I AM AN AUNTY!
And as a result I am putting up the new chapter. This was the second part of the story I wrote, but I'm not sure why something feels wrong with it, but I have to say I just don't want to edit it again. I am just so completely besotted with my baby niece.
DISCLAIMER – I don't own them, but I do like to play so if you let me do that I won't complain about you owning them.
Spoilers for the second movie.
And on with the show – part 4.
Death and Broken People
Chapter 4 – Wills and Friendship
"Miss Potts?" A voice said when Pepper picked up the phone.
"Yes?" Pepper answered, assuming that her secretary would have screened the call and she would not have to deal with yet another reporter.
"It is Nigel Winterbourne, Mr Stark's attorney."
"Hello Nigel, it is good to hear from you, how have you been?"
"Well, I hope you are as well." Mr Winterbourne said.
"As well as can be expected. I appreciate the phone call Mr Winterbourne, but I have found that dealing with Mr Stark's presumed death has left me with an incredibly busy schedule. Can I ask the purpose of you call?"
"Of course. Since Mr Stark began his work as Ironman he changed with will to have a 'presumed dead clause'. We need to meet and discuss the terms of his will. Could we please set up a meeting this week?"
"His will?" Pepper felt her breathing quicken and the hole that had taken up permanent residence in her chest was expanding. "We don't even know he is dead."
"I understand that Miss Potts, but he put a very specific stipulation in his will for just such a situation."
"Okay, I can reschedule a meeting tomorrow afternoon at 4pm. Would that suit you?"
"Just let me check, yes that would work for me, can you please come to my office?"
"Of course Mr Winterbourne, I will see you then."
"Thank you Miss Potts, good afternoon." Mr Winterbourne said before Pepper said her goodbyes and they both hung up.
Pepper stared at the phone and reminded herself she was not going to cry at work. She was a professional and she was the CEO, she needed to focus on her work and ignore the gaping pit of despair in her chest.
The next afternoon Pepper was sitting in the waiting room of Nigel Winterbourne's office when Rhodey walked in.
"Pepper, hello, how are you?" Rhodey said, smiling at the receptionist before sitting next to Pepper. He could see the tension that had not left her body in a month, the brittle smile and the pale look that meant she was still not sleeping.
"I'm fine, how are you."
"I am as good as can be expected. How are things at Stark?"
"I'm sorry Rhodey did you know about this stipulation in his will?"
"No, but it doesn't surprise me, he knew what he was doing was dangerous. He wanted to make sure that everything was settled." Rhodey was just about to say more when the door opened and Nigel Winterbourne poked his head out called the two of them in.
Pepper and Rhodey sat down across from Nigel and he picked up the papers in front of him. "I'll get right to it. Mr Anthony Edward Stark changed his will eighteen months ago, with a stipulation that if he, in his capacities as Ironman, were to disappear in a manner that made it reasonable to presume his death his will should be read and carried out."
"We don't know anything yet." Pepper said again.
"Pepper, I was there, I agree with Mr Winterbourne's assessment. If Tony put this together it was for a situation exactly like this."
Pepper took a deep breath and resigned herself to this. She knew that he was probably dead. She had seen the footage, had Jarvis run a statistical analysis of the footage, and had seen the look on Rhodey's face when he had come back with the Mach II suit. She just had to accept it.
"Mr Stark left everything to you Miss Potts, his business, the cars, and his houses, everything except the Ironman suit. Which he has left to Col. Rhodes along with a stipulation that he have use of the basement of the Miami house and that Jarvis be made available to him for any help or corrections that may need to be made. I will now leave you alone with the will; there is also a letter for both of you, to be read at any time after his disappearance. I will give you a few minutes before we sign the documents." Nigel said as he stood and walked into the next room.
Pepper looked at the will without being able to really see what was on the page. "He left me everything?"
"It makes sense. You are his family Pepper." Rhodey voice startled her out of her contemplation and she looked at him with fresh tears in her eyes.
"I am really, really sick of crying." She said vehemently before wiping her eyes and reading the document carefully. "He changed this before we were even seeing one another."
"Tony had three stable people in his life since Obidiah turned into a Sith lord."
Pepper smiled at the reference, Tony and Rhodey had been in love with those movies for as long as she had known them.
"I count Jarvis, I know we were close, I always thought of him as a brother, a younger, impulsive, reckless, genius, smartass brother."
"He felt the same, but with slightly different adjectives." Pepper said with a smile.
"Yeah, I know, but you were the centre of his world. That night we fought Whiplash, when we saw what he had rigged up, you were the first person he thought of. He was gone before I even really knew what was happening. He was in love with you long before Afghanistan and while that gave him a swift kick up the backside, he knew that you were the most important person in the world to him. I knew he'd leave it all to you."
"James, I'm pregnant." Pepper was not at all sure she meant to say that but it just came out and now someone else beside herself and Jarvis knew and it felt good.
"Yeah. I don't want him to be dead. I want him to come back so he doesn't miss out on this and I don't want this baby to miss out on having a father."
"Pepper, if he is alive out there, he will do everything he can to come back. But you can't live your life hoping he will. It won't be good for you, or the baby. If she/he doesn't have a dad can he have a serious awesome uncle who hangs around the basement?"
Pepper took a long, deep breath and let it out slowly. "Yes, that sounds wonderful. Thank you James, for everything. We should get him back to sign this."
"Yeah, and then we are going out to dinner, because you look much too thin."
Pepper smiled at him before he stood and asked Nigel back into the room.
When they had finished signing the papers Pepper asked the question that had been floating around in her head since she had first heard about his will.
"What will happen if Mr Stark returns?"
"Then I'll have to get you back in to sign some more papers, but of course everything will revert back to him."
"That's what I thought. Thank you, you mentioned letters?"
"Of course." Nigel handed both of them the letters and the three discussed some final matters before Rhodey and Pepper left his office.
Once outside Pepper turned to Rhodey. "Why don't you come over to Tony's place and we'll get something in. I've been staying there since...say in half an hour?"
"Sounds good Pepper, and you don't need to explain. I'll see you in half an hour."
Pepper and Rhodey separated clutching their letters, their last links to Tony.
Please review it'll make me smile even more than I already am.