Pepper Potts would have never described her relationship with Nick Fury as cordeial.

She looked upon him as an enabler in the madness that was Iron man, and he had been overheard by Happy to refer to her as "Stark's old maid".

Happy had told her this after six drinks.

She was now, however, going to kill the Director of SHIELD.

"You have," she said, in her most reasonable voice. "my testimony. You have the testimony of Captain America. What more do you need?"

"try Stark's, and a minor Micrale." Nick Fury had drawn himself up to his full height. "Why does everyhting think this is my fault? Do you think I'm happy that some son of a bitch is going to get away with this, is probably going to kepe getting away with this, 'cos we can't stop him iwht out making things worse for the victim? No! It bloody makes me sick and if I had Stone here, I'd shoot him like the dog he is!" the last word echoed around the empty office.

"But that ain't an option. Any more than it was for you when you first found out."

A small part of Pepper's brain wondered how one eye boring into could be worse than two.

"Unless we do somethin ot even the odds."

Without thinking, Pepper turned on her heels and headed out of the office.

Sentator Gordon may not be as depenedent on her as Tony had been, but he still knew better than to argue with her when she was on the war path.

"I did try to leave him."

Tony had fallen slient, as the shadows fell across the room. Samson had in fact being on the point of calling the session to an end when Tony's voice softly cut across the room.


There was a pause, before Tony asked. "do you know what agriphobia is?"

"Normally defined as A fear of the outside, or of being in open spaces." Samson said, keep his tone even, though he wasn't really sure where Tony was going with this. "though more correctly, it's fear of being in a situation where you can't escape."
Tony laughed, bitterly. "Both fit it." He said. "I got up while he was sleeping, made it as far as the lobby, then I just stood there by the door. I couldn't make myself go out, but I couldn't...I couldn't go back up stairs either." He sighed. "Ty found me early that morning. Didn't say anything. Just put a hand on my shoulder and led me back upstairs." He glanced at Samson, evidently expecting condemation. "I didn't protest."

"But you tried to leave." Samson said. "Millions never do. They just stick around. And Tony, You Ultimately left him."

Tony snorted. "Only because Steve made me."

"So why haven't you gone back?" Samson asked, softly. "No one could stop you, they would worry about you and try to talk you out of it, but ultimately it would your choice." He paused, watching it sink in. "Mark Twain once said that quitting smoking was easy, he'd done it an dozne times. Staying off the ciragrettes is the hard part. Yes, maybe you didn't leave him of your own choice, but you haven't gone back either."

Tony smiled, softly. "Only because Ty hasn't shown up yet."