Hello! So sorry about the wait everyone. But thank you for the feedback! I really appreciate it. And I hope you enjoy the ending of this.
Geeky BMWW Fan- Tada! Thank you, friend! For your efforts, I grant you winged boots for everyday use! Yay!
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Chapter Three- The End. Or Better Known As The Beginning
Tony focused the suit's piercing blue eyes towards the back of the lobby. He could have sworn he picked up on a shot being fired.
For the first time since stepping foot in the building, Jarvis spoke, "That was a 7.62 mm assault rifle. The same they superficially attacked you with earlier."
"It seems our 'robbers' don't use the standard fare when it comes to weaponry," Tony said quietly.
"And what is 'standard fare'?" Jarvis drawled into his ear. "Are you up to date with the bank robbing world?"
Tony rolled his eyes at that while moving stealthily through the encompassing quiet that overtook the massive building. Using his front visors, he picked up body heat from no more than twenty feet away.
"I patched into the police frequency," Jarvis hastily informed. "It seems as though they've already sent in a SWAT team."
Tony bit his lower lip. Apparently the police felt he was too long in taking his time, but it seemed as though not more than a few minutes had passed. What did they expect for him to do? He was still a novice when it came down to playing superhero. And the last thing he wanted was to endanger the hostages.
Instead of vocalizing his concern for the severity of the situation, Tony narrowed his eyes and stormed forward. In an effort to remain quiet, he glided centimeters above the berber carpet to avoid any unneeded noise.
He heard voices coming from around the corner.
"Hurry it up! We have to get out here..."
Through the darkness, Tony heightened the heat sensors and counted three men coming towards his general direction.
As soon as they turned the corner, Tony noticed the burlap sacks stuffed with straps of cash. So they had access to the vault. But if they're in a rush to leave, where were their hostages?
The man ahead of them noticed Tony first. He gasped as Tony charged forward.
"Son of..." But Tony's fist had already caught the guy in the gut, sending him flying across the room. Without a second's hesitation, Tony swung his left leg around and slammed it into the next man, plowing him into the beige carpeting.
The third was paralyzed in fear as he watched the man in the suit come towards him. "The- there's no way... y'-you're Tony Stark."
Tony smirked, but the expression on Iron Man's face was anything but. "Where are the hostages?" The tenor coming from his mouth was frightening enough. Tony's rich baritone was intensified while speaking through the Iron Man mask. It alone, while used properly, could instill fear in anyone foolish enough to cross paths with the titanium suit.
The man took in a shallow breath, but remained still.
"I won't ask you again," Tony threatened. He raised his right hand and the flight stabilizer (or weapon if he chose it to be) glowed menacingly, ready to attack.
"Th- the vault, ...sir." The man pointed behind him towards the massive silver door sealed shut. He then held fast to his bag of cash and started to slowly skirt around him.
Tony watched unbelieving as the man actually tried walking away from him. It actually was ridiculous enough to make him chuckle, but instead Tony quickly backhanded the man across the face, knocking him out cold.
The sensors immediately alarmed Tony of movement behind him. He paused and swiveled around slowly. The SWAT team, adorned in black suits, night vision goggles and assault rifles stood there ready to greet him. The leader motioned for the group behind him to halt and he came forward, while glancing around at the fallen foes.
"Good job, Iron Man. I think you've actually subdued the entire group." The man's voice seemed anything but amused, however.
Tony shrugged slightly. "Isn't that my job?"
The leader's body language indicated he wasn't under orders to laugh, or provide any indication of finding it humorous. Tony turned his attention onto the vault, while ignoring the black team behind him.
"Hostages?" He heard the leader ask.
"Inform the bank owner they are going to need a new vault door." Without another word said, Tony feigned flexing his hands and at once placed his palms onto the smooth metal and yanked. The steel whined under the pressure and gave way. As soon as Tony provided a large enough gaping hole, he stopped and waited. As if emerging from his thoughts, Pepper Potts was the first to emerge from the makeshift doorway.
Tony immediately held out his hand to offer some support. She looked at it for a second and then looked up at the impersonal mask.
"What took you!"
The SWAT leader studied the redhead that had materialized out of the vault and then turned his attention to the man in the suit.
Tony could sense the man was making a connection, so he picked up the pace on the situation.
"Looks like everything is under control here," Tony said sternly, doing his best to impersonate a military officer. Whenever he needed that special effect, he thought 'what would Rhodey do?' It worked like a charm.
Pepper was making a face at him still and then she motioned to the room behind her. "There are two more women..."
"The situation is under control, ma'am," the SWAT leader said. He radioed the LAPD outside and the first time that day, the bank and its surroundings were somewhat normal. As normal as it could be.
"I'll escort you home," Tony said to Pepper. Before she could decide upon protesting, Tony had her in his arms. Before taking off, he turned to the SWAT leader one last time. "Oh, and tell the bank owner he'll need to replace a wall as well." Once he finished, Tony powered up the stabilizer in his left hand and blasted a clean hole through the east wall.
Not one second more, Pepper was safely secured in his arms and flying with him through the newly damaged wall into the California sunshine.
"Ohmygod, Tony, ohmygod. I don't feel comfortable about this," Pepper was covering her face while unsecured red strands of hair whipped around her. "I'm afraid..."
"Of what, Pepper?" He asked sweetly. The tone in his voice prompted her to lower her hands and focus her soft blue eyes on the mask. At least she trusted him. "I'd never drop you. And you're perfectly safe."
Pepper forced a smiled. Sort of. Or at least he thought she smiled. Warily, she glanced down and noticed they were at least a good few hundred feet above the Pacific. Once again, her hands flew over her face. "Aaaaaaah! I'm going to die!"
"Oh for the love of god, nothing will happen to you. That I promise."
