So this is something that stemmed from the Q&A thing that Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr did at the Hero Complex Film Festival. Basically, Favreau wanted the opening of IM2 to be as follows, but because of 'money issues' or something **, they had to cut it out. Same for the 'You complete me' scene. The anger I felt at this, along with OpheliusRex's, spawned this little doozy. I acted as Tony, she as Pepper, and we both hope you enjoy it, along with part two which is coming shortly.

…as is the epilogue for Snuff as soon as I find the bloody memory stick I saved it on.


'Oh shit.'

That one sentence accurately described Tony Stark's first thought as he opened his eyes, turned to his left and saw an all too familiar pool of sunset-orange hair spilling across the pillow next to him. His second thought was similar to the first, with just a touch more deer-in-the-headlights panic to go along with it.

He held his breath. Why? Because apparently if he did so, either a) Pepper would vanish into this air, b) he would vanish into thin air, or c) time would reverse itself to before whatever horrendously intoxicated state of mind the both of them had been in to get to the here and now, and something would stop them.

None of these things happened, of course. What did happen was that Tony then forgot to actually continue breathing, leading to an overly loud exhale and an equally obnoxious inhale, which then resulted in Pepper waking up, turning over and her eyes damn near popping out of her head.

'Oh shit.'


This was bad. This was beyondbad.

Ten years, she'd made it ten freaking yearswithout succumbing to Tony's bad-boy appeal and dark Italian charm. She'd purposely ignored every single attractive feature on his body (which literally only excluded his feet and toes) that most women couldn't stop looking at. She had refused his many (usually intoxicated) advances, she'd been able, even, to avoid this whole new Tony that had come back from Afghanistan.

Until last night, apparently. And she knew this wasn't just an 'oops I fell asleep in your bed' sort of thing because she was already sore and she hadn't actually moved yet. And then the night before came rushing back to her memory in ridiculous detail and the heat rushed to her face as she exhaled, "Oh, shit."


Under normal circumstances, her outburst would have been funny. Virginia Potts swearing? Heaven forbid.

Of course, if they were talking things that should be forbidden, this was definitely up there with the big boys.

That's probably how this started, Tony thought as he stared at the wide eyed woman next to him. Forbidden things didn't usually stay forbidden for long around Tony. Quite clearly.

He cleared his throat and swallowed, still unable to move an inch.

"Hi..."


She couldn't help it, the anxiety and the hangover were well on their way already to making her a raging bitch. She narrowed her eyes, tugging the duvet closer to her (as if he hadn't already seen it all, Jesus Christ this was so embarrassing). "Hi? Hi?"

The look on his face was so shocked and even a little bit hurt that she immediately felt bad. "Tony," she continued after a moment, "Do you remember last night? At all?" Because she did and she certainly didn't want to have to explain things to him. She'd get up and run but she wasn't 100% sure she could walk without limping and she also wasn't sure where her clothes were. Or if they were intact. She can vaguely remember him ripping something off of her and her insisting he'd have to buy her a new…whatever it was.


Did he remember last night?

Well there was a question and a half.

The way she was looking at him though...yeah, this was most definitely his fault.

He remembered lumbering upstairs at around twenty to eight and finding Pepper still glued to her laptop. He remembered prying said laptop away from her, much to her annoyance, and putting a deadlock on it so she could stop freaking working for a second. He remembered offering her a drink while she frantically tried to hack back in to her laptop using some of the tricks he'd taught her. He remembered about half an hour later offering her another drink when she'd given up. And then things started to get fuzzy.

He knew they'd started respectably enough - he'd had scotch on the rocks, she'd had a half glass of white wine. He knew they'd laughed. A lot. After he'd gotten that look on her face the first time, he'd found it hard to stop and kept finding stupid jokes that had locked themselves away in the very pit of his mind. He vaguely remembered suggesting they play tennis on the Wii and then...

Oh.

Oh yeah.

'You kissed me.'


She raised an eyebrow at him, this close to glaring.

Yes. She had kissed him. She remembered kissing him, but he was sort of missing the point. "Yeah, aftertwo glasses of white wine and you hitting me in the head with a Wii controller. How great could my judgement have been?" Oh, ouch. Yeah, that had hurt him. And despite it all she really didn't want to see that look on his face. Besides which she had barely been buzzed and it had been mostly her fault.

She rolled onto her back and sighed deeply, closing her eyes. "Okay, let's…just…think this through. Um…" she opened her eyes and sat up, keeping the duvet with her because…well, she was still way too embarrassed. "Where are my…?" And there they were. Her clothes and his clothes, strewn all over the floor, and yep, there was her favourite blouse, ripped apart, buttons all over the place. And she couldn't for the life of her find her thong among the mess.

With a huff of frustration she flopped back onto the bed, covering her eyes with the back of her arm, speechless.


"How great could my judgement have been?"

Huh. Well wasn't that a slap in the face?

He watched her as she realised what she'd said, barely listening to her rambling as the pain behind her words settled in.

This he hadn't been expecting. Granted, he hadn't been expecting any of it, but when she'd kissed him...things started happening. His tummy went funny, for one, and his chest had tightened. Of course, that could have been down to those weird lines that had started forming around his chest. He should probably get Jarvis to look into that.

One problem at a time Stark.

Pepper slumped back down next to him and he sighed. He was at a loss as to what to do. Not only was he not used to still being here when his lay woke up, but he was very not used to it being Pepper. He turned his head to look at her, seeing her staring up at the ceiling, duvet clutched to her chest like her life depended on it, and he sighed.

His brain finally kicked into gear and formulated a sentence for him, but strangely, he strongly disagreed with it.

'So...I'll close my eyes, you...do...whatever you have to and we both just...forget it?'


