
It had been only a few months since she traded kisses with Tony after he rescued her from the Expo, but as she hugged Thor it felt like it had been much longer. Maybe she was overcompensating, or maybe she was just trying to get this emotional side of her satisfied so she could go back to doing what it was she did best, but just standing there with Thor felt nice. He had the strength to snap her in two if he squeezed too hard, but he was so gentle with her. She almost wanted to be mad at him for being so sweet and kind because it was exactly what she found herself dreaming of at night. Except, in her dreams, it wasn’t Thor giving her this moment. It didn’t matter though, nothing did. Everything started to melt away the longer she stayed in his embrace.
“I know you will,” Pepper said softly, giving him a slight squeeze before pulling back just enough to look at him properly. “Thank you, for everything. I’m sorry I was so short and angry with you. I’m not mad at you.” He’d been part of it, yes, but he had only fanned the flames. She let that linger for a moment before sliding one of her hands up his chest piece to finger the fabric of his cape at the junction where it was attached to his shoulder. “I guess I didn’t ruin your armor too badly,” she teased, trying to lighten the mood somewhat with a smile.
"You are stressed," Thor said quietly, giving her an out if she wanted to take it. He would not hold it against her. For all that his temper could be truly fearsome, Thor did not hold grudges. When his anger was blown out, forgiveness came quick on the heels of it. If he spent time holding grudges, there would be little else he'd be able to do.
"And you did not," he said with a quiet laugh. Though he had to oil it later, he knew the statement for what it was: an out. Something to get them beyond the present. "I do not know if I thanked you for it, but I do appreciate what you do for us, Pepper." He knew, just from watching her, that she was the glue that soothed over the things between them all. It was a diplomatic skill that he lacked, but he could appreciate it in others. Smiling down at her, he ran his fingertips lightly over her slim arm while she fingered his cape. Pepper was delicate in a way that Sif wasn't, that no Asgardian woman truly was, even the courtiers, and he had to remind himself of that.
Stressed was putting it mildly but she appreciated what the words meant. Being angry was exhausting and she truly didn’t need that on top of everything else especially when it took such effort to stay angry with both of them. Damn men. Standing so close to him only served to remind her of what she’d glimpsed in the bathroom on his previous visit and a slight blush started to creep up her cheeks. Fortunately, he chose that moment to thank her and she smiled warmly. He seemed to have a knack for both causing anger and diffusing it and she was grateful for the latter. The feel of his fingertips along her arm sent goosebumps along her flesh and a slight shiver down her spine. It felt good, comforting in a way she hadn’t been since...but no, she’d promised herself that she would let it go.
“I’m just glad I was able to help. I’ll always be here for you,” Pepper promised, and she would always do whatever she could for him. Felicia would do anything for Ben so long as he asked and Pepper hoped that he knew that. Helping out in such a way made her feel useful, even though she didn’t have a high tech suit, training, or godly powers. There was no denying that Thor was a god, whether of myth or not she didn’t really have an opinion. As she looked up at him, she found herself wanting to run her fingers through his hair but that would have been horribly inappropriate. More so than their current embrace. She gave him another gentle squeeze before withdrawing from his arms. “I don’t want to keep you any longer than I already have. You deserve a break.”
The rising color of her cheeks caught his attention when she stepped back, but he didn't question it, nor what was bringing it. Thor nodded slowly. "Ben is eager to return to Las Vegas." He didn't state why, but he didn't feel that he really needed to either. While Thor had been busy on this side of the door, finding something that could stop his brother, Ben had been missing entirely from his own world. He'd understood the gravity of the situation and hadn't complained, hadn't even offered up a word of protest except to negotiate when they would go.
Thor was thankful to him as well, but he knew that Ben knew that. Even now he got a warm, if anxious pulse of emotion from Ben. The other man wanted to return home and to the woman he had left there. "I'll return when Loki reappears," Thor said quietly, Ben's agreement in the back of his mind. "Have a care if you see him, Pepper. He will not hesitate to hurt you."
Pepper nodded, understanding that Ben was eager to return to Las Vegas. He had a life there, one that was far more involved than Felicia’s. The other woman didn’t really know what to do with herself half the time now that she’d been given a bit more freedom. “I’ve no doubt you will,” she replied warmly. “I just hope it wont be for a while yet.” His warning was met with some skepticism but she wisely kept that to herself. Loki wouldn’t bother with her. He’d said as much over the course of their conversation and that was just fine with her. There was a slight hardening of her features, more because of that conversation than what Thor was saying. “I’ll be careful,” she replied after a moment, finding a smile to reassure him. “Go on. Give Mr Sorenson my best.”