1963-10-06 - It's Just a Cold...Or Is It?
Summary: Tony Stark seems to have come down with some sort of bug and Pepper, bless her heart, checks up on him.
Related: Science Convention
Theme Song: None
pepper tony 

Tony hasn't been to work in a couple of days. He might have called in sick or he might have decided he was on death's bed so he couldn't move to even get the phone and JARVIS hasn't learned how to dial the phone yet. He's working on that. By the third day of illness and the rash developing, he actually called in to have them send over a doctor because he has leprosy. At least, that's what he said. He also demanded soup.

The moment that call comes, well, Pepper is upstairs within 15 minutes. There is a doctor coming too, but the red head is so damned worried. And he did bring her soup also. So, with a LARGE bag with several DIFFERENT kinds of soups, the redhead comes up to his condo door. She knocks in warning, but then using the key she still (strangely) has, she puts it into the lock and sticks her head inside.

"…Tony? I brought soup…God, why didn't you call in earlier? Harriet said she thought you went out of town and forgot to tell us… If I had known…" Pepper's soft voice is *filled* with worry for him. Otherwise, she's looking far more herself, her hair back to it's *bumped* heights behind a neat little white headband, the rest of her body in a green and white mod dress, exposing her long legs that dip down into little white booties.

The door isn't alarmed, maybe because Tony hasn't had the chance to arm it since he got sick. It's been maybe a week since he returned from Austria, but then he fell ill. It might be a cold or the flu, but as Tony shuffles out of the bedroom in his bathrobe. He certainly looks like he has the flu and his skin is all splotchy. "Don't come in any further…" he starts but then coughs and sneezes. "Someone as pretty as you shouldn't catch the Plague!"

"It's not the *plague*, Tony. There hasn't been plague since, like…The medival years. Or at least the renaissance. It's not the plague. You probably have the flu, and I've already had it this year so… I'm immune. Now, the doctor is on the way, but until he gets here… you need to go lay down and I'll bring you soup." Peppers steps a bit closer, her blue eyes crinkling at the edges as she reaches one hand up to brush against his forehead and feel just how feverish he is. "I brought you egg drop soup, chicken soup, wonton soup and wedding soup… so you get to pick which first. And lots of little crackers."

Tony tries to move away from Pepper but he doesn't have the reflexes at the moment. He sniffles and turns his head to sneeze before he turns back…just in time for Pepper's hand to land on his forehead. "Now you're going to get sick too! This isn't the flu…it's some Austrian plague." Stupid Science Convention.

"Don't want to lie back down. My back hurts…" from being in bed without any movement for too long. "I feel like I'm a hundred. This is horrible."

He half falls into one of the couches in the conversation pit and then offers, in regards to the soup question, "Wonton."

"Fine. Then lay on your stomach and I'll work on your back. Once you eat some soup. You should probably stay sitting for that." Pepper isn't nearly so scared of his 'plague' as he was of her's. But Pepper really does consider herself immune. She just got over being sick AND escaped from a vampire, her luck is pretty good right now. So, she pours out a big bowl of the wonton soup and puts a whole bunch of those little chinese rice noodles in a small bowl beside it before putting both, with napkins and spoon, on a tray and carrying it back into the conversation pit. She looks like a breath of fresh air in compare to him, and all her little cuts have healed up other than that bigger one on her neck. Even it just has a small bandaid over it now. "Soup. Eat."

Tony doesn't look thrilled to be eating, but he takes some of the noodles and munches on them forlornly. He glances to Pepper, noticing the bandaid on her neck, "Hiding a hickey?" Didn't they use scarves for that? Bandaids are the new scarves? He considers the soup, as if it might try to fight him back, but then takes some of it to eat. "If it really is the plague, you're going to be so sorry. I should have turned the alarm on," but then he'd be interrupted by the 'INTRUDER' klaxon. Also not good.

A fever that high, Pepper just smirks about the alarm, "If you turned that on, you'd have ten times the headache I'm sure you already have. And you did call for the doctor. You should have called two days ago, stubborn man." Pepper huffs out. She then turns on the ball of her foot and steps back into the kitchen, the sound of water can be heard running a heartbeat later. "And I'm hiding a hickey from a vampire, remember? Or…whatever the hell that man was. He hasn't come back so… I think we're in the clear." She then steps back to his side, a cool cloth in her hand. She steps around to his back, gently putting it across the back of his fevered neck and tucking it beneath the edges of his night shirt.

