Fandom: Avengers/Infinity War/GotG/Iron Man/hell pretty much everything
Pairing: Tony/Pepper, Peter/Gamora
Summary: Tony and Pepper have some loose ends to tie up (in a knot) before all hell breaks loose. Assistance comes from an unlikely and frankly dubious source, but don't worry, he's got tunes.
What can I say, I got tired of waiting for Infinity War and I anticipate we're going to need a lot of fix-its so I got a head start. NO SPOILERS. I'm not seeing it until Friday morning.
And if you’re wondering why they’re on this ship
Or other plot-based facts
Just repeat to yourself, “It’s just a fic
I should really just relax.”
Meditating on the past, all of the choices and chances that had led them to this moment, was a pointless exercise. Tony had been thinking instead of the future, but he found it difficult to keep himself there, or even in the moment, without cursing those choices and chances.
In the immediate future, there was mortal peril. In the future of two weeks later, there was a wedding, but since the mortal peril came first, that hardly signified.
And in the meantime, also known as the present, there was an enormous spacecraft full of heroes preparing to meet their respective fates with honor and courage. Tony wondered if any of the others were facing their regrets. He wondered if any of them were trying to mentally rearrange the events of the past to find out if they could have dodged this fate.
He didn’t long to be somewhere else. He didn’t even regret that he was in all likelihood about to sacrifice his life. He just wished that he was doing it as a married man.
“I should have listened to you,” he told Pepper, who was sitting beside him, leaning comfortably on his arm in their corner of the ship’s sizeable cabin. They had staked out a modicum of privacy there, but friends and near-strangers alike still passed by or had settled down within shouting distance. “I’ve been obsessing on the precise amount of time we needed to get everything just right, as if that’s ever made a difference. We could have had it done already.”
She responded with endless patience: “Tony. I was the one who set the date.”
“Really?” When she nodded, he attempted a chuckle. “Why did I listen to you?”
Pepper barely seemed to notice the opening he had given her for some kind of affectionate jab. Her fingers tapped rhythmically on his thigh, and her voice was contemplative. “We could still reschedule, you know. The most important people in our lives are already here. We have twelve hours of relative safety ahead of us. Happy’s got the rings, as usual.”
Hope flared in Tony’s chest, but he approached it with caution. “We don’t have an authorized public servant to say the words.”
“Steve Rogers?” she suggested after barely a pause.
“He’s a leader,” Tony mused. “Impeccably pure. Godly man. I voice no objections.”
She smiled broadly. “And if that doesn’t pan out, since you bring up godly men…”
Tony snapped his fingers and pointed. “King of Asgard, no less.”
They stood up at the same time. For all that Pepper had been bustled along with this enormous group of misfits, with little explanation from anyone and less certainty of their ultimate success, she didn’t even seem tired. “I’ll go and ask Steve. You talk to Thor.”
Twenty minutes later they were back to their corner in the cabin. “Steve says no,” Pepper informed Tony, bending to put a cup of tea into his hands before she sat back down next to him. “He very eloquently wishes us the best and would be honored to witness, but he didn’t think it would be appropriate for him to actually officiate.”
He glared out all of his resentment at the cup, so that none would be left when he lifted his eyes to hers. “You’d think the circumstances would have some effect on what’s appropriate. All I’m asking for is one person on this space Hindenburg who can make sure I die a married man.”
Pepper gave a resigned shrug. “No luck with Thor either, I take it?”
“Oh, he took it in stride that this falls under his royal duties. He’s boundlessly happy for us. Got really excited about how we’ll need to find the weapons of our ancestors and then we race from the ceremony to the feast to see who buys the beer. And then I…I think I stab the ceiling?” He put the tea down on the adjacent shelf so he could rub the heels of his hands into his face. “I was listening, I swear. I was ready to pull off every arcane nuptial feat he threw at me, if that’s what it took. Until he casually mentioned that none of this could take place until Friday.”
“Why? What’s Friday?”
“The only day of the week an Asgardian can get married, apparently.” He carded his fingers through his hair, watching her from the corner of his eye. “And no, he was not moved by the argument that days of the week have no meaning when you’re not on the surface of a planet. Or that there might not be a Friday.”
She carried her disappointment better than he did; no sooner had this idea fallen through than another was on her lips: “How about the other king?”
They approached T’Challa together, had a brief conversation, and made their exit at Pepper’s behest before it turned into a debate. “I’m not surprised, really,” she said when they were out of his earshot. “Wakanda’s just barely started sharing their technology; they’re not going to hand over their religious rites.”
Refusing to admit defeat, they found Vision and asked if he could download the necessary files to become a licensed minister online. He politely reminded them that accessing the internet would mean activating the Mind Stone and revealing their location to Thanos.
“I understand your consternation,” he added. “I’m sure there is a solution to this dilemma, strange though it may be.”
Pepper shook her head. “He’s a doctor, not a priest.”
“Have you asked him, though?”
“Where do you think I got that tea?”
Tony had been wondering about that. Pepper usually didn’t bring him drinks that she knew he was unlikely to consume. “Guess it’s not practical to ask him to use the Time Stone, either,” he conceded. Vision and Pepper were giving him equally baffled looks, so he explicated, “You have to admit it would be convenient if Happy had already been ordained last week.”
