Author's Note: Okay, so my first Iron Man story. The idea came to me randomly, and I get my scenes that I then write from my music (it acts as like a soundtrack). And oddly, it's mostly instrumental music that I get my inspiration from. Lately, the Eternal Forest album by Graeme Kin, and Deep Joy album by Isaac Shepard. I recommend them if you can stomach no lyrics.

Anyway, on with the prologue! Please R&R , I've actually got chapter one and most of chapter 2 handwritten, just need to type them and carry on more from it, so the first few updates will be fast…


Pepper took a small step toward the bleeping drone. It increased in pitch and speed, and Pepper knew instantly something was wrong. She'd been around Tony long enough to know when something was going to blow up. As fast as she could, Pepper ran back inside the Expo building and threw herself under the front desk as if in an earthquake.

The explosion hit, shaking the walls of the building. Luckily, it didn't collapse and Pepper was safe. Another loud sound was heard by the PA, but this one was not an explosion. It was a sound she'd heard often enough when Tony came back from a mission battered and bruised.

The sound of the Iron Man suit crashing.

In a hurried frenzy, Pepper scrambled from beneath the desk toward the sound. Before she'd got very far, however, she collapsed to her knees, taking in the sight of the mangled Iron Man suit. Panicked and shaking, she crawled through broken glass to get to it. Parts meant for the suit were scattered through the glass, the arms were twisted and broken, leg pieces were missing, the headpiece twisted backward. Nobody could have survived that. A distressed sob broke through, her brain not registering the pain of the glass slicing through her skin.

Tony Stark was dead.

There were no two ways around it. Nobody could get that mangled and survive. She finally reached the suit and extended a hand to gently touch the metal. Another sob overtook as Pepper leaned down and hugged the suit.

The tears were flowing freely by the time Rhodey arrived, and when the ambulance and fire-fighters arrived, the tears were unstoppable. She still hadn't let go of the suit.

"Come on," Rhodey said, placing a hand on her shoulder. "Let the fire-fighters get him out, then we can give him a burial." Pepper shook her head, giving a muffled reply. The next time she spoke, her voice was stronger.

"I'm not leaving him."

"You don't have to leave him, you just have to move." Pepper still refused, so Rhodey hooked his hands under her arms and lifted her, pulling her away.

"No!" Pepper cried, screaming, kicking and struggling, but Rhodey was much stronger. She fought until she heard the sound of the fire-fighters breaking through the metal. Then, energy spent, she collapsed against Rhodey, her body shaking with sobs. She cried until the sound stopped and moving metal could be heard. There were a few collective gasps and some whispers. Pepper looked up from Rhodey's chest, thinking they were gasping at the sight of a ruined Tony, but she herself gasped at what she saw.

The suit was empty.