Posted in fanfiction, pepper potts, pepperony, reader insert, tony stark

Plus Two – Chapter 10

Plus Two:  A Pepperony Fanfic

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Word Count:  
1946

Pairing:  Pepper Potts x Tony Stark x F!Reader

Warnings:  alcohol, drugs, grief, OD, medical procedures, hurt/comfort

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.


Chapter 10

To say the events of 2008 were dramatic was a complete understatement.  First Tony’s kidnapping, followed by his return three months later, your first real fight with Pepper, the knowledge that Tony was planning to become some kind of superhero via a mech he was building, and deciding that your long term friends-with-benefits arrangement with Tony was at an end.

While you were dealing with the repercussions with all of that and making amends with Pepper, Tony had gone all out with his idea to make a mech.  It wasn’t long until news reports about some kind of robotic drone had been spotted in Afghanistan, and random UFO-style sightings of it were seen around LA.

It all came to a head when Obidiah Stane stole Tony’s blueprints for the suit and then cut the life-saving device out of his chest to power it.  There had been a battle that had left part of Stark Industries destroyed, Tony injured, and Obidiah dead.  On top of all that, when told to deny his direct involvement with the hero now being called Iron Man, and say it was his bodyguard, Tony being Tony had done the exact opposite.

Finally, things seemed to return to normal.  Or rather, a new kind of normal that meant that your on-again/off-again girlfriend was now in a permanent state of off and you had to work out how to just be friends, and the guy you were friends-with-benefits with had now lost the benefits and was now an actual, hand to god, superhero.

It took a little bit of adjustment, and you would take any opportunity you could to get out of LA so you didn’t have to deal with the changes.  Interviews, concerts, recording, collaboration – you even started considering joining one of those celebrity reality tv shows – survivor or big brother or dancing with the stars – just to avoid the weird awkward feeling you got when you were home and Tony invited you around.

It took over a year for you to get used to being around them in this new dynamic.  You were just starting to feel comfortable with them again – happily attending the birthday party where Tony got so drunk that Rhodey ended up stealing one of his iron suits to beat the hell out of his best friend –  when Tony and Pepper went to New York for the Stark Expo – an exposition of inventions to create a better tomorrow.  While they were there it was attacked and when they returned, Pepper and Tony were a couple.

There was nothing quite like seeing two people you’d been denying having feelings for hooking up to make you realize that you’d been lying to yourself.

You had never been jealous of seeing Tony or Pepper with other people before, but seeing them together brought out a jealous streak in you so strong, that along with the anger and self-pity you felt when you saw them together, you felt ashamed.  It was hard to know where exactly the feeling was coming from.  You’d never really seen either of them date anyone seriously before.  Tony bounced from person to person like a rubber ball and Pepper was so career-focused that you were the only person you’d ever seen her actually date at all.  Would you have been jealous if they’d gotten serious with other people or was it that they’d chosen each other over you?  Did it have nothing to do with them at all and more about the fact they were happy together and you couldn’t commit to anyone?  Or was it a worry that if they were happy with each other there was no room for you?

These feelings and questions and an absolute total blanket of self-loathing that you were feeling sent you into a shame spiral that made you run back to Europe and go on the biggest bender you had ever been on – and for you, that was saying something.  There were days when you’d stay up for over 48 hours running on a mix of cocaine and speed.  That would be followed by three days in bed where you kept yourself so drunk you couldn’t feel anything.  You would finish that cycle and think you were done, only to be invited out by the London elite and start all over again.  You went to parties and nightclubs and took whatever was offered to you.

Your photos ended up on a lot of gossip blogs with faux concern about you going off the rails when really everyone was just hoping that you’d crash and burn so they could pat themselves on the back saying ‘I told you so’ while they felt better about their own lives as they basked in the flames of what remained of yours.

You didn’t let them down.  In 2012, just after the battle for New York – a battle against gods and extraterrestrial invaders that involved one of your closest friends who you also had barely spoken to for the past two years.  The news had been a little too much for you to take in what was already a mentally fragile place for you.  You went to Cirque le Soir, took a cocktail of just about anything you could get your hands on, and ODed in the bathroom.

You didn’t know how long you were out, but when you woke up, you were in a private suite in a hospital getting oxygen through a nasal cannula, and fluids via IV.  A heart rate monitor was beeping beside you, though not at a regular rhythm.  You ached.  Your head felt split in two, your throat was raw and you felt like someone had repeatedly kicked you in the stomach.

You tried to sit up, but you couldn’t quite manage it.  Your head felt too heavy to lift and you couldn’t seem to make your limbs work.

“Hey.  Hey, it’s okay.”

Pepper’s voice sounded panicked but gentle as she rushed over to the side of your bed.  You blinked your eyes trying to focus, but even your eyes didn’t seem to want to obey you.  “Pepper?”

