Okay, Chapter Eighteen is here guys :). We are getting back into the movie part of the fanfiction, and this chapter is a bit sadder than the rest. I still hope you all like it and Read and Review!

Chapter Eighteen


When dad and I finally got back to Malibu, it was to find a very grey and rainy evening waiting for us. The weather was absolutely disgusting and it did nothing to improve my already horrid mood. I couldn't pinpoint why exactly, but I was just not up for feeling high spirited…and I guess Tony could sense that. The plane ride had us both sitting in silence and I honestly just tried to sleep most of it away…but there was something nagging at my mind the entire time. A dream about Tony…and I couldn't get it to make sense whatsoever.

I wanted to ask him about it, but I was afraid he would just dismiss me as being paranoid again…but I couldn't help but feel that something was terribly wrong with him. Every time I looked at him…I felt that he appeared to be a little older than what he was a couple hours before. And of course, he would just smile at me and maybe squeeze my hand to comfort me…but it did little to reassure my racing mind. I wondered if he was sick and just doing his best to hide it…but it didn't make sense. If he was sick with the flu or something, why couldn't he just let himself be sick? Why go through all of this secrecy?

And then part of me just felt like I was worrying over nothing. I often did that and then I ended up making mistakes and screwing everything up when it didn't need to be. I just wanted to know that he was okay. I felt like after everything we had gone through…I just needed to know that he wasn't going to be taken from me ever again. I watched him from my seat in the airplane…seeing him resting his eyes lightly. I smiled quietly and gently took his hand while he slept.

Everything would…be okay…whatever was wrong, it couldn't be that bad…or he would have told me…right? I felt my smile sink back down into a frown as my mind began reeling through all the possibilities and problems Tony could be enduring right at this very moment. What if it was so bad that that was the reason he didn't want to tell me. What if he was dying right before my eyes…and I was just too thick to realize it. I needed to know…these dreams weren't just nonsense…they had some bearing…this was something that I was thinking about…something that Tony had said or did had implanted the idea of his mortality into my mind. Now I just needed to figure out what that was exactly.

Carefully as I could, I reached into Tony's pocket and quietly slipped out the small rectangular device he used to fiddle with Jarvis when he wasn't at home. If anyone could tell me what was wrong with dad…it would be Jarvis. I just needed to be somewhere dad wouldn't hear me or wake up while I was snooping around his databases. I decided that I would take Jarvis with me into the bathroom and work on my hacking there.

"Jarvis…" I said softly, tapping the screen lightly. "Wake up."

"Hello Miss Stark," he said politely. "Are you and Mr. Stark enjoying your flight?"

"Yeah, it's just peachy…Jarvis, I need access to my father's personal files."

Before Jarvis could even protest, I entered in my father's passcode and began snooping through every file that I came across. He had a lot of designs for suit upgrades in here, some of them I was saving into my own personal files for later…but that wasn't what I was interested in. I began to dig deeper, going through every weapon design I could, when I finally reached the design for my dad's arc reactor. I pulled it apart and watched as it floated around me.

This had been his most protected file…there just had to be something in here that he was hiding. I looked at each component my father used when constructing this arc reactor and then I saw it…Palladium…I felt like I had heard the name before…somewhere…

"Jarvis…what is Palladium?"

"Palladium…A malleable, ductile, grayish-white metallic element that occurs naturally with platinum. It is used as a catalyst in hydrogenation and in alloys for making electrical contacts and jewelry. Atomic number 46; atomic weight 106.4; melting point 1,552°C; boiling point 3,140°C; specific gravity 12.02 (20°C); valence 2, 3, 4."

"Can it harm the human body?"

"A brief encounter with Palladium poses no threat to the human body."

I sighed slightly in relief.

"However, continuous exposure and use to the Palladium is lethal-"

"Define continuous…like…like how many times dad uses the suit?"

"Unfortunately that is the case…your father has tested positive for Palladium poisoning Miss Stark..."

