How to Ruin Tony Stark's Day in One Sentence

November 25, 2014:

Pepper tries to avoid it, she really does, but she still manages to ruin Tony's day with the news that she's 'taken custody' of Howard Stark from the SHIELD authorities.

Stark Tower




Mood Music: System of a Down Sugar Lyrics

Fade In…

Having just returned from picking up hoagies from a deli and gotten Howard settled in the studio apartment she had Cricket renting and furnishing (simply, Cricket, simply) for the younger-looking Stark, Pepper goes straight up to Tony's penthouse with the Reuben and kettle chips she'd ordered for him.

"Tony?" She looks around for him, wondering if she should have stopped in at the workshop first. If he doesn't answer promptly, she'll ask JARVIS where he is.


How often does coming into Tony's penthouse and/or workshop add up to finding him in the midst of some strange happening? Why would today be any different? As it is, he is not in the penthouse proper, but down in the workshop as JARVIS will be quick to inform Pepper as soon as the inventors name is called.

What she finds down there is probably not the weirdest thing he's ever been caught doing.

Tony is leaning over a metallic box with Dummy standing nearby shining a light down into the interior to illuminate whatever work he's at. System of a Down is playing, Sugar over the loud speakers and there's a digital wire framed representation of the box not far away that he periodically glances up at curiously.


On the scale of weird things she's caught Tony doing, this is VERY tame.

"Tony? I bought you a Reuben from Katz's Deli." No need to mention the box he's working, it is so far down the weird scale, writing on paper with a pencil would rank higher. She does, mostly out of habit, glance at the digital wire frame to see if she can figure out what it is he's doing.


Whatever it is, it's boxie.

Tony glances up and back over his shoulder when Pepper calls his name with the magical addition of a Reuben in hand. The smile that suddenly appears on his face is indication enough that this is pleasant, as far as surprises go. With a twist, Tony is up and patting Dummy on the claw hand and hoping up from his seat.

The music dies down to a quiet background noise as he makes his way over, "Good timing, I'm famished." Replacing one seat for another at the work bench where lunches plate sits with the sandwich still uneaten.


Pepper Potts eyes the untouched lunch plate, clearly unimpressed. "I wonder why." But, that's all she says about that, pulling the plate and putting the Reuben in its place before setting the plate off to the side to take back out with her when she goes. "There are salt and vinegar kettle chips in there too," she offers. Is she perhaps trying to butter Tony up before breaking bad news to him, or something?


The thought certainly crosses his mind and for good reason…

Usually she orders out or has something made… but delivered herself? Is it a special day? Did he forget his own birthday? Tony squints an eye at Pepper, gears turning. "What happened?"


Pepper Potts nudges the deli bag closer to Tony. "Eat." She thinks fast for another reason for coming down here before breaking the Howard news to him. "I wanted to let you know that I'm planning to cook for Thanksgiving this year, so you're not allowed to hide in the workshop all day like you did last time."


Alarm bells.

Tony's squint grows increasingly squintier. "You're cooking for Thanksgiving…" This does not bode well, maybe because it means he cannot hide in his workshop. Like he did last year.

And the year before that.

Seeing as she's not forthcoming with the information he grabs his sandwich instead. There's no secrets between a man and his Reuben. Only deliciousness.


"Well… I'm going to try." She can at least follow a recipe reliably enough. "I'm inviting a few other people, so I was wondering if it would be okay to use one of the kitchens here in the Tower? My apartment is way too small for more than a handful of people."


"Mmkrah." Tony says with a mouthful of Reuben. Clutching the sandwich in both hands he makes a happy sounds and closes his eyes delightfully, the smile goes without saying. After he's swallowed he continues! Manners!

"How about the penthouse? We can bring one of the big tables up from the conference hall or something." Plus it will make it easier for him to sneak away to his workshop.



"All right. But only if you swear on your right thumb that you won't try to sneak down here." Yes, Pepper knows Tony that well. "Have you seen Sam? I've been trying to catch him to invite him, but …" Running out of stuff to talk about too fast, Pepper, careful!


"Uh, not since he went with me to SHIELD HQ." Tony's expression pulls into a slight frown. Talk about bad timing and poor choice of questions amirite? He looks at his sandwich and lays it back down, turning just enough to lay eyes on whatever it is he was working on.


Pepper Potts blinks and is now VERY glad she didn't start the conversation with Howard. "Hey, no. Keep eating." She even taunts him into it by snitching a potato chip and crunching it loudly. Augh. Vinegar. Very sharp. She can't hide the face she's making at the flavor.


Tony turns back to his sandwich at the sound of crunching chips, then looks up at Pepper with his head turned over to one side. "You know we have to get him out of there right?" This isn't something he's wanted to talk about, but… it is still his father. "I don't care what rights SHIELD think they have, that's Stark property." Also his father. "Also it will really piss them off…" And it's his father.

"We have to get him out of there." Because it IS his father. Even if he wishes it weren't.


Okay, maybe this won't go so badly after all. "You've been holed up in here even more than usual, so… I already went and got him out of there. Earlier today." Pepper takes a breath before continuing. In for a penny, in for a pound. "He's got a legally falsified identity, Cricket set him up with an apartment not too far from here, and Colin from R&D is going to help him pick which of his old projects he wants to dust off and keep poking at." She then offers quickly, "I already told him that we don't make weapons anymore, and he was surprisingly okay with it." She did not, however, have time to tell Howard about WHY that change in the corporation came about.


Leave it to Pepper.

Tony's expression sours a little, but he nods agreeably all the same. That bit of business done, he looks down at his sandwich and takes another large bite. Chewing in silence with his eyes focused on some small detail on the wall in front of him like it might be the very most important thing ever. "Good. After he's had time to settle in, I'll bring him up here. He doesn't set foot on the property until then." Tony very rarely gives 'orders'… ever, actually. He's never given anything even remotely close to an order.

Until just then.


Pepper Potts actually freezes like a deer in headlights for a second at that, having to think VERY fast now. Call Howard, tell him the 'interview' has been postponed from tomorrow, have Cricket tell Colin to hold off on the R&D thing for now… oy. "Okay, Tony. Just let me know if anything, like usual. All right?"


Tony breaths out a quiet sigh and nods. Whatever appetite he had is now gone, that must is obvious. Right behind it is his mood. He lays the sandwich down and pushes up from the table with napkin in hand to wipe at his mouth. "Worst case scenario, I'll pull his power core and drop him in the vault." 'the vault of lost ideas', the place Tony puts projects that he never intends to finish.


Pepper Potts knows better than to try to push Tony into eating any more, so she starts packing up the remainder of the sandwich to keep for later — why she insisted that one corner of the workshop be reserved for food storage and preparation. The seemingly offhand comment about pulling Howard's power core makes Pepper visibly flinch despite herself. "Do you want me to bring some gelato down from the penthouse?"


"Nah." Tony slides his goggles back over his eyes as he throws one leg around the side of his stool and drops back in front of the box he was working on. "Dummy, bring that light over here." Flicking his fingers towards the project and pointing down at a set of wires, "Right there, keep it focused right ther- Seriously, sto- alright you're fired." Pointing off to one corner, "Leave the light." Snatching it out of the machines claw hand.

"If you want something done right…" Shaking his head, Tony fixes the light so it hangs and points in the general direction of where he wants it and grabs up his soldering iron. "Let me know what you want me to bring to dinner."


Pepper Potts knows a dismissal when she hears one. "I will. Don't stay up too late, okay?" She doesn't wait for an answer and she doesn't really expect one, and heads over toward the fridge in the corner of the workshop with the leftover Reuben and chips in one hand and the untouched lunch in the other.

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