I was thinking about the last few lines Tony speaks to Pepper regarding her maybe being the girlfriend that keeps the secret identity, and I began paralleling the movie verse to...Batman. Maybe it's just because I'm in an extreme superhero mood with the Avengers, Spiderman and Dark Knight Rises all coming out this year, but to me this seems like a plausible conversation between these two.

Standard Disclaimer... Yadayada, don't own the characters...

The Girlfriend to Keep the Secret Identity

"You know, Iron Man never could have been my secret identity," Tony said suddenly and nearly startled Pepper from her spot a foot away. They had been sitting on the couch in the living room, watching the window out to the ocean as it played The Dark Knight, a beer in each of their hands and only the occasional comment about the plot.

"What?" she asked, her head twisting to look at him and a confused expression marring her face.

"I never could have been secretly Iron Man."

"And how do you figure this?" she asked. "Honestly, if you had just read the cards Agent Coulson had given you—"

"No, it's not that," he shook his head and looked over at her. "I would have either been feared or revered, just like Batman."

"You're basing this thought off the movie," she summed, her voice laden with a skeptical tone.

"Seriously, think about it!" he grinned. "Batman would be me; billionaire, playboy, super smart and secretly has a soft spot for the people. He went through all that work in China and it changed him. His parents left him a legacy and a company that allowed him to produce everything he needed."

"You are not Batman."

"You would be Rachel—"

"You're killing me off?" she cried out but Tony ignored her.

"Sexy, fun, knows me inside and out and knows my secret identity."

"You told the world, you have no secret identity, Tony."

"Rhodes would be Lt. Gordon," he continued. "My path to the inside and he fights for me even if the government is against me."

"Rhodey sided with the government though after your birthday—"

"I was dying—"

"You were out of control—"

"Because I was dying—"

"You were blowing up fruit—"

"What did you expect me to do, I was dying—"

"You could have told someone!"

"That I was dying? Really, Pep, I was living out my last—"

"I don't care that you thought it was your last—"

"Oh, real sensitive—"

"I'm being insensitive? I bought my own birthday present for—"

"Ten years, I know—"

"And I'm insensitive?"

"Pepper, please let me finish my analogy."

"No, you're being childish."

"I always am, may I continue?"


"Thank you!" he sighed, exasperated. "Rhodey is Gordon. Sides with me over the government. JARVIS is Alfred. He takes care of me and lets me know I'm not completely going off the deep end."

"Sir, if I may, I do side with Ms. Potts regarding your last birthday," the AI announced over the house intercom.

Pepper nearly smiled at Tony's disgruntled look, his brows furrowing and his eyes glaring off into a random corner of the room.

"But my point is, that I couldn't be a secret just because of these parallels," he continued. "The world would eventually reject me because they couldn't trust me. I had to announce my secret identity."

"Tony, you're basing this off a movie, based off a comic book," she shook her head.

"Sometimes I feel like a comic book," he shrugged and took a sip of his beer. "Honestly, Pepper, my life too closely parallels one. You have to admit I have a point."

"Who's the Joker then?" she asked, leaning back against the sofa more and crooking her elbow up on the back.

"No see, it doesn't work that way," he shook his head.

"What?" she cried out, eyes wide. "How come the basic characters get parallels but the villains don't?"

"Because the villains are tailored to the hero," he stated simply.

"No they aren't."

"Uh, yeah, they are," he said matter-of-factly. "Obi could never fit in the Batman verse just like the Joker could never fit in my verse."

"Why, because you can't fight simple hand to hand combat without the suit?"

"Have you seen me and Happy?"

"Or because Batman could never fight Obadiah in the suit?"

"Batman wouldn't know what to do with an arc reactor if he had it in his hand. He was handed a company—"

"So were you."

"Yeah, but I went to school in preparation."

"Batman's parents died when he was a child!"

"I think seventeen is still considered a minor in the United States."

"That's not the point," she shook her head, her frustration beginning to ebb at her.

"I think it is," he shrugged. "Batman may have created the idea, but he needed Luscious Fox to create the suit, get him the car, get him the guns and materials… Seriously, it looks like Batman hardly did any of the work."

"Batman isn't an engineer."

