Posted at LJ's pepperony100 for theme 76, War. Got the weirdest spot of inspiration from this new tube of toothpaste last week and wrote this. It's fluffy, funny, and I just had to write it. Hope you all enjoy it! Thanks!

x x x

Every day, Jarvis faithfully recited the time and weather report to Tony upon his waking. However, Tony had knowledge of both of these before Jarvis breathed a single artificial breath; it was storming (a loud clap of thunder sent him out of his sleep), and it was too early (it was too dark to be 5 A.M. in June, even if it was raining). It did him no good to hide his face in the pillow from the frequent lightning and crashing thunder, so he ultimately slinked out of bed and made for the kitchen forty-five minutes earlier than his custom.

He decided to invoke a long-forgotten Saturday morning pastime he had never really tried – cartoons and sugary cereal. After indulging in a large bowl of Apple Jacks and several episodes of The Jetsons, Jarvis's smooth voice entered Tony's bubble of lazy concentration within the glowing radius of the television.

"Sir, it is 5:27 A.M. Miss Potts will be arriving in approximately three minutes."

Tony continued to stare at the TV over the rim of his cereal bowl as he loudly slurped the milk from it. "Mm, okay. Tell her I already ate breakfast."

"Of course."

Tony tipped his head back all the way, draining the bowl entirely with a final gulp. He sat up on the edge of the couch as The Jetsons came to an end, setting the empty bowl on the coffee table, the spoon clattering against an ominous roll of thunder. Beyond the television, the rain picked up more and pounded into the roof heavily. Tony raised his eyebrows in surprise.

"Jarvis, are we in a hurricane?" he asked quite seriously.

"Not quite, Sir," Jarvis replied nonchalantly. "We are experiencing rainfall from a tropical depression, but the disturbance is far from that of a hurricane. The storm will move through by tomorrow evening."

With rain this heavy, Tony briefly wondered if he should prepare plans to convert the house into an ark. A flash of bright lighting broke his eye contact with the darkness outside, and he slowly headed towards his bedroom again, looking over his shoulder hesitantly.

"Charge back-up generators and save all system files immediately following any changes," he said, leery of the continuity of the intense downpour and harsh winds. "Anything else, you know what to do."

"Yes, Sir."

x x x

Tony stood in his steamy bathroom towel-drying hair when Jarvis announced the Pepper had made it to the house four minutes late. Despite this, he gave her credit for getting here so quickly with as bad as it was raining. An image of her soaked clear through to the skin popped into his head (along with a few not-so-innocent ones of her changing out of her wet blouse and skirt), and he felt a humorous sense of guilt cause him to smile.

He had to see this.

"Could you tell Miss Potts to please come and see me when she can?" Tony said, wiping the condensation from the surface of his arc reactor with the towel.

"Yes, Sir. Would you like her to wait until you have left the bathroom?"

"No, Miss Potts is always welcome to join me in my bathroom."

For the next couple of minute or so, Tony cleaned his ears, combed his dark, slick hair, trimmed his goatee, and threw on a dark wife beater. As he put his toothbrush in his mouth and picked up the tube of toothpaste, Pepper's picture appeared on the side of the mirror. Tony pressed the intercom button beside her picture without looking up.

"Mr. Stark, you wanted to see me?"

"Yeah, come on in," he said distractedly, squinting curiously at the words on the back of the toothpaste tube. He had never taken time to read them before, but they were very informative, specific, and well-written. Adults and children 6 years of age and older: Apply a pea-sized amount to toothbrush…

Pretty good read.

He was mildly oblivious to Pepper's slight stammer on the other end.

"Y- uh… Shouldn't I just wait for you to come out?" she asked.

"No; nonsense, get in here."

Children 2 years of age and younger: Ask a physician.

"I promise I'm decent," he added. "The jewels are hidden according to societal taste." He stopped reading and looked up when she didn't reply right away, sighing. "I am wearing pants, Miss Potts," he assured her sourly. He heard the makings of a migraine in her voice.

"Alright, I'm coming."

