2019-06-10 - What Do You Mean, Your Snickers Bar Is Missing?


Pepper and Steve talk over late lunch and dessert. Vacation plans are made in exchange for Broadway tickets!

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon Jun 10 00:33:54 2019
Location: Avengers Mansion - Foyer

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Theme Song



With summertime almost officially here (the temperatures are sure making it feel like summer), there are some minor changes going on around and mostly outside the mansion. The back patio area has brightly colored umbrellas set up here and there to shade the various seating options already available, and the main area has a pavilion-like arrangement offering still more shade — and better — tiny fans to create a breeze that randomly puff out mists of cool water.

Inside, many of the window treatments have been pushed further open to let more of the bright summer light into the foyer and living spaces. Even some of the artwork has been changed out for pieces that seem better suited to the bright airiness. Currently, the main front door is standing open, with a small crew of workmen carrying objects out toward a waiting panel truck that appears to be only about half occupied. Only slightly visible past the workmen is Pepper, her hair in a high ponytail and her work attire currently replaced with an ankle-length flowy dress that resembles a blue top over a boldly chevron-striped blue and white skirt.

The interior of the mansion itself has been modified to the point that even Captain America is tempted to drift off after his post-workout shower. Indeed, it's the distant sounds of the outside world echoing into the main foyer of the manion that rouses him with a soft snort. He blinks confusedly about his room before realizing that, yes, Rogers, you fell asleep.

After changing into a pain of jeans and sneakers to go along with his t-shirt (one of the bits of memorabilia sold around the city, deep-red with the classical Avengers 'A' upon his chest in white), Steve meanders downstairs to see Pepper hard at working directing as is her wont in things.

"Miss Potts," he greets, his voice carrying even as he approaches. "Interior decorating still? The place looks great," he adds, gesturing in a circle to include the entire building. "Plus, those fans? Those are a dream. Wish we'd had 'em back in the summers of my youth."

Pepper turns to smile at Steve when he approaches. "Well, just a few last finishing touches. I'm done not until at least August. I love this time of year, and I'm not afraid to admit that it's mostly because of those little fans. They didn't have them when I was a kid either. Now, I'm so spoiled there's no going back."

One of the workmen approaches with a tablet, and Pepper takes a moment to sign the documents before thanking him and watching the panel truck pack up and depart.

"So, I think there's some fresh lemonade in the kitchen. Let's go catch up. It feels like ages since we've last had a chance to talk and," her eyes drift somewhat significantly to the man's hand and back, "I have a feeling we have a few things to chat about."

Steve's cheeks heat as he follows the drop and rise of her attention to his right hand. Indeed, on it is the golden silicone ring, black eternity weave and all.

"Won't say no to a glass of lemonade. Gotta replenish electrolytes." And calories post-workout, but that he can also address in the kitchen. The Captain leads the way down the hallway and into the space, with its layout of shiny chrome surfaces and myriad utensils, cupboards, hanging pots and pans and all. The table tucked off to one side is homely and wooden, perfectly counter to the modernity of the room.

He fetches the lemonade and two glasses, sets them on the table, and then goes to raid the fridge. "What'd you want to know then?" He gives Pepper a glance over his shoulder that's twinkly and far too knowing before he reaches in for his other sub sandwich stashed earlier in the day.

Pepper pours the lemonade while Steve claims his stashed sub sandwich. "Well, I don't have to ask if you're happy, that's obvious enough to be seen from space. And, by the lack of an invitation or so much as a congratulatory dinner, I'm guessing you two eloped." She wags a finger at Steve, but there's clearly no ire behind it whatsoever. "And don't think I'm going to forget that. How dare you deprive me of the chance to arrange something for you two."

At that point, she chuckles softly before taking a sip of her lemonade to dispel any notion that she might be honestly upset. Because she's truly not.

Arriving at the table in time for the tsk-tsk of finger from Potts, she gets to see the quintessential blush spread across the tops of Steve's cheeks. His ears are still firmly in the pink, have no fear.

Steve talks over the quiet crackling of unwrapping his sandwich after he sits. "Buck had the paperwork all lined up and well…" He shrugs one shoulder and smiles to himself; the curl of lips still has a notation of melancholy to it tempered heavily by simple happiness. "It seemed appropriate to do it on the sixth. D-Day," the Captain explains as he looks down at his sandwich. "So yes, we eloped. I'm up to my eyes in twitters from the Wayne family about the reception party afterwards, especially Helena — my god-child," he adds, in case Pepper was unaware of this. "So if you want to join forces, I'm not gonna stop you. You're a force of nature as is," he jibes in a friendly manner before biting into his sandwich. Mmm, Italian in make. Salami. Cheese. Hi, calories.

