Lets start with I don't own anything. It's all property of Stan Lee and Marvel! Been a long term fan of the Comics and I was thrilled that they put Pepper in the movie so this is just a harmless story that I thought of after the film.
Her eyes were starting to sting from the lack of sleep that had suddenly been thrusted on her. All he had to do was stick to the cards, read the cards and take no questions but no, Tony Stark didn't work that way. Now she was running on 3 hours sleep and night and black coffee that was so thick it could have been easily mistaken for tar.
"Damnit!" Pepper Potts cursed as her cell phone let out another shrill ring.
It was dangerous enough for her to be driving in her current state, let alone answering frantic calls from board members and reporters. With a frustrated sigh she pressed the button on the side of her headset.
"Virgina Potts" she said, her voice a cold monotone from having to say it so many times in one say.
"Virgina!? How are you feeling? It's all over the news, I can't believe you're still even in contact with that man let alone working for him" Pepper sighed under her breath as her Mother rambled on in her ear about how Tony was an unstable lunatic who she needed to get as far away from as possible. Part of that was true, he was a little unstable at times but sometimes she liked him that way. It certainly made her job a little more interesting.
"Mom...Mom..MOM! I have to go, i'll speak to you soon!" She snapped, cutting her mother off. Sure she would probably feel bad about it later but right now she didn't have time to feel guilt.
Her car stopped on the outside driveway that Tony never used, making sure she left room for his cars incase he did decide to leave. Her hands remained on the steering wheel, her eyes focused on the dashboard as she took in a few deep breaths. Her head was killing her and her shoulders ached from the position she had ended up sleeping in, slumped over her home office desk until her alarm woke her up.
"No rest for the wicked" She muttered, grabbing her briefcase and pulling herself from the form fitting car seat.
"Good morning Miss Potts" She smiled despite her bad mood at Jarvis. The AI that Tony had created felt more like a work collegue than just a security system.
"Morning Jarvis, is Tony up?" She asked, walking further into the house.
"Mr Stark is in his workshop" Jarvis said. Pepper gave another sigh and nodded mostly to herself. Where else would Tony Stark be? Since his admission to the world he was constantly working on the suit while ignoring the many meetings and confrence calls that Pepper arranged for him.
Her heels clicked on the marble floor as she made her way to the huge kitchen to pour herself yet another cup of black coffee before moving to her office to dump her briefcase on her desk. She had only been sitting in her chair for 5 minutes before deciding she should probably go and see Tony.
He was exactly where she thought he'd be. In his workshop, strapped into some contraption that wrapped around his arm. She supposed he was doing something to improve the gauntlets of the suit.
"Good morning Miss Potts" she heard him say, his back still turned to her. She smiled despite still being annoyed with his actions.
"Good morning Mr Stark, having another productive day?" She asked, putting some papers down on his desk as he turned around to face her with a smirk.
"Quite productive i'll have you know! I've just managed to...Pepper do you feel alright?" He asked, suddenly taking in her apperance. She was dressed to perfection as she always was but her face looked tired. Her eyes were drawn in with dark circles around them and weren't as sparkly as usual and she looked a little more flushed than she should have been considering the air conditioning was on full.
"I'm fine, just a little tired from trying to sort out the mess that you created, incase you'd forgotten!" she said, trying to sound stronger than she actually felt. Truth was she would give anything to go back to her appartment and curl up in bed with some pain killers. Tony tipped his head to the side as he viewed her through narrowed eyes as if to examine her.
"Really? You don't look like you feel fine..."
"Just what every PA wants to hear..." She muttered, not noticing that he had closed the gap between the two of them and was in the process of putting his hand to her forehead.
"Wh...what are you doing?" She sighed, her eyes looking up at his concerned face.
"You're getting a fever..."
"Mr Stark..." She started, knowing that he wasn't really listening, "Tony, I'm fine. It's lack of sleep..." She suddenly noticed that his eyes were drilling into hers but with a kind of softness behind them that she only saw on occasion.
"Lack of sleep never created a fever" he said quitely, "Jarvis, can you tell me Miss Potts body temperature please?"
"Miss Potts temperature is sitting at 104 Degrees Fahrenheit, 6.5 degrees above normal body temperature"
Pepper scowled and folded her arms over her chest with another sigh, Ignoring the fact Tony was grinning like a mad man. He loved it when he was right.
"Okay so maybe I do but I can't take a day off! I have far too much to do" She exclaimed, useless to fight against the man who was guiding her up the stairs of his work shop and apparently towards one of the guest bedrooms.
"Who says you can't take a day off? As your boss I'm ordering you to take time off to get better" He said, commanding but gently at the same time.
"Well then I should at least go home then..."
"It is unwise for you to drive in your current state" Jarvis suddenly interupted, cutting off her feeble arguement. Even though she didn't want to admit it, the feel of his chest against her back sent a warm fuzzy feeling through her body and his hands gently on her arm made her feel protected.
"You see now come on, you are more than welcome to stay here until you feel better...I don't know why you won't just stay here anyway it would save you a lot of time..." He stopped at the frown on her tired, flushed face, "But now isn't the time. There are clothes here for you and I can send out for anything else you need. Go to bed. Get some sleep"
It felt like it was happening in slow motion. She suddenly felt herself being turned around to face him and a gentle kiss was planted on her forehead before she was once again spun around to face into the immaculate guest bedroom and was pushed gently inside.
"What in the hell was that?!" He snapped at himself as he walked away from the room he'd left her in. He hadn't even thought about it. The reaction was completely automatic.
"I believe it was a sigh of affection" Jarvis said adding his own two cents to the equation and making Tony frown even more.
"I'm aware of that but it wasn't a sigh of affection I was planning on making" He stressed, raking a hand through his hair.
Sure he'd always had a soft spot for his personal assistant and over the past few months that soft spot had grown into something he wasn't ready to admit he felt. So he kept it covered with his normal macho attitude, going through a different girl most nights of the week. It wasn't enough now, he hated that he'd put her in harms way even if there was no choice and he wanted to find some way to make it up to her. Taking care of her when she was sick was the least he could do.
Suddenly there was a harsh ring from his table and he noticed that her cell phone had been left on his work bench. It had at least 50 missed calls on it.
"What to do...what to do..." He said, tossing the phone between his hands, "Jarvis, open a window please"
He could barely contain his smile as the small phone was launched outside and into the water below, bouncing off the rocks on its way down.