1963-08-23 - Maternal Instinct
Summary: Pepper comes across a passed-out Tony. It's a Tuesday.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
tony pepper 

It's late. It's not a time that either of them SHOULD be working, but Pepper has been working most of the evening. She had to catch up from the fact that she actually took some of the weekend off. So, finally having finished her last ledger work and several responses to less than happy board members, she's packed up her desk and hit the button in the lift for upstairs.

It takes a moment, but considering Tony hasn't bothered her this whole week, she's getting worried. So, she ends up hitting the floor for the penthouse, not her little condo. She's still in her business suit from the day — skirt ridiculously short, because that's how she rolls, but the outfit is far more professional than her soft dress of the other day. She's got her briefcase like bag across her shoulder as she walks up towards the penthouse door and knocks.

"…Tony? It's Pepper. I…I just hadn't heard from you all night. I was worried. You alright in there?" He maybe just has a girl around, which is why she's not barging in, but the care in her voice is clear.


Ths time of night might as well be mid-day for Tony, who is either already at work when everyone else gets there or rolls in around noon. Some psychiatrists might label his behavior as 'Manic', but he's Tony Stark. He defies definition.

Today was one of those days when he was in the office super early and somehow slipped out at some point in the early afternoon. There's a fading scent of Italian take-out, half of the meal still in the take-out box on the table, the other half half-eaten on a plate in one of Tony's smaller workrooms. It's not the larger workrooms in the basement, but it's here where he can do finer work. One of the Iron Man gauntlets is there, obviously in repair or upgrade mode, but Tony is not.

There might be a train of empty liquor glasses that lead to the Conversation Pit in the living room where Tony was napping. Or was passed out. Really, they're one and the same.

The call of his voice actually causes him to start and then wince at the movement of his very hung-over head. Squinting, he lifts a hand to his eyes despite the fact that the whole place isn't highly lit, "Pepper..do you have to shout? Aren't you on your date?"


When there is *no* response, but the door is open (or perhaps he's somehow put on her on the lock? Pepper hasn't figured that out), she gets even more worried. The secretary pushes her way into the room, brows furrowed in deep concern, looking across the place and taking in the trail of glasses before she looks back to the open work shop door down the hall, then back to the room. She didn't even see him passed out there at first. But then he's stirring and she double times in his direction, suddenly worried something is very wrong.

It's not until she's a foot or two away that she realizes what is wrong. The scent of alcohol practically smacks her — he must have been drinking something fiercely. She clears her throat, looking down to him in concern again, but this is a different type. "…Tony, I'm not shouting… and my date was two days ago. I just finished working. It's… only ten at night. You already passed out drinking?" She really is worried again. She then gently picks her way over to the little kitchen. The sound of water can be heard running.


"What? No…I wasn't passed out…" Tony gets to his feet and takes a moment for his sense of balance to kick in. "Are you sure you're not shouting?" a hand presses to his temples before he squints back and moves to make his way out of the Conversation Pit. There's some cursing as to why in Hell someone would have steps in the middle of the Living Room, but after a couple of tries, he makes it out. "I was just resting my eyes for a moment. I think there's some spaghetti if you want any…" although the idea of it is turning his stomach.

There's a pause on his way towards Pepper and the kitchen, "What day is it?"


"Tuesday night. And you are very drunk. Or, well, now very hung over." Pepper states flatly, handing the tall glass of water that she poured for him in his direction. "Drink that now, and I'll get you some asprin." It's like she had a sixth sense of when he needed her, and tonight was definitely one of those nights. Or so she would think. SHe will stand there, staring at him, waiting for him to drink that glass. And it's not until she sees him up ending it and taking a good sip that she turns towards the little medicine cabinet she keeps stocked in the kitchen.

She tugs it open and pulls down the well loved bottle of asprin. "What's the last thing you remember, Tony? And what prompted drinking like a mad man well before midnight?" Her voice is both stern and worried, her concern always outweighing any actual anger she ever feels with him.


Tony watches Pepper right back for, possibly, an uncomfortably long stretch of time before he does lift the glass of water to his lips and drink it. "I'll be fine…just pour me another scotch…" is murmured as he finishes it, still watching Pepper even as he does so. The empty glass is held out to her as if to say 'See? I drink something other than booze!'

He takes a seat at the table and pushes the leftover dinner away from him with a rather disgusted face. "I remember writing a letter, and I remember people coming into the office saying, 'Blah blah…blah blah blah…' and then I left. As for drinking, I was thirsty? Why? What do you do when you're thirsty?"


