Metamorphosis

Welcome to the Big Apple

Silver would be lying if she said she wasn't incredibly nervous.

It had been two weeks since she had last spoken to Pepper Potts and had hesitantly accepted her new job as the Tony Stark's new assistant. The offer presented itself very suddenly and unpredictably, but the 30-year-old had taken the job for a few reasons. She could use the job experience and the change of scenery. Also, she had nothing holding her back to Chicago—as much as she loved her city—and she felt it was time to move on. Pepper had informed her of all the changes she would have to go through concerning her lifestyle. Accepting the job meant she would not only be an assistant to a business billionaire but she'd also be assistant to a member of the Avengers—assistant to a member of a hero team. She was informed about S.H.I.E.L.D. and the part they would end up playing in her life, which was a big one, she had discovered. Though there had been a lot for her to absorb, Silver already knew her answer; she packed up all of her valuables and jumped on the plane Pepper had sent for her that would take her to her new home.

Manhattan, New York.

Silver stared out the window of the jet that had been sent to pick her up with a childish grin across her lips. The awe was evident in the way her eyes shimmered as they flickered from skyscraper-to-skyscraper—and those who gazed upon her would have defined her pure curiosity as innocence. Although she had lived in the city all of her life, moving to a place like New York was something extremely special and liberating; the city of hopes and dreams.

Silver's entire being quivered with excitement and fear.

The blonde glanced at the few men dressed in black suits as they sat almost motionlessly, not even acknowledging her existence. She was alright with that, though. She'd rather not try and make small talk; she was too anxious for that.

Actually, she was a bit more curious, at the moment.

The entire world knew of Tony and Pepper's relationship. If it wasn't from the couple, random people would start rumors and they caught on with ease—spreading like a wildfire. People were rather surprised that the two had lasted as long as they had, especially since Tony was notorious for his playboy habits, but there was clearly something in Pepper that had been different; Silver was just wondering what had changed. Not that it was any of her business. She actually felt bad for the two of them. There was no such thing as privacy for the famous, and Tony Stark was definitely famous.

The plane landed smoothly and soon Silver was off, smoothing her gray, knee-length pencil skirt and white blouse out. She squinted through the sunlight of the afternoon as she watched a man with much darker skin than her own approach her clad in a dark gray, fitted suit with a welcoming and professional smile across his lips. He held his hand out to her as she took it in her own and shook it firmly.

"My name's James Rhodes. I'm here to escort you to your new home," he explained as the copper blonde glanced around the several FBI looking men around her that stood the perimeter of the landing site. Rhodes chuckled as he motioned for Silver to follow.

"It's just a precautionary measure. S.H.I.E.L.D.'s very efficient with their work."

"So I see," Silver replied back playfully as her green eyes trailed a black SUV that was driving up and stopping in front of them. She smiled and nodded "thanks" as James opened the back door for her and followed inside after her. As the car began to carefully peel out of the lot and head down the street, melding with the other cars on the highway. And as the city skyline grew bigger and bigger, the new citizen of New York couldn't help but stare out the window like a child at a toy store.

"Is this your first time in New York?" James asked curiously as Silver glanced at him and nodded.

"I've lived my whole life in Chicago, so I mean, it's not all that different, but definitely in size it sure is," she stated with a chuckle as her companion nodded and released his own chuckle.

"You'll get used to it. And anyways, you'll probably end up being too busy to even notice much about the city." Silver knew that. Tony was a business man and a superhero, which meant he was going to be busy, which meant that in turn, she was going to be busy.

She hadn't quite mentally prepared herself for that.

"So, where exactly are we headed?" the blonde inquired as James smirked slightly.

"The Avengers Tower." Silver's emerald eyes widened as her jaw slackened and fell open. "That's where you'll most likely reside while you work under Tony."

Everything was so surreal to Silver. She would have never guessed that the famous tower would become her probable new home. She wasn't sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing because as the car drove longer, the more excited and nervous she got. She wasn't sure how well she was going to adjust. Was she going to end up actually meeting the Avengers? Would they like her? Would Tony even like her?

Taking a deep breath, Silver relaxed and sighed as she leaned against the leather of the SUV backseat. She stared at out the window for the duration of the car ride before her breath hitched. She blinked a few times and sat up tall while she stared up at the highest skyscraper of the city. Its shadow loomed over a few other buildings and the street, its presence definitely standing out to everyone.

"Welcome to the Avengers Tower." James watched as Silver gaped at the building, which had been finished with its rebuilding period after Loki's attack on Manhattan. He watched as the blonde cleared her throat and smiled, nodding her head as she straightened up. He then turned to the driver of the vehicle, who was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, and mumbled something to him.

