A Supremely Bright Idea
They slowly made their way up the red carpet, interrupted by photographers for the media looking for images of couples attending the Orphans' Ball, as it had been so ineloquently named. The children hadn't arrived yet, but were scheduled to be there within the hour. Posing with Rebeckah for another shot, knowing that they were one of the most sought-after couples just because of their odd story and the rags-to-riches factor in Rebeckah's favor, they often got the question, "Did you ask Tony to bring you to this event, Miss Fahey?"
To which she always replied, "No. We had discussed going to an event like this for a while, and this was one that fell in nicely with both schedules."
The second-most-common question was, "Are you still having an affair with Iron Man?"
The answer: "Of course not."
Finally inside, meeting up with Pepper and Happy, both of whom ushered them into a small preparation room for the appearance inside the building, they took the time to rest and recuperate from the barrage of flashing lights and shouted questions. Pepper touched up their hair (and makeup in Rebecka's case), letting them know of the most recent arrivals, who was interesting in meeting with them and the current haunts of one of the people to watch out for. When she paused for breath to continue with a few of the corporate decisions made in the last two days, the door was opened and a couple quickly made their way in, closing it after them. Happy had blocked Tony and Rebeckah from view of the door, his back to his boss while settling for looking intimidating.
And then blinked once. "Sir, your double has arrived."
The actor looked confused until Tony walked around his bodyguard, fiddling with one of his cufflinks. Sighing, he gave up, looked up at none other than Robert Downey Junior and whom he had to suspect was the man's current girlfriend, and then cocked an eyebrow. "Not bad. You look better with stubble than when you're clean-shaven."
"Says the man who never shaves unless someone physically shoves the razor into his hand and points him to a mirror," Pepper grumbled while Rebeckah's hands appeared from behind Happy to fix the cufflink in two quick motions. She continued. "Are you aware of the media's rumblings, Mr Downey?"
"That we're illegitimate brothers? Yeah. It's crap." The older of the two apparent "twins" looked to the younger, but watched as Rebeckah walked to Tony's side, studying his face silently. "Sorry, miss. Taken. But thanks for the silent complement."
She chuckled, shaking her head and putting her hand into Tony's to prevent him from blowing up at the other man. "I wasn't complementing you. I was studying the differences between you and my Tony. It's close." Looking up at her genius, she caught him giving her a broad smile before tucking her hand up onto his elbow.
"Pep, Hap, you know the drill. Pepper, I need you to let me know when the prig shows up. Becka wants to 'meet' him and 'thank' him for his 'kind gesture' of bringing the orphanage here." Tony's eyes flashed maliciously before the mask was put into place again. "And keep us up to date on when the children actually arrive. I, for one, would love to have at least one kid tagging behind me at all times."
"Are you serious?" Downey asked quietly. "I might not know much in the grand scheme of things, but I didn't take you for a man who loved children."
Tony drew in a deep breath. "Before Afghanistan, no, I didn't want anything to do with them. Since that point, I've come to understand that they're our future, they're our best investment, and they're the ones that are going to be fixing our mistakes. If I've got the chance to persuade those who will be someday leading us that they can do better than what we had, then I'm going to use all the influence in my power to keep us from going through another moral meltdown." He looked down to Rebeckah, then seemed to sharpen the edge that had been missing from his public personality for many months. "That, and there are those around me who have been patient with me while I learned how to reset my views."
"Patient?" Happy muttered.
"That would be me," Pepper replied as the celebrities ahead of her went their separate ways. "And if you test my patience, you'll see how far it stretches."
Wrapping her hand in his, Happy murmured lovingly, "I'd never press your patience, Pep."
Tony's phone buzzed, and he pulled it out, saw the message, then put it away. Rebeckah looked up at him, then down at what had been a non-alcoholic drink in her hand, and was now an empty glass. She chuckled as a server came to take it from her, and to the shock of the high-rolling group they were speaking with, paused him to thank the man. "I've seen you scurrying about to catch glasses all evening. Thank you so much."
He didn't have to look at her long to see that she was completely sober. He'd been around people of varying degrees of inebriation for many years, so his assessment was quick and astute. And his smile was genuine when he saw that she wasn't flattering him, just thanking him. "You were a server, I suspect."
"Worse. Janitor for a year."
He chuckled, and nodded his head to her, darting over to save a glass from certain doom, taking it with him even though it was half-full. The man who had been drinking wouldn't need it any more. Tony smiled and murmured an excuse, claiming to see someone that they needed to speak to. Rebeckah tucked her hand up into the crook of his arm, walking beside him steadily upon the delicate-looking stilettos. She had been practicing in another pair that had their same height but were for business wear, and while she was no Pepper Potts in them, she could move at a fair clip when agitated, as Tony swiftly found out when he had been swatted in play for being a snobbish pig.
"He showed up."
