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Typical Disclaimer: Unfortunately, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and all those people at Marvel own the rights to Tony and the gang. I just own my OC.
Chapter 4: Suit Up
I woke up while it was still dark outside, or the windows were just still dimmed. I wasn't quite sure. I tried to roll over and look at the clock when I realized there was an arm around my waist and it tightened a bit. I panicked for a minute before remembering I was in Tony's bed, with Tony's arm protectively covering me. I tried to roll over again, but the arm tightened around me and I heard Tony mumble for me to go back to sleep. I smiled before closing my eyes and drifting back to sleep.
The next time I woke up, there was no arm around me. There was no heat up against my back. I rolled onto my back and looked over at the clock, it telling me that it was just after ten in the morning. My eyes caught something sitting on the pillow next to me. It was a piece of paper. Tony had sloppily scrawled that he hadn't wanted to wake me, he would be back later, that he was going to talk to Rhodey, and that he and I had something to work on later. It was his first day back and he already wanted to start on a project. I couldn't say I was surprised. Tony spent more time in his garage workshop than he did anywhere else.
I sat up in bed and let out a breath. I could happily go through the day without searching for Tony. I knew he'd be home later and I knew he wasn't in any danger. It was a relief not having to get up and search the Middle East for seventeen or eighteen hours. I climbed out of the bed and decided I'd cook some breakfast. I made my way to the kitchen and started to prepare a nice, big omelet. I'd have to gain this weight back somehow. I didn't like being this small. My clothes were basically falling off of me. I waited patiently as the omelet cooked, flipping it when need be, and then sat at the island in the middle of the kitchen and ate to my heart's content.
Once I was finished with breakfast, I headed to my room for a shower. I didn't know how long he would be with Rhodey, and I couldn't have him think I was being a vegetable all day. As I was cleaning myself off, I began to wonder what Tony would want to work on. I knew after what happened at the press conference and what we had talked about, he wouldn't want to build any weaponry for the government. Maybe he just wanted to start a random project so we could spend some time together while he was lying low. I decided to quit thinking about it and shut the shower off. Grabbing a towel, I wrapped it around myself. I grabbed a smaller one to dry my hair as I walked. I left the bathroom and turned to my closet, not noticing Tony lying on my bed.
"You'll run my water bill up with showers like that," Tony said. "I've been out here for forty-five minutes."
I jumped and screamed, immediately trying to cover myself, until I realized it was Tony. I sighed in relief and turned back to my closet. "Tony, don't scare me like that! And you're a billionaire, Tony. I highly doubt I'll shower you out of house and home."
He chuckled as he jumped off the bed and walked over to me. He laid his chin on my shoulder as we both scanned my closet. "Are you ready for our project?"
I glanced over at him and then back to the closet. "Is this a 'just-for-fun-so-we-can-hang-out-project' or a 'new-Stark-Industries-project?' I've been wondering."
He shrugged. "You could put it in the former, but take out the 'for fun' part. This is serious business."
I turned around as he removed his head from my shoulder. "What are you planning, Tony?"
He had a very serious look on his face. "It's something big, Jess." I had never seen him so serious about anything. "I'm going to grab a quick bite from the kitchen. I'll meet you in the shop." He gave me a quick peck on the cheek before leaving the room.
I turned back to my closet and grabbed some athletic shorts and one of Tony's old t-shirts. Not many of my clothes fit me anymore, so this would have to do. It wasn't unlike what I'd normally wear in the shop anyway. I threw them on over my underwear and made my way to the stairs that went to the workshop. Tony was cleaning off his desk again as I entered my code to let in and could now hear Tony talking to his machines.
"Did I not just clean this desk off? How did you manage to make a mess of it already?" He said to the mechanical arm. It made a low sound like it was sad.
I chuckled at the sight. I always found it hilarious when he talked to his machines like that. Tony turned to me and smiled. "Are you done bullying your gadgets?"
He let out an exasperated sigh for effect. "I guess I am. Are you ready to start?" I nodded. He took a seat at his desk and ran a hand over his keyboard, bringing it to life. "JARVIS, you up?"
