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de.riv.a.tive (4/10)

title: de.riv.a.tive (4/10)
fandom: iron man/doctor who
pairing: tony/pepper, one-sided martha/ten
rating: g
disclaimer: I own nothing, not even my soul (pawned it for tuition payments), so sue me not, for naught shalt thou receive.
nota bene: I have actually seen one other iron man/doctor who crossover, but I wrote this before then, so there.


When Pepper descends the steps to Tony's lair of mad science, prepared to drag him away from his latest project, by the hair if necessary, long enough to ingest something with more nutritional content than overbrewed coffee and Red Bull, she hears him chattering excitedly with an unfamiliar voice and immediately knows something is off. "Jarvis," she snaps. "Why didn't you inform me that we had intruders?"

"Intruders is such an unpleasant word," the AI objects mellifluously. Pepper frowns. Jarvis sounds a bit off, too. Almost... moony.

"Your breakfast, Mr. Stark," Pepper announces, sweeping into the lab with an air of unperturbed competence. She'll give whoever else is there five minutes to explain their presence. Then she's calling the Air Force. "Would you like me to have something prepared for your guests?"

"Miss Potts!" Tony cries, delighted, since he knows that she isn't there to haul him off to a meeting. "I'd like to introduce my friend here, Doctor... what was it again?" he asks, turning to one of his visitors, a tall man with dark hair, a pinstriped suit, and converses. Pepper always notices shoes; they tell you a lot about a person. His friend, a beautiful black woman, is wearing very nice boots - a bit of a heel, for vanity, but not so high she can't run. Pepper would bet they both do a fair bit of running.

"Just 'Doctor,'" the man says. He has a British accent to go aong with the suit. Pepper manages to refrain from visibly melting. She's a sucker for accents. So's Tony. Sometimes she wonders if that's why Tony programmed Jarvis to be British, but it's a petty, irrational suspicion and she tries to ignore it. "And this is my companion, Martha Jones."

"It's a pleasure," Pepper says politely, putting down the tray with Tony's breakfast to shake hands. "I'm Pepper Potts, Mr. Stark's assistant."

"Lovely, lovely," the Doctor says, beaming. "We're terribly sorry to intrude, but I'm afraid my vehicle has been experiencing some technical difficulties and this is the only place I could find with the tools to fix it. But I'll be out of your hair in a jiff!"

Pepper looks around for a stealth jet, helicopter, or the Batmobile, but the only unfamiliar item in Tony's workshop is what looks like an old telephone booth. It's blue, and reads Police Call Box across the top. There's a cable running under the door to one of the many wall consoles in the lab. "I've hooked it up to Jarvis with an ethernet cord," Tony explains, seeing her looking. "He'll run a diagnostic and see what's bothering her. Have you tried," he starts, turning to the Doctor, and launches into a stream of technobabble so incomprehensible it makes Pepper's head hurt.

Martha Jones, who hasn't said a word so far, is watching Tony and the Doctor jabber back and forth with an indulgent smile. Pepper suspects she's wearing one to match it. She catches the other woman's eye and jerks her head toward the door. "They'll be at that for a while," she says, once they're outside. "Would you like to go somewhere else while they're busy?"

"Sure." Martha grimaces suddenly. "Only we've been traveling for ages and I've actually got no clue where we are right now."

"California," Pepper replies promptly. "Have you ever been to Rodeo Drive?"

"No. What's that, some kind of cowboy show?"

Pepper grins. "Much better. I'll call Tony's driver. We're going shoe-shopping."

*

Several hours later, Pepper and Martha have ended up at a bar, trading horror stories about life as a companion to a superhero and a time-traveling alien, respectively. The spoils of their shopping campaign are already piled in Happy's limo (Pepper has no doubt that Manolo Blahnik and Salvatore Ferragamo appreciate Stark Industries' tribute to the future hideous disfigurement of their feet), so they're just killing time until whatever crisis inevitably pops up has been dealt with. Pepper gave Jarvis firm instructions not to let Tony or the Doctor out of the house before she got back, but she has few illusions about how well that's likely to work.

