If you're reading 'The Journey' I've not forgotten it, I'm just trying to plan out the next few chapters. It was going well until I read a few stories on fanfiction and my mind wandered. I'd credit the authors for their excellent work but I honestly can't remember which stories they are. Watch this space though. Credit will be given I promise.
Who Not What
"mmmmm 'lo?" Pepper mumbled in to her blackberry
"Pepper its Tony. It's an emergency I need you over here right now."
"Seriously Potts, get over here right now."
"Tony I can't it's…" She looked at her clock "2:30am, I already told you earlier I can't work tonight. Personal reasons before you ask."
"Pepper, I'm not joking this really is important. It's life or death. I really need you to drag your butt out of bed and get over here before Stark Industries goes in to total meltdown."
"Fine, but you're paying me over time and I'm taking the weekend off."
"Will that be all Miss Potts?"
"For now Mr Stark I'll be over as quick as possible."
Pepper got up and got organised and managed to from her condo in Santa Monica to Tony's Malibu mansion quickly as the roads were empty at this time of night. She deposited some stuff in the room Tony kept for her and went down to his workshop where she found him (rather surprisingly) dressed and talking furiously in Japanese.
"Arigato Mr Takahashi." Tony said the exasperation evident in his voice
"Do itashimashite Mr Stark. Oyasuminasai."
"Tony why are you on the phone to Yamato Takahashi at 3:30am?" She was confused Mr Takahashi was the head of Takahashi Research, a small research company in Japan that had Stark Industries as its parent company.
"There was a bombing, Aum Shinrikyo has claimed responsibility, apparently some of the work they were doing on some GM crops is a dark conspiracy, that we're messing with God's work and that we're encouraging other people to sin. Our Karma was bad so they blew up a building to right it." He rubbed his hands against his temple
"I'll start drafting a statement to release I'm assuming you're going to want to go out to Japan?" She asked.
"Yeah I'll take the Jet out tomorrow evening, deal with things this side of the Pacific first. Give you time to go home and pack, I don't know how long we're going to be there."
"Tony I can't go to Japan."
"In what way? I need you with me in Japan."
"Something against the Japanese? That why you're not too keen on sushi? Wouldn't have pegged you as a xenophobe Miss Potts."
"I've got nothing against them, it's just…Oh God. I didn't want you to find out this way."
"Come with me." She held out a hand and pulled him from his chair, leading him upstairs. They entered Pepper's room, at least that's what Tony called it, and in the middle of the bed was a small lump.
"What is it?" Tony asked
"Not What Tony. Who."
"You're confusing me Potts. That's not an easy thing to do; I'm a genius, an actual certified MENSA member genius."
"His name is Adam and he's my son."
Tony stared at her, like she'd grown an extra head. Son? How was this possible? In the 10 years she'd worked for him she'd barely taken more than 2 weeks off in one go, and Tony liked to think he'd have noticed if she was pregnant.
"Pepper?" Tony turned to look at her and she pulled him out of the room before he woke the sleeping boy up. They went down to the kitchen where Pepper pulled out a bottle of scotch, Tony quirked an eyebrow at her.
"He's 12 nearly 13." She started. "I fell pregnant my senior year of college, I'd be seeing this guy since high school he was at Harvard and me Stanford. I guess we got a little carless at Spring Break. Anyway when we found out Ricky proposed, he said he was planning it anyway, although I doubt it, and then I got offered the accountancy job at Stark so he relocated to UCLA to do his MBA and we got married just after graduation. Then Adam was born and things were ok for a while, but Ricky and I, we were never good at the relationship stuff sort of fell apart he works for Occidental Petroleum so we were both busy all the time…" Pepper was ranting now
"…but anyway between him getting his feet wet on the corporate ladder and me really starting to get in to it at SI, we were arguing more and we got divorced. He got remarried last week and they're on their honeymoon, I don't know where but I've got Adam for 2 weeks and I can't go to Japan." She downed the shot of scotch and Tony instinctively refilled her glass.
He was in total shock, Pepper hard worked for Stark Industries for 12 and half years, him personally for 10 of those and he had no idea she had a child, let alone that she was divorced, he finished his shot and poured another.
"I'm going to bed." She announced, he did nothing to stop her and when he was sure she was gone, he retreated to his workshop.
"Jarvis, pull up everything on the lovely Miss Potts, I need to see what I'm working with here."
"Of course Sir, but may I ask why?"
"I don't like not knowing things."
Jarvis pulled the information up and Tony projected the holographic images in front of him.
He found a marriage licence for Miss Virginia Anne Cooper and Mr Richard David Potts, he couldn't believe it Potts was her married name, she'd never changed it back to her maiden name. He saw the birth certificate for Adam Richard Potts and the divorce citing irreconcilable differences as well as the custody agreement for Adam, she had joint custody with Richard but she was the primary carer. He poured another glass of scotch and sat and stared at this whole life Pepper had kept secret from him.
