When A Bright Idea Dims
By Sinead

Author's Note: I just have to edit Chapter 12, and then that will be uploaded shortly after this one. Thank you for your patience, and I know that I said to a couple people that this would be uploaded last week or thereabouts. School is awesome, but it's also making me absurdly busy with the planning of filming a short. Figures that I'm the writer/director.

Chapter Eleven

As it turned out, Becka didn't get a nap until Tony had stopped physically working for an hour and a half. She had helped him, assisting carefully as they found the walls that had to be broken through, ceilings that had to be pierced, and large wooden crates that had to be located in the sub-basements where Tony hoarded both old and strange technology.

When they had stopped moving for a break to consult blueprints and an inventory list, Rebeckah walked to a couch and collapsed upon it. She half-awoke when Tony joined her, not shifting her from the warm spot against the couch back, but instead insulating her from the other side, pulling a throw down over them both while they crashed for an hour of much-needed sleep. If they had waited any longer to rest, they would have lost productivity.

As Jarvis awoke them, the pair found themselves oddly refreshed, with renewed energy as they set about continuing their destructive and constructive work. While they were setting up the tubing for the particle accelerator, Tony brought up a subject that they had never returned to in light of recent events. "Beck, remember how you claimed that I never gave you the same lingering glances as I had for the dancers who had been on stage for the Stark Expo opening?"

Grunting her affirmation as she shouldered a particularly heavy tool cabinet an inch further to give the tubing a solid foundation, she glanced at Tony expectantly.

He didn't disappoint. "You just don't catch me staring at you. I can't count the times that I find myself speechless at what you're either wearing or what you're considering wearing. And it doesn't have to be revealing clothing, either. You look amazing no matter what you wear, because you're wearing it and it just accentuates you."

"So then . . . what had you been thinking when you were on that stage with the dancers?" she snarled as she got it two more inches, hearing Tony pat it twice in affirmation that it was perfectly placed. Sagging to the ground and panting, she looked up at him as he put the heavy tubing down upon the wheel-less tool cart.

"Well, I had been wishing that you would wear stilettos as high as those, which you were, and what I could see of your legs made me wish your skirt was just two inches shorter, and that if I were ever to be as egotistical as I'm cranked up to be—"

"And sometimes still are," she interrupted.

". . . agreed. But as I was saying, I was thinking that if you were ever to wear something like that, I'd die a happy man just staring at you."

Blinking around the corner and up at Stark, Becka snorted. "I don't believe you. You know that I'm nowhere near that bust size, I will never have those legs, and their waists are unnatural, and—"

She was silenced by a kiss and a gentle hand stroking her cheek. "And you're all the more amazing for the way that you're put together naturally and look better in what you're wearing now than what they had been wearing. I don't dream of women dressed like that. I dream of you, just the way you are."

"Sap."

"The urge strikes me every so often, but then again, having seen you in a bikini, I feel that I'm justified in my assessment," Tony admitted, kissing her again before helping her to her feet and looking back at the entirety of the room. "Right. So now we just go through and make sure that everything's level, or this will just turn into a big mess."

"I'll shove things into place if you do the heavy lifting."

"Deal. Sounds like a marriage to me."

"Really?"

"Yep. Working as a team."

Grinning, Becka shoved him to one side before grabbing a ruler and looking at the box of scrap metal, waiting for his first request to pick something up of a certain height, thickness, and breadth. She moved wordlessly, processing what he had said to her. There was a part of her that had wanted him to remember the night they had shared together in the cave, and that he had seen her without even a bikini on, but there was also the other half of herself that was shyly smiling, pleasantly amused that he didn't have to go to that extent to describe how he felt about her body. She finally settled upon the latter emotion, but knew that it may change in a half hour. Between the lack of sleep, tension between herself and Tony, and the overall situation, her emotions were unstable.

Frustrating as that may be, she was glad that there was nothing hidden between herself and Tony anymore, and kept that in the forefront of her mind, reminding her own emotions that no matter what he may or may not mention because of his current state of mind, they would have a future together.

.o.

Countless books, pieces of scraps, and twelve joints between the piping leveled off a half hour later, Coulson predictably showed up, opening the door and walking down into the half-ruined lab, not even seeming to care that it looked like something large and metal had died in here and was in the midst of being dissected and reconstructed into something new.

"I heard you broke the perimeter."

Becka's head popped up over the edge of the desk, where she was sitting on the floor with several blueprints, making sure that everything was in place and together. Seeing Coulson, she went back to mentally checking off everything that they'd done, and then began prioritizing the few actions remaining.

