Steve peeled his eyes open as the sounds of people in the kitchen reached his ears. He stretched his arms before sitting up on the couch and turning his head to look at the group gathered at the bar near the kitchen. He picked out Natasha’s gleaming hair, Bucky’s messy hair, Tony’s offended shriek, and Darcy’s signature laugh, and he smiled to himself. He loved his damn family. He moved to get up, but found himself with a lapful of archer.
“You didn’t come back to bed after your nightmare,” whispered Clint, pressing his lips to Steve’s. Steve kissed his boyfriend happily for a moment, wrapping Clint in his arms. Clint pulled away, his brow furrowed. “Are you okay?”
Steve shrugged and looked down at where Clint’s hand was fisted in his shirt. He was a very tactile person when he was worried about someone. “It was the fall, again. His, not mine,” replied Steve. Clint nodded and buried his face in Steve’s neck, offering comfort in the best way he could. Steve pressed his lips to the side of Clint’s neck and smiled. “Come on, babe. Let’s get some breakfast, alright?” Clint nodded and clambered off Steve’s lap. The duo linked hands and made their way to the kitchen.
“Morning, punk,” hollered Bucky, raising his coffee in a salute. He was sitting on one of the bar stools at the island, a large plate of toast and eggs in front of him. Thor was sitting at the table next to Jane, who was blabbering on about something scientific with Bruce and Tony. Natasha passed Clint and Steve, pressing a kiss to Clint’s cheek and pinching Steve’s ass.
Darcy waved at them with her spatula. “Eggs’ll be up soon. Nat, can you toss in some toast for your boys?” Natasha nodded and threw eight slices of bread into the toaster. Darcy busied herself with the eggs again as Clint poured himself a cup of coffee.
“Hey Darce, what’s the name of that store you like for your kitchen tools?” Clint asked. “Cause I was gonna go out today and replace that pan I ruined last night.” Steve raised an eyebrow and Clint stuck his tongue out at him. “I haven’t made sticky rice in a long time and I couldn’t find the rice cooker.”
“Williams Sonoma. I’ll go with you later, alright?” replied Darcy absently. She piled six fried eggs onto a plate for Steve and three onto a plate for Clint. Natasha put toast on each plate and passed them off to the boys as they settled at the island bar. “Hey, Buck? Can you grab the new can of coffee out of the top cabinet? We’re out and Pepper and Sam haven’t emerged yet.” Bucky got up and moved over to reach into the cabinet above the coffee maker. He felt around and then furrowed his brow. He hopped up onto the counter to get a better look into the cabinet.
“Uh, Darcy? My beautiful girlfriend, the light of my life? There’s no more coffee.” Bucky’s voice cracked halfway through. Darcy turned to look at him, her eye beginning to twitch. “Here,” he said, hopping down off the counter and hoisting her up onto it. “Look for yourself, doll.” Darcy felt around in the cabinet, eyes getting more frantic.
“Fuck. Fuckity fuck fuck,” said Darcy, hopping down off the counter. Bucky had looked away, and his eyes widened as he tried to catch his girlfriend.
“Why is this so bad? I didn’t think Pepper was one of the crazy caffeine people,” said Steve, swallowing a mouthful of eggs. Clint elbowed him and Natasha threw a napkin at him.
Darcy rolled her eyes and started digging through more cabinets. “She’s normally not, but she was on a late flight last night which didn’t get in until like 5 a.m. Which wouldn’t be a problem, but the fucking board didn’t listen to me when I told them she wasn’t going to be prepared for a meeting this morning. So she’s got a meeting in two hours, has to go over everything I put together for the presentation they want her to give – because apparently the woman with an MBA who chooses to be an assistant to the actual superhero Pepper Potts isn’t qualified to give this presentation – about things that she didn’t even cover on this last business trip.” She started cursing as she dug through cabinets. Bucky looked like he was about to protest her statement, but Darcy pressed a kiss to his cheek and said, “I know that it’s because they’re stupid and set in their ways. They don’t like that I’m loud and think my boobs affect my brain. But who cares when I don’t give a flying fuck what they think.” She then proceeded to climb onto his shoulders and on top of the tallest cabinets.
“Watch your balance points,” remarked Clint as he watched Darcy climb all over the kitchen. She flipped him off as she clambered into the vent above the fridge.
