Tony really hates his job. Like really really hates it.
He works for Justin Hammer as a weapons designer/developer, and he's been working with the company for about twenty years (he thinks? He did a lot of stupid shit in the nineties that totally made his long-term memory shit), and he would love it except that he works with Hammer who is just trash incarnate, and the fact that he makes things that kill people. When he gets really stressed, or the job is too much for him, Tony uses sex toys as a way to take himself out of his head and help him relax. Sometimes though, they aren’t doing as good a job as he wants them to. So he refines, and eventually (accidentally) develops his own toys. Just for fun, at first.
But then he decides to quit his shitty job at Hammer after barely coming back alive from a business trip to Afghanistan. (Those shitty cheap weapons were literally the only thing that had saved Tony's life out there. The same could not be said for the envoy that was transporting him.)
When he tries to figure out what he wants to do next, Tony decides that instead of making weapons for war, he should make things for pleasure. So he decides he's going to open his own sex shop.
His first act of business, is to convince Pepper Potts to come with him.
He goes up to see her in her office on one of the days that he's technically not supposed to be there. He’s going to slowly ease his proposal into the conversation with her. Slow, easy, no rush.
“You’re too good to work here,” he tells her immediately, sitting down across from her on one of the chairs in front of her desk.
“I know I am.” She tells him simply, not even bothering to acknowledge him by looking away from her paperwork.
“So why not come work for me in a sex shop?” he asks. Smooth.
That stops her mid-signature. She blinks at the half-finished scrawl before looking up from the papers on her desk, and stares at him in disbelief. “Tony," she begins slowly, "I have a six-figure paycheck, I have good health benefits and dental. Why on earth would I want to leave that and work in a sex shop?”
“I wouldn’t put you behind the counter!” He reassures, taking a pen from her desk and twirling it around in his hands just to keep them occupied. “You’d be running the business behind the scenes.”
“How much of the business?” she asks, raising an enquiring eyebrow.
“I don’t know--twelve percent maybe.” He says with a shrug.
“Oh just twelve percent? Wow that is just more incentive for me to leave Hammer.”
Tony frowns at her and opens his mouth to retort, but that’s when Hammer knocks on her door jamb, deciding to alert them both of his presence. Prick.
“Hey Piper, we need that pretty ass of yours in the HR meeting in three,” he says and the misogynistic asshole winks at her before moving on.
Tony looks back over at her to see Pepper meeting his eyes with a determined frown. “How soon can we leave?” she asks.
Tony submits his two-week notice by the end of the week. He doesn’t bother with pleasantries when he walked into Hammer’s office and tossed his resignation letter onto his soon-to-be ex-boss’s desk. Hammer blinked before taking the papers in hand, skimming them.
“You’re leaving me?” he asks, bewildered.
“Well yeah,” Tony replies nonchalantly. “It sucks working here.” Honesty is the best policy after all.
“And you’re taking--whatshername with you?” Hammer looks back up at him for confirmation.
“Virginia Potts. You’d know that if you bothered to learn her name instead of staring at her ass, and I think it would benefit you to remember it because one day she’s gonna rule the world and I am telling you right now she will not be a merciful leader.”
“But why are you leaving me?” Hammer asks. “Is it another company? It’s Richards isn’t it? He’s stealing you away from me, right? Well whatever he’s offering, I’ll double it--”
“First off,” Tony cuts him off, raising a finger. “Reed Richards? Ew, no. Don’t make me laugh. That guy’s ego is already inflated, don’t make it bigger by mistaking that he’d be smart enough to hire someone as brilliant as me to work for him. Second,” Tony continued, holding up another finger. “No one is stealing me. I’m fed up with making phallic things that blow people up. But I’ve grown too fond of the damn shape to get rid of them completely, so I’m going to start a sex shop. It’s been a dream of mine since I could hold my dick in my hand.”
Hammer blinked at him. “You’re leaving to start a sex shop? But why?”
And it’s by then that Tony’s had enough. With his shitty job, with this shitty person, so he just says, calmly as you please, “Hammer, if I’m going to get fucked by a dick, I’d prefer it if it were purple.”
Then Tony sells his stocks and high-rise in Manhattan, and has enough money from his sales to start up the business--and get health and dental for his employees. It’s not impressive by Hammer standards, but--you know what no, anything is better than Hammer so of course it’s better than what they’d had before. Hammer fucking sucks. Once they find a space that they both agree on for a location, Pepper and Tony get down to work on the interior design. As the contractors work on the shop, Pepper wants to settle on a name before they go any further, so they sit in the office and think it over. She wants to name the shop “something classy and sophisticated, Tony”.
This is how their discussion goes.
“ ‘Sex Criminals’.”
“We can’t name a sex shop after a comic book, Tony.”
“ ‘For Your Eyes Only’.”
“ ‘Thank You for Coming’. ”
“We’ll make it the sign on the door instead.”
“ ‘Toy Box’.”
“S’already taken, Pep.”
“ ‘Why is this so Hard?!’ ”
“That would cause too much confusion, Tony.”
“ ‘Satisfaction.’ ”
“That’s a lube. We'll make those both lubricant brands.”
“ ‘10 Gold Rings’.”
“That’s not funny, Tony.”
“ ‘Neat but Discrete’.”
“That’s gotta be a slogan for a brand of pads or something, Pepper.”
Finally Pepper loses it. “Well why don’t you call it Stark Naked for all I care!” she exclaimed in exasperation.
Tony's eyes widened. “THAT’S IT!" He shouted, slamming his hands on the make-shift desk they were using, his eyes bright with excitement. "THAT’S THE NAME!”
Pepper looked horrified. “No, Tony that wasn’t a suggestion--”
“TOO LATE! IT’S HAPPENING!”
“My controlling eighty-eight percent, my shop!”
They’ve been in business for two years now and it's going great.