Disclaimer: I do not own nor do I claim to own any characters or concepts related to Iron Man or the associated Marvel Universe. This is a nonprofit work of fanfiction. Obviously.

Author's Notes: A few days ago I posted a request for Pepper/Tony prompts to my livejournal. Much to my delight, several people were kind enough to offer up their suggestions. I'm archiving the finished flashfics here for my own ease. (Finished flashfics are also indexed on my livejournal.)

This particular flashfic was written for Chira (lj user halcyonjazz), who gave me the prompt of comic shop (location), light (mood), and hotrod red (color).

Four Color Glory

"Please tell me why I'm doing this," Pepper says. Her cell-phone crackles once, in counterpoint to Tony's laugh. The wall before her is an incomprehensible jumble of color and gloss, each cover brighter than the one beside it.

"Seriously," she says. "What am I even looking for?"

Tony grunts. On the far end of the line something crashes. Pepper bites her lip.

"Keep looking," he says. "I guarantee you'll know it when you see it."

"If you're busy--"

"No, no," he says, and if he's winded, the static hides his breathing well. "I'm good. Just, uh, tell me when you see it, okay?"

"See what, Tony? You still haven't told me--"

She sees it. There on the third shelf down, the fourth book in a row of seven, hotrod red and unmistakeable.

"Oh, my God," she says. "Is that you?"

"I'm flattered," Tony says.

"Tony," she says, "you're on a comic book."

"Mind-boggling, I know," he says. "What with this whole super hero secret identity thing."

Pepper fumbles for the inaugural issue of TONY STARK, THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN.

"Tony," she says after one long, painful moment. "I'm in the comic book."

"Yeah, well, so am I. Don't let the fame go to your head."

Pepper stares down, down, at the stylized caricature on the first page: Pepper Potts, faithful assistant. Will Tony Stark ever return her love?

Tony says, "Here's what I want you to do. I want you to buy three copies, one to bag--"

"I'm not buying this," she says.

"--for posterity," Tony continues with only the slightest pause to show he heard her, "one for me, and one for you. Is Rhodey in there, too? Get four copies."

Pepper looks away from the page. "Mr Stark, I'm sorry, but I'm not comfortable supporting--"

"Well," he says, "to be fair, in two hours you won't be. I had Alvarez--" He cuts off with a grunt and she can hear the sound of something sparking strongly near his phone. "I had Alvarez copyright Iron Man, and unfortunately the, uh, publisher--"

"Marvelous Entertainment?" she says.

"I wouldn't say marvelous--"


"We're suing their asses," he says. "I give it a day, tops, before they pull the series."

Pepper looks at the comic in her hand, the glossy red cover, the stylized cartoon super hero squaring off against a masked thug, the earnest bold font asking, WHO is the IRON MAN? "Good," she says.

"Glad to hear it, Miss Potts," he says.

"I'm hanging up now," Pepper says, and she does.

This story was originally posted to livejournal on 05/09/2008.