You though that you would spend the days after the almost-confession/sex-night sexually frustrated and impatiently waiting for Tony to spring his surprise confession on you. Boy were you wrong.
Well, you were still sexually frustrated, and yes you did have anxiety attacks every other day, but it was for a completely different reason known as the Stark Expo. Tony obviously didn’t pay his staff enough because the moment Tony and you returned from Mallorca, there was a mountain of work waiting the two of you.
“ ‘Let’s go on a vacation!’ he said, ‘I don’t pay all those idiots in the office good money to make you sit here and do their work,’ he said,” You growled sarcastically under your breath as you sorted through the endless paperwork surrounding the expo.
To be fair, Tony was drowning in equal amounts of work as you were. Lots of the paperwork required his final approval and the blueprints Kaiba sent over all needed to be looked over by Tony due to the inclusion of arc reactors.
“He is sitting right here and can hear every word you say,” came Tony’s sardonic reply from across the table.
You stuck your tongue out rebelliously and continued to slog through the administrative mess. The fact that Tony did not continue the banter was proof of just how much work you were both drowning in. You and Tony exchanged looks and sighed. The two of you have been stuck in his workshop for the past 72 hours, with only coffee, tea and the occasional fruit salad keeping you guys going.
“What’s taking Bruce so long?” Tony whined, his stomach growling loudly in protest.
Normally, you would have taken time off to cook. However the holiday had rendered most ingredients in the fridge unusable and with the last minute overtime you were now pulling, there just wasn’t any time to go grocery shopping. You tried to make do with the yougurt and fruits left in the pantry, but your bodies demanded real sustenance. In a fit of desperation, Tony actually called Bruce to buy food for the two of you.
“I told you to just get JARVIS to order take out,” you sighed, your stomach growling in agreement.
Tony wrinkled his nose and tutted at you, “Hey now it is not my fault that my favourite pizza joint don’t do delivery.”
“You know, my sensei used to say, if you still have the energy to be picky, then you’re obviously not hungry enough,” you tossed out.
Tony’s face immediately turned contentious, but before he could say anything, the door to workshop opened, and the smell of food immediately filled the room.
“Oh glorious sustenance, I could almost kiss you Bru-,” Tony stopped short when he saw who the delivery person was.
“Please don’t do that Stark, I really don’t want to break your arm,” one Natasha Romanoff declared as she held out your box of pizza.
Ignoring the sulking Tony (not that he would admit that he was sulking), you got up grabbed the food from the redhead.
“Thanks, um…where is Dr. Banner?” You asked as you helped yourself to a slice of pizza, blatantly ignoring Tony who was wildly gesturing at himself. The childlike man could get his own pizza thank you very much.
“Fury needed him for something,” Natasha answered offhandedly, her interest occupied by the holograms that filled the room. “My god, this expo makes the Chitauri paperwork look cute,” she commented as she scanned through the documents you guys were working on.
You and Tony would have been a lot more concerned about having these documents seen by the Black Widow except:
1. If Natasha wanted, she could have acquired these information using her espionage skills anyways
2. SHIELD actually had a small degree of stake in the expo
“What kind of doomsday project is Fury working that he needs the big green guy but not Iron Man?” Tony, who had resignedly got up from his seat to attack his pizza, asked.
“The kind that requires gamma radiation expertise?” Natasha answered smoothly as she casually made an amendment to one of the documents. “You’re going to want to fill up a customs form for that, arms export ban,” she clarified.
“Oh so they want Bruce Bruce, not angry Bruce.”
“How is that arms?”
You and Tony said simultaneously.
By some miracle of god, or maybe just years of spywork, Natasha managed to catch both sentences. “Yes, Fury actually needs Dr. Banner’s expertise. Dr. Sumeragi said that there were some unique radiation signatures off the robot suits we brought in and needed a second opinion. And Kaiba’s virtual reality gadgets are considered arms because both the Stark and Kaiba goods are still on the militia to-watch list.”
“Hey, we’re doing renewable energy now k. Get with the program Romanoff,” Tony retorted defensively.
“Kaiba corp is a games company now,” you added.
“Decades worth of reputation dies hard,” Natasha shrugged as she flipped through yet another document. Before she could get too far however, Tony waved the holograms away, effectively ending the redhead’s reading spree.
