1963-07-13 - Pepper's Bad Ideas
Summary: Pepper comes home after a failed date to only make more bad decisions.
Related: Pepper Tony Angst!
Theme Song: None
pepper tony 

Another night. Another date. Pepper was cute enough that she was never really wanting for them. But they were also vapid. And handsy. And full of themselves in a way that *wasn't* attractive. Tonight was a particularly determined one, shown by way of the broken strap on her dress and the fuming *look* in her eyes. By the time she's made it into the building, she's pulled off her high heels and is now carrying them in her hand as she rides the elevator up. Her lipstick is smeared, her hair is just slightly out of place, and one might imagine the night ended on a very wildly high note if she didn't have that edge of murder in her gaze. She stares at the elevator doors as they lift her to the condo Tony's given her, impatient and tired. She's practically stalking to her door when she gets out, shaking hands fighting to get the key in the lock, "…Idiot… bastard.. damn fool…" She mutters. But she's two feet from sweet release when she finally gets the door open and steps into the place.


Tony is in her place! He should not be, but there he is, clearly putting on a pot of coffee, a half-full ashtray nearby and, well, a half-full bottle of whiskey. "Pepper! You're home early! Was Wooster Jeeves the Third a gentleman? Did he try to get his toad in the…nevermind. You look grouchy," he says.

"And yes, I'm fully aware that I'm breaking and entering, but I was just leaving you a note for tomorrow to remind me about…" he pauses for a moment, looking around. "Something," he shrugs. "You'll find the note on your nightstand. I love the lace bedspread by the way, very classy. Did you ever think of trying a waterbed? I did for a while, but it was all too Robinson Crusoe," he says, pouring her a cup.

Then he sees the broken strap on her dress and his eyes narrow a bit more, "By the way, what hotel was your knight errant staying at? I might want to drop in and say hello. Just for kicks, you know. Hospitality is important."


The flutter of emotions across her face at seeing him in her space is a strange one. The initial reaction is anger, the intrusion not expected and just another part of her personal space that is not her's, but then there is a flush of relief and a strange happiness to see him, which only deepens when he catches sight of that strap and there is a hint of threat behind his eyes. She tries to blink it all back, dropping her shoes near the door and taking in a deep breath in attempts to put herself together and pull some professional shields back up. He's just her boss.

"…You could just leave a note on my desk, you know…" Pepper states quietly, no real anger behind her voice. Tonight, Tony is lucky, that vitriol she was feeling hasn't transferred onto him. In fact, it mainly seems relief in her voice that she's not alone. "And… he's just a pushy idiot. Not worth it… world is full of them." But she doesn't quite meet his eyes. She does put down her little hand bag and accept the coffee instead, but she walks it straight over to the little wet bar with her single bottle of gin which she pops open and dumps a good shot into the coffee. Not exactly a proper mixer. Not exactly something she cares about.


Tony frowns, "A little too full of them, in my opinion," he says. "Not that I'm advocating…y'know, the guillotine. Well, maybe a tiny one, at about belt height," he says.

"He wasn't worth your time anyway. His credit is terrible. He was divorced only two years ago and has a son in Chelsea, for whom he's not paying by the way, leaving his ex-wife to go work two jobs just to support them both." he says.

"Not that I had him checked on or anything."

He takes the opportunity to add an additional bit of whiskey to his own coffee which, to be fair, already had quite a bit of it. "But if you don't want me to turn his face into a Mr. Potatohead toy, then I will grant your wish, like the benevolent genie I am."


The redhead just stands there for a moment, staring into her coffee, pushing back an odd brush of tears she wasn't even feeling until the handsome idiot genius at her side started expressing some bit of caring. It's harder to not feel things when someone cares. She gives a half laugh at the guillotine comment but slings back a good slug of her coffee before she speaks. She swallows those tears back with bitter coffee and gin.