Giving that a moment of consideration, then smiles at Steve over her glass. "No, I think I'll let Helena and her family get after you for that one. But I'm claiming July Fourth, and neither of you are allowed to argue, because you already know I do this every year."

And she does. She arranges the 'summer party' so that their friends can gather for food and drink and to watch the city's fireworks displays, and has likely at least once in the past handful of years given Steve a quiet and out of the way place to be where others wouldn't overwhelm him.

Steve daubs at the corners of his mouth with a napkin, still smiling close-lipped even as he chews. "Wouldn't dream of taking the Fourth away from you. That'd be tantamount to insubordination," he jokes after his mouth is empty. "I appreciate too that you keep the whole birthday part of it on the down-low." See? He's learning modern lingo. "That, and providing the safe space for me 'nd Barnes when things get too loud. You know 'm okay most of the time." Unspoken is the known acknowledgement that Bucky sometimes needs to be away from the ruckus of the celebration, including glittering mortar shells.

He goes back to eating his sandwich, looking thoughtful despite himself.

"You know, if you want to spend the week of the Fourth at the house in the Hamptons — you know the one, right on the beach? — that can very easily be arranged." Yes, Pepper is guessing that the couple did not have a 'proper' honeymoon and is offering one in her own subtle and understated way.

"If you give me about a week's advance notice, I can make sure that nosy Mrs. Tannenbaum from two houses over has something else to do that week so you have a chance at actual peace and quiet." She reaches over and plucks a piece of tomato from the paper wrap of Steve's sub and eats it in the familiar way of siblings and close friends.

Glancing up from his meal, the Captain frowns for a second until memory retrieves the location she listed: ah, right, on the beach, with the white sand and that nosy neighbor — wow, Pepper's on top of everything. Steve's eyebrows dance up at her nearly-psychic manner of predicting what might have been a complaint impending on his part. He doesn't even flinch at the filching of tomato.

"I'll speak with Buck about it, thanks, Pepper. We haven't talked about a honeymoon at all yet. Figure we'd get past the reception first and then see how things shake out. I doubt it'll be bad, but…" By the heavy sigh from Steve's gut, the woman can probably guess at what his concern is: the media.

Ah, yes. Pepper knows that sigh. "When is this reception, Steve? You've played this game before, you know the beast way to deflate the paparazzi is to release any and all potential juicy gossip before they have a chance to sniff it out. Then it's no longer juicy gossip, it just is. Do you want me to get my PR people started? I know you seemed to get along really well with Lydia last time."

Having mentioned PR, she's tempted to get out her phone right this instant. She refrains though, giving Steve the chance to decide for himself first.

"Y'know…I'd normally say yes, let's get Lydia on it right away, but…here's the thing. Buck, he…" Steve sets his elbows on the table and frowns at his sandwich as if it might have a better way of explaining his train of thought.

"Buck's give-a- …" The Captain tosses his head back and forth and doesn't mouth the word, not even that in front of Pepper — because he's a gentleman — but it does rhyme with Buck. "He stopped caring a while back what the world thought of him, I think. At least…to the face of the public. I just… I don't want to put him in an uncomfortable place."

A short sigh. "How 'bout this. Lemme speak with the Waynes about the reception first 'nd once the time 'nd date's set, you can contact Lydia for me?"

At that, Pepper smiles and nods. She's fully aware of how the modern world's demand for instant information can be difficult on the two men even if they refuse to show it, and she's done her best to help them as she can. "Sounds good. You know Lydia's always happy to help."

She sips at her lemonade, then changes the topic. "What kinds of drawings have you completed recently? I kind of miss seeing your sketch books all over the place."

"'ppreciate it, Pepper," and the amount of incandescent sincerity beaming from Steve might light an entire house for at least a month. He goes back to finish his sub sandwich one bite at a time, working at it as efficiently as a horse at a clumping of grass. Even as Pepper asking after his artwork, he's down to only about a third left and it hasn't appeared to slake his appetite yet.

Pausing, he takes a deep sip of the lemonade and licks his lips, considering the glass. "Not bad." Setting the glass back down on its condensation ring, he looks off to one side for a second. The man's habitually shy about his works, but the woman across the table means well. "Lately it's been Disney cartoons. Buck's been on a run of watching them recently and given I'm on the couch, I've been watching too. They're quaint and light-hearted. We started back when they first hit the theaters, with Snow White and Bambi. We're up to the early '90s. I think there's another animal one next… Lion King, I think?"

A thought occurs to him. "He needs to see that Broadway show."

Pepper Potts ahs and nods. Missing seeing his sketchbooks did not mean she'd ever actually peeked inside them. More likely, she was rescuing them from other, more curious hands. Like Tony's. "Yes, the Lion King is one of the best ones. If you want, I'll see when it's scheduled to be playing next so you can maybe get some tickets."

