Viva la Vida

A/n: The story isn't based on the song, but I highly recommend listening to "Viva la Vida" by Coldplay. It reminded me of Iron Man. Anyways, this takes place after the movie. This is my first foray outside of X-Files fanfic, so I hope you all like it. It starts off as more of a romance, but the action comes later. I promise. :)

It was late evening in Malibu, California and Pepper Potts still had her usual late afternoon migraine. She could feel the blood racing through her veins and making her head throb hugely. As she entered Tony's house for the first time after the press conference, her mind raced, her head screamed at her and her heels tipped a bit on the cold marble floor. Pepper sat down her files on a nearby table, calling out Mr. Stark's name and resisting the huge urge to toe off her stilettos.

"Tony?" she called (Pepper Potts never yelled, she called) but there was no answer. Pepper sighed, rubbing her temples and making her way down to the shop. Remnants of Tony's pristine suit littered the steps; she picked up the wrinkled jacket, the crumpled tie and each of his dress shoes with another familiar sigh. As she punched in the passcode to enter Tony's sanctuary, she began to chuckle at the sight before her. Tony was seated in the middle of his floor, his sleeves rolled up, his hair mussed boyishly and scraps and tools surrounding him in every spare area.

"Hey, Pepper," he said tightly while gripping a tool in his mouth as he screwed a metal piece that appeared to be important onto one of his robots. "It's nine. Where have you been?" Pepper sat neatly on the chair at his work table.

"Doing damage control," she replied evenly, her fingers reaching up aimlessly and toying with a loose lock of hair. "The military isn't exactly cheerful about your little announcement, but you've been contacted by People, Us Weekly, Rolling Stone, and Men's Health for cover appearances. There are even talks to make you into a comic book character." She glanced quickly at Tony, who was still fiddling with his robot. "What are you doing?"

"Installing heat sensors on my fire extinguisher," he said in a grumbling fashion, turning to speak directly to the robot. "Now, if you blow that white crap at me again and I'm not on fire, it's your own damn fault you're going to the junkyard," he finished, dropping his tools. Tony sighed and looked up at Pepper searchingly. She blushed. "What do you like better, Chinese or Italian?" He stood, forging a path through his tools by kicking them out of his way.

"What?"

"Chinese or Italian? I mean, if I'm going to take you to dinner, I might as well impress you further with food you'll actually enjoy," Tony continued, picking tools off of the floor and putting them back on the table. "Why am I doing this?" he suddenly muttered. "Could someone get this, please?" he shouted and two robotic arms began clearing up his tools.

"When did I ever agree to going out to dinner with you?" Pepper sputtered.

"Do you enjoy your job? Would you like to keep it?" Tony smiled widely and reached for his wallet. "Here," he said, tossing a slim silver credit card at her. "Buy yourself something nice. Maybe some of those high shoes you like to wear."

"You didn't need to give that to me. I already have all of your credit card information," she replied in a lame attempt at a comeback.

"It's a gesture, Miss Potts," Tony countered, leaning down until he was mere inches from her face. "Listen, I'm not actually going to fire you. I know you want to go to dinner with me which is why I didn't bother to ask."

"And how do you know that, Mr. Stark?" Pepper trilled, smiling and raising an eyebrow. If he was going to insist, she might as well have fun with it.

"My little secret." He pulled back suddenly. "Jarvis, ready for your update?" Tony walked away and Pepper let out the breath she didn't know she had been holding.

"I'm positively thrilled, Mr. Stark," Jarvis replied smoothly, offering the robotic version of dead pan humor. Pepper stood.

"When?"

"Tomorrow night. Eight. Pencil that in for me, will you, ever helpful assistant?" he said, grinning cockily and punching buttons on his computer monitor.

"Of course." She collected herself in the doorway. "Will that be all, Mr. Stark?" Tony turned to her and raised an eyebrow. Her fa├žade broke. She smiled that sweet, pursed-lips, I-can't-help-myself grin and relented. "Italian."

"And that will be all, Miss Potts." He turned and slid a disk into his large computer. Pepper walked out of the room, her heels clicking out a familiar rhythm.

Another A/n: Writing for new fandoms always makes me nervous. It feels like I'm crashing a party without even bothering to bring the good liquor, just a cheap party tray of vegetables or something. Hope you all enjoyed.