Movieverse. Of course. And Pepper/Tony, since it's perfection. And a Pepper damsal in distress is so very fun. Thank you for reading!

Beta'd by Geeky BMWW Fan. Thank you, friend!

Disclaimer: I don't own anything.


Chapter One-


Pepper shook her head for the third time; Tony had been counting while watching her in his peripheral version.

The door to the elevator ambled open and the two walked in. He waited for the doors to close shut before he asked.

"What?"

Pepper's eyes carefully roamed over to his, her calm demeanor only a facade. She pressed the L button roughly. "I can't believe you did that!"

"What? I did what?" Of course he knew exactly what she was referring to. Or at least he thought he did. But he was going to play dumb otherwise, ruffling Pepper Potts' feathers was an art.

"The admission, Tony. The admission to the world. That's what you did." She clasped her hands together while turning to face him. She needed a better angle to glare at him. "What do you expect to do now? Did you even think that far ahead?"

She waited patiently for him to answer her, but all she received was an innocent smile. Of course he hadn't thought about it in the moment.

She shook her head. For the fourth time, Tony noted. "To be perfectly honest, Mr. Stark, that wasn't one of your brightest ideas."

He had the audacity to shrug. "Potts, mark my words, it'll be fine. No one is going to believe me anyway. What's the worst that could happen?"

"No, people will believe you. They do believe you, Tony. That's dangerous. Superheroes have secret identities for a reason. It can put other lives at stake, not just your own."

It had dawned on him beforehand that he wasn't just a one man show. But hearing it come from her mouth added depth to the scenario.

He had an entourage and being a self-confessed 'superhero' wasn't in their best interest.. Still, he had a notion that everything would blow over in a week or two. Maybe a month. Tops.

She sighed loudly in an attempt to finalize their conversation.

He opened his mouth; he wasn't about to let her have the last word, but the elevator dinged announcing their arrival. Pepper was halfway out into the lobby by the time Tony noticed the doors had opened.

To his dismay, a sea of people crowded around him. Some were reporters or on-lookers. Two of his refrigerator-sized body guards stepped in while politely asking people to back away. Politely may have been an understatement.

Tony had walked quickly to avoid any other unnecessary entanglements with anyone. He could of have sworn he heard Christine Everhart's voice in the crowd. If anything, his gait increased.

"Pepper...?" He could see her red hair a few feet away. The distance that woman could cover in five-inch heels was amazing. "Pepper!"

She halted obediently, though he could tell she was quite hesitant on turning around. She did it anyway.

"Yes, Mr. Stark?" Her voice was rather flat.

Tony could see Hogan waiting for them through the glass revolving doors. The champagne colored Rolls never looked more like a safe haven than it did today.

He could sense Pepper growing impatient.

Acting on his natural impulsiveness, Tony grabbed her arm and walked her quickly through the front doors. Hogan had already spotted them making their grand exit. He religiously opened the car's door for the two.

Pepper looked down at the strong grip on her forearm, but she made no attempt to remove it.

"Everything will be okay," he told her as they continued to walk. "I will do everything in my power to make it okay."

His voice was resilient, and as she took a seat on the calf-leather, she contemplated his words thoughtfully.

After Tony secured himself alongside her in the vehicle, Hogan drove off, leaving the press and the wannabes far behind them.

After a few minutes of silence, Tony caught her gaze. "Do you believe me?" His dark eyes didn't falter and she felt her self being caught up in them.

"Yes. Of course." She smiled. And so did he.


Four Days Later-

"Okay, so you've declined every talk show invitation," Pepper said, more to herself than to Tony. She was busy writing a few things down onto her yellow legal pad. "Except for..."

Tony looked up from his crouched position, his newest prototype was receiving a well-needed upgrade. "Ellen. If she asks, the answer is..." he pulled out a hydraulic cord and frowned at it momentarily, "yes."

Pepper's note-taking paused. "Ellen? Why?"

"Because I want to dance with the audience," Tony replied. The 'duh, Pepper' tone was unavoidable.

"What about the Today show? Why pass that up?"

"Matt Lauer hates me. He'll put me on the spot, I know it."

Before Pepper could ask the obvious question to understand why Tony would think something so ludicrous, he answered it for her. "I once hit on his wife. How was I to know he was married?" He must have noticed the look on her face. "To a model, I might add."

"Larry King?"

"Larry King's wife?"

Pepper sighed and shook her head. "Larry King. As in the talk show."

Tony chuckled at the visual image of hitting on Larry King. Or his wife, at that. "Uh... um, he asked?"

"No, but he might."

Tony pulled out a Phillips screw driver and started contemplating the idea. But Pepper moved on.

"Good Morning LA. You're local, you can't say no to that."

Tony's voice was distant as he tightened a bolt on the suit's torso. "Maybeeee..."

Pepper took that as a yes and wrote it down on her scrawled list. "I'll pencil it in, then."

He hadn't quite heard her; he was too preoccupied with finishing his task. After a few extra seconds, he stood up and rubbed his hands together with excitement. "I'm ready to take this thing out for a spin."

Jarvis' voice came out from nowhere, "I was afraid of that, sir."

Pepper checked her watch. "I have errands to run. I have a meeting at the bank in a half an hour. Do you need anything to be picked up while I am out?"

