Universe: Iron Man MCU Pre-Avengers
Theme: Action, Drama, Romance
Everything was spinning in front of Tony Stark.
Well, there was only darkness as far as he could tell, but still, even the darkness was spinning. Tony made a feeble attempt to open his eyes but gave up rather quickly. Nope, that was definitely not going to happen, at least not yet. It took twenty more tries but Tony finally managed to triumph over adversity and open his eyes. It wasn’t the first time he’d made an attempt to get up that morning. By now it was likely mid-afternoon. With a groan he rolled onto his side and held his hand over his ear. Finally the world stopped spinning in an array of blurred colors and he could see that he was in Scarlett’s bedroom.
“Scarlett…” Tony muttered, wondering where she’d gone. As he sat up his head spun again and then began to throb. His mouth tasted sour. How much did he have to drink the night before? The events were hazy but he could recall them for the most part; but what he couldn’t remember was just how much he’d drank. There had been too many to count and he’d tried not to think of it. Not to mention he’d finished a previously opened bottle of scotch before he’d even decided to leave his home.
“Shhh…” The sound felt harsh to Tony’s ears even if it was meant to be soothing.
Tony felt the weight of Scarlett sitting behind him on the bed, or at least he hoped it was Scarlett. When he turned to find her, his eyes half lidded lazily, he felt something cold brush against his forehead. At first it hurt and stung and he recoiled.
“It’ll help.” She whispered soothingly and held the ice pack against his forehead. She’d never seen Tony this hung over before but in the back of her head she thought he deserved it. After all, it was a demon of his own making. He was a grown man! He knew how much he should drink and when he should stop and had made the calculated choice not to. Still, she had pitied him and caring for him had kept her thoughts busy. Scarlett had slept for a few hours after talking to Clint and then had woken up early and started her day.
Since then she had periodically checked on Tony and taken care of him when he’d woken up and had threatened to puke. Somehow, he managed still to avoid that and though Scarlett thought he deserved every bit of misery he felt that morning, she was grateful he hadn’t thrown up. The noise of retching had always bothered her and somehow, despite thinking he deserved his pain, she felt bad for him.
“Tony…” Scarlett shushed him again and then held the ice pack to his forehead. Slowly she helped him lay back against the pillows and kept the cold pack against his head. He relented and allowed her to help him but he wondered why the hell she would bother. Hadn’t he told her what he’d done the night before? Didn’t she take it poorly? Not that he could blame her or anything for that, but the last thing he’d expected her to do was to take care of him. Was this some sick, twisted form of punishment?
“You’re mad at me.” He whined miserably. Nothing he wanted to say was coming out right. No one could possibly comprehend how difficult that was for Tony Stark, to not be able to say what was on his mind. Sure, often times his mouth got him into trouble since he didn’t have much of a filter, but he could talk himself out of any situation. Or at least he usually could. Right now he couldn’t seem to figure out how to properly explain to Scarlett what had happened.
He’d panicked. Of course he had, but explaining the reasons why to Scarlett seemed as impossible as telling her about his nightmares! Never, not once in his life, had he had this kind of trouble talking to a woman before. Slowly he pushed the ice pack from his forehead and when she moved to put it back he grabbed her wrist to stop her.
“Don’t look at me like that.” He whispered, seeing the pity in her gaze. She pitied him? Seriously? Scarlett surprised him at every turn. Where was her vengeance for what he had done? Had she spit in the ice for the ice pack or something? Surely he deserved more than a slap on the wrist. He’d have expected to wake up and have an all out war with her.
“Just take it easy, Tony.” She sighed and offered him a bottle of water which he drank from greedily. It wasn’t that he wanted to drink it, more that he knew it would help the groggy feeling that came with this hangover from hell. When was the last time he’d felt this horrible after a night of drinking? Tony couldn’t recall. Not since his youth at least. He used to joke that his liver had given up ages ago and that’s why he could drink so much and function just fine the next day. He’d have to remind Scarlett not to tell anyone about how terrible his morning after was. He had a reputation to keep up after all, and of all the nasty things spread around about Tony he didn’t mind that one so much.
“People think I shouldn’t be dating you.” Again what he wanted to say wasn’t coming out right. Scarlett placed her fingers to his lips to silence him and then set the wet cloth against his forehead which felt wonderful so he relented and simply grunted. Hadn’t this hurt only a moment ago?
