Disclaimer: Not mine.
AN: This one will be the last one guys, and it will switch from first POV Tony and first POV Pepper. Hopefully you guys enjoy it. I think this one will be sweet and cuddly. Gosh I love sweet and cuddly…especially Pepperony. ENJOY! Sorry for any mistakes. I missed you guys so much. A lot has been happening in my life so that contributed a lot to my disappearance. I apologize. But hopefully I get back into the swing of things and get some motivation going. I appreciate your patience!
This day could be better. It should be better granted the sudden change of events in my life.
I should be ecstatic, but I find it very difficult to enjoy myself right now. I try everything and nothing seems to help me with this feeling that washes over me every now and then.
I can only take small comfort in the fact that no one has stepped into my office to bury me with paperwork and or routine meeting requests. Today is not the day for that. I am not sure I can survive that right now.
"Knock knock." Perhaps I spoke too soon. I roll my eyes before I usher him in.
Slowly I take a deep breath to banish that feeling and look as casual and resilient as ever. "Yes Tony?" I sigh as if I am annoyed, but he knows I do not mean it. He knows he is my weakness. Especially when he looks as good as he does today. His hair is perfectly fluffy as it spikes up at the front. His gray suit fits him so deliciously. I sound like him in my mind. Ugh…I assume this will be happening more and more as time moves forward.
He catches me devouring him with my eyes and grins with smugness. "I bet I can tell you what you were thinking." He winks at me as he situates himself in the chair across from my desk. Nonchalantly he crosses his ankle over his knee, something I know he does when he has no intention of leaving soon.
"Shut up." I chuckle as low as I can to avoid giving him the satisfaction. "Did you have a purpose when you walked into my office? Or are you just here to distract me?" I eye him before I log into my various email accounts.
Tony smiles. "I distract you?" He knows he does, but he likes to hear it.
"Not at all." I tap the keys swiftly as I respond to the first email. "I can run this company with or without your constant flirting."
"Ouch." He holds his heart, but grins again as he observes me while I work.
I try in vain to work through his stare. Ignoring him is not easy. You would think that fourteen years later I would be a professional at doing it. Not the case.
Emails are cleaned out of my inbox before I peruse through a lengthy contract that was faxed to me five days ago. I normally never let anything sit longer than a day before I tend to it, but these last few days have been a wild rollercoaster.
I feel the burn of Tony's studying eyes.
Quickly I stop the clicking of the scroll wheel on my mouse to look at him. I lace my fingers together and perch my elbows on my desk. "Seriously Anthony…is there a reason why you are still sitting there instead of harassing everyone at the R&D department?"
Tony leans forward with his elbows on his knees. His brows knit together and his head tilts slightly to the side. I think he has figured out that I do not feel as composed as I appear to be. "Something's wrong." He studies me some more. "What's wrong?"
I should probably tell him. I want to tell him, but I do not know how. Especially because I feel my office is not the place where one would disclose such information. I swallow the lump in my throat before I collect myself. "Nothing's wrong." I shrug and lean back smoothly into my executive chair. "Why do you think something's wrong?"
He glares at me with a disbelieving stare. "You seem…tired."
Tired. Yes. I am definitely tired. I am not going to deny that a nice nap sounds great right now. "I'm a bit tired. A lot has been going on lately. Between the new buildings we are working on in Miami, the countless meetings with Northrop I am scheduled for, and you, I am getting spread pretty thin. But it will pass." I smile as best as I can.
His nod lets me know he still does not believe me. "Alright." He nods again and leans back in the chair. "You know I can help with de-stressing you." He smiles a small smile. "Do you want me to have Bambi schedule a spa week? We can get away for a while. Get some R&R?"
I shake my head adamantly. "We can't afford to go on vacation right now, Tony. We have to be here to close the deals in Miami. Which I expect will happen sometime in the next few days."
A sigh escapes him. "Maybe after that?"
"Maybe." I shrug and look at the screen as an email notification flashes on the right bottom corner. "Rhodey just emailed me."
"What does he want?" He questions with curiosity.
With one click I open the body of the email message. I read through it quickly and shake my head before I look up at the man in front of me.
