Title: Best Laid Plans

Fandom: Iron Man

Prompt/Claim: #3:Plan; lj user=20_fics, Table 4, Iron Man: Tony/Pepper

Summary:You want what you can't have. Basic human instinct. Even I managed to find that one thing I couldn't have. And I wanted her. Bad.

Rating: PG

Pairings/Characters: Tony/Pepper

Length: 1,026 words

Genre(s): angst, romance

A/N: So, evidently I'm in Tony's head these days. Two fics in a row from his head. Which is odd because I didn't think I'd ever be able to grasp his voice enough to write it. And btw, I had hoped that seeing the Avengers would inspire lots of creative juices in me, but as mind-blowingly awesome (and shippy!) as it was, nope, was not inspiring. :/

You want what you can't have.

Basic human instinct.

Very few things have been out of my grasp in my life. Money and power can buy you almost anything. Whether you want it or not. Cars. Fame. Women.

But I still managed to find that one thing it couldn't. And I wanted it. Bad.

Like with all beautiful women, I wanted Pepper from the moment I saw her. That's why she started working for me.

But she was, in true Pepper fashion, too good for that. She worked hard; she skirted inappropriate advances. Coyly, cleverly, but always professional and appropriate.

It took months to realize wanting her like wanting other women was futile. It took years to realize that she was more than that — and that I wanted her anyway.

It's hard to work around a beautiful, well-dressed woman every day and not notice. Even someone used to having beautiful women constantly throw themselves at him isn't immune.

And one who doesn't throw herself — who's more confident in her power than that — is a whole other ball game. Because she knows what she's worth. And she doesn't come cheap.

You get what you're willing to pay for.

Pepper is perfect. In every way.

She dresses perfect. She acts perfect. She plans perfectly.

Maybe that's why I enjoy messing with her so much. Messing with Pepper's perfection gives a thrill like the best of things. Like driving fast cars. Like telling the government where to stick it. Like flying around in a metal suit.

With Pepper, it's not just flirting with danger. It's begging for it.

I'm sure she had a plan. Exposed to all the gory details of Tony Stark's love life, she knew had to stay out of it. Despite my overpowering charisma. I'm sure her plan was perfect, too. Like everything else.

But luckily my favorite kind of plan is the one that blows up someone else's perfect plan.

Not the kind of almost-dying and Pepper-almost-getting-blown-up kind of plan. That rush and finally — finally — kissing Pepper on that rooftop almost ruined my plan.

But then improvising is the best part of any plan.

"We need to talk."

This on the day after lots of things blowing up and rooftop romances. Injuries still healing. She's in a bit of a rush, it seems. So very unlike Pepper.

"About?"

She's confused by my coolness. Surprised. Thrown off balance.

I'm already winning.

"I think you know what about," she says finally. A bit testily.

"Aw, c'mon, Pep, I don't want to talk about cleanup and press conferences right now. Too soon."

Another blow. She's visibly confused. "Tony..." There's that dangerous edge she uses when she's trying to force me into something.

So quickly she's fallen. I must have underestimated my power. "Pepper..." I mock her, and I know I'm playing with fire.

She tenses — the one tell-tale sign she's truly pissed. "I'm not talking about press conferences and damage control, Tony. I'm talking about that moment on the roof. That's what I'm talking about."

Hiding my sheer glee at her anger, I turn and start tinkering with something. "Oh, that." So casual. As if we're talking about landscaping or decor or something equally trivial. "Listen, Pepper, I'm so glad that I got there in time, and I'm so grateful that you're okay, but—"

"But—?" Her voice is nearly hysterical. Unlike any Pepper I've ever heard.

"But you don't—" That's as far as I got.

"Stop, stop, stop!"

Won. I've won. The plan was a success.

"I quit."

Not part of the plan.

"What?" She's at the door by the time I speak. I catch up. "What do you mean you quit? You can't quit — you're CEO. Doesn't work. You have to tender a resignation to be approved by the board, and by me, and I won't allow it."

"I can't take it anymore," she throws back. Exasperated. "You are impossible, Tony. Absolutely, unbelievably impossible. You have the maturity of a 3-year-old."

I stop. "Oh come on, Pepper. I think I'm at least 4."

She doesn't respond. Just keeps walking. Stomping. Marching away from me.

"Pepper? Pepper. Pepper!"

No response. Just angry footsteps.

"Pepper, come on, I was just kidding!" I try to catch her, stop her, but damn, she's fast in those heels. "Really, I promise I was just kidding." My heart rate picks up. She won't respond.

Not good. Not good at all.

I wanted yelling. Anger. Maybe even a bit of physical retaliation. Not this cold rejection. Not her walking away like it was nothing.

Damn this plan straight to hell.

I have to cut her off. So I block the whole doorway.

She stops so fast her heels scrape the floor.

I catch her — maybe just grabbed her before she could run off again — by the arms. "Really, I was just kidding." She wrenches away, but still I hold on. Even as she stubbornly turns her face away. "Pepper. Pepper. Pepper!" I have to demand she look at me. "Pepper — just listen to me."

Her eyes turn to me, but they're empty.

"I knew what you were talking about, Pep. I just wanted to keep you on your toes."

Still no response. Verbal. Emotional. Nothing.

God, it's frustrating.

"Pepper, I—" I don't know how to apologize — if you'd call it that. Can't find the words.

She's staring at me skeptically.

Great professions of love are not my thing. I don't think I could give her one if I tried.

So there's always the next best thing.

I move so fast she's caught off guard when my lips are on hers. But like the night on the roof, Pepper is quick, eager to respond — God, she's a good kisser — and I push until she's against a wall just to drive my point home.

Turns out I like this plan much better.

Just when I think I have her pinned where I want her, she laughs into my mouth.

A sneaking suspicion tells me she was the one with a plan all along.