A/N This is mostly just a babbling chapter…except for the end of this one…yeah…

Hope you enjoy!

Chapter One

"Tony…"

"No, Pepper."

"Pwease…"

"No."

"But-"

"I said no, Pep."

"But Eddy…"

"Don't call me that."

"Please, Eddy…"

"Patty."

"That name doesn't bother me. Unless you say it in public. Then I'd go super-nova on you."

Tony sighed, tearing his eyes away from the holographic schematics and turning his swivel chair to look at Pepper. "Pepper, I can't stress how bad of an idea it would be to give you your own armor equipped with weapons, when every time you touch the Iron Man repulsors, you turn my desk into a mini mushroom cloud. So, once again, no. At least until you can operate the repulsors and learn to fly without crashing into the wall and passing out."

Pepper pouted, jutting out her lower lip. "But I can learn…"

"And when you do, I'll make you your own armor. End. Of. Discussion." Tony turned back to the schematics, hoping Pepper would let it go for once. Yesterday, she had literally gotten on her knees and begged Tony for her own armor. And he would really like for her to have her own armor, but she was worse than Rhodey used to be when it came down to handling it.

"Okay. Fine," Pepper sighed. "But I'll have you know, one day, when you're backed up in a corner in some dark alley, you'll be all, "Oh no, Pepper, save me!" and I'll be all, "No, 'cause you didn't make me armor. And then you'll wish you had."

Tony snorted. "Yeah, o-kay, you keep on thinking that." He glanced at Pepper. "Have you finished your homework?"

"You know I haven't. Help me with science!"

Tony just smirked as he stood up and stretched, watching Pepper grab her textbook from her book bag. It was good that he had thought about the work before he started building a prototype, or he would've been gone mentally until it was finished.

"Did Rhodey say when he'd get back?" Pepper questioned as she plopped down on the couch Tony had dragged into the armory for his friends to use when he was busy inventing, opening her textbook on her lap.

"He said it'd be five-ish. The history debate team gets into a lot of arguments while they're practicing." Tony searched his desk for a pencil, rubbing the back of his neck. "Where is it-?"

"Looking for something?" Pepper asked, smiling and tapping her left ear. Tony's brow furrowed in confusion, and then he felt his ear and touched the blue mechanical pencil tucked behind it.

"I totally knew that was there," Tony shrugged, falling onto the couch and slipping Pepper's textbook onto his knees. "Now which questions're you having trouble with?"

"Let's see, um, one, two, three, four, and all of the others, too," Pepper grinned sheepishly. Tony gaped at her, flabbergasted.

"This is pre-school material!"

"Pre-school for you, high school for me. Now shut up and help me, or else I'll-"

Tony pressed a finger to Pepper's lips, sensing a rant approaching. "Okay, fine." He glanced at the first question, then sighed. "'What is an atom'?" Really?"

"Not all of us have such a big brain. Some of us are normal, not a crazy, mad-scientist."

"First of all, I am not crazy, I'm eccentric. There's a difference."

A hour passed by, and Tony had moved on from Pepper's science to checking her world history paper. Pepper would glance over every once in a while to see what he was marking up, and squinted to read his messy scrawl when he added little notes beside a paragraph. She only objected every once in a while, when she was sure she had gotten something right that Tony marked up.

"Hey, woah, wait. How is that wrong?" Pepper asked, pointing to a paragraph that Tony had just finished reading.

"You said Alexander the Great was Roman. And he didn't fall in love with Cleopatra the Seventh. I think you got him mixed up-"

"Oh, dang, lemme fix that!" Pepper cried, yanking the paper out of Tony's hands. Tony shrugged.

"Take it, I'm done. And that was written very nicely, by the way."

"Uh, thanks," Pepper said, blushing at Tony's comment, though she didn't know why. Tony stood up and paced a little, running his hands through his hair.

"Do you feel that?" Tony asked after a while, biting his lower lip and dropping his hands to his sides.

"Feel what?" Pepper asked, setting her textbook on the couch and stretching.

"I dunno, like something's just-wrong." Tony glanced around as though expecting someone to jump out at him. "I-I guess I'm just paranoid."

Pepper leapt up from the couch at once, making Tony jump. "Nuh-uh, don't go there. You're instincts are usually right, and if they're telling you something's wrong, then something's wrong." She looked at him. "What should we do?"

"Leave," Tony muttered, immediately grabbing his black backpack/armor and slipping it over his shoulders. Pepper didn't question his judgment. Although she thought it would be a better idea to face whatever danger Tony was sensing where they had the home advantage and were surrounded by weapons, Tony was usually right.

"C'mon," Tony whispered as Pepper gathered the last of her things, wrapping a protective arm around her and pulling her close, a clear sign to anyone who might be watching that Pepper was no going to be hurt while he could help it. As they exited the armory, Tony couldn't help but throw one last glance around.

Unfortunately, he didn't see the pair of beady red eyes staring back at him from the shadows.