"Precisely, I am! I'm perfect for the role, and I couldn't keep it a secret because it makes sense that I am Iron Man."

"It also makes sense that you should keep that secret for precisely that reason," she said, pressing her lips together in a flat line. Tony grinned at her expression, so much like the one she used when she was trying to get him to go to meetings and such.

"I don't think so," he shook his head. "I think I had to come out as Iron Man. I can't be the hero the world deserves but doesn't need."

"You aren't Batman, stop quoting it."

"I'm Iron Man," he said in a low, grumbling voice reminiscent of the one Christian Bale used in the movie.

"Tony…" Pepper warned.

"Rachel…" he mimicked Batman again. She reached behind her and grabbed a pillow before tossing it at him, which he lifted his arm and deflected easily. "Really, Potts?"

She didn't reply, instead narrowing her eyes at him as he continued to grin sarcastically at her. The truth was, she hated him calling her another name simply because of his past. She'd kicked too many women out in the morning baring dry cleaning and a professional smirk to let a teasing comment slip by easily.

"Alright, I'm sorry, Pepper," he relented. "But seriously, you could be her. You practically are her! She's smart, independent, strong willed, and won't let anything personal come between her and Bruce."

"Are you really insinuating that we secretly belong together?" she asked, throwing a skeptical tone on to keep the reality of the situation from the forefront of her mind.

"C'mon, Potts, you know you love me," he smirked and Pepper shook her head.

"If I'm Rachel, does this mean I have to date your next super-villain?" she countered and his face fell.

"That's not funny."

"I happen to think it is," she grinned, standing up and carrying her empty beer towards the kitchen.

"It really isn't," he shook his head, standing to follow her through the house. "My next villain could be a fat middle eastern with a power complex. You really want to date a middle eastern?"

"Tony, not all people in the Middle East are terrorists you know," she shook her head admonishingly. "It's an American stereotype."

"I of all people know this, I just happen to know the bad ones. My perception is a bit skewed," he rolled his eyes. "But seriously, don't date my villains."

"I'll date whomever I want," she smirked and tossed her empty bottle into the recycling. "And right now, I'm going home. We both have a meeting at eight thirty tomorrow with the Board."

"I don't care what those stuck up Businessmen want to do with the suit," he sighed.

"So tell them that, maybe they'll listen this time," she smirked. "Good night, Tony."

"Night, Potts," he nodded as she walked past. "Don't date my villains."

"Go to the meeting then," she called over her shoulder.

"I take it back, you're not Rachel, you're Selena Kyle," he called out.

"Stop thinking about me in leather," she yelled before he heard the door shut. Tony grinned at her last comment, still amazed at how well sometimes she knew him.

"Hey, JARVIS?" he called out into the empty house. "See if you can't photoshop up a picture of Pepper as Cat Woman and email it to her tomorrow."

"At the risk of your own health, Sir? Are you sure?" the AI replied back sarcastically.

"Totally worth it," Tony grinned and took another sip of his beer. "Make sure a copy of that gets added to my files and see to it you change that to her Caller ID photo too."

"Shall I change her Caller ID of you to Batman as well?"

"Brilliant thinking," he smirked. "I'm going to bed, show me it in the morning, Alfred."

"Perhaps Ms. Potts is right about you taking things too far."

"Don't side with her," Tony grumbled. "I'll reprogram you."

"Someone less sarcastic perhaps? However will they understand your wit?"

"Batman never has to deal with this…"

This actually is my first, finished, IM fic, by the way. If I have any of the details wrong since I've only seen the movies and never read a comic that didn't come from Japan in my life... Let me know. I've been doing research online regarding Cat Woman from another possible fic oneshot and I read that Selena Kyle was regarded as Batman's one true love. Tony compares Pepper to that in the end, and I kinda just thought that was a funny line. That and Iron Man 3 better not have any mention to the eventual happenings to the Tony/Pepper relationship. I won't say what happens but to avoid reading the Iron Man 2 trivia for a comic spoiler. And no, she doesn't die, so stop panicking. Joss Wheadon did Avengers not Iron Man 3, so you can be thankful he only killed off one character we love. That's like a director trademark for him, I swear. Buffy died twice. 'Nuff said.