Blue Dress and the Blade
By Elizabeth Bathory
"I was the one who filed the injunction against you, Tony."
Those ten words and those damned photos had sent a beautiful night plummeting to earth with a resounding crunch. Tony Stark had been damn near riding cloud nine as he danced with Pepper and it got even better when they went up to the roof. Just having his hands on Pepper's bare back was enough to arouse him. Then he had been less than an inch away from kissing her before she pulled back and asked for a martini, which of course he was happy to get for her. If only that bartender had been a bit faster then he could have avoided all this mess but at what cost. Obadiah was still dealing under the table after he had been told to stop any dealings a decade earlier and now he was forcing Tony out. Obadiah smiled to his face while he stabbed the knife in his back and then twisted so the wound wouldn't heal.
Now, Tony had a decision to make as his stomach churned with everything he just had to swallow. He knew the blood that had enraged him only minutes earlier when he had seen the pictures of Gulmira and his weapons being used in the destruction had completely fell from his face. His fingers played with the valet ticket in his pocket, tempting him to just get his car and get the hell out of here so he could explode without the camera's eye in his face. Then his heart forced his head upwards to the roof where he had left Pepper to go get her drink. Tony had been less than an inch to finally kissing her and now he was on the street actually debating whether he should leave or not. For once, his heart won over his head and despite his seething anger at Obadiah and Christine Everheart, Tony went back inside and headed back up to the roof to get Pepper...and then make his escape.
Pepper smiled when she saw Tony come back up to the roof. Her pulse had slightly returned to normal after nearly kissing him and now she was almost regretting pulling back. His scent was just as intoxicating as Tony was drop dead gorgeous in a tuxedo. The strange thing though was as Tony got closer, she didn't see him carrying any glasses.
"You forgot something, Tony." Pepper teased playfully at first until she saw Tony's face. The smile he had when they had come up to the roof and when they had danced was gone. It was replaced something cold and alien...the look Tony had when he had been royally pissed off by someone and he was going out for blood if necessary. "Tony, what happened?" she asked gently as concern flooded her voice when she touched his cheek.
Tony closed his eyes as Pepper touched his face. He placed his hand over hers and swallowed hard before trying to speak. "I really have to go home and I need to you to come with me." he rasped out, his voice rough with buried anger.
Pepper was now certain something had happened and it was something bad. "Tell me what's wrong, Tony." she insisted.
"Not here...not here..." Tony whispered as he took her hand in his. "Come with me and I'll explain...please."
Pepper looked into his dark eyes and saw pain building fast behind the rage that was just below the surface that Tony was quickly losing control of. "How did you get here? Did you call Happy?"
Pepper nodded as she let Tony lead them out of the benefit. Instead of going back through the main ballroom, Tony ducked through a few back staircases before coming back out to the main entrance. He gave the valet the ticket and he was just undoing his tie as his silver Audi R8 drove up.
The valet opened the door for Pepper as Tony stepped around to the driver seat. He tossed his tie in the backseat and then buckled his seat belt. That one little normal gesture made Pepper nervous as she buckled her own. It meant that Tony was planning on driving like a demon from hell...more so than usual.
As soon as Pepper was inside and secure, Tony threw the car into gear and slammed the gas. He turned on the stereo and turned up the volume so that hard rock bass filled the car. He was barely cracking seventy when he started squirming in his seat. The tux jacket was cramping his style. As he drove, switching from one hand on the wheel to the other at seventy miles and hour, Tony shrugged off the jacket and tossed it into the back seat as well. He unbuttoned a few buttons on his shirt, undid his cufflinks and shoved his sleeves up and then threw the car into another gear. The car roared forward now nearing eighty-five. Tony was driving with one hand on the wheel and the other resting on the door, holding up his head. He was the only person that Pepper knew who could drive so relaxed when they are trying to crack 100. Not even NASCAR drivers did this.
"Can you tell me now what is bothering you?" Pepper asked gently as she watched his body to gauge a reaction.
Tony didn't say anything at first, he just sighed as he dodged through traffic. It was a few long and agonizing minutes before he spoke.
"I got stabbed in the back," he said quietly but tightly. His temper was riding a killing edge and Pepper knew she had to tread carefully.
"By someone who wanted me to trust them just so they could twist the knife when the time came," Tony ground out. "I had put a stop to these backdoor dealings years ago – a decade at least and then while he smiles to my face, he is ripping me apart from behind because I didn't do as he wanted." His voice was rising steadily as he got angrier and the car went faster.
"Who did, Tony?"
"Obadiah…" Tony spat. "He filed the damn injunction against me. He did it and he was proud of it!"
Pepper's blood ran cold when she heard this. This seemed too far fetched to be true but it had to be or else Tony would not be this furious.
When they got back to Tony's house, he slammed the door when he got out of the car and entered the house like a tornado, making a bee line for his balcony over looking the ocean. Pepper followed behind and closed the doors that Tony had flung open. She walked quietly out to the balcony and placed her hand over top of his on the railing.
Even though her slight touch had dulled the blade just a little bit, Tony knew his temper was going to explode and he did not want Pepper to get hurt when it did. He back away from the railing and started for his garage. Before descending though, he stopped and turned back to Pepper. "Please don't leave," he pleaded. "I just need to…but please stay…I need you here tonight."
"I won't leave…I promise." Pepper said as she watched Tony go downstairs.
Pepper didn't watch the time as she waited upstairs for Tony. She knew he needed a release for his anger or else things got broken. She had changed into one of Tony's t-shirts and a pair of her running shorts and curled up on the couch while she waited for Tony to come up or say that he needed her.
She didn't need to wait long. Pepper heard repulsor blasts and glass exploding…five explosions to be exact. That was what scared her the most. Pepper had to force herself to wait for the chaos to die down before she even considered going into that garage. When she steeled herself up enough to go downstairs, Pepper still worried about what she may find.
The entire garage was dark and broken glass was all over the floor. All the windows had been shattered as well as the TV and some of the lights. Tony was sitting on his couch with his head hung low, breathing deeply to probably try to calm down.
"Tony?" Pepper said softly so he would not be startled by her being there.
Tony looked up at the sound of his name and the rage was gone out of his eyes and all that remained was the pain of betrayal.
Pepper crossed the room, careful to avoid the broken glass on the floor and stood in front of him.
Tony sighed and buried his head against her stomach, his body trembling with anger, rage, sadness and pain. He sniffed once trying to fight what was overwhelming him and he was losing.
Pepper wrapped her arms around Tony's head and bent over him, kissing his hair as she heard him breaking down against her. She didn't say a word but offered the silent comfort he needed more than anything at the moment.
After a few moments, Tony looked up at Pepper with bloodshot eyes and silently pulled her down to sit across his legs. His breath was still shuddering as he ran his fingers delicately along her jaw line before running his fingers through her hair. He leaned in and gently pulled Pepper forward, hoping with all of his heart that she would not pull away again.
Pepper looked into Tony's eyes and saw the look she had seen on the roof before, deep down under all the pain. She felt him ease her head forward and this time she closed the last inches and their lips touched in the kiss that should have happened on the roof.