Note: Well, I've had this in my mind for a while, and I just wanted to get another piece of fluffy goodness up before Iron Man 2 comes out soon! Who else is screaming for joy? I'm extremely anxious to read all the new Pepperony stories you'll all have out! :D And maybe I'll write a few myself...hmm, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it! And yes, I'm absolutely pumped and ready for IM2! Anyway, inspired by my own experiences...I still have the injury to prove it. XD Enjoy!

Disclaimer: Marvel owns them, not me. Pity, really. ;)

Pepper sat on the couch in Tony's living room, trying to finish up all the piling e-mails but failing miserably. She'd just gotten done with a two-hour conference call—that, along with a slight cold, had caused her throat to go quite dry. Leaning her head towards the computer to read another e-mail, she rubbed at it in mild annoyance.

Not more than two minutes later was Pepper up on her feet, heels clicking towards the kitchen in set of a little something to soothe her throat, so she wouldn't lose her voice. Which would be a very bad thing, as working for Tony Stark came with all sorts of important meetings and conferences and whatnot, all at which she had to speak.

Upon reaching her destination, she peered into the rather large refrigerator with a scowl. Rats. She'd forgotten to do Tony's grocery shopping. The shelves were practically bare; there was only a smidgen of water left in the jug, and there was no way she was drinking tap water. Sighing, Pepper shut the door with a little more force than she had meant to.

She was about to walk away when she hesitated. I wonder...

Pepper swung open the freezer door this time, scanning the shelves there, looking for ice cream of some sort. The ice cream proved to be totally out, but in the far corner of the freezer sat a halfway-eaten box of popsicles. She'd bought them for herself a while back, to keep her sane—she loved this kind. Reaching in and pulling out the box, Pepper hastily glanced at the expiration date. SELL BY 4-23-10. She shrugged. One day wasn't bad.

She was popping off the wrapper of a lime-flavored pop when she heard heavy footsteps coming from the workshop stairs. Tony appeared in the kitchen, noticing Pepper and looking genuinely surprised.

"Potts, the work day is over. Didn't we establish this already?" he asked, opening the fridge and running into the same problem Pepper had just encountered.

"Yes," she replied, "however, that last conference call went over the set time, plus I had all those e-mails to finish."

"So?" Tony walked around the island towards her. "Leave them for tomorrow. You deserve some the way, what are you doing?"

"Oh, uh, I didn't want to lose my voice, and since my throat was dry and scratchy, I decided to get...this." Pepper gestured towards the popsicle in her hand. Tony snatched up the box, sticking his hand inside and grabbing one as well.

"I didn't know we had these—did you buy them?" he inquired, lobbing the wrapper at the trash bin and licking his popsicle. He abruptly pulled his tongue away. "Geez, that's cold!"

The one thing about Tony's freezer, was that it was really cold. And the fact that this particular box of popsicles had been back there, forgotten, for nearly five months was not helping matters. Pepper realized this quite too late, as when Tony was grabbing for the box, she had popped the popsicle in her mouth to suck on it. However, they were extremely cold—so cold, in fact, that it stuck to a part of Pepper's lip, and when she went to tug it back out of her mouth, it wouldn't budge.

Frowning—or at least, making whatever of a frown she could manage—Pepper reluctantly brought her hands away from the stick to try and pry the popsicle from her lips as discreetly as she could. Most unfortunately for her, Tony looked over at her and noticed her rather concentrated expression...and the popsicle dangling on the side of her lips. Feeling obliged, he rushed to her side.

"See, I warned you it was cold." He smirked. "Is it stuck?"

Pepper glared at him. "Mmmph."

Tony chuckled quietly. Deciding that he shouldn't push her limits any farther, he stopped and leaned towards her, examining her...injury.

He shook his head. "Classic. Now, how do we fix, I'm going to yank it on three-"

Pepper shook her head wildly and stepped far away from him. "I don't want my whole lip ripped off!" she shouted. Or tried to, anyway—to Tony it sounded more like incoherent babble.

"Okay, okay—I guess that's not an option," Tony said, then mused some more.

Pepper thought exasperatedly that if she didn't pry this off of her lips soon, it was going to be stuck to her forever. She pointed to the doctor's phone number haphazardly tacked up on the refrigerator door; she'd insisted it go there in case Tony came back harmed from a mission and she wasn't present.

Tony caught her gaze and shook his head. "Nuh-uh, no way—we are not calling the doctor for this, Pepper. It's not even that bad. There's got to be a way..." he paused, thinking. Suddenly, he grinned.

