"Pepper, darling, you look absolutely beautiful," Tony Stark said to his assistant, his eyes shining. He was right, as always; she did look extremely pretty in her blue floor length dress. Her stunning ginger hair was twirled up elaborately. She touched one of the several glittering pins carefully placed in her hair instinctively due to her boss' compliment.

Pepper, however, did not take the bait and rolled her piercing blue eyes. "Darling? That's a new one- you must be much more drunk than you look. And we just got here," she reproved him with a teasing smile, fixing his black bowtie.

Stark responded with a similar smile, pleased that he had someone so clever, and beautiful on top of it all, to clash wits with. "If I'm drunk on anything, it would most definitely be your ravishing beauty."

"Alright, what do you want? You never use such cheesy lines unless you want something."

"Hon, I always use cheesy lines. Some can be cheesier than others though." He chuckled. "I do want something as a matter of fact. I want to know when we can blow this joint and have our own private party back at Stark Tower. Iron Man is in need of some serious lovin'."

"Blunt as ever. You should have thought of that before you decided to throw this party. Now you've got to stay until everyone leaves. What an absolute shame," she teased him mock sympathetically.

"Aw shucks. And the real shame of it all is that you made the guest list so you'll have to stay by my side all night and introduce me to everyone." He snapped his fingers. "Won't that be deliciously terrible?"

"I don't know if I'll be able to resist your charms all night," Pepper frowned and ran a finger affectionately across his stubbled chin.

"That's the idea," Stark smiled smugly and kissed her lightly on the forehead. With that, he turned and stuck out his elbow. "Shall we greet the little people?"

The ornate doors opened and they were met by the eyes of a few hundred guests. As they descended down the red carpeted stairs Tony groaned quietly. "Do I have to talk to all of them?" It was a bit of an intimidating sight, with the guests, the cameras, and the large tables everywhere. Even the candelabras were enormous.

"I may have sent out the invitations, but they're your guests."

"Fantastic," He noticed a familiar looking man in the front of the crowd of people. "Mother of Thor, what's that guy's name again?"

"Peter McDowell, head of production. You were friends in college and you're very happy to see him again after that car accident he had four years ago," she breathed in his ear while smiling for the cameras. This made it look as if she and Tony were merely exchanging sweet nothings.

He laughed back, playing his part well for the paparazzi. He bent to her ear. "And the woman half his age next to him?"

They were almost to the bottom of the steps so Pepper whispered quickly, "Wife. Six months."

The next two hours or so went very much the same way. It wasn't until dinner that the couple finally had a break. The table was as decorated as the rest of the room, and Tony smiled a little as the S stitched into each of the napkins.

"Remind me never to throw another party again," Stark said to Pepper before leaning over and kissing her shoulder.

"I thought you liked parties... or were all the times you came back drunk from only social gatherings?" Pepper replied back, amused. Stark opened his mouth to answer but was interrupted by the waiter.

"The usual," he told him brusquely. "I love parties, just not ones where I have to actually talk to people and don't get a chance to drink any of the champagne I bought," he smirked at her and she smiled a little back. "What am I doing tomorrow, Ms. Potts?"

"You have a meeting with your testing administration, unless Mr. Fury has other plans for you."

"This party is getting so bad that I'm almost hoping the ol' SHIELD man would just give me a call to put me out of my misery."

"Do you even have your suit on you?" his companion asked, putting her napkin carefully on her lap.

"Of course, woman- do you think I'm a madman? What if a spaceman decided to crash into this building? One must be prepared you know. It's in the car."

"Madman? It depends on who you ask," she shot back with a grin, just as the first course came out of the kitchens.

"Ms. Potts, don't keep Mr. Stark all to yourself! Let the rest of us have a turn with the old bastard," his vice president of marketing interrupted in a mock outrage.

Pepper raised her hands in surrender. "He's all yours," she took pleasure in the glare Stark threw her way.

"Hey, watch who you're calling old. It isn't me with the, hm, three kids is it?" Tony retorted. And, much to Tony's displeasure, the rest of dinner was spent talking about weapons and business. After dinner, everyone returned back to the large space in the center of the hall. Some danced, some talked and argued, while still others merely stood around admiring the general splendor. "God Pepper, if you hired any dancing girls, bring them out now! This party is drag-ging!"

"No, sorry, Mr. Stark. There's just me."

"Well that just won't do; you're just for me," he murmured softly, burying his head into her neck and pulling her closer by the waist.

Just as she was about to protest, they were interrupted. "Sorry to bother you, sir, but you have a phone call," a waiter stuttered nervously.

"Tell him to get a woman and leave me alone," Stark groaned and kissed Pepper's ear.

The waiter blushed and looked anywhere but at the couple. "It's not a normal phone call. It's from… the other line."

Stark sighed and stood up straight. "SHIELD?"

"Yessir. Mr. Fury says it's urgent."

"Tell him I'll be in the suit in a minute," he told the waiter in a business-like manner. When the waiter left, Tony turned to Pepper. "You can hold down the fort here, right?" she nodded understandingly. "Good girl. Now, when I get home later tonight I expect that dress to be still on you, understood?"

"Will there be anything else, Mr. Stark?"

"Yes, be awake," he kissed her on the cheek and began to walk away, loosening his bowtie. "That dress is doing things to me that you wouldn't believe," he mumbled to himself.

"Was that Mr. Stark?" an associate asked Pepper as Tony went into the golden elevator. "Is he gone now?"

"Yes, but I can take a message if you want," Pepper replied back.

"No, don't bother," he waved his hand. "I just don't know how you can stand all the superhero stuff all the time. It must be very stressful for you to have him gone so much."

"Well," Pepper answered slowly, looking out the window. "The interesting thing about Tony is that no matter how long he's gone, he always manages to come back." And at that moment, the shining red figure of Iron Man waved at her through the window. She waved back, smiling as he flew away into the night.