Iron Man: Risks and Consequences

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters, their lives, the actors, their lives, the movies, the comics. Zilch.

Author's Note: The waiting is going to kill me. I swear to you guys that I am literally an anxious wreck. Iron Man 3 is promising to be AWESOME! Have you guys scene the latest suit? What do you all think about it? Unfortunately I did NOT go to Comic Con like I had hoped, but I have heard "rumors", and have seen set photos that have made me more anxious and excited. This is the product of that excitement. It islooselybased on what tidbits I have heard here and there. I did not point them out, so to the best of your knowledge…nothing is a spoiler, but in the end, if you'd rather wait and go in with a clear mind, do not read this. Most of it is all a product of my imagination. I warn you all that I am not too familiar with the comic arcs therefore I can and probably will be off on some details. Do not be insulted, I just never had the pleasure of growing up with the comics. This is promising to be a good lengthy story with comedy, action, and romance so stick around. Enjoy!

As always, sorry for any mistakes.

His face shield opened to reveal his pain-stricken eyes. He held onto his left side with his right arm. His ribs hurt, but nothing stung more than the tears in his eyes.

There had never been a moment in his life that threatened him with more emotions than he could handle. Until now. He inhaled deeply before walking cautiously over to where she rested on her knees, slightly doubled over.

"Tony." His name was but a whisper that escaped her parted lips. She looked up with red eyes as he towered over her in all of his Iron Man glory.

"Pepper." Tony had never been a man who cried openly or wore his emotions on his sleeve, but nearly losing each other had unsnapped the cables that held his armor safely against his heart. A tear made its journey down his face. He smiled, exhaled the breath he'd been holding, and fell to his own knees before her.

Some Time Prior

Pepper sat, as she often did, on the center table in Tony's living room with her laptop on her legs. How she managed time and time again to respond to emails, answer texts, and pay attention to the flat screen hanging on the wall was beyond her and everyone's understanding. It came naturally really. But there was one thing she still hadn't mastered, and that was being able to do all those things while Tony expressed his appreciation for her choice of perfume.

"You're in trouble." He stated matter-of-factly while pointing a finger at her as he walked from the stairs. His hair was tousled and he still donned his sweats and white t-shirt from the night before.

Pepper didn't look up from her laptop as she typed away in reply to the latest inquiries from several board members. "Why's that, Tony?"

He stood beside her but glanced at the television before them. "Because…my dear Pepper…you had Jarvis untint the windows at a quarter to six…on a Saturday." She huffed and picked up her phone to view the latest text alert. "Are they serious right now? They want to award us medals?" He faced the flat screen.

Pepper looked up with her phone in hand. "Yes. Can you imagine that? You manage to destroy half of New York City and still get rewarded for it." She smiled teasingly before turning her attention back to her phone.

He grinned. "The least they could do is give me another medal. I deserve a monument after traveling to another world to save ours…while I carried a nuke on my back." He looked at her with wide eyes. "Hey do you think I can get them to build me a statue instead? You know one of those copper ones. I want mine to look like Rocky's but more intimidating. Or maybe I can have them make a replica from the suit…but bigger." After he realized she hadn't been paying attention to his speech, he looked at her with a wicked grin.

"Tony!" Pepper involuntarily flung her phone back. Luckily it landed on the white leather couch behind them. Unfortunately her laptop had nowhere else to land but on the ground when she jerked her legs to the side. Tony couldn't help but chuckle against her skin.

His nose was buried in the space behind her right ear. "You're wearing the perfume I got you." He breathed her in deeply. She craned her neck toward him in an attempt to suppress the chills that were making their way down her body.

Pepper groaned and let out a sound that loosely resembled a squeal. Tony laughed again. "You mean the I'm-sorry-I-almost-died-trying-to-save-the-world perfume you gave me?"

"Mmm." He nodded into her neck. "That would be the one." He stopped breathing it in and proceeded to kiss his way down to her collarbone. He smiled when he felt her shudder after he kissed her pulse point. He knew that she couldn't help her body's reactions to his kisses on that very spot. She went weak at the knees every time.

Pepper felt the goose bumps run down her body and she pulled Tony closer by his waist. She wasn't proud to admit that one well-placed kiss undid her composure, but she never fought against the adrenaline that coursed through her body when he did succeed in undoing her.

"Hey boss." Happy chose that very moment to stride in. Tony groaned with frustration into Pepper's neck and she opened her eyes with a hint of pink on her cheeks. "Whoa! Sorry. I'll come back. I saw nothing. I swear." He spun around quickly on his heels to exit the room.

Pepper cleared her throat. "Happy…come back. What is it?" Pepper pushed against Tony's chest to put some space between them. Tony rolled his eyes.

"Yes Happy, come back, please. We'd be delighted for you to join us at such a favorable time." He sat on the corner of the couch with a loud sigh.

Happy didn't want to walk back into the room, he knew Tony would give him so much grief later, but Pepper had asked. So he did walk back towards them. Hesitantly, but surely he made his way to stand in front of them. He kept his face low and played with the cuffs on his jacket. "Pepper…my timing sucks. Sorry."

She chuckled. "Yes. Tony would say something along those lines I'm sure." She faced Tony. "But we don't mind do we, Tony?"

"Nope. Not one bit. Especially if your timing is programmed to when I'm trying to get Ms. Potts back into bed. Don't mind it at all." He feigned a smile.

"Tony!" Pepper was about to chastise him for his comment when Happy interrupted.

"You have a visitor outside the gate. Thought I'd let you know he doesn't look too happy."

"Ok…what does he look like?" Tony stood up and sat next to Pepper.

