The Blind Witch ch. 3 – A Left 4 Dead Fanfic

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The Witch and the Hunter ran until night fell, but the rain never let up. The Witch tried her best to remain calm, but with her sense of sight dulled once more, her nerves were mounting. But even as infected, they all had their limits, and the Hunter had reached his. His breathing was much more labored, and from what the Witch could see from the flashes of light between the trees, his head was glistening. Not with sweat, but with blood. His gash hadn’t stopped bleeding since they had left.

When they did finally stop, it was because the Witch said so, not because the Hunter gave out. The Hunter would’ve probably kept going all the way into the night, no matter his injuries, but the Witch couldn’t stand hearing his feet, once smooth steps, crunched into the ground, heavy and without much purpose. He was getting worse and worse the farther they traveled.

“Hunter. Stop now.”

At first, the Hunter ignored her, and his steps became much more calculated, while his speed took a toll. Seizing the opportunity, she dug her heels into the ground, hissing as her naked heels took a beating from the underbrush. The Hunter fumbled, much less gracefully than he usually would have, and even lost his grip on the Witch’s wrist. He didn’t fall, but he came close, and ended up in a dipped crouch. He turned back to growl at the Witch, but momentarily froze, along with the Witch as she caught his face in a flood of light.

What had it been called? Moonlight? She couldn’t recall it right away, but at one time it had made her feel warm. But as her eyes studied the face of the Hunter, she could only be filled with dread. His face was marred with a never-ending lace pattern of scars. They had no real rhyme or reason, but they seemed to form some intricate pattern beyond the understanding of the Witch’s mind. His lips were shredded, parts of the top lip hanging limply on the bottom lip.

None of his face was more horrifying than his eyes, or rather, his lack of them. They were sockets, darker than the night that blurred the sides of his face, where the light didn’t quite filter out. But where the tops of his cheeks were, laid two pulpy masses, which glimmered red and angry. The Witch had been blind since her change, but she couldn’t imagine what the Hunter had seen before his eyes had been mutilated, and it wasn’t just because she was unable to comprehend complex ideas.

She stepped toward him, and he shuffled back, his form bleeding into the darkness. He was nothing more than a shadow, and he would eventually be nothing to her if he didn’t come back into the light.

“Hunter. Come.”

The Hunter growled, but remained in the darkness. The Witch tried again, adding a flourish.

“Hunter. Come. Please.”

The Hunter remained silent for much longer than the Witch was comfortable with, but he did make his way back into the light. He stood much taller and straighter than before, his body rigid except for a slight lean he had on his left side, but for the most part, he was much more like the men the Witch remembered at her old home. She physically shivered, which caused the Hunter to wilt. She wasn’t sure why.

Still, she made her way toward him, slow. She reached out with her hands, claws reflecting all the light that filtered through the trees, making them look unearthly beautiful. There was a feeling of warmth in the Witch’s chest when the thought danced across her mind – the thought that something about her might be beautiful. But she was careful. She knew they could harm the Hunter, and she didn’t want to harm him more than he already had been. She lifted her claws toward the sky and pressed each cold palm against his cheeks. They were rough to the touch, and she was reminded of something in her past life. She remembered feeling such a thing before, but she couldn’t recall a name. It was infuriating, but when she saw her shimmering claws masking his eyes, she was reminded of something else. They were tears.

She wondered if the Hunter could cry, but she found the image before her too beautiful to question or alter. The Hunter, on the other hand, was lost

“What you do, Witch?”

The Witch suddenly felt self-conscious. She knew what it was like to be blind, but the Hunter had feigned perfect vision since they met. It didn’t make sense to her, and she found herself longing for the innocence of his hoodie.

“How? See?”

The Hunter’s mouth moved slowly as he spoke, each word seemingly forcing its way out of his mauled mouth.

“No eyes. Mind. Mind’s eye. See sound. See smell. I am Hunter.”

His description matched her former description of the word, “Hunter.” He was stealthy, but he was so much more than that. He lifted his hands to grip hers, careful to avoid her claws.

“I see Witch. Witch always so sad.”

The Witch wasn’t sure how to respond, and instead focused on his hands holding onto hers. Even his hands felt rough, a detail she hadn’t noticed before. She also wasn’t sure if it was just her own imagination, but she felt both a heat rising in her cheeks, and a strange heat from his hands warming her hands. It didn’t necessarily feel real, more nostalgic, like the flash of a memory across flesh. It was a lovely feeling, but the Witch soon felt a dampening deep in her chest – a dampening of the heat, and the rising of tears.

