Pepper keeps it together until they’re out of sight of the cameras and proceeds to quietly lose her shit.
"Shh, c’mere," Natasha soothes, pulling her close. She’s not normally one to reach out so quickly, but they’ve all had a close call. Natasha needs the comfort as much as Pepper does. "It’s okay. Everyone’s okay. We all made it home."
"Oh god, but that thing,” Pepper sobs. ”And the building collapsed, and then Tony… and you were… and I just…”
"Shh. Stop. Don’t do that." Natasha runs one hand slowly up and down Pepper’s back, the other anchored gently at her neck. "You’ll drive yourself crazy, going through it over and over. Believe me."
Pepper hiccoughs and sighs, her arms drawing tight around Natasha’s waist. “You’re right. I know you’re right. I need to just…”
"The only thing you need to do is go upstairs, have a drink, and eventually find Tony and keep him from descending into a spiral of self-flagellation,” Natasha tells her, and Pepper laughs weakly.
"Right. That. I can do that." She pulls away, brushing the tears off of her flushed cheeks with a faint smile. Her make-up isn’t even smudged. "What are you going to do?"
"Pretty much the same thing, but for Bruce." Sam’s got Steve, Thor should have Clint covered, and Natasha has no idea what they’ll do if anymore angst-ridden man-children join the team. "First, though, I’m going to go with you and have a goddamn drink."
This time, Pepper’s laugh is a little stronger. “Don’t tell me the unflappable Black Widow is shaken enough to need a drink,” she teases.
"I almost got crushed by a building," Natasha says. "I don’t need a drink. I deserve it.”