Hmm…so…I've never written Iron Man FF. I'm definitely a House, M.D girl, so this is going to be an interesting first. Oh, and all I know about Iron Man is what's in the movies – never read the comics (sadly) so if I hopelessly screw something over or I openly show my naiveté concerning any particular subject, forgive me please!

Also, the basis of this idea is probably already being explored, has been explored or will be explore. Still, I'll do my best to make it unique. I had this idea hours after watching IM2 and I HAVE to do this. Enjoy!

Chapter 1

Approximately twenty four hours after his failed birthday party (well, it wouldn't have failed if Rhodey hadn't come along), Tony was back in his shop, half a donut in his mouth, doing what he did best. Tinkering, messing with things, ordering Dummy around, insulting Butterfingers…or creating an invention that was bound to blow away your mind, whichever you preferred. The only difference, was that this time, his invention was more biological than it was mechanical. And his new creation wouldn't wasn't designed to "help" him in the ordinary sense of the word.

He was dying, and he wasn't one to loathe in self pity, but there was nothing he could do about it. He was going through palladium for his arc reactor like candy – multiple batteries a day. He had already designed and tested probably over a hundred different elements and combinations of elements to replace the palladium – nothing had worked and as his blood toxicity increased at an almost exponential rate, he had realized that he couldn't just leave without finishing up a few things first.

It was a race against the clock now, and one of the things on his list had been crossed off just twenty four hours ago thanks to Rhodey. The military finally had his suit. The only consolation Tony had was that it was the Mark II. At least when he died, he'd take the secrets of the more advanced suits with him. He couldn't make the military's job that easy. So they had their suit. Now they had to work for the rest.

And his lawyer…had been an ass. Yes, his lawyer.

He was re-drafting his will.

He was too young to re-draft a will.

Shut up, he told himself as he worked.

Of course, his lawyer had not only been suspicious but had repeatedly tried to pry into his personal life. It was bad enough the lawyer had to know he was working through his will (besides, Tony wasn't sure how to legally draft a will without a lawyer) and though the lawyer had confidentiality protocol to follow, Tony knew those would go out the window if it was revealed why he had to suddenly draft a will. His lawyer still thought Tony was doing this because he wanted to make sure all of his things ended up in the right hands if anything happened to him, being Iron Man and all when, in reality, that was the least of Tony's problems. And what was worse, his lawyer thought he had time. Well, maybe he did but Tony sure as hell didn't. He might be self destructive but he wasn't an idiot – time was time.

Sir, JARVIS started, almost hesitantly. It appears Ms. Potts is making her way down to the shop. If you still insist on keeping your condition from her you should probably stop—

"Mute," Tony commanded before JARVIS could continue, already certain of what he would say. Better hide the stuff he was working on before Pepper put her inquisitive nose into his business. Not that he hated her inquisitiveness. Actually he liked that and it was part of the reason why he had hired her to begin with. But for once, he really hoped she'd let her guard down. And by the looks of the expression on her face, she wasn't going to pay much attention to what he was working on. She was livid.

"Pepper, are you busy?" he asked, hoping his relatively nonchalant demeanor would get him off easy. No such luck. "Because that Natalie chick we hired isn't ever around to--"

In almost a single breath, Pepper interrupted. "This is a document that says you were one hundred percent sane when you handed over the job of CEO to me; this says any damage done to any person or equipment other than yours last night shall be paid in full by you; this says you will meet your lawyer in a week to discuss any of the damages that occurred--" For each statement, Pepper handed Tony a sheet of paper, with X's marked where he should sign. She had on the straightest but obviously most pissed off expressions he had ever seen.

"Well, that's not too bad," Tony said as he started signing. Wait a minute… "Wait, what was the last one?"

"That you finally agree that all information regarding the suit should be handed over to the military. Permanently."

Tony threw the pen on the counter in reluctance. "I'm not signing that. You were going to make me sign that? Whose side are you on?"

"I'm not sure which side I should be on, Tony. And considering your…party last night, I think they just might have a point. In that circumstance, the suit was a dangerous weapon that could have done considerable damage."

