Disclaimer:I don't own Iron Man, et al. They belong to Marvel…Stan Lee and Jack Kirby rule!!
AN: Ok so this story idea came from a Disturbed song by the same name. So enjoy and feedback is wonderful! It is food for my muse. I promise that later chapters will be longer!
"TONY WAKE UP!!" Pepper Potts yelled at her boss as she violent shook him awake.
"Hun?" Tony Stark groggily asked, opening his eyes only to find his assistant, wide-eyed and flustered, starring down at him. He had once again fallen asleep on his leather couch in his workshop. And once again, he had had a dream about being held captive in Afghanistan. The last thing in the world he wanted to wake up to was Pepper, especially since she had been in his dreams as of late.
"Are you alright?" she worriedly asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine," he quickly said brushing her off as he sat up and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a quick glimpse of a worried look from Pepper. Ever since his Iron Man announcement a week ago, she had been giving them to him more and more. He had yet to even tell her about his encounter with Nick Fury.
"I promise that I am fine Pepper," he said standing up and stretching. He knew that he wasn't, but he just couldn't tell Pepper that he had watched her die right in front of him.
"Will you at least talk to me about it?" she gently asked once his back was turned to her.
"Why do you even care?" he snapped at her.
She quickly recoiled against the sharpness of his tongue and turned to leave the workshop, leaving behind a stack of papers to be signed along with a cup of hot coffee. "I'll be upstairs if you need me, Mr. Stark," she said without turning to look back at him. He knew, after several years of working for him, that when Pepper's tone of voice changed like that meant that she was either mad or frustrated with him. And in this case, most likely it was that she was frustrated.
"Wait Pepper," he gently said.
She stopped, but didn't turn around to look at him.
"Look I'm sorry I snapped at you," he said. "It's just that talking about what happened is hard because I relive the pain every time. And its not enough that I'm left with a reminder of what happened for the rest of my life."
He tapped the top of the arc reactor beneath his tattered t-shirt. By then Pepper had turned back around and walked back towards were he was standing. She reached out and gently placed her hand on top of the arc reactor where his was. She knew that she shouldn't and that she was treading in waters that she vowed never to tread in, but Tony deserved to know that he wasn't the only one hurting here.
"Sometimes talking does help, Tony," she said looking up at him. "You're not the only one who was hurt by what happened over there. You and Rhodey are all the family I have left. Seeing you like this is tearing me up. If you can't tell me about it, at least tell Rhodey or Jarvis. After my mom died, I had nightmares too. Eventually they went away after I talked about them. I don't care if you have to go save the world as Iron Man, but yes, I will worry each time you put on that suit. But I also worry when I have to wake you up from nightmares."
"I love you Pepper Potts."
The words had tumbled out of his mouth before they had made it to his brain. But when Tony had realized what he had just said to his shocked, yet beautiful, assistant, he knew that he was right. He loved Pepper Potts.
"You love me?" she asked dumbfounded.
He nodded without saying a word as he leaned in and softly kissed her lips. It wasn't a deep kiss or a forceful one. But nonetheless, it was just right for them. It was their first kiss.
"You know that this is going to change everything," she said as she lay her head against his shoulder.
"Really now?" he asked. "How so?"
"You'll have to find a new assistant."
"Not a chance in hell. Who better then my assistant/girlfriend to keep up with all my stuff for me plus keep my sanity?"
Pepper laughed as she wrapped her arms around Tony again. She hoped that they were doing the right thing.