Who: Pepper, Peter, Tony What: Peter gets his old job back, as the worst personal assistant ever. When: Backdated! The night the Guardians arrived back on Earth.
Any time Star...whatever was around, things were interesting. Tony was all bluster and bravado, although he had a lot more self-assurance than Peter, who always had to keep telling everyone about who came up with what plan and how he was the captain, blah blah blah.
With Morgan nearby, Tony was waiting near the foyer, staring at the phone to see who was coming up the private elevator. He didn't want to ruin this surprise, so he didn't tell Pep other than "We're gonna have a visitor. Don't worry, it's someone from work."
Which it was, since he'd been missing his personal assistant for a while. This was going to be fun, like the world's worst sitcom.
Peter was oddly excited too. He’d never had a best friend before other than Gamora and the Guardians but they had to like each other -- they were family. Tony paid him, so it was a whole different kettle of fish.
Holding onto the music box he’d picked up for Morgan (it had been properly disinfected and played a melody that was currently on the top of the holonet charts), he pushed in his code to the elevator, delighted to see it still worked. Not that he thought it wouldn’t except he totally thought it wouldn’t. Pepper would have revoked clearances as soon as possible ...unless Tony never mentioned that Peter was going.
Didn’t matter. When he saw Morgan’s adorable little face, he was okay with this. “Morg-borg,” he called out, opening his arms out for a hug. “Come say hi to Uncle Peter! I’ve missed you! ...and you’re okay too, Tony. I’ll man hug the shit out of you afterwards -- I brought us both some Depends.”
"Uncle Petey!" Morgan cried out, running into Peter's open arms. She wrapped her litle arms around his neck in a stranglehold, a huge smile on her face as she tipped her head back and said more softly, "Hi. Did you bring me backa green lion?"
"Smart, we're gonna need 'em cos no way did she not hear that intro," Tony said with a manic smile. "Let's get a manly hug in before Pep finds out and ends us. I'm supposed to be on the tail end of rest mode, so she'll kill you first."
Peter simply motioned to Tony to bring the hug in, nuzzling into Morgan. Little kids smelt so good. Not good enough that he had ANY desire to actually have some of his own (plus he still wasn’t 100% sure how that even happened anyways). Actually, it was just good to be back, damnit. It really was..
He wasn’t even in any rush to see if they could get the townhouse back. He’d just live with Drax and Nebula in cramped corners because like fuck he was going to go back to living alone. He just didn’t have it in him.
He was thinking all these things and more when a foreboding noise came down the hallway.
“Tony,” he whispered loudly. “Hold me, I’m scared.”
Pepper had noticed Tony’s behaviour being even squirrelier than usual but she resolved to ignore it. Having only recently been allowed to return home, Pepper had to reluctantly give Tony space, which was difficult. She was used to running everything -- the company, the home … and she had to acknowledge that holding so tight to it all was probably not the best. Tony needed something to do, and the more he had to do, the less likely he was to let the anxiety tracks in his brain go to all sorts of places. So she sat back, watched him interact with Morgan and enjoyed the quiet.
And then he casually said something to Morgan about going for a walk to the elevator. Pepper was not amused. Everyone knew that they were essentially on lockdown until Bruce officially gave the word that he could have visitors. There wasn’t a single person on Earth who would dare to go against Pepper’s direct orders.
With one glance down the hallway, she let out an entire body sigh.
Okay. One person on Earth who didn’t care what Pepper had to say ..not because he didn’t respect Pepper -- but more because he actually didn’t even know what respect was as a concept. The look on Pepper’s face told Tony that she? Was not amused.
Tony instantly hugged onto Peter and both him and Morgan gave her the big dark eyed kicked puppy stare.
"You should've changed that stupid lock, you should've made him leave your key," Tony almost sang, before waving it off with one hand, not letting go. "Hey look it's Peter Quill! Sammich man. Come give him a hug, Pep."
"C'mon moooooooooooom," Morgan said, trying not to smile.
If Morgan hadn’t been there, Pepper would have responded that she had puked a little in her mouth, but she wasn’t about to be so rude in front of her daughter. Instead, she crossed her arms, and cocked her hip to the side slightly. “Tony, if you’re going to insist on singing music from the 70s, please at least keep to one song. Mixing Gloria Gaynor with Billy Joel is almost sacrilegious.”
