Who: Pepperony What: after 5pm, getting ready for Jane's party. Where: penthouse Rating: Green but ouch.
"Honey? Do these sparkle sneakers look too teenage nerd? I mean, what do you wear to an astrophysicist's bee-day party. I want to look pretty but not overdo it."
Tony strolled out of his walk-in closet, which was really more like a room to itself. His hair was spiked up, his white button down shirt had the sleeves rolled up, and his pants didn't have a chance to get wrinkled up by his usually antsy inability to sit still.
It was all still very new for him. They were a couple having a child. A couple soon to be married, and he was equal parts terrified at what the universe might throw at them, and elated because they were doing this together. Finally, he did enough things right and Pepper wanted to be with him. No break ups. A family. The sort of thing he always dreamed of but didn't think he'd have, or believed he would eff up in an instant.
Sure, they were getting ready to leave for Wakanda as a team. The tunnel tests were promising, and working with Scott and Hope was great, just as it was working with Jane. Science team was there, even if he missed Bruce's input. He understood Bruce. They were both angry about things. One of them more vocal than the other.
Right now, though? Tony wasn't angry. He just wanted fashion advice about footwear, from a lady who was the queen of footwear.
He strode toward her, sticking one foot out further than the other on the floor, doing an ankle swivel to show her.
"Too much? Too little? I don't want to out-glitz the birthday girl," he joked.
Pepper was running a little late. Morning sickness was the absolute worst! Now that Tony knew, however, he happily held her hair for her. She was pretty convinced he did it out of a sense of guilt. A oh god I did this to you I’m sorry thing. And if he ever vocalized that thing she’d punch him. However, after she got it out of her system she jumped into the shower to get herself together.
She wasn’t so far along that things didn’t fit yet, but she did want to be comfortable more often so she was wearing more loose clothing and sensible shoes. Pepper smirked at Tony when he did his little catwalk thing. “Really you,” she summed up.
Pepper stood up from where she sat on the bed to walk to Tony and slid her arms over his shoulders. Her smile held her love for him and that weird contentment she was feeling from knowing she was going to be a mom. Of course, her mood could change in the blink of an eye and seemingly for no reason so tread carefully Tony Stark.
“Did you remember to pick up her gift?”
He was. His own moods were a shit show and he wasn't exactly known for low blood pressure. He gave her a cute smirk like she really should know better. Tony gave the best gifts. Just look at that gift he gave her, of a bun in the oven.
"A high priced blender and a nanobot starter pack. She can turn it into a high priced scanning system that can rocket into space if she wants to. And? I put a bow on it."
He looked her up and down, drawing closer to put his arms around her waist and place a kiss against her lips.
"I've got the greatest gift every day. You." It was cheesy, but he meant it. Right down to holding her hair and bickering about if he felt guilty or not? Everything about Pepper was everything that he ever wanted. "Gonna be the envy of the nerd party. Hot girl on my arm. Knocked her up. Fancy shotgun wedding. I'm in it to win it with you, Mrs. Stark."
He liked trying that on for size. It fit. She was his perfect match.
She liked how that sounded. And the kiss. And the way he looked at her. It had been a long time coming with a lot of Everest sized speed bumps in the road, but they’d manage to get this far. They could take it further.
Pepper’s bright smile spread across her face and lit up her eyes as she looked into Tony’s. “About time you figured that out, Mr. Stark.” She’d called him that for a long time, but never said it like she had just now. She tilted her head a little before her eyes misted. “I love y-”
Something felt weird. Not right. Every internal alarm was screaming. Panic for the baby set in.
Her face froze in a look of fear. And then she was gone with Tony left with an armful of brown, dry dust for the briefest of moments.
The dust fell from his fingers as he tried to grab hold of her, it rested on his arms as he stared at it, numb and wondering if this was a dream. If he was asleep and that break in the universe was giving him another nightmare. One that felt too real. Like when Parker died his arms and drifted away.
His heart hurt. It physically hurt when Parker said he was sorry. He was just a kid. He never should've been there, never should have been an Avenger.
Tony stood there, in somber silence, dark eyes wide and the breath caught in his throat, at where his soon to be wife and their child was now a pile of dust on the floor of the home they shared.
He wanted to yell. To punch things. To find Thanos and blast that sadistic bastard's face off.
He didn't do any of those things.
Tony Stark sat down and put one hand down into the pile of velvety soft dust that was once Pepper. His vision swam until it was a wavering sea of brown.
If any tears fell, he couldn't feel it. Not past all the numb horror of having gone through this, all over again, with someone even closer than the time before.