"Yeah, in that circumstance," Tony pointed quickly. "And it's not a weapon, I thought this has already been established."

"It blows things up," Pepper said pointedly. "It's a weapon."

"It's a suit."

"It's a weapon!"

"Since when did you ever agree with them, especially regarding this?"

"Since your inventions started harming innocent people because you were being careless."

"No one got hurt," Tony argued, thinking back. In fact, if he recalled correctly, he had been the one who got hurt thanks to Rhodes.

"Someone could have, Tony. Because you were drunk, in a suit you had designed and created, that had the potential to blow up the entire building."

Tony still wasn't entirely convinced. "Okay…so it looks bad."

Pepper said nothing. Instead, she took all the paper she had given him – the signed and the unsigned. "You know I'm always behind you with anything you want to do, despite how crazy or…or out there it might be. But yesterday?" She gathered the last of the papers and took her pen. "Yesterday was just ridiculous." And she turned on her heels and walked out of the room without a second look back.

She was disappointed more than she was angry, Tony could tell. If she knew what I was going through…if she knew why I did it. It was his last birthday party. Couldn't he be reckless…or perhaps more appropriately, destructive? Actually, that just made it sound worse.

It definitely wasn't the brightest idea he'd ever come up with, but he had fun and more importantly, he had forgotten. He had forgotten about his impending death and that was the point, wasn't it? Still, excuses couldn't be made, and he knew it. It was stupid, and the mature thing to do was apologize, or better yet, fess up and tell her the truth.

But that wasn't fair either, to throw the burden on her. Telling her wasn't going to help him and it would only make her worry about something no one could change.

"JARVIS, how's the specimen?"

It's ready for activation.

"Great. Get the basin ready for the heat-shock."

Sir, you do realize that the heat-shock method is an established means of transformation for bacterial plasmids and not for—

"Yes, I am aware but the concept is still the same."

Actually, sir—

"I don't recall programming you to argue, JARVIS," Tony said, amused. "Prepare the sample and make sure the basin's at optimum temperature."

Yes, sir, JARVIS replied, sounding almost exasperated.

"And put my lawyer on the line. I need to yell at him again."

Yes, sir.


6 hours later

Sir, the diagnostics have been completed. The solution is completely viable.

Success! Tony thought to himself as he lifted up the syringe and observed the green solution he had created. This was…different; no nuts and bolts involved. Still, this 10 mL solution would be a temporary and permanent solution. Temporary in the sense that all of his symptoms, all the problems the palladium was causing would disappear instantly. It was permanent because in exactly one week, the very solution he was holding in his hand would kill him.

It was a last resort. If his math was right, which it always was, the time between his blood toxicity reaching a fatal amount and his death would be six hours. Six hours of pain that was supposed to feel like he was detoxing off an opiate. This solution that he had just created was going to take care of not only that pain, but it would take care of all his symptoms as well. But in one week, the same temporary cure that he had just created would kill him anyway. The only upside was that he'd die without the pain and probably just in his sleep. But the one week would give him time, a deadline, to set things right. This syringe was Tony Stark beating death for a week.

He stood up and took the syringe with him, placing it on his desk. In a swift motion he checked his blood toxicity and while the machine was running, used the time to change the palladium in his arc reactor. Again.

84% BLOOD TOXICITY

Damn.


For the last two hours, Tony had been debating calling Pepper to at least apologize. It was bad enough he was dying and she still had no idea so the least he could do was apologize. Right? But he was worried that if he started apologizing, he might not stop, and he'd end up telling her the truth. Or maybe he'd start to tell her the truth but chicken out of it anyway. Either way, it didn't make him feel any better about himself.

As he made his way down the stairs to his shop, he commanded, "JARVIS, I need you to--"

An indescribable pain shot through his leg and into his chest and seemed to grab and squeeze his heart. Tony collapsed immediately, tumbling down the rest of the stairs and landing hard on his side on the floor below. He gasped for air and moments later, the same pain shot through his entire body again, causing his heart to spasm and Tony cried out as his brain took in an overload of pain he hadn't known he could endure.

