Epilogue (part 1)
Tony grumbled, staring at the television screen in his private jet. The downfall of S.H.I.E.L.D. looked like it had been incredibly dangerous, and he didn't like seeing people he cared about in trouble. *Without* him!
"My phone's working. Is my phone working Pep? They could have called me."
Pepper didn't look up from her laptop, adding the finishing touches to Stark Industries press release.
"The could have called you Tony."
"But they didn't," he frowned into his glass of champagne. "They know I have a suit right? Bright red, equipped with rocket launchers, lasers, all that good stuff? Jarvis I'm pretty sure they've all seen the suit right?"
"It's not exactly subtle sir," the A.I. said above him. "Perhaps they thought they could handle the situation without you?"
"They made a mess is what they did. And aw- now look at that. Natalie is totally stealing my spotlight there! Annoying Congress used to be my thing."
"You know her name isn't really Natalie," Pepper still hadn't looked up. Tony had been venting since they'd boarded the plane. Several hours in, she regretted leaving her earplugs behind.
"Well, whatever." Tony leaned back, waving his glass in the air. "Jarvis, can you get me another one of these? I'm out!"
"I've been instructed to tell you that you've been cut off sir."
"That's ridiculous, who instructed you to tell me that?"
"You did sir, about half an hour ago."
"Well, half an hour ago me didn't know what he was talking about."
"You mentioned you'd like to be 'at least kind of sober' when we landed, which I estimate to be in about thirty minutes. And your blood alcohol level is-"
"Ugh, fine!" Tony glared at the speakers in the ceiling. "I'll eat something. Will that make you happy? Of course it won't. It'll make both of us miserable." What he didn't want to say out loud was that he was nervous. "You know what Jarvis, never mind. Bring me a drink, I don't care what I said before."
Pepper understood. She finally looked up and reached across the aisle for Tony's hand.
"Hey. They're all right. We know everyone down there is all right. We'll just be dealing with the clean-up. And considering how many messes you've made in the past-"
"I resent that," he cut her off, but he was definitely listening.
"I'd say we know how to handle that pretty well, between the two of us." She closed her laptop, snatching the drink Jarvis was delivering out of Tony's hand. She took a delicate sip, grinning. "Eat some cashews and buckle your seatbelt. You'll see JJ soon."
With that thought in mind, Tony settled in. He was still on edge, knowing the danger hadn't truly passed, but he focused on the one thing- the one person that really mattered. It was enough to keep him calm through the rest of the flight.
Thank you so much for reading everyone!!!