She wasn’t sure why, but she cried, just as she did when she had been stuck in that house. The only difference was that the Hunter was there to take her in his arms. And while she feared his face, she did not fear his imaginary warmth and the warmth his touch rose to her chest. The memories were becoming much more powerful as the night went on, and the intensity had her wishing she could have known the Hunter before the change – before, when all of the heat was real.

To Be Continued…

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I Can Feel It Move – A Doctor Who (Rose x Doctor) Fanfic

I can still feel the Earth move beneath my feet. So fast and sure as it careens through space. I know and feel so many things. I have seen things that my eyes haven’t, I have heard so many things that my ears haven’t, so many foods, so many people, so many hellos, and good-byes, but none that I physically have done.

I have grown so old, when another me out there will never experience age, at least, not at the rate I will.

I envy that other me. He lives in our lovely blue box, dancing his way through the universe – a universe I have drank my fill of, but yet I’ve only had a taste. It’s a strange feeling – one of both knowing and unknowing. I want to blame my other self, but I must thank him as well. Without him, I would not be, and that thought always sends a chill into my hand – the hand I was born from. While he took my life of time travel and mystical lands from me, he gave me something he may never have. I know so much of him, but he will never know of me.

He gave me a normal life, a life of companionship and happiness. While so short and fleeting my life will be as a human, I will never have to live through the deaths of my loved ones. At least, not until it’s time for us both to go. I have a wife, I have a child, and a grandchild.

He has all of the universe, but I will never have the weight of loneliness such beauty carries with it.

“Doctor, what are you up here day-dreaming about?”

I look to the door of our bedroom, and there she stands, smiling. Her blond hair has faded to a white, and crow’s feet have found their way to the corners of her eyes, but I smile back just the same. She isn’t the only one with a head of snow-covered hair, and the wrinkles on my face are much deeper than hers. Knowledge is a wonderful thing, but it will age anyone much quicker than time ever will. I find my gaze drifting back to the plain white ceiling, and I wonder how old my other self feels. Much older now, as he is learning and seeing things every day – things I am thankful to be blind to, but some small part of me still aches for it.

Before I know it, her hand is gripping mine. The hand he and I both share, and I meet her gaze as soon as her warmth envelops me. She is smiling, and her blue eyes shine with the same youth she carried when we first met, but as she holds the hand I hadn’t realized was shaking before, I know her mind is somewhere else. She thinks of him too. Knowledge has been kind to her, but she misses those stars just as much as I do, but I believe that’s what has kept us together for so long. I love her, and I believe she loves me, but we both love that man in his blue box, and all of those adventures we will never get to take.

Still, I don’t say a word, and take her hand in mine. That touch brings her back to me, and we both know the truth. With such beauty and knowledge, there can only be that much more pain. I pull her closer to me, until she is forced onto the bed beside me. She doesn’t complain, and cuddles close to my side, her frail body molding perfectly to mine as we intertwine hands.

Our hands have held children, children I have gotten to raise to adulthood. Our hands have held the hands of our grandchild as she tells us her dreams of the stars and what must be out there to discover. We have told her a few stories, but only those that will fade into her adulthood. With knowledge comes pain, and while we both want her to see the beauty of the things we have seen, it’s not worth the pain of always wondering. Wondering and waiting for the man in the blue box, a blue box I may never see again.

I look to my Rose and find that she has shut her eyes, drifting off into a world where she and her Doctor can travel the stars for eternity. I am not jealous, as I have the same dream. Though, my dream is to be the Doctor in her dreams, taking her to all of the places she wishes to travel, but never will. My mind grows weary with such thoughts and dreams, and I find my eyes drifting shut.

I always dream the same thing, if I dream at all.

I dream of myself, younger. Blue suit and red converse, standing before the doors of the TARDIS. Usually, the doors are locked, but in this dream, I find the weight of its key around my neck. I’m neither surprised nor excited by this fact. I place my hand against the metal at my heart, and find a light thrumming of not just one, but two hearts. This is what makes me excited. I am The Doctor.

I pluck the key from my chest, and put it into the lock of my TARDIS, and without even a turn of the key, the door opens for me, revealing white light. It’s blinding, and I’m not able to make out the round console of my dreams. I turn my face away, hoping the light will fade when I catch a glimpse of something behind me. I turn a bit to get a better look, and there she is. Blue eyes wide, hair the color of warm hay, and with her favorite Union Jack shirt.

