Hey everyone! This is the first chapter of my story 'I'm Iron Man'. It's set after Iron Man 3 and follows the events from there on. I'm focusing on Tony and Pepper, but in later chapters, we will also meet other well-known characters from the movies. Like the Avengers. I've currenty edited this chapter and the others will follow soon, mostly I'll just fix grammar mistakes. The plot of the story won't change. Thanks to everyone who reads this and please let me know what you think, that would be great!
I don't own the characters or places!
It was over.
The suits were destroyed, the Arc reactor lay on the ground of the ocean, were his old house had been standing.
Tony watched the ocean for a few moments before he turned around and walked slowly to his car. While walking, he saw the former entrance of his workshop, where the suits have been standing. He stopped and closed his eyes. Why had he done all those things?
Pepper. He had done it for Pepper Potts, the love of his life. He nearly lost her and that was cruel. He couldn't live without her, so he wanted to make her happy. And she never liked the thought of Tony risking his life while being Iron Man.
He opened his eyes and got in the car.
His new home was a villa which was also in Malibu. It was close to the ocean and looked like his old one.
Pepper was already there when he entered the living room. She was sitting on the couch and smiling at him. He sat down next to her.
"Where have you been? You look tired." She looked at him in concern.
"I've been in Malibu…"
"Oh" she frowned. "And there you…?"
"I threw away the Arc reactor." He explained. "I think it was necessary to let go of it. It was controlling my life for too long."
"But it was also your last memory of Iron Man and all the good things you've caused."
"But it also reminded me of all the pain I've been through, Pepper. The time in the cave in Afghanistan, all the fights, the times I nearly died, the injuries and, worst of all, the questions about it." He grinned.
Pepper rolled her eyes. "Really, Tony?"
"The questions were horrible. And so annoying!"
"Well, I think I know what you mean." She was silent for a moment. "Was it really that bad? The time you had to live with the reactor and were Iron Man?"
"Part of it. I mean, I can handle injuries and nearly dying and all those things. But I can't handle losing you. I can't live without you, I know that now. That's why I gave it up. The world can survive without me pretty well. They have Rhodey as War Machine and if something really bad happens, the Avengers will return. That should be enough." He smiled at her. "I won't risk my life anymore, I promise."
Pepper smiled a little bit. His words seemed to satisfy her. "Thank you. I love you, you know?"
"Of course you do, I'm Tony Stark." She rolled her eyes.
He leaned in and kissed her.
"And you are sure that it was the right thing to do?" Rhodey asked seriously. "You gave up nearly everything, Tony."
He shook his head. "No, I haven't. I've just given up a part of me."
Rhodey raised his eyebrows. "And not a small one." His words didn't seem to convince him that he was okay with the loss of his suit. But he was. Now he had the chance to do something useful, maybe to help Pepper with the management of Stark Industries. Or he could develop a new method to produce clean energy, also for Stark Industries. Or he could spend time with Pepper, when she wasn't busy with working at Stark Industries. – Wait, what? Stark Industries? That was all he could do? Well, he could have some fun and go to parties, but Pepper wouldn't be okay with that. So what was he going to do in his free time now? He would have to think about that later.
He suddenly realized that Rhodey was still waiting for him to say something. "I gave up Iron Man because it was dangerous. I risked the life of the people I love and that was wrong. I can't lose Pepper or anyone else. That would be too much for me. I would break down."
"But Iron Man wasn't bad at all. I mean, you saved the world more than once. And the suit was cool as well." He smiled briefly.
"But I also nearly destroyed it. I built a weapon, Rhodey. It was nearly stolen from me, I made the life of some people hell – well, I did that before the accident in Afghanistan too – together with some other heroes I nearly wrecked New York and I stole cars, I used people, I betrayed them and I damaged many trucks by flying into them while they were driving." He said stubbornly.
"And the things you said now weren't too bad at all. Even though you have done them, you saved the world." He grinned. "I never thought that I would see the day when Tony Stark hasn't got any astonishingly arguments."
Tony rolled his eyes. Then his phone rang. He shot Rhodey an apologetically look and answered the call.
"Hello boss, Happy here." He heard the voice of his security chief.
"Happy, what's going on?" he asked curiously. He told Happy just to call him when there's an emergency. But for Happy, many things were as bad as an accident.
"Sir, there's a press conference in less than half an hour. Mrs. Potts told me that you might have forgotten it, so I wanted to make sure that you're punctual. The press will have lots of questions about the whole story with the Mandarin and they might want to know what you will do know. I mean, your old house was destroyed, and the Arc reactor was removed from your chest."
Tony sighed and rolled his eyes. "Thank you, Happy. I have forgotten the press conference. So Pepper was right. You don't need to worry; I'll go there with Rhodey." Rhodey raised his eyebrows. "And I already have some answers for the questions of the reporters. Thank you very much and please tell Pepper that she's great." With these words he ended the call and turned to Rhodey.
"We have to go. There's a press conference in less than thirty minutes. They want to know everything about the events last month."
Rhodey nodded slowly. "Okay. I guess you have a good story for the press? They'll have many questions."
"Yeah, I've got something in mind." He answered mysteriously and smiled.
"If you say it like this, I really don't want to know what you're going to tell them."
Twenty minutes later, Tony was standing in front of a crowd of journalists. While driving to the conference, he had to think about something to tell them and he made up some really good arguments. But probably there would be a question he wasn't prepared for and he would have to improvise. He tried not to think about the fact that every time he had to improvise something went wrong. He began to tell unimportant things or just the truth, which wasn't always the best choice. The truth often caused more harm than a simple lie. People wanted to hear things that sound simple and logical. The truth wasn't always logical. It was confusing and unspectacular – if you were a normal citizen and not a billionaire in an iron suit.