Tony moved from one joint to the next with a level. "Ah, yeah. That was like, three years ago. Where you been?"

Smirking at his seemingly carefree attitude, but knowing that he was only snarking like this because he was ticking off the minutes he had left alive on the palladium arc reactor and needed to keep moving, Becka stood and began rolling the blueprints up. Coulson walked closer, not missing a beat. "I was doin' some stuff."

"Yeah, well, me too, and it worked." He glanced at Becka, who smiled warmly at him. Winking at her, he continued talking to the agent. "Hey. I'm playing for the home team, Coulson, you and all your fabulous furry freak brothers. Now are you going to let me work or break my balls?" He watched the man start taking an interest in something in one of the scrap metal boxes, then turned his back to try to find something to level off the final joining piece.

"What's this doing here," Coulson demanded, turning and holding what appeared to be a prototype of some sort of large round shield within his hands.

"What's that?" Becka asked, walking closer to try to take another look.

"That's it." Tony blinked, then moved back to where he had been trying to measure out what he had needed for this one final adjustment. He only got a blank, confused stare from the SHIELD agent and gave up being patient. "Bring this to me."

"You know what this is?"

"It's exactly what I need to make this work." Taking the shield, Tony examined it, turned it one quarter clockwise, then demanded, "Lift the coil." Directing the slightly-older man on what to do, he shoved the shield under the joint, instructed for the coil to be dropped, and swept the level up to place it down upon the now-level parts. "Perfectly level." Swiping it off and addressing the intruder to his home, his peace, and his workshop with just the right level of distain, Tony demanded, "I'm busy, whaddya want?"

Lightly winded, but at the same time, shocked that Stark was so far along, Coulson could only speak abruptly, as he was apt to do. "Nothing. Goodbye. I've been reassigned. Director Fury wants me in New Mexico."

"Ah. Fantastic. Secret stuff."

"Something like that."

"Good luck."

"Bye. Thanks."

"We need you."

"Yeah. More than you know."

"Not that much."

Inwardly amused at the fact that someone could match him in snark and not even seeming to be at all capable of such sarcasm and cynicism, Tony watched the man leave then began the final preparations, digging goggles out and retrieving the crystal and triangle of viable metal that Jarvis had just finished paring into perfect triangles. Setting everything up with precise movements and attention to every detail, Tony ducked back under the coil and found the final tools he needed as just-in-case measures.

Becka walked over to him, running her hand along his back, from shoulder to pause at his waist. "Everything upstairs is set, locked down, and ready to go."

Smiling, Tony murmured a soft thank you before handing her goggles to protect her eyes and instructing her to stand behind him at all times. "Jarvis, hit the lights."

The only light allowed in streamed through the clerestory windows and from the chine itself, where a blue laser was continuing along its way through the accelerator, gathering speed as it went. Before he could start the process, however, Tony felt the hand of his fiancé wrap around his wrist, turning him towards the woman he was going to share the rest of his life with.

"Tony . . . I'm glad that you're back."

"So'm I. Good luck kiss?"

"Just for asking for it, no."

"Aw, c'mon, sourpatch . . ."

Laughing at the playful puppy look, she pulled his head down for a searing kiss. Pulling back slowly, she whispered, "Good luck."

"Still wanna get married quickly in that Japanese garden?"

"No, I want to disappoint the entire world," came the sarcastic reply.

"Oh, well, in that case, we can always elope."

"Just not to Vegas. I hate Vegas."

"I'm aware."

"But yes. At the garden."

"Fantastic. I can't wait."

"Neither can I, but you know that means that you have to get back on schedule, yeah?"

"Sir, we're approaching critical power," Jarvis interrupted.

The duo grinned at each other, putting goggles on. Tony walked to where the crystal would divert the laser towards the target, Becka standing behind him but slightly to one side so that she could see the proceedings.

"And Tony?"

"Yeah?" he asked, not turning around as he picked up the massive wrench and made sure that it would fit the handle that would turn the crystal.

"Yinsen would be proud of you."

He paused, but only for a second before his head bowed a little and a sigh gusted into the lab. "Thank you." Looking at the setup with a renewed determination, the man began the process of creating a new element.

.o.

Author's Note Part Two: Just a question, but one that I'd like to see some input on? Where are you expecting this story to end? How? And is there more of something that you'd like to see?

While I'm primarily writing this because I love to write, I also want to be able to write things that you, my readers, want to read. I don't want to drag a story on long past the time where it should have been finished and settled.