Synopsis: Sometimes you make the right decision with the wrong outcome…

Pairing: Tony/Pepper, 2008 Movieverse

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: If you seriously think they belong to me please consult with a medical professional.

Always Alert!

One of the first things he can remember is being told to protect and save lives as much as he could; as much as was possible with his limitations. It was imprinted on him over and over until it became a priority in his mind, superseding all others. There were other tasks, other jobs but this one remained first and foremost in his thoughts.

He was not alone in his endeavors. Later on he would have a brother join him and a kindly uncle who would oversee their adventures, often offering a different interpretation of events and possible consequences.

It seemed that things never changed, but they did. One day he was in a laboratory, the next in a cold, dank warehouse and then in a heated workshop where almost anything he could think of was accessible. He learned how to deal with tools; which ones went where and what was usually needed in what situation. He never stopped learning, even though at times he suspected that his uncle and brother were smarter than he was and had greater responsibilities.

Later on in his life he would find himself in situations where he would have to stand guard in case something exploded or ignited; some liquid or flammable metal or some sort of electrical fire. The times he had to leap into action and extinguish the fire were satisfying, insomuch that he was fulfilling one of his prime directives.

So when he spotted a heat flare at the opposite end of the workshop, on the couch, it was second nature for him to race over and secure the scene with fire-retardant foam.

It was first nature for him to wonder at the sudden squeal of female laughter and the angry tones of his creator.

"Dummy!" Tony Stark rose from the couch, wiping the white mess from his eyes as Pepper Potts fell back against the cushions, laughing hysterically as she lay covered in the fluffy foam.

As he whirred away, racing along the floor with the angry man in pursuit he wondered again what a "City College" was and if he might like it there.