Fire. He was like fire. All consuming heat and passionate energy. Red, and cheerful with the undertones of something decidedly dangerous She knew all the warnings that came when 'playing' with fire, but it didn't matter. Not anymore. He was her as she was his. Completely.

Rolling over as gently as she could, Pepper Potts smiled at the sleeping form of Tony Stark. Red. That really did work for him. Metaphorically and all. Hot rod red for his unfinished Roadster and now Iron Man suit. Scarlet, his passion and brilliance. And a rosy shade of pink for the things he would sometimes say to her. Running a hand through his hair lightly, Pepper snuggled closer to him, glad that it was Sunday, their day. After her being named the new CEO of Stark Industries and his constant Iron Man missions, they had decided to set a day aside for just each other. Lost in thoughts of missions, paperwork, new assistants, and the ever present press, Pepper didn't notice Tony's eyes open on focus on her.

"Potts. It's too early to be thinking so hard. Go back to sleep." Grumbled.

"Are you sure about that Mr. Stark?" asked teasing, kissing him lightly.

"Yes."

"Very well then. I shall leave you to remember that it's Sunday,and you promised to go Christmas shopping with me today. All on your own." said resting her head against his shoulder.

"Ugh...," came the response.

"Would it help if I went downstairs and made us some breakfast?" asked chuckling.

"Only if it comes with coffee."

"Coffee's a given."

He nodded. "OK."

"OK." stood pulling on her robe before padding down to the kitchen. Even after six months of dating the infamous Tony Stark, life as a whole amazed her. Sappy as that sounded. The late night confessions that still happened from time to time. Moving in with Tony. Attending numerous functions as his girlfriend, not just his assistant. What always really made her smile though, was when she realized that home was now the Stark Mansion, with Tony.

Twenty minutes later as Pepper was finishing up breakfast, Tony sauntered him, wrapping his arms around her. "Morning." smirked as she jumped.

"Are you trying to kill me?: asked rolling her eyes.

"Why, I never. Honestly. You know I like to look at you too much to do such a thing," protested.

"Thank you. Ever so much." She deadpanned

"Besides if I killed you I'd have to go back to being the CEO. Too much work."

"Such love and devotion, Mr. Stark." shook her head.

"Naturally Miss Potts."

"Just for that. I will definitely hold you to today's promise," smiled innocently.

"Aww, come on Pep," whined. "You know I really do love you. I'd never try to kill you. Promise."

"Nope. You're not going to flirt your way out of this one Anthony Stark. We're going shopping."

Sighed "Fine."

Leaned back, kissing him softly "If you're good today, I'll get you burgers for lunch."

"Promises, promises." muttered kissing her back.

By the days end, Tony was feeling rather harassed, Pepper had collected a few dozen bags, and both were exhausted. It was no wonder he never did any of his own shopping, it was nearly as dangerous as an Iron Man mission! Granted this year was going to be a little different.

"You know I think you owe me at least another two burgers." grumbled in Pepper's general direction.

She laughed. "No just consider it even, for my having to do it for eight years."

"My apologies, Miss Potts."

"Quite alright Mr. Stark." grinned.

Before either of the pair realized, Christmas was upon them. Having cleared both his and Pepper's schedule for the weekend, Tony had planned to spend the holiday in New York, showing her the places where he had grown up. It was her 'Christmas present.' On the 22nd they flew out, going to the Long Island house he had lived in as a boy, and spent the day decorating it. It was the first time in many years that Tony actually celebrated Christmas. Pepper was excited to be sharing it all with him.

On the 23rd, Tony took Pepper into the city. Showing her the giant Rockefeller Christmas Tree and Ice Rink. Lunch had been at a small Italian restaurant his parents had loved. The day was kept simple, and used to just spend time together.

It was on the 24th that Tony ran into trouble. The day had been spent in a carriage circling Central Park, and acting like tourists, complete with ''I heart NY" t-shirts. That night however was another story. Tony had become unusually quiet after dinner, and Pepper was starting to worry.

"Tony will you tell me what's bothering you?" Pepper finally asked after having relocated to the living room.

Tony looked at her startled "Huh? Oh. Nothing's wrong with me." said quickly.

Quirked a brow. "And that's why you've been so quiet?" asked.

"Hey Pepper. What do you want for Christmas?" Tony asked seemingly out of nowhere.

"A little late to be asking that don't you think?" teased.

"No I'm serious. What do you want for Christmas?"

Pepper opened her mouth to answer, only to be cut off by Tony. "Cause I did get you something. I'm just not sure you'll like it. I mean it can always be returned and all but I hope you'll like it..." rambled.

"Tony! Whatever it is I'm sure I'll love it," laughed

"Right. Because you love me," smirked.

"Yes, of course," rolled her eyes.

"Hey. You know I love you," said seriously, looking her in the eyes

"I know Tony. I love you too." smiled at him.

"Good. And you know I'd be totally lost without you right? And that I hate waking up without you, and when I do I'm grumpy all day. Right?"

Pepper looked at him oddly but nodded "Tony wha-"

"Shh. Let me finish." shifted so that he was kneeling in front of her. "Pepper. What I'm trying to say is I love you. I don't want to be without you. Marry me?"

A full five seconds passed in silence before Pepper laughed and smiled. "Yes."

Tony sagged in relief and pulled the ring out of his jeans "Well then, this belongs to you." Slid the sparkling ring onto her hand. A 2 carat emerald diamond with two smaller ones on either side set in platinum. Breathtaking even in the dim light of the fireplace.

Hugging him as she laughed and cried at the same time, the clock struck midnight.

"Merry Christmas pepper." Tony whispered.

"Merry Christmas Tony." Pepper whispered back, kissing him. "I told you I'd love my Christmas present." grinned.

"Yeah well I had a feeling. Just glad I could spit it out."

They smiled at each other. Pulling him up to their room, the newly engaged couple continued on with their Christmas celebrations. Merry Christmas indeed.