Title: the heave and the hue of the woman on fire (5/5)
Author: A.j.
Spoilers: For the movie, Iron Man. And vague MU knowledge.
Rating: NC-17.
Notes: Huge thanks to besyd and Jess for the beta work. This is, for all intents and purposes, Five Places Tony and Pepper Never Had Sex. And we go out on the movieverse. Also, a huge thanks to everyone who's been reading along as I posted this. This is the first multi-part story I've done in years, and it's been lovely to have such a positive response. Thank you!

Summary: Tony will never, ever understand women.

5. His desk.

It takes Tony four years, two mental break downs, a stint in rehab, twenty-three really close calls with death, and six kidnappings for him to give up the dream of dating Pepper Potts, much less fucking her.

Much, much later, when she tries to explain the feminine logic behind the whole thing, he makes her pare it down to the absolutely barest explanation possible: him letting her go was exactly what she was waiting for. Him giving up meant that he was willing to let her go to make her happy. Which meant that he was actually thinking about her needs. Her eyes are shining when she leads him through this, lips twitching in amusement and pride that he feels are highly inappropriate. He proves this by taking her over his knee and spanking her until she starts shrieking about reconsidering due to immaturity.

But that's much, much later.

The whole thing, and by 'thing' he means their relationship, takes a left turn after a particularly boring day of work. There had been no emergencies, Iron Man-related or having to do with the company. He'd gotten to all of his meetings on time and even spent lunch geeking out over some desalinization plans with Jenks and Deiter from R&D. He knows Pepper had gone to six or seven meetings herself and finished out the monthly budget reports. All in all, it had been the most normal day either of them had ever had. He thinks he even managed a coffee break.

They're standing in his office, packing up their things and chatting idly about nothing and everything. She's telling him about going up the coast to Monterrey that coming weekend. The guy she's been casually dating had asked her to go away for a romantic weekend, but she'd had plans with Nancy from accounting to go pottery shopping for ages, and why did guys get so touchy?

He's laughing by the end of her diatribe, shaking his head and casually finishing up with his memo-initialing. At this point he's used to knowing that he is never going to be the guy trying to puzzle out Pepper's mind, as it applies to dating, and while it hurts, it's good to see her happy. Or, as the case may be, annoyed.

"Well," he says, still smiling and actually meaning it, "don't come down too hard on the guy. I'd want to haul you off, if it was me."

She smiles back at him, half-amused and ready to shoot him down or roll her eyes. But when he doesn't say anything else, just waits for her to respond, something in her face changes.

"What? What's wrong?" Because she's looking at him. Really looking at him, head all tilted and with a look in her eyes that screams speculation and forethought. He pats his face, hoping like hell that he hasn't had an afternoon-snack-lo-mein-noodle stuck to his beard. "Pepper?"

She takes a few steps towards him, abandoning her bag and briefcase on the table she always ends up working at. "You mean that, don't you?"

Tony blinks and mentally rewinds the last few sentences in his head. "That I'd drag you off?"

Pepper drifts to a stop at the edge of his desk, still staring at him like he's a spreadsheet she just can't quite line up in her mind. "That you'd let me go. Without throwing a fit."

He aches. Oh, he aches now. But he can't actually lie to this woman. Not after all the shit he's put her through and had her bail him out of. Moreover, he does mean it. If just so she'll be happy. He just shrugs and nods, resignation probably written in flashing letters across his face. "If it makes you happy, of course I would. It's you, Pepper. You deserve the world." And it's stupidly sappy, but honest.

The beaming smile of absolute delight and the instant tears are confusing though. Really confusing. Before he can even process this dramatic something, she's across the space between them with one hand wrapped around his tie and grinning like Christmas, Easter, and vacation all came early.

"Um, hi?" He stutters. She's deep inside his personal space, her front damn near pasted to his and she smells amazing. All spicy orange blossom and ginger and other girly things he can't identify but he knows is a scent made specifically for her. He breathes her in, because he can't not, and continues to blink at her in stunned shock.

