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Hardest of Hearts

Bloodshot Brown and Drugged Hazel

Kit Torlin was dancing naked in her room and trying to find something to wear to her best friend's opening art show when Tony Stark stepped into his company's elevator. A ding told him he could leave a few minutes later, and he walked to the CEO's office on autopilot. Someone might have called his name, but he didn't hear or care. He swept into the office with a yell of, "Pepper!"

"You're two days late, Tony," the strawberry blonde said with a weary sigh. Tony dropped the basket in his arms on the table before answering, "Better than two weeks." Pepper hummed and finished the report she was typing up. She twisted around in her chair to look into the basket. She was expecting strawberries, again, but shiny red apples caught her eyes instead.

"What are you doing, Tony?"

"Doing? I'm not doing anything. I just thought, since you're in here all day, you might want a little snack. These were in the kitchen-"

"-because I dropped them off-"

"-so I was thinking we could eat some while we did whatever you need me to do, then if you're still hungry we can go to that Chinese place you love so much. That chef has shifty eyes, but you love it so-"

"-I'm seeing someone." Pepper waited until Tony's rambling had quieted before continuing, "He's a doctor, pediatrician actually. Tonight will be our sixth date." Pepper watched with a scarred heart as Tony's eyes shuttered, completely locking her out.

After the Mandarin Incident, Pepper knew she couldn't do it anymore. Tony was in denial at first; he thought they could get through it just like they did everything else. Pepper wanted to, but she just couldn't. It was all too much. She still loved Tony, would always love him in some way, but she couldn't be with him anymore. Not romantically, at least. She still dropped off his groceries, made sure he showed up to the right appointments, and ran his company. Once Tony realized that Pepper was actually serious about leaving, he did the exact opposite of what Pepper expected. She was prepared for screaming, possibly even begging. Tony agreed, apologized, and caused a few scandals. As always, Pepper was right behind him and taking out the trash. Trash...Sometimes, Pepper wonders just where Tony meets these girls. Tony's calmed down recently though and rarely even leaves the Tower, which worries Pepper even more.

"What'd you need me to do?" Pepper took one last look at his masked face before passing over a folder filled with documents for Tony to review and sign. The chair squeaked, quietly, as Pepper turned to get back to her own work.

The silence lasted for an entire forty-five minutes. It was broken by the sound of Tony's phone ringing, urgently. Tony's mumbled cursing filled the room next, and Pepper glanced over her shoulder. Instead of the usual smartass remark, Tony snapped out a, "What?" The conversation wasn't a long one; Tony barely said anything at all. Pepper jumped a little when his phone snapped shut, and she could still hear Tony muttering angrily. She knew it had been Nick Fury on the phone. She hadn't been able to hear what he was saying, but she knew that tone.

"What did he-No, nevermind, I don't want to know." She faced her computer again and took a measured breath. Retreating footsteps sounded on the plush carpet, and the door whispered (not groaned) when it was opened.

"Does he make you happy? That doctor guy?" Pepper thought about Heath, who was home every night. Heath, with the warm hands and kind words. Heath, with a bright smile and gentle understanding.

"Yes. He does," she said and finally turned to look at him. Tony's brown eyes were locked on hers, and Pepper knew again that she'd made the right choice. She loves Tony, but love isn't always enough. He nodded, once, and turned away.

"Call you when I'm done!" he called over his shoulder.

Tony called to his suit as he rode impatiently in the elevator to the roof. Thanks to Extremis, he could communicate with any of his suits with nothing more than his mind. He was always linked up to Jarvis, and everything else he had created. Along with a million other things. His mind was constantly running. Extremis was an enhancer, similar to the super-solider serum. Tony had skipped over the superpower thing. He'd leave the super strength to guys like Cap. And Thor. And Hulk. And possibly Natasha. His mind was his best asset, and he knew that. So it was his mind that was enhanced, instead of his body. It certainly made things easier. It came at a price though. Forget the computer super mind thing...No, he had lost Pepper. The only person he'd ever really loved.

At first, he was so angry he could barely see straight. Thinking back, that might have been the amount of alcohol he consumed. In his anger, he had vented the only way he knew how. Booze and women. Both coping mechanisms had failed, and his only reward was a deeply disappointed Pepper. Tony hated seeing that little furrow between her brows, so he stopped. Well, he stopped whoring around. The booze had slowed, but he wouldn't be Tony without at least a little alcohol in his system. He still missed Pepper something fierce, even though she was still constantly around. It wasn't the lack of sex (though he missed that too), but the closeness. Now there was an awkwardness between them, and he hated it. How long would it take for them to go back to the way they were? Would they ever get back there? Or would she marry Dr. Pediatrician and leave him for good?