My mind blanked for a moment and I couldn't hear anything. I felt sick…really sick…and for a moment I thought I might vomit right then and there. My dad…was dying through the use of a device that was supposed to keep him alive. Talk about a cruel irony…and at the moment, I felt like I was completely lost in the words Jarvis had given me. I wish I would have kept my nose out of it…I wish I wouldn't have snooped, I wish I wouldn't have known…but now I did know and I didn't know what the Hell to do about it.

"Are…are there any replacements?" I whispered, unaware of what was actually coming out of my mouth.

"None that can serve as a viable replacement for the Palladium core."

That had done it…I was now going to actually be sick. Setting Jarvis down, I leaned over the toilet and vomited…feeling tears fall down my face as the words replayed over and over in my head. "None that can serve as a viable replacement, none that can serve…" it just turned my stomach.

"April?" I heard a rapid knock at the door. "Are you throwing up in there?"

"Y-Yeah…" I retched, wiping my mouth. "I…I just feel a little air sick…can I get some privacy please?"

I knew he wouldn't leave though…he was going to sit there and listen to me puke, just in case he needed to bust in and be the superhero. That was the problem! This was all Iron Man's fault! If dad didn't feel the need to be a fucking superhero, he wouldn't need to deal with the palladium and he would be able to…to just be normal! Now because of his need to save the world…I was going to lose my father! I couldn't lose him, I just got him back!

Why…why was it getting so hard to breathe in here? Were the walls always this close together? What was happening? My vision was getting blurry…oh God, I was going to pass out…I…I needed to calm down…I couldn't breathe…why…why was it so hard to catch my breath? Why…why…why was it getting dark? I needed to get out…to find a cure…he couldn't leave…why did he have to do this to me? Why did he always leave…I…I was going to lose my daddy again…no…no…no!

"D-Dad…" I called. "I…I…-"

When I woke up…I found myself with a fucking headache from Hell and that I was no longer in Tony's private jet. We were actually home now and from the looks of it…darkness had just settled in for the night. I sat up from the sofa and gently pushed the blanket Tony or Pepper had draped over me off. Taking a moment to collect my strength, I pulled myself up and began looking around to see where everyone had gone.

I could hear voices coming from downstairs in the lab…loud, angry, voices…arguing over some old paintings…it didn't really concern me at the moment. I took my time getting down to the lab, as my legs felt pretty shaky, and I peered around the corner…dad and Pepper were talking about something…but I wasn't really able to focus on what at the moment. I just wanted to know what had happened while I was on the plane. And then it hit me…like a ton of bricks…dad was dying.

"Ooh…" I held my head as it began to throb and race and I tried to lean against something sturdy to hold myself up.


I sunk to the floor as I felt my legs shake and I began to try and steady my breathing which kept coming out in rapid spasms. I was having some sort of anxiety attack…I needed to calm down and get back in control.

"Baby…baby look at me," Tony said, gently holding my face. "I'm right here honey… you need to relax. Are you with me?"

"I'm calling an ambulance…" Pepper said.

"N-No!" I gasped. "N-No…"

Tony hushed me and held me close, and as I listened to his heartbeat…I felt a sort of calm overtake me. He was still here…and his heart sounded strong…we had time…I didn't know how much time, but I knew that we had some time. I looked up at him weakly and gently touched his face…tears filling my eyes once more.

"Honey, what's wrong?" he asked, one of his strong hands caressing my cheek.

I looked over to Pepper and briefly wondered if she knew…I didn't want to risk her finding out dad's secret…then that would reveal to him that I knew. I was going to have to lie…in order to save him…I was going to have to lie so he would think I knew nothing about this. Because I knew that Tony would never let me save his life…not if he could help it.

"I…I woke up…and you weren't there…"

Tony kissed my forehead and pulled my closer against him. I just wanted to stay here forever…just Tony and I and no one else to destroy what we had finally come to in our relationship.

"I will always be here for you baby…I promise."

Tears filled my eyes once more and I chewed my bottom lip...did he really believe he could keep that promise?

(Please Read and Review...but no flames :) )