"One day of feeling bad isn't worth going to the doctor. I don't like doctors. I always know more than them." Unless he's sick and then he's just miserable and on Death's door. The compress on the back of his neck gets a little start and then a sigh, "That feels nice…" is offered as he takes another spoonfull of the soup. "Vampires don't give hickeys. They just suck blood. And turn into bats." He looks suspiciously over at Pepper, "You don't want to drink blood, do you? Can you turn into a bat?" Because everyone knows that if a vampire bites someone, -they- become vampires! "How are you with sunlight?"

"I've been out in the sun every day this week. And yes, he turned into bats, but no, I can't. I think he didn't get enough blood, or… However it works. I don't know." Pepper admits with a little huff, double checking to be sure that the compress is going to stay in place, before she steps back around the couch to sit catty corner from him and actually look him over now that he's starting to eat. Earnest concern still lines her features, trying to judge how much she should yell at the doctor for being late. "…Alright, Mr. Genius… if you were thinking like a doctor, not a miserable man… What would YOU say you had?"

"Leprosy. Or Bubonic plague." That's totally his answer for almost any sickness when he has it. He doesn't even really need to think about it. "Do they have the cures for those? Or maybe I've been poisoned and my skin is sloughing off." Although it doesn't hurt and it's not terribly itchy. Just blotchy and ugly. "I knew I shouldn't have gone to that convention."

"Tony." Pepper scolds as he mentions leoprsy or the plague. She just stares at him, eyes skeptical and stern. Goodness, she can give a teacher glare. "You thought I had the plague too and you were wrong. I want you to take a deep breath, step back, and try to look at this… objectively. And your skin is not sloughing off, it just looks… splotchy. A rash. Is it a fever rash?" Pepper murmurs, leaning a bit closer to examine just how bad the splotches are on his flesh. Nothing really seems to scare Pepper, at least not about this. "…were there people sick at the convention?"

Tony continues to look dubious, but he tries to take a deep breath and ends up sneezing. A handkershief is pulled out of his bathrobe pocket and his nose is wiped, "Sorry. Breathing and I don't get along too well right now." The splotches don't look like measles or shingles or anything like that. "I didn't notice anyone sick at the convention. I didn't notice that much at all. Boring as all get out. No one knew how to network."

As she studies them closer, Pepper relaxes a bit more about the splotches. At least they don't look viciously contagious, and are far too large to be chicken pox either. "The doctor should be here any minute, really… He'll be able to tell you. But I don't think it's plague." She tries to give him a reassuring smile, but Pepper can't entirely hide the worry from her pale eyes. "It's probably just the flu, you're all run down from too much time on planes and too many time zones.'"

Tony eats a few more noodles and sighs, "If it's the flu, what's the doctor going to do? Ugh, I feel like death warmed over…" he leans back against the couch and closes his eyes. Until he sneezes. "Oh, god…kill me now…"

But he's trying to eat some. It might be the first meal in a couple of days.

"It's probably the flu. And he'll tell you to rest, drink lots of fluids, and it will pass. Then I'll bring you soup every few hours, change your cold compress, and hell… I'll even read you the Wall Street Journal. It'll put you to sleep in no time." Pepper murmurs, her smile growing just a bit, reassuring as possible. "But you need to *eat* first. The whole soup. Come on."

Tony makes a face when he's told that it's the flu, and he makes another face when he's told to eat all of the soup. "I'm not that hungry," but he tries to have some more…just because Pepper asked so nicely. "A hot toddy would put me back to sleep and I haven't forgotten that you offered to rub my back." He won't be forgetting that unless he falls asleep first. It might happen as moving from the bedroom into the living room is the furthest distance in these couple of days. He's mostly been exhausted moving from the bed to the bathroom. At least he made it that far.

"Rest and fluids…we can do so much, why can't we cure the flu?"

"Maybe that's your next big dream — figure out how to cure the flu. You'd double your fortune." Pepper is only half teasing as she says that. Her smile softens, though, and she tilts her head towards the comment of her rubbing his back. "I will rub your back, as soon as you finish your soup. Just lay down on your stomach and I'll handle it. If you fall back asleep, I'll tell the doctor to come back later. If he ever gets here." SHe half glares at the door, truly getting impatient now.

"Not into pharmaceuticals…" Tony wrinkles his nose. "Chemistry…" not his favorite. He could become an expert in it, but it's not really his bag. Peggy gets another scowl but he wants that backrub, so he goes back to the soup. "No, wake me up for the doctor. I've been sleeping like…twenty hours a day."

