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A Day in the Life of An Avengers Tower Employee

Chapter Text

            Being an assistant at Stark Industries had some amazing perks, especially when you worked at the tower in New York. You saw the man himself on a near daily basis along with the other Avengers. Mostly your job was filing things for the likes of Pepper Potts or Maria Hill. Sometimes you filled in at the reception desk when the usual receptionist needed time off. It was an amazing job with lots of liberties. So when there was a lull in work, it wasn’t unusual for you to play around on your phone. What was unusual was Tony Stark sneaking up behind you to see what you were doing.

            “What is that?” his voice practically purred in your ear, his breath tickling your skin.

            Needless to say, you jumped and almost dropped your phone. “Oh my god!” you breathed as you knocked into your boss. Your hand flew to your heart while Tony chuckled from behind you. You whirled, face red, and eyed him carefully. “Can I help you with something, Mr. Stark?”

            The dark haired man scowled at you slightly. “Mr. Stark was my old man,” he pointed out. He set his ever present tumbler down on your desk and extended his hand, motioning to your phone. “So, what new trend are we playing at work?”

            You passed your phone over to him. “Pokemon Go. It just dropped in the app store here. You can catch Pokemon using your camera to display Pokemon in real life. Augmented reality and what not,” you tell him.

The moment the phone was in Tony’s hand, it began to vibrate. He quirked an eyebrow at you as your eyes lit up. “People still play Pokemon?” he asked as he began tapping on your phone’s screen.

“Oh yeah. It’s a global phenomenon. There’s events going on all over the city right now,” you told him as you watched him play the game on your phone. He made a circle of the office, his brow creasing in concentration. You could practically see the gears turning inside his head. You couldn’t help being amused as you watched him - Tony Stark, the self-proclaimed billionaire genius playboy philanthropist and member of the Avengers, was engrossed in a Pokemon game, catching them like a pro.

“Interesting,” he mused as he completed his lap around the office. He handed you back your phone before picking up his tumbler and sauntering out of the office.

You watched with a raised eyebrow. “Interesting indeed.”

 

~*~

 

            A week later, you walked into the reception area of the Tower and just stopped. You were tempted to turn around and walk out; surely you must be dreaming. There was no way what you were seeing could be real. The main lobby was filled with people – the majority of them were not even on Tony Stark’s payroll. “The hell is all this?” you asked yourself as you fished out your phone. Had you missed a work announcement explaining why people were wandering around Avengers Tower with their smart phones in their hands?

            Then it hit you and you let out a low groan. Quickly switching from your emails to your Pokemon Go app, you knew what you were going to see. The game map showed your avatar in the middle of a packed cluster of Pokestops that had not been there the day before. You worked in the building and had played the game over the course of the week; you knew for certain this was a new development. You also had the sinking feeling that the entire thing was your doing.

            A low, almost pained moan escaped your lips as you closed your app and began to slowly back towards the door. You could not deal with another one of Tony Stark’s crazy ideas. You had just barely survived the Ultron fiasco; you didn’t think you could survive Tony Stark the Pokemaniac.

            “There she is! My favourite employee!”

            You groaned and stopped, a mere foot from the door, as Tony Stark made his way towards you with his arms flung wide. By the way your boss’ grin widened, you guessed you had a deer in the headlights sort of look as you watched his approach. Possibly, you were gaping at the man. It was hard not to; in his hand he held not a tumbler but what looked suspiciously like a modified Scizor plush. As Tony drew closer, you almost face palmed. He was indeed carrying a stuffed Pokemon doll customized to look like one of his suits. “Mr. Stark,” you started, only to receive a disapproving look from the sharply dressed man carrying a Pokemon doll. “I mean, Tony… What the hell is all of this?”

            “Well, I own some stock in Nintendo and I struck a deal with them and Niantic,” Tony drawled as he forced the Ironman Scizor into your hands. “Nintendo gets to market these exclusive Avengers themed Pokemon and I paid for all the Pokestops here,” he continued when you failed to look impressed by his business savvy.

            All you could do was raise an eyebrow at him.

            Tony just sighed, clearly disturbed that you weren’t fawning over his obvious genius, and moved to drop an arm around your shoulders. “I thought you would appreciate this merger of your gaming and professional lives,” he mused with a shake of his head.

            “It’s… something,” you conceded as Tony led you around the main lobby, weaving you both through throngs of people. Your eyes widened when you saw the merchandise tables. “Holy hell,” you gaped. Rows of Pokemon dolls sat at the tables – Pikachus dressed like Thor, Mewtwos that you assumed were The Vision, Aegislash with their shields done up to look like Cap’s, and even metal-armed Sneasels sat before you. “How did you manage this in a week?”

            “Sweetheart, I’m Tony Stark. There’s nothing I can’t do,” he reminded you as he pulled you over to a table and picked up a Pidgey resembled Hawkeye. “I know you have a soft spot for Dad Barton,” he said as he plopped the doll into your free hand.

            “So you’re using this for profit?” you asked, frowning despite inwardly adoring your Hawkeye Pidgey. Tony was right about one thing - you did have a soft spot for Clint Barton. He had always been good to you, almost like a second father.

            Tony just raised an eyebrow at you. “Seventy-five percent of the profits for each sale is going to charity. Different ones, depending on the doll. See that Graveller Hulk? Proceeds are going to medical research for various diseases,” Tony told you seriously. “Cap’s, Frosty’s, and the other Birdbrain’s go to help veterans. The Maximoff dolls? Relief efforts in countries like Sokovia.”

            You looked up at your boss in wide-eyed wonder. Sure, he was an eccentric man who drank and flirted too much but he was also a genius philanthropist just like he touted. He was helping bring people together in a safe environment and promoting a multitude of charities in one fell swoop. He might have been slightly crazy, but you couldn’t help respect him just a little bit more. “I’m impressed,” you finally admitted.

            “Of course you are.”

            And just like that, you were groaning and shaking your head in disbelief once more.

Chapter Text

When the Avengers had relocated to their new facility upstate, you had gone with them if only because it meant a big promotion. You had been, after all, named Tony Stark's favourite employee and the Avengers had taken notice. After the great Pokémon fiasco, you'd wound up doing a lot of odd jobs for the whole team, somehow becoming an invaluable part of the group dynamic. The move offered new ways for you to prove your worth as more than just Queen of the Odd Jobs even if the job itself remained inherently odd.

The first time you were left in charge of manning the security of the compound you had been paired up with Sam Wilson. The two of you had developed something of a rapport, being among the few people close to the core team that wasn't super powered or super smart. You were both pretty average people who did average people things, like crack bad jokes around the many randomly placed water coolers. The day was slow – when wasn't it, though? - and there were more people gone from the compound than actually there. You figured that was why you had a real job instead of your usual random tasks from Tony.

So there you sat alone at the huge desk, watching the scenery from various angles on more than a dozen different monitors. You had your feet propped up on the desk and were leaning back in your chair, texting your woes to the now retired Hawkeye. You let out a snort at a particularly awful dad joke he had sent you when an honest to god alert flashed across the screen. "Finally," you muttered before sitting up and trying to assess the situation from your view. You didn’t see a damn thing on the roof where the alarm was triggered.

"What's going on up there Sam?" you asked as you watched the Falcon look around on the roof, his reply confirming he saw nothing more than you did. You punched in a few commands on the screen that Tony had shown you, linking up to the camera in Falcon's goggles. You still had doubts that the Avengers knew about Tony's security improvements, but this was the most excitement you'd had in days. You were fixated, wishing you had popcorn as you watched from both Sam's perspective and the various cameras able to catch the fight as Sam Wilson got his ass handed to him by a guy who kept shrinking down to the size of an ant. It was popcorn worthy and you had front row seats.

You were howling with laughter when Sam's voice crackled through the communication system. "I'd appreciate it if you didn't tell Cap."

It was the first but not the last time you would hear those words.

 

~*~

 

It wasn't unusual for there to be lots of activity at a compound filled with a group of superheroes. One of your more frequent jobs was to monitor their shenanigans. In fact, any time Hawkeye came for a visit there was always some sort of incident. You knew there was going to be some mess to clean up when Barton dropped a bag filled with Nerf guns on the table in the team's personal kitchen while you were making lunch with the team's two remaining assassins.

"What the hell are those?" asked Bucky Barnes, the primary reason you were in the kitchen. One of your primary "jobs" was helping Bucky's pop culture education. It was Tony's idea and since he paid well, you weren't inclined to argue.

"My kids' Nerf guns," Clint replied as he took out the toy weapons.

"They're toys, Bucky," you added with a roll of your eyes. "Barton, you're such a dad."

"You said you were bored. I'm just here to liven things up," the archer replied.

"I texted you that weeks ago."