As Tony's suit melded to his body, Kit was wiggling her way into a light gray dress and laughing as she watched Ember hop around while attempting to put on some dark blue pantyhose. Tony flew from the roof and headed towards the quadrants Fury had given him. He didn't have any concrete details, just that there was a disturbance somewhere in the city. It didn't take Tony long to find the "disturbance." His mind quickly calculated what his eyes saw, and he lowered himself to the ground. The giant hunk of metal thudded around to stare at him, and he threw his hand up in a casual wave.

"I think you're on the wrong side of the bridge, big guy." A dark chuckle came from under the metal head.

"I am right where I need to be, Iron Man." Then Tony was crashing into trees and feeling a touch banged up. He smoothly rolled to his feet and fired a blast at the giant robot.

"I thought" -giant fist aimed at his midsection- "Dr. Doom" -a swipe at his head- "only had eyes for" -foot leaving a crater where he was just standing- "Richards." Fire surrounded Tony, and the giant robot was waiting for him when he jumped into the air. The robot just laughed and swatted him like a fly. It was times like these that Tony wished his team was really a team, and not scattered all over the world. Or worlds.

A few miles away, Kit gulped down another finger sandwich and smiled at a stranger. Tony went crashing through some buildings, thankfully empty, as Kit turned to face Ember as she attempted to sneak out. Tony landed a few solid punches, but then the robot was pushing him back and tearing at his armor. The suit held, but Tony was feeling the strain. Kit slipped into a large crowd with an image of a dark park in her mind, and Tony braced himself for impact. The robot hit him, broadside, and sent them sailing through yet another building. The robot laughed as he stood, and Tony realized he was stuck in a wall. He tried to wiggle free, but the damned robot was already talking.

"It seems you are no match for me either. Perhaps someone else in this city can challenge me tonight." Tony frantically tried to get out of the wall as the robot flew off, and he finally managed to get free after firing a blast close to where he was stuck. He did some more damage to his suit, but he could still fly. It was a little shaky at first, but he was able to follow after the robot. Tony misjudged his landing a bit and fell to the ground. Dust clouded his vision, but not for long.

He looked up and saw the last thing he wanted to see. Well, maybe not the last. At least it wasn't Pepper. The robot was holding someone (presumably female, going by the giant breasts just over his metal hand) and shaking them around. The woman wasn't screaming. Instead, she was looking down at him and breathing heavily. Hyperventilating then. Her eyes were so wide that he could see the whites all the way around.

"Put her down." Tony knew it wasn't going to work. The bad guys never listen, but he still had to say it. Appearances and all...it looked like some of Pepper's lectures were finally paying off a bit.

"Why would I do that?" The robot squeezed the woman, and Tony felt his ribs ache for her. He knew firsthand how compressing something like that could feel. She handled it beautifully, without even a whisper of a scream.

"She has nothing to do with us, so toss her down and let's get back to business." His tone was calm and even. Maybe, just maybe, if he appeared to not care, the robot wouldn't care as well.

"Tell me, Iron Man, would you have a chance of beating me if there were two of you?" The woman abruptly smiled, and it caught Tony off-guard. What did she possibly have to smile about at a time like this? If they both survived, he'd have to ask her. Then what the robot said hit him, like an atomic bomb. Two of him...Dr. Doom knew more than he had the right to, Tony had learned that from Reed Richards. Dr. Doom knew Tony's history, knew how he became who he was. Tony had barely processed the thought when he saw the robot raise its empty hand.

"No! Don't!" The robot flicked some metal off of his finger, and the metal shards pierced the woman's chest. From where he was standing, Tony could just make out the maroon stain spreading across the woman's dress. The woman was staring down at her chest, in what looked like shock, as the robot tossed her into the air. Tony plucked her from the air and crushed her to his suit.

"Better hurry. I think one might have went too deep. Better luck next time." The robot took off into the air again, and Tony quickly processed his options. He could leave the woman, call for medical assistance, and hurry after the robot. He could stay with the woman and find a way to keep her alive. There was only one way to keep her alive, and he knew that. He'd have to save her. He started his thrusters and started back towards the Tower. He glanced down to see that the woman's face had turned a ghostly white.

"Hey! Can you hear me! Stay with me!" The woman looked up at him, and her lips were turned down in a pout. She seemed to study him, through the face shield, before finally speaking.

"'m 'urt, no' deaf." Her words were slurred, but Tony understood what she was saying. She was dying and mad at him for yelling? Her eyes glazed over for a moment, and Tony knew she couldn't pass out. Not yet.

"What's your name?" The pout disappeared and was replaced with the smallest of smiles.

"Kit. Am I dying?" His fingers flexed against the thigh he was holding, and he tried to figure out just why someone would name their daughter Kit. Who told this woman's mother that was a good idea?

"I'm not gonna let you." She made a sound that sounded suspiciously like a snort, and he upped his speed a bit. He was not going to let this woman die. Not when this was his fault. He looked down to check on her and noticed her eyes were closed. Her breathing was shallow, and the front of her dress was covered in blood.