Gossip travels quickly within confined areas, and Tony’s attempts to locate a clergy member, justice of the peace, judge, or any suitable stand-in soon became everybody’s business. Discretion had been admirably maintained, he thought, until someone let it slip in front of Peter, and then the kid took off with a feverish look in his eyes. Tony turned to Pepper and gently advised her that they were doomed.
A few minutes later, their doom materialized in the form of the other Peter, a tall rugged hooligan striding purposefully through the cabin as if he owned the place. “Heard you’re in need of a ship’s captain,” he proclaimed, giving Tony a lackadaisical salute and then turning to Pepper to make an elegant leg. “Let me just say, from the bottom of my heart: I got this.”
“Absolutely not,” Tony asserted.
Pepper had to smother a giggle, but when she spoke her tone was reasonable. “This may be as valid as we can get,” she said. “Remember, if we survive we can still go through with the original plan when we get back to Earth.”
“Smart lady,” said Quill. “And have no fear, Tin Can, I am mega qualified. Just gotta get a couple things together.” He whirled and went back the way he had come, bellowing, “Guardians! Look sharp! We’re gonna have a wedding!”
Tony slumped down into his seat and covered his face with both hands, letting them muffle his words. “I am so, so sorry. Let me go catch him and bury this, I’ll make sure everyone leaves us alone.”
She removed his hands one by one and held them in her own as she replied, “I think we should consider it first. Why not have some fun, if we’re going through with the flash wedding anyway?”
“Because I’m done with fun. What I want now is a lifetime commitment. And if all I have left of that lifetime are these next few days, I still intend to pledge them to you with clear eyes and full humility and I don’t want some space jackass making a joke out of it when I do.” He sat up straighter. “How about this? We get away from everyone, you and me, and we say whatever we need to say to each other and we agree that we’re married because we don’t need a third party to validate our love.”
Pepper’s gaze on him was tender, but she didn’t budge. “It’s not just you and me under threat. This could be the end of everything, and we have to face it with everyone here.” She let out an exasperated breath. “Even if I’m doubting the sanity of at least half of them.”
When they left the shelter of the cabin to try to control the situation, however, rather than the makeshift decorations and celebratory commotion they had expected, they found Quill having a subdued talk with some of his teammates on the bridge. Other Guardians were mingling with Avengers and sundry, though whether they were making preparations for an impromptu wedding or simply getting to know each other before the battle, Tony couldn’t tell.
Quill caught his eye and held him with a gesture, and then leaned in to give Gamora a peck on the lips before standing to come over. She did the same, directing her attention to Pepper instead, and the two of them approached and diverged so smoothly that it was a moment before Tony realized that he had been ushered to one side by Quill, while Pepper was heading in the other direction with Gamora. He stumbled a little. It was the first time he had realized that the so-called Star-Lord and the Daughter of Thanos were involved romantically. He hadn’t even wondered about it.
“Hey,” said Quill in a conciliatory tone. “Just wanted to clear something up with you.”
Tony looked around before answering. Pepper was already too far away to include her in the conversation, but she threw him a smile and a shrug before attending to whatever Gamora was telling her. Rocket, the talking raccoon, had followed Quill with no apparent regard for whether he was invited. Earlier that day, Tony had learned that Rocket’s knowledge of mechanics was nothing short of enviable, and his willingness to say so seemed to have won him some esteem from the suspicious little creature. Maybe he had other reasons for tagging along, but Tony didn’t think it was worth objecting, anyway.
“We had a wedding at sea too,” Quill revealed. “Couple years back. ‘At sea’ in this case meaning ‘in space’, obviously.”
“And ‘wedding’ meaning…’marital ceremony’?” Tony glanced at Quill’s hand.
“Yeah. We didn’t do rings, it’s not a Zenwhoberian thing. Anyway, the captain who hitched us is this legendary Ravager, kind of a Sylvester Stallone type, real tough old guy. And no way were we gonna do this without the whole team there, but, I mean, there’s risks involved. You put the Guardians in a formal setting, we’re a recipe for disaster, you know? And here I was with the biggest asshole in the galaxy standing up as my best man.” He waved a hand down at Rocket. “And Gamora’s maid of honor had only recently given up trying to painfully murder her, and probably the rest of us as an afterthought.” He waved in the direction of Nebula, currently busy across the bridge showing some kind of weapon to Bucky. Quill went on, “And the flower girl was going through a phase where he started making sticks to throw at people whenever he was in a mood.”
Rocket looked from Quill to Tony, nodding. “This is all true. ‘Cept he wasn’t his own best man. I don’t know how that would even work.”
Quill ignored him. “So, we knew we might get crashed at any moment by hostile aliens, but that, we could handle. All I was thinking was that someone was going to ruin it from the inside. Maybe Drax interrupting the vows. Maybe Kraglin wouldn’t even show up. Maybe it would be me, doing something stupid, and then Gamora gets fed up and says if I can’t take it seriously, she’s not gonna bother.”