The smile on her face was serene, the look in her eyes savage, and she cast her gaze down upon the carpet as if he had paid her a complement. The flush of anger on her cheeks could easily be mistook for a blush. "And?"
"The children are with him. I think he realized just what he had gotten himself into."
Drafting in a deep breath, she calmed her features, looked up as the orphans were announced. "Mind if I make a scene later on?"
"Playing with them?"
"As long as you let me help you take those stilettos off. Because while you're amazing to look at in that outfit, it's not the wisest thing to really be running after children in."
"Sounds like a plan. I'll be chasing after the kids and helping their caretakers no matter what goes on."
Tony smiled and kissed her cheek, and they ended up being two of the first to greet the children. The first couple made quite a few stagger backwards in shock at their vainglorious and too-loud voices of welcome, and the second couple made more fall back with their stiff attitudes. But Becka motioned for Tony to stand back while she moved forward, then crouched and whispered in the sudden awkward silence, "Hello." Three children looked up at her soft voice, seeing that she was at their eye-level, instead of standing above them. She looked at them, then at the others who were peeking around their caretakers. This was her forte.
Tony finally saw her in her element, and he was stunned at the effect that she had not only on the children, but on the others around him. The atmosphere relaxed as the men and women unconsciously responded to her real nature, her open body language. She giggled and reached out to one group of young boys, holding her hand out until one of them broke forward to slap her palm with his, standing tall. She grinned up at him and looked to the others. "What, is he the only brave one? C'mon . . ."
All of a sudden, there was a rush of children to her, and she stood, careful not to land on precious toes with her heels while giving high-fives to the little ones, getting to know their names. She and Pepper had already looked up names and reliability and personalities of the other guests. With a smile, she motioned for Tony to come closer, and he picked up one of the smallest toddlers who were trying to get to Rebeckah with a natural grace that he didn't even know that he possessed. Cradling her in one arm, he made it to the woman's side, glad that they had pictures of her in the dress before it was ruined.
But what a way to ruin a piece of clothing.
He handed the toddler to her, and she kissed the little girl's forehead before settling her on her hip. Within moments, drooly hands were all over the bodice of the dress, but it was as if she hadn't even done a thing as far as Rebeckah was concerned. She giggled and landed a gentle razz on the toddler's cheek, eliciting a giggle that lead to a wave of laughter from the children. Tony felt hands gripping at his pants, and he looked down to see a young boy holding onto him with one hand, sleepily sucking on his thumb with another. He smiled, picking the lad up and let him rest his head on his shoulder.
While the other children, no doubt hyped up by some sugar and the sense of adventure, started to ramble through the crowd, Tony stayed close to Rebeckah, who let the squirming girl down so that she could run after a "big sister," and accepted a dry hand-towel from one of the servers. She smiled at Tony just as he felt a little hand reach up to play with his ear. Blinking, he looked at the boy, whose arm was tucked between both bodies to support his thumb-sucking, and saw that the light brown eyes in a suntanned face glanced up at him before the boy blinked, still playing with Tony's ear while he fell asleep.
"Mom says that my brother did that, too," Becka said softly while she rested a hand upon the boy's back to see the sweet face fall into slumber.
Tony smiled and leaned in just enough to kiss her forehead without dislodging the boy that trust him enough to sleep on him. His words weren't said, but she knew that it was a trait that he, too, enjoyed. She smiled as a caretaker came up beside them with a fussy infant that was barely a month old. Tony felt his heart jerk.
Rebeckah's voice was a whisper. "Can I hold her?"
The woman nodded, smiling, happy to have her arms free for a moment, and Becka looked at the infant's face, which was screwed up with the force of their wailing. Tony watched his woman as she smiled and curled the infant up against her chest, right over her heart. He watched how she moved, how every movement was now centered about the baby in her arms. He was standing in awe at not just the way that she was focused up on the child, but how the child was responding to her touch, to her soft noises to calm the infant.
This was what she would have looked like had Obadiah hadn't taken their future from them.
He didn't know that his eyes had welled up until the familiar soft hand was brushing at them, the infant stilled and calm, close to sleep and held easily with one arm against Rebeckah's heartbeat. Tony smiled and kissed her forehead, glad that cameras weren't allowed inside the compound. "Let's get you to a chair so that I can get your shoes off."
The caretaker took the boy from Tony, carrying him to a couch and sitting with him, letting the couple walk with the baby to a seat, where Tony helped take her stilettos off. He was tackled by another little boy, one who wanted to be a firefighter when he grew up.
Sitting cross-legged against the chair that Rebeckah sat in with the baby still snuggled up against her chest, Tony sat the little boy on his lap, talking with him and listening to his answers, watching as a little girl, maybe four, maybe five, came up to crawl onto Becka's lap, leaning against her and resting from her moments of freedom. Another little girl followed her, younger than the first at maybe three years of age, but chose Tony to embrace her. He did so, still talking with the five-year-old boy After a moment, one of the official photographers came up to request a picture.
