There was an advantage to having your own jet when going home from a fabulous vacation. It meant that you could leave when you wanted and there were no harried rushes to the airport and lost luggage. It didn't mean that it made going home any easier.
Home based habits were starting to slip back into the vacation routine. Pepper awoke far earlier than necessary for a Saturday and hit the floor running. By the time Tony had awoke two hours later, she had already checked to make sure the luggage was packed and ready to go twice, gone through the daily emails and sent a text to Happy to make sure he was at the airport to pick them up when they landed.
Tony was clearly not as eager to head home. After getting showered and dressed, but purposely not shaving since their bet was over, he flopped down on the couch and watched Pepper flitter about the room.
"You know I can make things a whole lot easier and just call Mary to free us up for another few weeks and problem solved," Tony stated to the Pepper blur that went by him.
"As much as I would love to stay Tony, we need to get back home," Pepper countered. "I'm not saying that we can't do this again at some other time."
"What reason is so pressing that it can't wait?" Tony inquired. "We are having way too much fun here."
"I hate to break the news to you but there are such things called work that will need your attention," Pepper replied with a slightly jovial tone before it turned a bit downward. "As well as your new hobby."
"If you haven't noticed I have barely mentioned my 'hobby' as you called it for most of this vacation," Tony pointed out. "And if we must leave today, we might as well enjoy every last second before hitting the jet. Let's go, Potts. Breakfast on the beach," he added as he moved towards the door with Pepper following behind him.
Breakfast on the Mediterranean put living in Malibu to shame but that was the final good bye. After they were finished, bags were packed, room keys turned in and the car took them back to the airport where Tony's jet was waiting for them. By the time they got on the plane, old habits take a firm hold. As the plane took off, Tony graciously offered the bedroom to Pepper to prevent jetlag but he also threw in that he wouldn't mind joining her. When his comment was brushed aside without acknowledgement beyond a thank you for the room, both fell into companionable silence during the flight while working on their respective laptops. Tony had put his ear phones in and started plugging away on his latest set of ideas for upgrades to his armor while Pepper managed the rest of Tony's life.
Fifteen hours later, Tony's jet landed at LAX and Happy was dutifully waiting for Tony and Pepper with the car. Of course the suggestion was made to stay at the mansion but Pepper reminded Tony that she probably had a lot of dead plants to dispose of at her own place and declined his offer.
Tony's Malibu mansion was closer to the airport than Pepper's condo so he had the pleasure of being let off first. He unloaded his bags from the car and dropped them by the door as Jarvis unlocked it and allowed the master of the house inside.
"Welcome home, sir," Jarvis dutifully stated.
As Tony was walking up to the door, Pepper followed him and without saying a word, put her hand on his shoulder first to turn him around before wrapping her arms around his neck and capturing his lips in a deep kiss.
Tony was stunned and shocked by this unexpected and entirely wanted turn of events but when she didn't immediately pull away like she did at the train, he slid his arms around her waist and pulled her closer to him.
When Pepper finally broke the kiss, she stepped back from Tony just as silently as she approached, looked back and smiled as she walked back to the car - no good bye; no I love you - just the smile.
"Jarvis? Did you get all of that on tape?" Tony asked as he mentally recovered and took his bags inside the house finally.
"Yes sir, right down to the attempted ass grab."
"Pepper tried to grab my ass as well? I think I would have noticed that."
"I meant yours to hers, sir." Jarvis corrected.
"I did nothing of the sort. If I had, it wouldn't be an attempt. I would have succeeded." Tony stated. "Save that video to my personal files. I don't want to forget that one ever."
"As you wish, sir."
Author's Note: Special thanks to Tamasit1 (essentially my co-author with how much she helped) and Cincoflex for some late night chat sessions. Stay tuned for the sequel!