Disclaimer: I don't own anything that you recognise.
Author's Note: Okay so I'm excited about this story as the first thing I do after coming back off holiday is post the first chapter. I started this story last week before I went on holiday and completed this chapter and already made a start on Chapter 2 while I was away. This will have lots of Tony and Pepper moments and apperances from the Avengers team.
Please oh please let me know if the characters are okay and review if you like the story and want more. I think in total this story will have about 8 chapters so let me know if you enjoy it.
The arc reactor had continued to glow brightly when his final call to Pepper failed to get through yet Tony felt his heart break behind his suit. 'So I'm not going to hear your voice one last time. I'm never going to be able to see you, smell you or touch you...I'm never going to be able to kiss you again.' He had thought. However he was prepared to miss those things and face the void so long if it meant he would be saving her life along countless others from the nuclear bomb in his grasp.
The last thing Tony remembered thinking about before being abruptly woken by the Hulk screaming in his face was Pepper and if he were to ever survive being in deep space he would make sure that she knew how much she meant to him.
He had already made a start a year ago when they started dating after the Expo, Hammer and Ivan Vanko mess. For the first six months they had kept it from the public eye as the two of them got more comfortable in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship rather than just boss/employee. It was glorious being with Pepper in this new way and he had discovered so much more about her and vice versa. The mornings when they woke up side by side together were the days he never wanted to get out of bed where before it would be the days when he had a hangover. He scheduled time to be with her, taking breaks from working on his suits, whether it was a date out or just evenings in gossiping and watching movies while eating pepperoni pizza.
Of course it wasn't always rainbows and sunshine. There were the times when he would come back from a mission battered, bruised and bleeding and Pepper would be there patching him up getting angry at him leaving but also overjoyed that he had returned to her in one piece...just about.
At this present time though Tony lay in bed on his side with Pepper curled against his chest at their home in Malibu. The room was in total darkness except for the light that emitted from his arc reactor.
A week had passed since Tony had seen off Thor and Loki with the others before driving back with Bruce to Stark Tower. Natasha, Clint and Steve had all gone back to their apartments in the city but as Bruce had travelled from India, he needed a place to stay so Tony had offered him shelter at Stark Tower which was currently under remodelling but Bruce didn't mind...he had lived in worse conditions.
Pepper stirred in her sleep and Tony watched her with a held breath as she simply moved her arm from her side and rested it on his arc reactor. He breathed again and just watched Pepper sleep, feeling his heart beat against his chest.
He had given her his love, she had moved in with him, their relationship had gone public and he had given her 12% of Stark Tower and the next tower was all hers but now Tony was ready for the next step. He wanted to get down on one knee and hear Pepper agree to marry him.
Tony sighed happily then he closed his eyes and quickly fell asleep dreaming of the prospect that the woman next to him might one day be his wife. What felt like two minutes but was actually seven hours later Tony heard Pepper whispering.
"It's time to wake up Tony," she murmured. Tony groaned and tightened his grip around Pepper and heard her sigh.
"Tony...," she started.
"No. Too early," he mumbled, his face squished against the pillow, his eyes tight shut. Pepper sighed contently and scooted closer, pressing her body against his, and trailed some butterfly kisses along chest and up to his neck.
Tony grunted as he felt Pepper's hand travel across his stomach and to the top of his boxers. "Miss Pott's that is not the most effective way of getting me out of bed but please don't stop."
"I know Mr Stark however it's the most effective way of waking you up," replied Pepper. Tony opened his eyes and saw Pepper looking up at him with a smile on her face. He grinned in return and leaned down and placed his lips over hers in a passionate kiss.
Many hours later and into the afternoon Pepper had gone to Stark Industries to attend a meeting that Tony had refused to go to saying he was going to be busy working on his suits. The truth was he was spending that time searching for engagement rings on the internet.
"JARVIS, what do you think of this one?" Tony asked. His eyes were glued to the many screens in front of him that his A.I had brought up as he sat on his desk and swiped his hand in the air to magnify the image he was talking about.
"Sir, I don't think Miss Pott's taste of jewellery is to have a diamond the size of Jupiter on her hand," JARVIS replied, his voice filled with disdain.
"So a no then on the large diamond?" Tony asked, sceptically.
"A definite no, sir," said JARVIS. Tony shrugged and closed the browser. He picked up his drink of lemonade and took a sip before setting the glass back down and continuing with his search.
"There are so many choices, how am I meant to know which one is the right one?" Tony asked, feeling slightly dejected at the amount of engagement websites there were and how many pages were on each one.
"Might I suggest you have a look through Miss Potts existing jewellery? It will give you an idea of the kind she prefers," suggested JARVIS. Tony's eyes brightened at the idea.
"Great idea JARVIS, I knew I built you for a reason!"
"Of course sir and after all this time I thought it was because you wanted to challenge yourself at twenty to build an artificial intelligence that will run the house," said JARVIS, his voice filled with sarcasm. Tony looked up at the ceiling.
"You know you're getting entirely too cocky," he said.
"I learn from the best sir," JARVIS smoothly replied.
"Damn right you do," cheered Tony, proudly. He leapt up off the desk and made his way upstairs to the master bedroom and over to the counter where Pepper kept her jewellery. There was an unbelievable amount of earrings, a couple of necklaces and bracelets and a small box filled with a few rings. All of them were either platinum or silver bands and the stones were equal size and shape but different on each, some were emeralds, diamonds and sapphires.
Now that he knew the sort of rings Pepper wore he went back down into his workshop and typed in what he had found out upstairs. A list of rings came up and Tony was happy to see they were a lot more Pepper looking than the ones he had been looking at before.
"Sir, Colonel James Rhodes is approaching the front door," informed JARVIS. "Should I let him in?"
