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03 September 2012 @ 09:41 pm
Iron Man/Avengers Fic: A Bump In The Road  
Title: A Bump in the Road
Author: ladychi
Fandom: Iron Man/Avengers
Pairing: Tony Stark/Pepper Potts
Rating: Teen (for language)
Summary: “You’ve got a meeting at two with Research and Development…”

“Potts, I thought we hired an assistant to –“

“And I’m pregnant.”

“—take care of all of these little details, and you’re CEO now, aren’t you doing the… excuse me. What?”

Author's Note: I... don't even know. I would make an excuse, but... I can't. This is cracktastic, basically. And I have no excuse, other than I've got a deadline for a super exciting project coming up, so naturally, I'm goofing off.


Bump in the Road

“You’ve got a meeting at two with Research and Development…”

“Potts, I thought we hired an assistant to –“

“And I’m pregnant.”

“—take care of all of these little details, and you’re CEO now, aren’t you doing the… excuse me. What?”  

Pepper straightened her skirt and refolded her hands. “You’ve got a meeting at two with R&D.”

“Yes, thank you, got that part. What was the part after that?”

“I, uh, seem to be… you know.”

Even Dummy seemed to be looking at her like she’d grown another head, or suddenly begun speaking in tongues.

“Pepper, I realize this is probably a bit much to ask, but I’m going to have to ask you to be really, and I mean, very definitely, specific. What the hell did you just say?”

Pepper lifted her chin. “I know, it’s probably not what you wanted to hear right now, and we’ve definitely never even discussed the possibility of, you know…”

“I swear to God, I have not even begun to process the… and you’re wanting me to, you know, react?”

“Right, you’re right.” Pepper crossed, awkwardly, to the large sofa in his workroom and sat down. “I’ll just sit over here while you… process.”

“Jesus. Fuck.”

She crossed one leg over the other, a truly fabulous pair of Jimmy Choos bouncing up and down and up and down… and it occurred to her, at some point down the road, she’d have to start wearing lower heels, and retire these beauties…

Just exactly how many days did she have left of truly fabulous shoes?

And how awful a future moth… Oh, Christ. That thought always crept up on her. She started to feel nauseous. Which might or might not be connected to the thoughts running through her head, actually… everything seemed to make her nauseous. Most specifically the smell of motor oil. Which probably wasn’t bad, for most expectant mot… fuck, there was that word again… which probably wasn’t bad for most pregnant women, but she was dating Tony fucking Stark… and that meant just being around him made her want to hurl.

She swallowed gamely. She was a big girl. She’d made it through keggers at the Tri-Delt house and several rounds of test flights without losing her breakfast, and sitting in the workroom of her… whatever he was…  baby daddy (SO needed a better mental terminology for this situation) was so… anyway, was not going to make her…

“Pepper! Whoa, holy crap! That is a lot of… I mean, what do I do?” Tony fluttered – yes, fluttered, she could think of no other word for his anxious tittering in the background – around her, helplessly.

“Go take a shower,” she snapped, and bent over the trash can again. Dummy whined in sympathy as Tony fled up the stairs – fucking coward, presumably to get away from the barfing crazy lady.  

**

The thing of it was  that she was really so organized about everything. All the balls kept tidily in the air, nothing ever out of place. And then she got sick. Just a little head cold, really, that turned into a 102 degree free with sniffles and wheezing and a degree of pathetic she hadn’t felt in years and even Tony had noticed (even since the advent of Iron Man, she wouldn’t go so far as to call him ‘observant’ when it came to other people) and sent her to the doctor, and she’d gotten an antibiotic

And of course they had sex. And of course he’d knocked her up. Because Tony Stark never thought of anybody else except himself, the slick, smug… stupidly virile son of a bitch.

She’d stared at the little pink plus sign – the little harbinger of doom – with a sort of mix of sheer terror, anxious anger and hope, that turned her insides out and made her want to vomit. Again. And all she could think was: This is the end.

She’d cleaned up enough of Tony’s messes to know just how he reacted to the idea of potential fatherhood did to him: it made him scarce, it freaked him out and… all she could hear was the voice she’d come to love telling her coldly: Take care of it, Potts.

But then there was the other side of her brain – the voice that sounded just like her mother, really, insisting: This might be your last chance.

It came down to Tony versus her mother. Damn it all if her mother didn’t win.

**

She kept the secret for as long as she could – an astounding length of time, really, considering she was sleeping with a genius, but somewhere along the second month, she’d run out of excuses for how pale she appeared, the lack of, well… sex (who felt like having sex when keeping down soup was a battle Thor would boast of?), and menstrual flow was starting to make even Tony suspicious.  She’d come to a conclusion. She’d have to tell him, and deal with the fallout.

