Title: A Meeting in a Workshop
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: Iron Man (MCU)
Era: before Iron Man & post-Iron Man 3
Rating: K+ / FRC
Characters: J.A.R.V.I.S., Pepper Potts, Tony Stark (Iron Man), Tony’s bots (DUM-E and U)
Pairings: implied Pepper/Tony
Summary: While they are still recovering from the events following the destruction of their home and the fight against AIM, Pepper reflects on her first meeting with Tony and his strange family of bots and AI.
Complete. Part of the “Genius, AI & Bots” series.
Written for: My card on Trope Bingo’s round 2 (square: meet the parents/family)
Warnings: Brief mention of destruction, mild/implied violence. Light spoilers for Iron Man 3.
Disclaimer: Iron Man and Marvel Cinematic Universe, including characters and everything else, belong to Marvel, Marvel Studios, Jon Favreau, Shane Black, Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. In short: I own nothing; this is pure fiction created to entertain likeminded fans for no profit whatsoever.
Beta: Mythra (mythras_fire)
About A Meeting in a Workshop: What was Virginia Potts’ first day working as Tony Stark’s PA like? (This is one version of many, and mostly focuses on Pepper being introduced to Tony’s family – which he almost lost in IM3).
Story and status: Below you see the writing process of the story. If there is no text after the title, then it is finished and checked. Possible updates shall be marked after the title.
A Meeting in a Workshop
Written for my card on Trope Bingo’s Round 2 (square: “meet the parents/family”)
Stark Industries HQ,
Los Angeles, California
Pepper descended the stairs to Tony’s current lab area at Stark Industries. With the Malibu house gone, they were still in-between homes – and in Tony’s case, between shops. He had enough toys here to keep himself busy, but Pepper knew it was but a matter of time before they had to seriously discuss their future.
“Miss Potts,” J.A.R.V.I.S. acknowledged in a low tone through the speakers and unlocked the workshop door for her. When she stepped inside, Pepper found Tony on his knees on the floor, surrounded by bits and pieces of metal, circuitry, wires and tools. It looked like a complete mess, but Tony most likely knew where each piece was and where they were supposed to go.
In front of him stood two skeletal, stripped-down forms of the bots; the sight still made Pepper’s throat clench. She remembered when Tony brought them back from the ruins of the house, on a trailer behind his car. The bots had been in horrible condition even then, broken and ravaged by sea water, but Tony had truly torn them wide open now – all the way to the core.
Pepper had a hard time imagining the bots would ever come back to life.
As she stood there, Tony paid her no mind. Either J.A.R.V.I.S. hadn’t announced her entry or Tony was too deep in his thoughts to pay attention. Normally, Pepper would have tapped her foot against the floor to gain his attention, but not today.
Neither of them could move on when such a huge chunk of Tony’s life – his family – lay in ruins on this workshop floor.
Tony Stark’s home,
Virginia Potts was nervous.
It had been only a week since the pepper spray incident, and although she had been informed she wasn’t going to be fired, she still deemed it a likely possibility. Just because Tony Stark himself thought Virginia’s attitude and determination to meet him, when she had discovered an error in Tony’s calculations, was admirable … It didn’t mean someone else couldn’t show her to the door.
As she stood at the front door of Mr. Stark’s home in Malibu, Virginia felt tempted to try and see her reflection in the transparent glass doors and fix her hair for the hundredth time.
“Miss Potts,” a voice startled her out of her thoughts; the words were softened by a British accent, coming from the speakers by the door.
“I’m here to meet with Mr. Stark. I have an appointment,” she said, not wanting to appear like she didn’t have a reason to be here. Just because she had gotten around Tony’s bodyguards once didn’t mean they wouldn’t be prepared next time. Not that she had seen a simple bodyguard after arriving on the premises.
The door in front of her unlocked and opened slightly, letting her in. Virginia stepped through to the open foyer that lead straight to the living room. On the left, the living room wall curved smoothly, and from the windows that lined the wall she could see the ocean. Everything about Mr. Stark’s home was tasteful, expensive and innovative. Minimalist and clean, too.
