A/N: Hmm...I wasn't exactly planning to write a chapter two for this story but I just couldn't help myself. Listening to 'The Devil's Tears' by Angus & Julia Stone does things to my soul that I just can't possibly comprehend...or actually I can, because as I listened one thing led to another and before I knew it, I wrote this. It's written from Pepper's point of view but set in the same scene as the first chapter. Hopefully it isn't too incoherent, it's late and I've had the longest day at work. Also, on another note, thank you for all the lovely reviews. :)
There's something beautiful about the way he holds her that makes her swoon every time he does so. They've done this more times than she could possibly count but each time it only gets better. She feels like she's coming home every single time she's in his arms. It's something about the way he's holds her when they're laying together skin against skin. There's a sense of belonging, of cherishing and forever that she feels when he's holding her as if he never wants to let go.
He rarely talks about it during moments like these when they're sated and completely relaxed. She thinks it's probably because he's just trying to enjoy here, now and them and not be reminded of the events of the day. But then there are those days when he's seen things he rather wished he didn't when he does share his most inner thoughts with her. She knows it takes a lot out of him to share those type of things with her because let's face it; he isn't exactly the most 'talk-after-sex' kind of guy or rather he wasn't until he fell in love with her. These days he's started to share a little bit more with her than he ever did. It was as if the walls he had built around him all those years ago were slowly crumbling to reveal a man that actually had more of a heart than any man she had ever met before.
He was slowly becoming that softer, kinder and warmer kind of guy that was capable of caring and loving and cherishing forever after. The type of guy she's seen in the movies and secretly wished for to sweep her off her feet and give her that happily ever after. Little did she know all those years ago that the man she was looking for was in front of her all along.
She knew what she was getting in when she let him kiss her on that roof top all those months ago. She knew everything there was to know about him and she knew she was likely to be hurt unintentionally by him more than the probability of her walking in front of a bus. But yet she let him love her and slowly, she let herself love him too.
She had to admit she was secretly surprized when they had made it to their first month anniversary of being more than just friends. She thought he would have grown tired of being completely devoted to her because she knew there were a million and more other women out there who would happily fall into bed with him if he so pleased. But as he always did, he proved her wrong and loved her completely and utterly.
It shakes her to her very core at times when she really sits down and thinks about it all. There's a sense of pride and deep, everlasting type of love that erupts in her soul when she takes in the things he does for her. The way he ignores other women and looks only to her and at her when they're standing in front of the cameras or when they're mingling at parties. He only holds her hand, flirts, laughs, jokes, holds and loves her.
There's just something about him and the way he loves her that brings her back to earth every time. It gives her something more than just belonging. Maybe one day she'll understand but now, she'll just love him and continue to love him for as long as she can. She'll be there for him when the world crumbles and even if she has more enemies because of him, she'll still be there always by his side to love him. She'll lead his company and be that CEO he wants her to be in his absence as he busies himself saving the world instead. Because like he said, there really isn't anybody else he can trust with his pride and joy. Stark Industries. Although she did notice the gleam in his eyes when he said that and she wondered, only slightly, if maybe he had been hinting at an accumulation life form that was made of a little bit of him and her. They're pride and joy, maybe.
"You're quiet tonight this evening," she tells him because after everything that has happened today she wants to hear his voice so she can remind herself that he's really here.
She tightens her hold around his waist as she breaths in his scent and loses herself for a brief moment. She tries not to think about today and tries to focus on them, here and now as they lay skin against skin. She feels her heart swell when he tightens his hold around her and presses a kiss at the side of her head.
"Say something, Tony," she whispers as she slides an arm around his neck to pull his lips away from the side of her head. She feels his lips now pressed at her neck and she smiles.
She closes her eyes for a moment as she slides her fingers through his hair. She knows he loves it when she does this very thing after their moments of passion. She isn't really sure why or how she knows, but she does and she makes it a point to do this every time they lay here after.
"Tony," she whispers into his ear this time and adds a kiss at his neck.
She listens to him as he exhales and sighs. She feels the hum erupting from his chest as he moves and catches the bend of her elbow before he slides his hand up her arm until he has her face in his hand. He pulls back and she holds back a gasp when she realizes that he's staring at her directly from his soul. The walls are completely gone now.
"I love you, Pepper," he breathes, "You know that right?" his brow twitches and she really doesn't know where this is going.
She's not sure what to expect and the smile she had on her lips disappears as fast as she could even remind herself that he hasn't actually said anything wrong. She feels the atmosphere in the room shift and suddenly everything is serious, and she hopes that maybe he's just getting over the events of the day.
"Tony, what's wrong?" she decides to ask.
He smiles and she's taken aback when he embraces her.
"I almost lost you today," he whispers to her.
She can feel his lips at her neck again and she lets out a steady breath she didn't know she was holding. "You mean, I almost lost you today right?"
"There was a moment when I held that missile in my hand and flew into that portal where I was willing to sacrifice myself for the city," he tells her softly. She can feel the breath on his lips against her neck and as she listens to him she's falling in love with him even more.
"There's nothing wrong with that," she tells him because there isn't, he was willing to sacrifice himself for the city. That said a lot more about the man he had become today than anything and anyone ever could.
"There is," he says immediately.
She frowns and slides her hand to the back of his neck, holding him and keeping quiet because she really doesn't know what to say.
"Because I was willing to let you go," she barely hears him but she does and his words come crashing down like a thousand tons.
She gasps his name because that's all she really can think of in that moment. She finally realizes why his eyes eagerly sought her out when she stepped out of the plane earlier. She finally knew why he held her so tightly and so longingly for all and sundry to see. She finally understood the love he had for her. It wasn't the type of love that lasted a life time or the type of clichéd love you only saw in the movies, his love was something that went to that infinite type of level.
"Listen to me," she says into his ear as she runs her fingers through his hair, "You will never let me go. You know why?"
She says the only thing she finally knows now, "Because I won't let you."