Tony readied himself for this. His lips were bunched together tightly in smile deserving of the slap across the face he'd more than likely receive, but he couldn't catch and hold down the giddy butterflies swarming throughout him. He had never seen so much as a hair out of place, wrinkle, scuff, or stain on his assistant. There was no way she-

"Good morning, Mr. Stark."

Tony looked up grinning as the voice of his assistant carried around the corner, but his face suddenly fell at Pepper's appearance.

She was spotless. Not a drop of rain had seemed to fall on her; it was as if she had simply been encased in a weatherproof bubble, able to roam about in any storm freely without concern. Her hair was as perfect as it was on the days he wasn't too occupied to notice, and her suit was impeccably untouched by the wicked storm. He wasn't sure if he was more impressed or upset.

He was upset. Correction was needed.

Pepper didn't make eye contact as he stared at her astonished, blinking at her calmly. She sat a plate of pancakes and cup of coffee on the sink before skillfully typing something on her Blackberry. "What did you need, sir?" She did not look up.

Tony remained silent. Curiosity began to creep onto his face, tilting his head back a little as he examined her. After a moment, Pepper's speedy maneuvering of the Blackberry slowed to a stop. She looked up at him cautiously, disturbed by the look in his eye.

"Mr. Stark?"

He cocked his head to the side a fraction. Then, without a second thought of what he was doing or the consequences that would follow, Tony raised the tube of toothpaste and gave a hard squeeze, sending a thick ribbon of blue and white onto Pepper's shirt.

She gasped in horror, arms out mainly for the immediate protection of the Blackberry as Tony continued to consciously projectile toothpaste onto her pants and shoes. Another sound of shock came from her when it met her bare neck and ear. Tony's nose scrunched up briefly, almost relaxing into a smile. He knew if he even so much as showed a hint of amusement, though, she'd disown him.

To top it off, Tony put the tube into front of her agape mouth and squirted the remnants of it in, pushing the stubborn product at the bottom to the top and out forcefully. When the tube was finally empty, Pepper stood rooted, unable to move for reasons varying from unexplainable anger to the fact that her boss just squirted toothpaste all over her. She stared at him, sticky toothpaste rolling down her chin, and he cracked the tiniest of smiles against his will. Eventually, he was giggling into his hand. Pepper would karate chop him if she knew how.

She stomached the overpowering mint taste of the toothpaste on her tongue as she collected it in her mouth and spit the gob into the sink. Tony did not look disgusted in the least bit; he actually continued laughing.

"Tony!" she shrieked, mourning the irreversible condition of her suit. "What is wrong with you?!"

The only response he was capable of seemed to be more laughter, fueling her rage further. It blanketed her reasoning, and she found herself grabbing up the plate of pancakes like second nature and deliberately slamming them into his body. Tony's laughter ceased abruptly.

He looked down, watching his assistant's hand move the syrup-drenched pancake plate around the arc reactor. She pushed into the metal protrusion with the plate, leaving a pancake there over the thin shirt he wore, and then, removing the plate from his body, she took the other between her fingers and slapped it squarely on his face. The pancake stuck for a few moments and then fell to the floor with a smack. Tony blinked placidly with syrup lacing his eyelashes, Pepper fuming silently as she put the plate back on the counter.

Part of her was urging her to apologize, but no; she would do no – such – thing. She was overly convinced that he deserved it, and she was determined to keep that mindset.

Tony stared at her without a change in his expression, casually wiping the syrup from his eyes in one motion.

"You returned fire," he stated monotone.

Pepper's lips curled dangerously. "Yes – I – did."

He knew she was waiting for an explanation (a damn good one at that), but for the sake of further entertaining himself and lack of good excuse, he picked up a bottle of brilliant blue aftershave, quickly twisted 

the cap off, and poured it slowly over her head with a resurfacing smile. Pepper had to bite her mouth shut so the strong-scented liquid wouldn't run into her mouth as it trickled past it, through all the fibers of her clothes to the ends of her closed shoes. When she finally lifted her head with a deadly scorn etched on her face, Tony cocked an eyebrow, an unspoken challenge daring her to better that.

