Sorry for the long wait. But, it's spring break and I've never been much of a partier… so here you go. My spring present to you.

Disclaimer: Nothing belonging to Marvel has any relation to me.

This was getting ridiculous.

He'd gone through bouts of insomnia, but never like this.

It was at least 3AM, and he had tried going to bed early – 10 PM, even – just to try to go to sleep. The drugs didn't work (they were also one more thing he didn't need to be addicted to), and none of the natural medicines Pepper recommended worked either.

Although he wished they had – some sign from the universe that she was always right.


Just thinking about her made his heart beat a little faster, his breath a little shorter, and his stomach do a flip. It didn't help that she was visiting her parents in Massachusetts for the weekend and he'd had to do without her for a grand total of 34 hours and counting.

He rolled over in bed and tried to let the feeling pass. A racing heart was the last thing his chronic insomnia needed.

The moonlight. It must have been the moonlight that was keeping him up. Even though the windows were darkened by JARVIS, he could still feel the white of the moon glaring at his face, daring him to go to sleep.

He rolled over to the other side of the bed.


There she was again. As if she wasn't there to wake him up, to pester him to do real work or sign forms, to run his life – she works during his dreams too. Reminding him to not dream about anything that would make the next morning awkward and to not drool.

He rolled back onto his back, realizing the uselessness of just laying in bed, waiting to sleep. He threw the covers off and wandered into the kitchen in hopes of finding something light to eat (or something heavy to drink).

He stopped in the hallway just as the kitchen entered his line of sight. He blinked twice and looked again.


There she was. In all of her red-headed glory, wearing nothing but her milky white skin, making herself a sandwich – bathed in the moonlight that had driven him down to the kitchen in the first place.

Tony stared. He studied the curve of her naked back, the fiery cascade of her hair, and the smallness of her body. It was easy to forget sometimes just how tiny she actually was when she towered over him with her heels and her personality. He watched her make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

He blinked.

As quickly as he saw her, she was gone.

He blinked again.

No Pepper. No sandwich. Nothing.

His state of insomnia got the better of him again. Letting his heart take a warm-down lap, he settled for eating a banana and some granola that Pepper had put out for him.

As he ate, he stared out the window of his living room. There were no lights on anywhere. No houses lit up like small candles, no boats on the Pacific, no cars on the highway. The world was still. He was sure he was the only human conscious at the time. Not a sound was heard. Even the waves of the ocean seemed to have taken a break for the night.

He went back to his room and threw himself on the bed. No sign of tiredness or exhaustion yet.

He thought about what his doctor said: "Sometimes insomnia is a reaction to the amount of stress or responsibility in ones life. Or sometimes, it's because you feel as if your life is missing something and you can't rest until you have it."

How right he is, Tony thought. The second Pepper leaves, I can't even sleep because she's gone. I can't get her off my mind.


It all comes back to her.

He looked at his clock. 4:09 AM.

35 hours without Pepper.

This is getting ridiculous, he thought.

He looked at his cell phone by his bedside. No new messages. No missed calls. Nothing. It was 7 in Boston, and she should be awake, either on her run or making coffee and having breakfast. He pressed her speed dial number. Once more, and he would hear her voice again.

He couldn't bring himself to push the button a second time.

I'm not this pathetic, he thought. I'm better than this.

The silence in the house remained unbroken.

He couldn't tell if he was waiting for her to call, or if he was waiting for himself to admit he wanted to call.

Okay, if she calls within the next five minutes, I'm getting mom's old wedding ring from the safe deposit box in the morning.

Two minutes passed.

Hell, I'll drive there now. It's in a Swiss deposit box. They'd be open for me.

Another minute.

I'll give up alcohol if she calls in the next two minutes. I swear I'll do it this time. Anything. Just call.

Another minute.

Fine – I'll give up Iron Man. Rhodey can take him off my hands. I'll give up Iron Man if you call me in the next minute.

The five minutes was up.

4:14 AM. Still dark outside, except for the moon and the glow of the Arc Reactor.

He went back to staring at the ceiling.

It hadn't been this bad during the day. During the day, he could distract himself with any number of menial problems and tasks to do. He could work on the suit, his cars, or do real work to distract himself of her absence. But in the early hours of a new day, everything hit him harder than he expected. His real feelings, her smile… they all haunted him at the worst possible time. His defenses were down, and he was just him.

This is the last time she leaves without me, he thought. I just can't take it.

He was just getting warm under the covers and his eyes began to drift. At last, he thought.

It was then he realized, as he drifted off to sleep, what exactly he was feeling towards Pepper. It wasn't lust, angst, desire, passion or anything like that. No emotion could accurately describe it. It wasn't as simple as one word.

He needed her.

I actually should be getting to bed as well, now that I see the time. R&R please. It would be much appreciated.