Well, I decided to take a shot at a one shot. (hee hee.) Anyway- I figured that Tony and Pepper going on their first date would be a rather bizarre thing to write about. I intended for this to go one direction, and... it didn't end up at all like I'd planned. Oh well, hope you'll all enjoy. Btw, I realized I put a line from Pirates of the Caribbean in here, and I have no idea why. Yes, I know, random and unecessary information. :-)

First Date

On the first date, he tried way too hard. Tried to make her laugh, tried to impress her, tried to surprise and amuse her. Tried to make sure she'd come back for seconds.

He could make her laugh without trying. He just needed to smile, or tell a silly one-liner. He just needed to be himself. She was more than willing to make light of the awkwardness that came with their new situation. He didn't have to try.

He didn't need to try to impress her. He was always impressing her now- with his actions, with his words, with his newfound honesty and vulnerability. He spent an hour torturing himself over what to wear; if his hair should be the usual mess, or smoothed back. He chose a blue dress shirt, and his hair was forced into submission. He held each door open for her, drove his hottest car, and tried to impress her with his new gentlemanliness. It was the first date, after all. But he didn't have to try so hard. She liked him the way he was- blessings and imperfections included. She liked his messy hair, his casual clothes. She liked him when he wasn't doing his best to impress. She didn't need him to be a perfect gentleman, though this was the first date. She wished he'd put his hands on her, wished he'd be little more demonstrative of his feelings. But she was already impressed by him; he didn't need to try.

He could surprise and amuse her without trying. Perhaps not always to his benefit, but he could. He didn't need to try to get a look of feminine horror on her face. He could quite easily without any effort.

She was scared. Of all the things she had gone through recently, going on a date was a terrifying prospect. Particularly because she was already in love with Tony. Dates were the time designated to getting to know your boyfriend- Pepper already knew everything about him. She already knew his faults and his virtues. What the hell were they dating for? Of course, it was only natural that they should go out together. But what was the point? She wanted to spend time with him, and not in a starchy restaurant. But a big part of love is compromise, and if Tony wanted to "date" her, then she was more than willing. She just hoped it wasn't a waste of time.

He saw how nervous she was, how she kept glancing down at her napkin covered lap. Shit. Was she not interested? Was she having second thoughts about "them?" Oh God, he knew this would happen. It was too good to be true- the old cliché was right. How could a girl like Pepper ever want a guy as messed up as him? Of course she wouldn't. What she felt- it must have been pity, or a passing fancy. But if she was still sitting there with him, then maybe- maybe- there was just a chance. Maybe if he tried a little harder-

It was getting worse. She could see that he was sweating; his hands moved almost frantically as he spoke. He was trying even harder. She couldn't take it. Why was he feeling so nervous around her? Did he not really want a relationship? Did he want to back out? She felt a lump form in her throat- no, breathe: in, out, in, out. Don't cry in the restaurant. Don't cry in front of Tony. Don't show weakness. She needed to get out of there- the atmosphere was too much- the room was too full of happy, settled couples. And there they were- unable to looker each other in the eye. She loved Tony so much, but-

No. She was not going to give up so easily. Maybe if they left, and tried to talk things over. Maybe the open air would help.

He kept up the stiff gentleman act as he acquiesced her request and pulled her chair out for her. He walked beside her, but at a polite distance. And if it wasn't for the doorman, he would have held the main door open as well. He left their destination entirely up to her. He made no argument when she claimed a desire to return to her town home. And she wanted the convertible top to be put down. He was disappointed. Upset. He'd ruined everything. She just wanted to get away from him.

The wind was so loud there was no point in attempting conversation, but it didn't really matter. He couldn't think of anything to say. He was near the point of crying- never had he cared before if a woman rejected him. He was terrified she would.

Pepper really had intended to start a serious conversation once they left. Her courage failed her. Tony couldn't care. He wouldn't be so cold if he did. He hadn't even touched her hand. And being the man he was, if he didn't touch, then he couldn't be interested. She asked to go home, half afraid that when they got there, he wouldn't say a word.

