When a Bright Idea Dims
Author's Note: I know that this has taken about a year and a half in the coming, but I've had a lot of things on my plate. I graduated from the Bible school I had been attending, I'm back in my home state of Massachusetts and will be going back to school in the Spring up here, and auditioned for the local Renaissance Faire . . . and got in! More details on that later. Thank you, everyone, for your patience on this! Also, I know that I've mangled the timeline up a little on this. Sorry for any confusion that this might have caused!
Rebeckah Fahey sighed and looked up at the screen, standing semi-patiently beside Pepper while Tony held the press conference. People had been questioning him and his stance on the Iron Man story that it was his bodyguard for months, and this was supposed to be what would put down every rumor. Both were nervous because of his tenancy to run his mouth in public without thinking. It had been almost nine months since their return from Afghanistan, and a month since Tony had proposed. They had already made the new stage of their relationship clear to the public, and Pepper was helping negotiate magazine deals for who would get the first actual engagement article.
She had flat-out told Vanity Fair to take a hike the moment that they made their bid.
"Been a while since I was up here in front of you. I figure I'll stick to the cards this time. There's been speculation that I was involved in the events that occurred on the freeway and the rooftop . . ."
"Pep, do you think that he's going to actually stick to the cards that Coulson gave him?" Becka asked, looking at the redhead beside her briefly.
Somehow withholding a snort, Virginia Potts shook her head. "You know how he is. He hates reading off of a script."
"I'm sorry, Mr. Stark, but do you honestly expect us to believe that was a bodyguard in a suit that conveniently appeared, despite the fact that you historically despise bodyguards?"
"And this mysterious bodyguard was somehow equipped with an undisclosed Stark-powered high-tech battle suit?"
Pepper leaned in closer to the screen, and her eyes widened. "I know that voice."
"What? Who is it?"
"Vanity Fair magazine columnist. Christine Everhart."
Processing that for a moment, Becka frowned. "She sounds like she knows Tony."
The executive assistant winced slightly, glaring at the screen. "They shared a night together before Tony was abducted in Afghanistan." She hadn't wanted to share that information, and had been making sure that Becka didn't have to know any of the women that had been in Tony's bed. She had done a good job so far at keeping the women faceless and voiceless while staying behind the scenes on that endeavor.
"Oh." Her voice was soft, almost as if the younger woman didn't have any breath in her body.
"I know it's confusing. It is one thing to question the official story, and another thing entirely to make wild accusations or insinuate that I'm a superhero."
"I never said you were a superhero."
"Didn't? Well, good, because that would be outlandish and, uh . . . fantastic. I mean, let's face it. I'm just not the hero type. Clearly. With this laundry list of character defects, all the mistakes I've made, largely public."
"No kidding," Becka muttered, shelving her emotions and listening carefully to the dialogue. Whatever Tony said here would ultimately affect their lives.
On the screen, Rhodey leaned and whispered something to the stalling man.
"Yeah, okay, yeah." The billionaire paused, looking out at the crowd of reporters. His gaze shifted so that he wasn't looking at anything in the room anymore, and was instead looking out into the distance, eyes and mind far away before he shot unexpectedly back into the present.
"The truth is . . . I am Iron Man."
Becka, Pepper and Happy, who had just walked into the room, groaned angrily in unison as cameras were blocked by the heads of reporters who had all surged to their feet and were yelling questions of the man who had been slipping through their fingers all these months.
"I'm gonna kill him," Becka sighed, crossing her arms over her chest. They had all dressed nice for today because there were going to be pictures after the press conference. The younger woman was dressed in a dark grey dress suit with electric blue pinstripes. Her shirt matched the stripes and her heels were conservative and matched the grey. She wore silver jewelry, save for the ring on her left ring finger.
That particular piece of jewelry was platinum and red-gold entwined artistically and delicately, holding a series of diamonds that were not too large but were just large enough to notice. The main precious gemstone was a ruby that somehow held a golden star within its depth.
Hearing the commotion that was starting to gather outside the door, Becka pinpointed Tony's voice and waited until he entered the room alone. Happy stood with his back to the window between the office and the hooligans outside while Tony moved over out of sight of any camera from that angle. He looked down at Rebeckah's face. "I'm sorry."
"I'm really, really sorry."
Tony didn't know what to say to that, and his mouth twitched as he just stared down into twin pools of angered blue. He had no words.
Fortunately, she did. "I mean, honestly! Saying something like that in front of the whole world? Were you thinking of what that could mean for us?"
He gathered her unyielding form into his arms, feeling her stiffen further against him. "Yes. I didn't want you harassed about having an affair with Iron Man anymore. I wanted to be able to publicly protect you and not have to hide behind the façade of rich playboy. Hiding like that would have only hurt you." Slowly, he felt the anger dissolving from her body, and Tony rubbed her back soothingly. "I should have talked with you, Pep and Happy before doing this, but Coulson was in the room and I didn't want to have a throw-down with a guy that I can't get a handle on." Kissing her forehead, Tony tipped her chin up and rested the tip of his nose against hers. "Beckers, you're the most important thing in the world to me, and I don't want to lose you or see you hurting."
She was silent for a moment, blue eyes meeting brown ones evenly. Finally, she sighed and nodded. "Okay."
"Am I forgiven?"
"Yes. But you owe me."
"I know. Can I get you that car?"
"Tony, it's an Aston-Martin. You know that you'd be driving it more than I would because you love fancy cars and I'd be afraid of denting something that beautiful."
"Fine. I'll get you that Mustang you've been drooling over."
"Tony, it's time for the pictures," Pepper interrupted, smiling as Tony dodged a fist from his fiancé.
The four straightened themselves up before walking out, Tony holding Becka's left hand in his right, hiding the ring for now. The quartet smiled as Rhodey came up to stand on Tony's other side, with Pepper beside Rebeckah and Happy on the outside beside Rhodey.
Flashes went off as everyone smiled, even though none of them wanted to.