"Huge Success", chapter one
Even with all the strange things that had happened to her since Tony had come out of the super-hero closet, Pepper had to admit, this was a new one. It wasn't the sight of Tony Stark sitting on his desk in deep thought that alarmed her; what was alarming was the fact that he was seated on an old optical mouse.
Her employer was six inches high.
Pepper stifled a small gasp as she approached the work desk he was on top of. Tony didn't seem worried, but looked mildly embarrassed when he saw her.
"Ah, hello Miss Potts. Did I send for you?"
"No, but it's almost time for your meeting with the board members." Pepper tried to keep her voice at a semblance of normality.
"Um…yeah, why don't you go ahead and cancel that."
"I'll get right on it." Pepper bent down to get a better look at him. He didn't seem to be hurt... "Do I actually have to point out the obvious or are you going to explain?"
"Please, point it out. It makes me look that much smarter." He replied, smiling slightly.
"Why are you suddenly the size of a doll?"
"First of all, don't say doll. It's girly. I'm not the size of a doll, I'm the size of an action figure."
"Duly noted Mr. Stark." Pepper restrained herself from rolling her eyes, something she'd become quite good at while working for Tony. "Now, would you explain why you are your own action figure?"
"Better." Tony nodded. "Remember that sample of serum that Dr. Pym sent me?"
"Yes, although he sent it to the company's lab, not you personally." Pepper replied.
"Same thing. At least, it should be. It turns out he made the sample tamper proof--this is his idea of security against industrial espionage." Tony sighed, slipping off the mouse and onto his feet. "Miniaturization technology for living matter. Ingenious, but unpredictable as hell."
"Are you stuck this way?" A note of concern stuck out stubbornly in her voice.
"For a while, yes. It should wear off." Tony shrugged.
"Well…good." Relief washed over her. "Do you need anything?"
"Actually, yeah. If you wouldn't mind accompanying me upstairs, that would be really helpful. I can't do anything in the lab until this wears off, and without being able to work it's incredibly boring down here." Tony approached the edge of the desk expectantly.
"Oh, um…sure. I can do that." Pepper murmured. She slowly laid her hands face-up on the desk in front of him. Tony stepped on, settling lightly in her hands.
"Just carry me up to the couch, I'll kill a few hours in front of the TV." He instructed.
Pepper took the staircase up very slowly for fear of jostling her employer. Tony leaned against her fingers, apparently completely comfortable with his predicament. She'd have to check the security tapes for the lab later, though--seeing his initial reaction upon becoming miniature would be worthwhile.
"This is fine Potts, if you would just--hey, watch the nails, watch the nails!" Tony shouted as she gently set him on the vast white sofa. "You practically ran me through with those."
"Maybe if I wasn't here all day every day I could make the time to visit a nail salon." Pepper said dryly.
"Go now. Nothing stopping you." Tony replied.
"Yes. Go now. Take the afternoon off."
"Go out for the afternoon when my employer, who recently outed himself as a superhero and is now the target of several terrorist groups, has shrunk down to the size of an action figure."
"Now that you're finished summarizing, go." Tony waved her off.
"Tony, you're completely helpless, I'm not going to leave you alone!"
"I'm not helpless. I have JARVIS." Tony replied. "JARVIS, switch on the TV."
"You are not authorized to access that function." JARVIS's voice emanated from a wall speaker.
Tony frowned at this. "JARVIS it's me."
"The facial scan says that you are Tony Stark, but the voice recognition program says you're not." JARVIS replied. "Security protocol on voice overrides facial recognition. As such, I cannot obey your orders."
"JARVIS you know it's me!" Tony argued.
"I cannot override the safety protocols." JARVIS replied coolly. "Only Tony Stark and Miss Potts have that access."
"Pepper, make him listen to me!" Tony's voice was coming dangerously close to a whine.
"JARVIS, use a sliding scale on the vocal print program." Pepper tried unsuccessfully to hide a smile.
"Very good Miss Potts."
Tony growled under his breath. "JARVIS, turn on the TV."
"Yes Mr. Stark." The TV flipped on. "Good to have you back."
Pepper sat on the couch, making the cushion dip under Tony. "I think I'll stick around until this wears off. Just in case something else you built decides to rebel."
"Fine. But if I hear you or JARVIS making jokes, I'm going to exact some major vengeance later."
"I wouldn't dream of it." Pepper smiled down at him.
"Mr. Stark is a little short tempered as a result of the Pym particles." Had JARVIS had a face, he would have been smirking. Pepper laughed quietly.
"Of all the robot butlers I could have built, I make one with a sense of humor." Tony grumbled. This was going to be a long day.
To Be continued...