Metamorphosis

The Last Straw

Everyone had seen it coming—it was just about when exactly it would happen.

It was on a Wednesday morning when Silver finally broke and felt every nerve in her body convulse and break. She'd been working hard, trying to make sure that the meeting with Stark Industries' number one competitor went well. They were trying to work out a deal with them, and it had taken days for the assistant to set up the conference and make sure that everyone's day was free. She had talked to Tony several times about the meeting and its importance, and though he was listening, she was never really sure if the information had actually registered in his mind. She trusted him though, after all, it was his company and his work; he wouldn't screw that up.

She had been sorely mistaken.

Silver stormed through the garage, almost jumping out of the car while it was pulling up to a parking spot. She glared icily at the elevator as her heels clicked fiercely against the concrete with every step she took. She rushed on and pressed the button to the 105th floor of the building; the shared floor. Her arms were crossed tightly over her chest as she waited impatiently, feeling almost as if she was going to combust at any second; she had never been so livid in her entire life.

The meeting with the corporate rivals had been scheduled for 12:30 pm. Silver had gone into the office early so she could make sure that everything had been set up and ready to go when Tony arrived. He was supposed to arrive 20 minutes before the conference so the two of them could go over what he was going to say and how the meeting was supposed to look. It was Silver's biggest event since she began working with Tony, and she wasn't about to mess it up.

Too bad she hadn't thought about Tony messing it up.

The elevator doors slid open and the copper blonde didn't waste a second with getting out. She looked both ways; finding most of the Avengers, save for two, standing around the counter. The four heroes turned their attention to the fuming assistant, knowing exactly what was to come.

"Where is he?" Silver asked ferociously as she stood with her hands on her hips, a flame burning in her jade eyes. Banner took the lead, seeing the rage just festering inside of the woman; it had been building up since the moment Silver had begun her job, and Bruce could see it all waiting for her to break.

"He's been in the lab," the scientist explained. "He's locked all of us out and JARVIS' program doesn't allow our bypass codes to work."

"I'm afraid Master Stark wishes to be alone," the A.I. suddenly stated.

"To hell with that!" Silver barked as she turned on her heels and made her way to the stairway. The others exchanged glances as they watched the blonde make her way down five stories.

Approaching the metal door, Silver grabbed hold of the handle and tugged with all of her strength. She began to tremble with fury as she found the door locked tightly. She raised her hand and began to knock, though it soon turned to pounding. She glared at the dark gray door as she shook her head.

"Tony! Open up!" she yelled, receiving no response. "I know you can hear me!" she exclaimed as she continued pounding aggressively against the metal entrance. She ignored the slight swelling and the change of color in her fist as she continued.

"Open—"

"Allow me." Silver looked over her shoulder as Captain America motioned for the young woman to step aside. She relaxed for a moment and nodded, taking a few steps back in order to give the taller man space to work. She watched as Steve braced himself, pulling his leg back and slamming the bottom of his foot right into the door, beside the handle. The two watched as it flew forward, skidding and screeching against the floor.

"What the—" Tony looked up from the small trinket he was building, rolling his eyes at the door as he shook his head. "I'm not paying for that," he called out as he held tightly to a screwdriver in one hand, his 10th cup of bourbon in the other.

Silver marched into the lab as Steve lingered behind, wanting to the two to work out their problems on their own. "Where the hell have you been?"

"Here, clearly," the man replied back snarkily as he shrugged. Silver tried to keep her act together as she took a deep breath. She watched with disgust as the man leaned against the table, taking a large sip of his drink. She shook her head as he raised a brow at her and blinked.

Silver had always had her own image Tony Stark in her. Seeing a man like him on TV and reading about him through articles—she had always pictured him being a suave kind of man. She imagined him with a dazzling smile and a mischievous glimmer in his brown eyes that could sweep you off your feet with just a single glance. And although she knew that he was the kind of man with a extremely large ego, she also knew it was well deserved; he was extremely intelligent and talented, and he knew it. And because of this, she always pictured Tony carrying himself with his head held high, shoulders back, smirk across his lips and confidence just exuding from his entire body.

But the man standing before her was none of those things. He was a complete mess. He was a man who seemed to have nothing to live for and nothing that meant anything to him. There was no dazzle in his smile and there was no gleam in his eyes; there was absolutely nothing stunning about him. And Silver wasn't sure if she was disappointed or unimpressed or just plain sorry. The only thing she could really feel was the burning rage inside of her chest, her heart feeling as if a hand was clenched around it. Her palms were beginning to clam up and her heart was racing as she glared at Tony—who paid her no attention.

"So this is it?" Silver asked as she looked around, unimpressed. "This is who the great Tony Stark is? Just some drunk that locks himself away all day, drinking himself to oblivion?" Tony seemed completely unfazed by his assistant's cold and harsh words.