"Hi." Her grin gentles to a smile and her face and eyes go soft in a way he very rarely sees. It's actually jarring because he knows the only time she looks at him like that is when he's injured or devastated or too exhausted to put up much of a fight.

"What's going on?" He asks because it feels like he's been kicked off the Helicarrier without a parachute. Pepper doesn't do this kind of physical contact with him. It's something he doesn't understand, and he's made a life's work out of explaining the unexplainable. Even if just to himself.

"I want to submit an application." She drops her eyes and rubs at the tie she'd been clutching.

"Application?" His voice gets higher at the end of the word and he mentally shakes himself. "What are you talking about?"

"Mmm." Pepper pulls the tie out of his jacket and starts to play with the ends. "I seem to recall an offer several years ago. Something about there being an opening with you."

"What?" He's saying that word a lot, but can't help it. God save him from complex women.

Unexpectedly, she raises one of her legs, rubbing her knee rather intently on the outside of his thigh. This is just before she pins him with those huge, blue eyes and the lustiest stare he's ever seen. And he's including that time Rhodey got hopped up on sex pollen.

"Do you still have an opening for a superhero's girlfriend?" And then she drops that titrated-spanish-fly gaze to his lips.

He's not instantly hard. No, it takes a good fifteen seconds along with a quick, but dramatic, replay of nearly every fantasy he's ever had about Pepper Potts and his desk. If he weren't so turned on, he'd be embarrassed by the utterly needy squeak he lets out.

But he remembers that sex pollen and how deeply freaked out Rhodey had been afterwards. How the man hadn't really been able to look him in the eye for nearly three months and considering how often Tony is, and needs to be, in Pepper's personal space... well. He can't afford to pin his hopes on a 'sudden realization'.

"Pepper." His hands come down on her shoulders and he pushes her back, just enough to look her in the eye. "What's going on?"

She answers him with a question. "Tony. How long has it been since your last drink?""

He blinks, confused, but answers because she's got him so well trained at this point, he can't not. "Two years, thirteen days."

She nods and holds his gaze, her own oddly intense. What she's asking is important. And probably relevant to the conversation. Pepper has never been one to beat around the bush. That's always been more his style. "And how long has it been since your last long-term relationship?"

"Sarah and I broke up six months ago, you know that."

Her hands are warm on his chest as she smoothes the line of the suit she'd just ruffled. "And the last time you had a one-night-stand?"

"Um-" He hesitates not because he doesn't remember – god, he so remembers – but because he knows she won't approve. She's never said anything about his ongoing casual thing with Natasha, but the eye-rolling and the general displeasure usually gave her away.


"Natasha, the night after that explosion in Prague."

Strangely, she smiles at that. Leans in closer. "Three months ago?"


"You don't mind that I have plans this weekend?"

Seriously, women confuse the hell out of him. "What the hell? No, it's your vacation time. And you've had it scheduled off for a month and have been haranguing me about not calling you unless Galactus showed up again."

Her hands come up to cup the sides of his face, drawing him forward until they're practically nose to nose. "That's why I think now is a good time for me to submit my application."

He has absolutely no idea what she's talking about. At all. "I have no idea what you're talking about."

Apparently, she believes him and his understanding really doesn't matter because as soon as she's done rolling her eyes, she smirks. That evil, female smirk that he had zero experience with prior to his forced march through maturity. Namely, his first real girlfriend. It's a smirk that means she knows exactly what she's doing and has him exactly where she wants him and he better shut up and fall in line, otherwise he's toast.

Her smile grows and she runs a thumb over his eyebrow, grounding him to the here and now. "I. Want. To. Date. You." She looks so happy.

And... that was entirely not what he expected. But that achy little part of his chest that always, always acts up whenever Pepper's within ten feet of him glows and expands like a balloon filled with helium. Possibly hydrogen. He and Pepper have never been all that noble. Or inert.