"Drink *water*, generally." Pepper responds firmly, not moving to pour him another scotch. No, in fact, she takes the water glass and exchanges it for the two asprin she's putting into his hand, before her high heels carry her straight back to the sink and she pours out another glass of water before handing it back in his direction. She's got that look that says she's not going to be happy unless he drinks that water and those pills — and that she has all night to wait. Tony Stark will not out staring contest her tonight.

"… And yes. You wrote and sent that letter *without* me. I SHOULD be yelling at you about that. It caused more messes and headaches than you know. That's most of the reason I've been in the office all night, trying to clean up everyone on the board and say enough nice things that they don't try to remove you from being CEO. Tony…" She sighs, stepping a bit closer to him, "You hired me for a reason. Let me do my job."


"Water's so boring. It tastes like…water…" Tony mentions with a look of disgust. He will pop the aspirin into his mouth and take another long drink of water. Happy? "Can't you at least flavor it with something? Gin?"

But he does work on this second glass of water, "They can't remove me. I own the majority of the company. They can sell their stock and I'll just buy it back from them. Might not be a bad idea to kick them off…switch the Board up. Get some fresh blood, blood that won't be offended by a perfectly legit letter. Just because it wasn't filled with business mumbo-jumbo and legalese doesn't mean it wasn't accurate." Dark eyes stay on Pepper for probably longer than is considered polite, "Does your janitor-boyfriend know that you're here? In the private apartment of New York's most eligible bachelor?"


"Gin would defeat the purpose of the water. *Maybe* I can keep some iced tea up here, would that make you more happy?" Pepper offers, apparently willing to meet Tony half way about this. Especially since he is drinking that second glass of water. She seems content with his actions, and then she steps over back towards the conversation pit. She leans down, beginning to gather all the empty glasses before someone trips over them and they have broken glass across the entire apartment.

"The man I am *dating* doesn't keep track of me all hours of the day and night. I'm not his wife and it doesn't matter. And you are the most eligible bachelor, but that's why you should be with other women and not… well… Not me. People who understand your lifestyle." Yes, there had been a few times between them. Falling asleep on his couch, even a few kisses. But then that one night which she caught him with someone else, well, Pepper has been doing everything she could to distance herself since then.


"Long Island Iced Tea? Deal," Tony leans back in the chair before making a face as the sudden movement jostled his sore head. He finished up that second glass as he watches Pepper move about the Penthouse, "He should and the other women are fine, but they don't -get- me." Insinuating that Pepper does. But she also needs to live her life and he's not going to try and hold her captive to him.

"No one understands my lifestyle," is offered, almost seriously, as he gets up himself and makes his way to the kitchen. Maybe he's going to get more water? Maybe he feels bad seeing Pepper pick up all the glasses and he can at least put this one in the sink.


"Correction, I understand it, Tony… I just… It's not *my* lifestyle." Pepper admits with a slightly sigh. All glasses in her hands, she heads back in the direction of the kitchen and joins him inside the wide open, elegant space. She could fit her entire old apartment in this kitchen alone. She rests the glasses down in the sink, turning on the water and moving to quickly clean them so she doesn't leave anything outstanding before heading back to her place.

"Jack is… good to me. And he's not that worrying. And he's loyal." While she doesn't mean that to sound cold or cruel, there still might be a touch of hurt behind her voice. "But…I'm not going anywhere, Tony. I'll always be here to pick up your glasses and give you asprin. And make certain you have drycleaning for tomorrow." She finishes cleaning the glasses to turn back to him, a faint smile on her red lips. "I'm not going anywhere, Tony. Nothing has changed. And any time you need me, you call. Alright?"


Maybe it's because he's not entirely lit but Tony does listen to Pepper when she explains things. Or sort of explains things. Her question has him stepping forward and moving to give her a light peck on the cheek, "I don't need a mother, Pepper." It's actually said almost gently before he reaches out to swat her lightly on her mini-skirted bottom, "Go on. Go to your chiseled, really strong Janitor. Get outta here."

Maybe he can't clean up for himself, but surely some housekeeping will show up at some point, Maybe, while he's sober, and until he gets distracted, he'll straighten a few things up although it's not really likely. What's more likely is that he'll either go to sleep or he'll go back to his upgrading the gauntlet.

More alcohol may or may not be involved.


A slight yelp comes with the swat on her bottom, but not an offended one. She just smirks at him, shaking her head and then leaning up to return the kiss to his cheek. "…Thanks, Tony. Good night. And…I know you don't need a mom. But you do need a friend. I will always be that." She takes his hand, just a heartbeat, giving a brief squeeze and then letting go. She turns on the ball of her foot and heads for the door, probably back to her chiseled janitor, and at least six hours sleep.


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