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10 August 2008 @ 01:35 pm
'Four Words' (01/01)  
Obviously, I haven't done any of the things I should have been doing instead of writing. But I just felt compelled to write this. And now I'm posting it before I change my mind because it's different enough from what I usually write that it's making me twitchy! Now that I have it out of my system, I can get back to the next story in my Iron Man series. Figures, I start ironman_alloy, and what's the first thing I write after? A non crossover! Bah! That's so me.

Characters: Tony Stark, Pepper Potts
Notes: PG13, Iron Man, Tony/Pepper, thanks to ninjababe for the beta. A stand alone story from a possible future.
Summary: Hindsight isn't always just 20/20, it can also break your heart.


'Four Words'

Tony Stark hates those four words. Four words he wishes he could take back. Four words that stole his future. When he’d said them, he didn’t know that he would be giving up a life he hadn’t known could be his. A man who could have had everything. He knew now; now that it was too late.

The man Tony faced – he’d said to call him ‘Gabriel’ – held all the cards. And he knew it. Pepper, slumped in a chair next to her captor, was alive, but barely conscious. Looking at her, Tony can’t remember how to breathe. Fear and rage battle for supremacy. He remembers the last time he’d felt like this – waking up in a cave in Afghanistan.

‘Gabriel’ glances over at Pepper. “Don’t look so worried, Mr. Stark. I assure you that she will make a full recovery.”

“You didn’t have to hurt her!” He felt cold inside. So very cold.

“It was important you know that I’m serious.”

“You murdered her assistant! You don’t think that was serious enough for me?”

“Miss Potts needed to know too,” he explains with a small shrug.

When he got the call, the call that Pepper was missing, that Monica Deaver was dead, a shot through the head, her body lying next to Pepper’s car. When he’d got that call, he’d known this was the price. It always had been. He just hadn’t known then; that morning at the press conference. ‘Stick to the cards, Mr. Stark.’

“And now, you will give me everything I want, Mr. Stark.” He laughs. “See how much easier it is? No tiresome negotiations or heroics. You simply give me what I want so I will give you what you want.”

Tony looks at Pepper again. He knows what she’d tell him. Don’t do it, Tony. Don’t. But he’s not that strong. She would know that too. He reaches into his jacket pocket, withdrawing the drive that has everything ‘Gabriel’ wants contained on it. The other man steps forward, his face taut with anticipation.

He hasn’t told anyone what he’s doing. He couldn’t risk them trying to stop him, trying to come up with a plan that could get Pepper killed. He holds out the drive. That’s when all hell breaks loose: alarms, the sound of running feet and yelling, gunshots.

“That was very stupid, Mr. Stark,” he says as he points a gun back at Pepper.

“No! I kept my part of the bargain, I came alone, I didn’t tell anyone!” He’s pleading, he’s begging. This can’t be happening!

“Then they get to see I’m serious as well,” he replies almost sympathetically, his finger on the trigger. But before he can carry through with his threat, Pepper slams into him, knocking him down, the gun he held flying across the floor, SHIELD agents pouring into the room.

She’s given up a part of herself for him, because of him, irrevocably. He knows that as surely as he knows the sun will rise in the east. All because of four words he can never take back. And now it’s his turn; his turn to suffer the consequences of those words, of that morning.

‘Gabriel’ is on his feet now, looking for an escape route. In the confusion, Tony loses sight of Pepper. Then she’s there, holding the gun, pointing it at Gabriel. He says something that Tony can’t hear, but he does hear Pepper’s reply just before she pulls the trigger, “I can be serious too.”

Agent Coulson is the one who takes the gun from her hand, gently, carefully, putting an arm around her shoulder, turning her away from the man she’d killed, leading her to Tony.

They just look at each other for some unmeasured space of time, before Tony has her in his arms, holding Pepper so tightly that she has to remind him she needs to breathe. He loosens his embrace, but can’t let her go. Not yet.

He puts it all in a letter, a letter he gives to Happy to deliver to her house. All the access codes have been changed; his new security team under strict instructions to not let Pepper Potts anywhere near him or Stark Industries. Tony will never see Pepper again. He owes her that much for what he’s cost her. He will give up the woman he loves so he won’t have to stand at her grave. That is the price for those four words, those four words that he hates.

‘I am Iron Man’

amonitrateamonitrate on August 10th, 2008 08:46 pm (UTC)
aaww. man. I never get tired of Pepper shooting people for some reason. :)

but yeah, Tony. Consequences. Great work, Ith.
Ith: Iron Man -  Forgeithildyn on August 10th, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
She shoots people often? I had no idea [g]

Thanks. The whole fallout thing has been on my mind, obviously :)
(no subject) - amonitrate on August 10th, 2008 10:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ithildyn on August 10th, 2008 10:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - amonitrate on August 10th, 2008 10:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ithildyn on August 10th, 2008 10:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ninjababe on August 11th, 2008 01:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ithildyn on August 11th, 2008 01:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ninjababe on August 12th, 2008 03:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - besyd on August 11th, 2008 07:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - besyd on August 11th, 2008 07:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ithildyn on August 11th, 2008 08:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Tammy - never give up, never surrenderbesyd on August 10th, 2008 09:17 pm (UTC)
Ow. That is one seriously painful - but good - AU. ('Course I'm willing to bet Pepper would find a way around it. Not much can stop our girl Pep. -g-)

Nice job!