"What? I didn't do it." He answers quickly and I cannot help but laugh a little.
"You seem to be ignoring your phone. He said he can't get a hold of you so he has to bug me about the news conference he wants you to attend."
Tony sighs and complains with a grunt. "Do I have to?" He throws his head back and rubs his face exasperatingly.
"Yes." I state matter of fact.
"No." He argues quickly. "I much rather stay home with you and watch a flick."
"We can do that after the conference." I suggest when I hit the reply button.
He shakes his head. "Don't you dare sign me up for that conference Potts."
Send. "Too late. Will you need Happy to drive you or would you like to take your baby for a spin?" I smile.
Slowly he stands and lets out a long sigh. "You will regret that Ms. Potts." He wags his index finger at me. "And you know there's only one woman in my life now. But yes…I can drive there myself. Have Happy take you home. You need some rest."
"You can't tell me what to do." I banter with him. We have not had much of it lately, and I miss it terribly. "Besides, you know the saying 'there's no rest for the weary'. We are running a multi-billion dollar company here so we can go on expensive getaways." I assume he takes my words as an invitation to prove me wrong because he saunters over to my side of the desk.
"You work too hard, honey." He lets the 'honey' roll of his tongue slowly. "And you know I am the only one that can make you feel better after your long days here at this 'multi-billion dollar company'." He stops and reaches out to pull at the arm rests of my chair to face me to him. "Which is why you will close up shop now and let me take you home so we can cuddle on the couch and watch rom-coms all night." He leans down to capture my lips in a soft and sensual kiss. Naturally my hands bury themselves in that fluffy hair of his.
I feel all sorts of good right now. My nerve endings fire in every direction as I try to hold my ground. The things this man can do with his mouth should be illegal. It is unfair really. He is completely ruthless.
Our lips dance a while longer before he pulls back to cup my face in his hands.
My eyes open slowly and I have to force my heart to slow down. I see that grin flash across his face. "Nice try." I push softly at his chest. "Better get going if you're going to make it in time to that conference." I tease.
"Damn it." He groans as he straightens up. "I can't believe that didn't work. I must be losing my touch." He scratches his head in contemplation.
I stand up myself to escort him out of my office. Sometimes…most of the times he needs an extra push in the right direction. "Drive safe." I rub his back as we near the doorway.
"You can't wait to get rid of me. See now I know something is wrong." He stops and turns to face me before I can close the door.
"I love you." I mouth softly so no one can hear us.
"Love you." He responds before he knits his brows once again.
"Nothing's wrong. See you tonight." I smile wide before I drop a chaste kiss on his lips.
I want to tell him, but I have to gather the courage, and the words. I have no idea how he will take any of this, and that frightens me to the core. I hope he will cope because I do not want to do this alone.
"That was not too bad right?" I hear Rhodey ask me as he sits in the passenger seat. I am trying to figure out how to answer his question because I am so puzzled by the fact that we are in my car already. Half way to his place. I think I might have missed the entire conference.
I shrug. "It's like I wasn't even there." Literally.
Rhodey chuckles, but I stay quiet as I simultaneously think about what I missed and what could be wrong with Pepper. Mostly the latter.
A minute of silence engulfs the car as I steer us towards our destination. "Hey man…" Rhodey turns his head to look at me. "What's up. You've been far too quiet."
"I have?" I respond even though I know he's right.
"Yes. You've said one sentence the entire ride." He shakes his head before he shrugs. "And you have no complaints about the conference."
"Huh…" I pretend to ponder.
"I was sure I would get an earful about how I tore you away from a date with Pepper. Or how I could have improved the weapons and logistics slide for the audience."
I smile a bit before I turn to him. "I could do both right now if you'd feel better." I tease.
Rhodey shakes his head with a grin. "No. No. Please don't. I'm just thinking…are you and Pepper alright? Is it the Avengers?"
A heavy sigh escapes me before I begin. "Pepper and I are great. The Avengers…well we're all on a break right now so I'm stress and Fury free."
I know he will not let it go so I might as well continue. "So…I'm worried about Pepper."
