I do not own anything, please don't try to sue me. i'm broke anyway.
Pepper knew something was wrong the moment she stepped into the mansion. It was quiet, the sound of her heels clacking along the tiled floors echoing through the house. 'Is Tony sleeping?' she wondered, glancing at the time. It was almost ten in the morning. Normally when she walked into the mansion at this time, Tony would be blasting his music while tinkering in his workshop. "Jarvis, where's Tony?"
"He is in his laboratory, Ms. Potts," the AI responded pleasantly.
"Thank you Jarvis," Pepper replied, heading toward the staircase, a pile of papers in hand. Tony was exactly where Jarvis said he would be: sitting at his desk, tinkering with some new invention. The lab was as silent as the rest of the house, worrying Pepper slightly. In all the years Pepper worked for Tony, the lab had never been quiet while he worked. "Mr. Stark," Pepper called as she opened the glass door, stepping into the lab. Tony didn't reply, focused completely on his invention. Pepper shook her head, walking up next to him. "Tony," she called softly, placing a hand on his shoulder.
"Hey Peps," Tony replied hoarsely, looking up at her briefly.
"Are you okay? You look sick."
"Fit as a fiddle."
"Uh huh," Pepper replied skeptically. "Then why are there beads of sweat on your forehead, why is your skin pale, why are you hands shaking slightly and why is there no music playing?" Pepper placed her hand his forehead, noticing as he leaned into her touch. "Tony, you're burning up."
"No, I'm not. And the music was making my headache worse," Tony replied, closing his eyes. "Your hands are really nice and cool."
"Okay, come on, we're getting you into bed," Pepper said, removing her hand from his forehead.
"Why Ms. Potts, I thought you'd never ask," Tony replied with an impish smile.
"I'm going to let that one slide because you're sick. But you're going to bed and you're going to sleep. When's the last time you actually slept?"
"Uhhh, what day of the week is it?" Tony asked, stumbling to his feet.
"My point exactly," Pepper said, smiling triumphantly. "You're going to go to bed and sleep for at least eight hours and I'm going to reschedule all of your meetings."
"Guess that's the silver lining," Tony muttered as they slowly made their way up to his bedroom. Honestly, Tony felt worse than he looked. His head throbbed, the lights and his movements making it worse. His muscles ached, his body felt chilled, and his vision blurred slightly. But admitting he was sick was not something he would do. After what felt like an hour of walking to Tony, they finally reached his bedroom. "Thank god," Tony said, plopping himself on his bed.
"Don't get too comfortable yet," Pepper said, tumbling through his drawers. "You need to change out of your clothes into something you'll sleep easier in."
"First, you want to get me in bed, now you want to get my clothes off. Never thought I'd see this side of you, Potts. But I'll only agree to take off my clothes if you take off some yours. I'm willing to help if you'd like."
"I'm not taking off any of my clothes," Pepper said, glaring at him. "And if you don't get up and get changed in the bathroom, I won't tuck you in."
"You're no fun," Tony pouted, accepting the t-shirt and shorts Pepper offered him before heading to the bathroom.
Pepper took the moment to rush back to the kitchen, grabbing the bottle of Advil out of the medicine cabinet and a large glass of water, before heading back to Tony's room. Just as she was about to knock on the bathroom door to see if Tony was alright, he walked out slowly, yawning. "Ready for bed?" Pepper asked, getting up and pulling his blankets back.
"Nope, not in the slightest. Tell her, Jarvis," Tony said, sighing softly as he lay on his cool satin sheets.
"Sir, you have a fever of 101.9 degrees. I would suggest you listen to Ms. Potts' advice," the AI replied.
"Traitor," Tony muttered, gulping down the Advil and water Pepper offered him.
"Just behave and go to sleep, Tony," Pepper said, covering him with his blanket. "You'll feel better once you get some rest. I'll be right downstairs doing some work if you need anything." Pepper ran her fingers through his hair gently, smiling slightly as he closed his eyes. Tony could be a conceited, stubborn pain in the ass sometimes, but she still cared about him. "Will that be all, Mr. Stark?"
"Yes, that will be all, Ms. Potts," Tony replied softly, his body slowly relaxing.
Pepper walked out of his room quietly, heading to the living room to rearrange Tony's schedule and answer the hundreds of emails she knew she had waiting. "Jarvis, make sure you monitor Tony's vitals and let me know if he needs anything, please."
"Yes, Ms. Potts," Jarvis replied.
Pepper settled into the couch, slipping her heels off. 'No reason to have them on all day if I won't be going anywhere,' she thought. 'Let's see what work can be done.' After answering a handful of emails, Pepper heard shuffling coming from the stairs. Looking up from her blackberry, she saw Tony making his way downstairs, his blanket wrapped around his shoulders.
"Tony, what are you doing out of bed?"
"It's lonely upstairs without you," he replied, shuffling over to the couch. He sat down with a sigh, as if the walk from his bedroom to the couch left him utterly exhausted. "Please don't push me off the couch for what I'm about to do," Tony said seriously.
"What are you going to do?" Pepper asked warily. Pepper knew when Tony gave you warning about something, you should be afraid. Tony didn't answer her; instead he stretched out on the couch, laying his head on her lap before pulling his blanket up to his chin. "T-tony?"