She studies me up and down, while I do the same to her. No crow’s feet.

We lock eyes, and she asks, “Doctor?”

I’m not sure if I can answer or not. Instead, I give her a smile and an out-reaching hand.

She looks to my hand, then back to my eyes, and her face brightens. She rushes forward, reaching out and gripping my hand. I turn to lead her into the light of the TARDIS.

The TARDIS alerts its departure, then slowly fades away. To the stars? To the universe? To another dimension entirely? I can’t be sure. I’m not sure if I am The Doctor or not, but a man can dream, can’t he?

The End


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The Blind Witch ch. 2 – A Left 4 Dead Fanfic

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They were close, leaning against each other, neither saying a word, but instead listening to each other breathe. It was silent. Finally, the Witch had peace. The words were beginning to fade with the constant breathing of the Hunter. But the silence wouldn’t last for long.

There was another sound, much louder and much more prominent than either of the creatures’ breathing. It sounded like steps, and there were many of them. Reflexively, the Witch cowered in on herself, all of the words in her mind making their way back to the forefront and matching the intensity of the steps. She had begun to sob when the Hunter growled,

“Quiet.”

Quiet. She could do that, but the words in her mind wouldn’t do the same. Biting her lip, she muffled most of her cries, seeming to satisfy the Hunter well enough. With the steps being the main sound, the Hunter crouched forward and toward the door. He went forward on all fours, swift, but blending in well with the darkness at the edge of the bulb’s light. The Witch was frightened, more than she had ever been in her entire reborn life, but it was not for her. It was for her Hunter. She could barely make out his form in the dark, but she was almost positive she could see him pressed against the door. He was listening, but for what she wasn’t sure.

Silence fell again, this time with a much louder, but steadier set of footsteps. The Witch knew there had been more, but this set scared her even more than the mass. This set was hunting, and for an instant, she guessed they were hunting her. She was sure the Hunter felt the same as his form went rigid, and he turned back toward her. His mouth opened to speak, just as the door was ripped open to reveal a dark silhouette on the other side.

The Witch began to shriek and attempt an attack, but the light was far too bright for her eyes to adjust in time. Before she was thrown back into the throes of the blinding light, she could make out her Hunter turning around to face the silhouette and the silhouette lifting something above its head. It was something that gleamed in the light like a razor blade, and the Witch was reminded of her claws. Panic struck and she was ready to tear through the blindness and just attempt any kind of attack. She had to protect her Hunter.

But before she could even take a step, she felt her Hunter’s hand on her wrist. He tugged her around in the other direction with one word,

“Run.”

And she did.

Though the Witch had been in that house since her change, she had never explored it beyond the foyer where she had always been. She didn’t have the ability to recall the layout from her past life. Regardless, the Hunter seemed to have a better sense of direction than she ever could have, and he led her through the darkness without too much trouble. She couldn’t see a thing, no other lights had been turned on, but the Hunter could see fine. She trusted the Hunter and instead focused on keeping her feet moving, but the sounds around her often caused her to stumble in fright.

The Hunter’s breathing was steady and focused, but speeding up as each new room just led to another, then another, then another, with no end in sight. He was panicking, which only served to increase her panic. She could also hear the steps. There were others, but they were much farther away than the one set which only seemed to get closer and closer with every room they entered. The person was speaking, but the Witch wasn’t sure who he was talking to.

“Kill. Gotta kill all of them.”

Kill. The word bounced around in her head a few time and suddenly expanded. The word seemed to infect all of the other words, and they became similar in sound and intensity. They were painful, the most painful any word had ever been, and the Witch began to stumble again. She was no longer aware of anything, but that word and the sobs which clawed their way up her throat and out into the house around her. There was only one thing keeping her going, and that was the Hunter’s hand gripping her wrist.

Though she had long since released her grip on his wrist, he held fast to hers, and there was no sign that he was letting go anytime soon. But she was weighing him down now, and she knew that he knew that.

“Let. Go.”