"Do you mean it?" The gravity of his voice startles him. But then, it really shouldn't. This is Pepper. The only person who's never left. The one who's held his hand through the most brutal moments of his life and been there afterwards to help pick up the pieces. "I need to know."

In response, she leans in and kisses him. Warm and gentle, her lips press against his own, and while it's not the best kiss he's ever received, it's one of the sweetest. He doesn't know how long they stand there, lips just pressed together, but it's enough that when her mouth opens and her tongue darts out and runs along his bottom lip, he's ready. Opens his own and, for the very first time, takes her in.

He wants to think poetry about her. Make up something epic and romantic and take her on long walks on the beach or something equally as pastel-colored. But rom-com and Song-of-Solomon-esque poetry has never been Tony Stark, so he settles for grabbing her thighs and hauling them up around his hips and shoving their bodies backwards toward his desk.

By the time he settles her on the glass-and-steel monstrosity that the last decorator decided was trés chic, her hands are working on the buttons of his jacket and he's got her nicely tailored button-up pulled out of her dress-pants.

"God." She hisses when she finally gets the jacket off and starts with his shirts. He's inclined to agree, but he has very, very specific plans for the next half-hour and most of them involve the need to regulate his breathing. He just grunts and hauls her shirt up and over, leaving her hair half out of its bun and her in a white lace bra.

She's grinning at him. It makes him pause, her shirt still dangling from his fingers. She looks happy. He doesn't remember the last time he saw her like this. He doesn't know if he's ever seen Pepper this... pleased.

He's pretty sure that he's got a stupid grin plastered all over his face too.

"Hi." He says.

"Hi." She says back.

And then she takes off her bra.

"Goddamn, you have good ideas." He pulls his tie off and dives at her.

She tastes amazing.

Okay, that's a complete and utter lie. She tastes like old coffee and one of the Altoids he knows she stashes in her desk. And not the good chocolate-covered ones – those are only for after Christmas sales, and even though he really, really adores this woman, he knows she's a complete whackjob for only buying 3 candies during after-Christmas sales – but the super-strong rancid ones that last for hours and kill tastebuds. Still, he's put worse things in his mouth, and it's Pepper, and yep, there she is. Past the coffee and mint, there's the ginger and the orange blossom or whatever the fuck that is.

And then she sticks her hand down his pants.

His eyes cross. Honest to god. He knows this because they pop open as she wraps her hand around his dick and starts, very lightly, running her nails up and down the underside.

"Shit, you play dirty," he manages to gasp. He hadn't even noticed her getting his belt or zipper open, but yep. He's honestly surprised his pants are staying on his hips at all.

"I know what I want. Why wait?" The evil woman bites her lip, still wet with their combined saliva, before reaching down just a bit lower and palming his balls.

"Which is, apparently, a lack of reciprocity. Up and at 'em Potts. Pants off." He backs up, moaning a little as she gives him a parting squeeze. She hops off the desk while he's digging his wallet, and the condom inside, out of his pocket. He's man enough to admit that he's so distracted watching her breasts bounce that he actually drops his pants.

Not that it matters. He's down to his socks in a matter of seconds and she's not far behind. Well, okay, she's not in socks, she's in his third-favorite pair of heels – the one with ankle strap and the round toes – but whatever, she's naked and perched on his desk.

It's entirely possible that he whimpers. A little. Maybe.

He has no idea where to start. There's just... He raises and drops his hand, running his eyes over the whole of her. There are small imperfections, a scar on her collarbone and a birthmark under her left breast, and he wants to map each and every one of them.

"God, is that a mole on your hip?" And it's stupid, but then she's laughing and really? He's okay with that.

Braced on one hand, she holds the other out to him, palm up and does a sideways split with her left leg. It's through a very distant tunnel that he hears what she says because Jesus. "Put the condom on and you can come find out."