“In my defense, I am totally the only person who could appreciate that type of mash up.” Peter grinned widely. “So like, it’s kinda awesome. Let’s just be real about that. Also, my key didn’t work at the office, which is IMPOSSIBLE because I’m an employee.”
Pepper’s eyebrow was twitching.
"I'll have Friday cut you a new keycard. I'm sure it's just a safety precaution, right honey?" Tony looked at his eyebrow twitchy wife hopefully. "We can fix that, like...by tomorrow morning. Yeah? I mean, he's got a room in the Tower after we sold off their townhouse. It's either that or we let him live here cos he's homeless. Can we keep him?"
Morgan looked at her mommy like Peter Quill was a lost puppy in need of a home.
“Tomorrow? So does that mean we get a sleepover?!” Peter really didn’t want to go home alone...nor did he really want to be near Drax yet who probably hadn’t showered.
Pepper recognized the look on Tony’s face. It was being mirrored exactly by their daughter. This was not good for Pepper.
“A safety precaution,” she repeated, her arms still crossed. “Right. Because of ...security reasons.” A tight smile went on her face. “That’ll be fixed in the morning. So says Tony. And Tony gets what Tony wants, of course.”
And then she sighed. As much as Quill bothered her (he was just so immature), she wasn’t heartless. “Best come in and have something to eat. Morgan will never go to sleep if she knows you’re by the elevator all night.”
Tony and Morgan let out tiny matching little 'yay' noises and high fived each other. Of course, they kind of backed up enough that Peter's face was stuck in the middle of that high five. Which was also part of a good song. Stealers Wheel. Check it out. Since that was probably an accurate representation of what Pepper's thoughts were rocking out to for the past...um...since she met Tony, actually?
Under his breath, Tony told Quill and Morgan, "I'm in the dog house. Shhh. Act normal."
He let go, leaving Morgan hugging onto the overgrown man child that Star-lord was. Which was, of course, what made him the best personal assistant ever.
"You know what you should get for us...uhh...him?" Tony asked Pepper as he walked over to her side, putting an arm around her shoulders and giving her a bright smile. "Cheeseburgers. Like, so many cheese burgers. Or pizza."
"Yay!" Morgan said again, much louder than before.
Tony gave Morgan a quick thumbs up, continuing to try and fast talk his way out of trouble, "And if we're going with that Tony gets what Tony wants route, can it not be impossibly beyond burgers? Or are you going to put your foot down and stab me with that high heel. I'm getting you some fuzzy bunny slippers for Christmas."
They'd hurt a lot less. Pep's heels were deadly weapons.
After a veritable buffet of pizza, burgers, hot dogs and fries, Peter finally felt human again. He'd had a hot dog eating contest with Morgan (and won only because Pepper decreed the little girl would puke if she ate anymore, and the colour on Morgan's face agreed), took over the music from Friday (which was an argument) and basically relaxed in a way that he'd desperately needed.
Now, Morgan had gone to bed, and Peter felt no obligation to keep the top button of his pants fastened.
"..so seriously, there we were in a fucking Haddan cantina, Drax is insisting on burping some obscure alphabet, my pants are missing AGAIN, Rocket took off with my wallet so no way to pay and fucking Groot somehow turns my Zune on. Literally everyone stopped and grooved to the Bee Gees." Peter got a starry look to his eyes. "It was magical and we got out of there without paying."
Pepper had been putting Morgan to bed, her daughter insisting that the infernal music box/light show thing be cradled tightly in her little hands. Knowing how fastidious Strange was, Pepper could only hope it wasn't teeming with interplanetary diseases.
She walked back into the living room, sans heels (but no slippers), her red pedicure shining brightly to see Quill sprawled on their couch. She would have said something if it wasn't for how relaxed Tony looked. Instead, she sighed. "Do all your stories end up with you pantless?"
Peter opened his mouth to protest but as he filtered through all the good stories, he quickly shut his mouth and instead shrugged.
"All the good stories do," Tony interjected. He was filled up on salad and a soy hot dog. Bleh. "Although no way could that get me out in space again."
Of course, this sort of statement automatically doomed him to eventually end up in space at some point. Whether he wanted to or not. Because that is how every single universe works.
Before he got into trouble sharing his own pantsless stories, Tony quickly told Pepper, "I can't believe you fired him. He's our idiot and our responsibility. Look at him, couch surfing already. He's in his natural habitat." Before Peter could give a thumbs up or Pepper could glare, Tony VERY quickly added, "You're sleeping in the guest bedroom, pal. And your room in the Tower's getting unlocked at seven a.m."
