Have You Ever Seen The Rain

This is my first fic EVER, and was inspired by the insane amount of storms we are enduring in the Midwest. Helpful feedback would be, well, helpful since I'm not really sure what I'm doing. Any mistakes are mine, I don't own crap, and I hope you enjoy!

Chaper 1. Thunder

Pepper drummed her fingers on her laptop and tried to concentrate on the figures on the screen in front of her. Her mind was distracted and in the last hour she'd only accomplished about 5 minutes worth of actual work. Finally deciding to just call it a night and finish her work tomorrow, she sighed and closed the computer, setting it on the coffee table. With another sigh she leaned back against the back of the couch and turned her head to the left, towards the ridiculously large window that covered the entire east wall. Not that she could see anything besides the rain anyways; it looked like they were under Niagara Falls. Yet another sigh escaped her as she was reminded of a simpler time, when trying to figure out how to order and install such a monster of a window had been her biggest problem.

"What's with all the sighing?" asked an amused voice from behind her.

"I thought you were in the workshop, 'doing something,'" she replied, not bothering to turn around or answer his question.

He was standing in front of her now, eyebrow arched, arms crossed, and that famous Tony Stark grin on his face. "I don't like this workshop, it's too small. No music either, so I got lonely," he said raising his eyebrows suggestively. "But seriously, back to the sighing. Is that even a word, sighing?" He tilted his head to one side and repeated the word over about seven times. "It sounds funny," he said as thunder rumbled low in the distance.

"Well when you say it a thousand times in a row it does," said Pepper, lifting her feet up to rest them on the table next to her laptop. "Hey turn on the weather channel, I want to see how long this storm is supposed to last." It had been raining ever since they landed in New York four hours ago and wasn't showing any sign of letting up. In fact, it seemed to be getting worse.

As Tony reached for the remote, a loud clap of thunder boomed overhead and out of the corner of his eye he saw Pepper nearly jump out of her skin.

"I thought you liked storms," Tony frowned, temporarily forgetting the TV.

"How do you know I like storms?" Pepper inquires, instantly suspicious.

"You always staring out the window when it storms," Tony states, as if it's obvious. "And your face gets that dreamy look on it and your eyes are far away."

Pepper frowns. Was she that easy to read?

"Plus you told me once. That you like rain and storms and all," Tony admits.

Another crash of thunder echoes above, and though more restrained this time, Tony sees her visibly start.

Still staring at Pepper, he sits down on the coffee table. "Are you ok?" is all he can think to ask.

She eyes him, trying to decide what to say. It had been a rough couple weeks what with Obadiah trying to kill them and the whole 'I am Iron Man' fiasco. But still, she felt closer to him now more than ever. Ever since they had boarded the jet this morning Tony had been reserved and calm. The way he'd 'secretly' been observing her from under his lashes the entire flight had made her slightly uneasy, but the not-so-sensible part of her had been pleased. Tony was making it harder with each passing day to keep that part suppressed under her impeccable professionalism.

And tonight she felt open and vulnerable, but also strangely confident under his concerned stare. She met his eyes and knew instantly that she was being silly and that she could tell him anything.

"I like storms, but they also scare me," was all she said.

Tony continued to stare at her, but placed his right hand on her ankle, which was resting next to him on the table.

Guessing this was his way of telling her he's listening, she continued, "I was in a car accident when I was six. We had all gone to the county fair to see a band my mom liked, but it got rained out. On the way home it really started to storm and I can remember the rain coming down so hard that it was impossible to even see the hood of the car, kind of like it is now."

Pepper kept her gaze pointed towards her feet, feeling somewhat uncomfortable telling the story she'd shared with so few people.

"I remember being really scared and my mom was yelling at my dad to pull over until it passed, but he was anxious to get home to watch the football game he'd thought he was going to have to miss. I can't really recall the car actually crashing, but I remember my mom screaming and my sister crying. Then I was laying out in the rain until someone picked me up and out me in the ambulance."

Pepper stopped there but Tony could guess what happened.

"Was that when your dad…"

"Yea. My mom and I were ok and my sister had a broken arm, but he didn't make it out," Pepper murmured, her eyes suddenly snapping back to the present. "So storms kind of make me jumpy, I guess."

As if to reinforce this, the thunder grew louder and Tony felt her legs tense under his hand.

Nodding to himself he got up and plopped himself down right next to Pepper on the couch. She could feel the heat of his body pressed into the side of hers and it gave her a familiar sense of comfort. Of course it also came with a familiar feeling of arousal that left her cheeks slightly flushed.

"I'm sorry," he said, not knowing what else to do. He wasn't used to people telling him stuff like this and had no idea how to react appropriately, so he just stared ahead and fiddled with the edge of his shirt.

"It's ok" Pepper assured him, noting his discomfort. "It was a long time ago and I've made my peace with it."

She took his left hand in her right, party to stop him from pulling out the whole seam, and partly because she just wanted to.

"When I hear thunder it just makes me remember the feeling of being scared from a child's viewpoint. It's more unsettling than anything," she decided.

Tony, happy that her tone had turned to the lighter side and that her hand was now resting in his, raised the remote to turn on the television.

Pepper, feeling relieved in sharing her story with Tony, felt a strange boldness and tilted her head against Tony's shoulder to watch the radar.

They were both thinking that perhaps the evening wouldn't be a total waste after all, then the power went out, plunging the room into total darkness.