She couldn't help the massive wave of relief that rushed through her at his suggestion. "Yes," she answered, finally able to get enough air into her lungs to form a coherent thought, "let's…yeah." She waited until he'd closed his eyes to leap out of bed and start scooping clothes off the floor, hoping she was grabbing hers and not his, and running barefoot into his closet before closing the door behind her.

"Okay," she called out, looking down at the tattered remains of her shirt. How was she supposed to go anywhere like that? Even home? And she still couldn't find her thong. It hadn't occurred to her that it could still be in his bed.

The skirt looked ridiculous with her shirt hanging so loosely off of her, the black fabric of her plain bra peeking out. With a sigh, she rested her head on the closet door. "Tell me when you're decent," she requested. Yeah, she was definitely sore, but she wasn't bow-legged sore. It had been too long- that had to have been it, that had to have been why she'd done it. It had been a very, very long time, and Tony was so willing… and she was such an idiot.


The way she hastily agreed to just drop the entire subject also did things to his stomach and chest, and he was damn sure it wasn't whatever was up with the arc. He opened his eyes as soon as he heard the closet door slam shut and sighed, pushing himself up and surveying the room, instantly spotting Pepper's black lace thong dangling from one of the handles in his chest of drawers. The small sense of pride was dulled somewhat by the events that had just transpired, but Pepper's request of him to make himself decent snapped him out of it, and he, swung his legs over the side of the bed, heading for the chest of drawers and pulling a fresh pair of boxers out of it before cautiously removing the thong.

He debated leaving it there and telling her where it was, but that seemed a little cold. He could hand them to her, but that was just plain inappropriate, even considering the fact that they'd acquired very intimate knowledge of one another over the course of the night. More than once, his brain served up. That must be why he was a little achy. It'd been damn close to a year since the last time he'd indulged in that particular exercise. So, turning back to the thong, he did the only thing he could think of that would dismiss, or at any rate delay any further awkwardness.

He hid it in his underwear drawer.

'Alright.' He called out afterwards. 'I'm...less naked.'


She rolled her eyes and opened the door, frowning slightly when she saw him standing there in a pair of boxers. "Less naked is not the same thing as decent," she pointed out a little huffily, a blush rising in her cheeks again. She was only complaining because of the things just looking at him did to her. When had he gotten so…buff? After Afghanistan? It had to be because of the Suit, because his arms especially…stop it.

She dragged her eyes back up to his face and swallowed hard, trying her best to forget the fact that she wasn't wearing any underwear and her shirt was literally ripped to shreds. "You owe me a new one of these," she gestured awkwardly, "but other than that… let's just not…talk about this. Okay?"


Tony's stomach did a back flip as Pepper stepped out of the closet and his chest tightened again, something he knew this time wasn't attributed to the arc.

Pepper was an attractive woman, he knew this. He'd known this since forever, so why was he feeling so...

Oh.

Damn.

Tony stark, serial man slut and borderline sexual deviant, was in love with Pepper Potts.

Of course he was, how could he not be? She'd been there for him when he needed her most, through everything. She could have, and probably should have left dozens, even hundreds of times over the last ten plus years, but she was still here. She was beautiful, kind, the most honest and decent woman he'd ever known.

He didn't want to forget about it. He didn't want to sweep it under the carpet and pretend it never happened. He wanted to do it again, and more than that, he -wanted- to stay afterwards. He wanted to hold her, to bury his nose in her hair as he pulled her to his chest. He wanted to fall asleep completely wrapped around her and wake up to those gorgeous marine blue eyes every day. He wanted her.

Tell her, his brain supplied. Tell her how you feel.

But he couldn't. How could he? No way was he good enough for her. Her reaction when he'd suggested they just forget about it was evidence enough that she couldn't trust him as far as she could throw him, and anyway, who was to say she even felt the same? She'd said it herself, her judgement was impaired. If she hadn't have been drunk, and possibly concussed, this never would have happened. If anything, he'd taken advantage, even if she'd kissed him first.

He was just lucky she wasn't suing him or something.

So, even though his heart was finally finding its voice and screaming at him to drop to his knees and confess everything to her...his brain won out, and he nodded, trying to convince his vocal chords that he meant his next words.

'Sounds good to me.'


She wasn't 100% convinced that he wasn't planning something- he'd given up too easily to leave her with a clear conscience. She didn't have much time to dwell on it though, because literally three days later her entire world spun out of control.

First she had to convince herself that he was making her CEO not because she had slept with him but because he thought she was actually capable of running his company. Then she had to convince herself that she hadn'tbeen about to cry when the crazy guy with electrical whips had him around the throat right in front of her. In fact, she'd been fighting it so long and hard that she wasn't sure why she was surprised when it dawned on her, on the way back from Monaco, sitting across from him in his private jet-

"Not everybody runs on batteries, Tony."

She was in love with him. It actually shocked her more that she had come to that conclusion not in a moment of drama- not when he was fighting Stane, not when he was trying to save the world, not when he was recklessly driving his stupidrace car just to prove he could- but in a moment of calm. A moment of connection. God, she was so in love with him that it made her entire body ache.

But she wasn't going to say a word about it. She wasn't going to change anything about her usual demeanour, because he hadn't breathed a single word to her about the night they'd spent ripping off each other's clothes and doing completely frustrated sexual things to each other. She would not acknowledge her feelings for Tony Stark.No ifs, ands, or buts.

But… he was so different now. And she wasn't sure he'd break her heart anymore.

If she could find a moment to take a breath and think about something other than Vanko, Hammer, or Ruschman (who she was convinced had been sent literally just to make Tony rip out her heart and stomp all over it), maybe she'd find a way to tell him.