The Hunter only growled in response as he ripped open another door and ran them through it. He wasn’t going to let go, even if she caused them to be captured by the man with his painful words. He wasn’t going to, and she didn’t know why. She had to know why. So, she focused. She steadied her breathing and pushed herself forward, and when she did this, the Hunter’s speed picked up. The pursuing steps were growing distant. There was one more door, and then the darkness became light, blinding, but it was light. The light faded much quicker than before and the rain came down much harder. Though she could see the rain and the world around her, it wasn’t easy, and it was maddening being blind when she knew she could see.

But even as they had made it outside, the Hunter continued to run. The Witch noticed the cuts and the open wound on the back of his head. The man had cut off the hood of the Hunter’s jacket which allowed the Witch to see his hair, a shaggy head of chestnut being matted down with blood from his wound. The Witch felt a twinge of panic once she saw the wound, but she had no time to dwell on it.

Gun shots and voices erupted from behind them as they ran, and the Witch could only peer back for a second, long enough to see a group of people with guns raised and blades hanging useless at their wielders’ sides. Then, she saw the leader of the group. He stood ahead of everyone, blade pointed outward and following their path. He would remember them, she could tell, and she would make sure to remember him. They disappeared into a forest, and her view became all trees.

But even then, they didn’t stop running, and the Witch was glad for that. She squeezed the Hunter’s wrist and continued on their path. She wasn’t sure where they were going, and she wasn’t completely sure that he did either, but she trusted him, and that was all that mattered.

To Be Continued…

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The Blind Witch ch. 1 – A Left 4 Dead (Hunter x Witch) Fanfic

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She lived isolated. She hid herself from the world behind claws, weapons she didn’t even know she had. When she was initially infected, she thought it was a cure. This witch had been blind in life and still blind in her afterlife.

She had no idea what she had become, what had become of her world, her family… and she had long since forgotten what happened to her thoughts. She had a few words that ran like ticker tape around her empty and pain-filled skull.

Pain. Yes, she knew that word. She felt it every day.

Sorrow. That one took longer to remember, but yes, this was one she most often associated with her pain.

Alone. This one left an empty pit in her stomach.

Dark. This one made her body run cold. She openly began to sob, regardless of whom or what heard. She needed to let the words out. She needed quiet. Her mind was always so loud.

There she remained. She cursed her fate, if she remembered what fate meant. If not, then she simply cried and moaned for no reason at all – only because that was all she knew to do.

Then, she saw a light. She had never seen light in life, and it scared her in death. Her pink, glazed eyes shifted toward the light, instinctively, but all she could muster was a hiss. The being that had opened the door slipped inside, dripping wet and in just as much pain as the witch.

The witch sat silently as the light disappeared, and the slam of a door locked it away. She listened. Her home had always been filled with her own voice, her sobs, her screams, and the terrible words that always seemed to claw through her mind, but now that she listened, she could hear soft and constant beats on the roof.

Rain. Yes, she remembered it. Though she couldn’t say what it looked like, she remembered how it felt. Wet.

She heard shuffling around her, and instinctively she crushed herself as far into a corner as possible, protecting her back. She couldn’t see the intruder, but she could at least attempt to protect herself.

She sat quietly, and so did whoever had made their way in. They remained this way for a long time, the intruder knowing good and well what was capable of this witch and where she was. The witch, however, had no idea where or what she was dealing with. She had never had to fight in life, and that certainly didn’t change in death.

“W… wh-… who is th-… there?”

Her voice was rough, and painful even to her own ears. It was more suited for growling or shrieking, which she was most accustomed to. However, when her memory served her well, she could use it to speak. She spoke a language even she couldn’t remember learning, and simply knew it out of habit.

The intruder didn’t respond. The witch could hear the intruder’s feet shifting and getting closer. She folded in on herself, hissing and doing her best to hide every part of her behind her claws, though little good it would do against something with the clear advantage of sight.

“W… witch.”

She froze. Another being who could talk? She gazed out in front of her, squinting her eyes in the hope that she could possibly see who had spoken to her, but she found nothing. The voice had been rough, animalistic, and essentially sounded much like her own. He was another… witch? This word stumped her. She assumed that was her name since it was directed at her, and she had no memory of any other title.

What this other being was, she had no clue, but she had never heard of anything like her before. With her curiosity peaked, she musted the strength to speak.

“Wi-… witch, yes… you?”

“Hunter.”

Hunter. This word she remembered vaguely, something with guns, killing, and stealth.

She bared her claws. She didn’t trust this word and the connotations associated with it.

“Killer?”