“I was reading that,” the SHIELD agent said pointedly.
“And now you’re not,” Tony quipped.
Against your better judgement, you budged in. “Tony, be nice.”
“Make me.” Tony stuck his tongue out,
“I mean it Tony, behave or I’m suspending your cocktail privileges,” your narrowed your eyes.
“You wouldn’t…”he hissed.
“Wanna bet?” You levelled.
The stand-off continued for a few more seconds, but eventually Tony slunk back into his chair, sulking. You had won. While the billionaire took angry bites off his pizza, Natasha was eyeing the two of you with what could be considered an incredulous expression for the master spy (aka her eyebrows were raised). It took a few moments before she collected herself enough to speak.
“So, are you two together yet?” Natasha asked without beating around the bush.
Her question was greeted by a bout of tense silence.
Tony dragged his palm across his face and cussed under his breath. Of all the insensitive questions in the world...
You on the other hand huffed in frustration. You were just about over that issue and now she's got to bring it up again…you flicked your unfinished pizza crust into the box angrily in an attempt to release some of the frustration that was building up.
Natasha looked back and forth between the two of you. “Ookay...I'll take that as a no...”
Eyeing Tony purposefully, you gritted out, “Yea, you do that.”
It took another 2 more days of non-stop working, but the paperwork mountain was finally conquered. Coincidentally (or perhaps not so coincidentally), it was also a Friday. Which meant only one thing.
“Cocktails!” Tony exclaimed enthusiastically, kicking his chair off the work station as he did. You watched him spin around in his chair amusedly. The billionaire superhero could be such a kid at times.
“Dinner first, never drink on an empty stomach,” you chided good naturedly. Mentally, you ran through the list of things in the pantry and winced. “I’ll need to make a grocery run..” Pot roast would be good, sandwiches were probably faster but this was supposed to be a celebratory dinner of sorts.
“Um…actually,” Tony piped up, tone uncertain. You stopped your thinking and turned to him.
“Well, how should I put this,” Tony said, more to himself than to you. You waited patiently, Tony acting odd usually called for patience, lots of it. “Dinner is kind of taken care of,” he stated with an odd touch of tentativeness.
Nevertheless, you nodded. “Oh great, then I’ll just go prep the bar…come to think of it I haven’t had time to try out the juices we bought in Mallorca yet.” Your brain immediately went into bartender mode as you said that. Grabbing a spare piece of paper that was on the table, you started scribbling cocktail ideas.
Tony bit his lip and sighed, how should he do this. Upon hearing his sigh, you looked at him again. Okay, it’s official, something’s up.
“What’s up,” You asked, tone deadpanned.
“Nothing, absolutely nothing. Well okay, maybe there is this one little thing….” He stalled.
Rolling your eyes, you shot him you an irritated glare, “Tony. Spill.”
Heaving a loud sigh, Tony opened his mouth and then closed it, then after a few seconds of silence, he finally replied. “Okay, here’s the deal. Dinner is taken care of, but I need you out of the house for about….half an hour. Actually 45 minutes would be better.”
“Why?” Your simple question was met with a not so simple response. You watched Tony’s face contort into a complicated expression, one that you’ve seen very recently, on a specific night at a certain resort. And suddenly, things clicked. “Never mind, forget I asked.” Indeed, you won’t be repeating that mistake again.
Tony shot you a grateful smile, and your heart fluttered. “Wonderful, now get your wonderfully perky ass out of the tower, I don’t want to see you for the next 45 minutes.”
You wisely ignored the ass comment, but there was another problem. “Like out of the tower completely? I can’t just stay in my room or something?” Tony shook his head. Now it was your turn to bite your lip. “Um Tony…I can put two and two together. So unless my guessing skills had deteriorated badly over the past few days, I’m guessing the reason why you need me out of the house has something to do with what Natasha asked the other day?” Tony nodded, a little crestfallen, a reaction which confirmed your suspicions. “Hey, cheer up, I don’t know exactly what the surprise is.” Tony perked up at that, then upon realizing that you’ve basically declared that you’ve already figured out that he had planned a surprise confession, he glared at you. “Right, forget I said that. But yea…if this has to do with what I think it has to do with….I really need to shower, I’ve been cooped up here for the last 48 hours and I’m disgusting.” Making out while covered in grime is definitely not high on your to-do-list.