So she picked up his cup of coffee and overturned it on his head, taking pride in the small yelp he emitted from it still being very warm. She sat the mug back down firmly on the pancake plate and continued glaring at him angrily. He shrugged.

"You know, I already had breakfast," he said. "Didn't Jarvis tell you?"

"Yes, but I thought I'd be considerate since you like to develop a new appetite at an untimely fashion every so often." She pronounced the venom in her voice with every single syllable she spoke.

Tony ran his tongue over his lips curiously. "Is this blueberry syrup?"

"Blackberry."

"Oh. I couldn't tell with the coffee and the… yeah, so…" He stopped rambling and gesturing to his haggard appearance, which, Pepper might point out, was far less a horror in comparison to her own. She had the makings of a true snarl on her impatient face that made Tony cringe a little, but he wasn't giving that easily. His eyes shifted to the can of shaving cream next to his left hand, Pepper catching the discreet glance.

"Don't even think about it," she snapped. She reached for it, but Tony swiped it away more quickly, hiding it behind his back a little with wide, mischievous eyes.

"Don't think about what?" he asked childishly, leaning back when she unsuccessfully lunged for it again. His smile grew at her exasperated sigh.

"You know what," she said accusingly. Tony watched a few globs of toothpaste slide off of her suit and into the blue puddle beneath her out of the corner of his eye. They lit up on her face again.

"What?" he asked. "Spray you with shaving cream?"

And he did just that; he sprayed the foam over her completely, placing a large dollop atop her neatly pinned hair. He bit back a smile with great effort, holding a steady straight face as he stepped back.

"Because I swear I wasn't thinking about it," he continued calmly as she began to tremble with dark rage. "I decided to do it the moment it came to mind. Spontaneity, as it were."

"Spontaneity," Pepper repeated, nodding rigidly. "You like spontaneity, Mr. Stark?"

He snorted. "You should know that by now, Miss Potts." He acquired a sly smile. "Well, there are other forms of spontaneity-"

"All right."

Pepper's face contorted almost unrecognizably, and she took a gob of his styling gel on her fingers and slung it smack into his face. Tony's head jolted back in surprise. Blinded by the product, he could only hear Pepper storming out of the bathroom.

Tony grabbed his towel and wiped his stinging eyes, following after her.

"Oh, no you don't."

He went out into his bedroom where her heels loudly clicked in a stride headed for the door. The pile of shaving cream slid off her head and smacked onto the floor, splattering a two foot radius. The back of her outfit was very clean in opposition to the front, too, and standing upwind of her, he wanted to choke on the overpowering scent of the aftershave. He kept his head tall as he pursued her, though.

"Hey," – he grabbed her foamy elbow and spun her agitated face to his – "I did not excuse you, Miss Potts."

"I excused myself," she said. "I am unprofessionally unpresentable, and I have a desk to clear off-"

She was cut off by a sharp laugh. "You aren't going anywhere," he chuckled, still gripping her elbow.

"Watch me," she retorted challengingly, freeing her elbow and heading out of the room again.

Tony rolled his head back lazily with amusement, knowing she was just being hormonal or something. He also knew better than to be stupid and suggest a raise (she had gotten one recently anyways for a certain honest statement to the public), mostly because she was just too upset for that right now.

No, this took authority. He was the victim here, letting his own employee walk all over him like this.

He went after her again, catching up to her this time as she entered the kitchen.

"Hey! Pepper!"

He slowed his run to a stop once in the room, Pepper suddenly coming at him again, a carton of eggs in hand.

"Oh, no. Don't- Ow! Hey!"

The first hit his bare arm with a bite. Tony pushed his fingers through the goo, already seeing the red mark of a welt raising his skin. He gave her an incredulous look, trying to maneuver away.

"Calm dOWW!!"

Smack. Right in the eye.

"Pepper!"

Smack. On his hip.

Smack. On the arc reactor.

"That's it."

Tony reached beside him and pulled up the hose on the sink, unleashing a cold spray of water on her. She gasped is surprise, dropping the remaining eggs to the floor. The stream of icy water stopped, and some of the eyesores on her suit melted away a little. She snapped her head up in Tony's direction now chasing after him.