"I have an idea, if you wouldn't object," he told her, still grinning.

Pepper nodded quickly—anything, anything to get this thing off her tongue, so she could go back to her work and slip into professional-mode once again and pretend this whole thing had never happened the following day.

Tony grinned wider, stepped up to her in three long strides, leaned down, and slipped his tongue inside her semi-open mouth to where the popsicle was stuck.

Pepper made a noise of surprise, and tried to pull away. She hadn't been expecting that! Tony wouldn't have it—his grip on her only tightened as his tongue maneuvered around her mouth, trying to get between her lip and the popsicle.

She finally gave up trying to get away, and just let him do his work.

She knew that she loved him. That wasn't enough, however, because as Tony...well, kissed her—what other word for it was there?---all sorts of complications for a relationship with him flitted through Pepper's mind. The press, his missions... Did he love her? That seemed to be the most plausible question in her mind as of late. She sighed into his mouth, which Tony took as a hint to keep on going. Pepper felt his tongue skim hers for just a few seconds and her knees turned weak. She gripped the counter for support. It felt so good...his tongue was so hot against her mouth...

Tony was, if possible, enjoying this even more than Pepper was. Through all the bliss, he remembered his original mission, and most unwillingly moved to unfasten the popsicle frozen to Pepper's lips. His tongue swirled around it, the heat contradicting the cold, until at last the popsicle broke free. It dropped between them—Tony caught it skillfully and set it on the countertop.

He stepped away from Pepper, licking his lips, still tasting the bittersweet lime and something that was entirely Pepper herself, although he couldn't place his finger on it. Pepper was breathing heavily, her mouth red, eyes wide and unsure. Tony stared back at her.

He moved toward her, then, reaching in, just to kiss her again, for real this time—

Pepper took some small measure of control back within herself, before he could get too far. She stepped away, hitting her hip on the corner of the counter in the process. "Tony...-"

"Pepper," he interrupted, moving toward her slowly. "I just-" he paused, as he noticed something bright red on her upper lip. "You're bleeding."

Pepper brought her tongue up to her lip. Sure enough, she tasted blood. "How-?"

Tony was at her side in a heartbeat, paper towel in hand, and used his fingers to lift her upper lip to where the bleeding was. He pressed the paper towel to the wound gingerly, and held it there. "The popsicle must've ripped a part of your lip off..." He cursed. "Pepper, I'm sorry-"

"It's not your fault," she mumbled around the paper towel.

Pepper lifted her head, chancing a glance at him. Tony's eyes were boring into her own with so much force, lust...


Pepper blinked, and cast her gaze down toward the floor once again.

A couple minutes later, Tony pulled the paper towel away. The bleeding stopped.

Pepper looked at him, mouth open slightly; Tony leaned forward, and very gently, placed a chaste kiss on her exposed lips. He loved her, he always had...he needed to act now, otherwise he would lose her, to someone else...he had to convince her, somehow, that he was serious about all this. Might as well start with confessing...

"Pepper," he whispered hoarsely, his mouth hovering just a few inches above hers. "I love you."

He said it with such meaning, such undeniable love that she froze, and everything that had changed between them in the last months played through her mind. She caught him looking at her just as he was looking at her now all the time, he complied to her wishes for him to go to meetings so much more...sometimes he'd sit with her and help her go through all the boatloads of work she had to do...just because he'd wanted her life to be easier.

She loved him, and if she didn't act now, he...could be gone. And these past few months were enough proof to her that it could happen.

Pepper smiled. She wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed him with such force that Tony stumbled backward in surprise.

Their hands tangled in each others' hair, and they pulled each other close, mouths moving in synchronization. Yes. That was about the only coherent thought running through both of their minds.

Tony, worried for Pepper's lip injury, pulled away reluctantly. "Your lip-"

"Oh, believe me, that's not really important right now," Pepper said shakily, drawing him close once again.

Tony smiled against her mouth, feeling content; he was more than happy to comply.

The popsicle lay on the countertop, melting, forgotten.


Note: I hope you all enjoyed! It was enjoyable to write, considering I've never written anything quite like this before...well, how did I do? Rushed? Hopefully not...cliche? Yeah, probably...but that's quite alright. (:

P.S.: It's going to be my BIRTHDAY on April 30th! I'm excited—of course, I'm much more excited for IM2, lol. All you lucky people in Europe who get to watch the movie on my birthday...I envy you. Oh so much. XD

Review please, yes? :D x