A/N Welp this is my first ever published fanfiction. It probably sucks, but it's a belated Christmas present for my amazing friend Katie! She's fantabulous. Aaaaanyway…yep this is basically Pepper painting Tony's eye with watercolors. Interesting, I'm sure. So I hope you enjoy it and I'm sorry if you don't :/ oh and this is movie!verse, I guess? Kinda ambiguous. And I didn't really review this again sooooo…
Pepper Potts had not pursued her artistic interests in a long, long while. Being Tony Stark's personal assistant, and cleaning up after Iron Man's antics tended to occupy her every waking moment. When she was a young girl, however, Pepper had enjoyed experimenting with watercolors. She had loved creating pictures, combining the bright, vibrant colors to form shades entirely of her own making. Eyes especially were her weakness.
They say eyes are windows to the soul. Now, Pepper was no philosopher, but she would sometimes see the truth of this statement while glancing at Tony, or observing his face in photographs. His eyes were truly a beauty: brown, and so deeply complex and conflicted one must interact with him for years to attempt to understand the depth.
Pepper shook her head, clearing her inappropriate and superfluous thoughts. You have no right to be thinking about him in this way, she chided herself gently.
"Ms. Potts!" Speak of the devil.
Tony swept into her office with his usual grandiose entrance. "I require your immediate assistance in helping me decide something of utter importance."
"Mr. Stark, I doubt I will be of much help." She was simply his lowly assistant with whom he flirted on occasion.
"The question is, Ms. Potts," He stopped and faced her. "Will you require a vacation longer than two weeks? Because I'm not sure if the company would manage without you for longer than that."
Di-did Tony just…announce a vacation for her?
"M-Mr. Stark, I believe I misheard you."
"Not at all, Ms. Potts. Due to your aid these past years, I have come to realize that you probably want a longer excursion than the usual week." Tony smirked. "Of course, I'm coming with you to Hawaii."
"Hawaii! Mr. Stark, I couldn't possib-"
"Yes, you could, and you will. Pack your bags, Pepper, we leave tomorrow morning!"
She could not believe he had persuaded her to do such a foolish thing. Abandoning Stark Industries! For two weeks! And him! Neglecting his duties as Iron Man…again. Pepper sighed. She had tried to dissuade him, but he had always been stubborn to a fault. There was an upside to this incident, however. If she was indeed staying in Hawaii for two weeks (and Tony's offer, while presented as debatable, was obviously not), she might as well take up her old hobby, with no mandatory requirements to distract her (other than babysitting Tony, of course.)
She hadn't painted in quite some time; as aforementioned, Tony kept her on her toes. Nevertheless, Pepper had kept her paints, although she did not know if it was out of nostalgia or laziness. The paints and a few canvases were slipped into her bag, and then she walked briskly to Tony's private jet.
"So glad you could join me Ms. Potts!" Tony beamed as she walked up to him. He took her bags, and immediately handed them to flight attendants.
"It's not as though you gave me a choice, Mr. Stark."
"Oh please. We're going to have a great time in Hawaii; the women are half-naked all the time." He grinned broadly. "I hope you brought your bathing suit, Potts."
This isn't all that bad, Pepper thought, relaxing on a striped lounge chair on the deck of Tony's extremely extravagant villa. I could get used to this. She was wearing a very revealing, unprofessional bikini, much to her dismay. It had seemed Tony had replaced all of her modest swim attire with these scraps of clothing. However, luckily she had found a cover-up which came down to mid-thigh, so at least she looked acceptable. Speaking of Tony…
"Hel-LO ladies! And how are we today? Doing fine I hope? Hey Rhody! Get all these beautiful women some drinks, eh?" She could hear his booming voice from her point on the seventh floor terrace. The women clustered around his arms reminded Pepper of unwanted, buzzing mosquitoes. They were a nuisance, flighty, superfluous, aggravating, pathetic little-
Pepper shook her head as she had done before. What was she thinking? Tony had every right to socialize as he saw fit. She vehemently refused to believe these were the stirring of…of nothing. Nothing.