His British accent came through the speakers. "For you, sir, always." He paused for a second. "And good afternoon, Miss Willows."
"Good afternoon, JARVIS," I replied. He was definitely my favorite of Tony's inventions. I leaned onto the desk next to Tony. "So what are we doing?"
He began to pull some files up on his computer. They were files I'd never seen before. As they began to come up, one in particular caught my eye. It looked like a giant suit of armor. He looked up at me. "This is what we're doing." He turned back to the computer screens, grabbing his cool clicker pen. "I'd like to open a new project file, index as Mark Two." He clicked on the suit of armor diagram and began to drag it to his hologram table.
"Shall I store this on the Stark Industries Central Database?" JARVIS asked. I assumed we wouldn't be.
Tony stood up and we both walked over to the hologram table with the suit of armor now displayed on it. "Aside from Jess, I don't know who to trust right now. Till further notice, why don't we just keep everything on my private server?"
I looked up at Tony. "Don't know who to trust?"
He nodded, not taking his eyes off of the hologram. "I feel like something big is happening, I'm just not sure what."
JARVIS interrupted us. "Working on a secret project, are we, sir?"
He flipped the helmet of the hologram up and began to remove unnecessary things from the blueprint. "I don't want this winding up in the wrong hands." He turned it around and removed the thrusters from the back. "Maybe in mine it can actually do some good."
It finally hit me. "Tony, is this how you escaped that cave?"
He nodded, his eyes still on the remaining parts of the blueprint, only the necessities remaining. "I powered it with the arc reactor. It just needs some improvements." I stopped Tony from touching the hologram, and that got his attention, his eyes now on me. "What?"
"If I'm going to help you, I want you to be completely honest with me. What are your plans for this thing? Because if this is something that's going to get you killed, I want no part in it."
He stared at me for a few moments. "I honestly haven't thought it all the way through."
I sighed before turning back to the hologram and removing the inefficient thrusters in the feet of the armor. "Then let's get to work."
We decided we'd work from the bottom up, so we started with the segment of the armor that would go from the feet to the top of the calves. Tony wanted me to make sure it was compact, but wouldn't squeeze him too much, and once I was done with the design, he started working on how to fit the propulsion system into it. Once we were finished, we took a step back from the hologram table and looked at our design. We both smiled at it and began to piece it together into a tangible thing. We gathered what supplies we would need from around the workshop and then took our seats on either side of this work desk. I worked on putting the outer shell together, while Tony and the mechanical arm, Dummy, as he called it, worked on the wiring. I was quickly done with the frame that would hold it all in place, and they began tedious soldering the contraption together. As they were working on it, I began working on the frame of the other leg. I was quickly done with that one as well.
"Jess, work on getting some hand controls set up."
My eyes widened. "You're not going to run diagnostics on them first?"
He smirked without looking up from the boot. "Well what would be the fun in that?" I stood there, still uncertain. "Well chop, chop. I want to get this done before sunset, sweet cheeks." I stood there, one hand now on my hip. He looked up after he realized what he'd said. "I mean, dear best friend, won't you please do me the biggest favor of setting up some hand controllers so I may test our fine invention?"
I smiled. "That's better." I walked over to another desk after getting what few supplies it would take to build a couple of handheld controllers. I just needed a wire that would connect them to the arc reactor, which would then connect to the thrusters in the boots. I walked over to Tony's table and grabbed a couple of long black cables with just the right wiring I would need.
"Hey! I might have needed those," Tony protested.
I just sent him a smile and went back to my table. I connected the wires to the controllers and then found a belt that I would use to connect the wires to the arc reactor. Once Tony was done, I called him over to the table so I could begin fastening the belt on him and around the arc reactor. We got it on without difficulty and the wires connected easily. I handed him the controllers and then saw that the cables were loose. My eyes landed on some electrical tape, and I taped the wires to upper arms.
I smiled at him. "Tape."
