I've had this as an idea in my head for a while after watching 'Bones'.

Please review if you want more!

Disclaimer- If I owned Marvel and the Fox Broadcasting Company… what would I be doing here?

Tony Stark stretched his arms and took a sip of champagne, while watching Pepper talking with Julie Richards from accounts.

'Pepper for your thoughts?' James 'Rhodey' Rhodes asked, glancing over at Pepper.

'Uh-huh,' Tony said, still watching Pepper. Feeling his gaze on her, Pepper turned and smirked at him. Tony gave her a cheerful wave and pretended to be very interested in his drink.

Rhodey chuckled and observed the party. It was the 5th annual fire-fighters benefit and the place was packed, as it always was. The party was being held in the Walt Disney Concert hall again, however instead of the usual string section; Tony had decided to have a brass band playing Jazz in there as well, which was going down much better with the guests.

'You don't do things by half do you Tony?' Rhodey asked, raising an eyebrow.

Tony put on a mock hurt face and placed one hand over his heart. 'The day I start doing things by half will be the day I lose Pepper.'

Rhodey laughed. 'Better get in there quick then mate, looks like Justin from graphics fancies his chances.'

Tony looked over at Justin, who appeared to be making a beeline for Pepper. 'Not if I can help it,' he said, grinning at Rhodey.

Tony made it to Pepper quicker than Justin who stopped and looked like he wanted to murder Tony. Tony snuck up to Pepper and took one of her hands, pulling her towards the dance floor.

'Tony…' Pepper said.

'What?' he replied grinning. 'You can't say that you don't love Jazz music.'

Pepper sighed, 'I do love Jazz music but I object to the way people dance to it.'

Tony laughed, 'you mean like this?' and he spun her round, making her shriek; 'Tony stop it!'

Tony smirked and spun round with her a few times. 'You don't have to worry Pep; I'm not planning on abandoning you on a roof again.'

Pepper rolled her eyes. 'Glad to hear it.'

The song came to an end and the people made their way back to their seats as the lights dimmed and a spotlight appeared on the stage. 'Okay Tony, speech time, please tell me you have one.'

Tony shrugged, 'I'll wing it, go join Rhodey.'

Pepper, feeling apprehensive, made her way back to their table, which consisted of the three of them as Tony stepped up to the stage. Instantly, the room hushed, and Tony grinned at everyone. Usually he left it to Obadiah Stane to do the speeches but after his 'plane accident' Tony found himself exploring other sections of his creative side, but since the press loved the 'bad-boy of Stark Industries', Tony wasn't worried.

'I'm sure you all remember,' Tony began, 'that infamous occasion when my father decided it was necessary to set the building on fire by not observing the red dial when testing a new weapon.'

There was a ripple of laughter and many of the older employers who had worked with Howard Stark grinned and wondered what he was going to say next.

'Whether or not my father had a grudge against the building will probably never be know,' Tony continued. 'Personally I think it was a great excuse to cue a partial re-build.' (More laughter) 'I'd just got back from MIT when I saw all the fire engines outside; I was with James Rhodes at the time… wave Rhodey, thanks… and neither of us thought it was a big thing. In fact, it was such a daily occurrence that my mother and I suggested that perhaps a Stark Industries personal fire service should be considered.'

The audience was defiantly warmed up now, and laughter echoed throughout the room. At the back, Tony could see Pepper and Rhodey giving him the thumbs up.

'If you take into account the number of times "Stark Industries" and "fire" have been put together in the headlines it could probably be considered a miracle that the building has survived this long at all, and the only roadblock preventing the building from being a pile of rubble is the Los Angeles Country Fire Department who have had to deal with my father so many times I'm amazed they haven't been forced into early retirement, so thanks guys, this evening's for you. Enjoy the party.' Tony exited the stage to a thunder of applause and made his way back to Pepper who laughed and said, 'Okay fine, you pulled that one off.'

Tony held his arms out, 'see? Child protégée what did I tell you?'

Pepper grinned and as the Jazz band started up again Tony pulled Pepper back onto the dance floor. Before she could protest Tony said, 'Peps, I just managed to wing a speech, you owe me a dance.' Pepper shut her mouth and glared at him.

It had got busier and the amount of people in the room had increased dramatically. Tony surveyed the party thoughtfully. 'Is it just me or is it busier than last year?'

Pepper looked round, 'I think it is, but from what I've heard, Stane made people feel uncomfortable.'

Tony walked over to the bar to get a drink, when, even above the noise, he heard the unforgettable sound of a gun being cocked.

Around him, it suddenly went quiet.

Tony turned round, and it felt as if time was moving slower. He felt like he was in a Guy Ritchie movie and every other frame was slow motion. He saw where the noise had come from, a young blond woman in a black dress with an empire line, gun in her hand. Tony had automatically assumed that the gun would be pointed at him, but it wasn't.

It was pointed at Pepper.

Pepper turned round, her expression unreadable. Tony felt his legs pushing him forward; he saw the gun jerk back in the woman's hand as she fired…

And then suddenly his legs felt like Jell-o, the Guy Ritchie movie ended and he was aware of an aching pain on the right side of his chest. He heard the woman gasp and he heard Pepper yell 'Tony!'

He looked down at his chest and at the large red stain that was blossoming over his shirt. He looked up at the woman, she looked vaguely familiar, then his legs buckled and he felt someone catch him from behind and as he crashed to the floor. Looking up he saw Rhodey, he heard the woman shouting as security dragged her away, he saw Pepper's face above his, eyes red.

She's crying… why is she crying?

He felt a pressure on his hand as Pepper took it in her own, his vision went hazy, Pepper's face blurred, and blackness claimed him.