Disclaimer: I do not own Iron Man nor George Canyon's song 'I Want You To Live', just copies of both Iron Man movies on DVD, and a CD that holds the song. Pity really, if I owned more than that, I wouldn't have to work...lol
A/N: Not really a song fic, but tightly based around it...if it would help, I suggest listening to it when you read it. Hope you enjoy it, read and please review, I wanna know what you think. Come on, if I didn't wanna know, why would I have posted it where you can comment on it?
Virginia "Pepper" Stark had one bad habit. She didn't drink. She didn't do drugs. She didn't even do something as boring as biting her nails. If you asked her husband, Anthony "Tony" Stark, he would say that her one bad habit was him. He would only be partly right.
Her bad habit was that she worried. She worries about Tony every time the phone rang and it was an agent from SHEILD or even the director, Nick Fury, himself, and he would don his Iron Man suit and fly off to help them with yet another mission.
She realized she wasn't the only person whose spouse went off to parts unknown to fight a bad guy that wasn't coming directly for their country, yet. She knew that those other spouses would be jealous of the fact that her husband was usually home again within a few days of being called out for a mission, not gone for months at a time, like the men and women of the military often were.
Tony had only left the morning before for a mission, so while she worried about his safety, she was not worried that he was not home yet. So she could not place the sense of dread that she suddenly felt when the phone rang just a few minutes after their two children left for school.
"Stark residence, Pepper speaking. How may I help you?"
"Mrs. Stark, this is Nick Fury."
"Mr. Fury, I am sorry, but Tony is already off on a mission for SHEILD."
"I am aware of that Mrs. Stark. That is what I am calling about. There was an unknown weapon, one that managed to take Iron Man out of the sky."
"His crash was witnessed and agents went to the sight immediately, but all they found his helmet and a large part of his chest plate. Both were heavily damaged. The agents have searched the area of his crash, and a wide area around it, but they have not found any more of his armor, nor have they found him."
"I am sorry, Mrs. Stark, but the agents that were there for the mission doubt that the crash was survivable even for him and his suit. However, we will continue looking for some time. There are no rebels in that area, and our agents were there within a short time of the crash, there was no sign that he was captured by anyone."
Pepper couldn't believe what she had just been told, Tony, her Tony, had been shot down and they were trying to find him. They were looking for his body. They figured he was dead!
Her hand that held the phone drew numbest first and the phone slipped from her fingers and hit the floor.
"Mrs. Stark? Mrs. Stark! Are you still there?" Pepper heard from the phone. Then she heard Jarvis take over the line and then nothing from the device, the AI had hung up the phone for her.
Pepper sank to her knees, tears running down her face. "TONY! NO!" she cried out.
"Mrs. Stark," Jarvis said, "I have tapped into the satellite's in the are that Mr. Stark was in, and I am using that data to aid in the search. But there was heavy cloud cover there for the past 24 hours, and it is making it harder to get the full data that I need."
"Thank you, Jarvis," Pepper managed to say through her tears and anguish.
The morning he left, Tony had kissed her, like he always did when he had a mission, trying to let her know that he will always love her, that he never wanted her to forget that . He kissed the kids on their foreheads, much to their son, Edward's, embarrassment, wished them a good day in school, and promised them that he would do an activity of each of the children's choosing when he returned, as he always did. It seemed to help them cope with his going away, planning something to look forward to when he returned.
Pepper never remembered how she did it, but she managed to somehow pull herself together before the kids came home from school. She even managed to keep it together until they had all had supper, and the kids had their homework done.
Then she sat them down, and told them the news about their father. She was unable to stop the tears that quietly ran down her face as she told them.
Edward fought the tears in his eyes. Long ago he had made himself a promise that he would be strong for his mother and younger sister if anything ever happened to his father.
Seeing his sister, Deanna, unable to help herself and begin to cry heavily, he reached out to her and pulled her into a hug, and let her cry on his shoulder. He felt his mother wrap her arms around them both. When he looked at his mother, he saw that she, herself, was trying to be strong for them. He made another vow to himself to keep an eye on her and be there when she finally broke down.
Pepper managed to get the kids ready for bed, though she had a hard time getting them to stay there. Usually Deanna was the one up, either looking for her mother or her brother. There were a few times though, that Pepper had caught Edward up, either checking in on his sister, or checking up on herself.