“Please join Mr. Stark downstairs in his workshop,” the British voice informed her – a voice, not a person, as far as she could see.
Virginia looked around carefully, looking for an elevator or stairs.
“You will find the stairs on the right,” the voice encouraged her.
“Thank you,” Virginia replied and followed the instructions, then carefully walked down the curving stairs until she came to another transparent wall of reinforced glass. On the other side spread out what had to be Mr. Stark’s workshop, filled with numerous things she couldn’t begin to recognize.
The door opened, allowing her to enter.
“Pepper!” Mr. Stark called out before she had properly set foot in the workshop. “You don’t mind if I call you Pepper, right?” the man went on, sliding out from beneath a vehicle that probably cost more than Virginia could earn in half her lifetime.
“Of course not, Mr. Stark,” she agreed cautiously.
“Call me Tony,” Mr. Stark told her and got to his feet, snapping his fingers. “Dummy!” he called out, making Virginia start slightly. Was he talking to her?
Before she could think of why her employer would call her such a name, a dark figure moved out into the open. It was some kind of robot, rolling forward on four wheels, an arm standing on a sturdy platform.
“Where were you hiding, Dummy?” Mr. Stark asked the robot and looked around some more. “Where’s You? The two of you were supposed to be here, greeting Pepper.”
Virginia blinked, then started as she felt something brush against her side: another robot emerged, rolling past her and then halting, turning around. Its body reached towards her, and Virginia thought she spotted several eyes – or cameras – looking at her.
“Meet Dummy and You,” Mr. Stark pointed at the robots. “My bots. They’re… I would say they’re still in development, but they’ve been in development since before I graduated from MIT. And you’ve already met J.A.R.V.I.S.”
“Indeed,” the smooth voice came from all around them, quite literally.
Virginia looked around for the source of it, but couldn’t pinpoint it.
“J is my personal AI,” Mr. Stark explained, as if that made perfect sense.
“An artificial intelligence,” Virginia stated – wanting to show Mr. Stark that she wasn’t an idiot. “I’ve heard rumors, but never thought I would actually get to… meet it.”
“Him,” Mr. Stark corrected. “He identifies himself as male, so… him.” He shrugged and clapped his hands together. “Now that you’ve met everyone, and everyone’s met you, shall we get down to business?”
Virginia started slightly. “Of course, Mr. Stark, although I’m not certain why I’m here…”
“No one told you?”
“They said you were assigning me a new job.”
“Huh,” Mr. Stark frowned, then shook himself out of it and moved towards the car he had been working under, lowering it back to the floor. “You’re going to be my PA, Pepper. J.A.R.V.I.S. is going to run you through the safety protocols of the house, give you your own passkey and codes, and forward my schedule to you.”
“And what are you going to do, Mr. Stark?” Virginia asked before she could catch herself.
The man smirked and began removing his stained t-shirt, right in front of her as if that was some kind of acceptable reply to her perfectly professional question. Once the t-shirt came off, Mr. Stark reached out for another one – which one of his bots handed to him – and looked almost amused. “I’ve got a hot date,” he announced, grabbed a button-down shirt from the hood of the car. He slid it on, got inside the vehicle without buttoning it up then poked his head out the window. “I told you to call me Tony,” he told her again. And, just like that, he lifted sunglasses to his face, started the engine and drove straight out of the workshop, leaving Virginia Potts blinking in his wake.
“Huh,” Virginia finally breathed. “Is he always like this?” she asked no one in particular. The bots both tilted their heads – arms, whatever – at her.
“Usually, he is worse,” J.A.R.V.I.S. told her – making her start because Virginia had totally forgotten about the AI!
“I meant no disrespect,” Virginia reassured. She liked working for Stark Industries and becoming Tony Stark’s PA was… well, one hell of a promotion from working in the finance department.
“None taken,” the AI commented and opened the door she had entered through. “Shall we begin, Miss Potts? There is much ground to cover and I know you’ll want to get a head start.”
“Please,” Virginia agreed and left the workshop with one last look at the bots – both of which were looking back at her.
She felt like she didn’t quite understand the significance of this meeting yet.