Title: Betrayed Trust
Summary: The last ounce of trust is gone.
A/N: This little piece takes place at the end of the second movie. The idea is taken from an interview and I pretty much like it – let's hope that's what is going to happen.
SPOILERS FOR IRON MAN 2!!!
She hears a knock and turns her head in the general direction of the sound.
The meeting with the board of directors ended up ten minutes ago and her head is still throbbing. The fact that Tony Stark's PA turned traitorous and tried to take over Stark Industries last night created a huge mess which needed to be taken care of.
No important data was stolen, but a few computers were broken and Pepper's entire office was rummaged. Of course that by the time the agents from S.H.I.E.L.D arrived, the Black Widow was gone.
Pepper angrily swears under her breath at the whole situation and looks at the faint light coming from the door.
Pepper wrinkles her nose at the sound and brushes her hair out of her eyes.
"Mr. Stark is looking for you."
Pepper smiles and nods. She can't wait to see him again – actually see if he was alright. She was informed earlier that morning that he was injured quite badly last night, and that half of his Malibu mansion was pretty much blown up.
"How do I look?" Tony asks with a grimace.
Pepper turns and stops breathing for a moment. His arm is in a sling – no news there, but he also has a black-eye and his lower lip is half covered in stitches.
She might have passed out then, but she's not entirely certain.
It's a million years after when she wakes up to a glass of water held in front of her and a pair of chocolate brown eyes watching hers intently. The blackish color doesn't belong to his handsome features, and even more so the groan that resonates from his throat. He leans his shoulder against her chair as she drinks her water with small sips.
She's not sure what makes her do this – except that she does. She passes a trembling hand through his thick hair, hoping that'll comfort him a bit. She knows that there isn't anything else to say, except maybe apologies and confessions, but she's not ready to hear them yet.
A few more minutes pass and it's his voice that breaks her out from her reverie.
"You know you're victorious." He mumbles half-heartedly. "You've always been." He adds with a small chuckle.
"Is that so?"
"What do you think?"
She doesn't think much. She just knows.
Pepper tries to sit up, but finds that she's still slightly dizzy so she sits down again.
"Let me ask you a thing." She says.
Tony doesn't respond, though she knows this means he lets her to continue.
"This isn't about her, it's about you. How come you always told me that I was the one who was jealous because of her?"
He scratches at his hair with his good hand and sighs.
"I don't know, all right? I just – I thought that your words meant that you were jealous. I don't know why, honestly."
She knows he's lying. He's doing this little thing with the corner of his mouth all the time when he's lying.
"I'm confused. The only certain thing I know is that I can't really trust anyone, except you. I've always trusted you, and you know… I'm sorry that I've betrayed that little trust you've had in me."
She laughs, but it's a bitter laugh to be sure. The sharp tones of it hit him square in the middle of his chest where his heart lays. He wants to laugh, too. He wants to be stronger than that – wants everything he can't do in moments like this.
The desperation only makes the hole inside his chest get bigger and it feels impossibly hard to continue the awkward conversation.
"I know you're a better person now, Tony. But I don't think that it's a good idea we continue this."
There are moments like this when he feels he's no longer alive.
He gets up and heads towards the door. His posture is somehow not so pompous anymore, and it hurts to see that her words really have an impact on him. When she told him that she thinks that Ms. Romanoff is not what he thinks she is, he ignored her on purpose.
"One more thing."
He stops with his hand on the doorknob, but doesn't turn towards her. His breathing is pronounced and she can swear it's hot anger that boils deep inside her heart when she asks him this.
"Have you slept with her?"
His hand falls from the doorknob and his back straightens. Pepper swallows hard and waits for his answer.
"I don't know what you want me to say."
Smiling sadly, she replies.
"The truth would be nice."
This time he turns towards her and with his eyes downward he says.
"I don't know how you want me to say it."
"Oh, well, how do you want to say it?" She crosses her legs deliberately and smirks at him.
Well, he knows how he wants to say it, but he also knows what he wants to do beforehand.
He unties the knot of his tie and walks towards her calmly, no trace of nerves on his face. She bites her lip when he stops a few inches from her and whispers oh so faintly that he's fucked her like ten times.
"Is it enough knowing this? Or do you want more?"
Pepper exhales sharply and fakes out a sweet smile.
"No. It's more than enough."
"All right, but you know… you can punch me in the other eye if you want. Just so you know I'm very sorry I didn't believe you, but I don't regret one single bit of it."
It's his tone that makes her flinch, and it's pretty remarkable how quickly he got from sad mood to Tony Stark mood.
"Neither am I." She whispers and tries to hold his gaze one more time before her heart sinks deep inside her stomach.