Clint just shrugged and finished unloading the guns and the foam and rubber tipped darts that went with them. "Well, are you guys game or not?" he asked with a grin, holding one of the guns out to you.

"I'm not stupid enough to engage in a Nerf battle with the top three assassins in the world," you scoffed and went back to making your lunch.

"I accept your challenge," Bucky said, his eyes gleaming as he took the offered toy.

"What the hell, count me in too," Natasha Romanova, the third assassin in the room, added before digging through the assortment of available Nerf weaponry. The moment the three of them were armed to the teeth, all hell broke loose around you. It was almost frightening the way the three of them sprang into action, making the Avengers' private quarters in the compound a war zone. And you could not deny that it was tamer than anything Thor had ever come up with for fun.

So you sat, eating at the kitchen table and watching three adults run around like children who just happened to be excellent marksmen shoot each other and toss out insults like it was the most normal thing you would see all day.

“FRIDAY?” you asked as you watched the supposedly retired Hawkeye dive behind the kitchen’s island to avoid Bucky’s rapid fire attack.

“Yes, Miss?” answered the AI as Bucky was ambushed by Natasha.

“You’re recording all of this for Tony, right?”

The sound of something shattering cut off the AI’s reply. You stood up, joining the three horrified assassins at the island. As you peered over the island, the three of them shuffled back so you could better see the remains of a star spangled mug at their feet.

“Seriously?” you asked, dumbfounded at the idea that one of them could be such a terrible shot.

“Not a word of this to Rogers,” Natasha instructed firmly.

You covered your eyes with a hand before saying, “FRIDAY, please delete today’s security footage.”

 

~*~

 

Being one of the few non-Avengers living at the compound afforded you some pretty great perks. You saved money not having a long commute, which was the primary benefit, but you also got to know Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on a whole other level. Never having to worry about break-ins (except that one time with Ant-Man) was great, too, as was being able to make your own hours.

But it wasn’t always sunshine and roses, either. Tensions could run high, like the time the governments of the world had imposed the Sokovia Accords on superheroes. It had been a bad time for the Avengers, one they still hadn’t completely recovered from even though the team had grown by two.

“I can’t believe I’m here, inside the personal residence of the Avengers!” gushed the team’s resident teenager.

“Yes, well, Tony thought it would be a good idea even if you don’t live here full time with us,” you pointed out as you gave Peter Parker a tour through the residential wing.

“Are you an Avenger too? How come I didn’t see you in Germany?” Peter went on as you two entered the kitchen. “Is Mr. Stark here?”

“Tony’s in Wakanda,” you replied. “And I’m the Queen of Odd Jobs.” You noticed Peter had turned his attention – and his phone – to you even as you exited the kitchen. “I do a little bit of everything. Today I’m the tour guide. We’re making our way to the personal training room.”

Peter’s eyes lit up. “Personal training room?”

You nodded. “This facility also doubles as a training centre for SHIELD agents who report to Maria Hill. Tony also likes to use the communal training room for parties.” You motioned for Peter to follow you down a set of stairs to the basement gym the Avengers used. “The team also stores their suits and tech down here, too. You can keep your suit here when you come up here.” At the bottom of the stairs, you and Peter were greeted by a sliding door opening for you.

“Welcome to the gym, Miss, Mr. Parker,” FRIDAY chimed in when the doors were fully opened.

You chuckled at Peter’s expression; he looked like he was trying to place a face to a name. “Your first encounter with FRIDAY?”

“FRIDAY?”

“Tony’s AI. She runs the technical end of the compound while I manage the day to day lives of the team. Sending out the dry cleaning, making the grocery lists, normal stuff.”

“Miss and I are partners,” the bodiless voice added while you just looked smug. It had been lot of work to convince FRIDAY you were better than your man-child of a boss.

“That’s… that’s really cool. Like me and Karen.” You raised an eyebrow at the young man. “Mr. Stark put an AI in my suit, too. I named her Karen.”

You shouldn’t have been surprised. There hadn’t been a male AI system since JARVIS. Your theory was that it was because of Ultron while Tony had just said he had a thing for red heads. You made a mental note to bring up Karen when Tony returned from Wakanda. Then you motioned to the locker room. “Suit up, kid. Tony wants FRIDAY to run some diagnostics while you’re in the suit.”

“Re-really? I get to use the personal training room?”

Peter Parker was the most star struck person you had ever met at the compound. It made you want to give him a hug and ruffle his hair, he was that cute. Instead, you sent him on his way and went to go take a seat. You had more things to show him after FRIDAY did her checks on the Spiderman suit. And you wanted to see him in action. You hadn’t gone to Germany but Sam and Bucky had regaled you with their fight against Peter when they’d finally been able to return home.

“Show me what you got Spidey,” you called when Peter came out in his suit only to stop and stare at the neat row of uniforms and gadgets along the far wall. Peter nodded before springing into action. Webbing flew around you as you watched, listening to Peter’s side of his conversation with Karen to try out the different settings she offered him. You couldn’t deny his skills and it was easy for you to see how he had been able to fight both Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Until he lost his footing and somehow sent web grenades everywhere. Before you could even get to your feet, webs were everywhere they weren’t supposed to be. Uniforms were sticky with the stuff. You could hardly process what you were seeing as gear went flying and weapons crashed to the ground, somehow triggering several of Hawkeye’s specialized arrows, sending them flowing into Cap’s shield. When the smoke cleared, you dashed across the gym with Peter at your heels.

You could only gape at the dent in the supposedly indestructible shield. Sure, it had a few signs of damage from several of Steve’s biggest fights and, if you knew what you were looking for, the faint scaring of a bullet from the infamous Peggy Carter. You were pretty sure you had cursed as you stared down the noticeable dent but it could have been all in your head. You turned and locked eyes with the horrified looking unmasked Peter.

“Please don’t tell Captain America!”

You just grimaced. “FRIDAY…”

“I have erased the footage, Miss.”

 

~*~

 

You were used the eccentricities of the Avengers – Thor and his pop tart obsession, the Vision and his penchant for phasing through walls, Natasha and her obsession  with finding Steve and Bucky girlfriends, Sam's relationship with his robotic bird - you'd pretty well seen it all. Running into one of the guys in their underwear late at night was probably the most normal experience you could think of considering how many of them lived there.

So when you were getting up for a late night snack, you barely even blinked at the sight of Tony Stark running around in his. You just shrugged it off and grabbed a handful of cookies to bring back to your room. Tony was always bringing back women to the compound since he and Pepper had broken off their relationship and you sometimes had the unfortunate job of seeing them out in the mornings. It made you contemplate asking for an assistant. It couldn’t be too hard to convince Tony to hire you one, especially since you had ample amounts of embarrassing photos of your boss. Of course, some of them you were almost certain Tony would love to leak himself but that was another story entirely. You put away the package of cookies and walked out of the kitchen and down the hall towards your bedroom.

What you saw on the way was undoubtedly the strangest thing you had ever seen. “What the fuck?” you managed to ask, almost dropping your cookies. Tony turned to face you, his face partially hidden by something blue or black, a familiar dented, starred shield placed in front of him to block your view of his favourite parts. Despite the mask, you could tell he was completely unashamed of being caught naked with Cap’s gear.

“So, let’s not tell Capsicle,” he said before sauntering into his bedroom.

“FRIDAY?”

“Yes, Miss?”

“Can you book me a vacation far, far away from here?” you asked the AI.

“Of course I can.”

You nodded despite the AI being unable to see you and continued on the way to your bedroom to pack. “Oh, and FRIDAY? Send a picture of Tony from five minutes ago to Captain America.”

Chapter Text

Holidays with the Avengers tended to go awry for one reason or another. Alien invasions, civil wars, murderous robots, and a string of Tony’s one nighters usually kept the mightiest heroes on Earth from even having the energy to be festive. But you, their undeniable favourite assistant, were having none of it. Holiday cheer was in your blood no matter the holiday and you would be damned if the team didn’t get on board with it for once.

~*~

Valentine's Day

 

You were never really a fan of Valentine's Day, preferring the day after candy sales instead. But Clint had been texting you for weeks about his special plans with Laura and Vision had been doing extensive research to surprise Wanda and you had begun to feel inspired. You knew some other lonely Avengers who could use some love, even if it was only platonic. You had taken it upon yourself to plan a group dinner after watching Valentine's Day for the millionth time (because, let’s not deny that you were a secret romantic).

Skipping Vision and Wanda, you went straight for Steve. Steve rarely, if ever, made plans for the holiday of romance. He was dependable and even if he was the only one on board, he was always good company. You reached his door just as he was leaving his room. “Perfect timing! I have something for you!” you chirped as you handed him a handmade dinner invitation.