"I'm offended. I haven't had nearly enough to be drunk yet," Iron Man stated carelessly as he took another swig from his cup. He slammed his glass against the counter and refilled it with the remains of his bottle, his assistant shaking her head disapprovingly.

"You had an incredibly important meeting today. You were supposed to meet me 20 minutes before it started, and you never showed up," she pointed out as Tony shrugged and sloshed the contents in his cup around.

"I'm impressed by your outstanding deducing skills," he said sardonically. "As you can see, I was held up by some work." She couldn't hold it together; that was when Silver lost it.

"Work?!" she snapped as she stared incredulously at her boss. "This is what you call work?!" she almost yelled.

"Usually, yes," Tony stated with a shrug as Silver shook her head.

"Is everything just a joke to you?"

"Only if it's funny," the brunet shot back flippantly as he took another sip from his glass. Silver found her patience almost completely gone as she battled the up-hill journey to keep it all together. She shook her head, the two not noticing the audience forming around them.

"You were supposed to meet with Mr. Horgan today and talk about your plans for your clean energy project. Do you have any idea how stupid I looked when you didn't show up?" Silver asked as Tony thought for a moment. He nodded as he walked over to his desk chair and took a seat.

"Must've looked pretty bad on your part, Porcelain." Silver opened her mouth to retort back but stopped, the argument being paused for a quick moment. She blinked as Tony raised a brow at her confused expression. Realization hit him before he nodded and went on.

"I decided your face reminds me of those little porcelain dolls."

"You mean those extremely creepy glass dolls?" Tony nodded with a proud smile.

"Exactly!"

Silver saw nothing but red after that.

"That's it!" she screamed. She slammed her hands on the desk top as she glared at Tony.

That was the moment the playboy had been waiting for. He had been pushing Silver for this very reaction. He watched the woman before him carefully, waiting for everything to play out exactly how he'd imagined in his head. Just like the rest, she would leave behind, and he'd be alone again, just how he liked it.

"I'm through playing your games and I'm through letting you push me around like some sort of idiot!" Silver hollered. "I refuse to let you treat me like shit, because, guess what?" she exclaimed while Tony raised a brow. "No matter how hard you try, no matter how much you piss me off and try and push me away, I'm not going anywhere and Pepper's not coming back!" Tony's eyes widened as he felt his entire body tense. He held tightly to his cup as he kept his deep brown eyes glued to the amber liquid.

Everyone in the room stood silently as Silver glared at Tony. The spies glanced at each other as they kept a close eye on the unstable man, watching as every muscle twitched in his body. Bruce closed his eyes and released a silent sigh as he pulled his glasses off of his face and rubbed his eyes. He glanced over at Steve as they shared a silent conversation, the captain shaking his head; this had been a long-time coming, yet he still felt sympathy for Tony.

"I tried to be understanding. So I let you act out and treat me like I was worthless because I know that going through a break up can be the hardest thing, sometimes." Silver felt the rage in her body simmer down as the tension on her shoulders began to disappear. "I wanted you to deal with this the way you deal with things because I know what it's like to hurt and because I felt like you deserved to move on at your own pace, but enough is enough!" The honey blonde shook her head as she stared at the glass in the man's hand.

"Just because you're in pain doesn't mean you get to act like a colossal asshole!" she snapped bitterly. "Nothing you do is going to change the fact that you and Pepper are no longer together."

She didn't want to do this. She had just wanted things to run smoothly, and she had wanted everything to work out eventually on its own. She was never one to be cold and cruel, but it was as if she had no control over what she was saying. There was no filter in her head. She said everything she felt, and at that point, she didn't give a damn anymore about what anyone had to say.

"I'm here to stay, whether you like it or not, and no matter how much crap you throw at me, I refuse to back down," she proclaimed, her words sinking into everyone's mind.

The two sat in silence as the others waited for the bomb to go off. The four bystanders watched intently as Tony stared at his glass, the reels in his head turning slowly. They could see it in his eyes—he was trying to figure out what to say and how to say it. And knowing Tony, it was either going to be something hurtful and crude or something just plain stupid.

He slowly looked up at Silver, and for a moment, no one was sure what was going to happen.

"…Just to clarify, that meeting's cancelled, right?" Silver released an almost feral scream as she shook her head.

"The meeting's been rescheduled for an hour from now. Get your lazy ass up and ready before then or, I swear, I'll make sure you regret it!" Without a second glance back, Silver turned and made her way to the staircase, not wanting to bother with decoding JARVIS. She quickly rushed past the others, not saying a word. A tense silence quickly fell over the room as Tony sat and continued stare at his cup. His expression softened as he closed his eyes and quietly sighed to himself.

"I suppose that means I should get up and go?"

"Sounds like it," Natasha replied back gently as she and Stark locked gazes for a moment. They shared a silent conversation as Tony stood to his feet, setting his glass down.