"Tony Stark!"

She picked up a pear sitting amongst other fruits in a bowl on the counter and thought nothing of it to throw it at him; the fruit pelted him in the right shoulder blade, and he cursed loudly in frustrated pain. It made her want to laugh.

"God damn it!" He wheeled around, marching up to her. He lowered his voice. "That hurt."

Pepper found gratification in the statement and her own response. "Good."

"It really hurt."

"I'm glad."

"You won't be when I have you arranging physical therapy for me around everything else on my schedule."

Pepper rolled her eyes. "Pfft. You don't need physical therapy first off, and secondly, schedule it yourself."

Tony held onto her arm again. "You're not being very nice."

She huffed a riled laugh at his gall. "Oh, I'm not being very nice?"

"No," he said simply. "You're not."

"I'm not the one who called you into a bathroom and squirted toothpaste all over you!"

"No," he obliged slowly, "but you did welt me with an egg."

"Aw, didn't I break skin?" she asked, lacquering her tone with sarcasm. Tony felt a bit uneasy.

"Are you trying to?" He wasn't sure he wanted to know, so he changed the subject before she had a chance to answer. "Listen, Pepper. Can't we just forget it? It's- it's a little toothpaste and shaving cream. We can see past that; we're respectable, irresistible people."

He smiled innocently at her ever-present scorn. "How about breakfast on me?"

Pepper's face fell at the pathetic pun as he looked himself over and back at her suggestively.

"Breakfast in bed?" he also tried.

Pepper plastered a false grin on her face, taking a few steps towards him until they were almost touching. Tony lifted his brow, awestruck and intrigued.

"Finally," he murmured lowly with a lustful voice. Pepper feigned a laugh, silencing them both as she grabbed the front of his pants and yanked them towards her as she took a few steps backward. Eyes alight attentively and confused, Tony let her hand guide his body toward her as she back into the refrigerator. The devious smile on her face was thrilling.

"If you're working out a fantasy right now, I'm loving it," he said, staying lax with her hand still tightly grasping the waistline of his pants.

Pepper kept smiling with a secret scheme in mind, opening the freezer door beside her. She pulled out a handful of ice cubes, mesmerizing Tony with her steady eye contact, but the trickery of her ploy showed itself in her eyes, and Tony went wide-eyed at the ice in her hand.

"No! Don't, Pepper, Pepper, no, stop, STO-O-O-OOOOP!"

She dropped the ice down the front of him pants, and he cried out to her delight. Both of his hands gripped her wrist to release her hold on him, but she was able to get a second handful in before he got her to let go. Her victory was immensely more satisfying.

Tony shook his pants wildly, yipping at the ice travelled down his pant legs and over his bare feet. He had to reach in and actually dislodge one that had numbed part of him. By the time he looked up to yell at Pepper, though, she had a bottle of ketchup aimed at his face and fired.

Pepper sent the red liquid up and down his body until she ran out, tossing the bottle to the floor with a great sigh of approval at her actions. Tony again wiped his eyes.

"I like ketchup with my eggs," he said conversationally, picking up a gob of raw egg and ketchup in his hand and flinging it on Pepper for punctuation. She flinched slightly, hands balled into fists at her sides as he shrugged. "And you fired twice in a row. No fair."

"Since when did you establish a rule – or a perception – of fairness?" she asked, picking up the steak sauce now. "Because I still think you're mistaken on its definition."

Tony was not about to be hit again without getting a strike in; it just wasn't how he did things. As Pepper uncapped the steak sauce to throw on him next, he lunged passed her for a bowl of chocolate pudding and heaved it at her. It slapped into her soundly, and she launched the steak sauce at him but missed. It smashed on the counter and ended up in the sink. Tony laughed silently, quietly opening a tub of Cool Whip and pressing it firmly on her head.

"If I didn't know you had shaving cream under that…" he mused sadly, looking her up and down longingly.