“FUCKING FUCK SHITHEAD WILSON!” she screamed. There was a loud clanging noise as she crawled through the vents over to the other side of the kitchen. Everyone was watching in amusement and concern as she dropped to the floor by the counter where she left her phone. Steve smirked at Bucky as he watched his best friend look at Darcy like she was the last glass of water on Earth and he were dying from dehydration. She grabbed it and began typing, swearing under her breath the whole time.
“Urgh,” mumbed Pepper as she shambled into the kitchen. She stumbled over to the coffee maker, grasping for a mug and picking up the carafe to pour herself a mug. A few drops fell into her mug, but Pepper seemed not to notice as she stole a piece of Clint’s toast and raised the mug to her lips. She tried to take a sip, frowning when she found the mug empty. Tony was already beckoning to Sam just as he entered the room. There was whispering and an exchange of cash. “Mmmph,” muttered Pepper, scowling at her mug.
“Hey Pep,” soothed Tony, guiding the pajama-clad CEO to a chair at the table. “How about you eat some food, okay?” She looked up at him, her usually sharp blue eyes still blurry from sleep. He shushed her and moved to pour her some orange juice. Bruce slid the empty coffee mug away from her. “She’ll be fine once we can get some coffee for her.” Pepper got up and made her way towards the coffee machine again, but Steve caught her around the waist.
“Come on, Pepper, let’s sit down, okay?” Pepper squirmed in Steve’s arms, reaching for the coffee maker. She made a pitiful whining noise and tears welled up in her eyes. Steve looked at Clint and then at his coffee mug. Clint shook his head and tilted it to show Steve it was empty. Steve looked around at everyone else, and all he saw were empty coffee mugs. Pepper was still struggling and whimpering.
“Shh, сестра, shh,” soothed Natasha, rubbing circles into Pepper’s back. The CEO was slumped against Steve, tears streaming down her face. “Sam will be back soon with coffee.” Pepper whimpered again, burying her face in Steve’s shoulder. Tony was speaking quickly with Sam on the phone, shooting glances over at Pepper.
“Sam will be back in a minute or two, Pep,” said Tony. He came to stand by Steve and reached his arms out to take Pepper. She went willingly to Tony, wrapping her arms and legs around him like a slender octopus. He carried her easily over to the table and sat in his chair with her in his lap. She clutched at his shirt and sniffled a little, her face buried in his neck. Clint flitted around the kitchen, checking everyone’s coffee cup, finding the only bit left in Bucky’s.
“Is Pepper lactose intolerant? I can’t remember,” said Clint, swiping Bucky’s mug. “Because if she’s not, Bucky’s got some coffee left.”
Tony shook his head, “She’s not lactose intolerant, but she’s sensitive. And I don’t want to put her in a bad position when she’s got such an important meeting with so many assholes.” Clint shrugged, took a swig of Bucky’s coffee, and handed it back to him. Steve looked around helplessly, wanting to help but not knowing how.
Natasha twined her fingers with his and leaned her head on his shoulder. “Just relax, Sam will be back with coffee in a minute. Pepper will be fine.”
“Yeah, she’ll be just peachy, Stevie,” said Darcy, hopping up to peck him on the cheek. “After she does this meeting and goes back to bed, you, me, arrow boy, and the Russians are going to start Wade-proofing this place.”
The elevator doors dinged open just as Darcy finished speaking, and Sam strolled in with his hands full of coffee. “Here’s your coffee, Pepper. Just how you like it,” he said, voice gentle and soft. She peered at him over Tony’s shoulder and made grabby hands for the coffee. Sam grinned at her and ruffled her hair after she took the cup. “I also bought some more to make fresh here,” he added, hoisting the bag in his other hand and moving over to the coffee maker.
“Thanks, Sam! Now, Tony, go get my boss in presentable shape for a meeting. Nat, go with them to make sure he doesn’t forget anything,” ordered Darcy. “I’m going to go change and she needs to be in her office in 45 minutes.”
Steve waves at Pepper as Tony carries her off to their room with Natasha in tow, and she happily waves back as she takes a long sip of coffee. “Come on, Clint, let’s go find the places where we can beef up security before Darcy gets back,” Steve says, grabbing Clint around the waist and pulling him out the door.