Steve blinked at you before scanning over the invite, his cheeks turning red. “That’s kind of you, but I-”

You threw your hands up in a stop motion, thinking you had given off the wrong impression. You so didn’t harbour feelings for Captain America (anymore). “Strictly platonic, Cap! Kind of a lonely hearts get together!” you rambled.

If Steve hadn’t started chuckling, you would have kept right on rambling. “Don’t worry, even I understood your intention. It’s just,” the super soldier explained, handing back the invitation, “Sharon and I have plans already.”

It was your turn to blush, feeling embarrassed. You had known about Steve’s crush on the former SHIELD agent even if you didn’t like her yourself. “Good. This was a test, you know,” you said quickly to try to save face.

“Oh?” inquired Steve, though his smile told you he could see right through your attempts.

“Someone has to make sure a guy your age remembers Valentine’s Day,” you huffed before turning and walking away from the man. It was only at that point you had noticed that he was definitely dressed to impress. You also knew Tony would find out and never let you live it down. The billionaire was definitely not getting an invite to your dinner you decided as you went to track down your next guest.

Why you had decided to find Natasha next, you could not say. You had not expected her to pull one of her hidden guns on you the moment you approached with a pink slip of paper in hand. Bucky had managed to explain - after he recovered from falling over laughing at your expense - that Valentine’s Day was not something ex-KGB assassins did.

 

“Besides, she’s my date for the range,” he’d added with his trademark smirk. Of course the Winter Soldier and the Black Widow would think target practice was a romantic way to pass an evening.

After that, things continued to go downhill rather spectacularly. Scott was taking Cassie to a Father-Daughter dance at her school. Rhodey was still in DC on Tony’s business. Thor had surprised you by knowing what the holiday was for Midgardians and then promptly announcing he was going to see Jane. You still had no idea why he hadn’t just gone to see her in the first place instead of stopping in to announce it to the whole team. You suspected, though, it had something to do with the dour look on Tony’s face. Bruce had placated the man enough to lead Tony away. There was no way you were getting between that bromance for the sake of company. Even Sam managed to get a date for the night though you were skeptical. He hadn’t forgiven you quite yet for watching him get his ass handed to him by Ant-Man.

That left you alone in the kitchen with Wanda and Vision. You could see sympathy in one’s eyes, curiosity in the others. “It would seem your plans for today have fallen through,” Vision commented and you felt the same pang of loss you felt whenever you heard the android’s voice.

“Do you want to join us?” asked Wanda.

“No thank you. I’m not interloping on your first Valentine’s Day,” you answered quickly. You made sure to leave the kitchen before the Sokovian woman could try to get you to reconsider. You weren’t going to let the Avengers spoil all your plans. If they didn’t want to appreciate your effort, you were just going to have to find a different super team. “FRIDAY?” you asked as you headed for the garage.

“Yes, Miss?”

“Get me the number for the Fantastic Four.”

~*~

Family Day

 

It was barely days after your first holiday get together attempt but your spirits were up and there was no stopping you. You would get the team to celebrate something with you and Family Day was definitely more appropriate than Valentine’s Day. The Avengers were a family after all; it was almost like the day was celebrating them! That was going to be your argument, anyway. You practically ran into the dining area, planning to shanghai them all at breakfast.

“This isn’t a real holiday, you know that right?” Tony stated after your whole speech about the importance of family. You were surprised to see his usual tumbler replaced with a coffee mug.

“It is so,” you replied childishly and defensively, folding your arms over your chest and glaring at the so-called genius. “It’s the third Monday of every February.”

“Name one place that celebrates ‘Family Day’,” challenged Tony as he managed to make finger quotes without setting down his mug.

“Canada,” you deadpanned.

“I don’t see any Canadians here,” Tony deflected.

You rolled your eyes and threw up your arms in defeat. You muttered a string of very unflattering things directed solely at your boss. Tony’s only response was to raise an eyebrow and sip at his coffee.

“If I may interrupt, Boss,” FRIDAY spoke up, making Tony glance towards the ceiling. “But according to Miss’ personnel files, she is from Canada.”

“Right. My counterbalance to the Star Spangled Banner over there,” Tony suddenly recalled. He casually ignored the looks he was receiving from the rest of the team to smile charmingly at you. “So, Great White North, how do you celebrate ‘Family Day’?”

Your eye twitched at the use of air quotes for the second time. “It’s just a day to stay home with your family, Tony.”

“There has to be something, Maple Leaf,” insisted Tony. “Does the whole family go ice fishing in the backyard? Polar bear racing in town square? Harvest the maple syrup? Village wide hockey games on the pond?”

The group let out a collective groan. “You can’t be serious,” spat out Bucky.

“I know, it sounds like the perfect place for you Frosty.”

Steve had to force Bucky to stay seated while Tony just smirked. It was clear he was enjoying himself. Of course he would; you had singlehandedly embarrassed your employer a few months prior with the help of your AI bestie FRIDAY. You had known he’d get back at you, one day. It seemed that it was finally that day.

“You know those stereotypes aren’t true, Stark,” Natasha spoke up.

“Then it’s not a real holiday,” Tony once again insisted, shrugging. He set his mug down and made his way to the door, beckoning you to follow. “Back to work, Poutine.”

“Do you even know what poutine is?” you groused as you followed behind your boss.

“Does it matter?”

“Yes, because now I want one!”

~*~


Easter

 

You had spent weeks preparing the compound for Easter. It was the first time in a long while that the whole team would be together - Clint was bringing his family and Peter was coming with his aunt. You’d taken care of the caterers, decorated the entire personal quarters of the compound, and had spent hours the day before dying eggs to hide around the compound for the kids to find. You had been able to recruit Steve, Sharon, and even Natasha to help with that task. She took her role as “Auntie Nat” very seriously and for that you were immensely grateful. Finally, a holiday that was running smoothly.

All that was left was for someone to put on the Easter Bunny costume. It hadn’t taken much to convince Steve to take the part. While not as close to the Bartons as Nat, Steve had enjoyed taking on the role of “Uncle” to the three Barton children.

“Is Tony back with the costume?” Steve asked in a hushed tone as he sidled up to you. His blue eyes sparkled with excitement as he looked down at you.

When you looked up, that same excitement was mirrored back in your eyes. Everything was going perfectly. There was no way anything could go wrong! “He should be. Let’s get this party started!” you answered as you took Steve’s hand and pulled him along to Tony’s room, where you had agreed to meet him before he left. “Barton’s lucky to have friends like you, you know,” you told Steve as the two of you walked down the hall to that led to Tony’s room.

 

“I love kids,” answered Steve. He glanced down at you. “He’s lucky to have you as a friend, too. You pulled together a great party.”

“Someone has to make sure you guys get to relax some times,” you said with a shrug. You stopped at Tony’s door and banged on it once before barging in.

“You really should wait for people to answer their doors,” Tony said as he emerged from his closet. He had a burgundy garment bag slung over his shoulder.

“I’ve seen everything you have to offer, still not interested,” you countered, earning a laugh from Steve. You moved aside to let Steve fully into the room and reached for the garment bag your boss offered over. With a satisfied grin, you set it down on Tony’s bed and unzipped it, giddy about your first perfect holiday at the compound. Once the bag was open, you froze.

After a moment of stunned silence, you let out a string of curses that made Steve turn red.

“What did you do, Tony?” the blond asked sternly.

“Got her a bunny costume just like she asked,” Tony replied, feigning innocence.

You whirled around, costume in hand, and glared daggers at Tony. “You had one job, Stark! One. Job!”

“What the hell is that?” Steve asked, eyeing the skimpy costume in your hands.

“A bunny costume. As cute as you’d be as a bunny, Capsicle, I don’t think it’s your size,” Tony answered before holding his hand out to Steve. “Twenty-five cents for the swear jar, Mister,” he added without missing a beat.

“I said Easter Bunny, Tony! Not Playboy Bunny!” you snapped, throwing the costume at him. You stormed out of his room, furious. You would get a holiday without Tony being Tony if it killed you.

~*~


Canada Day/Independence Day

 

Tony Stark walked into the personal living quarters of the Avengers compound and almost dropped his tumbler of scotch. Everywhere he looked he saw red and white maple leafs. “FRIDAY!”

“Yes, Boss?”

“What the hell is going on in here?”

“Miss has decorated for July first,” replied the AI, implying it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“Why?”

“Because it’s Canada Day, you putz,” you said coming up behind Tony. The older man turned around to stare at you. “Canadian, remember?” Tony looked you over from head to toe, taking in your patriotic outfit - red skirt, white top with a red maple leaf right in the centre, maple leaf earrings, and matching necklace. He opened his mouth to speak but you stopped him. “Yes, I’m aware we’re in America. I’m aware Independence Day is in three days. You owe me this after Easter.” You reached up, taking hold of Tony’s shirt, and pinned a maple leaf to it quickly. “You know you wanna let your inner Canuck out,” you teased before patting him on the arm.