We walked over to his work station and, after some hard effort, got his feet and legs into the boots. I then connected the other cables to the boots so the hand controllers could operate them. Once I was done, I took a step back, and Tony and I looked down at our work. We smiled at each other. Step one was complete.
Tony got a gleam in his eye. "This will be awesome. Jess, get a camera set up."
I begrudgingly got things set up and gave Dummy a fire extinguisher. "You're to douse him if he catches fire. Got it?" It responded with a high pitch noise, which I hoped was good. I stepped back as Tony made his way over. I switched on the camera.
Tony started toward the center of where the camera was pointed. "Okay, let's do this right."
"Doing it right would be running diagnostics, Tony," I tried reasoning.
"This will be fine. Start mark, half a meter, and back to center." He let out an excited breath and turned to Dummy. "Dummy, look alive. You're on standby for fire safety."
I rolled my eyes. "He knows, Tony."
He turned back to me. "Quit being grumpy. This will be fine." He looked at the camera. "You, roll it."
"It's rolling, Tony."
He ignored me as he flicked a switch on his belt. "Okay. Activate hand controls." He began to prepare himself. "We're gonna start off nice an easy. We're gonna see if 10% thrust capacity achieves lift."
"I still don't think that will be enough."
Tony looked over at me. "Well, should I up it?"
I held my hands up. "You're testing it. You do what you want. Just don't be disappointed if all it does is send out a few sparks."
"We'll stay at 10%." He steadied himself again. "In three, two, one."
Suddenly, Tony was sent flying up and backwards. He hit the wall with a gigantic force and fell behind a couple of his tool chests. I let out a shriek as Dummy began to spray him and I ran over to Tony. He was groaning but laughing at the same time, so I counted that as a good sign.
"Dummy, would you stop!" The machine immediately stopped. I got down next to Tony and helped him into a sitting position. "Oh my… You're not hurt are you?" I began examining everything I could.
He continued chuckling at me. "Just a few sparks?"
"Shut up, Tony. Are you okay?"
He started to stand up, and I helped him. "Oh, just peachy. That was fun." He dusted himself off. "But don't try that."
I looked at his face to see blood trickling down from his hairline. "Tony, you're bleeding." I pulled him over to a stool as fast as the heavy boots would allow him to move. "Sit." I left him there as I quickly made my way over to the cabinet with the first aid kit. I grabbed it and was back to Tony in a flash. I dug through, trying to find what I would need.
"Would you quit making a fuss? It's just a little blood."
I ignored his protests and continued digging until I found a cloth and an antiseptic wipe. As soon as I touched the wound, he winced. "Baby." I wiped it free of the blood and proceeded to wipe the wound with the antiseptic wipe. Tony made a hissing noise, and I had to laugh. I realized how close I was to Tony now and how his eyes had yet to leave my face. I directed my attention back to the wound, dabbing at it even though it was now fine. Tony grabbed my wrist and brought my hand away from the wound. I looked at him again.
He cleared his throat. "You know, all that time in Afghanistan got me thinking. I can't keep-"
I cut him off. For some reason, I didn't want this to turn away from the project. "A flight stabilizer."
He tried not to look hurt from me stopping him, but his eyes betrayed him. "That's exactly what I was thinking." He got off the stool and started to get out of the boots. "First, you need to eat. I don't need you getting any skinnier."
I rolled my eyes. "Yes, Mom." Once he got the boots off, I grabbed his hand and started walking to the door. "If I'm eating, you're eating too. We'll make some sandwiches and come back down."
He smiled at me, knowing I was right that he needed a break as well. We'd been working for quite some time. The sun had set, risen, and set again by the time we were done with the two boots.
It took us days to even perfect the design for the flight stabilizers. Every time we'd think we were finished, we'd test them find something wrong with the design. Half the time, we would just trash the entire thing and start over. We had also decided we'd stock the fridge in the workplace so we wouldn't have to keep going upstairs to get food. Tony made sure I ate when I was supposed to and ordered me to take naps when he'd catch me dozing off, but he would just power through, drinking unhealthy amounts of coffee. I'd occasionally leave the shop to go shower and use the bathroom, because I couldn't stand how gross my hair felt after not washing it for a couple of days. I was pretty sure I was repulsing Tony as well.
