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15 September 2010 @ 07:54 pm
Fic: The Finite Application of Rules [Iron Man, Tony/Pepper]  
Title: The Finite Application of Rules
Iron Man
#1:Ever; 20_fics , Table 4, Iron Man: Tony/Pepper
Pepper Potts was a woman built on rules. She didn't wear white after Labor Day, she didn't dance much in public, she didn't go for men shorter than her and she didn't break rules. Ever. …unless Tony Stark was involved.
PG (a few lowly cusswords)
: Tony/Pepper
740 words
Ever since watching Iron Man 1 for the first time a month ago (I know: How long I waited! Don't judge!), I have been smitten by the Pepperony dynamic. Never-ye-mind about my serious literary studies, freelance journalism and unfinished novels, my brain is determined to write shippy fanfic. Even though I haven't even seen the second movie (again, don't judge). This considered, forgive my mistakes. Also, because I am a journalist, I do that whole serial comma thing where I leave it out before and in a series, and I follow really strict (and weird) AP style rules. I know it bugs people. Sorry.

Pepper Potts was a woman built on rules.

She didn't wear white after Labor Day, she didn't dance much in public, she didn't go for men shorter than her and she didn't break rules. Ever.

Rules made order out of a chaotic world. Rules defended her against that chaotic world and all the hazards in it.

Rule No. 1, the one that birthed all others: She didn't strive for anything short of perfection. Ever.

Just because she couldn't always achieve perfection – Pepper was also a realist – didn't mean she couldn't always try to come close. Every curl was perfectly constructed, positioned and arranged; her makeup was flawless.

Another key rule: She didn't mix business with pleasure. Ever.

…unless work functions also happened to include pleasure, that was. In her position, swanky cocktail parties were a part of work. If they happened to include a stunning dress and a few good drinks, that didn't really break the rules. Maybe just an innocent bend.

"You look stunning."

She turned at the sound of the familiar voice, and even so, she was stunned to see Tony standing there, looking not bad himself in a classic, neatly trimmed tuxedo.

Pepper's face remained completely passive.

She didn't show real emotion while on the clock. Ever. Small smiles and crowd-approved reactions only.

…unless Tony was being exceptionally—well, Tony and she just couldn't help it. Frustration seeped through when he was being a particular ass, admiration slipped out when he betrayed a moment of brilliance and amusement showed itself when he acted particularly adorable.

"What are you doing here?" she demanded quietly. Her voice followed the rule of no emotion slightly less than her expression. "I thought you had agreed to lay low for a while. After that last stunt you pulled, we need a little damage control."

Her eyes slowly tracked around them to the other partygoers, every one of them in a five-foot radius staring and mumbling. Damn his sense of damage control.

He offered her one of those trademark devil-may-care Stark grins. "Where's the fun in that?"

With that, she was reminded that despite her strict adherence to rules, Tony never listened to a rule. Ever. No matter how solidly their plans were laid, he would find some way to escape the rules.

Which brought Pepper to the most important rule of all: Never listen to Tony Stark. Ever.

Never believe he would listen, never trust the lies in his mischievous brown eyes and certainly never listen to his silver-tongued flattery. Ever.

Chanting the rule in her head while offering him a small glare kept her from reacting.

Then those eyes raked her up and down, his eyebrows lifted, and he mumbled again, "Really, Potts, that's some dress. You're…" He trailed off without finishing, his lips working and failing to form some sentiment.

His lack of words hit her harder than his breathed flattery. Since when did Tony Stark not have words?

She blushed. Damn it, she blushed. "Thank you," she responded. Her voice was even, but after that, words failed her too.

He reached out slowly and took her hand with just his fingertips first, then laying her palm on his as he lifted it to his lips. He kissed the back of her hand. He actually kissed her hand.

Two more rules: Avoid touching and do not accept Tony's overtures. Ever.

Those rules had been formed and their barriers erected the very first day she started working for him, and years later, they remained solidly intact. His reputation had first spoken for itself, and Pepper had then gotten to examine it up close and personal.

Rules protected her from the chaos of the world. Some from the particular chaos of Tony's world.

But before she could begin to pull away, Tony was tugging her gently toward the dance floor. One fluid, gentle motion, before she realized it, and she was there, swaying to the music with Tony. Fleetingly, the rule about dancing in public flashed through her mind.

Then he smiled at her again, and all the rules—don't mix business with pleasure, don't show emotion to co-workers, don't listen to Tony Stark, don't touch, don't accept Tony's overtures—went straight to hell.

She smiled back.

She was even dancing in public, with a man who was an inch shorter than she was with these heels.

Pepper Potts didn't break rules. Ever.

…unless Tony Stark was involved.