Pulling out a 16-by-20 canvas, Pepper glanced uneasily at her paints. She had planned to paint a small ocean landscape, just to have another painting to hide away in her cache of watercolor drawings.
But it had been so long; what if she had forgotten how to paint? She had, over the years, sketched and scribbled doodles when she had the time but this…this was an art. An art she had probably never been adept at, so why would she try?
Pull yourself together, Potts, she thought. It's not as though anyone will ever see them. Painting is your hobby, nothing more, but you find it calming, so indulge! Then after these two weeks it'll be back to the grindstone.
Reassured, Pepper reached for her first paint. Watercolor painting was tedious, but if done correctly the end result had the potential to be magnificent. She needed to plan first, to get the combination of colors exactly right.
Ocean scene. Yes ocean scenes are beautiful, and not as difficult, right? I did do landscapes quite often; I think I remember how to draw one. Why then, am I so hesitant?
Pepper could not rest her indecision. Oceans! Easy enough palate: colors for the sky, sand, trees, and water. The main colors would be blue, yellow, green, maybe a little brown…brown. Oh no. Please no. This cannot be the reason for my reluctance to draw the ocean.
No, no, no! Again shaking her head, Pepper tried to deny it. No!
Brown was the color of most eyes, actually. Including…
And that was it. Pepper had such a weakness for drawing eyes. The colors, the layers. It was her guilty pleasure, especially with complex people, such as Tony.
Tony…Tony may appear to be as selfish and egotistical as one man could ever be, but he was truly the most selfless and kindhearted man she had ever known. Behind the false bravado and self-centered shtick, Tony is a broken man. He constantly puts up a front to discourage people from reaching his core, from reaching his heart and emotions. He was Iron Man, after all. His armor protected him, while also protecting others. He was able to keep a detached distance from the people he saved. Tony knows he cannot help everyone, though he wants to help them. He wants to help so badly, he created an entire suit made of iron, simply to save bullied and terrorized civilians in the Middle East.
He sees the true world, and all its vile, evil workings. He knows of the atrocities of human nature; he has experienced some himself. He doesn't grow close to most people. He has enemies, and enemies know where to strike. Loved ones.
It's an overused cliché, but one which works time and time again. Target them. Threaten them. Use them. Tony cannot allow anyone to be hurt on account of him, so he doesn't open up to most, thus allowing himself to be cordial, but distanced. One-night stands, playboy relationships, flirting. Those are his ways of enjoying himself, but never establishing a meaningful bond.
He sacrifices his time, money, ideas, brains. Pepper had no qualms that if one day he was needed to sacrifice himself to save others, he would, with fleeting second thoughts.
He may be vain, but Tony would never shrink from a call for help. He may seem to be rude and ignorant, but he treats others with respect, and does not coddle or show patronizing pity. His intelligence far exceeds most, and she knows he is aware of his actions. He may seem strong and confident, but one close to him can spot his insecurity a mile away. His father had never openly paid attention to him, resulting in Tony being independent and unreliant on others' opinions. He has such deep self-loathing, because he sees his superfluous actions and hates himself for it. He sees his biased characterization of himself and despises it. He does not feel worthy of anything or anyone, but does not allow anyone to see his thoughts. He hides his true actions deep within himself, for only him to examine and strengthen.
Pepper was slightly astounded. She did presume to know Tony rather well, but she never realized how much she examined and inspected him. It's slightly creepy, the obsession I seem to have with him. I-I might be…no! He is my boss. Pepper no! Unprofessional thoughts. Besides, he would never…I mean…as if he would even notice me among all his women…
Pepper stared at her painting, completed over a course of about a week and a half, give or take a couple days. It's not all that impressive, but it's not horrendous either…
It was a single brown eye, calming in its simplicity, but not lacking in depth either. Pepper had tried to convey all of her innermost feelings concerning Tony as she painted. It's slightly idiotic, though, she thought. It's not as though I can actually paint feelings.