"You said you guys were great." He knits his brows with curiosity.
"We are." I start before he cuts me off.
"Then you're worried…"
"We're fine, Platypus will you stop interrupting? It's probably nothing." I try to convince myself as I shake my head. "She looked exhausted today. Well…not really."
"Which is it?" Rhodey chimes in again.
"I mean she didn't look exhausted. She looked…well beautiful…but she was hiding something. I know it. I heard it in her voice." I sigh yet again.
"So schedule a vacation with her." Rhodey states it so nonchalantly that it kind of irritates me.
"You don' think I've tried?" I turn to glare at him, and instantly regret it. I take solace in the fact that he smiles as he lifts his hands in mock surrender. "Sorry Rhodey." I take a second to focus on the exit ramp. "I'm sure it's nothing. But I won't know until tonight when I get it out of her. "
"Don't push her man. Just give her some peace and quiet. I'm sure she's just busy with all the Stark projects you guys have on the table right now. Cook dinner for her. Treat her. Cater to her."
I cannot help the snort that comes out of me. "Thanks Dr. Phil. I'll make sure to follow your advice." I shake my head with a grin as I roll my eyes.
"Hey man. It works for me. My woman is content and relaxed because of me." I half expect him to polish his nails on his coat. I am relieved when he does not.
"Yeah yeah. Get out. I need to go help my woman relax." I jest as I pull up to his place and he chuckles.
"Thanks for the ride man. Good luck."
The lights are dim, and I do not see Pepper anywhere. Of course I immediately go into panic mode. "Pepper?" I call out while I look around for intruders. I listen for her response or for muffled sounds of pain from injury. As I think this I realize I might be over-reacting. It could really be nothing. She could just be tired from running this company. She does so much and rests so little.
"J…where's Pepper?" I whisper because deep down I expect someone to lunge out at me from the shadows.
"Jarvis." I command more sternly.
After I hear nothing from my computerized butler I walk to the nearest wall to study the electronic panel. I tap a few things, swipe a few pages, and realize that Jarvis is working just fine. Pepper must have muted him so she could sleep.
I allow myself to sigh with relief before I walk towards the workshop where I can talk to Jarvis without waking Pepper.
The lights flicker on as I realize that the gorgeous redhead I was trying not to disturb is asleep on the leather couch. I make my way towards her and smile at the feelings she elicits within me. I have never been more in love in my life. That sounds corny, especially for me, but I only speak the truth.
Her heels rest on the floor beside the couch and she has her hands tucked in between her knees. I drape a fallen blanket over her before she gets too cold.
"Jarvis…" She whispers as she stirs a bit.
"It's me Pep. Go back to sleep baby."
She wrinkles her forehead a little as she wraps herself in the blanket. "Tony…"
"Yeah?" I squat down to be at eye level with her closed ones.
"Don't tell Tony."
Whatever smile I had plastered on my face drops as I go back into that protective mode. "Tell me what, Pep?" I smooth her hair out before I swallow the lump in my throat. What the hell is going on with her? Could this be more serious that I thought?
"Baby…" She sighs as she moves unconsciously towards my touch.
"Yeah…I'm right here baby." I shake the worry off. "You have to talk to me Pep." I look down to the floor as I sigh. "What's going on…"
"Tests…" Pepper barely manages to whisper before she falls into a deep sleep.
"Tests?" I knit my brows and study her face. "What tests?" I almost want to grunt with frustration as I stand up and keep my eyes on her. "What aren't you telling me?"
For a while I stand here just looking at her, but I soon make my way to my smart screens at the desk as I rub my hair and sigh. "Wake up J, and be quiet about it." I sit rather dejectedly on the chair.
"Good evening, sir."
"I need you to pull up any files that Pepper might have created or looked through in the past week."
I sit and wait anxiously as folders appear on my screens.
"Fourteen files have been viewed or created by Ms. Potts in the past seven days sir."
"Remove all Stark Industries files and folders, please J."
"Two folders remain, sir." I sit back and ponder as I see the names on the folders. Nothing stands out.
"Are there any files in those folders that contain key words such as tests or exams? Maybe doctor?"