"It's just," Martha says, waving around her appletini, "I feel like I'm never the one he wants around, you know? Like, he needs somebody, so there I am, but it's not me he wants there with him."

"Half the time I think Tony just keeps me around because he needs a mother substitute," Pepper offers morbidly, glaring into the bottom of her Sex on the Beach. It's too sweet, and she kind of wants a whisky and soda, but she only started drinking them after she went to work for Tony. Having one while she's bitching about him would feel like hypocrisy.

"You're not anyones substitute, Pepper Potts," Martha says firmly. "Believe me, I'd know."

Pepper would say something reassuring and probably untrue, except that Tony calls at that very moment to tell her that he and the Doctor fixed the "Tardis" (which she infers is the name of the Doctor's phone-box-slash-time-machine) and broken up an intergalactic prostitution ring (which she ignores for the sake of her sanity), and could she bring back Martha Jones as the Doctor is a bit antsy to leave.

*

The Doctor and Tony are still deep in a conversation conducted exclusively in technical jargon when the girls return, and barely even look up. Pepper takes the opportunity to size up the Doctor next to Tony. This man, she thinks, remembering Martha's bits and pieces of stories, Martha's brilliant, beloved, insensitive Doctor, is what Tony could become, given all of eternity to discover how awful people can be. Pepper never thought she would be grateful for Tony's mortality, but she is. One lifetime's worth of betrayal and loss is enough for anyone.

"Well, back to the exciting life of not being Rose Tyler," Martha murmurs in Pepper's ear as they hug goodbye.

"If you ever decide you're tired of time travel and want to settle down with a seven-figure salary, come see me," Pepper says. "I could use someone else around I trust to look after Tony."

"Maybe someday." Martha smiles wistfully. "If you want to come with us..."

"You know I can't leave him," Pepper replies, and it's not a wrench at all.

"Yeah, well, worth a shot," Martha says with a grin, and adds as she steps inside the blue phone box, "Thanks for the shoes!"

"Did you girls have a nice day?" Tony asks absently as they watch the Tardis fade away with a sound like an ancient engine wheezing its way to life.

"Yes," Pepper says.

"That's good." And that's the end of that, at least until the next week, when Pepper discovers Tony's new project.

"Tony, are these schematics for a time machine?" She doesn't even wait for his pathetic attempt at a denial. "Absolutely not! Put those away this instant!"

"Jarvis is lonely!" Tony protests, which is true. He's been sulking ever since Martha and the Doctor left. "He misses the Tardis!"

"So build him a friend," Pepper suggests through gritted teeth. "Or spend more time with him. Or buy him a goddamn puppy." She pushes Tony out of the way and begins the long, laborious process of deleting the files from the computer. She can't actually get rid of them completely - only Tony has that kind of sysadmin privileges - but she can make it harder to access them, and it's a good way to register her disapproval. "I don't want you messing around with time, Tony. I have enough to worry about with you playing catch with intercontinental ballistic missiles without adding the possibility that you might get stuck in the Spanish Inquisition or something." She gives Tony a Look, to make sure he's listening, and is slightly taken aback, because Tony is looking at her, too. Maybe Pepper is finally seeing what Martha saw to make her say that Pepper wasn't anyone's replacement, because the expression on Tony's face suddenly seems less like amused condescension, and more... well, affectionate. Maybe even besotted.

"As you wish, Miss Potts," Tony says, leaning over her shoulder to key in the code that will permanently delete the files for the time machine. "As you wish."

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
mariko_neko
Sep. 9th, 2011 08:11 pm (UTC)
This is awesome!
"As you wish"!!! I do hope you're using that as Princess Birde for "I love you".

I also love Tony trying to be a good friend and get Jarvis a means to travel with his new friend, even if he knows it's not likely to be. I'd really like to see what sort of steadier friend Jarvis ends up with.
meretricula
Sep. 9th, 2011 08:27 pm (UTC)
Re: This is awesome!
of course, of course. :D

Tony always does mean well! it's one of his more endearing features, I think. thank you for commenting!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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