"Um, average build. Bald. Sad eyes…eye-"

"Happy!" Tony attempted to stop his friend from describing the visitor.

"No not happy. I thought I mentioned that." He looked up confused.

"No…Happy…if he doesn't look happy, then what does he look? Not appearance wise."

"Oh." He looked to Pepper for assistance. All she could do was smile at the exchange between the two men. There was never a dull moment in her life when the two were in the same room. She shrugged.

"You know, sometimes I wonder about you, Happy." Tony shook his head.

"Anyway, the visitor doesn't look happy, so can we assume he looks…upset?" Pepper cut in.

Happy nodded. "Yup. And he asked to see Tony." He grinned. "Have fun." He turned swiftly to walk back out.

Tony and Pepper looked at each other simultaneously. "Fury."

Tony hung his head and shook it from left to right. "Timing. We have to work on our timing." Pepper smiled a small smile.

Her fingers caressed his cheek and he looked at her. "Go." She kissed the same spot her hands had touched.

"Fine. But I reserve the right to continue where we left off." He kissed her cheek and walked back to his bedroom to freshen up before he met Fury outside.

Tony walked as confidently as ever towards a now seriously irritated Nick Fury. He slowed his pace as he caught sight of the man. The S.H.I.E.L.D. director wore nothing like what he usually sported. His black trench coat was replaced by an I Heart L.A. grey hooded sweater. His black uniform was replaced by dark blue jeans and he didn't wear combat boots, but a pair of tennis shoes instead. Tony's smile faded. "Whoa. Should I be worried? I'm worried. What's with the outfit? I miss the pirate look." He stopped a few feet in front of him.

"Be quiet, Stark. I'm here off the clock. The rest of the group is assigned to other matters so I took time from my life to get you some information." He looked cautiously around them.

Tony shifted his weight and looked around as well. He lifted his eyebrows in curiosity. "Okay. What's going on? You could have called. They invented phones a long time ago you know. And I have a state of the art communications system."

"I was in the area. I left a…family gathering. This is urgent. It needs your attention right away." Fury pulled a flash drive from the front pocket of his sweater and handed it to Tony. He looked around again.

Tony once again mimicked Fury's actions. He sighed in frustration and snatched the device from his hand. "Alright! Hand it over. You're acting weird…er. I don't like it." He looked at Fury. "What's with the looking around? Who are you expecting to crash the party? Because I hate to break it to you but neither of us is dressed to entertain."

"Stark. This is no joking matter."

"Yeah. Yeah. I've heard that before." He looked down at the flash drive. "So what's in here? What am I looking for?"

Fury turned towards the front gates and started to walk away. "Can't explain it all. Just study the intel. It's huge. Scary huge." He halted his steps to look back to Tony. "Dangerous huge. I have faith that if anyone can resolve this…it's you. Oh and…congrats on the medal. See you around, Stark."

As Nick disappeared Tony stood rooted to his spot. He sighed. Another mission that was sure to pull him away from Pepper. Who knew for what and for how long. He studied the device a bit longer before making his way back into the mansion, but not before he looked around warily once again.

Tony looked at a number of screens as he tried to take in the information displayed on them. Scientists gathered around test subjects, files with complex formulas, a model of a double helix, test subjects experiencing severe side effects, what appeared to be government officials breaking into laboratories-guns drawn. He squeezed his eyes shut and ran a hand through his hair. Nick had been right; the things he had read about were definitely a great concern, nothing to be taken lightly. He wouldn't. He couldn't. Not if it meant that ignoring such a matter could potentially put humanity at risk, put Pepper in harm's way. Something had to be done, and he would go to great lengths to keep her out of any danger.

The sigh that escaped his lips was heard by Pepper as she walked into his workshop. She carefully made her way to him in the dim-lit space. "Tony?" She made her way around his desk to stand next to him and looked up at the several screens before him. "You need a break."

He let his head drop and spoke under his breath. "Can't."

Pepper's heart always felt heavy when he locked himself in his workshop for hours to study countless file folders. It almost always hinted at an important, not to mention dangerous mission. She looked back down to him and rubbed circles into his hair. "Do you want to come up for some air? I hear it's a nice evening out." Her hand drifted lower to knead the muscles on his shoulder.

Tony looked up with a sad smile. "Where have you been? In the study?" He knew what her answer would be. She was always in her office when they were home and both occupied with business.

She smiled and nodded. "Those files aren't going to sort themselves. Contracts need to be reviewed and signed. I figured if you're going to work through a Saturday, then so will I."

"Not acceptable. It's still early. Let's go have dinner. I'll fly us there. Same idea right? Fresh air and what not." He wrapped his left arm around her waist and looked up to meet her blue eyes. "You're my favorite person in this world. Did you know that?"

A small laugh came from Pepper as she bent forward to hug him by his shoulders. Her head rested on the top of his head. "You're such a softie, Stark."

He gasped loudly. "How dare you say that out loud, Potts? You'll ruin me for life." He grinned as he got to his feet. Careful not to bump heads, he kept her near and embraced her. He rested his head in the crook of her neck; the smell of her perfume reminded him of the morning's events. "You smell great."

"Alright. Let's go before you try to skip out on dinner." She playfully pushed against his chest and walked towards the glass door. "You're my favorite person too, Tony. Most of the time anyway." She winked and left him standing there with a wide smile on his face. He often wondered why a woman like her would stick around for a man like him. "Are you coming?" Pepper shouted from the top of the steps.

"Yup." He walked out of the workshop, taking two steps at a time up to meet her.

To Be Continued…

Not much excitement, but trust me when I say, you will want to stick around. More to come!