“You know you’re going to make Spangle’s cry with all this un-American stuff, right?” asked Tony.

You raised an eyebrow at Tony. “If anyone understands patriotism, it’s Steve. You do realize that, right?”

“I’ll make you a deal. You wear what I pick out for the fourth and I won’t say another word about all your maple leaves,” offered Tony before taking a casual sip from his glass.

Of course your eyes narrowed at your boss’ suggestion. He looked sincere - when didn’t he when he wanted you to do something less than pleasing? Sometimes making a deal with Tony Stark was worse than making a deal with the devil. The devil wasn’t still trying to get back at you for sharing his brand of debauchery with Captain America. “What’s the catch?”

“No catch. I simply want to see you looking festive for our beach barbeque.” Tony extended his free hand to you expectantly.

You knew you could refuse. Tony wouldn’t take down your Canada Day decor and you both knew it. You should have refused. Instead, you shook the older man’s hand. “Deal.”

 

---

 

Three days later, you regretted your choice.

“A deal’s a deal,” Tony reminded you, grinning his insufferably smug grin. If looks could kill, he knew he’d have died half a dozen times in those few minutes. Since he wasn’t, he motioned to the cover up you were wearing. “Off with it.”

“If she doesn’t want to show off her bathing suit, leave her be Tony,” Natasha told her fellow Avenger. Unlike you, the woman had no problems showing off her bikini.

“I thought you said you couldn’t wear a bikini anymore, Nat,” Steve commented as he and Bucky joined them. The two super soldiers each carried one of the huge coolers the team packed for their outing. Wanda and Vision weren't far behind with the remaining two. Vision aside, all the Avengers were in their swimsuits as well.

Natasha shrugged. “Thought Barnes needed to be reminded how he ruined perfection.”

“You look fine, Natasha,” you pointed out. The other reason you wanted to stay covered - you were feeling just a little self-conscious about how you looked in your bathing suit compared to Natasha Romanoff.

Tony just rolled his eyes before casually draping his arm around your shoulders. “What Great White North here isn’t telling you is we had a deal. I suffered through her brand of national pride and she had to wear something of my choosing today.”

“Now you definitely have to show us, Doll,” teased Bucky.

“That’s the spirit, Frosty!”

“I’m sure it’s not as bad as you think,” added Steve.

You fixed Bucky with your death stare as you shrugged Tony’s arm off of you. You would get Tony back for the indignity you were about to suffer. You grabbed the hem of your cover up and yanked it up and off, your cheeks a bright red.

“Oh my god!” you heard Bucky crow at the exact moment your cover up hit the ground. All you could do was glare down at the sand. “That’s your shield!”

“Tony,” groaned Steve as he covered his own face with his hands.

“I’ll send you a picture, Cap, so you can judge who wore it better,” Tony told Steve.

It was your turn to groan at Tony’s antics. Of course Tony would give you a bikini that left your important parts covered with images of Steve’s iconic shield. You, of course, appreciated the planning Tony had put into his prank. After you’d directed FRIDAY to send Steve a picture of Tony’s very Tony-like use of Steve’s gear, you’d wisely left on an unapproved vacation (Steve had later fixed that for you, of course) where you’d stayed off the grid. You had returned to dozens of texts and emails from Tony, swearing revenge.

Having finally returned the favour, Tony could only grin triumphantly as he snapped several pictures on his phone. “No thanks necessary, Stars and Stripes. It’s been an honour to do my part to help move patriotism along,” he continued on chatting.

Steve quickly silenced his phone when it chimed the arrival of a text message, shooting you an apologetic look. You started to smile comfortingly at Steve but stopped the moment you heard several more ringtones playing all around you.

“Anthony Stark, did you send that to everyone?” you demanded, anger and horror mixing on your face.

Tony looked around at the other Avengers checking their phones (Again, except Vision, who had no need of a phone) before turning to face you. “Oops?” he managed before backing away from you.

“TONY!!”

~*~

 

Thanksgiving Part 1

 

“Why does this place smell so good?” Bucky asked as he entered the kitchen that fine October day.

You turned from where you were working on mashing potatoes. “Today’s Thanksgiving. I sent you an email,” you told him.

The former HYDRA agent just stared at you. “I know I was brainwashed and frozen for several decades, but I know they didn’t change the date of Thanksgiving.”

You pointed your potato masher at Bucky with mock menace. “You, Mr. Smart Ass, have just been recruited to help me cook for your sass.”

“Move aside and I’ll show you how a pro does potatoes,” Bucky replied, making you laugh as you tossed him an extra apron. He pulled back his hair and extended his flesh hand toward you to take the utensil you still held.

“Can you even cook, Barnes? You did just say you were frozen forever,” you quipped as he went to work.

“I used to help my Ma in the kitchen when I was a kid,” answered the man.

You smiled broadly. You loved when Bucky made progress with his memories. The more he recovered, the weaker HYDRA’s hold on him got. “Get mashing, then,” you ordered playfully.

“Yes ma’am,” your friend said, saluting you with the potato masher.

Several hours and more friends later, the dining table was laid out with a Thanksgiving feast fit for an Asgardian banquet. Or so Thor said as he entered the room.

“You know this isn’t the real Thanksgiving, right?” Tony stated as he took a seat at the head of the table.

“Tony, don’t start,” warned Steve as he took a seat close to where you sat at the opposite end of the table.

“Where’s the pilgrim hats and football? You northerners killed this great holiday,” the billionaire continued regardless.

“The Alouettes and the Eskimos play today,” you said calmly. You picked up the carving knife just as Tony started to say something about them not being real football teams.

“I would caution you against speaking,” Thor spoke up. You smiled gratefully at the God of Thunder. “My lady, you may proceed with your festival and the giving of thanks.”

You smirked smugly at Tony as you began to carve the turkey. When you finished, without another snarky comment from Tony, you looked around at the gathered Avengers. Everything was going smoothly and you couldn’t help feeling proud about finally pulling off a perfect holiday with the team. Plates began to be passed around and everyone began to dig into the feast before them. You basked in their compliments, feeling content and thankful.

“You know it’s still October, right?” Tony asked, locking eyes with you. You felt your eye begin to twitch, which only caused Tony’s smile to widen.

“Hey FRIDAY, can you please tell us who had Thanksgiving first?” you asked curtly.

“The first Thanksgiving took place in Newfoundland in fifteen-seventy-eight, Miss,” FRIDAY replied.

“Things that happened in Newfoundland don’t count,” Tony stated quickly, the annoyance of being wrong clearly getting to him. He was going to have the last word on the subject whether anyone else liked it. He watched you closely, daring you to react. He enjoyed your reactions to his comments.

And you knew this. You knew you were playing right into his hands by reacting. After a day of cooking and running around to make sure everything felt Thanksgiving-y, you were tired. All you had wanted to do was sit to an amazing meal with the people who had grown to be more like family than colleagues. Apparently, you were asking for far too much. And after so many failed holiday attempts, you’d had enough. You could only plead insanity when asked later about what happened next. Because before anyone knew what was going on, you included, you had a spoonful of mashed potatoes in your hand. In less time than it took a person to blink, those same potatoes were covering Tony’s face, hiding his smug grin from everyone.

“Please tell me someone got that on video,” Sam said quietly, trying his damndest not to be the first person to start laughing. And then he was hit with what you assumed was cranberry sauce.

“Yes!” cheered Thor before grabbing a dinner roll from the basket on the table and throwing it across the table at Bucky. The Asgardian roared with laughter when it hit the metal armed man’s forehead.

The team stood frozen as they waited for Bucky to react. Though he’d come a long way in his recovery, he was still a wild card. You, of course, caught the mischief dancing in his eyes before he returned fire on Thor. The room erupted into utter chaos after that.

You learned possibly the most valuable thing that night - never engage the Avengers in a food fight.


~*~


Remembrance (Veteran’s) Day

 

For the first time in your life with the Avengers, you had genuinely worried the team. You were quiet, almost melancholy. The date was not lost on them - they had their poppies pinned to them just as you did - and it was the one of the rare times even Tony was somber.

“Hey Governor General,” Tony said as he sat next to you on the couch. He poked your arm tentatively. “Did you know your people have been fighting Denmark for a rock in the middle of the Atlantic for as long as the Geezer Squad has been alive?”

Sam, Steve, and Bucky all waited for your reaction to Tony’s question. In truth, they had sent the man over to see if he could get more than vague, one word responses from you.

“Hans Island,” you corrected almost automatically.

Tony glanced back at the three veterans at a loss for words. “It’s a rock,” he insisted.

You sighed - not dramatically like you usually did when Tony tried to bait you with Canadian trivia, but sadly. “They swap out flags and leave each other alcohol. It’s an island.”

