Sleight of Hand @babykitsune_9
Chapter 29

Rhodey didn't get far in his mad flight to escape Pepper's wrath. The sad truth of the matter was that the woman managed to get the better of him after he'd tackled her to the floor, and now- he was sitting zip-tied to one of the dinning room chairs with Ichigo's 'panther' cub sitting in his lap looking pretty pleased with itself.

Almost as if it had been the one to capture him instead of the red headed titan.

While Pepper invited the strangers further into the building. Possibly to annihilate them for daring to trespass in their home before she'd had her first morning coffee.

It was hard to tell at the moment.

Either way, he had to stop her otherwise the kid was going to be pissed enough to spit fire at all of them. Which was understandable given the stress that she was likely under at the moment.

What with her friend from back home being murdered and a threat having been issued and all.

"Pepper you can't use the compound's security on them." He said, sounding more than a little bit frustrated by the entire situation. He could understand Ichigo's need for privacy and keeping other's in the dark to a certain extent.

Truly he could.

He'd done his fair share of things that he wasn't proud of in the name of a dead comrade, friend, and even family before. So he understood that need to take your pound of flesh in one way or another.

He also understood that letting Pepper and Happy in on the secret- might both be good and bad.

Good because it would mean that they could be on the look out for the danger that was likely to come at them. But at the same time, Happy was a shitty actor. He was a tad bit trigger happy too.

And that wasn't good for anyone, friend or foe.

Still, it was also bad for everyone if Pepper went on a rampage and destroyed the people that were sent to help keep an eye on them. So his dilemma now was- to tell them? Or not to tell them?

On one hand, saving their possible body guards was ideal. And on the other hand...dying because Pepper was going to go postal on him and he didn't stand any chance at all of escaping her...wasn't.

Finally Pepper spoke up. Though it seemed like ages had passed since he'd told her not to use the security system on the strangers.

"Why not? They're trespassing."

Was it odd that Pepper sounded sullen to him? Almost as if she were pouting at being told no by the one responsible adult currently present. Happy didn't count as a responsible adult just yet. And likely wouldn't until at least noon-ish.

Taking a moment to weigh the pro's and con's, he made a decision to bite the bullet and come clean. It would be best in the long run anyways. "Because Ichigo sent them to keep an eye on us."

Pepper's head snapped around so fast that the woman nearly fell over the couch. Almost, of course was the operative word. The second that she righted herself he could swear that he almost saw hellfire appearing in a blaze behind her as she demanded that he explain. Right. Now.

The panther gave an audible gulp from it's place in his lap, shot him a quick panicked look and then hissed and jumped down to run off and hide itself. Leaving him tied there looking as if he were about to walk to his own execution.


He...didn't know what had led to this predicament. Well, okay that was a lie. He knew exactly what had led him to his current situation.

He'd finished stitching up Stark's niece, Ichigo. And had pulled out the syringe that he'd prepared. The one full of pain killers and something to make her sleep.

Well, as soon as she spied the needle- she went ballistic on him. Honestly everything happened so fast that it all seemed to blur. But it went something like this.

She hit him with the top of the back tile on the toilet. He gaped at her like a fish and dropped the needle. After which he'd gotten irked at her for hitting him and had tried to subdue her.

They'd both slammed into the wall a few times, broken a door by falling through it, broke some picture frames and glass stuff and he'd somehow ended up in some sort of very uncomfortable body lock with his metal arm, and his torso bent back in a way that almost brought tears to his eyes.

And to make things even worse...was the fact that they had made such a commotion that Steve had all but kicked down his bedroom door and came tearing inside to see what the hell was going on.

So to say that he was embarrassed to be seen being held in place by a girl- a child- was beyond humiliating for him. Honestly if ever there were a time for the Winter's Soldier to surface, it was now. However that part of him seemed to be rather amused by the fact that he'd just gotten his ass handed to him.

So...'Winter' as he had dubbed his other half, was being pretty unhelpful at the moment.

So much so that he wound up spitting out curses in German, Russian, Scandinavian and a few other languages that he'd picked up over the decades and only ever stopped when he saw Steve standing there looking both angry and confused at what he was seeing.

Giving up the fight for the moment since he knew that he wasn't going to get free until the girl actually let him go, he went as limp as his position would allow and simply said, "Hi Stevie."

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