“People think a lot of things, Tony. It doesn’t make them right.” Scarlett didn’t put much stock into what other people thought. Sure, it didn’t feel great to have the worst thought of her by a stranger, but she couldn’t control the way other people thought or behaved so she tried not to let it bother her too much. She was human, of course sometimes it got to her, but for the most part, she didn’t sweat the small stuff. “Keep still, you’ve managed not to throw up so far, let’s try to keep it that way.” Scarlett left the room and Tony watched her go, wondering where she was headed. Why was she taking care of him?
He didn’t deserve this kind of treatment.
He’d been a complete ass and had nearly thrown away the only relationship that had ever meant anything to him simply because she trusted him. What kind of reason was that anyway? But was that what had really set him off? No, it wasn’t the only thing but it had definitely been a contributing factor to his downward spiral. There was more to it than not trusting her. He hadn’t realized that he didn’t trust her until she’d brought it up. Still, he thought it was more complex than if he simply did or didn’t. No matter how many times he’d tried to work trust out of the matter he knew she had been right. The core problem had been that of trust no matter how he decided to phrase it. Then there was what he’d discovered about Scott and Marcia. Was he going to tell her about that? Tony’s head hurt at the thought of it and so he ignored it for the time being.
How could he say that he trusted her, just not everyone else? Pepper had been right about one thing. He couldn’t expect Scarlett to completely change to be with him. Hadn’t he known that from the beginning? It was part of why he loved being with Scarlett so much to begin with. She didn’t need him to change who he was to make her happy! She hadn’t expected him to be someone he wasn’t. Scarlett had fallen in love with him in spite of the things that she couldn’t stand about him. She’d come into his house (even if he had technically kidnapped her…) hating him and had left struggling to accept that she had fallen for him.
Maybe he should buy her an apology gift of some kind after all since he was having such a difficult time expressing his thoughts. Then what he would buy her exactly? She didn’t have much jewelry if he recalled but maybe that was because she didn’t like jewelry? The things Tony didn’t know about Scarlett taunted him, only making matters worse. Tony purposely thumped his head against the pillows and then whined as the world spun around him again. He was never drinking bourbon again. Or gin. They were terrible drinks, he had to have been pretty far gone to have thought they were a good idea.
In a way the night before had been a test. A test of his fidelity, to see what he really wanted, to see if he trusted himself. He’d passed, at least in his book, with flying colors but he’d perhaps caused a bigger mess in the process. Maybe if he wrote it all down and then gave that bit of writing to Scarlett he could properly explain what was going on in his head. Passing notes? What was he? Ten?
“Ugh!” Tony grumbled and covered his eyes with his hands. He didn’t hear her footsteps but he distinctly smelled something rich and yet bitter. A smile formed over his lips as he realizes Scarlett had disappeared to make him a cup of coffee. Usually he would tease her to let her know that Jarvis could’ve done that for them in record time and she wouldn’t have had to dirty any dishes or put herself out. Today he just couldn’t bring himself to tease her.
Even if she hadn’t realized it he’d publically humiliated her. The media didn’t even know who she was and yet today the papers were likely filled with stories of how he was back on the market or cheating on her. If he did buy her a nice piece of jewelry it’d look like he was buying her forgiveness. Tony was going to have to have another romantic comedy movie night with Jarvis if he was ever going to figure his way out of this mess! Were there even any movies that applied to his current dilemma? If there were he would very much like to know about them.
“Coffee and more aspirin.” Scarlett gently touched his forearm after setting coffee cups on the nightstand. When he didn’t make a move to acknowledge her she gently pulled his arms from over his eyes and saw him looking up at her sadly. He pouted.
“Stop taking care of me.” He didn’t really want her to stop, but he couldn’t help himself. Tony was having the most pathetic of pity parties.
“Why?” Scarlett was taken aback. Was this too much? Wasn’t this what she was supposed to do for someone she loved no matter how stupid they could be sometimes? All she really wanted to do was to beat the hell out of something and yet here she was, making coffee instead.
“It’s making me feel bad.”
Scarlett let go of his arms which dropped back onto his face with a thud and rolled her eyes. Of course he would want her to stop so that he could rightfully pout about what he’d done. She was mad, to say the very least. Worse than that she was actually hurt! Before bed she’d decided to ignore the story that would likely be all over the newspapers, tabloids, and television. Unfortunately it had been shoved in her face every time she turned around! Why did the world care so much about what he did? Why couldn’t they realize that it wasn’t a big deal, that her relationship with Tony impacted their little lives in absolutely no way whatsoever? Then again, people thrived on interesting stories and Tony’s story was definitely interesting.
