Music of the Night
By Elizabeth Bathory
Very late one Friday night or very early one Saturday morning, people with sleep fogged vision don't see very well, Pepper Potts awoke in an empty bed. She cracked her eyes open and found Tony's side of the bed messed up but decidedly empty. He had gone to bed with her…for once…but now he was absent.
Pepper's first thought as she sat up was that Iron Man summoned him off to do something that would make her worry and disapprove of but then the faint sound of rock music wafted up from the garage. Pepper sighed with relief as she slipped from under the blankets and headed down to Tony's workshop. As she got closer, the music she was hearing sounded different…almost not as smooth as it was supposed to be. Surely Tony would not let Jarvis get skips in his music.
Pepper crept down the steps so she could get an idea of where Tony was before she stepped inside. She looked around and did not see him either at his workbench or working on the armor. He was standing in front of his TV, shirtless and covered with a light sheen of sweat, with a small drum set in front of him, a microphone off to his side and a guitar that was not one of his in his hands. Pepper looked up at the screen and saw the scrolling guitar bar with the playing cues and wondered what the hell had gotten into Tony's head.
"Tony? What are you doing down here?" she asked as she stepped inside.
"Just a sec. I'm on a hot streak here and you'll break my rhythm," Tony called back to her as he didn't miss a note.
When he had finished Blackhole Sun with a five star score, Tony set the guitar down and turned to Pepper, interrupting his world tour for the love of his life. "You need me for something?"
"It's past two in the morning. What are you doing down here?" Pepper asked as she kissed him gently.
"I couldn't sleep so I remembered I had bought this a little while ago so I decided to play Rock Band until I got tired."
"How long have you been down here?"
Tony shrugged. "Jarvis? How long have I been conquering the world with my musical prowess?"
"I wouldn't exactly call Rock Band musical prowess, sir" Jarvis replied. "But you have been playing for two hours and six minutes."
"You have been down here for two hours?" Pepper exclaimed.
"I guess I had more energy to burn off than I thought." Tony admitted as he picked up the microphone and stuffed it into Pepper's hand. "But now, we can be a band rather than just a gifted soloist here. You sing. I play guitar and if you want, we can call Rhodey and he can do drums."
"I think Rhodey would seriously hurt you if you call him at two in the morning to play video games," Pepper said as she looked down at the microphone in her hand. "I am not doing this, Tony."
"It would not be the first time I would have called him for early morning competition." Tony said as he picked up his guitar again and the Xbox controller to set up Pepper's character, despite her protests. "Yes you are. It's fun and I need a cute lead singer."
"I can't sing, Tony."
"Doesn't matter. You can suck on this somewhat and still get a good score. We'll start you on one you should know… Dani California.
Before Pepper could protest again, the song started and Tony started playing – surprisingly well. As the lyrics came up, Pepper started singing and did not miss a note – not once. When she scored a 100, Tony slowly looked at her with a judging and somewhat surprised look.
"I thought you said you couldn't sing." He said with his arms crossed in front of him after he only scored a 96.
"I can't sing." Pepper said sheepishly with a smile.
"I beg to differ. You hit every damn mark on there and your voice is pretty damn good." Tony insisted. "Okay liar, let's see how good you actually are…World Tour."
Pepper tried to protest once more but she could see Tony was not listening as they started their World Tour.
Four hours and countless songs later which Pepper scored no less than a 90 on any of them, Tony finally collapsed on to his couch. His fingers were cramping up, the strap was cutting into his neck and his back was starting to hurt. Pepper had barely any voice left above a whisper as she sat down next to him.
"You've played this before and you played dumb. No one does that good on their first time." Tony asked her.
Pepper shook her head with a smile. "I was a Rock Band virgin."
Tony laughed in disbelief. "If you are a virgin at this then I don't have a 1000 notches on my bedposts from my rotation of women." He countered. "When did you play it, Pepper?"
"I haven't before tonight. I swear."
"When did you play it before?" Tony said as he set the guitar down and turned on Pepper, crawling up to her like he was on the prowl.
"You're being ridiculous." She insisted as she backed up into the couch cushions.
"When Pepper?" Tony asked again as he was on top of her with a devil in his smile, his arms blocking her escape on either side.
"I'm telling the truth." Pepper squeaked out.
"I'll get it out of you one way or another. Your choice if it will be easy or hard?" Tony teased as he got in closer.
"I have never done that before…" Pepper said once more before as Tony moved in for the kill.
Another hour, tickling and some more persuasive methods of interrogation later, Tony was nearly sound asleep on the couch behind Pepper under the blanket he kept down there, holding her tightly as their clothes were strewn all over the floor. Pepper was listening for when Tony's breathing evened out and he started to snore with a smile.
"I may not have played Rock Band before but my friends used to love Karaoke bars." Pepper whispered with a smile as she let sleep claim her.