Sighing, she placed her canvas on the side table to dry. Feeling quite relaxed, Pepper stretched and yawned.
I think I should sit by the beach today, she decided.
Jolting awake from her nap, Pepper quickly looked around. Oh, it's getting late…and colder. I should head back to the villa.
She trekked back to the villa, and unlocked the door. Throwing her bag on her bed, she looked out onto the terrace. Wh-
Pepper could see the silhouette of a man outlined in the setting sun, his back to her. Frantically reviewing her self-defense classes Tony made her take, she began to reach for a heavy object-a lamp, book, anything. Oh God it's our vacation. People can't leave us alone for two weeks?!
The man turned around and-
"Ms. Potts? Wh-why I was not aware you hated waking up that much. You always seemed to be such a hard worker bee to me."
"Mr. Stark!" Tony, she breathed with a sigh of relief. She glanced at the alarm clock she had picked up in her desperation. Placing it back on the table, Pepper blushed slightly. "I had assumed you were someone else who intended me harm."
"Ah, my sexy good looks do mark me an excellent villain, I must say." His idiotically charismatic grin still in place, Tony suddenly asked, "Pepper…do you like my eyes?"
Oh Lord. I must have left my picture out and he…oh no.
"They are a quite interesting shade of brown, sir. Not quite my style, though."
"Are you suuuuure?" Quickly he spun around and grabbed…yep…the fated illustration. "Because I don't think you know many other brown-eyed men...well I would hope not!" Waggling his eyebrows, Tony smirked. "I can't have my lovely assistant consorting with strange men."
He's got me…not that I am not allowed to talk to other men, of course! "Yes, Mr. Stark. That image is an attempt at a reproduction of your eyes." Pepper was sure she looked exactly like her hair now. "I-I enjoyed drawing in my youth, especially eyes, and took it up again for the vacation."
"Eyes, huh? Why mine?" Tony mused.
Pepper paused. This was ridiculous. She shouldn't have to explain. She should just…just divert his attention toward something else. Maybe a-
"Because they're beautiful." No no no no no no stop now. "They are windows, you could say, into your true self. I know you Tony. You try to hide your feelings, but I understand." Great, no going back now. "I was just trying to pay homage to your strength. Your selflessness. Your love for others. Your wonderful and amazing person."
"I'm sorry Mr. Stark. That was uncalled for and unprofessional. I-I'll be leaving now-mmppff!"
Pepper was being kissed.
They broke apart.
"I have to say, Ms. Potts. You are something else." He smiled. A genuine smile. "Not everyone could claim to know me so well." He looked away. "Truly remarkable."
Pepper was very conflicted. Tony kissed her just now, right? Kissed…her. Voluntarily. And she liked it, to tell the truth.
Although now, it looked as though Tony was…crying?
"Tony. Are you all right? Do you need something?"
He looked back at her, and he was crying. Slightly. Just a little. Pepper reached out, slowly, hesitantly. She cautiously moved her face up to his.
"Tony, what is the matter?"
"Please. Again. Please?"
Pepper looked into his wonderful eyes, the ones she had been rendering onto paper for a week and a half. She really, really wanted to kiss him. And so, slowly, she did.
The couple themselves now stood silhouetted against the still setting sun. As they gently broke apart, Tony stared at Pepper. "Your eyes are suitably beautiful as well."
She blushed, for the seemingly millionth time today. "Thank you."
"No. Thank you, Pepper. You-you really have…made me get all emotional. It's not right. I'm supposed to be the man made of iron, remember?"
But, you know what? She knew he needed support. And she's always be there. To help, assist, provide. And maybe, maybe one day, even to love.
"And one more thing Ms. Potts."
"I'm going to need to buy you more brown paints."