She got up from the bed and walked over to the windows. With a tug she pulled open the blinds and allowed the sunshine, the first day of it that November thus far, to illuminate the room. Tony grimaced and rolled over to hide his face.
“Ouch, okay! Okay…” Tony grunted. The light made his head pound and his eyes burn! They were suddenly so damn dry. He was dehydrated. Maybe coffee wasn’t the worst idea after all. Then water. Lots and lots of water. “Jarvis, blinds. So bright…” He whimpered and the blinds returned to their original position on their own, leaving the room in semi-darkness once more.
Scarlett walked across the room and toward the door without saying another word.
“Don’t be like that either…” Tony finally managed to sit up. He pinched the bridge of his nose and grimaced as he felt what seemed like his entire brain shift around through his sinuses and linger just behind his nose. This was going in his top ten worst hangovers ever, that was for sure. When she heard him from the hallway Scarlett returned to the room and narrowed her eyes at him.
“Do you want me to take care of you or do you want me to go away? Because if you don’t then why did you collapse in my bed last night and not your own?” Scarlett spoke haughtily. She was over this playing nice crap! Part of Scarlett, a very big part, was not morally aligned and she wasn’t going to ignore it anymore.
“You know what I meant before…” Tony whimpered, hoping she would stop yelling at him because the sound of her raised voice seemed to be echoing off the walls, even making his ears sore. Or maybe they were already sore. Damnit, why were his stupid ears sore? What on earth could he have had to drink that would those sore? Jeez.
“What? You want me to throw a fit about what happened yesterday? Is that it? Is that how I’m supposed to act? You’re upset with me because I’m trying to help you even though you’re an ass?”
“Come on, don’t be like that.” Tony reiterated.
“You almost cheated on me so I’m sorry if I don’t think you get a say in what I prefer to be.” Scarlett picked up her coffee and walked across the room to pick out her clothing for the day. She didn’t really want to do get ready to go out, she just needed to look away from him before she did let her irritation get in the way. These irrational feelings were getting to her in spite of her best efforts. “If you ask me, I think you deserve some hell for awhile.”
“Damnit, I didn’t almost cheat on you. I don’t think you understood the point I was trying to make when I came here last night!” Tony was finally finding his words but they were most certainly not the ones he’d been trying to find. Sure, Tony, tell the scorned woman she was wrong; that would help.
“No, I understood it perfectly. I don’t know if you wanted me to be jealous or what, but it backfired. Mental note not to tell your girlfriend about all the beautiful women hanging on your every word because you have deep pockets.”
“I don’t think you did understand.” Tony held the coffee cup between both hands, the warm porcelain felt comforting against his sore hands. Damnit, why were his hands sore?
“Oh, please, enlighten me.” Scarlett threw her clothes down on the bed and narrowed her eyes at him. “You came here after spending an afternoon getting wasted after blaming me for a bad night out, ruining our date, and a restaurant that you actually had some emotional stock in. After getting wasted you had an opportunity to screw a set of twins and after giving it some extensive thought, enough time to get pictures in the paper of course, you decided it was a bad idea and came crawling home.”
“Yeah.” Tony tried to remember anything she’d left out but that was about all there was to it. “It wasn’t like that though. You make it sound bad.”
“I make it sound bad? Do you hear yourself?” Scarlett practically shrieked in annoyance but then took a deep breath to calm down. “I’m not even mad about that, Tony.” Scarlett picked her clothes back up and disappeared into the bathroom, leaving the door opened just a crack so that she could still hear him while she changed.
“Really?” Tony had to blink his eyes a few times to make sure that this was all very real. How couldn’t she be mad about it? “Because you sure seem pretty mad. You’re yelling an awful lot for someone who isn’t mad…” He peered around to the crack of the door hoping to sneak a glance past it. It was a distinct possibility she wasn’t going to let him play around for awhile now, not for lack of trying, but he was officially in the doghouse. Or at least he thought he was in the doghouse, he was having a hard time figuring out exactly what was going on. “Damnit, no Jarvis cameras in there either…” He muttered after finding his phone and forgetting that Scarlett had removed access to any cameras inside any sensitive areas of her home.
“You move on from one problem to the next, don’t you?” Scarlett returned to the bedroom with a heavy sigh. “They don’t disappear just because you’ve forgotten about them.” Tony opened his mouth to respond but then Scarlett’s phone rang to interrupt them. He was going to throw that damn phone out the window. Every time he finally got close to saying what was on his mind it interrupted him! Wait! Was that what she was upset about? When he’d stormed off the day before? Or was it because of the night before when they’d fought? Maybe she was right. Tony had once been known to leave a swathe of destruction in his wake; maybe this was the reason why.