"…And just when did you start checking up on my dates? Don't you have a few more important things to do, hm? And where is miss blonde C-cup from the other morning?" She finally turns pale eyes up to look at him, still a touch watery but she's not smudged her mascara yet. She looks tired, young, and beautifully disshelved in that vunerable way she'd hate if she saw a mirror.


Tony sighs and sits back, taking a slow drink of his coffee. "Well, to be fair, you hold the keys to the kingdom around here and are privy to some of the most privileged corporate and technical information in the world, casually, at all hours of the day. So, even if you weren't, yes, a gorgeous, leggy redhead upon whom I hit on shamelessly, I would still do background checks on all of your dates to make sure they weren't just using you to get to me. The fact that I can also screen and potentially prevent scummy users from getting their hands on you is a bonus to that," he says.

He takes a long sip. "And she's gone. She has her own agenda and her own things to pursue. Not saying I'll never see her again. I suspect I will. But when I do, it will probably be on her terms much more than mine," he says.


The commentary about the keys to the kingdom gets him a good smirk and slightly narrowing blue eyes. "Well, Mr. Stark…" She stalks forward, standing face to face with him. This close, her perfume can still be smelled, lighter from the humid summer night but still classic Chanel just at her pulse points. "While I appreciate the concern for your company, I am actually quite protective about *keeping* those keys. I won't let your state secrets slip. I promise. And yes, a certain Richard Conners last week WAS trying to get some of your secrets, or at least your future plans, and instead I got out of him what they were doing over at Boeing's new R&D department. That file is probably still collecting dust on your desk, if you didn't see it. Along with the phone number for a certain Dr. Bruce Banner who seems to share your sort of mad genius and would be a good fit around here, at least for consulting. So, when it comes to corporate espionage, I think you can save yourself the background stalking. I've got it." She just doesn't quite have it in hand when it comes to violating more… Personal spaces, it seems.

Having said her piece, she turns to walk away again so she might sit, or perhaps get out of the ruined dress. She sort of just hovers on the edge of the carpet, body not quite certain of the direction it wants to go now that her moment of confidence is finished. It's been one of those nights. "…and blonde c-cup doesn't know what she's missing." She adds, rather more quiet.


Tony raises an eyebrow, but keeps his poker face on quite solidly. Admittedly, the perfume was a lovely touch and one that certainly penetrated through the fog of his whiskey-soaked mind, enough to make him close his eyes and just enjoy it. Which makes for a strange sight, as he's got a beatific smile on his face as she somewhat lightly chews him out just a bit. But Tony's never been a normal man.

"It's not a matter of not trusting you to guard them. Hell, even the guy himself may not know he's being someone's tool. I mean, they may know they're tools, but tools in the wrong hands…" he says.

To the last, when she's hovering, he shrugs, "I don't think she has very much room in her life for other people," he says softly. "It's hard to make that space, especially if you aren't used to anyone bothering to try and get to know you. When you've been treated as disposable by those who were supposed to care for you - an exotic animal to be marveled at by others - it makes real connection…difficult. Unnatural," he says. He's probably talking about Mystique. Probably.


While part of Pepper wanted to just sink down onto the couch, tug him with her, forget everything from the night, the rest of her listens to him go on about another woman in a way that is actually caring and thoughtful, but it's enough to motivate her not to stay near. The reminder of why she was trying to get out more in the first place. So, she takes a breath and steps to the hallway then into her room. She leaves the door open — ever an invitation or at least to allow conversation to continue — but she's getting out of the offending dress. She sets her coffee cup down and the sound of the fabric being unzipped comes a moment later.

"Living in such an enviroment… has to be awful. But it makes me repeat — she doesn't know what she's missing. Maybe, if she's smart, she'll come around. You're worth taking that risk." Pepper murmurs just loud enough to be heard, as she reaches for some oversized, comfortable shirt. Hell, it might be one of his she's stolen, a men's style button down, but it fits well and is warmer than her normal teddies. So she tugs it on over her shoulders and begins to button it slowly. Now free of that dress, the broken strap of a reminder, her hands are far more steady. She then begins to pull pins from her hair, letting red waves fall looser around her throat and shoulders.


