January 11, 2009

Ficcage

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 11:43 pm by vrtrakowski

Cincoflex challenged me again. Always a dangerous prospect! This one is Iron Man, Tony/Pepper, and rated, oh, PG.

challenged me again. Always a dangerous prospect! This one is Iron Man, Tony/Pepper, and rated, oh, PG.

Afterglow

It was in the warm darkness afterwards that it hit him just how stupid he’d been.

He wasn’t asleep; he never could sleep when someone else was in the bed, it was just how he’d always been wired. Once the sex was over, he waited for his partner to drift off–usually it didn’t take long–and then left, knowing Pepper would tidy up for him in the morning.

But this time–that wasn’t an option.

Tony regarded the woman curled up next to him. She’d fallen asleep in his arms, and her head was a negligible weight on his shoulder, her breath a soft caress against his chest, leaving a faint trace of condensation on his chest implant. By its light he examined her features; the long light lashes with their hint of curl, the generous mouth now soft with unconsciousness, the slender neck leading into an expanse of creamy skin and further delights.

Introspection wasn’t usually his thing, but when it reared up and smacked him across the head like this he didn’t have much choice.

What the hell have I done?

He waited for panic, but panic declined the invitation. There was only the stark, pun most definitely intended, fact of what lay before him. Well, partly on him, to be precise.

It had been such a surprise. Tony hadn’t intended any of this–not quite this fast, anyway. Flirting was practically a spinal reflex for him, but he honestly hadn’t expected her to take him up on it…and certainly not so aggressively.

And it had been a long time, at least for him. The trouble was, he hadn’t thought, he’d just let himself get carried away by the circumstances, and while he’d put plenty of concentration into the results–it was a point of pride with him to satisfy his partners–he hadn’t paused to let thought in later either.

Until now.

How ironic that it should take sex, even really great sex, to make him figure out he was in love.

He had been for a long time, Tony realized. He’d thought that the half-smothered longing in the pit of his stomach was only lust, but that was satisfied, at least for the moment, and still he…wanted.

I am in deep, deep trouble.

What he should do, he knew, was slide out from under that sweet weight, climb out of the bed, and go downstairs to his workshop, and pretend it all had never happened. Because the morning was going to be awkward like he’d never experienced, and for him that was saying something.

But he couldn’t. He couldn’t even move.

Tony closed his eyes, shutting out the sight before him, and found himself ambushed by memory instead. Laughter, scoldings, exasperation and teasing; a soft voice, a soft touch, the terrifying efficiency that he depended on and the rock-steady loyalty that had kept him alive.

Pepper.

Love wasn’t the sticky idiocy he’d always thought it would be; it was a terrifying helplessness, a hunger that had only one satisfaction. Bewildered, angry, Tony tried to push the memories away, but they persisted.

Pepper knew who he was. Why did this feel so much like betrayal?

She was starting to trust me. I know she was.
And now he’d stepped out of their unspoken bounds, shattered that trust like a crystal glass might break in his own armored fist.

He was an engineer. He fixed things. But he didn’t have any idea how to fix this, and that was almost as terrifying as realizing that he loved the one person in the world that he truly trusted.

Realizing a little too late, it seemed.

The woman beside him stirred, and Tony froze, hoping she would not wake, wondering if he should feign sleep himself. But before he could decide, her eyes opened.

“What’s the matter?” Pepper muttered drowsily. Her hand uncurled and slid over his chest, and she lifted her head. “You’re wound tight.”

Tony opened his mouth, and found himself with nothing to say. He’d expected awkwardness at best, outright horror at worst, not sleepy concern and the fuzzy glare now skewering him.

“I–I…” He blinked down at her, and Pepper’s eyes narrowed. “You’re…not mad?”

Pepper frowned, levering herself up on one elbow, and then sniffed, an amused sound. “Tony, whose idea was this?”

“Yours,” he said meekly. That at least was true; he might be kicking himself for going along with it, but she had definitely initiated things.

“So why are you looking at me like I’m going to hit you?”

“Because…” Tony hesitated. His fears seemed less dire now, and he struggled to phrase them in a way that wouldn’t make her angry. “Because I thought you’d regret this.”

“What? Since when do I do impulse? Tony, I made a choice.” Pepper shook her head, but then her smile faded a little and she bit her lip. “Do you? Regret it, I mean?”

For the first time, he saw uncertainty in her face, and that vulnerability turned his fears inside out. She does. She does want this.

She wants me.

Pepper was light and lithe and easily gathered into his arms, and Tony did his best to surround her with himself. “Fuck no.” Not if it wasn’t going to destroy them, he didn’t.

The vulnerability disappeared, and Pepper kissed him, long and slow and sweet. “Then quit worrying, Mr. Stark.” She yawned, and tucked her head under his chin.

Tony held her tightly, the worry dissolving. He didn’t know if she actually loved him–yet–but he figured that if not, he still might be able to do something about that. But either way, she’s here. He kissed her hair, eliciting no more response than a sleepy hum.

After a while she spoke again, her voice thick with drowsiness. “You can go if you want, I won’t be offended.”

Tony smiled to himself in the darkness, his light hidden by her body. “Maybe later.”

“Okay.” Her breathing evened out into the slow rhythm of sleep, but he didn’t move.

Eventually he’d get up and go downstairs, either to sleep or to work, because that was how he was wired.

But for the moment, this was just fine.

End.

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