“Sounds like your kind of party Stark,” Bucky said, trying to engage you.

You looked up and over at Bucky. “I have to… Go make sure Agent Hill’s new trainees have their security cards…” you murmured before getting off the couch.

“Are you okay?” Sam asked.

You just gave him a half shrug before walking off.

“I told you three this wasn’t going to do anything,” Tony almost growled. He had genuinely tried to talk them out of their plan to provoke some life out of you. He never should have gone along with it. “She’ll be back to her normal, sassy self tomorrow. Just let her be today,” he instructed before getting up from the couch as well. He knew Steve, Bucky, and Sam meant well but he had to do some damage control (for once). “FRIDAY, get the good florist on the line,” he instructed as he headed for the garage.

When you finally returned to your room that night, a huge vase was sitting outside your door. You stopped short, a gasp escaping you. The vase held a mix of carnations and alstroemeria along with a red and gold coloured card. You didn’t have to read it to know who it was from. Instead, you wiped at the tears forming in your eyes and just shook your head. You had a pretty amazing boss.

~*~


Thanksgiving Part 2

 

Your second chance at Thanksgiving was a much bigger affair. It was understandable since the team was predominantly American. Wanda, Natasha, Thor, and you were the only ones who weren’t, not that it made any difference. Natasha had been working for SHIELD and the Avengers long enough to have holiday traditions that probably didn’t involve assassinations (you hoped) and Thor was always up for a feast. You were from Canada and were aware of the difference in Thanksgiving dates, so you’d explained things to Wanda. Coming to North America from Sokovia had given the Scarlet Witch a huge dose of culture shock at first, but she’d adapted easily to her new home.

So for the second time that year, you found yourself preparing a Thanksgiving feast with Bucky Barnes until some of the other guests started arriving. May Parker had been the first to join you two, which you didn’t mind. You liked the older woman; she reminded you of your own aunts back home.

Soon Clint had made his way over and you handed him an apron. You knew the man was handy in the kitchen and had no intention of letting him get away. Not far behind him were SHIELD agents Phil Coulson and Jemma Simmons. Tony had gone all out, encouraging Maria Hill to invite Coulson and his team to dinner as well. It was no secret the original Avengers considered Phil Coulson to be part of the team.

“Now this is a real Thanksgiving.”

You stopped cutting up vegetables and turned to face your perpetual tormentor. “Didn’t Thor warn you last time not to piss me off when I have a knife in my hand?”

“When have I ever listened to Hammer Time?” Tony asked as he reached around you for a piece of celery.

“That was lame, even for you Stark,” you teased.

Tony just looked down at you, not moving out of your personal space even after picking through the veggies. “All good?” he asked quietly.

“Yeah,” you replied just as quietly. “Shocked you remembered an obscure reference to the types of flowers I leave on my grandfather’s grave but not my nationality.”

“Someone’s gotta keep the mystery alive,” countered the Avenger.

You just leaned closer to Tony and kissed his cheek, surprising him. “Thanks, Tony.”

“Sure, kid,” was all he said before slipping out of the kitchen just as quickly as he’d appeared.

It was then you noticed Clint and Bucky eyeing you strangely. You narrowed your eyes as Clint said, “You and Stark, huh?”

“Jealous, Barton?” you questioned.

“You’re too young for Tony Stark,” the archer answered.

You let out a snort. “I’m too young for everyone but Sam, Old Man Barton.”

“Hey!” protested Bucky as Clint placed a hand over his heart in mock pain.

“You’re no spring chicken either, Bucky,” you added for good measure. You smirked when Bucky scowled and turned back to your task.

Unfortunately for you, Bucky wasn’t through with you. You felt something hit the back of your head and let out a grunt. “James Buchanan Barnes, did you just throw something at me?” you demanded without turning around.

“You got a problem with me, Sweetheart?” Bucky asked. You didn’t have to turn to know he had that cocky, self-assured look on his face. He knew you couldn’t do anything that could hurt him.

“All men are like that,” May told you with a shake of her head.

“There’s a reason I’m not seeing anyone,” you told the other woman seriously.

“Peter says you’re more like their mother than an assistant.”

You nodded, confirming Peter’s assessment of the situation. “It’s exhausting taking care of all these giant man-children. A pet is less work.” Something hit you from a different direction, causing you to slam your knife down on the cutting board. “Damn it, Clint!” You turned and threw a cherry tomato at the retired archer.

“Simmons, Miss Parker, I think it’d be best if we beat a hasty retreat,” Coulson said, eyeing you, Clint, and Bucky.

“I second that idea,” Simmons agreed though she couldn’t quite hide her amusement at the situation.

“Good luck,” May said, patting you gently on the shoulder.

“Thanks, but I’m not the one who’s gonna need it.” When the three non-Avengers had left the kitchen, you turned around to level your fiercest death glare at Bucky and Clint. You had not expected the two of them to be waiting, each with a spray can of whipped cream in hand. “Don’t you two dare!” You reached behind you and grabbed the cutting board just as Bucky and Clint let loose with the whipped cream.

That was the Thanksgiving you learned never to turn your back to Hawkeye and the Winter Soldier in the kitchen.


~*~

 

Christmas

 

Everything at the Avengers’ compound was so perfectly cliché for Christmas Tony thought he was going to be sick. If his favourite assistant hadn’t expressed a deep love for the holiday, he wouldn't have gone through all the trouble. A huge fir tree that could have put the one at Rockefeller to shame stood right in the middle of the living room. A mountain of presents surrounded the tree in brightly coloured gift wrap. Personalized stockings were hung over a roaring, fake fireplace with as much care as Tony could muster. The task had bored him to tears and the last few stockings were all slightly askew. A feast was laid out on the table for the team, with a second table set up just for desserts. Tony had even traded his usual rock and roll tees for an ugly sweater sporting depictions of his armour (a gift that had been payback for a certain bikini; he wanted nothing more than to burn the sweater).

The only problem Tony had encountered? He could not find the one person he’d worked so hard to impress. None of the other Avengers had seen her all day, either. “FRIDAY! Where is she?” he demanded, hoping his AI would have this answer.

“Miss went back home for Christmas, Boss. She wanted to have a holiday without any trouble.”

Tony felt his eye begin to twitch. He’d created a perfect holiday and it had gone to waste - the irony was not lost on him for a second.


~*~

 

New Year's Eve

 

New Year’s Eve rolled around quickly that year - or so you believed. Your year had been quite eventful, after all. You were glad to see it come to a close. Next year, you were vacationing on your own for every damn holiday. All you planned to do that night was a whole lot of nothing with nobody. You were going to sit around in your pjs, maybe catch a movie on TV. Maybe you would even have a bubble bath.

Your hopes for a peaceful night were all destroyed the moment someone knocked on your door. You tried ignoring it but that only made the person more determined. You slipped off your armchair and stomped over to the door as best you could in fuzzy slippers. “The compound had better be under attack for you to bother me!” you shouted at the door even before you unlocked and opened it.

“Not exactly,” came Steve’s voice from the other side of the door. The rest of him followed as your door opened. He stood there, dressed in the finest suit you had ever seen him in, holding a simple looking box out to you. “Tony might burn the whole place down if you don’t come to his party though.”

Of course Tony would send Steve to persuade you out of your room. You had never once raised your voice to Steve Rogers.

“He really went all out to make Christmas perfect for you, you know,” Steve added as he waited for you to take the box from him.

“So he keeps texting and emailing me,” you sighed. There was a teeny, tiny part of you that genuinely felt bad about missing Christmas. It hadn’t been enough to sway your decision to ring in the new year alone. “I already told him no.”

“Please?”

That one word was your undoing. You might not have been crushing like a tween on Captain America, but how could you say no to him looking like he did and using his manners? You couldn’t and Tony knew it, too. The rich bastard was playing dirty and you knew it and still couldn’t say ‘no’ to Steve.

“Gimme that damn box,” you sighed, defeated. “I’ll meet you there when I’ve changed.”

Steve shook his head even as he handed over the box. “I was hoping I could escort you to the party…”

You raised an eyebrow at him. “What about Sharon?”

“She’s gonna go down with Sam and Bucky.”

“Tony put you up to this, too, didn’t he?”

Steve just smiled at you. “We all agreed it would be best if someone made sure you actually came out of your room.”

“Well played, Captain,” you conceded as you let Steve into your room. He perched himself on your abandoned armchair as you set the box on your coffee table. You lifted the lid off the box and found a note sitting on top of the tissue. You picked it up, instantly recognizing Tony’s writing. “‘Dear Maple Leaf, found this little number with my old man’s stuff. He was holding onto it for Spangles’ old flame.’” you read, glancing over at Steve. He watched curiously as you moved the tissue paper that was covering the dress. It was gold and glittery with a deep v neckline.

“I never knew Peggy had something that fancy,” Steve quietly mused.