Oh, shit…he thought as he crawled into his workshop using his arms alone. Every foot or so, his entire body would spasm and he'd stop, screaming or trying to hold in a scream. By the time he reached his desk, he was sweating and shivering at the same time and barely able to drag himself any further. He reached up towards his desk, tugging at the drawer, trying to get it open. His muscles kept clenching, making the task next to impossible but after over a minute of tugging, the entire drawer came crashing onto the floor beside him. The palladium batteries scattered around him.

Another spasm. It felt like a giant shock of electricity coursing through his being. He screamed, banging his head against the edge of the table accidentally. In the back of his mind, he knew the palladium wasn't going to do anything. It was too late for that. But he wasn't ready to take the solution. He wasn't ready to draw that definitive line. He wasn't ready, he wasn't ready, he wasn't ready…

The pain charged through him again but this time he held in the outburst, clenching his fist and curling up into fetal position, remembering where he had left the syringe. It was feet away from him in a cabinet – the top drawer. And there was no way in hell he'd make it there. Slowly but with determination, he managed to half kick, half crawl to the cabinet. His hand tried to reach up though the feat was impossible if he couldn't stand up. He needed help.

Pepper.

No, not Pepper. She didn't need to see this and she sure as hell didn't need to be the one to give it to him. The plan was never to tell Pepper to do this. She wasn't supposed to be involved but now…now he was going to stay here, writhing in agony for the next six hours if he didn't call her. Besides, what should he say? "Pepper, it's me. I'm dying. Come kill me." No, he couldn't do this to her.

The strength and power at which the next wave of pain hit him was almost a rebuttal to his statement. Tony screamed, holding on to anything that was around him and closing his eyes shut as if to shield out the pain. It felt like someone was trying to rip out his heart from the inside and his entire body felt sore, as if he had run around the world a dozen times. In the aftermath of the wave of pain, he breathed quickly through his teeth, about to mutter the words he knew he'd end up regretting for the rest of his life…which was for about a week.

"JARVIS….call…Pepper…."


Pepper was getting ready for a meeting with the board. Yet, the one person on her mind was Tony. She felt terrible for what she had said to him even though he very well deserved it. Still, it was hardly fair since she hadn't even heard him out. Well, what was there to hear out? It was his fault, doing something stupid like that…

In the middle of her thought process, her phone started ringing and she quickly took it out. If it was another member of the board or another reporter that had managed to get her number…She frowned a little when she looked at the number. It was Tony.

Angrily, she tossed her phone back into her purse. If it was that important, he'd leave a message. She left to take a shower.


Sir, it appears Pepper didn't pick up. Would you rather leave a message or redial?

Tony could hardly believe his ears. She always answered her phone. Why wouldn't she…was she still angry at him? Of course she was angry. Maybe he should leave her. But what was he supposed to do, go through this for another six hours? How could he even live through the next six hours?

Sir?

"Call again," Tony instructed as he clenched his jaw in preparation for another shock wave.


Almost forty five minutes later, Pepper was in the back of the car with Happy on their way to the meeting. Her phone started ringing and immediately, Pepper whipped it out to check who was calling. Tony. She rolled her eyes and was about to hang up when she realized she had thirteen missed calls – all for him. Her eyes widened, realizing that it was probably important and she had been too busy in the bathroom getting ready she hadn't even realized her phone had rung so many times. Immediately, she picked up.

"Tony?"

"Pepper…"

She could immediately tell something was wrong. He sounded like he was being strangled.

"Tony, what's going on, where are you?"

"Shop…I need you…" She heard him make some sort of moaning guttural sound that sounded like he was choking on his own breath.

"Tony, what's going on; are you okay?"

"I can't reach it…I need…"

"Tony, just…hold on, I'm coming over right now, okay? Okay, Tony? Tony!" She stared at her phone for a split second, realizing the call had ended. "Happy, take me to Tony's place, please."

"Ms. Potts, what about the meeting?"

"Forget the meeting."

Ummm…so that's the first chapter. I'll try and update soon. Please review and tell me how I did! :) kthxbai