"This is much more comfortable," Tony replied, smirking slightly. Pepper was tempted to shove him off her lap and onto the floor, wanting to yell at him about professionalism and inappropriateness. But the dullness of his normally bright brown eyes, the vulnerability lurking in them had her stopping. She couldn't deny him the little bit of comfort she could give him, especially not when he was sick. "Please Pepper," Tony said softly, watching the indecisiveness in her eyes.
Pepper sighed, shaking her head. "Just this once, alright? And you have to actually sleep and let me do work."
"You're the best, Pepper," Tony replied happily. "I'll be a good patient, promise." Tony rolled onto his side, wrapping his arms loosely around her body as he tucked his face against her stomach. He smiled softly as he inhaled her scent: her perfume mixed with the faintest scent of pen ink and another scent that he still couldn't define after so many years, but was uniquely Pepper. 'Way better than a bed,' he thought, closing his eyes.
Pepper tensed up as Tony wrapped his arms around her, but relaxed once she realized his hands weren't going to stray and he wasn't going to make some inappropriate remark that would have her blushing from her toes to her hairline. She placed her hand against the back of his neck, frowning at how hot his skin was. Going against the little voice in her head screaming about professionalism and boundaries, Pepper began to stroke Tony's hair, enjoying its smooth silky texture. She felt his sigh more than she heard it, his breath warming her skin through her blouse. "Feels nice," Tony mumbled sleepily, snuggling closer to her. After a few minutes, Tony's breathing leveled out, drifting to sleep. 'Time to get some work done,' Pepper thought, reaching for her phone as she looked down at Tony's sleeping face.
After a few hours, Pepper was pleased with amount of work she was able to get done. Tony's entire schedule for the day had been rearranged and she even managed to clear out most of his emails. "Who would have thought I could get all this work done with Tony sleeping on my lap?" she said softly. As she began to answer another email, she felt Tony shift in her lap, tightening his arms around her. "Tony?" she called softly. Tony continued to hold her tightly, mumbling into her shirt. "Tony, are you okay?" Pepper asked, setting down her phone. She slowly ran her hand through his hair, trying to soothe him as he began to shift restlessly. 'Is he having a nightmare?' Pepper wondered. 'He does have enough to have nightmares about.' "Tony!" Pepper said loudly, startling him awake.
"Huh, what's going on?" Tony asked tiredly, pushing himself up slightly while looking around the living room. "Pepper, what's happening?"
"You were having a nightmare, so I decided to wake you," she replied. "How do you feel?"
"Like crap," Tony replied hoarsely, lying back onto her lap.
"That's generally how people feel when they're sick. Come on, I need you to move so I can go get some lunch together for us; you need to eat."
"Don't go," Tony whined. "You're supposed to be my pillow."
"I need to go so I can make food for you," Pepper replied, pushing him up slightly so she could scoot out from her spot. Her legs felt like rubber after sitting in one position for so long. "I'll make you a grilled cheese sandwich and some tomato soup, okay?"
"Okay," Tony mumbled, snuggling into the couch cushions and falling back asleep.
"If only he was this easy all the time," Pepper sighed, walking into the kitchen. "Jarvis, how's his fever looking?" she asked as she tumbling through the cupboards.
"His fever is currently at 100.2 degrees," Jarvis replied.
"Well at least it's gone down a bit. Hopefully it'll keep going down."
"Tony," Pepper called softly, shaking his shoulder.
"Go away," Tony mumbled, pulling his blanket over his head. "Too tired."
"Come on, Tony. I made you food, you need to eat. Once you eat, you can go back to sleep, alright?"
Tony groaned, pulling the blanket off himself and sitting up quickly. He quickly clenched his head between his hands as his vision blurred slightly. "What'd you buy?"
"I made you tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich," Pepper replied, handing him the bowl of soup. "There's also some tea here for you."
"You cooked for me?" Tony asked, a little more alert. "I don't think you've ever cooked for me in all the years I've known you."
"I don't think I've seen you this sick in all the years I've known you," Pepper countered. "Desperate times call for desperate measures."
"I need to get sick more often; this stuff is really good." Tony quickly finished his food, being hungrier than he realized. He leaned back into the couch with a contented sigh, his eyes drooping.
"I think it's time to get you into bed," Pepper said, placing her bowl on the coffee table. "I don't want to have to drag you up the stairs." Tugging on his arm, Pepper managed to get Tony to his feet, walking him to his room as he dragged his blanket behind him.
"Pep," Tony said tiredly as he climbed onto his bed. "Are you gonna leave?"
"Yeah, I think I'll head to the office and finish up some last minute things before I go home," Pepper replied, running her fingers through his hair again. 'I need to stop doing this,' she thought.
"Can you stay….please? Just for a little while?" Tony asked softly, grabbing her hand in his.
Pepper froze for a moment, wavering between saying yes and saying no. Every rational part of her mind screamed at her to tell him no, to walk out of his room, find her shoes and go to work. But another pleading part of her mind wanted to stay with him, wanted to comfort him and lull him to sleep, wanted to feel his warm body against hers. "Just for a little while," Pepper replied, going around to the other side of the bed and slipping between the sheets. Tony immediately curled himself around her, his face pressed against her neck, his arm across her waist.
"Hey Pep?" Tony said sleepily, his eyes closed.
"Yeah, Tony?" Pepper replied, wrapping an arm around his shoulder.
"Thank you," he said sincerely. "I'd be lost without you."
"Don't worry about that; I won't be going anywhere."