“I wonder how Howard Stark got his hands on it,” you said as you eyed the dress.

Steve just shrugged before making himself comfortable on the chair. “I can’t think of anyone else better suited to have it.”

You blushed but took the dress to your bathroom to change. You’d have thought that Sharon would have been a better choice. The only thing you had in common with Peggy Carter was the ability to deal with the Stark men and not kill them. And, apparently, clothing size; the dress fit you perfectly. Of course, you would need to find shoes in your closet to go with it. Your fuzzy slippers just didn’t do it justice. You slipped them off before heading to your closet.

“Wow, you look amazing,” Steve spoke up when you left the bathroom.

You mumbled a quick thanks before you started digging around in the closet for a pair of shoes that wouldn't kill your feet before midnight. Once you had, you slipped them on quickly. Steve got up and offered you his arm.

“Ready to go?” he asked.

“I guess so,” you answered as you took his arm. You expected to feel awkward - you were on the arm of the beau of the woman whose dress you were wearing. But you felt rather at ease - maybe you were channelling your inner Peggy Carter? - and found yourself almost excited to attend the party. Tony’s parties had a reputation for being extravagant.

And his New Year’s Eve party did not disappoint. What was normally space reserved for random multipurpose use had been transformed. Everything was decorated in black, gold, and silver. Icicle lights hung from the ceiling, twinkling like stars. Tables and chairs were covered in black tablecloths with silver cutlery and gold dinnerware.

“Damn he went all out,” you said to Steve as you took it all in.

Steve nodded. “We all pitched in. You tried so hard to give us fun holidays and we felt bad for how they all ended badly.”

You threw your arms around Steve, hugging the super soldier as tightly as you could. “Don’t. How many people can say they’ve gotten to have food fights or trips to the beach with the Avengers?”

“But no one came on Valentine’s Day. And all the skimpy outfits Tony tried to get you to wear had to be annoying,” countered Steve as he returned the hug.

“We both know I wore the shield better than Tony,” you stated with a laugh.

“You and Spangles are looking pretty cute there, Maple Leaf. Solving trade agreement problems with a hug?”

You and Steve heaved sighs at Tony’s timing and bad NAFTA joke. “Don’t you have people to mingle with?” you asked your boss.

“Mingling is so much better with a beautiful woman on your arm,” the billionaire answered before offering you his hand. “No shenanigans, mischief, or other hijinks, scout’s honour.”

Steve scoffed at that and you couldn’t help but giggle. If Tony Stark was a boy scout, Steve Rogers was a saint. But you were the assistant to Tony Stark first and you supposed it wouldn’t hurt to get some brownie points by obliging him. You released Steve’s arm and took Tony’s hand.

“Don’t take all her time, Tony,” warned Steve.

Ignoring the original Avenger’s comment, Tony pulled you close so he could wrap an arm around your waist. “So I invited your friends the Fantastic Four,” he said casually as he pulled you away from Steve. “Why does that Flame Head think you’re in love with him?”

“A lady doesn’t kiss and tell, Stark,” you answered as the two of you slipped into the crowd.

The party flew by in what seemed like the blink of an eye. You mingled with Tony, quickly at that, before getting to do your own thing. You danced with just about every Avenger, even Peter (it had been the only way to spare him the agony of watching Tony flirt with May Parker). Natasha had convinced you it would be a life or death situation if you didn’t join her, Maria Hill, and Melinda May in doing shots. And, true to his word, Tony was on his best behaviour. Before long, the countdown to midnight was upon you. You watched as all around you people grouped together to ring in the new year with the people they loved.

 

---

 

Tony Stark

 

“Makes you kind of wistful, doesn’t it Nanaimo Bar?” a familiar voice purred in your ear as an arm dropped around your shoulders.

“Did you have to google that one?” you asked, surprised at your employer’s knowledge of the Canadian dessert.

“I’m more cultured than you give me credit for, Ketchup Chip.”

You just rolled your eyes, trying to look annoyed and failing. “You’re acting all chummy. Shouldn’t you be front and centre for this countdown?” You shifted slightly so you could look at your boss.

Tony just shrugged as he glanced down at you. He wasn’t the tallest member of the team, but he still had a few inches on you. “I’d rather be with you at midnight,” he said sincerely. The guests counting down broke out into a cheer all around you and Tony. You could hear the sound of fireworks going off even as silver and gold confetti began to rain down on the room. Tony leaned in and kissed you soundly on the lips.

Surprised, you stared up at Tony before through sense to the wind and kissing back. It was Tony Stark and the opportunity to kiss him didn’t come around as often as one might think. You were going to have this moment and enjoy it. You knew once it ended, you and Tony would go back to your usual routine.

“So does this mean you’ll wear that bunny costume for me now?”

Just like that, your moment with Tony was ruined. You punched his arm before pulling away from him. “Don’t push your luck, Stark.”

“Whatever you say Canuck.”

~*~


Steve Rogers

 

“Did you enjoy the party?”

You almost jumped at the sudden interruption of your thoughts by Steve. You turned to face him, softening when you saw how apologetic he looked. “I thought you and Sharon would be having a midnight make out session right now,” you said, looking for the fair haired woman.

Blushing, Steve answered, “She got called away an hour ago.”

“An agent’s job is never done, huh?”

“At least I have a friend to ring in the new year with,” Steve added, smiling fondly at you.

You couldn’t help blushing faintly at that. Once upon a time, you would have given anything to be Steve Rogers’ first kiss of the new year. Being his friend was even better. You knew there would always be someone in your corner and that was a much better deal. So you nudged him playfully with your shoulder. “Don’t go getting all sappy on me now, Cap. We still have ten seconds to go.”

Steve nudged you back before joining in on the countdown to midnight. As soon as the “one” had left his lips, you were placing a light kiss on his cheek. “Happy New Year, Steve. Thanks for making me come tonight.”

“That’s what friends are for,” the first Avenger replied before catching you up in a hug.

 

~*~


Peter Parker

 

“Isn't it past your bedtime?” you asked as you approached Peter Parker. Apparently you were channeling your boss as you approached the young Avenger-in-training.

“Ha ha, very funny,” sighed Peter.

“Not having fun?” You leaned against the wall next to the sullen looking teen and folded your arms over your chest. “I guess Tony’s parties aren’t very kid friendly.”

Peter just let out a pained groan. “He keeps flirting with May. It’s so awkward.”

“You don’t want a rich Uncle Tony?” you teased. You knew Tony had a thing for the young hero’s aunt; you even shipped it periodically. But you also understood how awkward it must be for peter to see his mentor and his aunt flirting like a bunch of love sick teenagers.

“I thought you had a thing for Mr. Stark to be honest,” offered Peter as he glanced over at you.

You scowled at his smirk; you knew your cheeks had gone rec just from the comment. It wasn’t as though you had never thought about the idea before. You were a woman with two perfectly working eyes, after all. But Tony Stark was your boss and there was a certain line that even you wouldn’t cross.

“You remember this the next time you come here to train, Parker. FRIDAY and I are pals, remember?” The colour drained from the young man’s face and you couldn’t help smirking back at him. Probably you wouldn’t mess around with his training, but he didn’t need to know you had developed a soft spot for him.

“Aw, come on. You know you’re my favourite member of the team,” Peter insisted, hoping to buy his way back into your favour.

You laughed and leaned down to kiss the young man on the cheek just as the count down to the new year finished. His cheeks went an adorable shade of pink as he realized what had just happened. “Happy New Year, Peter,” you told him before pushing away from the wall and leaving him to compose himself in private. He really was just too adorable not to mess with.

 

~*~

 

Loki Laufeyson

 

You felt out of place. You spent the majority of your time keeping the Earth’s mightiest heroes functioning that you didn’t have much time to go out and meet people. Everyone you did meet was some part of the superhero community in some way or another. On top of it all, you had basically become Tony’s new Pepper Potts. It was your job to make sure Tony wasn’t handed things (you had not missed the fact that his issues did not apply to alcohol) and otherwise make sure he was a functioning human being. You made sure all of them were properly functioning human beings.

So when a man dressed in a perfectly tailored suit that wasn't Tony Stark practically appeared by your side, you were more than a little surprised. He was not someone you’d ever met before though you knew his face.

Loki, the brother of Thor.

What the trickster wanted with you or why he was at the party in the first place was a mystery to you.

“I thought this party would be much livelier,” he said casually.

“They usually are,” you answered. You were sure if Tony’s intent had been anything but giving you a good holiday for once there would be much more going on.

You could practically feel the Asgardian eyeing you with intense scrutiny. “Interesting,” he mused.

“What is?” You knew you would regret asking, but it wasn’t every day you got to have a chat with Thor’s brother.