Tony nibbled on his thumb sheepishly, “Yes, shower…umm…that’s also kind of…”
“Taken care of?” You finished for him, an amused grin threatening to split on your face.
Tony nodded grimly, so much for you not figuring out the surprise. Oh well, at least you still didn’t know the whole gist of it, and Tony intends to keep it that way. Which meant getting you out of the house before you could puzzle more of it out. “On that note, you should totally get going. Here is…$20, go get yourself some coffee, or tea, or ice-cream. Actually don’t get yourself ice-cream, or food. You know what, just go on your grocery run anyways. We could use the food for breakfast or lunch tomorrow.”
Hustling up some more cash, Tony stuffed them all into your hands and shoved you towards the door. “Now go, before you ruin your surprise.” You chuckled in response but obeyed.
At the doorway, you suddenly remembered something. “Tony,” you tugged at his hand just as he was about to turn away.
You looked him in the eye, expression soft. “I lo-“ A finger on your lips cut you off. You almost gasped in surprise at how fast Tony closed the distance between the two of you.
His form towered over you, and you watched, mesmerized as his eyes raked over your lips with obvious desire. Instead of a kiss however, all you got was his thumb running across your lips. Leaning in, you shivered as Tony’s lips brushed against your ear. “Save that for later.”
You nodded dumbly and Tony took the opportunity to push you out the door.
“JARVIS, please make sure our lovely lady clears the building and only returns after 45 minutes.” Tony ordered.
“Yes sir.” The ever dutiful AI replied.
“I get it! I’m not welcomed here.” You mumbled with mock annoyance as you showed yourself out. Inwardly, your stomach was doing somersaults. Finally, progress!
You almost skipped back to the building, earning yourself a few concerned glances along the way, but you brushed them off. Arm full of groceries, you hummed a tune and bounced up the steps of Stark Tower, only to be greeted by an uninvited guest.
“Mr Rhodes?” You asked the military man who stood at the entrance of the tower, concern marring his face.
“Oh, Ms (l/n),” he nodded in your direction.
You noted his lack of uniform and the paper bag in his hands. “Is this a social call?” You asked carefully.
Rhodey shot you an unreadable expression. “Not exactly, Tony asked me to run some errands for him, so I’m here to make the delivery. It was supposed to be a drop and go, but I’ve been waiting here for the past 15minutes and JARVIS isn’t letting me in. Tony isn’t answering his phone either, so I’m getting a little concerned…”
You frowned. If it was unexpected visit, it would explain why Tony locked his best friend out of the building, he doesn’t like having unexpected appointments dropped onto him. Especially not military ones. But it was obvious that Rhodey was in on whatever Tony was planning, which meant that he should have been granted access. Nevertheless, it was possible that Tony was so caught up in whatever he was doing that he forgot to grant Rhodey access…but that’s what JARVIS was for. You see why Rhodey was concerned.
“JARVIS,” you called out loudly. There was no reply. “JARVIS…system reboot, authorization (f/n) (l/n),” you ordered. There was still no reply. “Fucking hell,” you cursed and walked to the nearest control panel. Flipping it open, you punched in the manual overwrite code on to have the console flash a system error at you.
Rhodey was stuck between marvelling at how much security access Tony has granted you and growing worry as all your access efforts were turning up system errors.
“Something’s wrong,” you declared.
To his credit, Rhodey just nodded instead of freaking out. “So now what?” He asked. As much as he wanted to take control of the situation, you still knew the tower better than him.
“We need to access the tower…we need to get to JARVIS.” You stated, your mind going a hundred miles an hour. “Follow me,” you gestured with your head and jogged to the back of the tower.
Rhodey followed suit, and you would have marvelled at the silly picture the two of you made, marching seriously with grocery bags in your hands, had the situation not been so serious. It took a while to get to the back of the tower despite the jogging, it was a big tower.
“This is one of the tower’s breaker boxes,” you said as you accessed the hidden panel behind the metal plating that covered the exterior of the tower. Opening the box, you bit back a curse.
“What’s wrong,” Rhodey asked urgently.
