Something was wrong.
Ever since coming back from New York something was with Tony. Nothing obvious at first, but Pepper could tell something was off about him.
Their relationship was going along normally enough, going great. They had gotten closer for a while, but had started drift apart again. They continued to have date nights and great sex, but there was still something off. It was even more apparent when she moved into the mansion.
It had been the right time to move in, she had practically lived there for the past fifteen years. She had spent even more time there once they started sleeping together; although that was the first thing she noticed - Tony didn't sleep much. He would come to bed with her but as soon as he thought she was asleep he was up and back in his workshop again.
Pepper didn't know what to do.
She had a massive company to run, had to get it out of a hole too, and help organise the clean up of the building in New York and set up aid for the New Yorkers whose homes had been destroyed by the attacking aliens.
Or the Hulk.
While Tony was the most important person in her life and had been for so, so long, she didn't know what to do for the first time in years. She didn't have time to sit down with anyone and talk about it either.
She realised when she suit number thirteen – or maybe fourteen – sitting on the sofa of their living room that he'd probably been working on the damn thing all night. She couldn't remember the last time they'd woken up together. She'd managed to make time for date night every week, twice some weeks – and so had Tony – but she hadn't made time to deal with him. With whatever was wrong with him because she'd only just managed to deal with everything else in her life.
She was angrier with herself than Tony, snapping at him when she discovered he'd started dinner without her. It all dissolved though when he confessed to her, desperately, and she ended up holding back tears as she cradled his head against her chest.
"Tony?" she whispered into his hair. "When was the last time you got any sleep?"
"Couple of days ago."
"Three days ago Ms. Potts," Jarvis cut in. Tony looked up at the ceiling and scowled.
"Let's have something to eat, and then share a bath."
He smiled then, a full Tony Stark smile and Pepper realised what had been missing since New York. That damn smile – part smirk and all sex. She chuckled and pulled away from him enough to kiss him.
It didn't fix everything but it was a start. They could start working on the problem together now and that gave Pepper a little hope.