Noticing that the sandwich is almost gone and Steve hasn't really slowed down, she offers, "I think I saw some sherbet in the freezer. Would you like some?" She might even claim a little for herself. Maybe.

Steve sits up straighter in his chair at the offer. "Oh, sure, Pepp, that'd be great." Her nickname slips from the Captain before he can catch himself — and he really doesn't seem to realize it either. She's got a way of being disarmingly pleasant to counter the knife-sharp business acumen displayed in other situations. "Lemme know the times and dates, I'll see what I can do."

He glances from her to the sandwich and then to the freezer and back to Pepper again. "Won't say no to some sherbet, sure, but you have what you want to eat first. I know 'm gonna eat more'n what's in the tub, probably," he admits with a soft, slightly embarrassed laugh. Man, that serum — there goes the rest of the sandwich anyways and the rest of the lemonade to boot.

There are honestly very few people that Pepper allows to call her that, but Steve is definitely one of them. "Consider it done. And that's probably the easiest thing I'll do this week."

At his eyes going to the freezer, she smiles and nods, getting up to check what all is in there, pulling things and setting them on the counter as she names them. "Ah, yes. Sherbet, both lime and rainbow, and ooh, ice cream sandwiches. I might steal one of these. And… oh, Steve, someone around here has been sneaky." She pulls a box of frozen lasagna carefully, revealing that the back end of it is already open, and gingerly pulls a full-size Snickers bar out of the box. Then she puts the box back as she found it. Maybe she'll leave a post-it note for whoever this was warning them to be a little better about being sneaky.

A ripple of chuckling can be heard over at the table. Steve idly crumples his napkin in his hand as he watches the delight of having found the hidden dessert bar.

"Hey, they tried, but couldn't get it past you. I'll take the rainbow sherbet. Too much lime's too much lime." The sheer amount of sour is off-putting to someone with senses like his, dialed up to 11 when he least expects them to speak to his brain about input.

"Rainbow it is." The lime sherbet gets put back into the freezer along with all but two of the ice cream sandwiches, and then after pausing for a spoon and a knife, Pepper carries everything back to the table. "Ooh, cold. Careful."

She settles back into her seat then after looking at their little pile of evil desserts quickly drains the rest of her lemonade and stands again. "I know better than to mix lemonade with something super sweet. Do you want something else to drink?"

"Good call," Steve confirms. "Water, please. Helps dilute the sugar." He too rises and momentarily abandons their collection of confections in order to toss his garbage. Returning to the table shortly, he opens the container of rainbow sherbet and sniffs at it.

"Whew! That's sweet, wow." His teeth flash in a grinned laugh regardless. Still calories. "Y'know, they didn't have anything like…any of this stuff when I was a kid," he tells Pepper upon her return. Taking up a spoon, he shameless curls a huge mouthful of sherbet up containing all of the colors. "Mmm." Simple happiness, that.

"But lookit me wax nostalgic. Mmmfff," he says, twitching his spoon to one side as if he might throw it but doesn't. "How've you been?"

The lemonade returned to the fridge and their glasses refilled with water, Pepper settles again and is only too happy to see Steve enjoying something as simple as a spoonful of sherbet. While he's doing that, she caerfully unwraps the Snickers bar and uses the knife to cut a small piece off one end of it. Turns out the bar isn't like a Snicker ice cream thing, but an actual candy bar — caramel, peanuts, and all — that was put into the freezer. "Okay, that's all of that I plan to eat. Any more and I might break my teeth."

She then starts in on one of the ice cream sandwiches, leaving her bit-of-a-Snickers to thaw a little. "Oh, you know me, I've been busy as always. But, summer time always seems a little easier. I think because most people with families are taking time out to go on vacations and whatnot. But you won't see me complaining about that."

"Can't imagine you would. Everybody needs a break now and then." Another heaping spoonful of sherbet disappears before Steve licks his lips, appreciating the mixing of flavors both sweet and lightly sour. "What about you? You get vacation time too, right? 'nd you can't sit there and tell me Stark won't let you take a vacation because you know he would — "

Those wheat-gold brows flick up at Pepper. " — 'nd if he didn't, we're gonna have a talk. You have to have enough hours squirreled away for at least a two week trip wherever you want."

Steve's concern has Pepper laughing softly with a hand over her mouth so she doesn't reveal the chocolate 'sandwich' all over her teeth. After a sip of water, she answers. "Yes, of course I get vacation time too, Steve. I just usually choose to take it when others are back from their holidays. For example, all of the heads of Finance will be out the week of July Fourth, and that means I'll have SO many more free hours to get work done. I'll take my vacation, I don't know, in the middle of August or something." She waves a hand dismissively.

