Pepper and Tony were having a quiet night in—by which it should be noted that quiet meant Tony was working from just one tablet and Pepper was only half paying attention to a conference call (on mute, of course, because this was 'Tony time'). The television was playing quietly in the background when Tony suddenly looked up from his latest schematics and said, "I need one."
Pepper's automatic response—"You can't have one"—died on her lips when she looked up and didn't see the latest Victoria's Secret model in full HD quality on their television. Instead, there was just a block of text that read—
She sighed and waited for Tony to finish rewinding whatever had been playing.
The end of a blurb for the evening news blared for a split second before she heard and saw, "Do you have health issues that limit your mobility?"
A flick of Tony's thumb paused the screen before he calmly said, "Yes. You see? I need one." He was about to hit the Live TV button when Pepper put her hand on his wrist, stopping him with a gentle touch.
"No." At his incredulous stare, she amended that to, "Okay, I'll give you that you occasionally drink in excess to the point where you can't walk on your own, but that's all in the past. Right?" Tony's gaze flicked away, prompting Pepper to narrow her eyes and use the tone Natasha had taught her. "Right?"
"What? Jeez! Of course!" Tony shrugged and slanted a glance at her out of the corner of his eye. "Just saying, it would have been nice to have had one of these when Obie ripped my heart from my chest."
Pepper swallowed down the instinctive fear-loathing-anger-pain that burned through her at the mention of Obie's name. "Okay, so yes to question one. I'm assuming there's more?" Wrestling the remote from Tony, Pepper hit Play.
"Do you sometimes feel left out of activities with family and friends?"
"Yes!" Tony shouted, making finger guns at the television.
Pepper smacked him with the remote and rolled her eyes. "That's no one's fault but yours, idiot." She would have said more, but since she'd forgotten to pause the commercial, it was still playing, overriding her.
"Is it difficult to get to the bathroom on your own?"
Tony opened his mouth to say something, but Pepper beat him to the punch. "It still doesn't count if you're too drunk to make it to the toilet before you puke."
"Is getting to your kitchen for a meal a challenge?"
Tony's emphatic yes cut off the first part of Pepper's doesn't count if you're too busy working to pay attention to your stomach. Their glaring contest was broken only by the voice on the television.
"Do you feel like a bother to others"—Pepper started laughing, great big chortles of hilarity—"due to your lack of mobility?"
Gasping for breath, she was barely able to speak, but managed to say, "They got the 'bother to others' part right, anyway!" before Tony silenced her with a smothering sort of kiss.
"Have you fallen in the past twelve months?"
Tony broke their kiss, smirking down at her as he played his ace in the hole. "Yes. From a giant hole in space."
Threading her fingers through his hair, Pepper considered him and the television—which was blathering details about how to contact the company that made a, huh, Power Chair, apparently—before letting him down gently. "You can't have one."
When Tony opened his mouth to argue, a truly crestfallen look on his face, Pepper cracked a smile and said, "But you can have an extra fifty thousand in your R&D budget to build yourself one."
Tony's smile lit up the room, and he swept their electronics to the floor before snuggling down with her on the couch. "You know, I'm pretty sure those things cost way less than fifty thousand dollars, CEO Potts."
Placing a small kiss on the tip of his nose, she smiled back and said, "Yes, but I think this is a fabulous idea for us to present to the Wounded Warrior people next week."
Tony groaned and lowered all his weight on top of her, the television the only witness to their antics.
Well, not counting JARVIS, but as far as Pepper was concerned, JARVIS was the third part of a kinky little threesome she had going on with Tony. So that was all right then.