It was three weeks until their last ever high school exams. It was a month to their graduation ceremony. It was a month for the infamous trio to hang around together. It won't be until four years for them to reunite again.
The trio once again was mucking around in Tony's secret lab beneath the old warehouse. All three of them were fervently discussing their future after graduation.
"Well, mines all planned out," Anthony 'Tony' Edward Stark stated with ease while stretching out his long denim clad legs and putting his feet on a nearby stool. "I'm gonna finally formally take over Stark International, fire Stane and continue on from where Dad left."
"Hey what about me?" cried out Virginia 'Pepper' Potts. She was sitting on a tall, wooden stool by the table and her legs dangling underneath. The table was covered with various course guides from various universities around America, though the largest pamphlet was the S.H.I.E.L.D application.
Then the young genius stood up and wrapped his lean arms around the red head, brought his lips to hers and snuck a quick kiss. He then whispered in her ears, "How could I ever forget you Miss Potts?"
"Ewww can you guys cut it out. It's gross! It's been disgusting ever since you two started dating at the beginning of the year," complained the African-American boy James 'Rhodey' Rhodes. He on the other hand was fixated on joining the military, just like his father. Pepper and Tony ignored him and continued on with their conversation.
"Who knows? Your head is always half buried in a pile of metal and your Ironman suit," said Pepper.
Tony laughed, "You can always work for me. I'm way cooler than S.H.I.E.L.D."
"Nahhh, I wanna jet pack. Working for you doesn't get me a jet pack!"
"You know I will be the CEO of a technology company, I could just invent one."
"True, but I want to arrest people too."
"Then why are you looking at courses in nanotechnology and law then?" Tony asked, while pointing out the several course guides from MIT and Yale that were opened to pages relating to science and law.
"Yeah I was wondering about that too. Why are you looking at them?" enquired Rhodey.
"Law is necessary to arrest people you know. And for the sciency half, I got interested after the monster Technovore business. Nanotech stuff seems interesting. Don't you think Tony?" she smiled.
"It's pretty cool, nanotechnology, but arc reactor related physics is way more awesome."
Afterwards Pepper and Tony got into another heated debate. This time which science was better, in the end it was a stalemate they patched things up by flirting around again while Rhodey left the lab complaining about being surrounded by science nerds and love birds.
One week until graduation
Pepper entered her home and put her bag by the shelf. She made her way to the kitchen so she could get something to snack on. Exams were hard work and she needed an energy boost before she made her way to the Rhode's homestead.
When she entered the kitchen she saw her dad at the kitchen table. All of a sudden she felt nervous, it was the first time that she arrived home with her dad here before she was or at the least very awake.
"Hi Pepper, finally home aye? How were your exams?" he asked.
"They were ok, hard but not that hard." Pepper peered over her Dad's shoulders and on the kitchen table were brochures of England and other various things, like insurance and stuff. Why doesn't he look on the internet? She thought.
"That's good. Do you think you're gonna pass well?"
Pepper thought about it for a moment and then said with a slight grin, "Actually to be honest I think I will ace it, if I must say so myself."
"Cool, cause I have some news for you," he replied and suddenly it looked like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders, and a weariness she never saw except the time he was attacked by Whiplash. Pepper stayed silent and waited for him to continue. "Pepper, I would like us to move to England," he announce with a calm yet cautious voice, "It will be really nice there, a new life and you could go to Oxford or Cambridge if your marks are good," he quickly rushed and then in a controlled tone, "And it would be safer too. I've got news from the Bureau and CIA that Mr. Fix is on the move again and this time he is getting more extreme and bizarre. He has already attempted to hack into NASA and S.H.I.E.L.D, and the government has a plan to relocate us and other people that appear to be in danger from him."
Pepper was stunned; her mouth was slightly opened like a fish out of water. She knew about the Mr. Fix attacks from her daily hacking of the FBI system, but she didn't know that it would extreme enough to relocate people related to various incidences involving him. And simply put Pepper didn't want to move to England. She knew it was a nice place but what about her future career in S.H.I.E.L.D, Team Iron man and most of all Tony, whom she knew would probably do anything sane or stupid to fix up (no pun intended) and thus protect her. But her Dad didn't know the superhero side of Tony, the awesome and supercool side and any other argument would at least earn her a grounding and a long lecture about the government protecting them. She remembered the year after her mother died Pepper went out shopping with her dad and got lost in the mall and ever since he very overprotective of her.
"Bbbbut what about my life here? …Tony?" she stuttered in response.
"That is for you to decide, but we will go to England Pepper, it's for you own safety," reaffirmed her father, his eyes locking directly into hers.
"Yes Dad," she finished off and went into her room to sit on her bed in silence.
