A storm was brewing within the walls of Winterfell.
Pepper Potts, maester of Winterfell, dubbed the 'Right Hand of Stark' was on the warpath. Tony had missed yet another meeting and with the Convocation of the North only weeks away he was woefully underinformed and unprepared for the mess he was going to be walking into.
'Winter is coming', as they said. Well, winter was going to hit them so hard they were going to be buried unless the only living Stark and Lord of the North got off his ass and started taking his heritage seriously.
Pepper let herself into the apartments that the Star family had used for the past hundred years and rolled her at the cold, dark room that greeted her.
"JARVIS, where is Tony?" she asked although she had a strong feeling what answer she was going to receive.
"Master Stark is in the workshop," JARVIS replied, "He has asked not to be disturbed."
That wasn't surprising. Ever since Tony had found out he was the father of a little Snow bastard he'd been acting funny. Sneaking off by himself and avoiding his responsibilities. Well, avoiding them more than usual.
The one thing Pepper hated about her shoes (comfortable yet classy heels - not an easy combination to pull off) was they were next to impossible to stomp in. There was something about being able to thump about that was just so therapeutic.
The Tony's private workshop below his apartment had been built by his grandfather, a man who hadn't possessed the technical genius of his son and grandson yet who had loved to tinker and fix things. He'd been beyond pleased when his heir had turned out to be a brilliant inventor and had witnessed some of Howard Stark's greatest inventions before passing. Pepper briefly wonder what Tony's predecessors would have thought of his current… Escapades.
Tony was sitting at his work bench surrounded by his organized chaos. At his feet the direwolf chassis that housed JARVIS' personality wagged his tail at Pepper's approach.
"You missed this morning's meeting," Pepper said, tossing the folder containing the minutes on his desk. Maybe he'd read them later and pigs would start singing opera.
"Did I? Well I'm sure my maester was there, she's awfully good at taking care of business," Tony didn't take his eyes off of the blueprints he had spread before him. Pepper peered over his shoulder and frowned at the familiar image on the main page.
"Tony…" Pepper said softly, "You can't give her a direwolf. Everyone in Westeros knows what and who they represent. It'll just end up hurting her… And you."
Tony's hands, usually so sure and swift, hesitated. For a moment so brief Pepper would later tell herself she imagined it a look of sadness passed over his face.
"I know, I'm going to keep it for her. This little fellow with be waiting for her when she's ready. If she's ever ready."
"She'll always be a Snow, Tony."
"Sure," Tony said absently, his mind lost to the Hall of Heroes where paintings of a thousand Lords of Stark went on forever along the walls. An unbroken lineage that went on back to the time of Bran the Builder when the First Men walked Westeros. He'd hated that hall, hated it when his father and the old maester would take him there and slowly describe each former Stark Lord and their accomplishments. They'd all been so grim faced and angry looking.
For little Tony those paintings had also been a promise of his own father's mortality. Soon everyone passed into painted memory so that the next heir could fulfil their heritage.
Tony glanced over to the wall where he kept previous versions of the Iron Man suit and wondered if he'd done enough for his name. He turned back to Pepper-
- But she'd already gone.