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[personal profile] vespertinestar
Author: [ profile] vespertinesoul
Rating: 15
Genre: Gen/Fluff
Summary: When Tony has been all work and no play...
...And Pepper has been all meetings and no rest ...
Our favourite couple decide to drop everything for a romantic, not so secret weekend getaway ... which would in later years be known as: The Great Escape. Tony has a special reason for wanting everything to be perfect this weekend, but we all know Tony Stark, THE Iron Man was not great at staying incognito for long; or in keeping life simple.

AN: this story was born from the manipulation I made, without any particular reason in mind. Once the manip was unwittingly made, the plot announced itself by waltzing into my head, so I had to get it done. Hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing my first ever pure fluff/humour fic.
Manip/Banner: here

The Board of Directors and all their underdogs were out to get her, that was clear.
The newest prototype for the cutting edge car of the future that runs on auto-sustainable energy was nowhere near defined, nor ready to demonstrate to anyone outside of the R&D department (or Tony), never mind the Board, or potential business partners.
They were supposed to have been ready to show something that was sort of recognisable as a piece of technology with wheels, a windshield and the LiteSteer tech Stark Industries had come up with to replace the steering wheel … all of this was supposed to have been ready five weeks ago.
But, and it was a huge pain in the butt, this, like so many others was a child of Tony Stark’s brain genius and needed his constant input, his schematics, and projections and calculations. And Tony has been running himself – or flying, really it was a more accurate term for it – ragged with the Iron Man lately, flying away sometimes in the middle of the night on missions. One for himself, and his crusading hunt of the weapons he’d put out into the world … and one for S.H.I.E.L.D and whatnot. She didn’t have as many details for those.
Fury had been adamant that certain information was to be treated as more tightly wrapped up than just merely ‘classified’, so no one outside of it was allowed to know. Much.
Pepper smiled wryly as she recalled the way Tony had imitated Fury as he told her, down to the eye expression, voice and tone. He wasn’t allowed to tell Pepper anything that would not be shared with the public. So, naturally, he always told her everything.
Though, and she was sure of this, he never went too much into detail when things got too gory or explicit. That was his way of compromising.
Tony would disregard Fury’s order of silence because he could. And therein lay the distinction.
Tony could tell her about people blowing themselves up, about children holding menacingly onto rifles longer than their arms, about innocents bleeding and screaming and dying. But he wouldn’t, and she knew it. That was his way of protecting her.
Then again, Tony has always been a very physical man who can’t quite mask his emotions, when they ran rampant, and so all she needed to do was to gaze into his eyes, to know that he’d been successful … or that he’d seen horrific things again.
She was startled when the intercom on her desk jingled and she quickly shifted in her seat to press the button.
“Miss Potts?”
Pepper could feel a headache mounting just between her eyes.
“Yes, Mrs. Hamilton?”
“Your three o’clock is here…should I ask them to wait?”
Pepper looked briefly at her watch, and the headache intensified. It was four fifteen. And her ‘three o’clock’ turned up over an hour late to their appointment. Without letting the office know about it first hand so that something could be done about her other appointments. Like she wasn’t a busy woman steering a corporate empire on behalf of Iron Man freaking Tony the GREAT Stark.
Who she also happened to be seeing … romantically. They were an item. They were involved. In fact they were so involved with each other last night that just as they were getting to the good part – moulding together and becoming one skin – they’d toppled right off the edge of his – their – enormous bed, and onto the cold hard floor. And they hadn’t let that make them skip a single beat.
A traitorous blush spread on her cheeks at the memory – the sight and the sound and the touch – and a quivering warmth stole over her.
Pepper cleared her throat and bade Mrs. Hamilton, her receptionist, to show the gentlemen in. As the gentlemen, led by Mrs. Hamilton, mounted the stairs to get up to her office, Pepper quickly called home to notify JARVIS she’d be late tonight – an obvious trend this month.
*  *  *
Tony got out of the car and prowled the basement towards his computer desk, getting the system and the bots up and running, ideas and equations  flying at mach speed through his head. He’d jotted stuff down quickly but since his brain was supplying him with the necessary to make car prototype a success, he focused on that and got things done. Life since Iron Man had taught him that time, his time, was too precious to be wasted, and didn’t like the thought of procrastinating something when he could just as easily do it and get it out of the way.
Especially if that something concerned his company and jeopardised free time with his girlfriend. And speaking of girlfriends, JARVIS greeted him, turned the system on, and informed him that since he’d left his phone at home, Pepper had called the house line and had told JARVIS she’d be late tonight coming home from the office. Tony felt disappointment well up in a secret place inside, but pushed it out of his immediate attention and concentrated on the task at hand.
When he was done and looked up at the clock, Tony was surprised to see that it was already past seven. Making his way up the stairs to ground level he heard the front door open closing. He quickened his step and automatically smiled when he spotted Pepper walking in.
She gave him a small smile and closed her eyes as he stepped closer and wrapped his arms around her, squeezing her close. Her smile widened and nuzzled her face into his neck, her arms under his, hands caressing the strong planes of his shoulders. Tony inhaled her familiar scent and felt his chest expanding, as though finally able to breathe properly, extensively. Her silky hair tickled his cheek and he pressed his lips to it, reluctant to move away, and yet wanting badly to look at her.
They walked into the living room, one arm each wrapped around the other, chatting quietly about their respective day. After a few minutes they both went up to their room. Pepper slipped out of her shoes with relief, wiggling her toes and feeling her spine straighten, her thighs unclenching. She was so weary she found it challenging to move with her usual smooth grace.
The only thing she wanted to think about right now was stepping into that shower, getting the aches pummelled out of her upper back and shoulder area, and then cuddling on the sofa with Tony.
