Tony took a deep breath wrapping his arms around himself desperately to keep himself from starting to sob again. His hands were shaking terribly and he knew his eyes were red and raw. He'd been crying for hours before this, before he accepted what he had to do. Before he made the decision that was going to be the hardest thing he'd ever done. This would tear his heart out of his chest and shatter it into a million pieces, but he knew he had to. He couldn't be selfish anymore; he had to think of others. So pulling a fake smile, Tony pulled himself together the best he could and stepped into the living room he and Pepper shared, feeling very much like a man marching to the end.
"Pepper?" He tried to keep his voice in check as he rounded the corner and saw Pepper laid out on the couch smiling at her phone. Her long red hair was falling in front of her face, her silky blue nightgown making her pale skin glow in the moonlight. Her eyes were twinkling with a completely happy smile gracing her face. He would usually be overjoyed to see that rare smile, but as his heart fractured a little more and he just couldn't bring himself to it. Because he knew that smile wasn't for him. It would never be for him again. She looked up and smiled at him brightly, tucking her hair behind her ear and sitting the phone down. "Hey baby, what's up?" She said cheerily patting the spot on the couch next to her for him to come and sit, looking completely content. Her act would be completely convincing if he wasn't a genius. Sometimes he wished he wasn't, it seemed to cause him so much more pain in the long run. But he was and he painfully noticed the smile she was giving him now wasn't nearly as genuine as before, and it felt like dagger to the heart.
He smiled painfully and sat down in front of her. "Pepper, I love you. I have always loved you, more than anything I ever had and I'd give up everything for you." Pepper's eyes went wary, smile fading at his tone. He tried not the shake his head or scowl. She probably thought he was dying again, or proposing. Both things he knew she wouldn't want, both of which he'd rather the situation be at the moment, anything to get away from the crushing anguish in his oh so fragile heart. Tony gulped and tried to hold back the tears stinging in his eyes, he broke her gaze and let his eyes drift to the floor. "Pepper, when Clint and Natasha broke up, he was brokenhearted and you were there for him when I couldn't be because I sucked at emotions. You two became nearly inseparable. I tried not to see it, I knew you weren't actually doing anything; you aren't like that… I saw the look though. You started looking at him like you use to look at me."
Tony closed his eyes tight for a moment, desperately pushing back the tears and swallowed hard, trying to erase to agony of his confession off his face. "I want to break up Pepper. Clint is my best friend, I see him looking at you the same way. You're in love, both of you, and I care too much about you both to ever keep you from each other. I'm ending it Pepper; I want you to be truly happy, both of you."
Suddenly two arms were firmly wrapped around him, knocking him slightly off balance. "Oh god Tony…I'm so sorry…I'm so sorry I did this to you. I can't believe you would do this for….. I do love you Tony…so much it's just…." His eyes fluttered for a moment and he scowled himself for the sudden disappointment running through his veins. He was stupid for that little hope in the back of his mind she would tell him he was wrong. So stupid.
With a shuttering breath Tony closed his eyes again tightly inhaling the smell of Pepper's tropical shampoo as her hair tickled his face. He tried to savor it knowing that it would be the last time he ever would be this close t to her like this. The last time he could ever hold the woman he loved more than life itself in his arms. With shaking hands he brought his hand up to her back and pulled her a little closer, rubbing comforting circles onto her back. He felt a sharp sting of guilt feeling her warm tears drop onto his shoulder, but quickly pushed it away, trying to tell himself that this wasn't his fault. "It's just you love him more….." He finished for her and felt her sob, trying his best to hold back one of his own.
"Tony, I'm so sorry I never meant for this to happen, the last thing I ever wanted to happen was to hurt you, we never would have…." He smiled ruefully and pushed her away a bit, looking into her eyes and pushing a stray hair out of her face, so he could look into her beautiful blue eyes shining with fresh tears.
"I know Peps. I'll be okay, I always am right?" He tried joking but it came out as more a small whimper and he quickly leaned up pressing a small kiss to her forehead. "I will always do what it takes to make you happy Pepper. Remember that alright? Even after this, if you need anything, don't hesitate to ask. I still want you in my life Pepper, Clint too. I'm not mad at either of you. I'm gonna go now though, alright? I need some time. Go tell Clint in person. Tell him congratulations for me."
More tears fell down Pepper's pale face, red tear streaks marring her usually clam attitude. Tony ran his hand through her hair one last time before kissing her softly on the lips and pulling away from her grasp, escaping as the first tears started to fall, running as far away from the woman who had held his heart for so long as he could get.
Natasha sighed sadly with regret as she watched Tony run from Pepper. She felt bad for spying, even if it was her job. She honestly hadn't been trying to, she was just looking through the vents for Clint's watch, and he lost it somewhere in here and couldn't come find it because his leg was broken, much to his distress. She just happened upon Tony ending his relationship with the only woman he ever loved. Wonderful.
Natasha let her eyes drift towards Pepper as she watched the other redhead drop back onto the couch and collapse into sobs. Natasha felt a pang of sympathy for the woman, but right now she had to find Tony. She had seen the burning pain in his eyes as he pulled away from Pepper. He was breaking and he needed someone, and his usual go to guy Clint…..well even if Clint would always be there for Tony there was no way he could help him now. Natasha had seen this coming, even if Clint and Pepper were trying to deny their feeling for each other; she had assumed that Pepper would finally end it. This… caught her by surprise. She had thought Tony was oblivious to Clint and Pepper's growing feelings for each other. She couldn't say she liked being wrong.
Natasha had never been oblivious though. She'd seen it right after she broke up with Clint, and it ate at her cold heart every day. The only thing making it bearable was that she never had to see them kiss, or actually be together as a couple, because neither party could do that to Tony. Now Tony had given them blessing, and she knew it wouldn't be too long before they were officially together. Natasha briefly debated finding Bruce and sending him after Tony, but not only was it too late at night; she knew that he couldn't help. There was only one person who could understand how Tony was feeling right now, and that was her. She knew because she was still in love with Clint, so if the heartbreak she was feeling was anything like Tony's, he needed her, and she planned on being there.
Alright I'm not super confident about this story, I've never written for pairing other than Clintasha and Pepperoni, so writing IronWidow is a challenge that I couldn't ignore. This story just took root in my brain and refused to go away. I've got a pretty good plot thought out for this story though, so I hope you'll bare with me. IN NO WAY DO I HATE PEPPER OR CLINT! Clint is my second favorite avenger, next to Tony, and Natasha is pretty close too, so I don't want to hate on any of the, even if I can't avoid a little of , please Review! Love you all!