On our eighth day working on the design for the flight stabilizer, we finally felt like we had it right. Tony used his clicker pen to throw the pieces of the design together on the hologram table and once it was together, he stuck his arm inside and gave it a look. I smiled at how well it looked. It was time to put it together.
I worked on the bottom of the frame first and then attached the part that would go over the top, while Tony worked on the wiring and actual stabilizer that would fit on his palm. Pepper kept trying to buzz us to come up, but Tony told me to just ignore it. I felt bad for ignoring her like that, but we did have a lot of work to get done. I set up the frame so he could work with it while his arm sat in it. I finished the second frame on a second desk. I was taking a coffee break while Tony strapped himself into the first one I'd given him. I looked over and saw Pepper coming down the stairs with a box wrapped in brown paper and a coffee mug on top, all balanced on her clipboard. Tony was just getting the stabilizer strapped on when she opened the door.
I walked over to her and questioned her about the box. "Is that it?" She nodded before walking over to Tony and setting the stuff down.
"I've been buzzing you. Did you hear the intercom?" She asked.
He was distracted by the stabilizer. "Yeah, everything's… What?" I let out a giggle.
"Great! Great. I'll be right up."
I looked at her confused. "Why is he here?"
My question went unanswered. "What would you like me to tell him?"
Tony lifted his right arm, which was now encased by the stabilizer, with his left. He used his left arm to keep it steady before letting go. "You're testing it now?"
He shrugged. "Why not?"
He looked between us and then back to Tony. "I thought you said you were done making weapons."
"It's not a weapon."
"She's right. This is a flight stabilizer." He pushed the button that would send a burst to it. "It's completely harmless."
Both Pepper and I covered our ears as Tony was sent flying back. I immediately went over to help him up. "I didn't expect that."
Once he was off the floor, I turned to Pepper. "After I get him out of this, we'll be right up."
She nodded at me, still shocked by what had just happened and turned to leave. She quickly got to the door and ascended the stairs, sneaking looks back at us.
"Good job, Tony," I laughed.
He laughed too. "I really didn't expect that."
I sat his arm back in the props and helped him take the stabilizer off. "We'll find a way to tone the power down." The frame opened and Tony quickly removed his arm, shaking the shock out of it. I removed the belt that fed the power to it, and we both made our way up the stairs. When we got to the top, we saw that Obadiah was playing the piano.
"How'd it go?" Tony immediately asked.
I looked up. "How'd what go?"
Tony spotted a box of pizza on the table and walked over to it. "It went that bad, huh?"
I was still slightly confused. "What went bad?" Tony handed me a slice of pizza, which I accepted, and I decided to drop my questions.
"Just because I brought pizza back from New York doesn't mean it went bad."
"Sure doesn't," he replied, taking a seat on the couch, happily taking a slice of pizza for himself. I sat down next to him and began to eat on my slice.
"It would have gone better if you were there," Obadiah called from the piano.
Tony protested as he took a bite. "You told me to lay low. That's what I've been doing. I lay low, and you take care of all the…"
Obadiah cut him off. "Hey, come on. In public. The press." He made his way over to us. His face was serious. "This was a board of directors meeting."
Tony looked up from his slice. "This was a board of directors meeting?" I was shocked as well.
Obadiah took a seat. He sighed. "The board is claiming you have posttraumatic stress. They're filing an injunction."
Tony was as confused as I was. "A what?" We asked at the same time.
"They want to lock you out, Tony."
Tony rolled his eyes. "Why, because the stocks dipped 40 points? We knew that was gonna happen."
Pepper spoke up. "Fifty-six and a half."
Tony turned to her. "It doesn't matter. We own the controlling interest in the company."
Obadiah sighed. "Tony, the board has rights, too. They're making the case that you and your new direction-"
"And what exactly is wrong with his new direction?" I asked.
