"Did you ever read
Pepper looked up at Tony, who was leaning over her, panting, pulse beating hard against her chest. She laughed and shook her head.
"I don't remember. How important is this? To our current situation, I mean?"
Their current situation involved their large bed, a trail of clothing leading to it from the front door, multiple orgasms (hers), and a single cataclysmic orgasm (his). From which he was apparently still recovering, Pepper thought, puzzled.
Tony grinned and eased out of her, his hand going automatically down to anchor a condom that wasn't there. They both realized at once what he was doing and burst out laughing again, and he flopped down to lie beside her.
Pepper curled on her side, into his embrace, and he kissed the top of her head and said, "Stop me if I get too repetitive, but that was fucking awesome. An epiphany. A rediscovery. A... hey!"
She had pinched his nipple, saying, "You told me to stop you."
"What I was getting at was that in Chapterhouse: Dune , not one of the best books in that series, there's this Duncan clone that the Honored Matres have wild sex with in order to enslave him, and instead he turns the tables and ends up enslaving them."
"Hmm, are you comparing me to a member of a fictional sex cult?" she asked.
"No...actually, you're Duncan. And I'm now your willing slave. Cue evil laugh."
She leaned up and kissed him languorously.
"Okay, for the record, when *was* the last time you made love without protection?" she asked.
"At least...twenty-something years," Tony said. "I was sixteen and at MIT, surrounded by women who were far more physically developed than the girls my age. And everyone knew I was Howard Stark's kid. I'm sure some of them thought they could get me to knock them up and then claim a settlement."
"That's pretty cynical."
"I've never been a cockeyed optimist where women were concerned, Potts," he said. "Until I met you.
"Anyway, I came home on break strutting my stuff, casually dropping hints that I was no longer virgin territory, and my dad took me down to his workshop and literally smacked me upside the head. Sat me down and spelled out exactly why prophylactics were a more important invention than any device my crazy teenage brain was contemplating, and exactly what would happen if someone got in trouble as a result of, and I quote, 'my shenanigans'."
"What would happen?" Pepper prompted. "He'd cut you off without a dime?"
"He said he'd send me off to a remote test station in Norway, an Army installation, with nothing but men and a climate that would freeze my balls off."
Pepper smirked at Tony's sheepish expression.
"Hey, the company owned the island the station was on. I couldn't swim to freedom, and he figured with an all-male crew, at least I couldn't get any of *them* pregnant."
"Your father was a brilliant man. In so many ways," she chuckled.
"Once he chilled out and I swore to buy stock in Trojan, he told me about guys he'd known in the war who had sown their oats all over Europe. Some of them got surprise fatherhood...some got diseases. He said that whatever I did with my life, I didn't have a right to screw up anyone else's."
"Fair enough," she said softly.
Tony was quiet for a long time. At last he sighed.
"Pepper, if I've screwed up your life...or if I ever look like I'm going to..."
Pepper silenced him with a kiss.
"Shh. You haven't. You won't. I won't let you."
His sigh this time was one of contentment; he pulled her back against his chest and she snuggled contentedly into him. Then she gave a short laugh and Tony said, "What?"
"I wonder if the company still owns that island in Norway..."
He pinched her ass and she shrieked.
"Just in case!"