The drive back was short, but it felt like an hour. Once again, he got out first and rushed to open the door for her, but she was already out of the car. She was halfway up the walk before he caught up with her. Why he'd even bothered, he had no idea. He didn't know what to do next.

When they reached her door, he saw that her eyes were red. A loose tear cascaded down her freckled cheek, and her delicate pink lips trembled- only slightly, but he noticed. For the first time, he allowed himself to really look at her- to admire her. She was beautiful, wearing a short peach gown that she'd call apricot. He understood her well enough to know that. He couldn't help but smile.

"What," she said quietly, hopefully. Please say something-

"Oh, uh, nothing," he answered.

She smiled at him, a fake smile to hide her grief. She stepped inside, and shut the door.

She reopened it half a minute later.

He was still standing there when she did. He hadn't expected her to reemerge, so he'd let his unmanly tears well to the breaking point.

He was crying. He was crying over her, he had to be. She felt relief and joy and love and- and-

Heat. He felt heat as she pressed her lips against his before closing the gap between their bodies. He'd worked so hard to preserve that space- it was the first date, after all. He thought that was what Pepper wanted. Space-

Space, as it turned out, was the last thing she wanted. She wanted him any way she could get him. At first, he was gentle, timid even- though the shyness passed. He was still gentle, but firm as his tongue slipped into her mouth. She grabbed his shoulders, pulling him inside, then pushing him against the door, closing it. She was desperate for any kind of assurance that he cared about her. That he loved her. If she wasn't going to get that verbally, then she would be more than happy for a physical assertion.

Even he was surprised by how hungry she was. Maybe she- of all people- was just using him for sex. The person he'd once been would have had no issue with that, but he wanted more from Pepper. He wanted everything about her. He couldn't do this if she didn't love him. He pulled back and looked at her. His mouth immediately felt cold without hers against it. Her lips were red and swollen. Her skin was flushed, especially around her mouth. His facial hair had scratched her. She looked stunning, radiant. And her eyes- her eyes were soft and warm and loving. They were loving. She loved him. He had to try his hardest not to grin, or laugh out of relief.

When he started kissing her again, she noticed a change. Everything about him felt more affectionate. His hands gripped her waist as he turned them- she was against the wall now. It felt fantastic. His body pushed hard against hers, and his hands were everywhere.

She'd hated his hair the whole night- it was so neat and smooth. It wasn't him. As she ran her fingers through it, she tried her best to muss it. She liked it better that way.

Blue was not his color. She had no idea why he would wear a blue shirt. It had irked her the entire evening, and she used her disgust for it as an excuse to get it off. She fumbled with the buttons; she could hardly function. Her body was just reacting, she wasn't even thinking anymore. It felt as though they were magnets; it hurt to pull apart. He let go of her long enough only to get the shirt off.

His skin was warm and coarse under her soft fingertips. As he moved his lips to her neck and collarbone, she gasped- digging her nails into his back. She felt his hands slip to her hips; her dress was tight, so he pulled it up enough to allow for some movement. He then lifted her up, putting her long legs around his waist.

Women are very different from men. They understand things by how they feel. She didn't have to look at him, or ask him. She knew from how he kissed her and touched her. He did love her.

Tony had only been to her house a few times, yet he knew where her bedroom was. He walked them into it, then closed the door behind them. He lied down on the bed, keeping her on top of him. He hated to pull away, but he needed to make sure this was alright. He didn't want to rush her.

He opened his mouth to ask her if she was fine with continuing, but nothing came out, besides ragged breaths.

"I- I-"

"I love you," she finished for him.

That was all the answer he needed.

Well, what do you all think? Like, dislike? Complete and utter indifference? Hee. I felt like writing something entirely different for me, and this certainly was. Please review- it makes me happy. :-)