Letting the hologlobe spin on his index finger like a basketball, Tony studied the curvature of the Earth intently. There weren't many places on the planet they hadn't visited but there was one place he knew Pepper was just desperate to go. Throwing the globe up in the air he stretched the hologram out with his fingers, turning it into a map in front of him. Putting his right index finger on their glowing house icon, he let his left index finger trace over the ocean and stop on the large green island.

"J, how long would that take? To get there I mean?" Tony questioningly asked JARVIS. He had a rough idea but was seeking confirmation more than anything.

"That particular journey would take roughly 15 hours on a jet, Sir. I assume that you are not going there on business?"

Tony laughed a little "You're right there, buddy. Pepper deserves a proper holiday after everything that's happened this year. Do me a favour though; don't tell her I'm planning this?"

"You have my upmost discretion as usual, Sir" There were a few moments of silence before JARVIS spoke again. "Sir, there is an incoming call from Agent Coulson of SHIELD. Are you home?"

Leaning forward to touch the screen, Tony grinned like a small child as Coulson's serious face appeared. "Agent! To what do I owe the pleasure?"

Phil's face didn't change at all as he spoke in reply "Mr Stark...we need you"


The meeting went without a hitch, she was thankful it had, and she was over the moon to be going home to him at a reasonable hour. Pulling out a small silver case from her handbag she handed over a business card to Mr Yamamoto, shaking his hand in thanks as he left. The feeling of the cream card underneath her well manicured fingers made her smile but the sight of her double-barrelled name still surprised her; Virginia Potts-Stark CEO – Stark Industries. She and Tony had been married almost 5 years and after the wedding Tony made her Co-CEO and vice president of the company with a 51% share; meaning it was more hers than his.

Slipping the expensive "I'm sorry for being an ass" limited to only one in the world Prada handbag from Tony onto her arm, Pepper headed out to the parking lot; waving at the young receptionist on her way out. Slipping into the driving seat of her Vixen red Audi R8GT, she hit the highway, not calling Tony on her way home like usual; instead she planned on surprising him with an early return from the office. The warm California sun had put her in an exceptionally good mood and she turned up the music pulsing from the custom sound system, weaving in and out of the rush hour traffic along the Pacific Coast Highway. Reaching Point Dume, Pepper entered her code into the gate and drove up the winding drive to the house, stopping the car in her one and only parking space in the multicar garage. She greeted JARVIS in her usual chirpy manner; patting the 'bots as she entered the house through the workshop.

"Tony, you here?" Pepper called out through the lounge, kicking off her "I'm sorry I got drunk...again! Have these shoes, they make your legs look great" Christian Louboutins as she reached the kitchen. She froze as she saw an envelope on the island; her hands shaking as she slipped the small note from inside.

"Pepper,

I'm sorry I had to dash away so quickly and without telling you. That meeting was important to Stark Industries and I didn't want to interrupt.

Coulson called and SHIELD needs me to go and consult for a few days so I'm going to be off the radar. It's too dangerous for anyone to know where we are.

Don't get into any trouble you can't get out of with Rescue!

I love you, T xx"

Taking the note, a cold bottle of water from the refrigerator and an apple from the fruit bowl, she padded barefoot to her office and made herself comfortable behind the large, rather imposing glass desk. Finding herself reading the letter over and over she closed her eyes and took a deep breath, trying to convince herself his sudden absence was nothing to be worried about and he'd return home soon. Her voice nothing more than a whisper, she spoke to the letter like he was there reading it to her. "I love you too, Tony"