|Inspired By Madness
Author: sunshine-minx PM
Written for the 'Could've Been In Venice' challenge for 'It's Always Been' on Livejournal. Tony mentions having gone to Venice in Iron Man 2. This story fills in the blank for that moment in time. What happened to Pepper and Tony in Venice?Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - A. E. Stark/Tony & V. Potts/Pepper - Words: 1,326 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 15 - Follows: 1 - Published: 02-10-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6731737
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
As I wrote this, I wasn't sure exactly when I intended it to take place. I approximated two years prior to the events that took place after the Expo, so Obadiah would still be alive, and Tony would have come back from Afghanistan already.
Inspired By Madness
Sunlight streamed through the gauzy white curtains, a light breeze stirring them to brush against Peppers bare arm. She was awake before Tony, and as she glanced over her bare shoulder into the darkened room behind her, she suspected it would be quite some time before her eccentric lover would even begin to stir. Tony Stark was one of the heaviest sleepers she'd ever encountered, and though the capacity of Personal Assistant had left her more frustrated with that talent, as his lover she'd found herself grateful for the time alone to think.
Tony's private jet had set down on the dewy tarmac early the previous morning, rousing Pepper out of a deep sleep as she'd felt the gentle bump of the landing. She'd stared out the window at the grey dawn, pierced by the distant lights of a city, and fought with every fiber of her being to stay awake just long enough to reach their hotel.
They'd gone to Venice. Venice, the one place he'd pleaded with her to retreat to when the times were tough, although at the time of his asking she hadn't been aware of how tough times really were, and even now she berated herself for not paying attention. If she'd caught those glances, the glimpses of pain and regret that flashed behind his deep brown eyes, she might have gleaned some insight into what was causing Tony Stark to act so carelessly. When he had come home from captivity, she'd believed that the boy had finally relinquished control to the man, and that Tony Stark was ready to step up and take hold of the potential she'd seen in him.
Death could do funny things to a man, she mused, although he hadn't been dead- but dying. She hadn't known, hadn't seen and hadn't cared to see, and as she held the cotton sheet over her breasts in an inane attempt at modesty, she realized that the latter bothered her very much. Goosebumps covered her flesh in the cool morning, and she pulled the sheet up around her. The movement stirred the scent of sex and Tony into the air and with it the thought that if she had lost him, as close as she had been to doing so, it would have been the first time in her life that she didn't know what to do.
"The first time we came here…do you remember?" Pepper jumped, the brief fear at being startled giving way to a fluttering in the pit of her stomach as Tonys warm arms wrapped around her waist and pulled her into him. The arc reactor hummed, vibrations gentle and soothing against her back, and she felt his breath warm on her as he murmured into her hair. "Do you?"
"I was drunk." She hadn't been, but she wanted to excuse away the million things she'd thought the last time, two years ago. Anything to excuse the ten thousand, five hundred ways she'd fantasized about before kissing him passionately on the tiny bridge that arced over the canal. They'd come to Venice that time because he'd begged and cajoled and she'd finally acquiesced, although the entire flight had been spent rearranging meetings via email and promising Obadiah that he would return in time for anything that was set in stone. "I was drunk, and you were-"
"In love, although at the time you'd have sworn I was drunk." Damn Tony Stark and his ability to make her smile, she cursed, as the dawn began to light the sky. "Pepper, whatever we did then had no direct effect on our relationship after that. That night- it wasn't a mistake."
"No, it wasn't," She admitted, and turned in his arms, face tilting upward toward his. The early morning gave her Tony Stark with a shadow of stubble on his chin and cheeks, hair tousled from sleep and cheeks creased from the pillow. Her heart flopped in her chest as he smiled, the grin having long ago ceased being simply mischievous, but being simply Tony. "It wasn't a mistake, but we'd both come too far at that point to do anything but take a step away from it for a while. We couldn't afford to let it go farther, not without risking everything we'd worked for."
"I know." His eyes looked past her, and as she studied the depth of them she realized that he was somewhere else entirely in that moment, thoughts taking precedence. When he looked down at her, there was something in his expression that caused a flutter deep in her belly and a shudder down her spine. "You know, someone once said 'Only those things are beautiful which are inspired by madness and written by reason'."
"Someone said that, hm?" Pepper turned her head and leaned against his chest, pressing her ear against his warm skin and listening to the sound of his heart and the reactor in tandem. It was a lullaby she'd fallen asleep to before, and despite the danger the reactor represented, the device created a calm that she could appreciate.
"That's us. It's what that time in Venice was, Pepper. There was a reason for it, and it brought us back here." Tony Stark was a man of eccentricities and madness, and that day in Venice when she'd realized how much the two were a part of him was the very day Pepper Potts had fallen in love. "I don't regret a moment we spent together then."
They'd made love that night, she remembered, and she'd woken to a morning much like this, the sun only starting to paint the sky as Tony had risen to wrap his arms around her. They'd stood at the window, for only a moment, and she'd left him there when the flood of embarrassment had taken over. When they'd gone home, and then when she'd thought him captured and dead…the angst and fear had threatened to overwhelm her as quickly as the night in Venice had. And she'd cried, so long and so hard that she'd thought she could never recover.
"I love you," She stood on her toes and her lips met his, passion and promise in the gentle touch as her hand crept around his neck and pulled him in. "When I thought I lost you, Tony…"
"You didn't lose me. You brought me back." He loved her, she knew, and the kiss he gave her then was the same as it had been that first time, the inaugural kiss of a relationship that had started years before it was proven to exist. "I love you more than I could ever say, Pepper Potts, and it's my turn to take care of you the way you've always taken care of me."
She awoke again hours later, limbs sprawled over a bare mattress and pillow clutched in her arms. A slow smile spread across her lips as she stretched, and the delicate sapphire on her finger caught the glimmer of the setting sun. Tony slept just within reach, a tendril of Egyptian cotton over his torso, and she reached out to trail the laden finger over his cheek.
"Its always been you, too."
*The quote that Tony uses came from Andre Gide
"Only those things are beautiful which are inspired by madness and written by reason."
*Prompts used were from Prompt Set #2: Numbers 7, 8, and 19.