But first, she had a list of Things To Do. She researched doctors, and double checked herself. She researched daycares, nannies, and the possibility of doing it all herself. She examined the security concerns. With or without Tony Stark, she was all systems go on this baby.

All that was left was to tell him, and the best way to do such things, she’d long ago decided, was a method she called “rip the Band-Aid off.”

Fast and clean, Potts, she told herself. Fast and clean. (Minimize the pain when he stops paying attention to you, tries to make you disappear through the sheer force of his inattention).

That’s why she’d told him when he was in the middle of a routine check of the suit, when he was running down the events of the day – right when he would expect it least. Right when she could see what he really felt, in the moments before his shutters came down, so that she would know exactly which of her plans to go through with.

This would have been a brilliant plan, if she hadn’t been throwing up everything she’d ever eaten right when she was supposed to be discerning the Inner Thoughts of Tony Stark.

**

“Miss Potts?”

JARVIS. Fuck. “Yes?”

“Are you quite all right?”

“On a scale of one to holy shit, we’re sitting at a solid ‘fuck my life’, JARVIS.”

“Ah.”

“Yes. Ah.” Pepper leaned back and tried to get herself under control, watching with some amusement as Dummy scurried to take the trash away.  “How is… Oh, never mind.”

“Mr. Stark appears to scrubbing himself vigorously at the moment, Miss Potts.”

“Good, thanks.” Pepper blushed furiously. “I’ll just ah – go upstairs and wait for him?”

“Very good, Miss Potts. I’ll hold your calls and triage your inbox for the time being, yes?”

“Good. Great plan. Ah… thank you.” Pepper pushed herself off the couch (another thing that wouldn’t be this easy in a few months, holy crap, what was she getting into) and wondered when the apparent approval of an A.I. had taken such an important place in her life, and then filed it away in a folder she called “Shit To Worry About Later”.

That folder was disturbingly large.

**

She’d nearly fallen asleep on the couch in the living room of the large apartment they shared in Avengers Tower (much more comfortable, really – added advantage of not smelling like motor oil; disadvantage of not smelling as much like Tony) when he startled her awake by placing a hand on her shoulder and squeezing in a way she was sure was supposed to be supportive but really just.. hurt. She moved away slightly, hoping he’d get the hint.

“So,” he said awkwardly, putting his hands behind his back. “Have I recently consumed some illegal hallucinogenic and forgotten about it?”

“Not to the best of my knowledge,” Pepper said, sitting up.

“So. You really are – “

“Yes. Or so says First Result. And True Blue Testing Supply Company. And Stark Industries aptly named One Result… because that’s the only result I got, the five tests that I took at home. And, you know, the two doctors that I saw.”

“You’ve seen a doctor already?” Tony blinked.

“I wanted to be sure. You know, before I came in here and… rocked your world, so to speak. And mine, actually. To be fair, you know, this is going to be a little bit more… world-rocking for me, so to speak, and…”

“Pepper.”

“Sorry.” She waved a hand. “I think, since I conceived your child, I’ve somehow absorbed some of your less appealing traits, like the inability to focus on a single topic of conversation.”

“So – you’re keeping it, then.”

“I thought – yes, actually.” Pepper straightened her shoulders. “I am. Is that all right with you?”

Tony shrugged. “Your choice.”

Oh shit. Pepper couldn’t stop the well of tears. She hated – absolutely hated to be the embodiment of a cliché, but there didn’t seem to be a way around this one. Wiping her tears away viciously the back of her hand, she nodded.

“Yes, it is. And I’ve chosen to, you know… go through with it. The whole thing.”

“Okay, here’s my problem.” Tony sat across from her on the couch and tentatively reached for her hand.
She grasped his, and squeezed. “My parents were… straight-up horrible parents, Potts. I mean – not abusive but not… no one knew what to do with me, really, and… I’m not sure, I mean… obviously, you’re going to be a better mother than that, I know, but…”

“You’re going to be a better father than that.” Pepper said, her eyes filling with tears (for a different reason this time – it was possible she was going to need to increase her salt intake, just to counter-balance the shear amount of saline she seemed to be producing these days).

“It’s possible. But… so are a lot of things, and genetics might clue us in on some tendencies here… I gather my Dad’s dad wasn’t a walk in the park either, really, so I guess what I’m saying is…”

“Tony.”

“If you want me to butt out, I will.”

“Tony, no.” Pepper got to her feet, dropping Tony’s hand. “This is not what I expected at all.” She shook her head. “I wasn’t expecting you to go all… you know. It’s really inconvenient that you’ve grown up overnight because I was really… I was prepared to handle you from before, you know… with the ‘Take care of it, Potts’, and all… and here you go making me cry and of course I want you to be involved you great, big, giant…. Stupidhead.”