You stepped aside to let the man take a look for himself. “That’s not Stark tech is it,” he stated more than asked. The offending, spider looking device that latched onto the circuits in the breaker box continued to blink. It was AT technology, you recognized. Head whirling with possibilities, you realized with a renewed sense of urgency that you needed to get inside the tower and get to Tony. Thankfully, removing the device took almost not technical expertise, all it took was a simple yank. You watched as the circuit panel flashed and noted the blinking patterns of the light. You thanked every deity there was out there that Tony had taken the time to drill the tower’s basic security system and protocol into your head.
“Good, the tower’s system is rebooting itself, we should have JARVIS back about….now.” Exchanging quick nod with the military man next to you, you called out to the British AI. “JARVIS.”
“Ms (l/n),” he acknowledged, and you let out a huge sigh of relief. “Oh dear, it would seem that my system has been breached.”
“I know, what happened?” You asked.
“I was helping Mr Stark with his preparations when I felt the electronic attack on my system, I was unable to announce the intrusion before the attack hijacked my speech protocols, but I was able to put the building in lockdown before I was put to sleep completely.” You nodded, knowing that the AI could see and he took that as a sign to continue, “I’m disabling lockdown now, it would be best if we continued the conversation inside. It would seem that Mr Stark is missing from the tower.”
You and Rhodey didn’t need to be told twice, both of you made a beeline for the penthouse within the tower. Upon arriving at the top floor, both of you looked around wildly, hoping to see signs or hints that would tell you about Tony’s whereabouts. But there were no signs of struggle.
“JARVIS, I hope you got something,” Rhodey said as he inspected the room. You on the other hand, were staring at the candle-light dinner that was spread out on the bar, touched, worried and angry all at the same time.
“The attack only deactivated all my active protocols, but did not affect my passive functions. It would seem that I have managed to record the attack on the passive security feeds within the tower.” JARVIS announced after a few moments.
It wasn’t much, but it was something, and both your and Rhodey’s shoulders sagged marginally in relief. “Roll it,” Rhodey ordered. On cue, a holographic screen popped up before the two of you. You watched as a group of 8 masked perpetrators placed inside the circuit box and thereafter break into the tower. Instead of heading straight for Tony however, they went for Tony’s workshop in the basement. Then, you watched with daunting concern as the female figures of the attackers dissembled all of Tony’s suits in a short span of 25 minutes.
“Tuners,” you muttered under your breath.
“That cannot be humanly possible,” Rhodey breathed out in disbelief. Oh but it was, in fact they were already considered slow. A group 4 tuners, synchronized to the Pledge queen could dissemble one of Tony’s suits in under a minute. Whilst speed-assembly was a skill unique to AT technology, you knew that theoretically, with enough practice and understanding, it could be applied to other machinery as well.
Then the scene fast-forwarded to 5 minutes later, and you watched in horror as Tony was ambushed on the balcony, while he was spreading rose petals in the newly installed Jacuzzi tub. That explained the lack of struggle, and also the lack of forced entry and exit despite the building’s lockdown. Tony was already outside when he was attacked. To his credit, Tony actually managed to fend off 3 of his attackers before he was overwhelmed and sedated. You watched, anger rising, as one of them hauled Tony onto their shoulders and escaped on an odd-shaped jet.
“That jet is definitely not military issue, anywhere,” Rhodey stated.
No it wasn’t, you agreed mentally, that aircraft was built using AT technology. Your blood boiled, first these people attack the Kaiba mansion, then they trash Tony’s party, then they cause you and Tony to fall-out while putting Pepper in mortal danger and almost kidnap your mom, and now this.
Rhodey, who had no idea about your bloody background was shocked by the killer intent rolling off you. ‘She must really like Tony,’ he thought to himself. “This is way above my paygrade. We need to take this to SHIELD.” The air force commander said.
You agreed, even though your first instinct was to hunt down those son of a bitches and tear them to bits. You didn’t have the formidable support of Malik and the rest of the Kaiba security team, you needed information and resources if you were going to raise hell.
“I hope you don’t mind flying, this is the fastest way to get there and time is of the essence” Rhodey said as he gestured to War Machine that had flown in at Rhodey’s command. Apparently Tony had shared his suit-summoning technology.
