She opens the door to a cloud of steam and Tony's muttered, "Crap."
"You're back," Pepper says, closing the door behind her. The bathroom smells like sandalwood and clove, and one of the bath oil bottles is lying on the floor.
"Hi, honey, I'm home?"
"You snuck past me."
Tony cranes his head, looking over his shoulder to give her a sheepish grin. He's sprawled in the oversized Jacuzzi tub—the one that takes up nearly half of the oversized master bath. "Technically, I didn't sneak. You were working and didn't look up."
"Tony—" She catches the plaintive tone in her voice and cuts it short. "Where are you hurt?" she asks, focusing on the more immediate issue.
"Not hurt. Totally fine. I'm great!"
If Tony is soaking after a mission, then there's more-than-significant bruising somewhere on his body. She steps closer to the edge of the tub, trying to see past the prism effect of oils floating on the water. "Tony."
He lifts a hand to gesture, and the water level lowers a fraction of an inch, revealing an unbruised collarbone. "Left thigh, but it's fine, don't worry about it."
"You should be icing it, not soaking it," she says for the fifth time this year. Tony is a genius, but there are certain facts about human anatomy he refuses to learn—especially about his own. His face is flushed red from the heat, his eyes bright with what she hopes is alertness, not pain.
"You could probably kiss it better. C'mon, get in," he offers.
She puts a hand on her hip. "You need to get out."
"Hmm, maybe you need to get off."
"Seriously?" She's losing her patience with the juvenile banter; every time he gets hurt, her stomach ties itself in knots.
He drops his leer and holds out a hand. "Hey, really, I'm fine." She slides her fingers through his, giving him a squeeze. "Sorry I worried you. But you really, really need to get in here."
"Tony, don't," she yelps, but he's already pulling her off-balance. Hot water splashes everywhere, seeping through her dressing gown and splashing up to soak the base of her ponytail. "I hate you," she sputters, wiping the water from her lips with a sopping wet hand, while gracelessly trying to keep her weight off his thigh.
She gets her knees down on the base of the tub, but Tony grabs her hips and flips her, tugging her back until she's sprawled against him, her back pressed to his chest, her legs floating just above his. Thick forearms wrap around her stomach to keep her pinned.
"There," he says in her ear, before he spits out a few strands of her hair. She is going to poison his grapefruit smoothie. "Much better!"
"You've ruined my robe," she says, watching in dismay as the porcelain-blue patterned silk darkens, absorbing the water and scented oil.
"I'll buy you a new one."
"You already bought me this one. In Japan. I loved this one," she says. The white herons are turning mottled, the pink of human skin starting to show through as the silk turns clinging and heavy.
"You're more concerned about this robe than the $2,000 Stark Tablet you just threw on the floor?" He nods his head, and she looks over to see her tablet lying on the indigo bathmat, its screen spattered with water.
She leans back and folds her arms across her chest, resting them atop his. "Of course. Because I know how much this robe cost. Whereas you obviously have no idea what the real unit cost for one of your tablets is."
"Ooo, I love it when you talk accounting." He gives her a squeeze and slides one hand a little lower. "Do that little speech about LIFO again. Gets me so hot."
"I'll save my speeches for someone who will actually listen," she says, and pushes her hands under the water for the leverage to get up.
Tony immediately goes for her belt. "I'm listening right now," he protests, feigning indignation as he tugs at the waterlogged silk.
She shoves his hands away. "I don't think so. Now, we're getting you out of this tub and getting some ice on that leg before it swells up like a goose egg."
She knows, as soon as the words are out of her mouth, what she's set herself up for. "I'll show you swelling," Tony growls, and bucks his hips a little, sending water sloshing up over her breasts and ruining another few inches of lapel.
He's not hard yet, she notes, feeling his cock slide against the back of her dressing gown, but that's not to say he can't get there really, really soon. And while she appreciates that under other circumstances, right now the priority is taking care of Tony. Because god knows he never bothers taking care of himself.
"C'mon, Pep, relax," he says, his hand floating up her thigh, fingers lightly tracing over the robe.
"I'm relaxed," she corrects him firmly, and then squeaks, "Tony!" when his hand presses between her legs, the side of his palm grinding right there.