She watched as he ran his hand down the smooth, red and gold surface. His attention span was limited; she knew that better than anyone on the face of the planet. There were times when it drove her crazy, to the point where she wanted to pull out all of her hair. Thankfully, this wasn't one of those moments.

Pepper smiled as she watched him enthralled with his very own creation. She noted how his hands touched it carefully, as if admiring his own craftsmanship.

For a mere second of longing, she wondered what it would feel like to have those hands on her.

But the second passed and before she realized it, she was heading through the glass door to march up the stairs to get away from him. And his hands.

"Mr. Stark," her voice always became professional to oust any and all thoughts about him on that level. "Please remember to call me if you need something."

"Uh-huh."


Despite his desire to try out the newest and latest suit, Tony decided more retooling was in order.

"Not taking it out for a spin, sir?" Jarvis asked brightly. "You have been working on this area of the torso for nearly an hour and half."

Jarvis' voice broke Tony of his concentration. "Huh? Really?" He looked over at the wall clock. "Sure enough..."

"Sir, "Jarvis turned up the volume on the LCD closest to his master. "I think you should see this."

"... bank robbery in progress... downtown Los Angeles..."

Tony stopped fidgeting with the outer casing and perked up at the reporter's recounting of current events.

He left his work bench and walked over to the TV to pay closer attention.

"Again, this is Regina Davis reporting live from downtown Los Angeles. The police are at a standstill. Apparently," the reporter indicated to the large, stone building behind her, "the robbers have hostages inside. Quite a few are bank employees while others are said to be customers caught in the crossfire. Authorities are wondering about an Iron Man appearance..."

A corner of Tony's mouth curved upward. "Hoo-boy. Is this going to be my first bank robbery? Oh, this is exciting. Should I be excited? I guess that's being a tad..."

"Macabre?"

Tony raised a brow at Jarvis's suggested word. "I wasn't thinking that, no..."

"Sir, need I remind you, the odds of Ms. Potts being one of the hostages is quite high."

"I ... what?"

If Jarvis had the ability to showcase the emotion of an 'eye-rolling', he certainly would have done so. "Ms. Potts had a meeting to attend to. Or have you already forgotten? She was going for you."

Tony's face fell. It all came to him, all at once. It was a lender meeting, and Pepper was approved to substitute for his presence. Ever since his admission, Tony had been taking it slow when regarding public appearances.

"I have no time to use the newest prototype. What's ready to go?"

"Mark II, sir."

Tony's voice became frighteningly dark. "That's better than nothing."

Jarvis noted Tony's cotton shirt and jeans. "Deciding against the flight undersuit?"

"No time."

As quickly as he could, Tony moved to the center of the work shop floor, while Jarvis started the power up sequence. As the robot arms fitted the suit around him like a glove, Tony's mind reeled over the possibilities while encountering a bank robbery in progress. He'd have to be careful; otherwise too many casualties could be a result.

He avoided focusing on the dread welling up inside of him.

Deep down, he knew Pepper was going to be alright. Whether she was there, or not.

Once completely powered up and fitted into the suit, he zoomed through the still gaping holes in his ceilings and straight into the California sunshine.

"Call Pepper's cellphone."

Pepper Potts' name came over the screen before him.

Dialing... connected...

Tony grit his teeth in frustration.

Ringing...

Nothing.

Either she was away from her phone. Or...

"I hope that didn't draw any attention to her."

"I couldn't agree more, sir."


The man's solid grip on her shoulder indicated everything she had wanted to know: he was a lot stronger than her, and at any given moment, he could snap her neck like a twig if she struggled. The tip of the AK-47 digging into her lower back indicated something else: Even the thought of struggling was out of the question.

While blindfolded, she was being led, or rather pushed forcefully into a smaller room. A room that smelled distinctly like money. She couldn't place it, but she knew that smell somehow. It had its very own distinct odor and she could sense she was near the vault. After being tossed sideways into a metal wall and sliding down to her knees, she could feel lined doors and key holes of safety deposit boxes.

He then tore off her blindfold. "Open the vault!"

Pepper wondered in a moment of clarity what the point of the blind fold was in the first place. Another thing: they weren't the brightest bank robbers in the world.

She, instead, swallowed hard and cursed her professional attire. "I already told you," her voice was shakier than she would have liked, "I do not work here. Therefore, I can't get you into the vau-"

"Shut up!"

One of the fellow robbers pushed a female bank employee into the room. "I need you to open the vault," he ordered gruffly. His black ski mask didn't quite fit as well, and it muffled his voice. He sounded as though he was speaking through a sock.

The woman looked as though she had forgotten how to speak English, let alone how to form words into a sentence. After a few painful seconds, she managed to shake her head.

"I- I don't have the k-keys or any codes..."

To Pepper's horror, she felt the AK-47 ram into her forehead. "Open the vault, or I'll blow her head off."

Despite the fact that her life was looking close to a grisly end, Pepper's brain still managed to function. Even after being thrust into the worst scenario she could have imagined for herself, her sheer terror somehow mellowed out and morphed into white hot anger.. WHERE IN THE HELL IS TONY STARK, AND WHY IS HE TAKING SO GODDAMN LONG?!

Somewhere in the distance, however, she could have sworn she heard her cell phone ringing...


TBC


Thanks, again, for reading!