PS, random A/N 2: I think it's funny that according to several sources, Gwyneth Paltrow is actually taller than RDJ by about an inch to an inch and a half, but in the movies, even when she has heels on, he's made to look taller. Even with RDJ in tall shoes, they're pushing it. As a tall woman, I resent that! ;)

Comments are love.♥ Especially on a gal's first try.
Mood: nervousnervous
Country Music: furious typing and someone's radio over in sports
robot iconography: rooftoproboticonograph on September 16th, 2010 05:18 am (UTC)
Good stuff! The rules are pitch-perfect. I look forward to more from you.
Nerca Beyul: Iron Man - Pepperony Manip 2nerca_beyul on September 17th, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC)
:) Thanks! You shouldn't have to wait too long... This is just the beginning of a 20-fic claim.
cincoflexcincoflex on September 16th, 2010 10:56 am (UTC)
Lovely I especially adored this line--His lack of words hit her harder than his breathed flattery. Since when did Tony Stark not have words?

That was just brilliant, heehee!
Nerca Beyul: Iron Man - Pepperony Manip 1nerca_beyul on September 17th, 2010 07:49 pm (UTC)
:) Thanks. That was one of my fave lines, too. Thanks for reading and commenting!
saichicksaichick on September 16th, 2010 01:49 pm (UTC)
Love the story.

Don't worry about being a "late Pepperony bloomer" ... you've found the right place to come up to Pepperony speed fast ;-)

Hey ... about the naturally tall girl thing ... have you seen the footage from RDJ's interview on Letterman about that? You can watch it at YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoILKIGflxc and skip ahead to 5:06 minutes. I think you'll get a good laugh out of it.

Nerca Beyulnerca_beyul on September 17th, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC)

And haha, I've read so much Pepperony fic now, I feel like I'm coming up to speed fast. Hell, I jumped into my first dabble in Pepperony with a 20-fic claim. I'm expecting to come up real fast, apparently. ;)

I hadn't seen that, but thanks for point it out. That whole video is hilarious. :)
shellystark: helmetshellystark on September 16th, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC)
Well welcome to the fabulous pepperony universe! We don't mind you came along late, we are just happy you're here! This was just adorable. On a personal note, I love the fact that he is kind of short, it just adds to his cuteness <3
Nerca Beyul: Country - Keith Urban (Hot?)nerca_beyul on September 17th, 2010 04:29 pm (UTC)
:) Thanks!

Also, I agree on the shortness. I don't usually like guys my height or shorter, but there are some guys where it just adds to their adorkable cuteness. James McAvoy is one of these, Kenny Chesney is one of these, and Robert Downey Jr. is one of these. ;)
Mara: Iron Man - Tony | Arm Pornluckytohaveher on September 16th, 2010 08:38 pm (UTC)
I reviewed this last night on ff.net as roguelane, haha. I'm so glad you posted it here! Livejournal needs more Pepperony.

I <3 this story.

Nerca Beyulnerca_beyul on September 17th, 2010 03:19 pm (UTC)
Haha! I love running into the same people in different places. ;) It's so hard to know sometimes, though, because of different names (like I go from nerca to The Noble French Fry). And since you bring it up and I'm new to Pepperony... are there any other LJ comms besides tonypepper I should be posting to?

:) Thanks for reviewing! (Twice!)
Mara: Iron Man - Obie gives T/P the luckytohaveher on September 17th, 2010 10:51 pm (UTC)
*waves* Welcome to the fandom. Heee.

Most Iron Man communities are T/P friendly. We also had a kink meme which was AWESOME but the mod hasn't continued it. I've been meaning to PM her about that.

Here's the kink meme: tonypepper_kink.

There's T/P fic request for non NC-17 stuff: tp_fic_requests

And the general IM comm: ironman_movie (very friendly to our ship)

I've been thinking about opening a Monthly Challenge Community, but I'm not sure about it.

Again, welcome about our ship! We're all nice and slightly insane. You'll have fun :D
Nerca Beyulnerca_beyul on September 18th, 2010 01:08 am (UTC)
Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. ;)

And I've run a bi-weekly challenge comm before... They're fun, but they get kinda hard to keep up with. Still, those are always nice in a fandom.

Again, welcome about our ship! We're all nice and slightly insane.

XD Isn't that always the case in fandom? Insanity, yes, but insanely good fun.
k9paw: PottsandStarkk9paw on September 17th, 2010 03:03 pm (UTC)
Ohhhh me likey! Thanks for posting here, please feel free to write LOTS more :)
Nerca Beyul: Iron Man - Pepperony Manip 1nerca_beyul on September 17th, 2010 03:16 pm (UTC)
:) Thank you. I have a claim out at 20_fics right now, so there will be at least 19 more from me in the future. ;)