Post Ironman 3
Pepper was having a good day. Scratch that, she was having a good week.
Happy was back on active duty. Tony was talking to Bruce about his issues; no matter how many times the good doctor insisted that he was ‘not that kind of a doctor’. Bruce being around was actually helping Tony work out his demons and by being around Tony; Bruce was coming out of his shell and was being more social. Pepper herself found Bruce to be a wonderful conversationalist, not that she would be telling Tony. Her man was terribly possessive. Then there was the case with the Extremis. Thanks to those two geniuses, it was stable now and she had been practising her powers religiously and apart from a few small accidents, both Tony and she were quite pleased with the results. Now the only thing that remained was a run of the mill Board meeting. Just a small meeting to affirm that all of the previous year’s crap was behind them; and that the new and improved ‘Power Duo’ as the Board members had taken to calling them was back. Given that the Board had been extremely understanding when they had been ‘on a bender’ as Tony liked to call it; she was sure it wouldn't be a problem to convince Tony to attend the meeting. Then again, it had been ages since she actually had to force Tony into a meeting. Now it was mostly creative persuasion; the kind both of them enjoyed immensely.
She found Tony and Bruce in the penthouse playing Old Maid of all things.
“Old Maid?” She asked as she sat down beside Tony.
“This is research,” Tony grumbled.
At her bemused look, Bruce replied, “He is looking for that one game where he won’t lose to me.”
“Just wait my friend, of all the card games in the world there has to be at least one that you suck at. I’m not giving up that easy.”
“Tony you said that four games ago and that was game number seventy two. Maybe that’s the hint that you can’t beat me at cards. Ever,” Bruce replied with a smug smile.
“Not so fast big guy. We haven’t reached the hundred mark yet and the night is young- Pep stop pulling my hair will you,” whined Tony.
She chuckled, “Don’t you think it’s high time you got a hair cut?”
“Are you kidding? Look at Bruce!”
“What am I looking at exactly? A shorn sheep? ”
“Hey!” came Bruce’s indignant cry. “That fire was your fault!”
“You see Pepper dearest; you set Bruce’s hair on fire and as your loving boyfriend, it is my responsibility to bear the brunt of you impulse control issues. Till Bruce here gets his curly locks back, no cutting implement will touch mine,” came Tony’s declaration.
Pepper smiled and ran her fingers through his hair again, “Is that so Mr. Stark?” she purred.
Tony shivered, arching himself to her touch.
“Not in front of the kid Ms. Potts,” he warned jokingly, “But yes, my decision will remain firm and nothing you do will make me change my- AAAH! Did you just burn my hair Pepper?” With a yelp, Tony’s hand moved to his head where there was a distinct lack of ‘fluff’ on one side.
Pepper simply smiled while Bruce tried to muffle his mirth behind his hands, but his eyes shown with tears of laughter.
“I’m impressed Pepper. It looks pretty evenly burnt and that too without any damage to the scalp. You have finally got a lock on the correct targeting and heat intensity. Congratulations!” Bruce calmly stated.
“Why thank you Bruce, it looks like the regular practice to control my powers is finally paying off,” Pepper smile before turning her attention to her boyfriend who was lamenting on his hair loss under his breath. “Sweetheart, we have a small Board meeting tomorrow at ten in the morning. Now if you show up by nine thirty, I’ll repair the damage your hair has undergone. But if you are late or if you fail to show up, then not only will you lose all the hair on top of your head but also the hair on your face. As you promised not a single cutting implement will touch your hair, I am your only hope.” With that she pressed a soft kiss on his cheek and rose to leave the room.
“You know I would have come even if you had asked nicely, babe,” Tony said with a goofy grin.
“But where’s the fun in that, babe?” floated the reply from the doorway.
Tony continues to stare at the doorway, a silly but content smile plastered on his face.
“Are you- ” started Bruce.
“Loving every moment? Yes I am. Not gonna change it for the world. She is safe. The Extremis is stable and won’t cause her any harm. In fact it being there ensures that she will never ever be a damsel in distress- not that she ever was in the first place, mind you. And on top of that she is comfortable enough with her new powers to not freak out but play pranks on me? I’ll let her have all the hair she wants,” said Tony with a grin. “Now hush enough of feels, let me find a game to beat you in.”
Tony walked into the conference room at exactly nine thirty next morning, wearing a grey pinstriped suit with one of Pepper’s floral printed scarf wound around his head like a lopsided turban.
It took Pepper the better part of that thirty minutes to get her laughter under control- most of it being Tony’s fault when he insisted on doing a little cat walk that somehow ended up in a mixture of laughter and kisses- before she could even begin working on the damage.