"Your body probably needs you to sleep 20 hours a day. It's trying to get you better." Pepper reassures him. But then, sure enough, the doorbell finally rings. She stands up like a shot, "Thank god. I was ready to start yelling at someone on the phone." She double times it across the apartment, heading for the door and letting the doctor in with a few quiet, exchanged words.

A minute later, the stern, gray man Tony knows as his Doctor, for as little as he sees him, comes into the room. He carries a leather traveling case and is already putting on gloves. *HE* doesn't wish to get sick. "Mr. Stark… what seems the issue here. THe little lady tells me you have a mid grade fever, aches, and red patches on your skin…"

"It's no fun sleeping alone!" Tony whines before he goes back to the soup as Pepper gets the door. The older doctor gets a sigh even as he munches on a stuffed wonton from the soup. "So she says. You tell her that it's leprosy. I know I'm right. Soon my nose will fall off…" although the more he thinks about it, the less appealing that sounds. "Ok…not leprosy. The plague."

The doctor is gruff but quiet, poking at a few things. Tony gets an actual thermometer shoved under his tongue and the splotchiness of his skin is examined a bit more. It seems the doctor doesn't have much more of a people-person personality than Tony does. Pepper remains standing back, pacing a little, back and forth, like an anxious mother or wife in the waiting room of a hospital. She's not good at worrying, for how often she does it. "Let me see your throat. Come now. Open. Wider." The doctor coaches Tony, shining a light down the back of his tongue. With that, he straightens up.

"…Well, old boy, seems like the flu. It's not strep, and the red patches are most likely fever reactions. You always were a bit odd. No signs of mumps, measles, or worse conditions like leprosy. Fluids, sleep, keep cool, you'll pull through just fine."

Pepper just smirks a bit, pressing her lips so tightly together so she doesn't blurt out an 'I Told You So'.

Curt and to the point…and why would a Stark want anything other than that. "Next time," he tries talking around the thermometer, "Can you find a prettier doctor?" Women are doctors now, right? Pretty ones? There must be at least one in the city! If he's going to have someone that close to him, he'd rather that they smell nice and have soft skin and long hair.

"Flu? Really? That's what you got? Isn't there some…extra-strong Viennese flu? Can we call this the Viennese Flu? Start a 'thing'? Since I probably caught it in Vienna…" or on the airplane. Or the airport. Or just randomly.

Pepper's glance gets a roll of his eyes, "Not the flu," he sulks but goes back to his soup.

The redhead coughs a little as Tony mentions a prettier doctor. She shakes her head to the doctor. "I…I'm sorry. He gets cranky when he's sick." Pepper reassures the doctor. She then reaches into her pocket and pulls out a bit more money, tipping it in his direction. Hopefully that will keep him happy.

The doctor looks him up and down for another moment. "…Fine. The Austrian flu. I'll reach out to some colleagues, make certain there isn't something more dangerous going around. If you get worse, we'll bring you into the hospital for a few blood tests. But for now, rest." The man affirms. He then picks up his back, and Pepper's money, then heads for the door.

Pepper now frowns just a bit deeper, "…WE could go to hospital, Tony. Just so they can draw some blood, make *sure* it's nothing that bad. I'll drive you. You don't even need to get dressed, just put on a robe." Pepper murmurs softly, coming back to sit at his side. Right or not, she's sitll worried.

Tony gives a wave of his hand which may be a farewell to the doctor and it may be in response to Pepper's comment about the Hospital. "No, we don't need to go do that. He can always come back and do it…I don't like hospitals. Those ugly little robes…" And he can't get thinks to drink in the hospital. "I'm eating the soup, all right? Eating all the soup…" or as much as he can. Only one more wonton to go!

"I am also not driving around in my robe. I'm not Howard Hughes, thank you very much."

"…If you're sure. If you are no better tomorrow, I'm telling him to come back and bring a cute nurse with anything she needs to draw blood, alright?" Pepper offers that, half reassuring, half just appeasing him. But her worry is enough that she'll probably do it too, just to make certain he's not dying of something exotic. She then turns pale eyes down to the soup, smiling a bit more as she sees only one wonton left. "…Finish that and the back rub is still on the table." She reassures gently. She then gets up, stealing the no longer cool cloth from the back of his neck. She takes it back into the kitchen to re-chill it.