Silver watched as the window to James' seat and the driver's seat rolled down and the two faced out completely, a camera suddenly appearing in front of their faces. "Welcome, sir." The unsuspecting woman jumped as she frantically glanced around.

"Wh—Who said that?"

"I believe you are referring to me, ma'am." Once again, Silver was shocked.

"This is JARVIS," Rhodes explained as he chuckled at the woman's reaction. "He's Tony's personal A.I."

"As in Artificial Intelligence?"

"That's correct," the accented voice stated. Silver released a short, astonished laugh as she shook her head.

"He works Tony's entire system, including his security." James added, "Which means we're going to have to download your information into the system so JARVIS can let you in and out without trouble."

"Ms. Potts has already copied Ms. Livingston's information into the mainframe, sir," JARVIS stated as Silver blinked, the SUV making its way up the ramp.

"Glad to know Pepper has everything together."

"She seems really good at this," Silver commented. She hesitantly continued as she locked eyes with James. "So why is she trying to find someone else to do a job she can do so perfectly?" The military man blinked before his gaze softened. He sighed while shaking his head, and for a second, Silver had almost regretted asking; perhaps she should have kept her questions to herself.

"I think you'll find out why soon enough," James merely stated as he chuckled and shook his head. Silver blinked, not having expected that answer. But before she could think more on his statement, James step out of the now motionless car. Silver quickly followed suit, the small heel of her flats clicking against the cement of the garage.

"Where shall I leave you, sir?" JARVIS asked, surprising Silver once again. She sighed and shook her head; she was going to have to try and get used to that somehow.

"Where's Pepper?" Rhodes inquired curiously.

"The recreational floor, I believe."

"Take us there then."

"Right away."

The elevator was ridden up in a comfortable silence as Silver tried to calm her sparking nerves. She talked herself through the ride, telling herself to keep calm if she saw any of the Avengers; the last thing she wanted to do was come off as a teenage girl at her first concert. Still, she couldn't help but feel giddy inside. Not only was she giddy, but she also felt sick. She could feel her stomach bubbling and her gut twisting as the elevator came to a slow and abrupt halt. And as the seconds passed, whatever composure she was holding on to was beginning to slip through her fingers.

The doors to the elevator slid open quietly and revealed an illuminated room. The sun shined through the wall-length windows, the city's skyline coming into view. The room was modern looking with high ceilings, and it was set up with a sitting room and a large flat screen mounted on the wall. There was a hall right beside the wall with the TV screen, a few rooms residing in the corridor. Then, across the sitting room was a kitchen, all counters and appliances set up neatly where they seemed to belong. Across the kitchen was a mahogany dining table, big enough to fit at least eight people. Everything was elegant, yet there was somehow a touch of character to it all.

"You're here!" Silver blinked as she looked over to her left and watched Pepper stand up from the table, tablet in hand. She smiled widely and watched as what seemed to be two good friends hugged tightly, warm smiles on their faces.

"Good to see you," James said as Pepper nodded, the two releasing each other and smiling at each other.

"You too," Pepper replied back gently. Silver's eyes softened as she watched a solemn gleam appear in the strawberry blonde's eyes—like she had lost something rather important.

Silver had a feeling she knew what it was.

Pepper cleared her throat as she turned to Silver and opened her arms, welcoming the 30-year-old into the embrace like they had been friends for years. "How was your flight?"

"Good! Slightly jet lagged, but good," Silver said as she hugged her employer back.

"So, where's Tony?" James asked as Pepper rolled her eyes and shook her head.

"Late, like always," she stated as the military man chuckled.

"Not surprised there."

"Oh, this is for you." Silver looked over and stared down at the folder Pepper was holding out to her. "It's just basic information about Tony that you'll end up needing. If you need to know something about him or have any questions and can't get a hold of me, just look at this folder. This is also the personal phone he'll use to contact you." The honey blonde blinked, slightly surprised that she was getting another phone for the position.

"He's going to be calling you on this a lot. Don't be surprised if it's for ridiculous errands—"

"Hey! I resent that." The three in the kitchen turned and watched as an oil smudged man made his way out from the elevator. He wiped his hands on his jeans as he approached James' side, who smiled at his friend.

"See you've been working again."

Silver wasn't sure what she had been expecting from Tony Stark. She had seen the man in many news stories and articles—she had even watched a few of his televised conferences, but standing before the man now, something was different. He was still devilishly handsome, much more in person, and he was a fit man for his age, early forties maybe? But even still, Something was missing. She couldn't quite name it.

"Most of my requests are always necessary."

"Don't kid yourself, Stark."

