Characters/Pairing: Tony/Pepper, Pepper POV
Word Count: ~400
Summary: A near miss; a missed call.
Warnings: Spoilers for Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and The Avengers.
Disclaimer: Characters and plot elements in this story are © Marvel Entertainment and Walt Disney Pictures. All content is fictional and for entertainment purposes only, not for profit.
Notes: OH SNAP I'VE JUST WRITTEN AVENGERS FIC. I just have so many unexpected feels about this one particular scene.... Some credit should maybe go to klatubarada for accidentally incepting me with this bunny.
Posted to avengers_2k.
This story also available on my AO3.
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Since Tony Stark had been captured by the Ten Rings and had come back with metal in his chest and a fire in his eyes, Pepper had become well acquainted with fear. And Tony was Tony and the world was crazy and broken, and the fear just seemed to get worse with time. When Tony had disappeared into the desert; when she'd walked into his workshop and found him quiet and serious, ready to walk into the line of fire, willing to risk everything for the sake of his Mission; when Stane had turned murderous, donning a behemoth suit and going after Tony, and Pepper had had to make a choice that nearly killed him; on the track in Monaco, when Vanko had come after Tony like a ravenous beast, all teeth and claws and deadly intent, and Tony had been without the suit, completely defenseless; when Vanko came after him again, with an army of drones, all of them rigged to explode... Pepper had been scared, so scared. She'd been terrified.
The Battle of Manhattan had definitely been worse, harder to bear. Pepper had watched from her jet, watched the violence and flames on the television screen, known that Tony was in the middle of it, and that knowledge had paralyzed her. When she'd seen footage of the missile, and the tell-tale jets of the Iron Man suit, and Tony and the missile together disappearing into that hole in the sky, she had been so scared she couldn't breathe, and she'd thought she had never been so frightened, thought it was the worst fear she could possibly feel.
It was later, much later, after the camera lenses had shown her Tony, alive, on solid ground, walking and conversing with the other Avengers, that Pepper had excused herself and gone to the washroom, and happened to glance at her phone.
She'd missed a call. From Tony. And from the timestamp, he'd called mid-flight, when he and the missile had been hurtling toward that gateway into the black of space. And she knew what it meant, she knew Tony.
He hadn't expected to come back from that.
Pepper's phone slipped from numb fingers, tumbled to the floor; her knees buckled beneath her and she gasped, sheer, blinding panic flooding into her. She cried, curled in on herself, pressed into a corner, sobbing brokenly, helplessly; she sobbed and gasped and cried and could not stop, and that—
That was the worst.