Petal - Chapter 38:

Disclaimer: Nothing belongs to me. No copyright infringement intended.

Beta: Bloodfox64

Sorry for the long wait! Uni/college was brutal. Hope this chapter satisfies you having to endure so much suspense, regardless of length!

Love, W

PS: I now have a tumblr-account (still no internet; I'm typing this at MacD's on my iPad), it's the same name as on this site.

Chapter 38:

"What. The. Hell." Amy hissed angrily, destroying Tony's good mood with one single sentence.

The genius cataloged everything about her, from the furious expression to the loaned hospital wheelchair she was unfortunately bound to until the end of her pregnancy. Her ever watchful bodyguards had thankfully left to 'secure the perimeter', so they had some privacy for their spat, at least.

There was an inexplicable, vast anger in her beautiful, unique eyes, only matched by the quantity of immense betrayal and sadness. Tony swallowed painfully. This heartbroken, distrusting expression on Amy's stunning face - that had been his doing. His fault. He had thoughtlessly, selfishly abandoned her at the hospital - no matter what others would no doubt claim. He had actually left her, unconscious and injured, and their distressed unborn child behind, without any consideration for their well being. Only for his own.

Tony passionately hated hospitals, especially after his time in captivity. He had been so worried about losing his wonderful, wonderful wife that he had gone half-mad while confined - first to her spotlessly sterile room, then to the house. He had not bothered to consider what she might wish or what she would feel if he left her there.

Pepper's insisting on dragging him to that freaking birthday party had - truthfully - been only a convenient excuse to escape his responsibility and his comatose, pregnant wife for a reckless drinking binge.

If Tony was ruthlessly honest with himself.

And now he would get his just deserts. The inventor would quietly bear whatever punishment Amy would dish out. For once. Because, and Tony could quite sincerely admit this to himself, he actually deserved it.

"What the hell were you thinking?! No, don't answer that. It's quite obvious you weren't - thinking, that is. Do you have any idea what went through my head when I woke up and you weren't there? Do you have any idea what that did to me? I thought you were - That you were..." Her voice trailed off and she suddenly began to cry, incapable of suppressing her tears any longer.

Tony gently knelt in front of Amy, humbled and internally cursing himself viciously to the deepest pits of hell for this disaster. He had never thought that she would assume that. He hadn't thought at all; she was right.

The obvious relief and love, as well as the guilt and remorse, shining in his eyes were the only thing that saved him from another immediate eruption of Mount Amy.

"Explain, please," the witch ground out, still utterly furious.

Tony grimaced helplessly. He would never forgive himself for this - probably. "Pepper dragged me off for the birthday party - against my expressed wishes - and I got drunk. Very drunk. I didn't want to leave you and the others... Anyway, the pain was - not good. Thus, drinking. Somehow, I ended up in my Iron Man suit, not sure how. Either way, Rhodey stole one of my unfinished ones and decided to teach me a lesson. Which led to the destruction of the house. I admit, it wasn't a good move, but I thought we wouldn't fight at all, or destroy the house. He then took off with the suit to the closest military base."

She could hear the bitter betrayal in his carefully calm voice. It may or may not have softened her up a bit. Amy knew perfectly well what it felt like to suddenly be abandoned by the best friend in the middle of a crisis.

"Then I received a strange visit from a Director Fury. He gave me a shitload of Howard's old stuff and I may have found a solution for the Palladium thing. However, 'Natalie' cut me off from all outside communication and I have been sentenced to being grounded indefinitely. When I snuck out, you were still out cold and I wanted to get the cure done, so you wouldn't have to worry about me anymore..." His voice trailed off awkwardly.

That last part was actually very true. He had known she would not be happy with his actions. Tony had hoped his wife would forgive him a little easier when he presented her with the knowledge that at least one of their major problems was already taken care of.

Unbidden, Amy sighed softly, loosening up a bit. "I'm still furious," she quietly cautioned her hapless husband in a more (for her) normal tone. "Absolutely clueless what came over you. Disappointed, too. You're also going to become very familiar with the couch in the coming weeks."

Tony grimaced again, but nodded his defeated acceptance of that somewhat expected sentence. He looked remarkably like a drowned poodle. Pitiful - pathetic even.

It jarred Amy, to be honest. "If you have really found a cure, then work on that please. I'll take care of this mess in the meantime. As long as the house is in this condition, I will be sleeping elsewhere."

Tony nodded again, acquiescing easily and without a fight. He loved her and their baby and he would not want them anywhere near the damage done to his mansi- their home. "I can agree to that," he conceded carefully. His eyes were quite powerfully beseeching her not to fully abandon him on top of that.

Amy rubbed the bridge of her nose due to her quite high levels of very exasperated agitation. "Really, I don't know what any of you were thinking! Lea is okay, but we don't know what exactly caused the episode. It could happen again, Tony! What then?" She told him harshly, a bit louder than was probably necessary. Tears gathered in the corners of her eyes, again, but she persistently refused to let them fall this time.