Pepper could glare at the speed of light so there was no way Tony was escaping that. She'd already assumed Peter wasn't leaving -- all good diseases lingered. The room had been prepped and even a set of pajamas were on the bed, although Pepper highly doubted Quill slept in pjs.
"I never fired him," Pepper corrected Tony. "That would imply he actually worked."
"Hey!" protested Peter. "I worked! Hard! Just because it was from midnight to 8 am doesn't mean it didn't count." An habitual night owl, it was impressive what Peter could get done in the middle of the night. "Also? Have you ever had to get this man a sandwich? With the ridiculous items? It's so much work!"
Pepper's lips twitched. "Those ridiculous items are for his health. And after a hearty attack are very much recommended. I hope you enjoyed this Tony, because you'll be paying for it tomorrow."
"Whoa, I'm not bunking in the dog house with Captain Pantsless," Tony said, holding up both hands. "And I liked sprouts until that whole ecoli-salmonitis thing at Jimmy John's happened and then I went sans sprouts. Not a big deal. You know what helps? Just reading the order off the text I send you, and trying to not bang the chicks making my sandwich."
He was going to do a DNA scan anyway, like he did with most of the takeout Peter brought him at work. No way did he need any more genetic material going in him from other people, after a lifetime of...yeah, a lot of genetic material was flying around. Kind of like that Jackson Pollock painting hanging in the dining room.
As an aside, Tony turned a little to look up at Pepper and mumbled just loud enough for her to hear, "Sick burn, honey."
Pepper gave a slight nod to her husband, acknowledging she'd heard him. "The pastel room is ready for him." It was such a strange colour combination that Pepper only put her most annoying guests in. Like her mother, for example.
Peter was more concerned about Tony's sandwich girl comment than where he was going to sleep, although pastels sounded like a dessert. Was it? He had no idea. Another weird by product of being raised by space pirates. Like fuck they knew what colours were what.
"You know how long it took me to know their schedules and sexual preferences? And then you sent me in space. I'm going to have a looot of work to do here now." He glanced at Pepper. "Like work that I get paid to do. Not work I get paid to fuck. That would make me a whore."
Pepper was amused. "I believe the term is gigolo."
"Nothing is jiggling, what?" Peter lifted his shirt and punched his stomach. "Rock hard. Wanna grate cheese on them?"
Tony was also amused. He didn't often show it, but there was a lopsided smirk as he looked back and forth between the pair.
"Gigolo is man ho. Which is kinda like you. Hey, Pep? Remember way back when I said that giving my suit to the feds was tantamount to indentured servitude or prostitution?" Tony pointed over at Peter. "Got nothing on this. Maybe you can grate some ab cheese in the pastel room," Tony told Peter.
Tony also looked like he was ready to bolt out of the way in a moment's notice. Pepper had two bad guy kills notched on her belt and he knew better than to tangle with her, even if she tended to frown at ultra violence and things that went boom. "That's where Pep's mom stays. She hates me. And the fact that her daughter has to pick glass out of my pickles whenever I use the suit to open the jars."
Pepper felt something like embarrassment at Tony's reference to the pickle jar incident, but she really shouldn't have.
Peter was so clueless to any type of Terran courtshops (or courtships in general) that he automatically assumed it was something important and filed it away as 'things to make fun of Tony about'.
"My mother doesn't hate you," she murmured. "Hate is far too strong. A healthy dislike sounds better." She wasn't going to continue the gigolo conversation.
"Aw, me too! I mean not that I hate you but most people have a strong dislike for me too," Peter added helpfully.
"Ok, that's not helping," Tony pointed out while pointing at Peter. He rushed over to Pep until he had invaded her personal space. Which wasn't unusual when it was someone he knew and trusted. "Your mom's biased and I'm gonna win her over. Sure, it's a little after the fact. Since you went ahead and married me anyway, without her consent." Under his breath, Tony told his wife, "Which is a huge turn on, by the way." He instantly slipped an arm around her waist and grinned back at Peter. "We're gonna go to bed now. Nighty night, Star-ho."
With that, he guided Pepper down the hall, probably while she was glaring back at Peter to let him know not to mess up anything under their roof. He had life altering things to talk to Pepper about, but he'd get to that later...when no one else was around and couldn't hear them bickering.