Fall Out

Chapter One: Support Group

Disclaimer: I own nothing…

Chapter Song: Gotta Let It Go by Def Leppard

Author Notes: Not as good as some of the others out there, especially dialogue wise, but I'm giving it a shot.

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"Truth is… I am Iron Man."

With those six words the conference room erupted in a series of rapid fire questions and flashing cameras. Christine Everhart's mouth was wide open… she had been chiding him truthfully and didn't think it was true. Tony Stark a Super-Hero? What was this world coming to?

However Tony Stark could care less what Ms. Everhart thought. She had been one of the many strings of mistakes in his past. Instead his eyes swept the crowd, past it and to the back of the room. To his left stood one part of his remaining true support group, that part was to put it lightly pissed, the other half had stormed from the room. Tony watched the security act quickly in clearing the room, phrases like "No more photos for today" and "Mr. Stark will be taking no more questions" flooded the air. The room wasn't clearing fast enough.

"Why. Why can't you ever do as you're told Tony?" Rhodey's tone reminded him way too much of his Father's long ago. It caused Tony to frown, the adrenaline buzz killed now indefinitely.

"I'll get back to you on that." Tony cupped his friend's shoulder and then bounded from the platform and through the still sizeable throng of reports and security. By the time he made it out of the place, Pepper was already in the car, which left Happy Hogan holding the door for his employer, the look on the ex-boxer's face nothing like his nickname.

As Tony eased into the car, he noted Pepper sitting as close as she could get to the other door, her eyes like blue steel staring with as much focus as she could muster out the window. The drive back to his Malibu home was silent as death, a few times he attempted to say something then caught the look on her face and closed his mouth. At least she wasn't acting like Rhodey had, but the silence was almost more then he could bare.

When the car pulled in passed the stream of reporters now most likely permanently parked in front of his house, Pepper didn't even wait for Happy to put it into park, she got out and stormed up stairs from the garage and into her office, her office for years. She ignored the man who was on her heels and sat down at her desk, eyes narrowing at the flood of emails that were never going to end in Tony's in box.



Tony had raced to keep up with the woman, a woman in stiletto heels for crying out loud. He figured she must've been wearing those things since she was like thirteen or something. Damn. He practically skidded to a halt just inside her office door, rather relieved to see her at her desk and working… even if that look was still there. That look scared him, "Oh good. You're working."

Pepper Potts' rose a brow, her eyes never moving from the computer screen in front of her, "What else would I be doing?" She answered sharply.

"Quitting?"

"Do you want me to quit?" Now she looked at him, reading his expression which always seemed to relay his thought process.

Tony Stark was thinking alright, thinking that all this was rather odd, especially her sharp tone. Okay, well not completely odd, just odd coming from her… even before, when she had threatened to quit when he had asked her to go to the office her tone hadn't been so sharp, "No." He answered quietly, as if it was a hallowed word to be said. And when she did nothing but return to looking at her computer screen Tony inched into the room and heard an annoyed sound emit from his dear Miss Potts.

"Do you need something?" That tone was there again, and it was rather intimidating.

"Err… no…" Very intimidating and then he took a deep breath and decided to take some ground back, he was her boss after all, "Actually, yes."

"Well then?"

"Could you cut the tone?" He was in front of her desk now wondering why all she had on it was a pencil holder and some loose files.

"And what tone would that be Mr. Stark?" Pepper pronounced his last name with almost a clip.

"That tone. Right there, that I'm mad at you because you basically just told the world I'm a super hero and I have to deal with it tone." His index finger was extended at her accusingly, "That tone."

At that Pepper rolled her eyes and went back to work, doing her best to ignore the presence of her boss before her, as commanding as it was.

"Uh-uh. You Pepper Potts do not get to roll your eyes and me and then proceed to act as though I am not in the room." The extended finger now wagged back and forth in the air at her and then just for the hell of it, he grabbed her computer's cord and yanked it from the console. His dark eyes could turn steely just as well as her blue ones could.

"How do you expect me to answer the insane amount of emails you've just received if I can't use my computer?" Her eyes met his steel for steel.

"Very carefully?" Tony quipped and then grinned, "You know Miss Potts this is kind of turning me on right now." He eyed her desk suggestively.



"That's it." Without another word, Pepper snatched her laptop and proceeded around her desk, out of her office and into the hall almost running into James Rhodes on her way. Seconds later both men heard the guest bathroom door slam shut followed by silence.

Rhodey eyed his friend in the middle of his assistance's office and then looked down the hall and back again, "You're damn lucky she didn't quit."

Tony stood there a moment, and then nodded, "No shit."

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More to come, promise.