Becka looked down to Tony, who smiled and relaxed further, then nodded, not taking his eyes off of his love for a moment, hearing the photographer taking multiple shots from different angles while Tony returned his attention to the two on his lap, and Rebeckah held the babe in arms, and the girl on her own lap.
It felt right.
Tony was able to keep himself from bursting into tears, and covered up the urge to weep anew for his –their– loss of the child they were supposed to have by hugging the little girl close and kissing her head, bowing his face so that he could hide his eyes from the camera. She giggled and snuggled closer to him while the little boy kept talking about his dreams.
But through the night, being able to talk with the older children who managed to stay awake, Anthony Edward Stark's heart slowly began to heal that fracture as Rebeckah often followed him with the baby on her shoulder.
Yeah. This was what life was supposed to be like.
"You're smiling really big," he commented as he rolled back under his hot rod, hands grubby as he continued to do an oil change on his own. But his own smile was happy.
"I got the gossip magazines. And I got the official gossip mag that had the exclusive with the photographer who took our picture."
He chuckled, finishing up what he had been doing and talking at the same time. "Are you angry that you weren't able to chew out that man for his poor decision?"
"Nope. I think that the children were able to take care of that for me. Since he was the one doing the charity event and all proceeds went to local orphanages, and there were some damage, the money to pay for damages were on his head, and came out of his own pocket." Her voice got clearer as she got closer, until she was sitting beside his legs on an upended bucket. "I think that's justice enough."
"So what are they saying about us?"
"I'm quoting this: 'Is this the next Brangelina?' and 'Will they follow the fad and adopt?' The rest follow suit." Chuckling, she added, "But we're an official couple. They've given us the name-mash-up."
His groan was priceless. "What is it?"
"There are two, and one will win out."
"What's the first?"
"It's a remix of an old one. Beckerony."
"From the Pepperony thing when they thought that Pepper and I were an item. Wrench, please, the one by your left foot. Thanks."
"You're welcome. And the other one is Antheckah."
All movement stopped and he slid out from under the car. "You're serious."
She held up the paper to show him the cover, which was them as they posed on the red carpet, Tony with his arm around her and both smiling the red-carpet-smile and the new . He glared at it, then huffed and went back under the car. "It sounds like a curse."
"I'm voting for Beckerony."
"I'm voting for neither."
Tony finally chuckled. "And the rumors are that we're looking to adopt?"
"Yeap. Or that I'm pregnant."
"Mm. Well, that wouldn't be so horrible." At hearing her silence, he rolled out from under the car and sat on the ground before her. "Beckers?"
"I wish that I still was pregnant."
Wiping his hands off on his jeans quickly, Tony reached up to cup her face, wiping the tears before pulling her down into his lap and rocking her softly. No more words were said for a long while as Tony just held his woman. He kissed her forehead and crown, tucking her head under his chin and keeping her safe, keeping her his. Resting his nose against her hair, he breathed in her scent before murmuring, "Tomorrow, let me take you on a day trip. Just to get away from the city, and just to enjoy driving. That sound good?"
His heart leapt within him as she nodded.
They wound their way up the California coastline, ending at a park for lunch, just enjoying each other's company and enjoying the brief break from media hound-dogs. Once finished with their meal, they turned south again to be able to get home. The sun began to set just as they were near a really pretty spot. Smiling, he stopped the car, and then moved around to her side, helping her out. "C'mon. I used to go here when I was a kid, and Dad used to bring me and Mom here so that we could get away from everyone."
He lead her down to the secluded bay, the sunset coloring the sea, bathing everything in a warm light.
And that was when he got down on one knee, looked up at Rebeckah, and knew by her tears that she had already said the magical word in her heart before he had even said anything. "I love you with all of my heart, all of my soul. I want to be a better man for you, and I want to be the one that you will do your best for. I want to provide for you, have children with you, grow old with you. I love you, Rebeckah Fahey. Will you marry me?"
She opened her mouth and then closed it, tears streaming down her face. When she could speak, she nodded and whispered a soft, "Yes."
Slipping the ring on her finger, Tony stood to embrace her, then gently leaned in to give her only the second kiss that they had shared since returning from Afghanistan, one hand going up behind her head to cradle it softly, the feel of her silken hair around his hand almost too much.
That was when he pulled back gently, realizing brightly that she said yes.
And he threw his head back and yelled with glee, laughing and crying, holding his woman and wiping her tears of joy away. He wouldn't kiss her again.
Not until their wedding day.
Author's Note: That's it for this story! I have a sequel in the works, but please REVIEW! Let me know what you want to see in the next story, and let me know what you would NOT want to see! I'm very curious! Please let me know about what you thought about this first foray into the Ironman world, and I want to thank all my watchers and those who reviewed. I hope that I don't disappoint you with the next one!