Disclaimer: I do not own Tony Stark or Pepper Potts...they belong to Marvel. Everything is my own story except for two minor scenes.

Pepper sighed, irritated, as she looked around the room. It was a mess, she'd repeatedly asked her boss to please pick up after himself…but when you lead a party life as busy and as crazy as Mr. Stark's…it seemed to be just too much to ask. Tony, as anyone but her, called him, was widely known as a playboy, the bad boy in the entrepreneur world. She, however, saw two sides to him, there was Tony, the irresistible charmer that could make a woman smile faster than she could say his name, and Mr. Stark, the determined genius, who was so much more inside than the public knew. Mr. Stark, the name rolled off her tongue so well…it was formal sure…but to her it'd become more of an endearing nickname. She'd worked with him so long that the jobs she'd held before were just a distant memory, and at the moment, he was all she had in the world. The few months when he was captive, and had appeared to disappear off the face of the Earth, were awful. She didn't really want to admit that to anyone, not even herself, passing it off as a fear of job safety rather than his own well being. When she first agreed to work with Tony Stark, she wondered how they'd ever work so closely together…but gradually she built up resistance to his infamous charm, and totally immersed herself in the role of being his personal assistant.

Lately, however, as much as she didn't want to admit it, he was wearing her down. Prolonged looks, the occasional "slip" when he'd call her Pepper instead of Ms. Potts. She liked it, though she didn't want to, nor did she need to complicate her job. She began thinking of their numerous encounters, almost always dealing with his professional life, every once in a while trailing off into talk of dates or plans outside of work. Lately, she noticed him lingering next to her longer when talking about plans for the day; but dismissed it as fast as the idea had come to her. She'd simply been ignoring it all these years. She smiled as she remembered him laughing; nearly hysterically as she gazed back at him in horror after she'd nearly killed him when switching out his arc reactor. To say she nearly killed him was overkill, since she hadn't, but she was not amused, but apparently he was.

"Pepper!" He called over the intercom, calling her by her actual name and cutting into her thoughts that she really didn't want to be having to begin with.

"Yes, Mr. Stark?" She quipped, a phrase that had grown to be routine.

When there was no response, she headed down to the workshop…lately he'd been working non-stop, on … something. Looking through the windows, she noticed Tony with an unusual looking contraption strapped to his arm. Entering the code, her curiosity building, she entered and stood next to him.

"I thought you stopped making weapons..?" She asked dryness evident in her tone. He looked at her, almost sarcastically.

"This isn't a weapon…it's a flight stabilizer," he explained, deliberately getting to the point before trial. The machine fired up quickly and back-fired with surprising force, sending Tony backwards. Pepper gasped and turned, slightly shaken.

"I did not expect that…" he murmured.

Later that day Pepper sat in front of the TV, with her laptop, the headlines of the day rolling by, unnoticed. She was entirely wrapped up in Mr. Stark's emails, when the intercom buzzed breaking her concentration.

"Pepper… umm… could you help me for a second?"

"Sure…what do you need…?" she asked, almost feeling nervous.

"Not a big deal, just… um…just come to my room, I have a benefit tonight, and I desperately need a female opinion."

"Ohhh… someone special you're expecting to see there?" She taunted.

He laughed, albeit dryly, not sure if he should be amused or insulted, "So I'll see you in a mi—" He stopped mid-word, as Pepper entered his room.

"What can I help you with, Mr. Stark?"

He looked up, holding up two ties, one yellow with navy diamonds, creating a dizzying pattern, and the other striped with black, navy and silver.

"Which one?"

In spite of herself, she smiled. What would he do without me? She mused to herself. Stepping closer to him, she reached out for the striped tie, signaling for him to turn around; she began to tie his tie from behind him, standing on her tip toes. Suddenly, she was very aware that they were closer than close, she was leaning into him entirely to keep from stumbling. In spite of the growing color rising in her cheeks, she remained concentrated on the task at hand.

"Ms. Potts," he mused, playfully, "Ms. Potts…I do believe you're blushing."

Her head snapped up, shocked he'd been paying attention to her. She looked up at him, hardly able to hold his gaze. When she looked back up at him, she immediately noticed a playful glint in his eye. Ignoring all options of what she might want to do, she opted for the easy route, brushing his shoulders off playfully and looked at his reflection in the mirror briefly.

"Not bad," she mused, returning his same playful glance that still danced in his eyes. He turned to face her.

"Thanks…" he said, his voice trailing off. He held her gaze till she couldn't look in his eyes any longer.

"Well…have fun tonight…" She said somewhat awkwardly, glancing down at her hands, pretending to study her ring, "will that be all, Mr. Stark?"

"Yes, that will be all, Ms. Potts."

She turned to leave his room, and could feel his eyes on her back the whole time.

"Sir…" Jarvis piped in, breaking Tony from his thoughts, "It is now 7:45, and we need you out of the house by 8pm if you want to make it to the party on time."

"Thanks, I know, and I'm all set," he said, fighting a smile, amused that he programmed a computer so smart.