"Who invited you anyways, Rhodey?" For a second, it had returned, the spark that had been missing from Tony. There was a playful and lively shine in his dark brown eyes that had appeared as he interacted with James. Silver could tell they were close. She could tell by the way her new boss slightly smiled. It seemed real, not like the forced and dramatized expressions he used for the camera.

"Tony, I wanted you here so you could meet your new assistant." At that, there was a short pause. It was almost unnoticeable, but Silver had been looking for it. She watched as Tony and Pepper's eyes locked together, and she knew that right then and there, whatever had been between Tony and Pepper was done.

"Tony, meet Silver." Immediately, Silver began to straighten up as she smiled and cleared her throat. She tried to hide her fear and anxiety, telling herself to just breathe and try not to trip over her words. The last thing she needed to do was make an ass of herself in front of her future boss. She held her hand out to the man as he hesitated but reached out and shook her hand. Her eyes intently watched as his eyes roamed down her body, and she suddenly found herself feeling almost naked under his gaze.

"It's a pleasure meeting you."

"I'm sure it is," Tony shot back. "I know I'm pretty good-looking, but I didn't know I was drop dead, have-a-trail-a-drool-going-down-my-chin good looking."

A light blush appeared across Silver's cheeks as she immediately pulled her hand away from Tony's, trying to cover the nonexistent trail of saliva. She blinked a few times after realizing that there actually hadn't been any drool from her lips coming down, and she narrowed her eyes at the man, who seemed to be entertained by her quick reaction.

"Tony," Pepper said as she gave him a warning gaze.

"Right, sorry. I'll be good." The billionaire held his hand out once more as he nodded his head. "Tony Stark, your new boss." Silver hesitated before she firmly grabbed ahold of Tony's hand and shook it.

"Silver Livingston."

"Really? Silver? JARVIS, remind me to look at rainbow shades for names of my future kids."

"I have a feeling you won't have to worry about that for a while." James cut in, saving Silver the trouble of having to deal with the situation. She watched for a moment as the two men in the room interacted with each other, sharing witty banter amongst themselves. She glanced over at Pepper and her smile disappeared as the CEO stared at her former boyfriend with a look that was almost heartbreaking. Had Silver felt a bit more comfortable with the situation she would have spoken up, but like the saying goes, some things are better left unsaid.

"So, Silver," Pepper started as she turned to the new P.A. "You'll be staying at the tower with everyone, and trust me, it's not a problem," she stated as if she was reading her mind. "Everyone's really great, so don't worry about them," the CEO said with a smile. Silver smiled back, doing her best to quell the uneasiness that was still coursing through her veins. If Pepper thought everyone was nice, then what were the chances she wouldn't? Then again, she had dated Tony…

"If you need anything at all, my number is already put into your new phone. I'll be traveling to Europe for some business, but you'll probably have your hands full dealing with Tony."

"You make me sound like a child." Silver looked over and watched as James and her boss tuned back into their conversation.

"Well, maybe if you didn't act like a man-child, I wouldn't make you sound like one," Pepper shot back with a playful smile on her face. Tony's eyes softened for a second before he shrugged.

"She's got a point," James added as the genius shot a look of disdain towards his friend.

"Who's side are you on?"

"Don't make me choose."

"Traitor." James gave Tony's shoulder a pat as he shook his head and laughed slightly.

"Now, most of your things are already here, so all you have to do is go through and make sure everything is organized," Pepper said as Silver nodded. "And I know it's a little awkward that we have to give your information to S.H.I.E.L.D. bu—"

"I completely get it," Silver assured with a smile. Pepper relaxed as she gazed upon her replacement with relief. She sighed and nodded as she picked up her purse and nodded.

"Don't worry," Silver said. "I have everything under control."

If only she knew.

Pepper nodded once more before she smiled, though it was strained. "If you need anything, don't hesitate to ask Tony. He'll be happy to help, right?" Tony rolled his eyes at that as he nodded. Pepper smiled, satisfied enough with his answer.

"Well, duty calls. I need to get out of here," James said as the three looked over at the man.

"Already?"

"Unlike some people, I actually have work to do."

"Hey! Saving the world counts as work!" James chuckled as Tony smirked, the two sharing a warm and friendly handshake.

"You've got to stop by more often. I'll give you a personal tour of the city."

"I'll take you up on that sometime."

"You mind giving me a lift?" Pepper asked as James looked over.

"You sure?"

"I have a flight I need to catch to the U.K. in a little bit. Do you mind?"

"No problem," James stated with a friendly smile. Pepper smiled back before she turned to Tony. For a moment, they had forgotten anyone else was in the room with them, and James and Silver had quickly taken notice to that. The two quickly turned to each other, making their way towards the sitting area and engaging in a light conversation so they wouldn't accidentally eaves drop.

