She had been to a couple of Stark Industries New Years Eve parties during her employment there, and plenty of parties with Tony, following him around in a nice conservative dress and her blackberry in hand.

This was very, very different.

She'd danced with Tony before, of course, that one party, with the almost kiss and forgotten Martini.

Nothing was forgotten this time. She'd had three Martinis, a lot of public kisses, and it as probably what was making it harder for her to bat Tony's hand away from her ass while they danced.

Harder but not impossible, she thought as she took hold of his wrists and forced his hands up to her back. She glared at him, but Tony simply ginned back.

He'd been feeling her up at every opportunity since Christmas Day.

"Got a lot of catching up to do," he'd told he. "Been wanting to touch you since I met you."

Which was all very good and well, when they were at the mansion, or even hidden away in his office, or car, but not in public. She could barely get used to everyone seeing her kiss Tony back, in the reception area, in the elevators, the restaurant. Everytime got out of the car. In the past week, everything had been an opportunity to sneak a kiss and she couldn't help but kiss back.

She wanted to kiss back.

They hadn't slept together yet, but it was only a matter of time. It had always only been a matter of time in Tony's opinion, and Pepper was starting to understand that, believed that.

Want that.

"Tony," she snapped, pulling his hand from her bottom once more, "if you carry on we'll have to leave."

"Then let's leave."

"It's not even eleven yet!"

He kissed her, hands on her bare back, pulling her close to him in among the dancing couples around them. She whimpered a little, wrapping her arms around his shoulders.

"Let's go."


He had her out of her black dress before the front door had closed behind them.

"That was amazing," she said amused as he kissed her neck.

"Ain't seen nothing yet," he muttered into her skin, making her laugh.

She let him lead her through the house in just her stay-up stockings and heels. She hadn't worn any underwear with the dress, much to Tony's delight. In his bedroom, he took a few steps away from her, holding her at arms length to look at her.

"Pepper," he rumbled, but she could see he didn't know what to say, so he pulled her close again, and kissed her.

She started to pull his shirt off, almost disappointed to see his arc reactor back to it's normal blue. She really had liked the Christmas theme. She bent over and kissed the centre of it.

"Tony. You're beautiful," she told him.

He beamed at her, and she undid his slacks, and pushed them down to the floor. He swept her up and onto the bed, leaving his boxers on and her stockings and heels on. He settled onto top of her, her legs wrapped around his waist, and they kissed again.

"Tony," she muttered, "wait."

He pulled back to look at her, Pepper suddenly scared and serious all at once.

"What is it?" he asked, "Pepper?"

"This means something right?" she asked, eyes alight, and he kissed her hard.

"Of course, of-fucking-course," he told her, angry at the mere suggestion. "This means everything to me, you mean everything to me."

He kissed her, hands in her hair, tugging at the soft strands harder than he intended too.

"I wasn't sure, what, what I was to you," he said, "till you gave me that watch."

"You're my life Tony," she said, "completely regardless of my employment."

She kissed him, and in a quick effortless move, flipped him onto his back, arching into the erection constrained by his tight boxer-briefs. They both groaned at the friction.

She grabbed his head with both hands, and leaned forward to look into his eyes.

"I love you."

Her voice and eyes were as hard as he'd ever seen her, and it scared him. Terrified him more than anything could, and he took a breath, not knowing how to respond but sure that anything but the truth would result in the end of them. His grandfathers watch ticked by on the bedside cabinet and he smiled.

"I love you too," he said, eyes locked with her still, voice horse and his head still in her grip.

She nodded, smiling back at him, relaxing her grip, but not letting go completely. She kissed him, moving her hips against his.

"Pepper, Pepper, Pepper," he cried softly, his hips thrusting up in reaction. "Want you."

"Want you too," she mumbled, eyes closed, rocking against him in an unhurried rhythm, pleasure- flushing every inch of skin.

"This is going to be so good Pepper, we are going to be so good together."

"We already are," she said, pulling his boxers down, and throwing them to one side.

She settled down on top of him again, whimpering as she took him into her body. Tony gripped the sheets, eyes closed, mumbling away as he thrust up, hard, making her cry out.

They started to move together and Tony kept mumbling, not really registering his own words, and she barely hard presence of mind herself to take them in but was curious, and leaned forward and listened.

"Told you, told you," he was muttering breathlessly, "we're good together, so good, so good, told you."

He continued muttering while he moved, hands on her hips now, eyes still closed and she smiled at him, squeezed his erection within her, laughing as his rhythm faltered and he groaned her name. Her own laugh was more of a low hiccup of pleasure than anything else but neither of them noticed as they moved together.

Tony couldn't keep his mouth shut, not unless she kissed him, which she did on odd moments, on the whim of her body. Or unless his lips were on her breasts, kissing the puckered skin of her nipples and making her cry out.

"Pepper, Pepper, Pepper," he said into her chest. "Want you."

"Got me," she told him, in a whimper.

"Got you," he replied. "Got you, got everything."

She sat up straighter again, forcing him from her breast, palms flat on his chest as she moved faster, and harder, and he tried to match her frantic rhythm but found he couldn't, felt he couldn't. Found he could only be swept along by her movements, her pleasure, and her very being.

When she came, he felt like the arc reactor had failed, had imploded and he was absorbing all the energy from it until he realised he was coming too, but unable to communicate it in any other way, other than to pull Pepper to him and hold her tight as he shook through his orgasm.

He fell to sleep, arms wrapped around her still.


When he woke Pepper was sitting on top of the bed, legs crossed covered by a sheet, but bare from the waist up. He gazed at her for a couple of minutes, mostly at her bare back, bare chest, shoulders, neck, arms, hands.

She was holding his grandfathers watched in her small hands and running a single finger over it.

"Feel okay?" she whispered.

"No," he said, shifting to curl around her, pulling her down to lie back with him. "Feel like my brain's short circuited."

"I think it did," she said turning, still holding the watch. "You pretty much passed out on me."

"Told you we'd be good."

"I didn't doubt you."

"You did once," he said, taking the watch from her and putting it to one side before kissing her.

"Long time ago," she told him. "We were different. You would've broken my heart."


He hated to admit it, she knew it, and felt his grip on her tighten for a moment. Of all the things he'd done to redeem himself, his honesty was what made her most proud.

"It's past midnight you know," she told him.


He picked the watch back up to check the time briefly and nodded.

"Happy New Year Tony," she sad, kissing him on the lips so gently he wanted to cry.

"Happy New Year Pepper," he whispered on happy tears.