Finally, the only way that she could get them to go to bed and stay there, was to let them sleep in her and Tony's bed, with the promise that she would come there to sleep eventually too.
Though, honestly non of them truly expected her to be getting any sleep that night.
With the children finally settling down to try to get some sleep, Pepper did her usual night-time routine of tidying up the main living areas of the house.
With that task complete, she continued on to the lesser used rooms.
Finally when there was nothing left to tidy but Tony's workshop and their bedroom, she made her way downstairs to his workshop, since she was not going to risk waking the children if they had managed to fall asleep.
After all of their years together, she knew how to tell when he wasn't using an item of book in whatever project he was currently working on. Seeing the mess that he had left in the workshop, while not the biggest by any stretch, was enough to keep her busy for a short time.
As she gathered up the books and magazines, both for reference, and pleasure reading, touching the covers of each one, she remembered the feel of his skin under her hands, and of his work roughened hands on her skin.
There were a couple of his shirts that had been thrown against a wall, when he have carelessly tossed them after removing them while working on a project. As she picked one of them up, she held it to her nose. It smelled of sweat and grease, like all of his shirts did after he wore them in the workshop. But she could also smell a hint of his cologne. That told her that he had worn that shirt after they had been to some formal function, which made her think about being in each other's arms, dancing, which led her to think of other thing that they usually ended up doing after they had been out to a formal event.
Pepper shook herself from those thoughts and staggered a couple of steps, bumping into his desk, making the pictures that were on it rattle, and one of them fell over.
Putting the dirty shirts into the hamper that Tony had tucked away into a corner, Pepper then made her way back to his desk and picked up the picture that fell over. Turning it over in her hands to look at it, she saw it was from their honeymoon in Florida.
Thinking back to the time that the picture was taken, she felt tears fill her eyes again. She couldn't fight them any longer, and let them fall down her face.
"Tony, please! Come home to us! We need you here! I love you! TONY! I want you to live! I want you to know that we love you! I want you to hear you tell our children how much you love them! I want to hear you tell me how much you love me! God, I just want to see your smile! I always know things will be alright when I see your smile."
She knew that she couldn't go to bed this upset with the kids there. If they saw her this upset, she knew that they would be even more so, and she knew that they needed their sleep to help them get through the coming day.
She felt the emotional drain of the day's events and decided to lay down on the couch that Tony kept in the workshop.
Finding it much too quiet in the house with Tony sleeping and the kids two floors above sleeping, Pepper decided that maybe some music was in order. And she knew just what would suit her mood right then. "Jarvis, play the George Canyon mix, and shuffle it please."
"Right away, Mrs. Stark," replied the disembodied British voice.
Song after song played, and Pepper began to feel her eyes droop, though she actually fought sleep. When the song, 'I Want You To Live' started to play, the words struck Pepper, because the video jumped into her memory as well.
She swore that she kept hearing noises that almost sounded like the robots that removed Tony's armor, but she couldn't bring herself to look in fear that she actually dreamed it.
"God, please, help him find his way home! I don't know how I would be able to continue through life without him here!"
Just as the chorus began for the final time, Pepper's eyes popped open when not only George Canyon's voice sang the words, but Tony's as well. "I want you to live, I want you to love, I want you to go on and not give up! I want you to live, I want you to try, I want you to know that I'm alright!"
She had turned her head when she first heard his voice and saw him about ten feet away, walking across the room towards her. She didn't waste any time and jumped up off the couch and met him half way across the room.
He pulled her into his arms and hugged her close, ignoring the pain that came from the bruises that was now covering most of his body, not to mention the few sprains and strains that he knew he had.
"Tony! Please don't let me be dreaming! Tell me that you are really here!"
"Pepper, I'm here, I'm safe, I'm home!"
"What had happened to you? They told me that you were shot from the sky! They had only found your helmet and part of your chest piece! That was the last I was told! That was this morning, shortly after the kids left for school!"
"SHEILD agents found me miles from where I crashed. I figured that if I stayed there, the people that shot me down would be there soon to check out their handiwork. The chest piece was too damaged to allow me to move properly, and the HUD in the helmet was dead, and I destroyed it so that the technology couldn't be copied. I flew low to the ground to keep from being seen."
"Without my helmet functioning, I didn't have a way to contact my mission-mates, Fury, or even you."
