Plus Two: A Pepperony Fanfic
Buy me a coffee with Ko-fi
Word Count: 2198
Pairing: Pepper Potts x Tony Stark x F!Reader
Warnings: alcohol, drugs, grief
Synopsis: Tony Stark- Genius, Billionaire, Playboy, Philanthropist, Pepper Potts, his long-serving and overworked assistant, and you, their on-again/off-again girlfriend and lead singer of the hit band, Arctic Fire. Three very different people navigate a world of fame, addiction, betrayal, and superheroes, while they move from having a plus one to a plus two.
The room was empty when you woke. That wasn’t unusual when you slept over at Tony’s place, but it still surprised you when you stretched out to touch him and your hands only touched the Egyptian cotton sheets. He’d only returned from Afghanistan yesterday and you’d thought that he’d sleep through given he’d just been through three months of torture that you knew at least included nonconsensual body modification along with a full day of travel and press conferences. Clearly, some things never changed – even after life-changing events.
You got up and took your time in the shower. It had been a long time since you’d slept over at his house and you took your time to enjoy his large shower with the multiple showerheads. You closed your eyes, letting the waterfall stream run over you as you used his Tom Ford shower gel, inhaling the citrusy scent that reminded you of Tony. A scent that you had missed so badly over the past three months.
When you were finally done, you put on a robe and went out to the kitchen. While you’d known that there would be a chance you’d see Pepper around, you were still surprised to see her. She, on the other hand, appeared to be furious.
“You slept with him?” she said, without even greeting you.
“What?” you asked, immediately going on the defensive. “We’re broken up.”
“Oh, are we?” she asked, folding her arms over her chest.
You furrowed your brow in confusion. Weren’t you? You were sure that the two of you had broken up the last time you’d left town. “Yes?” you said, taking a step toward her. “Pepper, I haven’t even seen you since I left.”
She rolled her eyes. “So you jump into bed with Tony as soon as he comes back?”
“What is going on?” you snapped. “Seriously? We broke up. This isn’t the first time we’ve broken up and I’ve slept with Tony. It has literally happened every time. That’s what Tony and I do. Why are you so mad about this time?”
“You think it hasn’t hurt every time in the past too?” she yelled. “You think I like having to dry clean your clothes and have coffee waiting for you when you backslide into his bed?”
“You always had breakfast with me,” you said. “I thought we were okay. That it was mutual.”
“When is a breakup ever mutual?” Pepper snarked, rolling her eyes.
You shook your head, trying to clear it. You knew you weren’t the best person in a relationship, but you knew you’d been fine with Pepper in the past. In fact, it was usually her that broke up with you because of distance. There was something different this time, and aside from the fact Tony had just returned from Afghanistan, you couldn’t figure it out. In fact, you thought she would have expected that you would have slept with him. Maybe even been glad it was you and not some random person she had to kick out in the morning.
Suddenly it dawned on you. This wasn’t about you at all.
“Oh my god!” you yelped. “You’re not mad that I slept with Tony. You’re mad that Tony slept with anyone.”
“What?!” she yelped. “No!”
“You are!” you shouted. “This isn’t about me. This is about your crush on Tony!”
She huffed and started fussing around the coffee machine. “You need help.”
You put your hands on your hips and scowled. “He’s your boss, Pepper. There’s nothing you can do with him.”
“But you can do just as much as you like can’t you?” She snapped. “Guy comes back from being kidnapped and mutilated and you’re right there to jump on his dick!”
“So?” you said. “So what? It wouldn’t threaten anything he could have with you. Because he can’t have anything with you! And even if you did decide to fuck your boss – Tony and I are just friends! Would you rather it have just been one of his random models or wanna be actresses?”
Pepper threw up her hands. “Oh yeah, it’s so much better that it’s my ex,” she huffed. “I shouldn’t be surprised. You’re both as bad as each other. Drinking all day and falling into bed with whoever is nearest. That’s what happened yesterday, right? You spent the flight drinking, got here and there was no one else around so why not, huh? That’s what you do with me? Come back to LA and call up Pepper or Tony if one won’t sleep with you the other one will!”
It felt like she’d slapped you. You looked around the room and spotted your clothes in the familiar drycleaning bag they always ended up in when you spent the night at Tony’s, whether you’d had sex or not. You grabbed it without a word, storming toward the kitchen door. Just as you were about to pass through it you turned back to her. “I loved you, Pepper. No… there’s no past tense. I do love you. I always have. And I love him too. And maybe I drink too much and take drugs. And maybe I’m always on the road. And maybe that makes me hard to love… But I thought … I thought you loved me too. I can’t believe you would ever think that I just use either of you like that. Tell Tony I’ll see him later.”
You stormed out of the kitchen, part of you hoping that she’d come after you and tell you she was sorry. She never did, and when you were dressed, you had Happy drive you home, where you got out a bottle of vodka and started to drink.
You were drunk by nightfall.
The fight with Pepper coming so soon after the return of Tony was too much and you fell to the one coping mechanism you had. Hard liquor. Lying in the dark on your bed now, you were debating calling one of your dealers and getting some cocaine. Coke and E were usually things you liked taking with company but given how low you were feeling right now, the lure of an intense upper was appealing. You’d never done any intravenous drugs, maybe today was the day to start.
The only thing stopping you was the intense lethargy you were feeling. Lifting the bottle to your lips was as much effort as you could muster, the idea of picking up your phone and calling anyone was more than you could deal with, let alone having a crash course in how to cook heroin.