Pepper looked around her room, a room she has been in for as long as she could remember. She was so deep in thought she did not realize that tears were rolling down her face until her phone rang as she got a text message.
The red head flipped open her phone and saw that is was from Tony.
Rn't u coming over tonite? :I R u ok Pepper?
Pepper had been so deep in thought she also forgot to visit the Rhode Family home. It was where Tony lived until he graduated at the end of this week. She then deftly texted back:
Sorry, I was busy. Y don't we meet at the park in 15 mins instead, I hav something to tell u?
Tony was at the playground sitting on the swing staring at his trusty, red sneakers. The rubber sole were slick with dew along with hem of his jeans that were damp too. He looked up and saw Pepper walking towards him with her head down, highlighting her red hair in the moonlight, like a fire. The boy millionaire stood up to greet his girlfriend but somewhere in his gut he felt whatever lead her to meet him at the playground was not good, instead he tried to pushed those feelings of doubt out of his mind.
In those few seconds Pepper began to freak out because she watched Tony's expression change from placid and content to concerned and then happy again. She felt as if Tony knew what she was going to do to him tonight. A knot was starting to form in her stomach.
"Hi Pepper, how's life?"asked Tony while he embraced Pepper and tried to kiss her but she turned her head and instead he only kissed her cheek. It has been a long time since Tony last kissed her cheek but that when they both started dating.
Tony felt a little off, "Is there something wrong?" he asked in concern and then realized that there was a single tear running down her face.
"Uh I I am mmmoving to Eng England," Pepper stammered.
Relief coursed through Tony, "Is that all? You don't need to worry then. I could visit you when I have free time in between running Stark International, there is a reason why I own a private plane," he grinned. "But why are you going to England? What happened to MIT, Yale or S.H.I.E.L.D?" Tony asked curiously while his blue eyes reflected the twinkles from the few stars of the New York sky.
Pepper bit her lip, worrying about Tony's reaction. "Mr. Fix is on the move again, and the US government decided to send us, which I mean my Dad and me, and other people threatened by him out of the country. They'll also give us new identities."
Tony's eyes widened in surprise and then opened his mouth to say something but Pepper interrupted,
"Don't you think about suiting up in the Ironman suit. Fix could be anywhere, but according to Dad the CIA are sure that he is within the country."
Tony again attempted to interrupt her but the Queen of Speedy Talking butted in, "No, Tony I don't care, whatever normal or bizarre reason you may have to stop me from moving is unimportant compared to you finishing high school, getting that graduation certificate and taking over Stark International. Ok."And this was said in on one breath, but Tony being her boyfriend understood every word.
"But what about you?" he asked and the even more softly, "What about us?"
Pepper let out a sigh, a sigh that meant bad news is coming up.
"The reason why I asked you out here to the park instead of usually meeting up with you and Rhodey at the warehouse is is is…"
Tony stared apprehensively, "Is what?" his stomach was twisting itself into a knot.
"Is Tony, I think we should break up."
The young Stark was stunned beyond belief. He thought his life was close to perfect until now. Those six words just shattered his almost perfect life.
"Whhat?" Tony stuttered with his blue eyes opened wide in disbelief.
Pepper looked away trying to convince herself that this was the right choice. She was so sure of herself a few seconds ago, heck she even practiced what she was going to say even though it was halfheartedly, yet but she didn't plain on seeing Tony like this. This wasn't what she prepared herself for. She took another deep breath.
"We should break up Tony," Pepper stated and before he could interrupt, "Like I said you have the world at your feet, while I'm just a girl just aspiring to find my place and as of the moment probably somewhere in England. I love you, but knowing you, you'll be trying to taking this whole mess onto yourself, letting it become your burden. I know Team Ironman is all about defeating the bad guys but only this time let the government do their job and you do yours. That is you achieve your dream by taking back your company and I don't want to be the reason that your dreams shattered." Pepper explained with tears flowing down her face.
"But Pepper," Tony pleaded, "You breaking up with me is dream shattering."
"I don't know about that. But I think it's time for us to go our separate ways. But promise me we'll still be friends and that you won't go as Ironman to find Fix ok."
"I don't think I can do that," he uttered.
"Don't worry cause I know you will." Pepper then stood on her toes to kiss him on the cheeks while the tears continued flowing. "I'm sorry Tony. From now on I'm Patricia Parks."
Pepper, well now called Patricia turned on her heel and walked back towards the same direction in which she came from. Meanwhile, Tony stood alone at the park crying softly beneath the stars knowing that he can't run after her for she made her choice.
Author's Notes: New fic yay! However, a tad too cheesy for my liking. Not sure how often I would be updating so put this on alert if you want to see what happens next. And please read and review!