When she came downstairs, he was in the kitchen attending to their dinner, and she smiled at the somewhat still unlikely thought that given the right circumstances, with the right person (she tingled), at the right time, Tony could be surprisingly domestic. His deft hands were sure as he prepared the salad, his movements easy as he flipped their steaks on the grill. She stepped close to him and took over the preparation of their salad, gently bumping hips and arms as they moved about. Theirs was a companionable silence, though the way he looked at her when she overtly wouldn’t notice was anything but companionable.
Sexing Pepper with his eyes had been pretty much part of their dynamic for years now, well before Afghanistan and Iron Man, but since making her his CEO last year and getting over a lot of obstacles in his life – not dying, finally getting together with her, getting his company firmly planted in the direction he wanted to take - … his gaze was all the more acute, all the more intense, all the more penetrating and demanding.
Now he gently took in her curves, her slender form, the shine of her soft hair, now longer again and past her shoulders – he liked it longer – her fine boned limbs, her graceful fingers. Every contour of her body caressed by his warm gaze reinforced the strong feeling of utter happiness that engulfed his chest whenever he looked at her and marvelled about the two of them finally being together.
Pepper began setting the table as Tony put the finishing touches on their dinner and brought them out. She paused and wearily sighed, bringing a hand up to knead her sinuses, trying to alleviate the steadily increasing ache in her head. Tony put the plates down and came around the table, cupping the back of her neck and soothingly massaging it.
“Amore are you okay?”
Pepper looked at him and smiled reassuringly, though it was strained.
“Yeah, it’s just a headache. Work was … impossible today, and everyone it seems, was out to get me. They must have been conspiring behind my back to make it impossible for me to have what passes as a relatively smooth and stress-free day. The Board isn’t pleased about not seeing the prototype for the car yet, and they’re being quite loud in letting me know so.”
Tony clucked sympathetically. “I’m sorry, I know you and the guys have been waiting on me to deliver those specs. I’ve just had a lot on my plate lately as Iron Man, and Fury’s been riding my ass even more than usual recently, and the only thing that makes it bearable is he’s been doing the same to the others, too.”
A teasing light had entered his eyes, trying to improve her mood somewhat.
“But hey, I did some work soon as I came home, and I’ve got some great stuff for you, so I’m going to run you through it when I’ve wrapped it up, then go set up a meeting with Parkman in R&D to bring it all together. You won’t have to fuss about the Board being grumpy old naggers anymore, I promise.”
Pepper smiled and leaned in close, resting her hand on his chest, the other briefly  curling about his cheek as she leaned up slightly and pecked his mouth. His lambent eyes twinkled into her own and the smile he gave her made heat travel all the way to her toes, warming and burrowing into very deep regions of her chest.
They had dinner fairly quickly, both feeling the long day they’d had starting to catch up to them. Towards the end they were discussing his newest specs for the car prototype, and after clearing the table and the dishes, Tony and Pepper moved to their usual spot on the sofa.
They ended up lying comfortably and resting close, as they always did on the nights Tony was home. Pepper lay back in lax abandonment against the cushions, feeling her tiredness melting into them almost, sighing in utter relief at finally being done with everything and be able to just be. Tony lay down next to her, his head on her lap and humming contentedly as she gently ran her fingers through his hair, lightly scratching at his scalp. He chuckled in quiet amusement when Pepper whooped disbelievingly at one of the stunts Bear Grylls had just pulled on the large screen in front of them.
As he lay there, feeling comfortable in his environment, with his woman, in his real own skin, the thought struck and seemingly came out of nowhere.
Life with Pepper had shown him, and showed him daily still, the potential he could reach in his lot in life. Ever since his parents’ death, Tony had had to grow up quickly and in a world that never saw anything more in him except the genius he had inherited from his father, whom had helped nurture this image by pushing him to go deep into academic life to achieve it all, be all, know all, and think like no other. In time he grew into that persona, so thoroughly that he became that person, and was comfortable with the way things were, essentially a hedonistic and irresponsible indolent creature with too much money at his disposal and too much brains, bored with life in its normal conundrum.
The change, the deep radical mutation of his character … he would never stop being grateful for it. It made him that much closer to being a man, it gave him the opportunity to do the right thing, and be honourable, if somewhat still happy-go-lucky and reckless. But the change had most importantly brought him to the place where he wasn’t merely just somewhat content with his life, he was … probably for the first time in a genuinely long time…genuinely happy.
Looking at her, holding her, being with her, being challenged by her, caring for her and being cared for in return, the sheer … love … nothing had ever topped this. She could never know just what a priceless and unique gift she’d bestowed him with, when she took his heart and shyly allowed him to take hers. He, who despite the brains and the looks and the money, more than he knew what do with most days, was now adult enough to admit it.
She changed him, and he changed for her. He’d had a niggling feeling that if it could just happen, their coming together on all planes would be nothing short of wondrous…if he could. Just. Convince her to – to accept him, and to take him in…
And he’d been right.
Well now she had. And he’d taken her every bit as much as she’d taken him, scooping him up and encouraging him to be a man.
Tony was certain he could never hope to find so much happiness, so sheer rightness with anyone else. And if fate saw fit to it, he would do anything to have her by his side for the rest of their lives.
Son of a gun, I think I’m proposing to Pepper!
The thought was an incendiary one and it burst his heart and his mind alike with a blazing fire, a feeling of power not unlike the one Starktanium had made him feel when he’d first put in the new arc reactor.
This was exactly the same thing. This was the precognitive knowledge that he was about to step from merely existing to fully living, he knew.
And as his darling (hopefully oh please, ohplease) soon to-be-wife tenderly caressed his forehead – in his whole life he’d only ever let his mother touch him there – Tony began to form a plan. This had to be memorable, because he was pretty certain he would only ever want to marry this once, her and no one else.

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March 2012

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