Tony’s mouth dropped open. “Stupidhead? I haven’t been called that in…”

“Let it go, Tony.” She searched the shelves desperately. “Do we even stock fucking Kleenexes anymore?”

JARVIS dinged helpfully. “Top right drawer in the kitchen, Miss Potts.”

“Of course we keep the Kleenexes in the kitchen. I don’t know what addle-minded… Looney Tunes of a person organized this apartment, but… we’re absolutely going to have words, I tell you. There needs to be logic and order and…”

“Potts. Pepper. You organized the apartment, remember?”

“Of course I remember. I’m pregnant, not crazy.”

“If I can ask, without, you know… dire consequences…”

“Tony!”

“Just how pregnant?”

“I don’t know that that’s an actual scale. It seems to me that you’re either pregnant or you’re not.”

“This is not a good time to go all Amelia Bedelia on me, Pepper.”

The concern in his eyes, and the way he seemed to… really, genuinely be trying was really getting to her and… she really wasn’t going to cry. She was going to be calm, the definition of aplomb.  From here on out, she was going to keep her shit together, she really was. Just as soon as she found the fucking… ah.

“Two months… eight weeks,” she said.

“I passed Biology a long time ago, Potts… what’s the ration on that, then?”

“We’re uh… a fifth of the way through. Give or take.”

“That doesn’t give us much time.”

Panic. “Much time for what?”

“Security upgrades will have to be made… we’ll have to modify JARVIS, of course… tell Happy so he can adjust what he needs to on the personnel side… “

“Tony… can’t we just…”

“What?”

Pepper crossed the room and wrapped her arms around him. “I’m scared, and I’m really glad you’re going to do this with me, but… if you’re going to do this with me, can you just… hold me for a little bit?”

Tony seemed taken aback. “Potts, I didn’t realize…”

“Just hold me. No talking.”

“Right. Good. Yeah.”

And he wrapped her in his arms. She could feel the pressure of the arc reactor between them and she wondered how long it was going to give him to live, realistically, if their child would be without a father as early as Tony himself had been… as she had been, and she wondered what their child would look like, what it would be like, what it would be like to have a superhero has a father and a CEO as a mother, and if they were really making the right choice here, after all, if it wouldn’t be smarter, better, safer….

“Potts…”

“Yeah?”

“I’m scared too, but…” he swallowed. Like saying what he was about to say was actually painful. “If I’m going to do this thing… you know… this… daddy thing, then… I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone but you.”

Ah, fuck it. Pepper buried her head in his neck and cried.  

 
 
Current Mood: creativecreative
 
 
Amiewickedgillie on September 4th, 2012 03:02 am (UTC)
Cracktastic, yes, but SO very them! You should procrastinate more often!

My favourite bit?
She crossed one leg over the other, a truly fabulous pair of Jimmy Choos bouncing up and down and up and down… and it occurred to her, at some point down the road, she’d have to start wearing lower heels, and retire these beauties…

Just exactly how many days did she have left of truly fabulous shoes?


Chi: DT/RTD fanboyzladychi on September 5th, 2012 02:42 am (UTC)
These are the things that one thinks about!

... I imagine.

Or I would think about. What do I know. LOL. I had fun writing it, anyway! Glad you liked it!
Sharonazriona on September 4th, 2012 04:01 am (UTC)
Ooo, lovely unexpected Avengers fic. EXCELLENT. Long live goofing off. :)
Chi: DT/RTD fanboyzladychi on September 5th, 2012 02:43 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.
NP-Completenp_complete on September 4th, 2012 11:08 am (UTC)
Oh, I love Tony and Pepper. My friends are surprised when they watch the Iron Man flicks and discover they *aren't* relationship flicks, the way I talk about them. (Oh, for a Downey/Paltrow romantic comedy with a really good script!)

Good story!
Chiladychi on September 5th, 2012 02:43 am (UTC)
...At this point, I'm just trying to talk myself out of writing a "Thor buys diapers" fic.
Kat Morning: Kirarakatmorning on September 5th, 2012 03:52 am (UTC)
Do it.... dooo iiiiit.


ETA: y'know, it occurs to me that we never see any children or ... anything of the like in Asgard. There aren't even any teenagers. Thor might have absolutely no idea what to do with a baby. At all.

Edited at 2012-09-05 03:55 am (UTC)
Chiladychi on September 6th, 2012 03:46 am (UTC)
TELL ME, STARKFATHER, WHY IS LADY STARK UPSET THAT I USED TONYSON AS A FOOTBALL IN A DEMONSTRATION OF STRENGTH?