Fic: Two Nerds in a Tower  1/1

Title: Two Nerds in a Tower
Rating: G/PG
Pairings: None, mention of past Tony/Pepper
Universe: MCU
Summary: Natasha is a huge nerd. Tony should know. There are nachos and Galaxy Quest and two nerds being bros.

Originally written as an xmas giftfic for @directorshellhead.


Natasha is a huge nerd.

It takes a while to figure out, because, well, Natasha’s scary. Or at least, Tony thought she was, once. Before she moved into his house and he caught her eating Fruit Loops out of the box with her bare hands for dinner.

“That’s your dinner?” Tony asks and he wants to slap himself as soon as the words are out of his mouth because he’s absolutely the last person allowed to criticize anyone else’s eating habits. He had a power bar for breakfast and lunch had been half a box of Thin Mints that he’s pretty sure have been in the freezer since before Pepper moved out. (Pepper was a sucker for the Girl Scouts. She couldn’t pass a Scout selling cookies without giving them money and it hadn’t taken long for word to get out. There had been a table set up outside Stark Industries and the Tower from February till the end of March every year until she moved back to Malibu where even now, Happy reported, packs of Girl Scouts staked out her penthouse and the courtyard of SI Malibu.)

“Steve shopped this week,” she says, tipping her head back and shoving a handful of cereal in her mouth. “Nothing but steaks and raw vegetables and uncooked pasta. It’s like he hates convenience.”

“I have a chef?” he says, because he doesn’t really know what else to say. “Or - JARVIS has all the delivery options saved, he can call something in for you.”

Natasha shrugged. “Sounds like work,” she says.

She’s wearing a man’s t-shirt under a man’s plaid shirt with high-waisted jean shorts and a pair of plastic frames with what he’s almost certain must be glass lenses in them. It’s not the look he’s used to seeing her in, but he’s smart enough not to say that. Anyway, it’s a hundred degrees out, her usual leather jacket and form-hugging outfit would probably bake her alive.

“I have beef jerky?” he offers. He doesn’t know why he’s even pursuing this, but she’s going to give herself a sugar rush and pass out on the couch if she doesn’t get some protein in her. “And, uh, I’ve got some stuff for making nachos stashed in my kitchen upstairs.”

That piques her interest. She rubs sugar off on the hip of her shorts. “Are you offering to share your stash with me, Stark?”

The Tower is technically open access, but the team is usually pretty considerate of his suite, respecting his privacy in that regard (though every last one of the nosy, meddling bastards he calls his team has no qualms pumping him and everyone who knows him for information on his schedule, his love life and anything else that passes for entertainment. Superheroes are gossipy bastards, but no one believes him).

“Yeah, what the hell. You need something that can at least masquerade as a real dinner.“

Apparently nachos are the key to the Black Widow’s heart because she drops the box of cereal like it’s on fire and follows him up to his quarters. She pokes around like she hasn’t seen the place in a while (and maybe she hasn’t, he doesn’t really know. One the one hand, the team mostly hangs out in the common rooms, but on the other hand, she’s a very good spy) and ends up sitting cross-legged at the breakfast bar in the kitchen, drinking Cherry Coke out of a Superman mug.

“Would have thought you were more of a Batman kind of guy,” she says. She had poured him a glass, too, without even having to be asked, and Tony’s aware that it’s fucked up that such a small gesture of consideration actually means something to him. His glass is an actual beer stein, with the logo of the Prancing Pony on it. “You know, Clint thought this was a gay bar the first time he saw one of these.”

Tony grinned at her as he grabbed the ground beef out of the fridge. “The real reason Strider was staring at Frodo.”

She snickers into her drink. “Sam would kill him,” she says cheerfully. “Since when can you cook?”

“Define cooking,” he says as he dumps the beef into a skillet.

“That’s very reassuring, coming from a man about to cook me dinner. I’ve seen you go days without anything substantial unless Bruce or Steve hand delivers it to you.”

“I have delivery brought in sometimes.” He rolls his eyes at her. “Fine, shut up. I learned how to cook when things got weird with me and Pepper. I thought some romance and the personal touch would help.” He hadn’t been wrong, exactly. It hadn’t hurt. It just hadn’t been enough to make things right between two people who were perfect for each other in all the wrong ways. “Anyway, I can cook five meals. Carbonera, stirfry, chicken cordon bleu and nachos. I can grill a steak, too, but Pepper said anything you do on a grill doesn’t count.”

“You made Pepper nachos for a romantic dinner?” Natasha asks, her entire expression a wince.

“She liked nachos.” He grabbed a can of corn and diced bell peppers and dumps it into the skillet with the meat. “Pep’s a big fan of anything you can dump a pound of cheese on and still call it food.” He shrugs. “Anyway, that was more the casual evening in front of the TV kind of romantic dinner. The carbonera and the cordon bleu were the big guns.”

“Huh.” Natasha fiddles with her mug for a moment, running her fingers over the red and blue emblem. “I didn’t know that about her. Always thought she was into the-” she hesitated, obviously considering her words carefully, “-gourmet kind of cooking.”

“She was. But no one eats tilapia and foie gras when they’re wearing slipper socks and watching Galaxy Quest on the couch.”

“I’ve met some of your ex-girflfriends,” Natasha says dryly.

“Yeah, but they wouldn’t be caught dead in slipper socks.” Tony offers her a grin. “Anyway, I’ve seen you get into a shouting match in French over whether pasteurized caviar is an actual crime, so I don’t know that you should be passing judgment.”

“Don’t act like you didn’t have an opinion,” Natasha sniffs, but she’s grinning a little. “Besides, he was trying to pass off Sevruga as Beluga.”

“Russian snob,” he said, dumping a spice packet into the skillet.

Natasha rolls her eyes at him. “You’re the one who made your girlfriend watch Galaxy Quest on date night. Everyone’s a snob compared to that.”

“Hey,” Tony says mildly as he grabs a bag of corn chips out of the cupboard. “If you’re saying you don’t want to watch Galaxy Quest while we eat, then-”

“No, that’s fine,” Natasha says cheerfully. “Do you have the DVD? We can watch it with the Thermian audio and finally find out who’s the biggest nerd on the team.”

“I went to D&D camp,” he says, shaking a wooden spoon at her.

She grabs the bottle of Cherry Coke and slides off the stool. “I have a Tumblr.”

“You nerd,” Tony says, scandalized.