Loki just smiled at you - handsome, but without a doubt ready to cause trouble would be how you’d describe it. “That the woman these Avengers rely upon is… you.” His smile suddenly seemed more predatory than it had a moment before. “Such a fragile creature.”

You scoffed at the god. “Not as fragile as I look, Asgardian.”

“I can see why they keep you around,” he added as he looked you up and down.

“Watch it. I’m not some defenseless little girl.” No, which you definitely weren't. You secretly wished you had a pair of hockey gloves to throw down in challenge (you would never admit that to Tony, of course) and prove to the antagonistic man just how wrong he was.

“My dear, that is exactly what I was hoping for,” Loki told you before offering you his hand.

Without hesitating, you accepted his hand and everything you knew would come with it - adventure, mischief, and not being alone as the new year rushed in to greet you.

 

---

 

“Has anyone seen Loki?” Thor asked some time later as he and the other Avengers cleaned up what they could.

“You brought your brother to my party?” demanded an incredulous Tony.

“He is trying to change his ways,” replied the God of Thunder.

“Probably not the best time to have dropped that on us,” Steve pointed out. “I don’t think the guest of honour is ready to handle a second Asgardian.”

“Where is she, anyway? She’s usually the first one out here bossing Stark around,” asked Natasha. The red haired assassin stopped what she was doing to look around at the group.

“I swear to god, Reindeer Games better not have laid a hand on her,” Tony practically said hissed at Thor. 

“Loki has changed. He knows it is futile to attempt to enslave Midgardians,” Thor answered in Loki’s defence. He was met by looks of doubt from his fellow Avengers.

“Maybe we should try to give the guy the benefit of the doubt?” Bucky spoke up, feeling compelled to come to the defense of a man he barely knew. He’d been in the same position himself.

“You were brainwashed, Frosty,” Tony quickly pointed out. “Loki’s just a spoiled brat.”

“He is… not wrong,” sighed Thor.

Bucky opened his mouth to speak once more but was cut off by the sounds of a door opening and closing quite loudly and the sound of familiar giggles. He, along with the rest of the team, turned to see you with Loki in front of one of the supply closets.

“What the ever loving hell is this?” demanded Tony; the men was never at a loss for words in any scenario. He began to gesture wildly at you and Loki - your dress was wrinkled and slightly askew; Loki’s jacket and tie were gone and the buttons on his shirt were definitely not done up properly.

All you could do was grin like a fool at your friends. “Oh, hey, I thought the cleanup was DUM-E’s job?” you asked. Tony’s bumbling first mechanical marvel had been assigned permanent janitorial duties and you had developed a soft spot for the robot.

“What. The. Hell.”

“Is it not the Midgardian custom to give a kiss the first day of your new year?” Loki asked, his hand securely around your waist.

“It’s almost three in the morning,” replied Steve, his voice strained.

“It was a really good kiss,” you answered with another giggle.

“You were right, Brother,” Loki said to Thor. “She really is quite enchanting.” Thor just shrugged when the others turned to glare at him.

“Well, we’re going to head to bed. Thanks for the party Tony, Steve.” You waved goodbye to the team before heading off, ignoring Tony’s protests that followed you out.


~*~


Clint Barton

 

“You know, I never understood this whole midnight kiss thing.”

“That’s because you’re a terrible unromantic old man,” you replied without missing a beat.

“I’m not old,” grumbled Clint as he bumped your shoulder with his own.

“Is that a grey hair I see?” You watched the colour practically drain from Clint’s face as he began to gape at you in horror. “You know, I think the salt and pepper look suits you.”

 

“You used to be my favourite,” the archer continued to grouse at you.

“Remember that the next time you need me to bail you out of trouble,” you teased as you turned to face the older man. There was a playful smirk on your face as you looked him up and down. “Like the next time you decide to bring the nerf guns over.” You poked his chest for emphasis to let him know you meant business.

“That was one time!”

“Maybe you need to get glasses or something. Your eyes do tend to go the older you get, Gramps.” Clint just reached over and ruffled your hair, making you thankful you hadn’t done anything too elaborate with it. “Shouldn’t you be with Laura right about now?”

“She went to check on the kids and never came back.” Before you could crack another old man Barton joke, the archer leaned in and pecked you on the cheek. “Happy New Year, kid. Don’t party too hard.”

You just scowled and smacked his arm. “Go to bed, Geezer!” you called as Clint walked away from you.

~*~


Bucky Barnes

 

As the countdown to the New Year began, it was all suddenly too much for you. Tony’s parties tended to have that effect on you. Just being around Tony during the day was exhausting but his parties were enough to make you want to curl up and sleep for a week or several. Tony was who knows where, leaving you free to slip away to some quiet corner. If you didn’t know that Tony would come looking for you after whatever huge finale he had planned for the party, you would have went back to your room.

“You have enough of that circus, too, Doll?”

You stopped halfway to the dark nook you had been headed towards, turning to scan the hallway. Only one person called you “Doll” and he was a masterful hide and seek player. You wouldn’t see him until he wanted you to.

“Should have figured you’d be skipping out Bucky,” you said to the empty air around you.

“Stark won’t care that you’re not at his side?” inquired the former HYDRA assassin as he slid out of the shadows in front of you. You just shrugged; whether Tony cared or not was pretty irrelevant at the moment. You were your priority. “Did you at least have some fun? Stevie was worried you would have another disappointing holiday.”

Closing the distance between the two of you, you answered with a nod. The party was fun and it was the perfect, extravagant New Year’s Eve you had come to expect from Tony. All your friends were there despite all the extra people, so you’d finally gotten the holiday gathering you kind of wanted. No one had ended up the victim of a Tony Stark prank or covered in food. And you’d even gotten Tony off your back about Johnny Storm without having to give him a million and ten details. Things had gone great for you.

“Did you have fun, Buck?” you queried, changing the topic off of you quickly. You watched the thoughtful expression on Bucky’s face carefully, trying to determine the answer. You knew it could go either way with the super soldier. Unlike Steve, Bucky Barnes did not wear his emotions on his sleeve and that sometimes made your job harder. You could never tell exactly what he was thinking unless he wanted you to. Most of the time, you knew it was an unconscious reflex but there were times you suspected he did it just to mess with you.

“It was somethin’ else, better if I had a gal for midnight,” he answered. His expression shifted suddenly and you saw the mischief in his blue eyes.

Clearly, this was one of the latter times.

“I’m sure Nat is around here somewhere,” you offered dryly.

“If I wanted to get shot, she’d be the first person I’d pick.” Bucky chuckled when he noticed your raised eyebrow. “She’s got a weird thing going on with Banner right now.”

“Are you afraid of Bruce?!” Your amusement was plain as day at the idea of Bucky Barnes being afraid of Bruce Banner. You adored the good doctor when he was around. Of all the people Tony worked with on a regular basis, Bruce was the one who understood your struggle the most. You had been happy as a bird with a french fry when Bruce had returned to the team after his sabbatical.

Bucky let out an annoyed grunt, narrowing his eyes at you. “Banner doesn’t worry me. The guy he turns into does.”

“Sure, sure,” you replied, still trying not to chuckle at the mental images of Bucky running from Bruce you were envisioning. “You know all the girls are in the party, right? Even if you’re not interested in Nat, she’s been known to dabble in match making.”

That time you were rewarded with an eye roll from the trained assassin. “You’re starting to sound as dense as Rogers,” he huffed.

“You need to work on your flattery, Barnes. And your timing.” You motioned back towards the party, where everyone was cheering the fact that it was officially a new year. You chuckled when Bucky grunted again and leaned into to kiss him on the cheek.

“That ain’t a New Year’s kiss, doll,” he told you as he pulled you closer to him. Before you could protest and explain why a kiss on the cheek was absolutely necessary, Bucky was kissing you like you’d never been kissed before. It was the kind of kiss you’d only read about in romance novels - the kind that made you wonder if you were still even wearing any clothes. You clasped his arms as you felt your knees wobble. You swore you saw stars or fireworks or any number of those romance novel clichés you secretly wished for yourself.

And then, just like that, it was over and you were left to stare at a smirking Bucky incoherently. “That’s how ya do a New Year’s kiss, doll,” he teased lightly.

That was all you had needed to come out of your stupor. “You’re an ass, Barnes, you know that?”

“You’re blushing. Musta liked it, huh?” You swatted at him with a scowl while he just chuckled. Clearly there was no way you could do any damage to him.

You didn’t have the chance to respond. You hear the door to the party open and knew it was Tony coming to find you. “Hey USSR, Newfie, you’re missing the grand finale!” the billionaire called.

“I’m from Ontario, Tony!” you called over your shoulder. You just shrugged at Bucky, the moment completely shattered, and turned to head back so you could fawn over your boss’ efforts.

“So?”

“You have to be from Newfoundland to be a Newfie!”