"They had started looking for me as soon as I went down, but they were unable to launch a full search for me until the fighting had ended, and that was only a few hours ago."
"Why didn't they call me again and let me know that they had found you? I have been going out of my mind waiting to hear any news!"
"I know , Pepper, and I am sorry, I asked them not to call you."
"What! Tony, why?"
"I had hoped that you would actually be trying to sleep. I didn't want to wake you or the kids. I knew that if you were actually sleeping, and were woken up, you would sit up and wait for me until I got back. I had no idea how long that could have taken. You know what SHEILD is like for debriefings. I figured they would hold me there for hours, but instead they said they would give me a few days, then an agent would be over to talk with me."
They stood quietly for sometime and just held each other in their arms, listening to each other noises of life, drinking in the warmth and comfort the other offered.
After hearing Pepper stifle a yawn, Tony stepped back and took her hand, gently pulling her along. "Come one, let's head to bed. You really need some sleep, and so do I. But first, I need a shower.
After few steps, Pepper stopped, pulling back on his arm and his strained shoulder, causing him to wince slightly. "Sorry Tony, but I just remembered that the kids are sleeping in our bed."
"It was the only way I could get them to go to bed and stay there I promised that I would be to bed eventually too, to sleep, but my mind just wouldn't settle and my body felt full of nervous energy. I knew that I most likely wouldn't sleep, so I stayed up and cleaned whatever messes I could find. Your workshop was the only place left in the house, besides our room."
Tony smirked, "Pepper, dear, you are rambling. Go, keep your promise to our children. And I will make one to my wife. I promise that I will be in to join my family in sleep once I get out of the shower," he said, as he gave a gentle tug on her arm to get her moving.
"I don't want to let you out of my sight right now. I mean, what if I am dreaming all of this, and when I really do wake up, I am still on that couch in your workshop and you are still missing, or worse, found dead!"
"Pepper, as much as I would love to have you in the shower with me, I don't think that I have the strength to get us both, showered, dried, redressed and into bed, because I am sure that you would fall asleep on me in there."
"Besides, there's one sure way to see if this is just a dream," he said, then smirked slightly and a mischief twinkled in his eyes as he reached behind her, and pinched her butt. At her jump and squeak, he added, "Yup, you are really awake, and not dreaming this."
Too tired to retaliate, Pepper just sighed for now, if she remembered that in the morning, she would pay him back then. "Alright, Tony, but please don't take too long. I don't want to have gotten you back only to have you fall asleep in the shower and drown."
Placing a gentle kiss on his wife's lips, he then promised that he wouldn't be too long, then he pushed her in the direction of the stairs that led to the main level of the house. Then he continued guiding her to the doorway of their room. "Go, get ready for bed. I will be in soon, and we can all get some sleep."
They parted ways. Pepper headed to her closet to find some sleepwear and change into it, then she got ready for sleep and climbed into bed. Tony made his way to their bathroom, and had a quick shower, dried and put on a pair of sleep pants and undershirt that he had already in there. Then he made his way to the bed, and climbed in behind his wife.
Pepper refused to let sleep take her until she felt him climb into the bed behind her, and put his arm around her, pulling he back towards him.
"Good night, Tony. I love you," Pepper whispered to her husband.
"Good night, Pep. I love you, too," Tony whispered back.
Edward and Deanna both wondered when they had felt someone climb into bed AND heard the shower running. But when the bed dipped again, they both knew that their father had returned home. They op opened their eyes and looked at each other, and smiled to each other when they saw the glow and shadows from the technology that their father had in his chest. Their smiles widened when they heard him whisper, "Good night, Edward! Good night, Deanna!"
They both whispered back, "Night, Dad!" They also whispered a good night to their mother, but knew that she was already asleep and wouldn't answer them back. Then they fell into a happy sleep because their father was home, safe and sound!
Pepper smiled in her sleep because her family was once again back together.
Tony smiled as he fell asleep because he was home with a family that loved him almost as much as he loved them. That is why he took the missions, to keep the evil that he faced away from them. He did not want to chance having his children fight in a war that he could have prevented. He did not want to risk losing them to the evil that he had once been a part of, through those in his company that had not minded selling his weapons to the enemy. He did not want to risk losing them to a weapon that held their family's name on it.
He wanted them to live!