The series of events that had littered her day ran through her mind, allowing her to relax enough to put down her guard. "I almost died today, Tony. It was horrible! And to think I had gone to the bank for you." She looked off into the distance and shook her head. Tony could have sworn he saw a stray tear roll down her cheek, which she then stubbornly wiped away with her sleeve.
"You're right, but..." How could he put these words gently? It'd be tough. "But it was fortunate that you had gone in place of me..."
Her brow knitted in anger and she turned back to face him. "What?!"
"Because if I had been in a hostage situation... I wouldn't have been able to get to my suit, and what if everyone had died. What if I had died?"
Pepper knew he was correct. But she rolled her eyes anyway and shook her head once again. "They wouldn't have killed you. If terrorists in Afghanistan can't kill you, what makes you think unorganized city bank robbers would?"
"Heh, it's nice being invulnerable like that."
She glared at him. If looks could kill...
If Tony could have smiled with the mask on, he would have. "Sorry, I didn't mean it that way..."
"I know," she replied softly.
"And the thought of losing you was my main focus throughout the ordeal."
She looked over at him, waiting for more.
"I uh... I couldn't bear the thought of losing you, Pepper. If you had been killed today..." He stopped short, wondering what to say next. It's almost as if words couldn't correctly express how he felt.
"You mean it?" At times her doe-eyed expression was too much for him.
"Well, of course. I need you in my life. Like I need..." He looked around him. Why was it so hard to speak with her sometimes? He was summa cum laude at MIT and now he could hardly hold a decent conversation with a girl. "Air." Yeah, that basically summed it up.
Pepper smiled. This time it wasn't forced.
Tony noticed her apartment below them and without more being said, he gently lowered them down, landing on her railed balcony with ease.
"I ...thank you, Mr. Stark. That was an interesting uh..." She cleared her throat, "ride."
He prompted the mask to lift up, showing her his true eyes and expressions. It felt so freeing to be able to smile. And have her see it. "You're welcome, Miss Potts. Anytime you want to go flying..."
"Well I hope I don't have to be rescued again. Or at least anytime soon, that is."
"I don't know," he mocked, "It's pretty fun rescuing you." His eyes locked on hers. "Just don't do anything drastic, I can't have you leave me, remember that?"
"Oh, is that so?"
"Yep, because I love you..." Whoa, that came out of no where. "I mean, I love all the things you do for me. And uh, you know, you're helpful and..." Tony didn't know the true meaning of awkward silence. Until now.
She looked away; suddenly the iron railing attached to her cement patio became quite interesting.
Tony glanced at the floor below him, trying to reword what he was about to say next. Who knows what could come out of his mouth at any given moment.
"Do you mean that, Tony?" She asked, still not looking at him.
He swallowed hard. "I think life changing experiences can have that effect on a person..." He blew some out air out of his mouth. This wasn't easy. "I...yes. Pepper, yes. I do."
Her gaze finally shifted over to his general direction. "Do what?"
"I love you." It was so to the point. And easy. He didn't know those three words formed into that sentence could have been that easy. Still, he made a face after seeing her uneasy expression. "Oh, yikes. Sorry. I don't want to make anything weird between us. I..."
But Pepper was already reacting in anyway she knew how; she grabbed the sides of his opened mask and pulled him down into a kiss. Strangely enough, it caught him totally off guard. Once his lips collided with hers, there was no stopping them. Once Tony had tasted his lovely Pepper, he immediately catalogued every moment in the back of his mind.
Like clockwork, he was already pulling her towards him. His gauntlets starting moving from her back and started going lower. If he had his hands free, it would have been a lot more fun.
The chemistry between them had elevated to a whole new level; everything felt electric. Ever since Pepper had entered his life, it seemed as though they had been building up to this moment and now they could demonstrate their true feelings for one another.
To Tony's chagrin, however, Pepper pulled away in desperate need for air. But she made sure to punctuate the finality of ending the kiss with sucking on his lower lip until they were at least an inch apart.
Tony had caught his breath within seconds and was ready to go at it again. He had exploration in mind. He felt like a man who had just stumbled upon one of the greatest discoveries known to mankind. It needed further research...
But Pepper stopped him. "Tony," she said breathlessly.
"Hm...?" Even her hair smelled wonderful. Why hadn't he noticed that before?
Her eyes were looking deeply into his.. "I left my purse at the bank."
"Huh? Oh..." Tony was still lost in a Pepper and Me moment, but he was brought back down to reality. At once, his mask was back on and with one last look at his fair beauty, he flew upwards. "Never fear, I'm pretty fast in this thing. So help any punks that try to steal it before I get there."
She laughed at that. Tony stopped before taking off into the sky. "Dinner tonight?"
"Is that a date, Mr. Stark?"
"It sure is. But the 'Mr. Stark' business might become a little weird."
"But I'm still your employee..."
He held up a finger. "True. However, I won't be paying you to go on a date with me."
"Very true." Pepper watched as he was moments from leaving. "Tony! Wait!"
His blue gaze never faltered as he waited.
Pepper suddenly looked increasingly shy. She bit her lower lip. "I... well, I meant to say, that. I love you, too."
Tony continued to stare at her as her words sunk in. After a moment of silence, he finally spoke up. "Are you sure you need your purse? Because... y'know, I'm fine with staying..."
"Ok, ok..." With one last look back, he was off into the sky. Pepper watched him as her knight in shining armor flew back towards the city center.
Who would have thought that her day of terror would have such a happy outcome? Pepper placed her elbows on the railing and propped up her chin to watch the waning sun hide behind skyscrapers. With a happy sigh, Pepper finally felt at ease. And for once in her life, everything felt right.
Thank you for reading!
stephanie- Thank you very much!! :D
always a happy ending- Aww, thank you! I'm so glad you've enjoyed this so far. :)