Instead of answering him, you called for the AI. “JARVIS.” As if reading your mind, the mechanical arms at the take-off pad of the balcony suited you up. Once you were in what Tony dubbed the ‘passenger suit’, you nodded at the Iron Patriot. “Lets go.”
Nobody steals your charge, nobody.
Rhodey watched your form worriedly, and took yet another sip of the coffee that was offered to him. The two of you have been waiting in the meeting room for more than 15 minutes and all you got was ‘Director Fury will attend to you soon.’ You sat there, glowering, your coffee untouched.
Then, the meeting room door slid open and both of you turned, expecting the one-eyed director, instead it was yet another runner agent. “Director Fury says he’ll be around soon, please be patient,” he said, doing his best to mask his nervousness. Ah yes, he was one of the newer agents whom you threw around during one of your distressing spars.
Completely ignoring the agent’s words, you got up and exited the room. Rhodey shot an uncertain glance at the young agent and followed you.
“Commander Rhodes, Ms (l/n)! You can’t go there! It’s for authorized personnel only! The agent yelled, chasing after the two of you. Ignoring his calls completely, you stormed your way to the bridge.
“Commander Rhodes, Ms (l/n),” Fury acknowledged as you burst onto the bridge. “I believe I had my men tell you that I would be with you shortly.” He said calmly, with a hint of edge to his voice.
“Yes well, you were taking too long,” you shot back, your typical professionalism nowhere to be found. Right now you weren’t (f/n) (l/n), Tony Stark’s personal assistant. Right now you were the hell hound, and the hell hound takes shit from no one.
Rhodey’s eyes nearly fell out at the flagrant disrespect you were showing to the director of SHIELD. He knew you were upset that Tony was kidnapped but still…apparently the rest of the occupants on the bridge shared his sentiments and everyone was staring at you with varyubf degrees of shock.
Fury eyed you critically, mentally debating whether or not to call you out for your disrespect, but someone else beat him to it.
“You will show Director Fury some respect,” Agent Hill cut in from the side.
Your mood darkened further, and you made it known. Focusing all your killer intent, you glared at the female agent, and she immediately shut up. Even though Agent Hill knew that she had a good chance of taking you out, especially with a bridge full of other SHIELD operatives, but you had the intent to kill while they were only going to subdue you. That meant blood will definitely be spilled. For now, it was probably prudent to not antagonize you further.
Fury had obviously came to the same conclusion as his right-hand woman because he put his arm up, signalling for her and the rest of his agents to stand down. Your body-count was almost as high as Clint and Natasha’s, and you’ve only been in the business for a fraction of the time they have, pissing you off would not be a good idea.
Seeing as no fight was about to break out, you asked the most important question. “So, what’s the plan?”
“We seem to be having a bit of a quandary right now,” Fury started, purposefully not looking at you. You took note of this but made no move, yet. “Since yesterday, there had been no less than 6 attempts on Dr. Sumeragi. According to our intel, she is the prime target of this hostile organization.”
“But none of the attempts have been successful right?” Rhodey asked, his military instincts kicking in.
“No, we have devoted all available manpower to protecting Dr. Sumeragi.” You sensed a ‘but’ in there somewhere. “Which is the source of my quandary. SHIELD does not have the manpower she used to before the Hydra uprising. Currently, we don’t have the necessary men to look for Stark right now. But we are reordering personnel as we speak. A task force will be on it by tomorrow,” Fury finished.
He was being unexpectedly forthcoming, but then again, of course he was, he was basically telling you that SHIELD can’t help. You contemplated how you should phrase your reply carefully.
“Well we don’t have much time. Whoever these people are, they could be hurting Tony as we speak, so if SHIELD can’t get on it right away, I’ll just do it myself. Any information you have on the situation would be much appreciated.” Despite your mild annoyance, you decided to go for the more polite approach seeing as Fury was very generous with his explanation.
“I’m afraid I can’t do that Ms (l/n), our intel is classified and you are unfortunately not a SHILED agent,” the edge in his voice was back.
A million and one comebacks ran through your head, but you managed to shove them aside. There was no time to waste, especially not on arguing with Fury who isn’t going to give you any information. “In that case Director Fury, I have no more business here.” At that, you walked off. You had calls to make.