“Don’t talk,” she said.  “You’ve had your stomach pumped more than once.”

“Thirsty,” you rasped.

“Sorry, honey,” she said.  “Nil by mouth.  You have to suck on a sponge.”

“I’ll go get a nurse,” Tony said, getting up and hurrying out of the room.

“I think he’s been facing his morality a lot lately,” she said, offering you the dampened sponge on a sterilized stick. “After New York – this was a little much to deal with.”

You sucked as much of the fluid from the sponge as you could.  You supposed you would feel guilty if you could feel anything at all.  Right now all you felt was a disconnected numbness and the pain in your throat and stomach.

A nurse entered the room and checked your vitals, scribbling in the chart that had been hanging on the end of your bed.  She asked you if you remembered your name – you did.  If you knew where you were – you didn’t.  If you could remember where you’d been or what you’d taken – you vaguely recalled people dancing but that was about it.  Then she told you that you were really lucky and to get some rest before the doctor and maybe even the police came to speak with you.

“Your manager was here.  Jaimie too,” Pepper said.  “They wouldn’t let them in because they weren’t family.”

You looked over at her and furrowed your brow.  “How are you here?”

“I’m still listed as your emergency contact on your health insurance,” Pepper said.  She brushed the hair off your brow and adjusted your blankets.  “What are you doing, honey?  You could have died.”

You felt the need to cry, but no tears would come.  You shook your head, looking away in shame.

“Don’t hassle her now, Pepper,” Tony said.  “She’s only just woken up.”

“I’m not hassling her,” Pepper argued. “I’m worried.  Aren’t you worried?”

“Of course, I am,” Tony said. “But there’s no point guilting her now that she’s at her lowest.”

Pepper pinched the bridge of her nose.  “I just want to know what’s going on,” she said and looked at you.  “You’ve barely seen us in the past couple of years.  I see you more in the tabloids looking wasted than I do in person.  Then we get this call saying you’ve ODed in London.  What’s happening?  I want to help you.”

You shook your head and gulped for air.  “I just – I just – I can’t … There’s been so much and I feel so alone.”

Tony rushed to the side of your bed and took your hand.  “Hey.  Hey, now.  Shh… just relax.  You’re not alone.  You have us.”

You shook your head.  “No, I don’t.  I did once.  Now you have each other.  It’s weird for me to be around you now.”  They looked at each other with a scowl and that painful clawing guilt started to build inside you, making its way past the numbness you had been feeling.  It made you want to get high again.  You wanted some cocaine or some ecstasy.  Or even ketamine would be good just so you could disconnect from the things you were feeling.  “I’m sorry.  I don’t… I want you to be together.  Please don’t think…”

“It’s fine,” Pepper said, gently.  “We know you didn’t.”

“We never wanted to push you away,” Tony said, kissing your palm.  “You’re still my favorite rockstar.”

“It’s not your fault,” you said.  “I was headed down this path when I first met you.  I just … anytime something happens I don’t want to feel anything.”

“Honey,” Pepper said gently. “I want you to come back to LA with us, and then go into rehab.  I’ll organize it.  There’s a couple of really good ones right near us in Malibu.  All you need to do is go.”

“They said the police were gonna talk to me,” you said.

“Were you holding?” Tony asked.

You furrowed your brow and shook your head.  “I don’t remember.  I don’t usually though.  I buy it and use it.”

“Then you’re fine,” he said.  “You were found in a bathroom, so unless you assaulted someone first, they won’t have anything to charge you with.  Besides, it’s not like you don’t have the money to pay for a lawyer that could cut a deal that you just go into rehab anyway.”

“Please, do this for me,” Pepper begged, her eyes shimmering with tears. “I know we didn’t work out, but I still love you.  I don’t want the next call I get to be because you’re dead.”

A doctor and nurse came into the room just as you were about to argue again.  “We need to speak to her alone,” the doctor said.  “You both should head home.  She’s going to need to speak to the police and she’s in for a long night of detox.”

“I’ll call you a lawyer, and get Jaimie for you,” Tony said, pressing a kiss to your forehead.  He then turned his attention to the doctor.  “She better not speak to any cops without her lawyer present or I’ll make sure you’re personally held responsible.”

“Please, promise me,” Pepper said, as Tony and the doctor argued.

“Okay,” you whispered.  “Okay, I promise.”

“Good,” she said and kissed your cheek.  “I’ll start organizing it.”

“I’m sorry, Pepper,” you said.

She shook her head.  “I’m glad I’m still the one as your contact.  Even if you just forgot to change it.”

Pepper and Tony were hustled out of the room and you lay back in the bed, bracing for the hardest night of your life.


// NEXT

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