"You drive a hard bargain!" is called into the kitchen and Tony then eyes the final wonton and broth. He gives a sigh and then a belch…and then another sigh. "If I eat you, you'll stay down, right?" At least he's not hallucinating that the wonton is talking back? The broth is finished and the wonton is poked some before he just takes in a breath, pops the wonton in his mouth, and chews. So full. So full of soup.

Of course, a hand reaches to some of those rice noodles to add some crunch. "I really need a toddy chaser!" is called around the wonton. It may or may not be decipherable.

"I thought you quit?" Pepper asks, poking her head back in the room for just a moment. She's worried, but she's not quite courageous enough to push it yet. If he gives her the wave it get it anyway, she'll come back in for just a moment to lay the cool cloth across the back of his neck. "Lay down. I'll make the toddy." She reassures him quietly. Then she's heading back into the kitchen, bottle of whiskey in hand, and putting the kettle on a moment later. It'll take a good few minutes to heat the water, get lemon, honey and whiskey in it… Maybe he'll be asleep by the time she comes back out.

"I think being this sick gives me a pass for a little bit." Tony lays back down as the compress goes back on his neck even as Pepper goes to make the toddy. He hasn't forgotten about her promise for a back rub. It's still sore and not yet asleep. "I didn't quit entirely. I just cut way back. I can't quit…how could I go to any party? I'd be kicked out if I didn't have at least one champagne flute through the course of the evening!"

"Mm… you could use ginger ale." Pepper offers quietly, a slight smile lingering on her lips. She's not exactly sad that he hasn't totally quit, but there is a slight hint of disappointment behind it all. He'd been doing so good. Still, the redhead doesn't push it. She sets the fragrant, sweet hot toddy down beside him and then shifts around to settle closer. "On your stomach, or at least turn away from me, so I can get at your back. Still bothering you? The aching is the worst… maybe between this and the drink you can sleep." Ever loyal, ever sweet. Pepper is going to do every last thing she can to take care of him.

"Sure, sure…" ginger ale. He's ok with that. Although the toddy smells so good…and would probably feel rather nice if he can even taste it with his sneezing and congestion. Moving to take a sip, he then stretches out on the couch on his stomach, "You're too nice to me, Pepper." It's actually said earnestly. "I treat you like dirt…I work you like dirt…and yet you're still so nice to me."

"You don't. You have told me to go home when I work too much… and give me the weekends." Even if she worked most of this one, being the beginning of the 4th quarter. "You treat me very well. Just because I work hard doesn't mean it's bad… I love what we do. I…love helping this company." Pepper explains gently, sinking to his side and then turning her body enough she can fully lean over him. With that, she starts working her fingertips into his back, gentle at first, but a bit deeper if he doesn't complain. "Besides… You gave me a job, an apartment… I owe my life to you, Tony."

"You earned the job and the apartment was purely selfish reasons," Tony points out. "You earn it every time you come to work. You're like…the best assistant ever." He doesn't complain at all about the backrub though as he relaxes into the touch. "But I know that even if I wasn't involved, you'd be amazingly successful. You'd have a life even without me. You -do- have a life without me. I'm just your job."

"You're my *friend* too, Tony. And I know that's…not supposed to happen in business. But you are. I care about you. Beyond a job. So… you're stuck with me. I'm glad you like it, 'cause I'm not going away, no matter what." Pepper promises firmly, leaning a bit deeper into the center of his back now. She then shifts upwards, her thumbs working their way beneath his shoulder blades in long, slow lines. She'll keep rubbing as long as he wants, or until she's sure he's fairly deeply asleep, at least.

Tony doesn't answer immediately. He may need to think about it, he may be trying to figure out a response. Or, it could be what Pepper hoped. His answer is actually a snore. It's a slightly congested snore, but it's a snore nonetheless. He's passed out right there on the sofa with only a sip of that hot toddy. Maybe that and the backrub did its work?

Slowly, Pepper's fingertips lighten in their work. Still, she doesn't pull away immediately. She continues a drowsy, hypnotic rubbing up and down his back. A few more minutes and then, finally, she pulls fully away. She then gentle pulls a blanket off of one of the couches, half draping it over him. After that, she clears the drink, setting it in the kitchen if he wishes to freshen it up later. Finally, she dims all the lights in the apartment. A note is left 'Tony, I'm downstairs. Call me if you need. -Pep.' With that, she gently disappears out the door, letting sleeping beauty rest.

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