“Wait,” Fury called out, but you ignored him. You were done with SHIELD. “(l/n) I said STOP.” A team of 4 agents stepped in front of your path, forcing you to step. You whirled around and stared at Fury expectantly.
“The situation is complicated enough as it is, I cannot have you going rouge and complicating it further. This isn’t Japan, you have no jurisdiction here,” Fury pressed.
“Well then, you have my deepest apologies for all the inconveniences I’m about to cause you,” you threw back at him. Really, did it look like you gave a damn about jurisdiction? You made a move to push past the 4 agents.
“THIS IS NOT A REQUEST MS (L/N), THIS IS AN ORDER.” Fury barked.
Oh wow, raised voices, how intimidating, you rolled your eyes. “With all due respect Director Fury, it’s like you said, you’re not the one signing my paycheck, so you can’t order me to do anything. Good day director,” you bowed with mock pleasantry.
Just as you were about to storm off the bridge, the entire Helicarrier shook, static flashed on every screen and alarms rang off everywhere.
“WHAT’S GOING ON!” Fury bellowed
“Sir! We have a breach in our syste-…“ The technician on the bridge trailed off when every single screen on the bridge flickered to show the face of a familiar raven.
“(f/n)-nee?” Your blood froze at the shaky tone of his voice.
“Mokie?” You turned back and ran to the nearest console.
“(f/n)-nee!!” If the desperation in his voice didn’t set you off, the tears that were running down his face would have.
“Sir-“ An agent started but was waved off by Fury, if memory serves his right, this was the younger of the two Kaiba brothers.
“Stand down, it doesn’t seem to be a deliberate attack.” Agent hill muttered while everyone waited to see what the crying teen would say.
“Nii-sama, he…(f/n)-nee you have to get him back, I was, I shouldn’t have…” Mokuba choked out in between tears.
Your blood froze at the words ‘get him back’. “Mokie, I need you to calm down and tell me exactly what happened,” you said slowly. Your surrogate little brother nodded and took a few calming breaths.
“I was helping Nii-sama out with some prototype, I stepped out to grab dinner for both of us and-“Mokuba was suddenly cut off as he was pushed aside by a familiar blonde.
“Kaiba’s been kidnapped, it’s the same people who attacked the mansion. I’ve sent out feelers for them now, I should have intel soon. What’s the plan wild cat?” Malik asked, his tone light, but the shadows in his eyes betrayed his seriousness.
“We get them back.” You stated as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“Them?” Malik and Mokuba chorused.
“They took Tony,” your voice dropped several degrees.
Malik looked like he wanted to say something, but Fury had heard enough.
“Mr Ishtar, Mr Kaiba, I will overlook your hijacking of our system this once, on the condition that it is to never happen again and that you disclose your methods to us,” the aged director cut in.
“Of course,” Malik acquiesced. Whatever helps the one-eyed man sleep at night, after all there was no system in the world that the Kaiba corporation mainframe can’t hack into. Frankly, hacking into SHIELD wasn’t even part of the plan. Mokuba, in his moment of panic sent Noah to contact you, obviously it didn’t occur to the green-haired Kaiba that he should have at least paused and asked for permission if he found you on a military aircraft. Then again, the Kaibas weren’t known for their common sense.
“Where are you guys now?” You cut in.
“En route to you,” Malik said. At that you finally took stock of the actual background on screen. They were in a cockpit, the blue-eye white dragon jet’s cockpit to be exact.
“Meet me at Stark tower in 2 hours,” you threw out before anyone could say anything else. Malik nodded and the transmission was cut off. With the Helicarrier’s system back online, you turned to Fury. You had jurisdiction now, they took Kaiba. And new employment status or not, the hell hound only recognizes one owner. “I don’t suppose you could drop me off at the Stark Tower? It’s the least you could do,” you asked Fury with a sunny smile.
“I don’t suppose you could stay here and get Kaiba’s forces to collaborate with SHIELD once we have our task force arranged? It’s the least you could do,” the man levelled.
You chortled, “It was worth a shot.” And walked off to find a jet or helicopter that you could steal.
Rhodey, who returned to his senses called out after you, “Hey wait up!! I’ll give you a ride.”