Role Reversal

( tony & pepper )

Disclaimer: I do not own Ironman or anything related. I just play with it.

AN: Hello fanfiction readers! This piece happens to be my first in two years, give or take. It's also my first foray into the Ironman community, but these two are my current obsession, so I wanted to give it a shot. Hopefully my writing hasn't suffered and the characters sound like how they should, but you only get better with practice, right? :) Enjoy!

She hadn't answered the phone when Jarvis had put him through, anxious to hear her voice when he realized he'd finally run out of luck. It had struck him as unusual before he'd lost consciousness; surely she knew what was happening? He hadn't had enough time to entertain the thought that something might be wrong.

Upon waking, he had no missed calls and Jarvis had been unable to neither get a hold of her nor trace her. He'd simply attributed it to a malfunction with the suit (despite Jarvis' protests) and the fact that he knew she'd been on a plane heading for DC, Washington. Who said her life stopped just because he'd almost lost his? That was, in general, a daily risk and part of the job description. She was more than likely incredibly busy doing all those things she normally did on a business trip, especially now with the aftermath of New York.

"That doesn't sound like something Miss Potts would do, Tony," Natasha disagreed, frowning. The group had made their way back to Stark Tower and were all lounging on one of the intact lower floors, exhausted and waiting for their next instructions from Nick Fury.

Tony shrugged, refusing to admit to the bubbling panic he was feeling, which Natasha had only just intensified. Of course it wasn't something Pepper would do, he knew her better than anyone. He was surprised he wasn't already experiencing being deaf from the hysteria he had been expecting. The hysteria that should have happened by now.

"I know you're going to come really close to exploding any minute now, so let's go." Natasha offered, standing without the faintest flinch despite her injuries. "Let's go and find her. She would've come right back to New York the second she found out what was happening."

He stood without a word, ignoring the now concerned faces of his comrades.

"We shall help look for your woman, Tony Stark. 'Tis what friends are for." Thor said, standing as Steve, Bruce and Clint all nodded, following Natasha out of the room.

They had all just about left the tower when Jarvis' voice made them all halt. "Sir, there is an incoming call. Shall I answer?"

"Yes," Tony snapped, his whole body tensing in anticipation. He hated feeling this way.

"Boss? Tony?" Happy's voice rang out through the empty building. "We've-"

"Are you with Pepper?" Tony cut across, losing the last of his patience. This was ridiculous. He was the one who wore the suit and fought all the battles. The only thing he wanted back was to be able to count on Pepper's safety, which included actually knowing that she was alright. What had taken so long for somebody to call?

"Yes," was his short reply. "But you've got to get down to the hospital. There was a, uh... accident for lack of a better word."

"Sounds like any other day, let's go." Tony quipped, turning on his heel and instead heading for the garage.

"I'm driving." Bruce declared, silencing Tony with a glare, whose mouth had immediately opened at his frank statement. "There's no way you're driving."

"Don't argue, Stark." Steve said, catching up with Tony and taking firm hold of his arm. "You would only be wasting your breath and time."

They made it to the hospital in record time and before anybody could say a word, Tony was racing through the main entrance, looking for all intents and purposes like a man on a mission.

"I'm looking for Pepper Potts," he huffed out once he reached the front desk. The woman sitting there looked up at him, her calm expression transforming into one of shock. He blinked.

"Mr. Stark!" She rose up out of her chair and extended her hand but he stopped her with his own.

"Just directions, please."

"I, absolutely-" Her hands dropped to the keyboard on the desk in front of her, fingers tapping frantically. "I'll take you there myself, this way please." She managed, though clearly she was flustered by his appearance. She lead him through some doors, maybe up a few floors, but he barely noticed, simply following after her like a zombie. His heart had stopped for a moment when she'd said she would take him to her herself, reaffirming his one, horrifying reality. Pepper was in this hospital somewhere. She was here, in who knew what state. It was supposed to be the other way around.


Tony looked up and focused finally when he heard Happy's shout. "Where is she? What happened, what's wrong?"

"Relax, she's in here, come on." Happy put a heavy hand on his shoulder, thanking the clerk for bringing him up. He lead him to a room, opened the door and practically shoved him in. "He's here, Pepper, he's fine."

"I'm fine?" Tony repeated bleakly, wondering why anybody cared if he was okay when he was standing and she was quite clearly sitting in a hospital bed. There were bandages wrapped around her left arm and a bruise on her cheek but he couldn't move. He just stared until she finally said something.

"Tony?" She tried, sitting up a bit straighter in the bed. "Are-"

"Is this a joke?" He shouted, crossing his arms over his chest. "This has to be some kind of a prank right? You're not actually sitting in that bed right now."

Pepper sighed, closing her eyes. When she opened them, her breath caught in her throat. It wasn't often that she was the recipient of his anger. In fact, she couldn't think of a time in the past ten years when he'd looked at her the way he was now. His jaw was clenched tightly and his eyes were dark and angryand it was all directed at her. For once, she couldn't think of a thing to say to him.

"What happened to you?" He asked, finally moving to stand beside her bed. He grasped her hand tightly and motioned for her to move over so that he could sit on the side of her bed. "And how come the one time I really need to talk to you, you don't answer your phone? You always have your phone with you."

"It was on vibrate. Besides, I was too busy watching you fly into a portal with a missile on your back." She was careful to keep her tone even, recognizing the anger for what it really was - concern, worry, stress. It took a lot to get him so worked up that he couldn't crack a joke of some kind or make a snarky, unnecessary comment. "When I saw you fall back out, I pushed you out of my head to be honest, so that I could come back and make myself useful, otherwise I would have gone crazy."

"So you failed the whole not going crazy then?" He replied dryly, eying her injuries.

She snorted. "No. We came back to help civilians, but one of the buildings collapsed-"

He groaned and rested his face in his hands. "Don't tell me any more." He jabbed a finger at her suddenly, making her jump. "You are being locked up somewhere when I go on missions. Remember the Hammeroids? How they were going to blow up all around you? That's because you were helping civilians, too."

"I had to help Tony, my boyfriend is half the reason the city is destroyed," she explained pointedly. Her gaze softened suddenly and she looked up at him with a smile. "I'm sorry I worried you. I should have phoned you back, but I figured you would be busy. And once the building collapsed... If you phoned me any more times, I'm afraid I didn't get them. To be fair, you worried me just as much, so we're even."

His only response was to lean down and kiss her, hard. "Let's go rebuild our home for the millionth time," he said softly. "Unless you're not allowed to leave? Is your arm worse than it looks?"

She shrugged. "I'm only still here because of Happy. They said I could leave a while ago."

"Alright," he said, pulling back the hospital blankets. He placed an arm under her back and knees, lifting her up with ease. "My crazy friends are outside, we can deal with that, too."

"Sounds thrilling. Should you really be carrying me right now, Tony? Put me down!"

"Woah, hey, let me take care of you, I'm still recovering from my near death experience which was very shortly followed by a Pepper-induced heart attack."

Happy followed them out the door, shaking his head. All of a sudden, things sounded pretty normal considering the scenery.

AN: I don't really know how I feel about this! I definitely need some more practice, the character voices don't sound quite right to me yet... I wasn't sure how to end this either for some reason, I couldn't come up with anything the fit very well which is unusual for me! Anyways, I hope you enjoyed it. More to come in the future for sure. :)