“Alright,” said Tony, softened by the story but still wanting it to conclude so he could get back to Pepper. “You’re saying the formalities aren’t important if you have a good relationship, I get it.”
“Huh? No.” Quill looked at Rocket. “Did I say that?”
The raccoon scratched an apathetic hand through the fur on his head. “Not unless you guys are usin’ some kinda secret humie code, no.”
Quill returned his full attention to Tony. “What I’m saying is that a miracle occurred that day. Everyone behaved. Stakar had some freakishly poignant words to bless our union, nobody complained or said anything mean all day, and I cleaned up real nice and carried myself like a gentleman. And in the end, the coolest, bravest, most perfect woman I have ever met became my bona fide wife, and she doesn’t even regret it.”
“We did get crashed by hostile aliens, though,” Rocket put in.
“Yeah, that was fun,” Quill agreed with absent sincerity. “So, Stark. Here’s the deal. Believe me when I say I would rather stick my head in a black hole than deprive a fellow hero from having that experience. If you let me do this for you and Pepper, I swear on my mother’s grave I’ll take it as the sacred responsibility it is.”
The realization that he didn’t have a comeback came over Tony in a wave of relief. They could do this. He could leave it up to Pepper and if she said yes, they could be married. “Just so you know,” he informed Quill, “around here it’s considered bad form to call yourself a hero, unless you’re collectively referring to a group you belong to.”
Rocket slapped his leg and laughed raucously. “You people are such tools! We saved the galaxy two whole times, you bet your ass we’re gonna call ourselves heroes.”
“Going on three,” said Quill, holding out his fist for Rocket to bump. “Alright, let’s get this party started. Metaphorical party. Unless you want a literal party after the ceremony. You’re the boss.”
“Not entirely.” Tony lifted his hand, and Pepper saw him and headed over after saying one last thing to Gamora. He reached out to draw her in with an arm around her shoulders. “Hey, boss. Shall we revisit the topic at hand?”
Gamora gracefully pulled Quill away from them, and Pepper answered with a knowing smile. “He talked you into it, didn’t he?”
“He talked me into allowing you to talk me into it, if that’s what would make you happy.”
“It would make me very happy.” She looked it, too, but her certainty wavered briefly when she offered, “I still think we should share this with all of our friends, but if you want to go the intimate route, I can take that. Nobody else even has to know.”
Tony took her face between his hands and kissed her lips. “Nope. We’re all in this together. Let’s party.”
He was somewhat taken aback by Quill’s obvious gratitude when they reconvened and told him what they intended. “Didn’t want to try to steer you there,” Quill confided, “but leader to leader, I’ve been scoping out the morale around here and it’s not looking good. These people need something to be happy about. Plus,” he added in a much more upbeat tone, opening his red duster to reveal a Walkman on his hip, “I got tunes!”
“I’m not a leader,” said Tony.
“Ha ha! Yeah right.” Quill slapped him on the back, none too gently. “Okay! So we’re doing this. Talk to whoever you need to talk to, and catch up in, say, thirty minutes. Oh, and I hope you’re figuring out your own vows. There’s some things you don’t want to leave up to me.”
The rest fell into place quite easily. Thirty minutes had more wiggle room than they needed.
“Mr. Stark, I know I’m the youngest person here so if you think I should be your ring bearer I just want to say I would--”
“Kid, I don’t need a ring bearer. And you’re not a kid. Take your place next to Rhodey like the groomsman you are.”
“No one told him Groot’s a frickin’ four-year-old, huh?”
“Groot’s too tall for that. Now, you on the other hand are younger than Spider-Boy and you’re the shortest person here…”
“Quill! Do not anger Rocket on the Iron Man’s wedding day!”
“Listen to Drax, Peter. He was married long before we were.”
“So was I, you know. Huh. Still feels good to say that out loud.”
“I was married. And...then I was divorced.”
“What about the honorable maid for Miss Pepper? I heard someone call her the Black Widow. So she was married as well, wasn’t she?”
“The phrase is ‘maid of honor’, Mantis. And no, it’s a kind of spider. Like Peter, but lethal.”
“I am Groot?”
“No, the other Peter...”
“I, Anthony Edward Stark, take you, Virginia Potts, to be my beloved wife. In the presence of friends and family, I vow to protect all reality and everyone in it as if they were our own children, to ask myself what Pepper would do in case of moral quandary, and to preserve my own life if the possibility arises. I vow to be faithful until death, or the end of existence itself, whichever should come first.”
“I, Virginia Potts, take you, Anthony Stark, to be my beloved husband. On this journey into the unknown, I vow to stay safe on the ship once the action starts so you won’t worry, to keep your memory alive if you fall, and to not believe that I’ll have to unless I’m presented with incontrovertible evidence. I vow to be yours for all infinity.”
“In this great darkness we have come together to bring hope to our shared worlds. Let us now come together also to share in the joy, the truth, and the love that bind these two together. May the cosmos that surround us bear witness. May your hearts be strengthened by this union, which cannot be torn asunder by any force in the universe.
“By the power vested in me through...through a truly impressive leap of faith, I now pronounce you man and wife.”