Obadiah looked at me, annoyed. "That you and your new direction isn't in the company's best interest."
"I'm being responsible! That's a new direction for me," he quickly caught himself, "for the company." We all looked at him as he tried to explain himself. I was on his side, though. "I mean, me on the company's behalf being responsible for the way that…" Pepper and Obadiah continued to wait for him to finish. He looked at me. "This is great." He stood up, grabbed the pizza box with one hand and my wrist with the other. "Come on. We'll be in the shop."
Obadiah quickly stood up and grabbed Tony's shoulder. "Tony, I'm trying to turn this thing around, but you gotta give me something. Something to pitch them." He pointed at Tony's chest. "Let me have the engineers analyze that. You know, draw up some specs." Tony protested. "It'll give me a bone to throw the boys in New York!"
Tony was not letting Obadiah win this one. "No. Absolutely not. This one stays with me. That's it, Obie. Forget it." Tony went to move again.
Obadiah grabbed the pizza box. "All right, well this stays with me, then." He opened the box for us though. "Go on, here, you guys can have a piece."
Tony grabbed one and waited for me. "I'm taking two," I said, grabbing two slices, making Obadiah laugh. "Growing girls gotta eat." Tony pulled me with him toward the stairs.
"You mind if I come down there and see what you two are doing?" Obadiah called.
"Good night, Obie," we both called back.
When we got back down to the workshop, we finished off our pizza. Tony walked back over to the table with the stabilizer and started working on it again. We'd been down here in the shop for ten days and I knew Tony would want to do a full test soon. I decided it was time we leave. I walked over to him and took his screwdriver out of his hand.
"You can work more on this tomorrow, but I haven't had a real sleep in almost two weeks. I thought since you were back I would actually sleep better." He was about to protest. "We can run a full test in the morning, but you need rest as much as I do." I grabbed his arm and started pulling him toward the door. "Come on. Think of that nice comfortable mattress upstairs." He sighed and finally gave in.
I pulled him up the stairs with ease and let go once we were at the top. We both started down the hallway and I was about to walk past his room, when I felt Tony's hand grab my wrist. I turned back, confused as to why he stopped me.
"You're not gonna sleep in here tonight?" He asked, looking upset.
I smiled at him. I hadn't intended on sleeping in his bed, but if that's what he wanted, I wouldn't object. "I'm just going to go change."
He shook his head and scooped me up. I laughed at his antics. "What you're wearing is fine. Time to sleep." He walked us into his room and threw me onto the bed. He walked over to his dresser and opened one of the drawers, pulling out what he'd be wearing for the night. He started to change, and I got under the blankets and curled myself up in them. A few seconds later, I felt the other side of the bed dip down and Tony crawled onto the bed. He slowly slid his arm around my waist and pulled me toward him a bit. I rolled over in his arms to look at him.
"This is fine, right?" He asked, unsure.
I nodded. "Why would you ask?"
He pulled me a bit closer. "I was just checking. It makes me feel better if we sleep like this. I feel like I can protect you."
"I don't always need protecting, Tony," I whispered as I started to fall asleep.
"I know, but I'm gonna do it anyway," he whispered back.
The last things I felt before sleep took me were my best friend's lips against my forehead and a tingling sensation making its way through my body.
I was woken by Tony nudging me. I opened my eyes to see him out of bed and ready to get downstairs. He held out a muffin for me, which I took and told me when I was ready, he'd be downstairs, ready to test the thrusters and flight stabilizers. I nodded and he was out of the room.
I made my way down to my room, placed the muffin on my bedside table and showered quickly. I dressed just as quickly as I'd showered and left my hair damp. I grabbed the muffin and quickly made my way down to the workshop. I was just as ready to see what this would do. When I got down and opened the door, I saw Tony was already strapped into the boots and the stabilizers.
"Ready to go, I see," I said as I took a bite of the muffin.