Tony touched down on his landing platform and quickly got out of the suit. He was running through the Tower a moment later, headed towards the lab with the most medical equipment. He slid into the room and laid the woman on one of the two tables. He quickly cut the dress from her body and threw it to the side. Her chest was steadily leaking, and he reached up to remove her bra as well. If he could, he was going to remove all the metal shards. Hopefully, he'd be able to get them all. Almost as an afterthought, he yanked his long sleeved shirt off and started cleansing his hands and arms. Jeans and a wife beater was not the best surgery outfit, but he wasn't about to go change.

He was pulling out the sixth shard of metal when the woman, Kit, started squirming. He watched her eyes pop open and noticed they were a muddy green under the fluorescent lights. She sucked in a deep breath, and those eyes popped wide open. Her scream was loud enough to make his ears ring, and he was glad his hand wasn't buried in her chest or he might've cut something vital. The sound suddenly cut off, because her teeth were ripping through her bottom lip. Her fingers jerked against the table, and her body gave a tiny shake.

"Oh my God, Tony! What happened?! Are you-"

"Leave, Pepper! Now!" Tony knew he was going to pay for that as he listened to Pepper's heels fade away, but it had to be done. He wasn't anywhere near done saving this woman's life. He had some of the shards out, but the rest were too deep. If he tried to retrieve them, he might damage her heart past the point of healing. Healing... He leaned up so he could look directly into Kit's eyes. Her name was Kit. As he watched, her eyes shifted from a muddy green to a dark brown around her pupils and a hunter green around the ring. Her eyes studied him and ran all over his face, as if memorizing him. Then there was that little smile again. Just the barest upturn of her lips before her eyes rolled back in her head.

He didn't have time to sit down and think about whether or not he was doing the right thing, he just had to act. And act fast. He'd had Extremis for months now; the modified super-soldier serum. Well, he'd modified it a bit more. He'd isolated the healing properties and removed everything super about it. If he'd done everything correctly, the serum should just accelerate healing without any other side effects. The problem? It was untested. Now was the perfect time. He plunged the serum into the side of her neck and waited a moment before continuing. The serum would keep her alive, but it wouldn't stop the shards from reaching her heart. If the shards ripped through that most vital organ, the serum wouldn't be enough to save her. He glanced down at the soft blue glow under his shirt and cussed under his breath.

Opening her up had been surprisingly easy. Tony had never performed surgery on another person before. He cut right above her breasts and started a procedure he knew a little too-well. Metal and cords went into the hole he created, and he was attaching some wire when she moved again. It was just her head, since he'd made sure to paralyze her before starting the surgery. One wrong move could kill her at this point, if the serum didn't first (it was untested, after all). His eyes snapped up to hers, with his hand still buried in her chest. At least this situation was somewhat familiar (those sexual harassment charges fell through though, thanks to Pepper's genius mind). He kept going, even with her eyes following his every move. She looked terrified, and he couldn't really blame her.

"Do you want to live?" Something passed over her face. It was fleeting, but it was important. Her eyes cleared, and her jaw was set in a determined line.

"Yes." This time, her voice was clear and strong. He nodded and bent back to his work. He felt her eyes on him for a little while, but the next time he looked up she had passed out again.

He was covered in blood up to his elbows, and he could feel dried blood on his face and caking in his hair. His clothes were ruined, but they could be easily replaced. He was done, except for one small part. The arc reactor. Without the reactor, all of this was pointless. The serum, cutting the woman up, getting covered in blood...He stood over the still body and looked down at her. For the first time, he really looked at her. Studied the woman whose life he was saving.

The first thing he couldn't help but to notice were her breasts. She was a little bigger than the women he usually saw naked, and a lot shorter. If he had to guess, and he was usually pretty accurate, she wasn't a single inch over five feet tall. She wasn't obese or even unhealthy. Her calves looked strong, her thighs were full, her stomach mostly flat but a little rounded with flared hips, soft yet strong arms, and full cheeks. Tony decided that this was a woman. Most women tried their best to be thin, to be society's idea of beautiful. Kit wasn't like that, he could tell. She'd never be a fashion model, true, but she was beautiful. Even covered in blood with metal stuck in her chest, she was beautiful. Her face was soft and gentle. Her bottom lip was full (and still bleeding a little), and her top lip was a little thin. Her nose wasn't small, but it wasn't overly large either. Her hair was cut off at her chin, and he could tell that it was a light brown color under the blood.

He braced one hand on the table, next to her hip (was that a tattoo?) and bent over her. When she breathed in, her breasts ghosted across his chest. He gently eased the arc reactor into her chest and secured it in place. Her body gave a sudden jerk, and her eyes popped wide open. They were more blue now, with streaks of brown and green. He could see the whites of her eyes again, and her lips parted. Tony braced himself for a scream, but it never came. Her nails scratched against the table but found no purchase on the hard metal. Her head moved side-to-side, sending her hair flying. Quiet grunts escaped every few seconds, and her back bowed. Three heartbeats later, she was laying flat on the table again.

