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Waiting in the wings

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Tony sat in the "green room" before his wedding, watching the bustle going on indoors and outside the window, feeling more confident than most might have thought. We're in this together, he thought, just like everything else. Just like modern art, and Iron Man, and Stark Industries, and kicking enemy butt. And, of course, the sex.

It didn't seem right to him, that phrase. "The sex" made it sound like just another event, commodity, service, something he'd given and taken so many times before without thinking too much about it. Now it wasn't just "the sex". It was Pepper. It was him and Pepper, making love.

Better not think too much about that; his dress pants had a perfect crease and, while being aroused in public didn't bother him (usually), he didn't want to give the media anything more to leer about.

He wondered what his parents would have thought of Pepper Potts. Howard would have flirted, but then he always did; it was his way of sizing someone up. Maria was never worried whether a girl would be good enough for her Tony; she'd be more concerned about a. whether Tony would know a good thing when he saw one, and b. whether the girl wanted children.

Tony realized that he and Pepper had never discussed the matter of progeny. He assumed nothing where Pepper was concerned, so he retrieved his cell phone from a pile of his belongings and called her.

It wasn't Pepper who answered.

"Hi, Tony," said a cheerful female voice. "How are you holding up?"

"Great," said Tony. "Thanks, Darcy. May I speak with your boss, please?"

"Let me check."

The call was muted for a minute. Then Darcy came back on and said, "Please hold for Her Majesty."

"Oh, stop," said Pepper in the background, laughing, then she said to Tony, "Hi handsome. You'd better not be stuck in traffic."

"And if I was, I could always call Thor," said the groom. "I hope it isn't bad luck to talk to the bride before the wedding."

"As long as it isn't a videocall."

"I knew you would know that. I have a question for you, Potts."

"Just a second." There was a lot of rustling, then she came back on. "Okay, I'm sitting down."

"We never talked about kids. Do you think we should have kids?"

The only thing that told him she hadn't hung up was the continued chatting and bustling going on on the other end of the line.


"I don't know whether we *should*, Tony. It would be wonderful if we did, though, don't you think?"

Tony felt suddenly misty-eyed.

"Potts," he said roughly, "I love you. Let's get married."

Her laugh was the finest sound in the world.

"As it happens, I'm free this afternoon," she said.

"Wow, what a coincidence - I'm wearing a tux!" Tony glanced up; Rhodey and Steve had just come in. "I gotta go. Somebody has to keep an eye on Steve."

"See you soon."

Tony ended the call and was about to tuck the phone back in his jacket when Rhodey stuck his hand out for it.

"Didn't you bring yours?" Tony asked. Rhodey grinned and shook his head.

"Orders," he said. "Surrender your tech and come peacefully."

Tony smirked and handed over the phone. "So you're reporting to Pepper now?"

"Are you kidding me? Anybody who *wants* to be your boss has my undying gratitude." Rhodey pocketed the phone and turned to Steve. "You got the ring?"

Steve nodded.

"You guys look great," Tony said. "I've never seen you in a tux before, Cap."

"Never worn one before," Steve replied. "Howard would've been proud."

He caught Tony's eye and said, hastily, "I mean, proud of me. He liked the Captain America outfit, but he always said the ladies loved a man in a tux. He used to give me grief about what was I going to wear once the war was over."

"I bet," Tony said. He went over to the mirror where Steve was fussing with his tie. "And don't have to tiptoe around the subject of my dad. He was your friend - you say what you want about him. Maybe I'll get to know him better that way."

Steve's expression relaxed a little.

"He would've been proud of you, too, Tony," he said.