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Tuesday, October 27th, 2009 04:04 pm
Title: 7,096,207.66 Seconds
Author: [personal profile] therobotmuse
Fandom: Marvel - Iron Man movie verse
Characters: JARVIS, Pepper, mention of others
Pairing: None outright, but one could probably find subtext
Genre: Drama?
Rating: PG
Prompt: A second @ [ profile] story_lottery
Summary: Tony was gone for three months and for those three months, JARVIS was alone.
Spoilers: None
Warning(s): None that I can find, though please let me know
Word Count:1044
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters
A/N: I don't know why the thought of JARVIS being alone in that house for three months makes me so sad D: Thanks to [ profile] heworedecadence for the beta as always.

The house had been quiet since May 10th, 2008 at 1:47:10 a.m. when Mister Hogan and Mister Stark left after nearly three hours of Miss Potts insistence and ten calls from Colonel Rhodes; one of which was just a string of angry expletives interspersed with questions of Mister Stark had any idea why it was very bad to keep Generals waiting.

The house had stayed quiet for 2 months, 21 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, 39 seconds. JARVIS had kept the house running at its normal capacity for the first week. Mister Stark was only scheduled to be gone for three days, perhaps five if he decided to stop by the Dubai house.

He had not gone to the Dubai house.

Miss Potts had come by on the sixth day. She seemed to...wander the house for a long while. She watered Mister Stark's few house plants, organized a few of the things he had left in disarray. She stood at the center of the living room, next to the water wall, for a full ten minutes before falling to her knees, sobbing.

JARVIS had watched her. He hadn't been sure if he should offer comfort or give her privacy. He eventually settled for privacy.

Before she left, she asked him to enter the house into sleep mode. JARVIS switched off the power to all the unnecessary units, leaving only the bare minimum he needed to run his program. She still came every few days to water the plants even though JARVIS had a program for the task, but never spoke, never stayed longer than fifteen minutes.

The silence was only this thick when Mister Stark was on vacation, away for weeks at a time. The water was off, the wall dry. The humming of the various computers was gone, save for JARVIS' databank. The numerous window walls caught the sun during the day, lighting the house in a natural brilliance that would grow into a thick darkness as night set in. There was no need to have the lights on at night.

Normally JARVIS would take messages from various people who wished to reach Mister Stark - whether they were business partners who had bypassed Miss Potts in hopes to get direct contact with the man or reporters who had somehow acquired the house number. Those calls came the first few days but waned off evidently as news spread. Soon, it was just the telemarketers who ignored the Do Not Call List, once or twice a week.

He has researched the probability of someone in the given situation being found alive after the alloted time. It wasn't looking good, as Mister Hogan would say. And thus, he had spent a few cycles considering the possibility of Mister Stark not returning. He had not been given a program in the event of Mister Stark's demise. He wasn't sure what might happen to him. He supposed that at some point the cost of the upkeep on the house would overrule any other factors and he would inevitably be shut down, even if the house was run mostly on solar power and was off the grid. Each second that passed with no word made JARVIS come to the conclusion that he should make preparations for the day when he would be turned off.

He processed briefly about how a human in his position would feel. He processed about Miss Potts and her reaction, her vigil over the still flourishing house plants. He processed about Mister Hogan, who would come by nearly every other day to inspect the cars, taking them each in turn around the proverbial block to make sure all the parts still functioned correctly. Colonel Rhodes came by once, but never entered the house. Simply stood there for 4.1 seconds, then returned to his car and left.

JARVIS decided that, if he was capable of something like emotion, he would be feeling something close to whatever those three must be feeling.

Silence and darkness for 2 months, 21 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, 39 seconds. At 40 seconds, the house came alive.

"JARVIS," Miss Potts said as soon as she entered the house, Mister Hogan following behind her. "JARVIS, wake up."

She was hustling along, the click of her heels echoing off the concrete walls. She was in business mode, again to borrow a phrase from Mister Hogan.

"At your service, Miss Potts," he said as he turned on the lights.

"We've got things to do, JARVIS," She told him, going down to the work area in the garage.

For a full second, JARVIS thought perhaps she had come to shut him down, pack up Mister Stark's belongings and do with them whatever it was one did with the possessions of the deceased.

"I need you to get all the systems up and running," she told him.

She seemed to be looking for something on his workbench. She picked up a few things, hesitated at each of them, then shook her head, setting them all back done. She seemed agitated, unsettled.

"He's coming back, JARVIS..." she said in a low voice. "Rhodey found him. He's coming home."

The was a slight pause while JARVIS processed a proper response.

"I'm glad to hear it, Miss Potts."

He thought perhaps he saw her smile. She was looking down at the picture of a young Mister Stark and his father that the man kept on his workbench. She gave her head a little shake, saying something quietly about it not being right. JARVIS was not sure what she meant by "right."

Mister Hogan came down the stairs, "Everything looks good," he announced.

Miss Pots gave a small nod, "Okay. We...We should just get there. Rhodey couldn't give us an actually time. Military stuff..."

Mister Hogan crossed the room and put a hand on her shoulder.

They exchanged a few more words, with Miss Potts nodding and wiping her nose with a tissue and Mister Hogan rubbing her back, both of them speaking in hushed voices, almost as if they were afraid of JARVIS over hearing them, then set off. Again, the house fell silent, though this time it was different. It no longer seemed... mournful, but ready to spring to life at the second of its owner's return.


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