Iron Man: Bruised Ego with a Side of Snark

Disclaimer: Marvel and all of its characters belongs to...other people. Not to me. This story is purely for fun, I'm not getting anything out of it but my own amusement. No copyright infringement intended!

Author's Note: Found this while digging through old docs on my computer. I wrote it about a year ago at the height of my marvel obsession, when I was watching every movie I could get my hands on (because that's all I could seem to get my hands on). I wanted to make these two on-screen characters interact somehow, because I figured they'd do something amusing. They did. *wink*

ovo

Tony looked across the room at the mysterious beauty who had just arrived at his party. She was dressed in a long, smoky black silk dress with red undertones, and her hair was twisted up loosely in a simple but appealing style. Her full lips pressed together, and her green eyes flickered around the room, taking everything in and looking like she was trying to find an escape. To the casual observer, of course, she would have merely been beautiful and perhaps a little coy; but studying her, Tony knew that she was completely uncomfortable at his little party. It made her twice as interesting.

He whistled, and Pepper rolled her eyes. "Where?" she asked, leaning on his shoulder to whisper in his ear.

Tony didn't take his eyes off of the woman. "She just walked in," he said. "Black dress, green eyes, looks terribly, terribly lonely... What do you think? Should I go make our lovely guest feel more comfortable and at home?"

"No," Pepper answered dryly. "You should keep your eyes, your hands, and everything else to yourself and be good like you promised me."

"Right, I'll be good." He shrugged away from her hand. "I'll be a perfect little angel; just watch, you'll see."

She sighed. "Will you be needing anything for this venture, Mr. Stark?" she asked.

"No thank you, Ms. Potts; I think I've got this one all figured out." He moved away from her, navigating through the crowds of gaudy party-goers to the woman who had just walked through the door. She looked up at him as he came close. Tony grinned at her, putting on his best "charm the ladies" face. "Hello there," he began, reaching out to take her hand and metally cringing. Lame! What kind of opening line was that? "I'm Tony Stark, as you may know. You also might know me as Iron Man, which I happen to like very much actually; but I'll answer to anything you want as long as you promise to call me." He raised her hand to his lips and kissed it, ignoring an ill-disguised snort of laughter from Pepper at his pick-up line. Alright, so maybe it wasn't his best; but it was short notice and she was gorgeous!

The woman gave him a faint, patronizing smile, and pulled her hand away. Her eyes flicked across his face, and suddenly she seemed much less uncomfortable and very in-control. "Well, you're taller than they make you look on tv," she commented, raising an eyebrow. "Older, too. But they must fix the gray hairs for the cameras, no?"

Tony gaped, but recovered himself quickly. Hard to get. Minor setback. "Well..." Something clever, something clever! "Honestly that depends on the camera. You know, I've been experimenting in my spare time, developing this new kind of film that makes everyone it captures look about twenty-five. Eighty year old man? Click! You snap one picture, and it develops looking like he did on his wedding day. Haven't quite figured out a practical use for it yet; but I'm working on it!"

She leaned up so that her face was only inches away from his, a hand on his shoulder. Tony started to grin. Here we go! I'm in the zone now. "You might want to work faster," she whispered, her long fingers hovering near his temple. "You could use it." She used his moment of surprise to regain the distance between them. "Mr. Stark." She started to turn away.

"Wait, now that's not fair," he complained, reaching out to catch her hand. "You know my name and half my hobbies; but I didn't get yours." He tried a puppy-dog face instead, the one that Pepper always told him worked so well.

That faint, smug smile returned to her lips, at once infuriating and appealing. "No, you didn't." She melted into the crowd.

He was still staring after her when Pepper returned to his side, similarly smug. "How did that go, Mr. Stark?" she asked softly.

Tony glanced at her. "Oh, I'm not giving up on this," he assured her, patting her hand. "I'm just going to have to wait for just the right moment... And thanks for not saying I told you so."

Pepper smirked. "I wouldn't dream of it."

He turned to her, his expression collapsing into an insulted frown. "What? Oh, come on, I know that you're dying to say it. Go ahead."

She shook her head. "No, sir. I've said everything that I need to."

"Really? Not even a tiny little, Didn't I warn you?"

"Not a one," she assured him.

"Huh." Tony made a face. "Well, that's disappointing. I was hoping I could get more of a reaction from you about this. Life is so boring when you don't have any snarky comments about my love life."

"Or lack thereof."

"There, see?" Tony winked at her. "Now was that so hard, Ms. Potts?"

"Not at all, Mr. Stark. Now, if there's nothing else that you need..."

"I'm sorry, am I keeping you from something?"

Pepper grinned at him; a genuine smile this time. "Goodnight, Mr. Stark," she said softly.

fin.

Note: And this is what happens when on-screen!Tony and on-screen!Elektra interact in my head. Of course he fails, because at the end of the day I've gotta ship Tony/Pepper. And it's fun to make him squirm, haha. Thanks for reading!