"As it is, I'm chained to this thing for the foreseeable future! Hannah doesn't know if Lea will inherit my magic or not. If she doesn't, she won't be eligible to inherit my titles - which I could care less about, honestly - but the backlash nearly killed her. Killed her, Tony!"

By then, the previously suppressed, heart-wrenching tears ran down her cheeks.

"And you would have been here, drunk off your arse, brawling with Rhodey! You wouldn't have been there! Don't you understand? One of us should have been - should have been there, just in case. To - to say goodbye and - And you! You were not there!"

Tony cautiously knelt closer to the unwieldy wheelchair, holding her frail body tightly, while she cried bitterly into his sweat-soaked black tank top. He stoically endured the weak hits to his arms, which she doled out with her tiny fists, like a champ.

"I'm so sorry," he repeated softly, tenderly wiping away her tears. Tony couldn't believe how much this petite woman had turned his life around. He loved her for it all the more; despite all the drama that had ensued ever since they had run into each other on that street one night. "So, so sorry."

"Sorry just doesn't cut it, Tony, not this time," she told him tearfully, yet with steel in her voice. Amy continued to cry, but she thankfully stopped having a nearly irrepressible urge to punch him black and blue. "I swear if you do something of this magnitude of absolute rubbish ever again, I'm going to vanish. We might not be able to get a divorce, but we don't have to live together, Tony Stark. And trust me, you won't be able to find me," she threatened coldly.

It was then that Tony knew how much he had fucked up. Amy would never deprive a child of its parents, especially their own baby, unless she thought it was in order to protect the aforementioned child from harm. Tony didn't doubt that she would follow through on her rare threats too. Amy never gave her word only to break it. Sure, she might be angry with him, but this - this was serious stuff.

"There will never be. I won't give you a real reason to leave, sweetheart, if I haven't yet," he swore uncharacteristically solemnly, fully intending to hold true to his promise.

Amy's sharp gaze scrutinized him for a long moment. His foolish absence had hurt her very deeply, evidently. "I will hold you to that. And don't think I haven't thought about words for Pepper or Rhodey either. It's not just you I hold responsible for this fuck up," she waved her hand pointedly at the destroyed living room floor, where he had been attempting to uncover the extra high voltage outlet box.

Tony smiled slightly at her, feeling an immense rush of relief (and love) course through his body at her fierce pronouncement. He was hoping she would not deny his next request, although he certainly deserved it if she chose to. "Alright, Gorgeous. Can I kiss you?"

The wonderful witch considered him for a long moment, as if his asking permission was insane, then she pulled him close and snogged him to within an inch of his life.

Amy was freaking scary, especially in her present condition, a fact which, as an aside, was in no way diminished by the apparent necessity of the damn wheelchair, but Tony loved her anyway. (He would also design a much more suitable and evolved one for her as long as she required the use of one.)

And he would sooner swear to join a medievally inclined monastery somewhere in the backwater country of nowhere, far from civilization, than to allow himself to hurt her ever again.

Amy left Tony to his preparations some time later, inspecting the general state of the house. They would need to renovate and repair quite a bit, once he was done. She sighed deeply, rubbing her blotchy face agitatedly.

Despite everything that nearly everyone back in Wizarding Britain assumed, Amy wasn't a particularly graceful crier. Her eyes swelled exponentially with every tear and stayed red and puffy for hours after the fact. She developed red blotches all over her cheeks and - not to mention any snot. Or the dry hiccups.

Women in Hollywood movies usually pressed out a tear or two, lips perhaps a bit wobbly, but that was quite definitely not her.

After Amy finally regained her inner equilibrium, she carefully packed a bag with some of her essential things. Then, she groaned and relented, thus beginning to pack something for Tony as well. She knew that he had loosely planned on seeing Justin Hammer's presentation - for the laughs if nothing else, especially after the ridiculous way he had tried to ingratiate himself with Tony in Monaco - and that would only happen if he managed to get to New York tonight. Somehow.

She only hoped that he would finish his miracle cure in time. Tony really would hate to miss a chance to hear an enemy humiliate and/or embarrass themselves voluntarily and in public, especially on his own home turf no less!

When Amy finished her assessment and had concluded her preparations for a temporary move, JARVIS informed her dutifully that the repenting husband was still in the basement. She used the elevator to transport herself downstairs - the hospital-issued wheelchair still felt awkward and uncomfortable to use, mostly because she wasn't accustomed to it - and found half the lab slash garage destroyed, tools spilled out nearly everywhere all over the floor. He had built a strange half-circle-shaped row of black pipes, so large in circumference, they could perhaps fit a soccer ball inside. There were burn marks on the walls - not to mention the clumsy holes made by something substantial and heavy.

Tony had just finished his shower - his hair was still a little wet - and was arguing playfully with JARVIS when she entered. He immediately broke off whatever he was saying at the moment, smiling slightly at her. She could read his sincere love for her and his genuine contrition in the gaze directed at his wife. "Green Eyes, will you join me in this momentous -?"

Something pinged on his computer screen, indicating an incoming call from an unknown number.

Tony immediately transformed into the serious professional he occasionally chose to be and answered it.