"Mmm, you like that?"
She grabs for his wrist, but can't bring herself to pull him away as he rocks his hand up and down, the pressure so good. Just another minute, she tries to rationalize, even though she knows she isn't going to stop this.
Tony's beard is rough against her cheek. She hadn't realized she'd thrown her head back already, but she's arched back, her head rolling against his shoulder, and no wonder he's making that smug humming noise.
"You are such an ass," she growls, her hand pressing against his, pressing him tighter against her body.
"You wouldn't have me any other way," he goads, and digs in with his fingers, parting her folds and finding that spot even through the sodden silk, rubbing thumb and fabric roughly over her clit.
"Maybe," she hedges. He's right, and he knows he's right, but that doesn't mean she'll give him the satisfaction. Speaking of.... She rolls her hips toward his thumb and back against his trapped cock, and he hisses in response. "Maybe not," she pants.
He slides a wet hand around her throat, down under her lapel for a breath-stealing moment, and then back out, reaching lower to find a nipple, already peaked under cool, wet silk. "Don't," she says, feeling the tension coiling in her body, down low but building fast. It'll be over way too quick if he—
Warm heat engulfs her earlobe just before fingers pinch her nipple too tight, the delicate threads biting into her skin.
She groans and bucks harder, trying to rub off on his hand, both hands, her own fingers trailing uselessly through the water. He's going to make one of his lame, teasing puns as soon as she comes, and she doesn't even care because she's getting so close. Nobody gets her close as fast as Tony, the way he smells, the feel of his body hot under hers, around her, the way he's already breathing hard, like he can't wait until it's his turn—
A smile overtakes her lips just before she arches up, her thigh muscles jerking, body tensing and then pulsing with pleasure, holding her breath and rocking against his hand just a little longer, as long as he'll hold still, hold that pressure perfect-tight in just the right spot.
He's unthreaded her ponytail by the time she unwinds, her legs floating again, fists unclenched. Wet fingers card through her half-dry hair, dripping warmth against her scalp, and she should just dunk her head, get it all the way wet, or it'll look ridiculous once she stands up.
She pushes Tony's hands away and tugs the robe from between her legs. If there had been any dry-cleaning hopes for it, they've been dashed; he's stretched the threads in a rather telling location. She's going to be very upset about that in about 90 seconds, but first she wants a kiss.
"You like that, baby?" Tony asks, all male satisfaction.
"Yeah," she says and rolls over, the water buoying her as she slides up his body for a wet, lingering kiss. Tony's cock bumps up against her belly, and he shifts under her, holding her hips to slide her up and down, looking for his own friction. "Oh, was there something you needed?" she asks, fluttering her eyes in that unfocused way he can't resist.
"Yeah, Pep. Spread 'em for me."
He says the worst things when he's desperate. Her smile creeps up again, and she keeps her legs together, shifting them over to his right side so she can slide a hand between their bodies, stroking his ribs, tickling his hip. "Tony," she murmurs, fingers pressing at his hip bone.
"Mm?" He nuzzles at her cheek, stubble a little harsher than she likes. "Keep going."
She grins and watches dark eyes go half-lidded as she wriggles her way down his body, inching lower by feel, until she's within reach and can prod at the swollen part of his thigh.
"Ow!" he blurts. "Ow, ow! Watch it!"
"Uh huh, you're absolutely fine," she says, deadpan.
"What is wrong with you?" he demands, twisting his leg away from her.
She sits back on her heels and spares a frown for the ruined robe and the rush of water that streams down into the tub. "Nothing at all," she says after a heavy pause, her voice deceptively sweet. "You, on the other hand, have a hematoma the size of a golf ball coming out of your leg. So, you have a choice: ice pack and a blow job in bed; or blue balls and sleeping on the couch."
Tony narrows his eyes, obviously resenting the choice. She raises her eyebrows right back, waiting him out, and after a minute he sits up, presses his face against her neck, and says, "You win." And then he spits out another mouthful of her hair and says, "You smell terrible, by the way. You should really try to wash your hair at least once a wee—"
She shoves him back into the tub, lukewarm water sloshing over the sides as she laughs.