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Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 10:08 pm
Title: Me and the Moon
Author: [personal profile] therobotmuse
Fandom: Marvel - Iron Man: Armored Adventures
Characters: Pepper, Gene
Pairing: beginnings of Gene/Pepper
Genre: Fluff
Rating: PG
Prompt: The full moon @ [profile] story_lottery
Summary: Gene saves Pepper and even after all that, they still have to do homework
Spoilers: Episode 1.18, "Pepper, Interrupted"
Warning(s): None, though if I missed any, please let me know
Word Count: 1425
Disclaimer: I own none of these characters, no profit from them
A/N: It's unreasonable how much I love this pairing. Thanks to [ profile] heworedecadence and [ profile] pandanoai as always.

Pepper watched Tony fly off, silhouetted against the full moon. She sighed and shook her head some. She was so angry at him - just leaving her there to go fight, leaving her there in the middle of all the craziness where she could have died. Well, she supposed it was possible that he hadn't known she was there - he seemed to have arrived because of something with the Mandarine, but still. He could at least have looked around or something. She's not that hard to miss, is she? Whatever. She was still miffed.

She turned back to Gene and smiled at him, then wrapped her arms around him and gave him another big hug.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you," She said quickly. "That was soooo amazing, the way you just slid in there with that gun and were just all --Foosh! SO cool!"

She pulled back to get a look at him. He was tense and looked a little, well, put-off. Pepper was used to having that effect on people.

"I..." Gene backed away a little, "Yeah. Well. Don't worry about it."

Pepper gave him his space, heading over towards the ladder that got them onto the roof in the first place. Once she was back on the ground, she waited for him, hands on her hips, looking up.

"So what were you doing here anyway?" She tilted her head a little, watching him climb down.

"I was...uh," Gene set foot on the ground and dusted off his hands. "Wait, what are you doing here?"

"Me?" Pepper gave a nervous laugh. "Well...I was sort of...following you, and then I saw some Magia thugs in this van and, well..."

"Curiosity killed the cat?" Gene raised an eyebrow, not looking amused as he stood with his arms crossed over his chest.

Pepper swallowed hard. Her stomach had just fallen out. For some reason, it took those words to really make her realize exactly how close she had been to...

Gene seemed to soften some. He rubbed the back of his neck and put his other hand on his hip, apparently considering what to say to her.

"Let's just...get out of here, all right?" He said finally.

Pepper nodded quickly, grateful. She knew that really they should stick around to be questioned by the police but, well, they knew her well enough to be able to find her later. All she wanted to do right now was get as far away from there as possible. She started walking in the direction she had come from originally, back towards the diner where they had been having coffee. Gene walked beside her, quiet for a long while, hands in his pockets as they walked.

Pepper wrung her hands a little, twisting her fingers together. Her ears were still ringing from all the gun fire and explosions. She really should just head home. Home would be pretty safe -- no place could be absolutely safe, but always pretty safe. Home was good.

"So..." Gene said finally. "We still have that report to work on."

Pepper gasped a little, "Ohh! The report! Oh no, oh no, oh no..."

She had completely forgotten about the report due tomorrow. She was really hoping that her parents didn't find out about the detention, which meant that she had to get it all done before curfew or else her parents might ask questions. She'd left all their books in the diner though. She really, really, really hoped they were still there.

She picked up her pace a little. Gene seemed to hesitate a moment, then started to go faster as well.

The books were still there, thankfully, but so was an annoyed waitress who seemed to think they were trying to skip on their tab. Pepper talked her down, talked her out of tossing their books and rough draft in the dumpster. She'd have to leave a good tip. They sat down, Gene ordered another cup of coffee, and they cracked open their books.

The assignment was to write a biography of an historical figure. Pepper wanted to do it on Maria Hill, the highest ranking female officer in SHIELD. Gene said that there was no way they could find enough information on her to make a good paper, so he suggested Genghis Khan. He already knew a lot on him, so that was a bonus for sure.

"He conquered the largest empire in the history of the world," Gene was saying, a certain fervor in his tone.

Pepper had watched him go on like this for the past fifteen minutes in between typing on her laptop, taking down what he was saying. She had never seen anyone so passionate about anything before...except maybe herself when she talked about the FBI and SHIELD.

"How do you know so much about him?" She asked finally, cutting him off.

He paused, mouth still open, apparently caught mid-word. He looked at her a moment, then closed his mouth.

"Oh," he blinked. "I, um, I'm related to him." He seemed almost hesitant to offer up the information.

Pepper would admit that she gaped for a moment.

"Oh my gosh!" She spouted out, "That's so cool! Oh! Gene Khan! Gees, you're like, practically named after the guy!" She laughed -- giggled really.

Gene hesitated a moment, then laughed as well. He seemed more comfortable at least.

"Gees," Pepper sighed once she had calmed down. "Why don't you go around telling everyone that? I know I would."

Gene gave a shrug, "There are just...some people I'd rather not have know."

"Oh, like the Tong?" Pepper said quickly. "Or who? Like, you must be kinda important right? The last heir to the Great Genghis Khan." She said the last bit with an announcer-like voice, then ended in a laugh, "Wow, that's so weird to say. Weird in a cool way."

"Something like that..." Gene rubbed the back of his neck, then laughed some.

Pepper smiled. She turned back to her computer and started typing again.

"Oh!" She stopped suddenly and turned back to him. "Do you think we could get extra credit for that?"

"I don't think you can get extra credit on a detention assignment."

"Right, okay. Worth a shot."

They finished the paper a few minutes later and packed up. Pepper slung her backpack over her shoulder and stepped out onto the street. She took a deep breath of the cold night air, looking up at the full moon lighting the sky. Suddenly the events of only an hour and a half ago came crashing down on her and she couldn't suppress the shiver that came with them. She wrapped her arms around herself, not because she was cold.

"You all right?" Gene's voice came.

Pepper jumped just a little. She thought he had gone in the other direction.

"Yeah, I'm fine," she said with a nervous laugh.

Gene looked at her silently, eyebrow raised. Pepper felt her smile fade. She gave a small, half-heart shrug.

"That all just sort of...freaked me out today," she admitted finally. "Like, I want to be a SHIELD agent, and I know SHIELD agents have to go into gun fights sometimes but like...I wasn't prepared to find myself in the middle of it so soon."

Gene...smiled? She was certain that she saw him smile -- and not in that annoying, cocky way he usually smiled.

"Yeah, well, think of it as practice then. For the future. And then you'll be able to keep your cool when the other new agents can't because you've been through it before."

Pepper looked at him a long moment, a sort of bubbling, tingling feeling in her stomach. No one - not Tony, not Rhodey, not even really her father - had ever taken her seriously when she said that she wanted to be in SHIELD. Tony and Rhodey would always give each other this look, like they'd believe it when they see it, and her parents would always deflect with, Well, work hard in school and then let's see. But Gene hadn't even questioned it.

Without another moment's thought, she leapt forward and gave him another hug. Gene was tense again under it, she could tell, and he backed up some. She gave a finally squeeze before letting go.

"Thank you!" she said in a tone that might be considered a squeal.

"Yeah..." Gene had that wary look again, "Sure."

Pepper laughed some, "Okay. So, I'll see you tomorrow. We can meet up before class to turn the paper in, okay? Okay. Bye!"

And with that, she hurried home.


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