"I'm alive." She sounded surprised, which she probably was. Tony thought about the Extremis. The serum was picky, and it was rare for it to take. There was still a chance that she might not survive, even though Tony had modified it and severely watered it down.

"For the moment." He smiled as she looked over, in what he hoped was a convincing way. Her eyes ran over him, all over him, and he almost shifted under her focused gaze. She smiled then, a real smile, and it lit her face up. Her full cheeks made her look like an excited chipmunk, and her eyes all but sparkled. Or was that the fluorescents?

"What did you-" She was looking down at her bared chest now. Tony watched as she studied the new addition to her body, and then those eyes were back on him. She skipped his face and zeroed in on his own little addition. Her eyes widened in what he assumed was recognition. Then her eyes rolled back and she passed out again.

He shook his head a bit and looked for something antiseptic. He quickly cleaned the blood off of her barely tanned skin (must not get out much) and then transferred her to the blood free table. His fingers made quick work of an IV, and he made sure to pump enough drugs into her system to keep her under for a while. Thoughts swirled in his brain as he jogged through the Tower, and the water in his shower was hot enough to peel paint from the walls. Skin pinkened as he scrubbed the blood from his body, and he kept seeing Kit. The darkening stain on her dress, the shards of metal buried in her chest, his own hand buried in her chest...and those eyes. Her smile. Was the woman insane?

A pair of loose clean pants were yanked up his legs, and he tugged on an old tee shirt. After rooting through his drawers for a moment, he found enough clothes for Kit to wear. He passed the kitchen on his way back to the lab and found Pepper's note. It just asked him to call her when he had time and reminded him that there was a roast in the refrigerator that he could heat up if he got hungry. He thought about calling her and then decided against it. His patient had to come first, this time. He jogged back to the lab and found her right where he left her. Half-naked on a cold metal table. A pair of scissors made quick work of her leggings, and he tossed her shoes into the growing pile of bloody clothes.

Kit was completely naked. Tony did his best not to look as he pulled an old pair of boxers up her shapely legs, but it was hard not to. The woman was completely hairless, and she had a tattoo on the inside of her right thigh (ingredi, Tony decided to file that away for future research). The tattoo on her hip was a feather with ink coming from the tip, and the ink turned into the words totidem verbis. Something else for him to look up. He was right earlier. Her skin was soft and smooth, but that wasn't what caught his eye. The bruises around her ribs and midsection were a sickly green color. They should have been black or a dark purple, but it was as if they were already healing. The Extremis was working; Kit's body wasn't rejecting the serum. Tony worked a pair of sweatpants up Kit's legs and was trying to figure out the best way to put the shirt on when her eyes popped open.

Their eyes met. Bloodshot brown and drugged hazel. Tony watched her breasts chest as she sucked in a breath and then slowly released it. The arc reactor was still giving off a soft glow, and her skin was a healthy color. If the Extremis kept working, she wouldn't even need a blood transfusion. Which was great, because Tony didn't feel like robbing a blood bank tonight anyway. A tongue darted out to wet dry and scabbed lips, and Tony waited. He was expecting more questions, possibly even some gratitude...He did get a question, but definitely not the one he was expecting.

"So, now that you've seen my boobs and literally played with my heart, can I call you Tony?"


As far as the storyline goes, I’m taking bits and pieces from everywhere. Some things come from the movies, and others will come from the comics. Extremis and Dr. Doom are from the comics (so is Mandarin, but he’s going to be in Iron Man 3). Reed Richards is the super-genius in Fantastic Four, and he’s also stretchy. Fantastic Four are in Brooklyn, Iron Man is in Manhattan, so Tony was referring to the Brooklyn Bridge.

If anyone ever has any questions, I’d be more than happy to explain. Like I said, this is just one big mixture. I even confuse myself sometimes. Well, I’m done for the night. I hope everyone enjoyed this little foray, and I hope to see you again in the next chapter. In the next chapter, Ember will be making a reappearance and there will be plenty of different perspectives. Or just two.

PS: I freakin’ love Pepper (and Gwyneth Paltrow). The only reason her and Tony aren’t together in this story is because I want him with Kit, but Pepper is still going to be a regular in the story (and not as a crazy ex or anything like that).


I'd like to read more. :)
CupKTCakes CupKTCakes
Please update!!!!
Irrelevant86 Irrelevant86
I enjoyed your non filler chapter update! Please do so more frequently!! :)
thatsrealjazzy thatsrealjazzy
I love this. I need more! :D
FallingUp. FallingUp.
Oh this is really cool :)