She suddenly spit out the pudding in her mouth onto Tony's face, rubbing spots out for her eyes. He groaned and did the same for the umpteenth time with his head lowered. A pumpkin pie appeared under his face when his eyes opened, and Pepper slammed his head into it, making sure it stuck. Tony snorted, his nose stuck in the soft crust at the bottom, until the pie tin rattled on the floor. Pepper was about to turn on him with what looked like leftover spaghetti.

"Oh God, forget it," he said, catching her free arm and pinning it to the freezer door. She struggled to find some way of getting the spaghetti on him with one hand, but he knocked it to the floor where it smashed and flowed freely around their feet. Pepper panted furiously under his half-smile.

"You know, that was cruel with the pants and the ice," he said, examining the minimal space between them. "You tease. And you know you tease. Your aim should be to please, not to tease."

"And how may I please you, Mr. Stark?" Pepper asked sardonically while her heart hammered in her chest enraged. "Tied to your bedpost in the latest Victoria's Secret spread and fishnet stockings?"

"Hot, but the stockings are ultimately ineffective and in the way." He put a finger to her pudding-covered cheek, dragged it over her lips, and up to the other cheek, revealing a thin line resembling a happy face. "Smile, Pepper," he said lightly, negligent of her livid glare. "It's not every day you're covered in pudding."

"I'm not one for pudding," she said bitterly.

"I am," he said in a deep voice. "I am having a hell of a time resisting the urge to devour you right now."

"Hold out, sir; I know you can do it," Pepper encouraged mockingly, trying to shove him away again. He wouldn't let her move, not even at the daggers she was shooting at him. "Let me go, Tony."

"No."

She took her frustration out on her lower lip until it had deep teeth marks in it. "Will that be all, Mr. Stark?" she asked dangerously. He chuckled.

"No, Miss Potts. It won't."

"You have five seconds to reconsider."

Ha laughed heartily at this. "Five seconds? Or what? You have plans or so-"

Pepper kicked her knee up, her aim significantly better than before; Tony doubled over in a howl of pain, and she dumped a container of baking soda on him cheerfully before walking away.

"Jarvis, unlock the garage door," she said, moving through the living room and down into Tony's precious workshop. She had the mind to do something terribly awful to his hot rod or suit (considering he ruined hers), but a superior part of her psyche reminded her that she was better than something as petty as revenge.

"Yes, Miss Potts," the AI responded. Pepper knew he could comment, having eyes and ears all over the house, but she silently thanked him for not doing so. She was so furious that she wanted to quit, though she never would; the intensity of her want to quit was just a measure of how pissed off her made her, and he had just set a new record.

What the hell was he thinking? Toothpaste? Pudding?!

As she crossed the workshop leaving a trail of pudding tracks behind her, she could faintly hear Tony yelling for her as he galloped down the stairs. Hardening her mentality, she walked a little faster with a more pronounced stride. Tony was gaining fast, though; she started to walk as fast as possible to get to her car regardless of how idiotic she looked, but Tony broke into a run.

"Hey! Stop right now." He grabbed for her arm, but the pudding let her slip from his grasp with ease. She spun around at him, her face well past the color of her hair under all that covered it.

"You stop, Tony!" she yelled. "Your behavior is completely unacceptable, and I'm sick of it! You're an insensitive, greedy, horny, ungrateful pig, and I can't believe I've dealt with it for this long."

"Pepper, please," he said gently. She could still detect the humor in his tone and stared him down. He then laughed. "I'm sorry, I just… I can't take this situation seriously when you have a tub of whipped cream on your head."

Pepper touched her head feeling her inkling of embarrassment drown in light of everything else. She removed the container from her head with more white cream falling on her shoulders. She chucked the tub at her giggling boss, wondering if she really was going over the top with all this. He was just being Tony Stark after all.

He picked up a bottle of liquid soap and smiled at her.

No, she definitely was not overreacting.

The low gurgle of thick orange liquid leaving the bottle came, splashing into her stomach like a punch. She let out an infuriated sound with the capabilities of growing and reaching the roof of the house. Tony dropped the bottle and folded his arms over his chest expectantly.