The couple that once-was stared at each other for a moment before Tony cleared his throat and locked his hands behind his back. "I trust you're keeping my company from drowning?" Pepper rolled her eyes as she chuckled and nodded.

"I think I'm doing a pretty good job."

"That's good."

"…Try to stay out of trouble," the former assistant said—almost pleaded—as she stared at Tony with broken eyes. The brunette found his heart clenching as he stared at her beautiful face. It was almost painful for him as he stood before her; at the end of the day, he was the reason she looked so hurt.

He shook the thought off while shrugging. "I won't make any promises."

Pepper chuckled and sighed as she nodded her head. A more stern expression came over the woman as her motherly instincts began to kick in. "Don't give Silver any trouble."

"I won't."

"I'm being serious, Tony." Said man sighed as he nodded and motioned for Pepper to get going.

"Don't you have a flight to catch?" Pepper let out an exasperated breath as she shook her head. She turned to leave but stopped. Her hair elegantly followed the motion of her body as she turned back to Tony, confusing the engineer for a moment. His chocolate brown eyes widened as he felt thin arms wrap around his neck tightly, a frail body pressed softly against his.

"Goodbye." Before Tony could register the embrace, Pepper was already halfway across the room, leaving the man in her aftermath. His chest felt as if it was being crushed as his body trembled for a moment. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, trying to memorize every part of Pepper in his mind—her laughter, her smile, the curves of her body, the way she would run her fingers through his hair. It hurt to know that they once had something so beautiful.

Now it was over.

"Ready to go?" Pepper asked as she approached James and Silver. The military man nodded as they began to make their way to the elevator doors. Silver waved as Pepper looked back at her with a smile. She smiled back at the strawberry blonde and gave her a reassuring nod before Pepper nodded back to her.

"Try not to get into too much trouble while I'm gone," Rhodey said as Tony smirked and nodded his head.

"Tell that to Fury."

"Alright. I told Silver she'd have a few days to settle in and unpack, so try not to bother her. And if she needs anything try and be helpful. I know Bruce and Steve will probably be here so they'll definitely give her a hand but-"

"Pepper. Breathe," Tony warned as Pepper cleared her throat and chuckled.

"Right."

"Just…try not to worry about me, alright?" Pepper's eyes widened for a moment before she relaxed and nodded, her eyes falling to the floor. Tony closed his eyes before he collected himself and looked back at his friends. He forced a smile and watched as the doors slid shut, leaving him to stare at his skewed reflection. He stood in a long silence, almost forgetting about the woman still standing in the room with him; she didn't dare make a move.

After a few seconds, the engineer turned and looked over at Silver as she stood by the window, staring out at the city below.

Now was his chance to finally examine his newest assistant.

She was a blonde, though it wasn't the kind of blonde Tony was accustomed to. He was more used to platinum blondes with highlights that made their hair look dried out, not that he really cared what kind of hair a woman had. Nor did he care that the woman had bright green eyes rather than blue in comparison to most blondes or her toned figure beneath the blouse and skirt; actually, in a completely different situation, Tony was sure he would have tried to coax a woman like her into his bed.

It wasn't about what she looked like though—not this time. Tony could care less about that. He was more curious about what she was like. He wanted to know just how far he could push her, just how far she would be willing to go for this job, for him. There was only one way for Tony to really find that out, and as he smirked to himself, he was sure he'd find his answer soon enough.

"So, I'm guessing you're going to want to know where you're staying." Tony stated, catching Silver off guard. She turned from the window and smiled politely while she locked her hands behind her back.

"As long as I have a place to stay, I'm not too worried, sir." Tony nodded at that reply as he locked eyes with the woman for a moment. They stared for a second before Tony cleared his throat and turned to make his way to the elevator.

"If you need anything, JARVIS will help you out." Silver had almost forgotten about the A.I. "I'll be in the lab if you really need me."

"Again?" Silver inquired curiously as Tony didn't bother looking back at her.

"Heroes never rest—or something like that," Tony stated as he waved over his shoulder. He pressed the down button and waited for the doors to slide open. He turned to Silver for a moment before a small smirk appeared across his lips.

"You know, you've got some big shoes to fill," he called out. "You think you can handle that?" Silver blinked before she hesitantly nodded and smiled.

"I'll do my best."

"We'll see what you're best is, won't we?" The new assistant blinked as she watched Tony step on to the elevator. He smirked as he nodded to the blonde. "Good luck!" And with that, the doors swept shut.

Silver stood silently for a moment as she let everything sink in. She let the last few weeks until that very second replay in her head before she turned and made her way to the window again. She stared for a moment before her eyes fluttered shut and she let her forehead lightly fall into the window.

"What did I just get myself into?"

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