He came back from a mission with the suit almost in two pieces, and she had no idea how he'd even made it back with only one flight stabiliser working, and the metal bent and cracked. She rushed to his side when he finally hit the basement floor with a thud and a grunt.

"What happened?" she asked, trying to keep the panic out of her voice, waving the bots over to help her pry what was left of the suit from Tony's body. She had to put her foot on his chest to gain enough purchase to pull the crushed helmet from his head, falling back to the floor when it came loose.

"I think I lost," he muttered, closing his eyes.

"To what?" she asked, checking the bruises on his face, the cut on his cheek with gentle fingertips.

"Missiles, several missiles. I think."

She couldn't quite hold back the sigh.

"I think this suit is scrap," she said, pulling the last of it from his leg.

"I've got another," he said with a shrug that made him wince. She didn't hesitate to pull the top half of the body suit from his chest, to see deep black bruises forming.

She took a deep breath, her fingers tracing his rib cage, but not actually touching his skin. She moved away and pulled him to his feet slowly, helping him walk over to the sofa. She left him there for a moment while she pulled a first aid kit from his work bench, urging him to sit forward a little when she returned so she could strap his chest up. It was all she could do, it was all the ER would do she supposed.

"Do you want a drink?" she asked, moving the least bruised arm and placing his hand over his chest to hold the end of the bandage in place while she wrapped it around his body.

"No," he said, "thank you."

They were quiet as she bandaged him up, his hand falling limp to his side once she didn't need him to hold the end in place anymore. The only sounds were the bots clearing up bits of his broken suit, she didn't even want to think about the force involved to damage it so badly, but was sure Tony knew the numbers exactly.

"I pray for you sometimes," she said in a low voice.

"You pray?" he asked, his head jerking up.


"I didn't know you believed."

"I believe in something."

"What do you pray for?"

"I pray for your safety mostly," she said with a soft smile, "I pray for your sanity," she added, with a grin, making him smirk.

"Thanks Pepper," he muttered.

"For the bandages or the prayers?" she asked.


She chuckled.

"You're welcome," she said, pinning the bandage in place finally, with a touch too firm, making him hiss. "Sorry."

"It's fine."

"Do you pray Tony?" she asked.

"I used to," he said, "long time ago. Went to church too."

"You stopped when your parents died," she guessed.

"Very astute Ms. Potts."

She tipped her head to one side with a smile.

"You should start going again," she said.

"Will you go with me?" he asked in a whisper, dipping his head down so he couldn't see her face, and she couldn't see his. She smiled, and reached out with her fingers to gently urge him to look at her again.

"I'd love to."

He nodded and she stood up straight, holding out her hand to him. He took it and let her pull him up until he was right next to her, chest to chest almost.

"I could pray for you," he said, reaching out to brush some hair from her face. "For your sanity."

She laughed, grabbing his hand to stop him from touching her, and taking a step back from him and out of her personal space, giving him a sad smile as she did so. He gave her his wounded puppy look in return, one that was more effective when he was actually wounded so badly.

"Even God can't save my sanity from you Mr. Stark."