"Well?"

Pepper quirked her mouth to the side, flipping a switch on a mechanism beside her and walking away. Tony was ready to laugh when the 'head' of the fire extinguishing droid rising with a sound pitched to curiosity. His eyes doubled in size, and his shouts were doused in a white cloud, allowing Pepper a five-second getaway.

Tony once again caught up quickly, however. He missed her on an attempt to grab her arm yet again, and Pepper ran passed her car and out into the downpour and lightning. Finally, about fifteen feet from the house, Tony had her thrashing wildly in his arms for release, resorting to hitting the arc reactor.

"Hey, hey, HEY!" He seized her hand as the heavy, soaking rain revealed the soft tips of her fingers and eventually the whole hand. She breathed against him erratically and he against her, their eye contact strong for a battle of respect. The thunder seemed to echo the mounting tension. Tony searched her face with a plead as the food and other ammunition of their battle melted from their skin and matted his brown hair and her red into their eyes. He looked beyond it, though.

"Why did you do that?" Pepper demanded loudly over the thunder. "Why?"

Tony wanted more than anything to give her a viable reason or excuse, but he couldn't. There wasn't one. It was just some weird impulse he had. He didn't even know why. It was just funny.

So he told her the truth.

"I was angry the storm hadn't made you a mess, so I had to make you a mess so I could have something to laugh about for the rest of the day."

Pepper stared at him levelly. "You were angry that I wasn't a mess?"

"Well, more annoyed. I don't see how you stayed perfectly presentable getting from your house to the car. I have a garage, but… An umbrella just wouldn't cut it."

"Does it matter?!" she shouted, finding it unbelievable that she was starting to smile and now laugh with him. She was laughing against her will. Nothing made her angrier than that, but Tony thrived from it.

"No, it really doesn't matter," he chuckled, looking her over. "You're a fucking wreck now."



"Well, not so much," she said trying to downplay her smile and avoid his piercing eyes. "The rain's kind of… taking care of that."

"Too bad it can't take care of my house, too," Tony said with a pointed glare at her, subtly underlined with amusement. Pepper felt her stomach drop a short distant guiltily, but she justified her actions as self-defense. She still held anger for him but only mildly now, trying to let her aggravation run off her body like the toothpaste and pudding were into a puddle around them. She sighed in defeat.

"I'll have that taken care of just as soon as I change-"

"Oh, no no no, Miss Potts," Tony scolded lightly. "You're not getting anyone to clean up that mess for you," he said, enjoying how her face was falling in expectation of what he was about to say: "You made the mess, and you're going to clean it up."

She looked at his arc reactor, hiding her pout behind an arrogant face. "And you're going to have me call someone to clean up your mess?"

"Nah," he said. "You're going to cancel everything I have planned for today so we can sped quality boss-assistant time bonding over buckets, suds, and sponges." He gave her a look and added quickly, "You're wearing a bikini."

Pepper rolled her eyes, hoping the flash of lightning didn't illuminate her blushing cheeks to the point that he could tell. "This isn't a car wash, and I don't have a bikini. Here."

"Guess it'll have to be that Victoria's Secret spread then," he shrugged as they started back for the house in their sopping clothes. Pepper grinned despite herself.

"I also don't have that. Here."

Tony spun his head around to her in surprise, laughing. "Oh really?"

"Where are the buckets, Mr. Stark?"

"I still can't get over that ice performance. It was really devilish." He lowered his voice into a sultry growl. "I liked it." He put a seductive arm around her waist as they walked, but she promptly removed it without a word.

So he took her hand. Intertwined his fingers with hers at the ease the slick rain gave him, smiled when she didn't automatically withdraw it, watched their hands out of the corner of his eye swing between them like two shy schoolchildren. The thunder and pounding rain filled their momentary silence.

"I would like a dry change of clothes, Mr. Stark."

"I bet your underwear is soaked right now."

Pepper's mouth fell open, but he smirked. She glared at him. "That was uncalled for."

"Wanna get locked in the broom closet?"

"You don't have a broom closet."

"Can I watch you change?"

"No."