Edited at 2008-08-10 09:23 pm (UTC)
Ith: Iron Man -  Tuxithildyn on August 10th, 2008 10:08 pm (UTC)
More than likely :)

Thanks, glad you liked it!
But, I don't want to be a pie,: tony stark 1idontlikegravy on August 10th, 2008 11:01 pm (UTC)

That was so awesome I'll forgive you for writing this when you haven't done my beta yet ;-p
Ithithildyn on August 10th, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)
I've been bounding around too much today to put proper attention into betaing. Once Nin is home and dinner is done, I can sit with the laptop and concentrate.

Glad you enjoyed it.
(no subject) - idontlikegravy on August 10th, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
dejladejla on August 11th, 2008 12:09 am (UTC)
Oh, this is good. Really good. And Pepper would get around it, somehow...
Ith: Iron Man -  Forgeithildyn on August 11th, 2008 12:46 am (UTC)
Thank you :) I'm glad you enjoyed it!
Chrissharpiesgal on August 11th, 2008 01:09 am (UTC)

Very impressed.

*hugs Tony and Pepper*
Ith: Iron Man - Tony/Pepper Lookithildyn on August 11th, 2008 01:22 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
(Deleted comment)
Ith: Art - Wildwoodithildyn on August 11th, 2008 04:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you :) There's always consequences, huh?
Hils: Pepperony by queen_haqhils on August 11th, 2008 09:17 am (UTC)
OMG! *sniff*

That was wonderful but so sad!
Ith: Art - Haida Maskithildyn on August 11th, 2008 04:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I do love the angst.
Queen of Sassgard: can't see mestarhawk2005 on August 11th, 2008 11:08 am (UTC)
OUCH! Painful....I really hope this doesn't happen in the movie-verse. *prays* I need my Tony/Pepper! ;)

Nice job, dear!
Ith: Art - Lily Pondithildyn on August 11th, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC)
I want my Tony/Pepper too, but I'm a sucker for an unhappy ending.

Thank you!
(no subject) - starhawk2005 on August 12th, 2008 09:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
po_thangpo_thang on August 11th, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC)
Very, very nice. I like how Pepper can hold her own. She always struck me as the type of woman who could take care of herself.

Now, you have to know that I'm going to ask for a sequel to this. As others have said...Pepper wouldn't just take this lying down. If nothing else, she would want to tell Tony off for making decisions for her.

And she has the right to say whether she stays by his side since she put a bullet in a man for him.
Ith: Iron Man -  Tuxithildyn on August 11th, 2008 04:51 pm (UTC)
Nope, no sequel [g] I'll leave it up to the reader to decide what happens next.

Glad you enjoyed it.
curls: Iron Man: I am Iron Man!curls on August 11th, 2008 04:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, that was so sad. Wonderfully and beautifully written, but sad. :: sniffs ::

There's so much potential here that could be explored further if you were so inclined. I think it would be interesting to follow up from Pepper's point of view because I can't imagine that she would be too fond of being cast out beyond her control like that. And just because Tony thinks that pushing her away would keep her safe, it still doesn't diminish how important she is to him. The fact that she's not in close physical proximity doesn't mean that she's not close to his heart. I'm sure there are others out there who would see that, too. If anything, pushing her out of his high security bubble could actually endanger her further.

Anyway, just throwing that out there because I'd love to see more. But even if you don't take it any further, it stands alone beautifully as a one shot. I enjoyed it immensely. :)
lizbet0lizbet0 on August 11th, 2008 05:15 pm (UTC)
Er, amen to all of the above! And Pepper would so totally be able to track Tony down - It's not like he's Mr. Incognito, after all!

Good job, Ith! Here's to hoping Methos & Charlotte appear in some fics soon...!
(no subject) - ithildyn on August 11th, 2008 08:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ithildyn on August 11th, 2008 08:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Julie Frost, SFF writer: KKBB manip Tony/Pepperagilebrit on August 11th, 2008 05:27 pm (UTC)
*cries* MEANIE.

But, yes. They would totally target him through her.
Ithithildyn on August 11th, 2008 06:12 pm (UTC)
[sniffs] Po' Tony.
Chromophilia: Pepper staring uple_red_queen on August 11th, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC)
Aw man. That sucks. Not that Pepper would actually let him go through with somthing that inane. I mean, even if he isolates himself from her, who's to say people won't still go after her? Or Rhodes? Or Happy? Tony, you moron!
I can see Pepper going to Agt. Coulson and saying, wtf! I want super agent training, so I can kick some sense into Tony! :P
Ithithildyn on August 11th, 2008 06:14 pm (UTC)
I'm really warming up to the idea of 'Super Agent Pepper' over the last few days [g]
writer. fangirl.lumediluna on August 11th, 2008 09:14 pm (UTC)
Very, very awesome and really well done. You packed a lot of emotion, and a big 'event,' into a one-shot fic and pulled it off beautifully.
Ith: Art - Pink Poolithildyn on August 11th, 2008 10:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad it worked for you.
Anthony Starkforged_of_iron on August 11th, 2008 10:26 pm (UTC)
Very well done! I was actually fooling around with a similar notion a few nights ago- obviously nothing came of my brooding over it, but yours has worked out so wonderfully that I don't think I even have a reason to delve into that side of their relationship anymore!

Fantastic. I adored it.
Ith: Iron Man - Tony at Workithildyn on August 11th, 2008 10:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you, that's high praise indeed. I'm glad you enjoyed it!
Vuombie of DOOOOMM!!!!silentpheonix on August 12th, 2008 12:08 am (UTC)
:( Poor Pepper. Poor Tony.

I wonder how Pepper reacts.
Ithithildyn on August 12th, 2008 05:13 pm (UTC)
I do love the angst :) Thanks for reading!