“Your timing is impeccable. Are you familiar with Pepper Potts? Is there a club somewhere for you people?” Scarlett spoke to Jinx on the other end of the phone. Pepper had been the reason it had taken them so long to get together in the first place. Every time Tony had attempted to make some sort of move on her there was Pepper with some kind of business to attend to! It had become a long running joke between the two of them and even Pepper had joined in on it once she’d realized what they were referring to.
“…what?” Jinx was more confused than ever. Of all the weird things she’d expected to hear from Scarlett that day, that had not been one of them.
“Never mind, what do you need?” Scarlett felt Tony’s eyes on her and turned so her back was to him, though the feeling of being watched didn’t at all fade. “It’s kind of a bad time right now.”
“I sensed that, but there was no convincing Coulson. He said bad feeling or not I’ve got to call.”
Tony watched Scarlett sadly on the phone and somehow knew that she was going to disappear again for the day. Before he could make a snide remark his phone rang. He flipped over the small, and incredibly annoying, device and saw that Phil Coulson was calling him. It looked like something was happening down at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters. Tony wasn’t sure he had the mental stability for this today.
“It’s a Sunday, suit and tie.” Tony answered.
“Good to know that you still understand the days of the week after your little escapade yesterday, Stark.” Coulson joked but there was little humor in his voice. His humor had always been a little deadpan. Tony had a very hard time telling when he was being sarcastic or when he was being serious. “You’ve got work to do. When can you come in?”
“I’m not really…” Tony formulated an excuse in his mind. Usually S.H.I.E.L.D. work was easy money for him. People thought that being a superhero was all shooting lasers, flying around in armor, and saving the world but sometimes it was just solving math equations that were over other people’s heads or backtracking a hacker’s IP address when they thought they were untraceable. His words faded as he heard Scarlett talking to whoever was on the other end of her phone call.
“I’m on my way.” She hung up the phone without waiting for a response. Jinx had insisted it was important so Scarlett had agreed to go. Besides, she could use the distraction. There was no way that today could be worse than yesterday, so it was worth the risk. It was possible that after a day of putting her brilliant mind to good use she would be able to handle this Tony situation with a clearer head.
“You know what? I’ll be there as soon as I can. It might be a little while, I’m indisposed.” Tony listened to Coulson respond to him but didn’t really hear what he’d said. Muttering a “yeah sure” Tony ended the call and watched Scarlett as she went to the closet for her jacket. “How’s your shoulder feeling?” He sounded condescending! He didn’t mean to and winced before she had a chance to react.
“You fine or actually fine?” Tony hoped that smiling would alleviate the nervous tension but instead all he could think about was how awful his mouth tasted. God, had the bourbon left a layer on his tongue? Ugh, it was the worst. Soon he was scowling so he took a long sip of his coffee to try and rid himself of the taste. It did not work.
“What’s the difference?” Scarlett stopped as she grabbed the keys to her car off of the dresser. She knew he hadn’t meant the comment about her shoulder in a nasty way, but she wasn’t going to let him know that. Let him sweat it out and be nervous for a little while. Tony clearly wanted to figure things out on his own and for the time being Scarlett would let him.
“You have to admit sometimes you’re borderline sociopath about things that hurt.” Tony hadn’t meant it quite like that again and winced once more. He should just shut up and drink his coffee. The more he talked the worse he made things for himself.
“Oh, so now I’m a sociopath.” She scoffed in disbelief.
“I didn’t mean it like that!” Tony held up one hand defensively. “It was just a turn of phrase.” He considered this and realized it wasn’t, really. “Okay, so I was just being a dick.”
“I was teasing.” Scarlett offered a half hearted smile but Tony could see it was only for his benefit. As hard as she tried to keep it from showing he’d done some real damage. There was a time when he would’ve thought she was manipulating him into treating her differently but those days were long over. Scarlett had a good sense of humor, it was part of why they got along so well. The hurt layered beneath it was genuine and she was just as puzzled on how to deal with it as he was.
“Oh.” Tony drifted off but grinned as he looked down at his coffee. Things would be okay, wouldn’t they? He had good reason not to trust her from the very beginning. Eventually those wounds would heal, right? He would get over that nagging denial in the back of his mind. He wasn’t sure he really would but he’d meant what he’d said the night before. Things were right when they were together even if nothing made sense.
