Title: Work in Progress
Author: Sare Liz
Disclaimer: So not mine.
Universe: Iron Man movieverse, TS/PP
Continuity: Directly after my fic "I'm Working On It"
Rating: T. ish. Still.
Author's Note: Writing makes me happy. Knowing that there are people who enjoy it (and want to discuss it) is the cherry on the top of my day.


Tony Stark woke up feeling calmer and more content than he had since coming back from Afghanistan eight months prior. Not that he was thinking this as he woke up on that beautiful Saturday morning. There was no thought involved at all, which was part of the beauty. It was just a feeling, a sensation of peace, like the sensation of limbs moving along high-count cotton sheets, as soft as a dream. Still somewhere between sleep and awake, said moving limbs encountered a distinct lack of any other body in the bed. This awareness proceeded to kick Tony firmly out of the land of sleep and into the waking world.

"Shades," he murmured before clearing his throat. Before his throat had cleared, Jarvis had cleared the Inteliglass windows and the room brightened slightly.

Rubbing his fingertips over his eyes and moving down to scratch at his growth of beard, he quietly spoke to his butler. "Jarvis, where's Pepper?"

"She is in your bathroom, sir," Jarvis replied just as softly.

He grunted and sat up, running a hand through his shock of black hair. "What time is it?"

"Five twenty-three."

Tony sighed in disbelief. "Huh. Slept in." When he heard the sink turn on from the master bath, he smiled and slid out of bed. Walking past randomly dropped articles of clothing he didn't bother to put any of them on. It wasn't that he was an exhibitionist, but it was his home, and the only ones around were his girlfriend and his AI butler. And besides, he didn't expect his girlfriend to be dressed, either.

His shock was imaginable then, when he opened the bathroom door and found her, in fact, mostly dressed and brushing her teeth. Her hair was still delightfully mused, however, and she hadn't taken a bath.

"Hey, no fair," he said, wrapping his hands around her middle and stepping up to her so he could be as close as her clothes would allow. He wondered if she was trying to avoid a difficult morning scene. He wondered if she thought he'd treat her like the other ones.

Tony didn't meet her eyes, after that first moment of opening the door. Instead, he buried his face in the crook of her neck and kissed and licked the little mark he'd left there the night before.

"Do you have plans for today?" he murmured, working his way up to her ear.

"I was going to work some," she said around the toothpaste in her mouth. "Clean my house. Have lunch with my sister. Why?"

"Oh, I thought we might have a leisurely morning," he said, and nibbled her ear for good effect. The effect was ruined, however, when she bent over to spit out the toothpaste and rinse her mouth out. Tony, never one to be daunted, took the opportunity to massage her skirt-clad hip with one hand and move her long hair out of her way with the other.

"That would be new for you," she remarked dryly, now completely vertical once more.

"This is all new for me, Pepper," he said, staring into her eyes through the mirror, and wrapping his arms around her center once more, hugging her to him tightly. He'd forgotten how much shorter than him she was without heels. He had a solid four inches on her.

There was the space of a heartbeat before she answered, and in the stillness of the small tiled room it seemed like a rather long time. "That was unfair of me. I'm sorry."

"You can make it up to me, you know," he said, nuzzling back into her hair, loving the smell of it, of her, of the two of them together.

"On my back, I suppose."

Fingers twitched at her sides, and behold, Tony found that Pepper was quite ticklish.

"Invite me to lunch with your sister," he said softly, once his fingers stopped moving, once she could breathe again for laughter.

Her features asked the question for her.

"I want to meet your family."

If her expression was anything to go by, this request stunned her. Tony wasn't sure why it should. Wasn't this normal dating behavior? And besides anything someone else deemed normal, he wanted to.

"Besides. We need to pick up your stuff."

"My stuff?"

"Yea. You know. Stuff. Clothes, shoes, laptop, stuff. Your stuff. From your apartment. Stuff?"

At this she turned around, but just a tad to fast and managed to sideswipe his most delicate piece of equipment. He groaned heavily, but she didn't seem to notice. Still, his arms were around her, and hers rested on his bare chest.

"I don't see why I would need to pick up anything to bring over here. I'm not moving in with you, Tony Stark," she said, tapping her finger against the arc reactor in his chest, the ting-ting-ting of her fingernail against it echoing in the room.

"No?" he said, attempting to be charming.


"But what about days like this? I mean, you know, one thing leads to another, you spend the night – which you are always, always welcome to do –" at this he commenced kissing her neck again. "And sure, we both wake up at 5, but do you really want to have to drive all the way out to L.A. face the traffic, just to put on a fresh suit and some perfume? Think of the greenhouse emissions."

She snorted. "It's not that simple, Tony. My wardrobe isn't so large that I can just keep part of it over here."

"Clearly we need to go shopping before lunch with your sister."

"You have an answer to everything, don't you?" At this, he started in on the buttons to yesterday's blouse.

"Nine years later you're just figuring this out?"

She narrowed her eyes as he smoothed the blouse off her shoulders and let it fall onto the bathroom counter. "Fine. Shopping, then lunch, then you drop me at my apartment. There are still things that I want to do this afternoon."

"Yea?" he asked, unzipping her pencil skirt and letting it fall. He walked backwards with her, still holding on tight, kissing her shoulder, as they went back into the bedroom. "Like what? Come on, you know my schedule. What's yours look like?"

"Work. Cleaning. Yoga class."

"Yoga?" he asked with a lascivious grin. "You mean, you can twist yourself into a pretzel? That must come in handy."

"I think it will, with you."

"Then by all means. Shops don't open for another three hours. I think you should probably practice your yoga on me." Slowly, small step by step, they made their way across the large room.

"At some point I'm going to need coffee, Tony."

"Yes, yes, pencil that in for right after our shower."

And as they both fell back into bed with the sun slowly lightening the western sky, the laughter of Pepper Potts lightened his heart.


to be continued...