"I might need you to do a little extra Tony-sitting when I do take that vacation, though. Last year wasn't exactly the best."

The man seems consoled by the explanation, at least at first. He goes back to curling up bites of the icy confection, heedless of the fact that his spoon's been in his mouth and now touched the sherbet. What a heathen! It seems that the orange stripe of the rainbow is becoming a deeper and deeper trench with the other flavors ignored.

Steve frowns again though and sucks on his teeth before he replies, "'m sorry to hear that, Pepper. Last I saw him, he seemed like he was functioning fairly well." Not perfectly, but Steve won't throw stones at glass houses.

The flavor being dug at the most is mentally noted by Pepper to be added to the Mansion's weekly shopping list, so next time Steve feels a hankering for sherbet, a tub of pure orange will be there waiting. Because that's how she rolls.

"Oh, don't get me wrong, he's doing fine now. But it seems like anytime I'm out of pocket for more than three or four days he starts to fall apart. He goes back to bad habits like forgetting to eat or sleep, things like that." She shrugs lightly. "I'm thinking if there's someone there to remind him of those things, it might go more easily. You know?"

And Steve will be so pleasantly surprised to find it there the next time nightmares keep him up in the mansion. The bed here is comfortable, but it's not home — not with the warm presence of Bucky beside him much of the time. Oftentimes, the way for him to cement his mind in the present is through eating. It's not as if the serum disapproves or it linger on him anywhere.

He nods to hear of the behaviors. "I know what you're talking about, when something familiar's taken out of the day-to-day pattern. It was like that with Buck for a while. He's steadier now though — been that way for about two or three years now. Wouldn't mind keeping track of him as best I can whenever you go on your trip. Hell, Buck's arm might need repairs when you do. Tony does do the upkeep on it when I can't." The genius-inventor has a long streak of saving delicate mechanisms within the arm's inner-workings that Steve would have otherwise destroyed in well-meaning attempt to aid.

Okay, that earns Steve raised eyebrows. She'd figured that Tony was helping maintain Bucky's arm, but using that as a way to keep the inventor grounded? Genius. "If you two would do that for me, I'll buy your tickets to see The Lion King." And very likely more, but she's not about to say that aloud. She knows how Steve feels about her just buying things for him.

"So, which week in August would be best for you?" If they can plan this now, all the better for her. She just won't tell Steve that her vacation's piled up enough that she could take three full months off and still have some left.

"Sounds like a fair deal to me." Steve sets aside the sherbet spoon for a deep drink of his water. Half the glass is gone in a few bobbles of his throat and he sighs as he sets the glass down again. "Tickets for keeping Tony on the straight and narrow. Given I can't predict what sort of trouble'll plague us all through the summer, let's say the second week of August and keep it loose? I'd feel badly if Buck and I were out on a mission that needed extension and took a chunk of time out of your vacation."

Man, that really is a deep rut in the orange sherbet now. The Captain seems to notice this by the small purling smile of his lips and he doesn't go back to eating the dessert again just yet.

Finishing off her ice cream sandwich, Pepper also takes a drink from her water glass and nods. "Second week sounds perfect. There's usually almost nothing going on around then. And if I have to push things a week or two in either direction, it'll be no effort at all."

Now, finally, she picks up the little piece of Snickers bar. "Mm. Chocolate tastes best when it's stolen."

Another laugh echoes around the kitchen easily, given all of the surfaces available for refraction.

"Sounds like something Buck might say. Y'know, once, he lifted an apple from a stand at the market. We knew the man running it. Made him walk back and help out at the stand for a week, even if he didn't have to explain to old Mister Morelli why he was suddenly overcome with an urge to do some good." Steve grins and takes a final big curl of orange sherbet without contrition. The lid goes back on it and he sets the spoon aside.

"Well. When you consider that I'm the one who arranges for the grocery deliveries to this house, I'm technically not stealing." Pepper pushes the rest of the thawing Snickers bar toward Steve. "Besides, I'd like to see anyone try to prove it was us that ate it."

There's also still that other ice cream sandwich sitting there.

Pepper gets a wry and knowing look from the Captain. Still…his true-blues drop to the pilfered, half-finished Snickers…and then, with a sigh, he pulls it over to himself by single fingertip on section of wrapper.

"Hate to see it go to waste," he adds nonchalantly. His eyes flick to the other ice cream sandwich and he grins, showcasing one dimple. "There's room for the other bar too, don't worry. No incriminating evidence will be left."

Pepper offers an impish smile of her own, though she's lacking in the dimple department. "That's what I was planning on." And, she just might ask the mansion's AI later to see who comes in here and complains about missing a Snickers bar.


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