"…I—"

"It's alright, Tony." The super soldier smiled as the billionaire silently thanked him for letting him keep what little dignity he had left. He then nodded to himself before he began to make his way to the already smashed door.

"Time to go," he mumbled before he stopped and looked down at the demolished door lying before his feet.

"Seriously, I'm not fixing that again."


It was half past three am. but Silver found she was wide awake, sitting alone at her personal kitchen table. She stared out the large scale window, letting the city lights keep her company as she sulked and sipped right out of the bottle for her pinot noir.

Tony had been on time and ready for the second attempt of his meeting. It almost frightened her—how well he was able to get back on his feet and pretend like he was perfectly fine. He waltzed into the conference room and with little to no trouble, with that same swagger and same confidence she once saw the man have. And without any problems, the genius sealed the deal with Horgan's company. There was no trace of pain or hurt in his eyes nor was there any sign that he'd been drinking excessively just a few hours before. It was unnatural to Silver, almost a little disturbing. No one would have known that Tony had been locked away in his lab and no one could have guessed that he was suffering at all.

Silver sighed as she shook her head and closed her eyes. She took a long sip of her wine and licked her lips afterwards. She chuckled dejectedly as she released a deep breath from her nose.

Was every day with Tony going to be like their earlier encounter? Was it always going to be an uphill battle?

The assistant let her head fall to the wood of the table and stared at the wall for a moment, not noticing the sound of the elevator door opening and closing, footsteps making their way toward her. It wasn't until a brown paper bag was set in front of her on the table that she even knew anyone else was in the room with her. She looked up with shocked eyes and blinked, looking up and watching as her companion took a seat across from her. She stared at the bag for a moment before she took a deep breath and smiled ever so slightly.

"Shawarma."

"Only the best."

Silver stared into Tony's eyes for a moment as he sat, unwavering. He crossed his arms as he patiently waited for the woman to open the bag and dig in. And she couldn't help but shake her head with a wary smile on her lips. "It's almost four in the morning."

"Time's not much of an issue when it comes to being me," the man explained simply as his assistant chuckled and sighed. The two sat as a moment of silence passed, and while Tony merely watched her, guilt began to grow inside of Silver. She could feel it pushing down on her shoulders, trying to crush her completely. And the longer she tried to ignore it, the heavier it became.

Finally, she looked up at her boss with an apologetic look in her eyes.

"…I'm sorry for the things I said to you earlier. It was out of line for me to bring Pepper into the conversation." Jade eyes bore into brown as Tony thought for a moment. He shook his head and forced himself to smile, slightly.

"As it turns out, that's exactly what I needed to hear." That was the closest to an apology Tony was going to give, and Silver was willing to take it without complaint.

"…Look, I know we started off on the completely wrong foot, and I know I'm no Pepper Potts, but I think I can do this job and do it well. I just need you to work with me," Silver stated as Tony merely nodded. Their eyes locked, and at that moment, their truce had been signed and sealed. The two sat in a much more comfortable silence before Tony leaned forward and let his arms rest on the table, his hands locking together.

"You know, I didn't give you enough credit, Porcelain." Silver frowned at that.

"So that's really sticking?"

"I think it suits you well." Silver rolled her eyes; some things never change.

The 30-year-old ripped the bag open and glanced inside, laughing as she shook her head and looked up at Tony. "I'm guessing one of these is for you?"

"Well, no one likes eating alone," Tony pointed out as he held his awaiting hand out, Silver shaking her head once more and handing him the second Styrofoam box filled with the delectable meat. He wore a content smile and began to eat as Silver watched him for a moment. Her quiet chuckle went unnoticed by the man before she started to eat.

The silence quickly broke, the previous tension now gone. The two could breathe again and actually act civilly to each other; Silver was hoping she wouldn't have another episode like earlier ever again. Eating turned into chatting, which turned into joking around, which eventually turned into finishing two bottles of wine together. Finally, after the sun began to rise, the two stood up, the table cleaned up and the dishes set by the sink for Silver to do later.

"Lucky for you, your schedule's free for the next two days, so you can continue to do nothing," Silver pointed out dryly as Tony nodded to himself with a smirk.

"Good to hear. I'm exhausted from all of the work I've been doing lately," he said cheekily as Silver narrowed her eyes at him. He held his arms up in defeat before he began to make his way to the elevator. And just as he stepped onto the car, he turned and caught Silver's attention.

"You know..." Tony locked his hands behind his back as he began to take steps backwards into the elevator. "You may be no Pepper Potts, but you're one hell of a Silver Livingston." He gave her an approving nod before the door slid shut, leaving his astonished assistant to her own thoughts. She stood in the middle of the room for a moment before a wide smile appeared across her lips. She laughed and shook her head, turning and making her way to her bedroom.

She slept like a baby that night.

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