"Yeah sure, send him in," Tony muttered, hardly hearing what JAVIS had said because he was too busy gazing at the screens in front of him. A couple of minutes later he heard Rhodey's footsteps retreat down the stairs to his workshop and heard the code being punched in at the door before it opened.
"Hey Rhodey, I need your help. What do you think, a solitaire cut or a square cut?" Tony asked. James frowned and walked over to where Tony was and glanced at all the windows open in front of him.
"What are you doing?" he asked. Tony gave him a look as though the answer was obvious.
"What do you mean, what am I doing? What does it look like I'm doing? I'm shopping for an engagement ring, that's what," said Tony.
"You're going to propose to Pepper?" asked Rhodey, flabbergasted.
"No, you my darling," said Tony, grinning lovingly at him. Rhodey shoved Tony's head away but smiled at the chuckling genius.
"I can't believe it. You're really going to ask Pepper to marry you?" asked James. He could barely believe the words had come out of Tony's mouth. Suddenly he grinned and cheekily said. "Wow, Tony Stark settling down, who'd of thought it?"
"Yep, I know it but it was bound to happen sooner or later. Pepper never would have been able to keep her hands off me for that long," said Tony, quite confidently. Rhodey snorted.
"You keep telling yourself that Tony."
"It worked on you, didn't it? You can't leave me alone for a day, speaking of which, what are you doing here?" Tony asked, curiously.
"Well other than to see you? Nah, I just got off from work and I need to ask you about your impromptu trip to deep space a couple of weeks ago?" Rhodey said.
"What about it?" Tony asked. "I thought S.H.I.E.L.D already talked to you guys about it all?"
"They did but this isn't the military questioning, it's me," Rhodey said seriously. "I need to know if your okay, I read in the report that your reactor was out for a few minutes and you did travel further where no sane human would go and I would have come over sooner to ask this but we've had to clear up a lot of mess the Avengers made."
Tony smiled slightly, feeling lucky to have a friend like Rhodey. He hadn't seen his military friend since he had come back from New York but they had spoke on the phone now and then. The pair had been through a lot together and it showed a mark of brotherly love that Rhodey was checking up on him in his free time.
"Yeah I'm fine. I've had JARVIS scan me at Stark Tower and the shrapnel didn't move while my reactor was out so that was a relief for Pepper and myself. But, honestly, I really didn't think I was going to come back when I flew through that portal. I just remember everything slowing down and feeling very cold...like that time we went skiing and you didn't think I would be brave enough-,"
"Not brave, Tony, stupid," interjected Rhodey. Tony carried on like he hadn't heard him.
"- to skinny dip in the lake but when I didn't resurface you jumped in yourself just as I pulled myself out the lake on the opposite side. So it was cold like that, then I remember falling and everything going dark and thinking I if I survive I should do everything I've always wanted to do."
"Is that what this is about?" Rhodey asked, his eyes glancing briefly at the rings on display.
"Sure is and this defiantly isn't impromptu. This is something I've wanted from the start, it's just taken me a few near death experiences to realise it," said Tony, joking slightly.
"Well I'm happy for you Tony and I'm glad you're okay," said James. He clapped Tony on the shoulder.
"Cheers buddy. So do you want to help me search for rings?" Tony asked. James smiled.
"Sure thing." Dummy and Butterfingers brought a beer for the two of them and for a couple of hours they browsed at rings, drank their beer and chatted about everything.
"God, can you imagine the field day the paparazzi are going to have when they find out about this?" Rhodey asked.
"Well there not going to. I'm off to New York in a couple of days to see the final construction of Stark Tower, well the unofficial Avengers Headquarters now, apparently, so I'll ask Bruce to help me out," said Tony. He picked up his drink and drained the last remaining dregs of beer at the bottom.
"You're going to ask him to get the ring for you?"
"I don't want the pap's finding out because if they do, it'll be all over the news and I want to keep it a surprise for Pepper. I don't want her to find out when she sits down with the newspaper one day to see the headline 'Tony Stark Prepares To Propose But Keep It Quiet Because He Hasn't Asked Her Yet!" said Tony. Rhodey laughed as Tony set down the bottle and glanced back at the screen where he immediately froze at the sight of the ring on display.
"What?" James asked, his chuckling slowed down while watching Tony's expression turn from shock to wonder.
"That's it! That's the ring!" the billionaire exclaimed.
It was platinum with the main diamond, in a solitaire cut, clutched in a four cornered claw at the top with a cluster of smaller diamonds circling it and travelling down the shoulders of the ring. It was simple, elegant and perfect for Pepper.
"JARVIS! Ask them to put it on hold for me," asked Tony, excitedly.
"Sir, I thought you wanted to keep a low profile of your engagement to Miss Pott's. Should I tell them or not that it is you who wants the ring on hold?" questioned the AI. Tony frowned.
"Hmm, good point," said Tony. Slowly he looked at Rhodey with puppy dog eyes. "Can I use your name?"
"Go for it, anything I can do to help," said Rhodey. Tony grinned widely and JARVIS made sure the ring was on hold under James Rhodes name but had been prepaid for with Tony's money. When the payment went through Tony was practically dancing as he jumped for joy.
"You do realise that Pepper hasn't said yes yet?" Rhodey asked, after coming back from getting a couple more beers from the fridge.
"I know but now I'm one step closer," said Tony, accepting the beer off Rhodey. They unscrewed the caps off them and clinked them together in celebration.
"So how are you going to propose?" Rhodey asked, before taking a sip. Tony paused from taking a drink and with wide eyes said...
"I haven't thought about that."
Thank you for reading.
I hope you enjoyed it, I shall update as soon as I can and don't forget to leave a review.