“Are you coming?” Scarlett nodded toward the door, tossing the keys over in her hand. “No bad jokes, okay?”
“You’re no fun.” Tony spoke quieter than he meant to and cleared his throat. “I’ve got to apparently wash the bourbon off of me.” He saw Scarlett smile a little, whether it was from satisfaction that he was suffering or just sheer amusement he didn’t know. “I’ll meet you there.” Without a kiss like she usually would give or even a hug, Scarlett offered a nod then walked out of the room. Dealing with Tony would’ve taken more effort than she had per the moment. The pizza from the night before was sitting like a rock in her stomach.
After closing the door to her penthouse, Scarlett leaned against it and let her head thud against it. With a deep exhale she was calm. Maybe Clint would have more pizza later. Or maybe she’d finally get to beat the hell out of something. Either option seemed like it would improve her day three thousand percent. As she walked toward the elevator the doors opened before she could call it to her floor.
Pepper Potts looked just as surprised to see her standing there. Scarlett nodded cordially and waited for Pepper to step out of the elevator then walked past her.
“Can I talk to you?” Pepper sounded apprehensive and Scarlett hesitated in between the elevator doors. She could pretend she hadn’t heard the assistant, after all, she’d sounded unusually awkward and quiet. Just walk away, Scarlett told herself. Don’t get into this with Pepper, it wouldn’t be worth it. Closing her eyes tight and running her tongue over her bottom teeth Scarlett mentally cursed this stupid conscience that was tearing at her gut every time she thought about doing something rude. “Just for a moment?”
“Look, Pepper.” Scarlett began, turning away from the elevator doors and allowing them to close without her behind them. “I’m not in the mood today.”
“In the mood?” Pepper seemed confused.
“Everyone’s going to be on my case about last night. I don’t want to hear any half assed defense of what happened with Tony yesterday. I don’t want to argue with you about it and I don’t really want to humor anyone. Hate to be a bitch about it, but it is what it is.” Scarlett hit the button for the elevator doors and they slid open again.
“No! No, it wasn’t anything like that.” Pepper held up her hands defensively and then offered a smile, albeit a nervous one. “I’m not going to defend him. In fact I was coming over to ask him what the hell was wrong with him when I realized he wasn’t here. Is he at your place?”
“Yeah.” Scarlett let the elevator doors close again and stared at Pepper in confusion. She had expected Pepper to be glad they were having problems so that she could be right about her assumptions but it was far from that. Something had changed between the two women though Scarlett was completely clueless as to what. Pepper was simply relieved that Scarlett gave her a chance to talk and hadn’t walked off. Considering how often she gave Scarlett a hard time she wouldn’t have blamed her in the least. When Pepper didn’t say anything Scarlett grew antsy and impatient. “…so?”
“Oh, yes. Sorry, I was thinking about something…” Pepper drifted off then smiled hopefully again. It wasn’t the forced smile she plastered on when she was doing something she didn’t really want to do in order to help Scarlett, it was a genuine, but still very nervous, smile.
“Don’t worry about it. S.H.I.E.L.D. is waiting for me though.”
“Oh! Don’t let me keep you!” Pepper’s face tinted pink and she took a step back.
“Let them wait, what is it?” Scarlett had the patience of a saint this morning, or at least she thought she did. Considering what she’d dealt with the night before she thought she deserved some kind of reward for not screaming and throwing things like she really wanted to do.
“Are you sure?”
“Pepper, you’re killing me,” laughing, Scarlett waved her hand to urge her onward.
“I just wanted to thank you.” Pepper looked like she was unsure of the words even as she said them.
“Huh?” It was hard for Scarlett to believe that Pepper was showing her gratitude and for what? Had she done something on accident that was nice for Pepper? Not that she went out of her way to irritate Pepper but she had to admit she’d done it once or twice to get a laugh. The woman was so high strung sometimes that she couldn’t help herself! But nothing came into Scarlett’s mind in that particular instance.
“I wanted to thank you for being what Tony needs.” Pepper stuttered on her words at first but then managed to regain her confidence. “I know he’s a lot to handle and sometimes I mother him too much and I forget that he’s also my friend. Things have been different since you’ve been here whether or not I’d like to admit it. I know we got off on the wrong foot but I really do appreciate the patience you have for him.”
“Patience?” Scarlett wasn’t sure patience was what she had for Tony at all. She loved Tony, most of the time he was completely tolerable even when he was being asinine or a complete pig.
“You didn’t give up when something bad happened… when he made a mistake.”