"Mr. Stark, now that the Mandarin has been beaten and the president is safe again, what are you going to do?" That was an unexpected beginning of a press conference. He sighed mentally.
"Well, now that I have some peace, I'm going to develop a new technology to produce clean energy." He answered simply.
"So you are trying to expand the influence of Stark Industries?"
"Yes, I think that if we just try hard enough, we could change the world and make it a better place." He smiled into one of the cameras. He was sure that Pepper liked that answer. She wanted to make Stark Industries a very important company, so it was good that he supported her opinion.
"You are giving up on Iron Man then?" That was it. The question he had expected and feared at the same time. He wanted to give up on Iron Man, which was true. He had also told Pepper, Rhodey and Happy that that was his plan, but deep inside he wasn't sure if he was able to let go. Iron Man was a part of his life, a part of himself. Not having this part anymore would be like something would be missing. And if he told the world that Iron Man didn't exist anymore, the people would lose the belief in heroes. And all his fans would be disappointed.
So he knew what he had to do.
"No." he realized that everyone in the room had been holding his breath. After this simple word, all journalists started to ask questions at the same time.
Tony searched on the edge of the crowd for Rhodey. When he found him, he met a very confused and reproachful gaze. He felt very sorry for not having told him about his plan, but now he had to keep talking. "I won't give up on Iron Man. I'll always be there to help the world if there's danger."
"Even if it's such a big one like the Mandarin?"
"Of course. People like that must be stopped. I won't let them destroy anything. I've always fought for peace and I'll carry on doing that."
"You've never claimed that you fight for peace." A man in the crowd stated.
"No? I haven't?" he asked surprised. Apparently, he had forgotten to mention that. But if he hadn't fought for peace, why had he tried to stop Loki and his army? Or the Mandarin?
"No, I don't think so."
"But I have."
"And what is your next step as Iron Man?" another journalist asked.
"I'll wait until the world needs me again." He smiled and looked straight into a camera. "But don't think that I'm inattentive. I watch the events in the world very closely and as soon as you need me, I'll be there. And when I'm there, the other side is going to lose." He lowered his voice so that it was just a whisper. "Because I am Iron Man."
With these words he turned around and left the press hall.
"Why have you told them that you're still Iron Man?"
Rhodey and Tony were sitting in the car. They were on their way to Tony's house.
"But Tony –"
"Later. I think Pepper will have the same questions as you do. She deserves to know why I've done it as well."
"Alright." Rhodey gave in reluctantly.
The rest of the ride, Rhodey was very silent. He seemed to think about something. Sometimes, he turned to Tony and looked at him closely, but he didn't say anything. Tony felt very uncomfortable. He'd told his friends and the press a completely different story and he didn't know which version was right. Which version he wanted to become true.
When they reached the villa, Pepper was already standing in front of the door. She looked very angry and her arms were crossed. Tony knew that the look on her face meant trouble. He left the car und walked towards her slowly. He wasn't keen on the conversation which was going to follow. He would have to explain many things – and he had no idea how to do it.
"Let me explain…" he started when he stopped in front of her, but Pepper interrupted him shortly.
"Why have you told the press that you're not giving up on Iron Man? Have you lied to me? Or have you lied to them? If that was one of your brilliant plans, you could have told me! I think that I deserve to know what you are doing and –"
"Would you please let me explain everything?" he asked a little louder und looked at her sternly. He didn't want to hear accusations.
She looked at Rhodey. "Did you know about this?" She asked him reproachfully.
Rhodey shook his head. "No, I was very surprised." He answered her immediately. "If I would have known, I would have tried to stop him, believe me."
"You talk about it like it was something bad." Tony interrupted them.
"It was! What are you going to do if the world needs Iron Man again? You don't have a suit anymore! You can't help the world if there's danger. What will they think when they get to know that you lied?" Pepper looked at him accusingly and there was also disappointment on her face.
"Would you please sit down? Then I can explain everything." Tony sighed and ran a hand through his hair.
Rhodey and Pepper exchanged a look, but finally they sat down on the couch. Tony remained standing.
"You are right, I don't have any suits anymore and that means that Iron Man doesn't exist. I also don't want to build a new one. But Iron Man is a symbol of hope, a hero. He saved the world more than once and everybody knows it. He's got amazing powers many people dream of and they want to be like him. If bad things like the Mandarin happen, they count on him to save the world and bring peace. They look at him like he's unbeatable. Without him, the Avengers wouldn't be complete. Something would be missing. Without him, many people would lose their trust into heroes and the good forces in the world. And I can't do that to them. I would destroy their dreams and the crimes would increase, because they know that there's nobody to stop them. The world needs Iron Man, even though he's just an illusion." He finished his speech.
Pepper and Rhodey looked at him surprised and speechless.
"You've thought about all those things?" Rhodey asked.
Tony nodded. "And many other points."
"And I thought you could be an egoist." Grinning, he shook his head. "You really think about the feelings of others."
Tony smiled. "I have a soft side, too." He admitted. He turned to Pepper, who was smiling at him doubtfully. It was obvious that his little speech didn't fully convince her.
"If Iron Man will be needed again, he won't be able to save the world. That'll be a problem. You'll need an excuse why you can't be there to help. But even if you've got one, they'll be disappointed and loose the faith in you." She said thoughtfully.
"I'll find the right plea." He replied simply.
"You should really do that." She muttered thoughtfully.
"But not right now. In this moment, I want to enjoy the evening with the love of my life and my best friend." Finally, Tony sat down next to them and wrapped an arm around Pepper's shoulders. Slowly, he felt her relax.
"And what are we going to do?" Rhodey raised his eyebrows.
"How does pizza sound to you?" Tony suggested.
Rhodey grinned. "Better than your speech."