About 7:15am Tony heard movement from upstairs and cautiously went upstairs. Pepper was in the kitchen and Adam was sat eating some toast, she poured Tony a mug of coffee, he took and sat opposite the child.
"Sup?" Adam greeted
"Sup." Tony responded.
"Adam go shower."
"Didn't bring a towel." Tony couldn't help but smirk, he remembered being 12, showering was an inconvenience; he didn't see the point he was only going to get dirty again.
"You can use my bathroom. There are clean towels and shower gel and shampoo…" Tony trailed off
"Adam." Pepper said sternly.
"Sorry, thank you Mr Stark." He tried again.
"Tony's fine or bro. Whatever works for you…" Pepper shot him a glare
"Good Morning, the time is 7:30am and the weather in Malibu is 49 degrees Fahrenheit with a slight Southern breeze and clear skies." Jarvis was programmed to go off at 7:30 on a work day.
"What the…?" Adam would've cussed but the glare from his mother cut him short.
Tony couldn't help but smile, he liked the kid. "That's JARVIS, stands for Just A Really Very Intelligent System. He's an AI, he runs my house."
"That's pretty cool." Adam replied.
"Adam, come on I'll show you where you're going." Pepper needed to end this right away, she could deal with Adam not wanting to go to school and Tony not wanting to work, when the two were not occurring at the same time, but when they happened together it was not good.
She came back downstairs and Tony was once again staring at her.
"How did I not know about him?"
"There wasn't really any vetting before I became your PA."
"I made a fool of myself." Pepper put her head against the desk. She was having a bad week, Ricky was being stubborn over the terms of their divorce, Adam had run head long in to his terrible two's.
"Can't be that bad Ginny." Her friend Sarah said from her own desk. "I mean the man prides himself on never making a math error, so you did him a favour showing him personally instead of letting it come out on its own."
Pepper groaned. She'd noticed a discrepancy on an invoice, an invoice created by Tony Stark himself, so she showed him, but not before threatening a security guard with the pepper spray given to her by her mother when she'd moved to LA.
The door to the office opened and Tony Stark stuck his head in. "Hey uh you….Pepper Spray." Pepper looked up at him "You don't work here anymore." She opened her mouth in shock, had he really just fired her? "Move all your crap to the empty office next to mine. I need a new PA, you've got…spunk. First job, fill out all the paper work for inter-departmental transfer, I'll sign it tomorrow."
No he hadn't fired her.
"I probably should've done that." He stated.
Adam came back down after his shower to find his Mom and her boss talking business.
"How am I getting to school?" He asked as he took a seat next to Tony. "I'm all for ditching, but mom I know you're not cool with that, but I gotta be there soon."
"I'll take him." Tony volunteered surprising himself and his two houseguests.
"That's ok Tony…"
"No offence Potts, you drive like my grandmother and not the Italian one." Adam snickered at Tony's (accurate) description of Pepper's driving skills.
"No Tony, I just don't break the law."
"Come on Pepper, how cool is it to get dropped off by the legendary Tony Stark in my shiny new Audi."
Pepper reluctantly agreed, he'd get her son to school on time, and she'd be able to sort everything out for his upcoming trip to Japan.
Over the next month Adam became a frequent visitor to Stark Mansion (especially after a suspension for "accidentally" melting part of workbench in chemistry), and Tony had to admit he liked the kid, he was the anti-Pepper, and they shared a similar taste in music and fast cars. Then everything changed.
One morning after Pepper had taken out the trash, some vanity fair reporter whose name he couldn't remember, and she'd shouted at him because he wasn't on his aeroplane heading for Afghanistan he'd heard her on the phone.
"It's not good enough Ricky." She snapped. "He's our son…he's a handful yes…I don't care if Bobbi Big Boobs or…yes I know that's not her name…I wasn't ready to be a mother…he's still your child…oh it's clear who he gets that from…fine abandon him…moving to Saudi Arabia is abandoning him…I'm not telling him…You're the one leaving…" Tony had heard enough, he decided at this point the best thing to do would be to get ready for his weapons demonstration.
"Wait, you're telling me that Pepper Potts, the same Pepper Potts who has worked for you for the last 10 years has an ex-husband and a, let me get this right, really cool kid that you had no clue about?" Rhodey and Tony were on their sixth or sixteenth (Tony lost count) Saki bomb.
Rhodey would later call Pepper, not to talk about the child he had no clue about, but because Tony had been taken and he had no clue where he was.
Ok, so yeah. Chapter One. Um… it turns everything on its head, I'll be following the plot of the movies from now. Feedback is really appreciated because this story is way out in Left Field and I'm a little nervous.
Aum Shinrikyo are a real terrorist organisation in Japan, they're not really relevant to the story I just needed a way to lead in to Tony's discovery.
Arigato is the shortened form of Domo Arigato that Japanese for Thank you
Doitashimashite means you're welcome
Oyasuminasai means good night