Title: The Usual Unusual Night
Crossover: Iron Man/XO:Wolverine
Characters: Pepper Potts, Remy LeBeau, Victor Creed, Tony Stark
Author's Notes: For xenokattz! I really hope you like it! =D Prompt: Remy is hired to steal something important from Stark Industries. Pepper gets in the way. Takes place between Iron Man and Iron Man 2 and sometime before Gambit shows up in XO: Wolverine. Many thanks to mwffj for the beta and to comeon_eileen for being awesome! =)
Happy said it was normal to be shaken up. After all, she had worked with Obadiah Stane many years, trusted him, and he had tried to kill them all. Pepper dismissed Happy’s concern and assured him she was all right. However, for some time afterwards, she felt uneasy around people she didn’t know and even people she did. But since there was no way around it, she simply got back to work. Besides, Tony had something big planned in the coming days and it was her job to be ready for anything.
Celebrities, photographers, and journalists were among the guests invited to the Stark Industries Complex reopening. After Stane and his Iron Monger destroyed most of the main building, Tony had it rebuilt without the large arc reactor. Instead, in the center of the lobby, stood the Iron Man suit encased in four-inch thick glass.
Most people could care less about the reopening itself. Sure the building was beautiful, energy efficient, and had the look of the latest L.A. hotspot rather than an office building, but no one cared a whole lot about that. Everyone wanted an up-close and personal look at the suit. Pepper was concerned, but Tony was insistent. Happy would personally check every single person that entered the building and due to the thick glass case protecting the suit, no picture could possibly capture all the detail. Besides, he assured her, if there was any problem, he had his other suit nearby.
With little choice in the matter, Pepper bought another ridiculous dress and hoped for the best. She was relieved that two hours in, everything was going rather well. No one fighting in suits of armor, no near-death experiences. The whole thing was running smoothly. She even thought she caught Agent Coulson crack a smile. But that could’ve just been a trick of the light.
In the middle of it all, Tony was busy being Tony, answering questions, posing for pictures, and basically charming everyone within a mile radius. Pepper couldn’t help but watch in amusement.
Then, her phone rang. It was Rhodey. She left the lobby and went up to her office because apparently, Tony didn’t get around to signing two important military contracts. Up the elevator ride, Pepper talked Rhodey out of driving up to the new complex in tanks and forcing Tony to do his job.
Like any good thief, Remy LeBeau preferred working alone. It meant one less variable and fewer things that could go wrong. Given that he was a great thief, he hated having a partner, though, partner was too generous, too nice a word. Sabertooth was everything and anything but nice. That one job in Paris and that poor girl’s death were proof enough.
“You’re wasting time, Gambit. You know what happens when you waste time.”
It was Creed in his earpiece.
How he loathed him. Stryker even more. So why was he working for them? He was buying time before he could disappear for good. With Sabertooth so close, Remy’s scent was too fresh. He’d have to escape directly from the Island on a day Creed wasn’t around for any chance of his plan succeeding.
Remy soon reached the floor Stryker suspected the latest item of his desires was located. Bradley and his control of electricity had helped Remy on a job some weeks prior and mentioned Stryker once had a similar hard-on for those meteor rocks he was looking for in Africa a few years back. Remy couldn’t care less, he was simply stalling ‘til the right time.
After checking three rooms and finding nothing, Remy stepped up to the fourth door. He leaned closer and listened. Someone was in there and by the faint light now coming out from the bottom of the door that someone was probably trying to move in on his score.
Silently, he worked the lock and before he opened the door, straightened his jacket and fedora.
A surprised red-head sat behind the desk, phone secured between her ear and shoulder as she typed something into a laptop.
Damn. He was expecting another thief, not a personal assistant. Time for Plan B.
“Ms. Potts?” Remy relaxed his shoulders, “Mr. Stark sent for you.”
“Let me call you back,” Pepper spoke into her phone. She logged out of the laptop, but didn’t turn it off. It was the only source of light in the room. The half-moon outside didn’t help at all.
“Mr. Stark sent for me?” she asked. She could have sworn she locked the door.
The young man smiled and nodded.
He looked trustworthy and Pepper wanted to believe him. She really did, but after Obadiah… Her trust in anybody who wasn’t an eccentric billionaire trying to play hero just didn’t exist.
“Where’s Happy?” she asked, trying to keep the suspicion out of her voice.
“He’s waiting downstairs. With the car,” he replied. Of course, he’d done his homework. Like any other job, he studied all the major players involved.
Good answer, Pepper thought. Too good? she wondered. No, she was just being silly. Happy told her he was going have plain-dressed security. Though this boy was certainly not plain. She ignored the thought and stood from the chair. “You’re Chris, right?” she asked.
“Remy,” he replied instantly, which was stupid. Sure, let everybody know who crashed Stark’s reopening and stole from him. One leggy red-head in a slinky golden dress and he forgets who’s supposed to do the charming. Obviously, he’d been on that damn island too long. No more mistakes.
He stepped closer and smiled at her.