"More than ready. Here we go." He took a deep breath. "Day 11, test 37, configuration 2.0. For lack of a better option, Dummy is still on fire safety." He pointed toward the machine. "If you douse me again, and I'm not on fire, I'm donating you to a city college."
I scoffed. "Lack of a better option? What am I?"
"First aid," he replied without missing a beat. "All right, nice and easy. Seriously, just gonna start off with 1% thrust capacity." He readied himself for what might happen. "And three, two, one." The thrusters and stabilizers came to life, sparking. Tony was actually in the air, hovering. He hovered for a few seconds before letting himself go back to the ground. He turned to Dummy who was pointing the extinguisher at him. "Please don't follow me around with it, either, because I feel like I'm gonna catch on fire spontaneously. Just stand down! If something happens, then come in."
I laughed as I took another bite of the muffin. "He's just trying to help, Tony."
"Yeah, whatever. That would mean he was being useful." He steadied himself again. "And again, let's bring it up to 2.5. Three, two, one." The devices came alive once again, jolting him up with a little more force. Instead of hovering, he actually started to move around. Tony started to move his arms to try to force his movements. Suddenly, he was over his cars. "Okay, this is where I don't want to be!" He flew over his Audi and I winced. "Not the car, not the car!" He was finally away from them, but he was now over his desks. Papers began flying everywhere. "Jess, are you seeing this?" I couldn't even form words; I was just amazed that my best friend was flying around his workshop. He stopped himself from going further away, and started laughing nervously as he made his way back. "Could be worse! Could be worse! We're fine." Once he was back to where he started, he straightened himself out and seemed actually in control. He continued to stay there for a few seconds before dropping back to the ground. He stumbled back a bit, but caught himself. He caught sight of Dummy about to douse him and yelled at him. He looked back at me and I'm sure my face read pure shock. "Yeah, I can fly."
"Tony, you can fly!" I ran up to him and hugged him. "This is amazing!"
It took us the rest of the day and most of the next three days to get all the kinks worked out of the systems, but once we were done, Tony had this bright smile on his face.
"I know that face, Tony Stark. What are you planning?"
He looked over at me. "I had JARVIS and the some of the machines put together the rest of it."
My eyes widened. "You didn't."
He laughed and walked over to a cleared out place in the workshop. Suddenly, mechanical arms started placing metal body plates over what we had made. I could only stand there, shocked as a full on suit was placed around Tony. Once the entire suit was on, he picked up a metal mask off of one of the tables and placed it over his face.
"JARVIS, are you there?" He asked.
"At your service, sir," I heard him reply.
"Engage Heads Up Display. Import all preferences from home interface."
"Will do, sir."
Tony turned to me. "Jess, I want you to help and be my eyes in the sky. I know how you are with satellites and things."
I nodded, still a bit shocked and how amazingly cool Tony's suit looked. "I can do that."
Tony pointed toward his desk with all the computers. "There's a headset over there that connects directly to the suit. The computer screens will show you what I'm seeing, me, and any satellite feed you hack yourself into."
I walked over to the desk and put the headset on quickly. I turned on the computer screens and I could indeed see everything Tony was seeing, as well as his face on one of the monitors. I heard Tony speaking to JARVIS.
"All right. What do you say?"
"I have indeed been uploaded, sir. We're online and ready."
"Can we start the virtual walk-around?"
"Importing preferences and calibrating virtual environment."
"Do a check on control surfaces."
I looked over and pieces of the suit began moving and hissing. I looked back to the computer screens and saw all the data that was being collecting through this process. I could even see JARVIS processing the data that came across the screen. I walked over to Tony and looked him up and down. "Tony, this is, by far, the coolest thing I've ever seen." The pieces of his suit finally stopped moving.
"Test complete. Preparing to power down and begin diagnostics," JARVIS informed.
"Yeah. Tell you what. Do a weather and ATC check. Start listening in on ground control."
"Tony, you can't possibly be thinking about testing this entire suit out right now, right? There are a million things that could go wrong."
"Sir, she's right. There are still terabytes calculations needed before an actual flight is attempted," JARVIS stated, agreeing with me.