Chapter Text

Times with the Avengers were split between battles and personal drama, with the personal drama often taking precedent over all else. The team's Civil War had been a nightmare of epic proportions. The Hulk had gone emo and into hiding. And Tony still hadn't quite gotten over some guy he met in space letting Thanos snap half the universe out of existence over a girl. All your attempts to placate him about that fell on deaf ears, of course, because Tony felt that “Dr. Magic Facial Hair was magically manipulating you to say that”.  

“Stephen has done no such thing,” you insisted for what had to be the billionth time. 

Tony just muttered in response to your overly familiar way of referring to Dr. Stephen Strange. 

“Anyway, I'm calling for a movie night,” you continued, “so you have to shut up about it. I mean it. We're having a fun night like the messed up family we are.” Tony opened his mouth to likely make some snarky comment but you just held up your hand in a “stop” signal. “You completely ruined my birthday Anthony. You owe me.” 

Tony's mouth snapped shut even as he rolled his eyes at you. Although he would never admit to ruining your most recent birthday, the billionaire also knew letting you have your way would be in his best interests. He still hadn't managed to purge FRIDAY of her loyalty to you. “No princess movies,” he said instead. 

You nodded. “I agree. Not until the next  Frozen  is out.” 

Tony cringed at the thought. 

 

~*~ 

 

“What are we watching?” Steve asked as he and Bucky entered the private living room at the Avengers complex. The two super soldiers had their arms filled with all sorts of movie snacks. You had tasked them with doing a grocery run earlier that day knowing they wouldn't disappoint with their choices. Bucky wad still in his “try everything once” stage and Steve knew the snacks that would please the team. 

“Only the best movie in the whole world,” you replied as you entered behind them. You were carrying an armful of soft drinks. 

“Didn’t you say that about the last movie we watched?” inquired Bucky. 

“And the one before that?” added Steve. 

Setting the drinks down, you just glared at the two of them. “I can disinvite you two.” 

“You won’t,” Bucky and Steve replied in perfect unison. They both smiled at you as you started taking the snacks from them to set out, rolling your eyes and muttering at them. You knew that they knew you valued your time with them as friends more so after half the team had turned to dust and stopped existing. 

“I appreciate your efforts at team bonding, but why is the Great Escapo invited?” Tony asked you from where he sat on the couch. 

“Such an interesting term of endearment,” drawled Loki from where he lounged on the opposite side of the couch. 

“Because you ruined my birthday Tony,” was your answer. 

“You can't use that forever.” 

You just shrugged as you looked around the room to see what was left to do. Almost the whole team plus Loki was assembled, snacks were out on the table, and FRIDAY was waiting to start the movie. You couldn't help the smile that spread across your face at the sight of them. Vision and Wanda sat nestled together on one of the loveseats, Bruce and Natasha on the other; Thor was occupying the armchair closest to Loki, a year's supply of pop tarts stacked by him; Steve, Bucky, and Sam were on the other full sized sofa, the two super soldiers finished with snack set up. You were indeed satisfied with the sight and finally allowed yourself to squeeze between Loki and Tony. 

“FRIDAY, could you start the film?” you asked as you got comfortable. The lights in the room dimmed and you leaned against your boss. The familiar chords of the film's opening number began to play and you could practically feel Tony's eye roll. 

“He looks like someone I tried to kill in the seventies,” Bucky blurted out at the first clear shot of Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum. 

“Not the right time to bring up your past life, Iceman,” Tony said a bit tensely.  

“Hugh Jackman isn't that old, Buck,” you added as you pressed closer to Tony. You didn't object as he wrapped an arm around you to hold you there, either. It would be better to just let the movie distract your friends again instead of picking at unhealed wounds. Enjoying the time together without a fight was the only thing you wanted. 

“I knew the real Barnum. He was not as good a man as this movie claims,” Loki claimed as the movie progressed. 

“Let me guess, you had a hand in that?” asked Tony. 

Loki turned to face you and Tony, a devilish grin. “Of course I did.” 

“You would boast about something like that,” muttered Tony. 

“A ‘thank you’ is in order,” continued Loki. He was enjoying getting under Tony Stark's skin. 

“Your leprechaun boyfriend needs to go back to watching the movie before I kick him out,” your annoyed boss practically hissed at you. 

“Not my boyfriend,” you said at the same time Thor answered, “Loki is much taller than your cereal elf.” 

“Can't you guys shut up for an hour? Please?” you asked crossly. You glanced from Tony to Loki, hoping your expression  was one of stern admonishment. It wouldn't due to be blushing over Tony's inaccurate boyfriend comment while scolding them. 

You could feel Loki's gaze on you, though, as you turned your attention back to the movie. At the same time, Tony's hold on you tightened once again. Somehow you found yourself in a weird romantic triangle with your boss and the God of Trickery simply by wanting to enjoy a movie. You would have protested more but everyone had once again fallen into silence to enjoy the movie (you hoped it was enjoyment, anyway.) 

“Wasn’t his partner Bailey, not Carlyle?” 

You threw a handful of popcorn at Steve, annoyed with his interruption of the The Other Side musical number. “Just watch the damn movie in silence, Rogers,” you warned.  

“But it’s not right,” protested the most patriotic man alive. “Buck and I went to their circus once.” 

“I remember that,” Bucky mused – quietly so as to not get another handful of popcorn thrown in his direction. 

“Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey,” continued Steve. You saw the fond smile on his face as he watched Bucky rather than the movie. It was almost enough to stay your hand at his continued interruption of the movie. You were about to lob another handful of your snack when Natasha spoke up. 

“Steve, if you don’t shut up and let us finish the damn movie, I will shoot you.”  

You hazarded a glance at the now blonde haired assassin in time to see Bruce shrug apologetically at Steve. Natasha held Steve in check with a steely glare that made even you shiver.  You made a mental note not to cross her but to also ask for advice on developing a stare that effective. You knew it would be beneficial for your working relationship to have such a powerful weapon at your disposal. It would also help keep your next movie night running a lot smoother. You wouldn’t miss another favourite movie moment if you were able to death glare everyone into silence nor would you need to continue to waste your popcorn. 

It seemed it would also come in handy with your boss, who was now resting his head on your shoulder, snoring softly. You poked his side – a secret ticklish spot of his – and let out a quiet chuckle when he jumped. “Stay awake, old man. The hundred year olds are making you look bad,” you whispered with a smirk. 

“I'll demote you.” 

“Birthday party.” 

“Touché.” 

With a satisfied smile, you nestled closer so you could rest your head on Tony's shoulder while also throwing your legs up and across Loki's lap. You had maybe less than half the movie left and with all the interruptions, you decided you should at least get to be comfortable. The film was almost to the first of your two favourite musical numbers and whether the team liked it or not, you knew you would be singing along with  This Is Me  at the very least. 

And sing you did. It was a catchy song of affirmation and you couldn’t not sing along. You pretended not to know Tony was rolling his eyes at you – because, honestly, when wasn't he? There was always an eye roll followed by some form of petty revenge between the two of you. It was practically a competitive sport for Tony and you. Tony had a secret scoreboard to keep track though he denied it; FRIDAY, Rhodey, and Bruce had mentioned it numerous times. So you knew there would be pay back for your impromptu karaoke session. 

“Hey, that girl looks like MJ.” 

Peter Parker's completely unexpected appearance made you jump, causing you to kick Loki in the process. “Where the… what are you doing here Peter?” you snapped, swivelling in your seat to glare at the youngest Avenger. 

Peter gave you a sheepish smile before handing something to Tony. “Mr. Stark texted me and asked me to come. He said he needed earplugs because of an emergency with a yodelling cat.” 

“Mr. Stark is going to get it,” you vowed. 

"Hey, this movie doesn't look that old but you know what it reminds me of? That really old cartoon with the flying elephant,” continued Peter, adorably oblivious to the threat directed at his mentor. 

“Isn't it past your curfew Pete? We wouldn't want Aunt Fox to worry about you,” inquired Tony, hoping he could embarrass the young man into leaving. 

Peter made a face at Tony. “She's not home. She’s on a date.” 

Tony looked shocked while you smiled sympathetically at Peter. “Do you want to hang out and finish the movie with us?” you asked as before making room between Tony and yourself. Peter clambered over the back of the couch and managed to fit himself in the space you made for him. Tony shot you an exasperated look over the teen’s head and you just shrugged apologetically. “After the movie I’ll let your aunt know you’re here so she won’t worry.” 

“You’re the best,” beamed Peter, oblivious to what was going on over his head.  

You reached over to ruffle Peter’s already messy hair. “Glad someone appreciates me.” Cue an eye roll from Tony and a chuckle from you before making yourself comfortable between Peter and Loki to finish out the movie. 

And much to your delight and surprise, the team managed to get through the ending without any more major outbursts.