On the Arms of Freedom
Wrapped up like a burrito, Tony tries his best not to fall asleep as Dr. Roe, one of the most senior members of the Board drones on and on. This is definitely not the best time for a meeting. He is tired and sore after yesterday’s ‘Battle of New York’- that’s what the papers are calling it. He is calling it something entirely different, something that can’t be shared in polite company. All he wants are two things- Pepper and sleep. The former though is in D.C where he has begged her to remain for now. He doesn’t want her walking around in New York’s ‘Alien Guts Filled’ streets. As for the later- Pepper has robbed him of it. Worse, she had somehow managed to rope in Captain America to be her ‘Tony herding’ champion. He had not seen that coming and now he is seriously regretting in allowing his fellow beat up super heroes to recuperate at his tower.
Nearly an hour earlier
“But Pepper, ’m tired, and sore, and sleep deprived. Even my eyelashes hurt,” Tony whined into the phone.
“Tony please. Just for a few minutes. They are worried about you. Everyone saw the news. We are all on damage control and relief work. But you need to show your face. Not only will your employees feel better to know you are alright, but-”
“I am not alright Pep. I need sleep.”
“Let me finish Tony. It’s not just your well being but the Company’s too. S.H.I.E.L.D is the super secret spy agency that no one knows exists; Stark is the one out in the open. We are going to be targeted- be it for answers, fallouts, claims, lawsuits- what not. In this case the Company needs to be ready to tackle anything and everything and avoid a massive PR disaster. Your few minutes’ presence is going the boost the Company’s morale and also show our employees how wonderful and heroic our boss is. Please Tony, I really hate myself for doing this to you but I’m begging you; just a few minutes of video conference and then you can sleep.”
A soft snore is the only response that she gets. Sighing she cuts the call. She hates this. Hates being away from him, hates having to make him attend the meeting when he is so dead beat. But she is also furious. Furious at those faceless men who decided to cut their losses and nuke the city. Furious at the media who are swaying between savoury and unsavoury comments regarding her Tony- the only known entity among the six and so the easiest of targets. She needs everyone at Stark to be as furious as her- which won’t be hard given that despite everything his employees love him.
Finally she decides to compromise. Let him attend the conference in his sleep. The Board would know better than to complain. Now, to transfer him to his home office; she calls up JARVIS.
He’s on his yacht, gently rocking in the- Woah. Hold on. That can’t be right!
He cracks his eye open to see the underside of an impressive jaw. “Rogers! What in- Put me down!” He tries to scramble out of the Captain’s hold which is easier said than done because he is nicely cocooned in his duvet. The Captain simply adjusts his grip without breaking his stride. He looks down and says sheepishly, “Hey. I was hoping you would sleep through. Sorry I woke you up.”
“Wait a minute- I am not your bride Gramps! Where are you taking me? Should I scream for help?” Tony snarks when he realizes that no way in hell can he free himself from the Captain’s grasp.
“I am only doing as I was told. I just have to help you to your study,” Rogers mumbles.
“Umm, yes. Your umm boss, Ms. Potts called. Something about your employees wanting to see with their own eyes that you are alive,” he mutters uncomfortably as they finally enter to study.
Tony narrows his eyes as Rogers sets him on the couch looking at everything but the man he just set down. He has a faint hint of color in his face and the tips of his ears. Tony knows that look, he knows it very well.
“You’ve been Peppered!” he crows triumphantly.
“She was very convincing,” stutters the Captain as he all but runs for the door. “I’ll leave you to your meeting Stark,” he says before softly closing the door behind him.
Tony chuckles. He is going to find out what Pepper told Captain America that had him tied up around her finger. Knowledge of that kind would be sacred. But first- with a sigh he turns towards the wall mount as the screen lights up to show a familiar conference room.
When Dr. Roe pauses to take a breath, the silence is filled with Tony Stark’s gentle snores. She shares a look with her contemporaries before simply terminating the feed.
Tony Stark had done his part- Now Stark Industries would go grab the bull by its horns.