Payback – An Iron Man FanFic

Pairing: Tony/Pepper

Disclaimer: If I owned the Iron Man franchise, I wouldn't be posting on , now would I? Everything belongs to Mr. Stan Lee and the boys at Marvel; I'm just taking Pepper and Tony out for a spin.

This is a TS/PP one-shot that is based somewhere in the confines of "Pre-Movie" and follows its companion piece; Fighting Fire with Fire. You may want to check that one out first, but it's not an absolute requirement.

Reviews are highly appreciated! :)

Do enjoy:

Pepperony 100 Challenge Theme 32: Tease

Ever since my little escapade with Pepper's office Hey! It's not like it was anything huge!, I've been feeling rather smug.

Having put my garage back to rights and gotten everything properly and messily "Stark-ified" I think I just discovered a new word, I'm feeling right at home with my hot rods and various pieces of machinery. As the day draws to a close, I begin to look forward to the following morning full of chaos and mayhem as per usual in Stark Mansion.

-The Following Morning-

Jarvis gently awakens me by un-tinting my 180° bay windows and proceeds to document the weather, temperatures, surf, blah blah blah. I only lend half an ear to his ramblings and proceed to stumble, half awake, into my bathroom.

After scrubbing myself awake, giving my face a few extra splashes of water, and checking to ensure my goatee is as impeccable as ever, I give my black locks a quick tousle and proceed to meander into the kitchen for my daily cup of espresso.

However, something is very wrong.

My daily cup of espresso is not sitting on the countertop, the delightfully caffeinated steam tantalizing my awakening nose. In fact, it's nowhere to be found as I give the entire kitchen a thorough sweep.

That's odd, Pepper should've had that ready ages ago.

As that thought reverberates around my still-rebooting brain, I decide to launch a search for my loyal assistant.

First stop: her office …

Nada, nothing, zilch.

Second stop: the meeting room …

Failure once again.

After two consecutive failures, I lower myself onto my couch (which couch? I have no idea, I've got a few) to contemplate my next plan.

As I try to make sense of this seeming nonsense, I begin to get the feeling I should've been at Stark Industries in a meeting or something by now. It's already 12pm and there hasn't been a single sign of the one person who manages to keep my life running smoothly (aka NOT ME!).

"Jarvis!!" I shout irritably.

"Sir?" He responds immediately.

"Where is Pepper?" I question, realizing only then just how stupid I had been not to utilize my AI when I actually needed to.

"Miss Potts is currently reclining on your pool deck." Jarvis answered as though it were the most obvious thing in the world.

"Damn!" I curse, sprinting to the opposite end of my mansion and out onto the pool deck.

-On the Pool Deck, 5 Minutes Later-

"Miss Potts!" I shout, quickly gaining her attention.

"Oh, hello Tony." She replies, smiling demurely up at me from her latest Clive Cussler novel.

"Just what exactly are you doing?" I prod futher.

"Why Tony, I think it's perfectly obvious … I'm relaxing, chilling, not caring about anything." She replies, giving me that same confounding demure smile.

"Why wasn't there a schedule of any sort left for me or a note explaining where you were?!" My voice begins to rise in volume as I become increasingly stressed (Wait, stressed? Tony Stark … stressed?!).

"Oh, I didn't think that was necessary. I never receive anything from you when you disappear for a day of "relaxation", so I figured it was only fair that we have the same privileges. I think you had a meeting with the board supervisors at 9 and a consultation with that engineer from MIT regarding the arc reactor generator at 11:30 but I figured you'd remember those. They are rather important, you know." She gives me a slightly condescending look.

"But … but … but …" I cannot seem to get anything but that cursed word out of my mouth.

"I was planning on going shopping with some girlfriends for the rest of the afternoon, and then spending the evening with-"

"NOOOO!" My pitiful cry startles even me.

Pepper's blue eyes regard me with a mixture of shock and utter vindictiveness as I begin blabbering something terrible.

"But Tony, what's wrong?" She asks, putting on a completely innocent façade.

"My entire day is going to explode!" I gesture wildly to imitate an explosion.

"Just because I wasn't there to hold your hand? Goodness Tony, I though you'd graduated elementary school a long time ago." Pepper smirks as her remark hits home.

I give it one more go to try and formulate a standard witty "Stark-ified" comeback and unfortunately settle for stomping back inside like an insolent 5-year-old.

Pepper's laughter follows me into the house and serves only to irritate me further.

"If I may say so, sir, you actually did deserve it." Jarvis' disembodied voice taunts.

"Shut up."