"Yes sir. One file. I will pull it up for you."
It could have been fractions of a second as the file magnified on my screens, but I seem to wait for an eternity for it. My heart speeds up as I force myself to calm down enough to read through the file.
Confused and out of breath I re-read the electronic paper before me.
There are sixty seconds in one minute. Sixty minutes make up an hour. An hour can go by ever so slowly or it can vanish before your eyes. It all depends on your state of mind.
My mind must be light years away from my physical body because I lose track of time all together. I think an hour has passed with my eyes glued to the screen. Then again I cannot tell for sure.
All I know is that I have not moved an inch.
And that my breathing has been labored since I finished reading the file the first time. Or was it the second time? When did I actually grasp what I read? Or have I?
The term genius flies out the window.
I read the file one more time. Grasped? Not even close.
Slowly I come to and stand.
My eyes naturally drift towards my redheaded beauty on the couch as lean my palms on the table top. Blood drains from my head and suddenly I feel light-headed.
I even out my breathing as I close my eyes.
Is this really happening?
A rustling comes from Pepper's direction, and I open my eyes to look back towards her as she moves to turn her back to me.
What are we going to do?
What am I going to do?
Why hasn't she told me?
What is she thinking?
Questions run rampant in my head and that dizzy feeling comes back. I shake my head and exhale.
"J has she asked you for a scan?" I breathe out with my eyes closed.
Slowly I nod in agreement with my inner self that plans the next step. "Please initiate a full body scan. I need multiple views with manipulation abilities."
I realize a few minutes later that I paced back and forth while the scan completed. This is really doing a number on my head.
"Scan complete, Sir."
"Put it up on the table J. Auto correct body position. And do me a favor…name this file and store it in her folder."
I look down at Pepper's body one last time before I walk over to the hologram table. Carefully I pick up the image and spin it so I can see her body in a standing position. The image proves what I read in her file. It is pretty irrefutable.
I think I want to be angry because she has kept this from me for a week. I wonder when she started to notice. I know I am not angry though. Shocked. Unsure. Afraid. Excited. Happy. Nervous. Yes. Angry…no.
"How many weeks, J? Can you tell?"
"Judging by size and mass I would say four weeks sir."
Four weeks. How did I not notice? Either she is really good at hiding it or I am an idiot and the world's worst boyfriend. I groan and shake my head…upset with myself.
"Schedule an appointment with her doctor, please. Whatever she has open in the next few days. And you can close the image, J."
My feet carry me to her. I am determined and rapidly very calm. I stop to pick her up, carefully so I will not wake her. Immediately she wraps her arms around my neck and breathes me in as she buries her nose in my neck.
I opt for the elevator to take us to our floor.
There goes that losing track of time thing again. Almost on auto pilot I get us to our room. Before I know it I am in bed, her body securely in my arms, and I am drifting off to sleep.
My eyes open and I adjust to my surroundings.
How did I get in our bed? I think I fell asleep in the workshop, but it is all still a bit hazy. If it were not for the strong arm that drapes around my midsection I would have guessed I was still asleep.
Tony's soft snores make me smile as I turn my head to look at his awkward sleeping position. He is flat on his stomach with his handsome face to me. His left arm is hidden somewhere under his pillow while his right is stretched over me. I will never understand how he can sleep so contorted.
I grin and turn slowly so I can face him. His arm falls beside me and I lace my fingers with his and pull it to rest by my heart. With my free hand I gently trace his brow line. He looks so tranquil, but his brows always look like he is deep in thought. I have told him this before and he denies that he solves mechanical formulas in his sleep. I doubt he dreams about anything but his next invention.
His lips twitch slightly as a small smile forms. He sighs and tightens his grip on my fingers.
Relaxed and not fully ready to move and get up for the day I let my eyes close.
"You're ok, Pep."
My brain tells me that Tony is talking to me, but I am edging closer to sleep so I ignore it.
I smile sleepily and slowly rub his back with my free hand. He loves it when I do this. On nights when he cannot sleep I force him to lie on his stomach so I can run my hand up and down his back. It does not take long after that for him to snore.