"Guys! Sometimes you gotta run before you can walk," Tony reasoned.
"You're an idiot," I replied.
Tony ignored me. "Ready? In three, two, one." His suit came to life and was in the air. He began to lean forward, increased the thrust capacity and made his way out of the outside opening to the workshop.
I immediately ran to the screens and heard Tony yelling and whooping through the headset. "Tony, you'd better be careful."
"Always am, Jess," he replied. "Handles like a dream."
He began flying over the city and he came upon a carnival. The amount of data he was getting off of every single thing was astounding. He flew away from it and all I saw was black. "Tony, my screen went black."
"That's because it's night," he replied, matter-of-factly. "All right, let's see what this thing can do. What's SR-71's record?"
The moon came into view on the screen. "Well, 85,000 feet is the record for fixed wing flight, but that's not such-"
"Records are made to be broken!" He yelled and the speed of his suit increased.
"Sir, there is a potentially fatal buildup of ice occurring," JARVIS informed.
He was right. I could see it frosting over the viewing field of his suit. "Tony, you're icing over. Come back down."
"Keep going! Higher!"
"Tony!" I yelled into the headset. "Lower your altitude!" Suddenly, the viewing field screen and the screen displaying Tony's face were now blank. "Tony! Answer me!" I was having a miniature panic attack. "Tony…" He'd already gone and killed himself. "JARVIS, what's going on?"
"Mr. Stark's suit is offline. I'm not able to communicate with him."
"Come on, Tony!" I stared at the screens intently. If he died because of something I helped build, I'd bring him back to life just to kill him again. I knew I couldn't handle that. Something was happening with us, and I wasn't sure what. I was so happy to find out he was alive, I hadn't had time to process my feelings.
Tony and I had always been close, but with his womanizing ways, I'd never expected us to be more than friends. But Tony and I were really all each other had. Those three months without him were just a test of what could actually happen. At least then, there was a chance he was alive. If he were to really die and me have no chance of getting him back, I'd fall apart. That didn't mean I had feelings for him. Sure, Tony was extremely attractive and there was the sensitive side I got to see that no one else did. But… Oh, my goodness… I couldn't believe I was realizing this now. Tony, please, don't be dead.
Unexpectedly, the two monitors came back to life, and I was looking at the pavement of a street quickly passing by, before I saw ocean and the house in the distance. I could now hear Tony yelling with excitement in my ear. "Anthony Edward Stark, don't ever do that again!"
He laughed. "Again with the middle name."
"You deserved it." I watched the screen as the roof of the house came into view. I was happy he got back safely. He hovered above the roof for a few moments before I heard two awful words.
"Kill power." Idiot.
Tony quickly came crashing through the roof. I heard the piano break apart above us and before I knew it, he had landed on his 1967 Shelby Cobra. I quickly flung the headset off and ran to him. Before I got there, Dummy was already dousing him with the fire extinguisher.
"Dummy that's enough." I helped Tony slide off the car and into a sitting position. I pushed his shoulder hard. "You're a complete idiot!" I took the mask off and looked at him. In that moment, all I wanted was to kiss him. "Are you okay?"
"I'm perfect." I helped him stand up and walk over to where the suit had been put on and watched as they painfully took the suit apart. I could hear Tony groaning as they took the suit off of him. Once he was out, I punched him in the arm. He winced and glared at me. "What was that for?"
I hugged him tightly. He hesitantly put his arms around me. "Don't scare me like that again, Tony Stark. I've had enough death scares from you, and I don't need anymore." I felt some tears escape my eyes. "I just couldn't take that, Tony."
He pulled my face away from his chest and wiped the tears off my face. "I promise to try to not scare you anymore." I let a small chuckle out. "Why don't you get to bed? I'm gonna put some ice on my head, and then I'll be up."
"Okay." I started toward the door. "Don't stay down here too long." I passed by the table had my unopened package for Tony on it. I looked at the cup sitting on top of it. "You should probably throw this coffee out."