“Oh, okay.” Scarlett understood now what Pepper was getting at. Pepper was glad Scarlett hadn’t jumped ship, but Scarlett wondered if the woman was really glad for those reasons or if she was just grateful she didn’t have to pick up the pieces of the aftermath of their relationship. “Look, I knew what kind of guy Tony was when I met him. I’m not afraid of the man he is and I’m not afraid to call him out on his bullshit.” Pepper got a little bit of a chuckle out of that but she could tell just by looking at Scarlett that the situation had weighed on her whether she liked to admit it or not. “I’m not even all that mad about what he did. In the greater span of things it was going to happen sooner or later. There are things that we have to figure out on our own and I know it’s not easy for him.” Scarlett was mad, even if she kept saying she wasn’t.
“Most women would not be so forgiving.”
“He wouldn’t have come to me last night if he had wanted to lie to me.” Scarlett knew it was the truth and she figured her anger would subside after some time had passed. Time healed all wounds, didn’t it? The saying was stupid but true most of the time.
“Most women wouldn’t have cared.” Pepper reiterated.
“Well, you don’t have to thank me for that. You know, you aren’t his mother. It’s okay to just be his friend.” Scarlett shrugged her good shoulder and then nodded toward the elevator. “I should get going.”
“Is he awake?”
“Yeah, S.H.I.E.L.D. called him in too so he should be.”
“You aren’t going together?” Pepper seemed surprised.
“He didn’t seem to want me to wait for him to get ready.” Scarlett knew Tony’s guilty conscience was at fault for that. “I’ll see you later, Pepper.” She tapped the elevator button once again.
“Wait! No, I… I wanted to say thank you for saving me the other night too!” She blurted out all at once and not too gracefully. The elevator doors opened and closed once again without anyone getting inside. “I know that you don’t like me.”
“Pepper…” Scarlett winced. This was a conversation for another time and yet here they were having it in the hallway.
“Let me finish.” The redhead demanded and Scarlett nodded her head after thinking it over. Obviously this had been something Pepper had either rehearsed or worked up to given how nervous she was. “I didn’t want you to like me. I thought it was funny at first when you gave Tony a hard time but then things changed very quickly. You manipulated him and I know it wasn’t my place to judge you considering I still don’t know the whole story, but I did anyway. You’d hurt my friend and had used him. Even after you came back here, even after you’d saved his life in Russia, I didn’t trust you. I kept waiting for the day you would take something important like the suit or Jarvis and disappear. I expected the worst of you.”
“I can’t blame you for that.” Scarlett recalled telling Mitch the night before not to trust her and still thought the people around her should take it to heart the way Tony did.
“But you should. You proved yourself and I couldn’t get it out of my head what you’d done. I’d never seen Tony upset like that before over a woman. And you know how many women there were.”
“No one really knows, Pepper. It’s like an urban legend, how many women did Tony Stark bed?” Scarlett tried to joke but her heavy sigh betrayed her.
“I just wanted to say I was sorry for being a jerk for so long. And thank you for saving my life the other night. That knife wasn’t for you, it was for me. I should’ve listened to you but part of me couldn’t get it out of my head that maybe you had orchestrated the whole thing.”
“Wow, you really don’t trust me.” Scarlett laughed in surprise, having not realized that Pepper had been so paranoid about such things. “If it means anything at all, I’m sorry I haven’t exactly been helping the situation. I figured you would have to either come to a realization eventually or get over it.”
“Ouch,” Pepper pouted but then smiled. “Are we okay?”
“Yeah, I think we are.” Scarlett turned back to the elevator and pressed the button again to open the door and stuck her foot in the doorway to keep it open this time even if Pepper continued talking. “It’s weird. Never thought we’d be back here.”
“What do you mean?”
“You and I getting along and Tony and I on the outs.” Scarlett smirked a little, though it was half hearted. “Are you…?”
“Oh! Yes.” Pepper nodded though she looked concerned. “You don’t mind if I go check on Tony, do you? I have a few things to say about his behavior last night. I swear sometimes he does it on purpose in front of cameras just to make it hard for me to take care of.”
“Be my guest. Jarvis, you know the drill.” Scarlett heard the computer confirm that he very much did and then let the elevator doors finally close in front of her. She pinched the bridge of her nose and closed her eyes as the elevator descended to the first floor of Stark Tower. Maybe that portal she’d witnessed the night before had screwed with her reality. “No.” She whispered walking out of the elevator doors and toward the car waiting for her out front. “I can’t deal with parallel universes and timeline alterations right now. I’m too damn tired. This reality better get its shit together.”