Your lethargy was so strong that when the door to your bedroom opened you barely even raised your head. When you saw the muted blue glow of the battery in Tony’s chest, you let your head fall back down.
“What happened?” Tony asked, sitting down on the edge of the bed. “I thought you’d be my shadow for a little while considering I only just got back.”
“Fought with Pepper,” you said. “Got the pretty strong feeling that it would be better for everyone if I wasn’t around.”
“What?” Tony asked, taking the bottle off you and taking a swig before putting the cap on it and moving it out of your reach. “You guys never fight.”
“Well apparently we do now,” you said. “She got all jealous and told me I just used you both so I could get laid without having to put in any effort.”
Tony lay down beside you and slipped his hand in yours. “That doesn’t sound like Pepper.”
You shrugged. “Doesn’t change what happened.”
“This was why I didn’t want you to date in the first place,” he said. “Am I allowed to pull out the; I told you so?”
“No,” you said. “I don’t think this has anything to do with the breakup.”
“What else would it be?” Tony asked.
You rolled over and cuddled into his side. “Doesn’t matter.”
Tony wrapped his arms around you and held you close. “Why would you not just come talk to me? I thought since … you know… I just got home…”
“I’m sorry,” you said. “I should have. I didn’t want to make things worse for you, and now I have, haven’t I?”
He shook his head. “No. Well, maybe a little.” He took a deep breath and winced. “When they had me, I was in pain. I barely had food. There was nowhere to wash, but it didn’t matter because they waterboarded me so often I’ve actually had trouble showering since Rhodey found me. All I could think about was getting back here to you – and Rhodey and Pepper. I don’t want the first thing to happen when I get back is to have two of my favorite people fighting.”
“I’m sorry,” you said. “I’ll try and fix things with her.”
“Maybe sober up a little first,” he said, rubbing your back. “How much have you had to drink?”
“I don’t know. A lot,” you said.
“A lot for a normal person or a lot for you?” he asked.
“A lot for me,” you admitted.
“Have you taken anything?” he asked.
“No,” you said and pulled back to look at him. “What are you doing?”
“Nothing. I’m just worried about you.”
“You’ve literally just got back from being held captive in a cave for three months,” you said. “You shouldn’t be worrying about me.”
“Then stop doing things that make me worry about you,” he said.
“Then you stop doing things to make me worry about you,” you argued.
He laughed and pulled you back into his arms. “I definitely can’t promise you that.”
“What does that mean?” you asked.
He nuzzled into your hair. “If I tell you, you can’t tell anyone. Not Pepper. Not Rhodey. Not some random person you don’t think will ever know what you’re talking about.”
You pulled back and looked at him. “You’re worrying me now, Tony, and you know what I do when I worry.”
You thought that would make him laugh but he remained stoic. “Promise me.”
“Okay. I promise,” you said.
“When they had me, they wanted me to make weapons for them,” Tony explained. “Instead I made a suit. Like – like a mech. I used this -” he tapped his fingers on the light in the middle of his chest “- to power it and escape. It’s a miniaturized version of the arc reactor my dad designed. Basically, it creates power in a method similar to the hypothesized cold fusion. Clean, sustainable, not infinite sadly, but cool to the touch and pretty safe.”
“You did all this in a cave?” you asked.
He smiled and cuddled you back up against him. “I am an impressive guy,” he joked. “But I want to make a new suit and upgrade the arc. I’ve spent my whole life ignoring the fact my weapons were out there being used against innocent people. I want to do something – be someone – that can undo some of the damage I’ve caused.”
“No offense, Tony,” you said. “But that sounds crazy.”
“Offense taken,” he said. “But now you know. I can’t promise I’ll be safe, but I want to be better. I don’t have many people in my life I trust, but I trust you. I love you – you know that right?”
“I love you too,” you said, and nuzzled into his neck.
“Maybe we should stop the fuck buddies thing,” he said. “Maybe it’s not good for either of us – and if it’s bothering Pepper…”
You pulled back. “Just friends then?”
“I didn’t… I mean… I wasn’t…” he stammered. “Yeah. Yeah okay. Just friends.” He rolled back onto his back and patted your thigh. “I want to be better. I’ve been – well a colossal fuck up. Just drinking and fucking my life away while people used my inventions to kill each other. I want you to be better too, honey.”
You frowned. “I’m okay.”
“If you say so,” he said. “But – I dunno – if you want to go into rehab – I’ll pay for it for you.”
“I can afford my own rehab,” you said, rolling away from him. “And I don’t need it.”
“Okay. It’s okay,” he said, putting his hand on your side. “But if you ever think you do. Please go.”
“You realize how hypocritical that is, right?” you asked.
“Maybe it is. And maybe it’s easier to see when someone you love is circling the drain than it is to see when it’s yourself,” he said. “I want to back off on the drinking too though – FYI.”
You pulled the blanket up over you. “I’ll talk to Pepper.”
“Alright,” he said. “You’re gonna keep coming around, right?”
You frowned and nodded. Part of you wanted to punish him for pointing out that you had flaws, but thankfully you weren’t drunk enough to act on the urge. The truth was this talk about being better and what he had planned was scary. If he did it he could either get into trouble or leave you behind. “Of course, Tony,” you said. You meant it and hoped that he would still want you to if he did change in the ways he’d said.