"I will before I come up," he replied from the fridge.
I looked around and found a sticky note pad on his desk. I pulled one off the top and scrawled 'From Jess' across it. I placed it on top of the box, replacing the old coffee on top of it and made my way up the stairs. I took a quick shower to wash the day off me and then climbed into Tony's bed once I was dried and clothed. I pretended to be asleep until Tony came in, changed clothes and crawled in next to me, pulling me to him once again.
"You can go to sleep now," he whispered to me.
I smiled to myself and turned to snuggle into him. I hated that I was now developing feelings for my best friend. I could never tell him. He was not the monogamous type, and I knew that. Plus, I couldn't risk ruining our friendship. I decided to let my thoughts go for tonight and drift into a nice, deep sleep.
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I had a blistering headache from the crash, and I tried to hide it from Jess. I didn't need her thinking this was too dangerous for me to do. The daunting task of getting this suit off wasn't helping the headache one bit. Once I was fully out of the suit, Jess came up and punched my arm. It was already getting sore from the crash.
I sent her a glare. "What was that for?"
She was suddenly hugging me and I was a bit confused. It took me a minute to put my arms around her. "Don't scare me like that again, Tony Stark. I've had enough death scares from you, and I don't need anymore." I suddenly felt awful for scaring her this way. I felt her tears soak through my shirt, and if possible, I felt even worse. "I just couldn't take that, Tony."
I pulled her face away from my chest, staring at her beautiful face as I wiped the tears away. As much as I hated to see her cry, she was a cute crier. "I promise to try to not scare you anymore." She chuckled at my attempt to joke. Oh, how I loved that chuckle. "Why don't you get to bed? I'm gonna put some ice on my head, and then I'll be up."
I started to make my way over to the freezer to get some ice. It felt like my head was splitting in two. "Don't stay down here too long." I heard her pause. "You should probably throw this coffee out."
I was still collecting ice for the headache. "I will before I come up."
It was a few moments before I heard her exit. I wondered over to the table with the coffee cup on it, now holding the ice pack on my head. I knocked my creeper out of the way, only to have it roll back in front of me. I rolled my eyes. Even that couldn't go right. I picked up the coffee cup and started to walk away when I noticed a note on top of the box that Pepper had brought down when Obie was here. It read, 'From Jess.' I put the cup and the ice pack down, removed the note and carefully ripped the paper away. I was shocked to see my original arc reactor propped up in a glass display case. It had an inscription around the outside. 'PROOF THAT TONY STARK HAS A HEART.' I couldn't help but grin a little at what Jess had done. Every little thing she did made me feel a little stronger for her, and I couldn't believe I'd been so ignorant this whole time. I couldn't tell her though. She'd move out, and I'd only see her in meetings. That is, if she didn't quit first.
I decided to leave those thoughts down here, and made my way up the stairs. When I entered my room, Jess's back was to the door. I could tell she wasn't asleep. Her breathing wasn't even enough. I changed into nightwear. Normally, I didn't sleep with much on, but I was sure that Jess would rather I keep some clothing boundaries between us. I climbed into bed and wrapped my arms around her waist. I was so happy that over the past two and a half weeks, she'd gained enough of her weight back to not be unhealthily skinny. Her curves were starting to return and I was glad. She was a beautiful woman.
I felt her relax against me. I knew she hadn't been asleep. "You can go to sleep now," I whispered into her ear. She immediately rolled over and got comfortable against me. I wish I wasn't feeling this way. I shouldn't have been feeling this way. I was Tony Stark. I was a playboy. I didn't get caught up in feelings for someone. But this someone was Jessica Willows, my eternal best friend. She'd be in my life forever anyway. Maybe I could settle down, maybe.
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Freshman year of college is over! :) I'm so happy with how well received this story has become. 46 story favorites, 87 story alerts and 26 reviews in 3 chapters :) You guys rock! I hope you all enjoy this chapter. I apologize for any spelling errors. I tried to go through and edit them. I pushed through the night to get it written. Enjoy!