He exhales contently. "Not mad. Not…mad…"
My eyes open slowly as I hear him say that last part. What is he talking about? "Mad?" I ask mostly aloud to myself, but he hears me.
"No…not mad." He responds still asleep.
"Why…why would you be mad, Tony?" I wake up a little more.
"I know." I am completely awake now.
I move closer to him as I continue to rub his back. "What do you know, baby?"
He nods sleepily. "Baby…I know about the baby."
My body shoots up to sit as I panic about what he just confessed. I want to scream. I want to cry. But I do not know why. It could be because I am confused about how he found out and worried about how he feels.
How did he find out! I feel my eyes water as I breathe rapidly. I think if I do not rouse him from his sleep I might go insane.
"Tony!" I shake him roughly.
Almost instantly Tony turns in bed and shoots up. "What! What happened! Are you ok?" His eyes dart to me, still red and swollen with sleep, and then he looks around the room. "Pepper? What's the matter?" He pants as he turns to me to examine me with his hands. He cups my face and moves some hair out of my eyes. "Are you ok? Why are you crying? Are you hurt? Pepper talk to me!" He breathes heavily as he waits for my response.
Slowly I shake my head. "I'm not hurt. I'm ok." I sniffle as I try to control my hormonal tears. "I'm sorry I woke you up."
It was his turn to shake his head. "Don't worry about it. What happened, Pep. What's wrong?" He soothes me as he wipes some tears from my cheeks with his thumbs.
"How did you…you were talking in your sleep." I sigh. "I don't know where to start."
Tony swallows before he clears his throat. "At the beginning usually helps. Or so I've heard." He smiles gently at me. "What did I say?" He asks curiously. "I didn't say another woman's name did I? Because I'll tell you right now there's no one else but you." He grins.
How does he make me feel better with a simple smile? I love this man. I chuckle silently as I close my eyes to compose myself. "Good." I move my arms to rest on his chest. "We need to talk."
Tony's grin fades.
"I know you know that I'm pregnant." I state without hesitation. He nods and keeps his eyes on mine. "How did you find out?"
His shoulders slump a bit. "Don't be upset." Uh oh. When he starts an argument with that I usually do end up upset. "I only did it because I was worried. I mean you know I would never pry. You know I trust you. I would never invade your privacy. And I have never ever done any of this before. I'm sorry."
I smile at his nervousness. "Slow down, Tony. How?"
We sit in the same position as he recounts his worried ordeal. He tells me everything, from how he sat in the conference not having heard a single word. How he heard me last night talking in my sleep. His relief in knowing I was not dying. His trepidation about becoming a father. I have to say that I am not upset at all.
"So…" I start nervously. "Do you think we're ready for this?"
Tony sighs and grins. "I mean it came a lot sooner than expected. And I think we never really discussed it before this, but we were both open to having kids." He shrugs as he drops his gaze to my hands on his chest. "You're ready. You'll be a great mother. I don't know what kind of father I'll be, I mean I didn't have a great role model, and I'll probably never come close to yours." I felt a twinge in my heart at seeing his sad smile.
"I know you will be a great dad. You have one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know, you're a man of values, and you're brilliant. We'll have a child who's loved, compassionate, and a genius I'm sure." I smile big at him.
"He will be kicking ass in Calculus…in elementary. If there's one thing I'm glad I got from my dad it's his brain. And I'll be damned if I don't pass that on to our child." There goes that grin again. It drives me absolutely crazy.
"See…" I move my hand to caress his cheek. "We're both going to do fine."
We stare at each other for a while as we let everything sink in. Things will be different. But I think together we can make it all work out.
"We're all going to be fine." He nods before he kisses me slowly and deeply.
"How about that vacation?" I smile through our kiss.
Oh my gosh I would love to see something like this in the movies. And I am so bummed because I researched what ever articles are out so far about Pepperony in Avengers: AOU, and I see nothing. Apparently Gwyneth said she has not been contacted yet. I really hope they give us at least a mention or a phone call. *sighs* I guess we'll see what happens. Updates soon for Iron Man: Risks and Consequences.