If his fingers shake a little on the package, she doesn't mention it. Possibly – and he allows himself a smirk and an ego boost here – because she's too busy staring at where it's going to go. God knows he's staring at where his dick's going as soon as humanly possible.

Pepper Potts shells out for the Brazilian, apparently.


"Just so you know," he starts casually, crowding into her and rubbing across her front; his beard aimed to skim the line of her shoulders and neck. "When I manage to drag you back to my house and we have six free hours, I plan on eating you out until you can't actually form words anymore."

She bites his shoulder, hard, causing him to rock into the cradle of her hips. She's wet, gloriously so, and hot and then her fingernails are scoring his back. "Just so you know," she mimics, dragging her nails lower and tickling the top curve of his ass. "I am totally holding you to that promise."

His laugh turns into a gasp and a groan when she reaches behind her, catches one of his hands in hers, pulls it around and pushes his fingers down, down, down to the wet lips of her sex. She shivers, just a little, but holds his eyes and drags out that goddamn, evil grin again.

Her whisper is sex and sin. "Get me ready, Stark."

And then she shows him exactly how he's supposed to go about it.

Gentle is, apparently, the word of the day. Brushing touches to the labia. Up, down, center, grazing of the clit. Tony commits each shift to his memory, comparing it to installing a diode or rerouting a circuit. After the third repetition and a slight improvisation on his part, one that has her squeaking, he's back at her mouth.

The kiss is open-mouthed, wet, and dirty. She's practically purring under his hands and the way she's exploring his hips and ass and the mottled burn scars – a present from The Mandarin – across his kidneys she's got him in damn near the same condition.

It's only when his hips start rocking harder against her knees and she breaks the kiss to lean back on both palms to better let her hips follow the motions of his hand that he finally stills. Looks down at her spread out on his desk.

"You're beautiful," he tells her, meaning the words.

She smiles, eyes a bit teary – and he totally gets her on that score because he's feeling a little teary himself, not that he'll admit it – and wraps her legs around the back of his hips. Guides him inside her.

Their eyes remain locked as he slides in once, twice, before pushing all the way in.

"Hi." He says, again.

"Hi." She repeats. Because that's, apparently, their new couple-thing.

And then he can't do anything but press down and in and keep going because it's all he can do.

She's not the only woman he's ever wanted. She's not even the only woman he's ever loved. But she is the only one who's ever waited, even passively, for him.

And really? That's kind of everything.

Her hips roll against his, taking his thrusts and giving back as hard as she can in return. The whole thing is glorious and sweaty, and then she's sitting up and got her arms wrapped around him and they're kissing again. She's plastered against him and holding on like she's never, ever going to let go. This is a good thing because he's pretty sure that he's never going to let her.

She comes, gasping, against him, twitching and shuddering like he doesn't even know, and it's then, with her whimpering his name, that he lets go. It feels like falling and flying and fifteen other cliched words, but he doesn't care because it's him and Pepper and that's more than he'd come to expect.

When his brain realigns – and it takes a lot longer than he wants to admit; he's experienced, dammit – their foreheads are smashed together and they're both heaving in the same air. All he can see is the blush spread across her cheeks and the outline of her breasts. He's still inside her and has to take a few seconds to let the fuzziness on the edges of his vision settle down.

"You know we just had sex on my desk, right?"

She snickers and he feels her nod. "Me and my ass are very aware, thank you."

"Okay. Just making sure."

"Do you want to go to Monterrey this weekend?" Her voice is gruff and growly and that stupid-ass grin is back on his face.

"No. You have plans with Nancy." He kisses the edge of her jaw and the bridge of her nose. "It's on the calendar."

"Mmm." She leans into him, covers the arc reactor with her palm and goes for the column of his neck. He lets her. He gets to smell her hair, after all. "I can come back early on Sunday."

"I'd like that." He closes his eyes, and holds on.