A/N: promptfic: ache, warm

Set anytime post Iron Man 2.


Winter in southern California wasn't exactly like winter anywhere else. Certainly nothing like as bad as winter in New York City. But spring, moving fast toward summer, was better. The sound of surf against the cliff below, and gulls wheeling above, made for a perfect counterpart to the lazy rays of the May sun. Rays which the stretched-out lean body on a private pool deck was doing its human best to take in.

A - fairly short - pair of swimming trunks was his only concession to modesty - not so much his own as that of his partner (who was vastly more concerned with such things than he himself, particularly in the privacy of his own home). But there was no concession in sight or in the even-now rapidly-moving mind to anything even related to work. Not today. In his opinion, they had both done more than their fair share of work - both corporate and more heroic - this week, and his biggest goals for this particular Saturday were to soak up more of a tan and to get his girlfriend out here to join him.

With this in mind, he lifted his head and, surrounded by technology that could (and would) carry his voice calmly to any corner of the mansion, he yelled the old-fashioned way. "Pepper!"

It took a minute or so for the summoned woman (business partner, girlfriend, best friend, lover, mmm) to push open the glass door leading from the gym and lean over the short railing to look down with a quirk of a smile. It was a smile he was helpless not to smile back at, grin really. "Jarvis says you hollered, Mr Stark?"

Her North Carolina upbringing never came out so clearly as when she was amused with him; he liked it. But the name, half-fond half-professional, twisted the usually sharply debonaire face into something much more resembling that of a put-out boy. One hand made a short, abrupt gesture. "Off the clock, Potts, I'm off the clock. And so are you. Put down whatever you're doing, find a swimsuit, and get out here."

The willowy redhead only looked more amused. "You do realize that you still have a pile of email that would be eighteen inches deep were it on paper?"

He snorted, stretching back down on the chaise lounge and closing his eyes. "Saturday, Pep. Saturday. I know this is a difficult concept for you, but I'm going to teach you how to relax one of these days. Starting today. Get down here." After a long moment of no answer, he cracked one eye open again and pressed his lips together. "Please?"

That finally seemed to do it. With a deep sigh, his partner finally pushed herself upright. "Give me fifteen minutes."

He smiled, and with no clock anywhere in sight called back, "Fifteen. I'm counting."

She took twenty. And when the tall, slender figure finally arrived on the pool deck in a well-cut one-piece and with a novel in hand, he (carefully) took recompense by jumping up, tossing her book onto the table, and wrapping an arm around her waist to drag her bodily into the water with a great splash. When they came back up she was spluttering indignantly, the only word coming out clearly "Tony!" But it was obvious, at least to him, that she was also fighting not to break out laughing.

Tony Stark felt no such compunctions. Happy under the warm Malibu sun, drenched in cool water and with his best girl's body wonderfully half-wrapped around his, he laughed until his sides ached.