There goes that smile again, Pepper thought. She cleared her throat. Tony had mentioned in passing the possibility of moving the party from Stark Industries to Malibu. She had hoped he wouldn’t… And now she felt guilty for doubting the guy staring at her like she was crazy, which she probably was. And he had probably been having fun downstairs until Tony worked his magic and sent him for her.
“Ready?” he asked.
“Yes, of course,” Pepper replied. She walked around her desk to get her clutch purse, but he beat her to it.
“I can carry this for you.”
Pepper finally smiled at him, “Thank you.”
She was half-way out the door when she glanced back at Remy. His eyes were busy scanning her office and she had that sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach again.
Remy noticed her and smiled like they were old friends. It was warm, innocent, with a hint of something else.
She didn’t buy it. After working for Tony so long, she knew all the different tactics and sexy smiles weren’t going to work on her.
“I knew you were up to no good,” she said.
His whole demeanor changed, “Depends on your definition of good, chere.” He went from sweet to almost dangerous, from ready to take orders to ready to give them.
Pepper wondered what to do. If she yelled, no one would hear. What if she called someone downstairs? Remy leaned against her desk then. He opened her clutch and waved her cell phone at her. Okay, calling was out.
“What do you want?” she asked.
“I’m only here for one thing.”
Her eyes went wide for a second. Remy shook his head at her.
“Chere,” he laughed, “If that’s what I was after? Trust me, before the night was over, you’d offer,” he winked.
And she thought Tony was full of himself. Why was it always the cute ones?
She didn’t just think that! Okay, focus. He wasn’t there for her… So… if he was trying to hack into the system, he was out of luck. Tony had upgraded the security after Obadiah’s betrayal, but… The laptop and computer weren’t the only things of value in her office. Her heart rate increased. She knew why Remy was there.
“You’re…you’re a thief!”
“Yes, ma’am,” he smiled, even tipped his hat a little. Pepper bit the inside of her lip to keep from smiling. “That don’t mean I ain’t a gentleman,” he said, “Don’t want no one to get hurt. That includes you. You leave, go downstairs, call whoever you want. Promise I won’t follow. We got a deal?”
Even if she ran full speed there was no way she could get downstairs before the thief disappeared with his prize.
“No,” Pepper said. Yeah, she just crossed the line over to crazy. “I’m not leaving.”
“I’m getting tired of waiting, Gambit.”
Creed. Merde! Time for Plan C.
Remy pulled out a deck of cards.
If only Stryker’s pet wasn’t waiting for him, he might have been able to take his time working Ms. Potts. A red-head named Pepper… sure would’ve been fun, too. As it was, he didn’t have the luxury and was going to have to play dirty. Plus, he had to be quick. Otherwise, that goddamn Sabertooth would rush in slicing people open.
Pepper was standing next to her filing cabinet seconds later and Remy hadn’t even seen her move. Could’ve been he was too busy worrying about Creed or maybe she had the makings of a decent enough thief.
“I think you were right before,” she said grabbing the suitcase against the cabinet, “I should leave.”
Remy shuffled his cards and watched her struggle with the suitcase. Seemed it was heavier than she expected.
“Tick tock, Gambit.”
Remy glanced out the window wondering just where Creed was hiding. He turned back to her. “You need a hand with that?” he asked.
Pepper smiled nervously. Why couldn’t it be a tiny flash drive she was trying to sneak out?
“Time’s up, Gambit!”
“Chere, it’s been a pleasure,” Remy winked, “Now, you might wanna take cover.”
Pepper’s eyes were glued to his hand. The tips of his fingers glowed red a split second before he threw the playing card he held at the window.
The window exploded and Pepper ducked behind her desk.
Remy jumped out empty-handed, he wouldn’t have been able to outrun Sabertooth otherwise. Knowing Creed would have to give up killing innocent partiers to catch him, he made a break for it. Stryker sure as hell wouldn’t be too happy if he got away.
Tony was in his workshop when Pepper walked in. Her golden dress was torn on one side revealing more of her thigh than he was used to and though her hair wasn’t exactly in disarray, it was messy, for her. She was struggling with a suitcase he recognized instantly and looked on with great curiosity as she barely managed to lift and dump it on the table.
“You know, this — you’re portable briefcase armor — isn’t very portable.”
Tony grinned. He walked over from his stool to Pepper.
“It has wheels,” he said. He pushed a small button on the side to reveal four tiny wheels at one end. “You’re supposed to roll it,” Tony explained, fighting the urge to smile at her annoyed expression.
She took a deep breath. Handsome thieves and exploding windows could have been avoided if only Tony had let her know that tiny, but important, bit of information. Still, she was a professional and refused to yell at her boss. “Perhaps if it were smaller and lighter, Happy or I could carry it around.”
It was easy to see she was upset.
“I can do that. Maybe,” he said, a lazy grin in place. He didn't like when she was upset. He could fix this. “Will that be all, Ms. Potts?”
Suddenly the urge to yell disappeared and Pepper smirked at his use of her usual parting line. “That will be all, Mr. Stark." She left thinking she wasn’t crazy, she was simply doing her job.
Minutes after Pepper left, Tony still smiled at the empty space where she stood.
“Smaller and lighter?” he said to himself, “Yeah...that could work.”