"You don't regret that I've named you CEO so you can finally boss me around – not that you didn't do that before, but you know… I find it kinkier now. It's good to know that you don't really have an idea about how many wistful ideas I've had all these months."
His good hand comes up to her face to gently stroke her cheek. Pepper doesn't move a single muscle out of shock and doesn't even swallow for a good minute or so. She doesn't understand what he's saying, though she knows she does. They're those words she's always hoped to hear from him, those truthful facts which she always hoped he possessed.
He doesn't say 'I love you', but it's not because he doesn't love her. Those words would draw out those intense feelings he's been experiencing for more than six months. If he's really trying to show her how much he means to him and how he can't live without her – he fails miserably.
It's the ugly truth and he knows it very well.
She wouldn't be able to run away from him fast enough so that he couldn't catch her. He always does, in fact she doesn't even have the strength to run away from him anymore.
"Come on, say something." He begs her softly.
The words escape her and she can't form one sentence. Anyway, she takes his hand in hers and lets it fall back to its place.
"Okay. Great." He stutters and laughs nervously.
A few minutes pass in silence until Pepper touches gently his face. He looks at her, his black eye looking rather creepy in the dim light of the office. It doesn't stop her from slapping him – hard.
He looks like he'd been expecting it and he doesn't even throw out an oath. There's a sting behind his eyes, but he tries desperately not to blink so that the proof of what he feels for her to fall down his cheeks and into the carpet.
The imprint of her hand remains on his cheek for about a minute before he swallows the sob in his throat.
"Do you feel better now?" He asks her, eyes hurting from keeping them open for too long.
His voice sounds breathlessly raw and thick with holding back.
"I said you can punch me in the eye….or in my testicles. C'mon… I know you really want to beat the shit out of me for what I've done. I'd rather take that punch down here, 'cause I've been really, really bad."
He winks at her and it's the last straw. She kicks him as hard as she can into his crotch and she takes satisfaction in the ragged sound of his breath.
"That's it, Pep. Good punch." He says breathlessly and leans into her until his face is buried in the crook of her neck.
Her heart is beating so fast she thinks it's unhealthy. When she tries to push him off her he holds fast and doesn't let her go. His breath is incredibly warm against her skin and she freezes involuntarily when she feels his eye-lashes damp with tears.
"I really thought I understood women, but clearly I've underestimated their sixth sense." He laughs humorlessly into her hair.
The pain in his crotch lessens a bit and he lets his hand fall down from her waist.
"There was this little hiccup." He starts saying. "I mean… I've never really wanted to fuck her, only that she was so damn hot. You know they say it if you really want it you can get it, right?"
"I don't know." Her own voice sounds unsure.
"Well, it didn't work for me. How many times have you had sex this year, Potts?"
"I don't think it concerns you." She replies firmly.
"I guess it shouldn't. But I'm pretty curious because I've had none."
Pepper's eyes widen in terror and she grips his hair and yanks his head away from her.
"But you've just said that—"
"I know… gee. No one wants to sleep with me, you know." He mumbles. "And I think I'm just being fair. I thought you wanted the truth after all."
"I did, but I didn't expect—"
"Believe me, Pep. I need you to trust me." He says and gives her that look.
"I don't like it when you're playing with me."
"I'm not." He looks serious.
"Prove it, then."
She knows she shouldn't have said that in the first place. She vaguely supposed what was going to happen if she said that, but in a fraction of a second she doesn't regret it all that much.
It wasn't supposed to feel like this, she tells herself. It wasn't supposed to feel like her entire body was paralyzed by the light touch of his lips against hers. She couldn't help the shiver when he opened his mouth and gently kissed her more deeply, his lips and tongue a wet assurance that it was real.
It takes a great deal of willpower to open her mouth and surrender to his kiss – his proof.
Proof that he has a heart…
His goatee scratches the corners of her mouth, but she doesn't give a damn because she's just so glad that he admitted that he hadn't slept with the Black Widow, and that he hadn't slept with anyone since coming back from Afghanistan.
His kisses are soft and loving and her heart is so overwhelmed by the taste and feel of him that it almost dawns on her that maybe that's all it takes to be happy, even with him being Iron Man and all.
He stops for a few moments and looks her in the eye, their breathing harsh. His eyes are so full of determination and happiness, and she knows that hers are the same.
"Do you trust me?"
He presses his lips firmly against hers when she doesn't respond, but her moan and clutch at the lapels of his jacket are proof that she actually does.
"I do." She whispers when they pull apart.
"Right." He says skeptically.
She cups both kiss cheeks in her hands and looks him square in the eye – tracing his upper lip with her thumb. His lower lip is a bit swollen from the stitches, and she's surprised that he could kiss her.
"I trust you with every fiber of my being."
Tony exhales happily and smiles at her with that crooked smile which he knew she secretly adored.