Tony considers, "Maybe. I'm not prone to holding my breath," he says, a little more decisively. "She's going to look into something, at least. The people who tried to kill me. She may be…equipped to deal with them," he says.

In messy ways. Harmful ways. Ways Tony Stark can't, not and still be Tony Stark.

He comes up to the door of her room, "I…I didn't mean to bother you," he says. "I know I have no right. I mean, legally, I have a right, because I own the whole building, but…you know what I mean. I was leaving a note, yes, but I was also being nosy," he says. "I'm sorry you didn't have a better time. You deserve much more," he says.


Being equipped to deal with it makes Pepper arch a brow. A blue eyed look is tossed across her shoulder, more worried than before, but she doesn't push it. She just takes the last few pins out of that bump that pushes her hair forward and up, so it falls more naturally around her face. Now she simply looks tired and smudged.

She exhales quietly as he offers those other words, right from the door of her room. She turns, facing him from just a few feet away. Her hips lean back, half perching against her dresser, long legs now fully bare, the shirt hitting just at the bottom of her hips, covering what god gave her but *nothing* else. "You… don't bother me. You should. I should be pissed at working all hours of the night, running off to California, having you nose about… but I'm not. I… don't really know why. Part of me… I don't know, I like it. I like having you here. Probably a bit too much, because I know you always won't want to be here. And that will drive me nuts some days. And we shouldn't be like that. But… dammit, Tony… those nights were…" She searches for a word, not really managing to come up with one that really encompasses how damn good it felt. "…nice. It feels right… when you *are* here."


Tony considers his words for a long moment, "I…felt that way, too," he says. "But I can't pretend I'm…a good person, Pepper. Especially when it comes to women, I…" he sighs, "I'm perfectly good at resisting temptation so long as I'mm not actually tempted," he says. "The problem is that I live in a constant state of temptation," he says.

"But I like having you around. YOu…should be here. You fit. You tolerate me far more than any other human being ever has. And I don't even think you do it just because I pay you an exorbitant salary. In fact, I think it's a large part of the reason that I -do- pay you an exorbitant salary. I mean, you're fantastic at your job and even if you weren't gorgeous and smell really good, I would hire you to do that job. But…even if you didn't do the job, I'd still want to have you in my life."


A low sigh escapes Pepper's lips as she finally leans forward, transferring weight back to the balls of her feet before lazily crossing the few feet between them, now her scent the freshly laundered shirt only slightly concealing that lingering Chanel. She reaches one hand up, fondly combing fingertips through his hair to smooth down a few errant locks before they dare become a cow lick. "You *are* a good person, Tony… or you can be. I know that. I know it at the very depth of my heart. I don't think you know it, nor do half the people in this building. They expect you to be the drunk playboy genius who drives too damn fast and is barely keeping sane enough to keep the company going. And you play to that. But… it's not you. It's not who you want to be." And there it is, why she puts up with everything. Because she sees so much more in him, even when he doesn't.

Her fingertips trail down his cheek for a moment after she's finished smoothing his hair. Then her hand drops, but she doesn't walk away. She lingers there, close enough to feel the warmth from her skin, the light brush of her breath. "…well, I'm not going anywhere. Even if I try to keep myself from asking you to stay because… It's such a bad idea." She exhales again, watching his eyes, "…no matter how much I want you to stay."


He catches her fingers when she lets them drop, lacing his fingers with hers. He knows he should go, too. He'll break her heart. He always breaks their hearts, the good girls. They somehow find a way to believe in him, even when they know they shouldn't. They convince themselves that they'll change him, that he'll be a good man for them, a gentleman. And he tries, he really does. But he never makes it.

But he also has a very, very hard time resisting temptation when it's right in front of him. Or that belief that, this time, this time, maybe he will be able to do it. Maybe he can have the good girl.

Which is why he kisses her. That and she smells good and she's so close and he can pull her agains this chest and…yeah, he isn't exactly shy about what he wants right now.


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License