The hunter shook his head, a movement the witch was unable to see. The witch took the silence as confirmation and proceeded to huddle in on herself and sob. Then, she felt hands on her face, cold, rough hands. She hissed and unfurled her claws, obviously missing her mark when the hands did not retract. After a few more futile swings, she settled with crying into the creature’s hands as he lifted her face up.

“E-… eyes… pain?”

She nodded – an impulsive reflex to the question. He had found her weakness. She was positive that he was going to kill her, knowing that she was more vulnerable than he might have initially perceived.

The hunter dropped his hands, allowing her head to droop back to its protected position. Then, she heard him shuffle, and hands and arms were under her, lifting her off the ground. She struggled reflexively, but in the end all she could do was relax into the arms of the hunter.

She felt him move with her across her residence, and with a loud bang, the light flashed back into her impaired vision. As a result, she screeched and cinched her eyes, afraid the light would harm her. The hunter continued to move with her, and it wasn’t long before she felt the rain on her skin. Cold. Soothing.

Those were good words. Despite the comfort of the rain, the light was still too foreign for her to trust. She held her eyes shut.

The hunter stopped and jostled her. She refused to comply. He tried once more, and this time added, “Eyes.”

Finally, she opened her eyes. The world was even more blinding than before – this time painful. The light soon cleared and was replaced with a soft and comfortable view, one she had never seen in life.

She looked around frantically, having never had this ability before. She saw colors she couldn’t put names to, ones she had failed to learn in life. It was beautiful and ugly all at the same time. Then, she took a moment to look at herself, the claws scaring her the most when she held them up, and they flashed like razor blades in the sun. Had this always been part of her?

She was scantily clad with a tattered top and shredded pants. She could only assume it was from her careless use of her talons, and her skin was an odd shade.

Then, she looked at the hunter. His skin was the same odd tone as hers and he wore a dark hoodie with long pants. She had never pictured a hunter looking like him, but then again she had never seen anything before this day. He looked at her, his face partially hidden by the hood, and his clothes already drenched.

“Happy?”

Happy. The Witch couldn’t quite place this word, but it felt warm.

She nodded – though she still wasn’t sure what that meant, either. Her hunter’s lips turned up, it was slight, but the witch remembered a word that described that little movement: smile. She tried the action out herself, but wasn’t sure it was as nice as his.

The hunter headed back toward her house, but the moment he opened the door and took a step in, the witch had to squint in order to make out even a shape. The farther he went in, the harder it became to see. She shrieked and fought with him, now able to land a few blows with her new ability of sight. However, the hunter held fast, shaking his head.

“Wait.”

She stopped fighting, but remained stiff in his grasp, ready to pounce. He placed her on the floor and she scuttled as close to the opening of the door as possible, taking in what little light was filtering in from around the seams. She noted that the longer she sat in darkness, the more her sight became impaired. Even as this creature, the blindness never fully went away.

Soon, the room was lit with a haze. She blinked past the initial blinding light and let her gaze rest on the hunter, who was standing under some kind of illuminated bulb. He looked at her, or rather faced her. She couldn’t be sure if he was looking at her or not with his face covered.

“Name?”

She blinked. Was witch not her name? She silently stared at him, not sure how to go about asking if he had one or not.

He let out a loud sigh and dropped to the floor. She watched as he wrapped his arms around himself and curled up. She crawled across the floor to him, watching the slight shivering of his form.

“C-cold…”

Cold. Painful, shivering, and in need of warmth.

She nodded and pressed herself beside him. She carried no body heat, and neither did he, but the idea of warming each other was better than nothing. It made them feel somewhat human, though the witch had never known what being a human felt or looked like.

To Be Continued…

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Being Dad – A Pepperony (Tony x Pepper) Iron Man 3 Fanfic

Pepper was always sure of his abilities. She always knew he would save her, she always knew he would take care of her, she always knew he would satisfy her every need, but she had also been sure he would be a wonderful father. Stark wasn’t so sure. Regardless, when he was told the news, he decided to take it in stride. He had nine months – give or take a week or two – to figure it out. He was a genius. If he could create Iron Man, surely he could handle a child. He was a genius, right? Right?

Well, in all of those nine months, he did what he did best: he tinkered.

Never once did he check out the books Pepper had picked up for him, nor did he thumb through the fruit-colored tabs she had placed on each of the “Daddy” chapters. Stark was still getting used to the fact that someone would soon call him “daddy,” and there was no way he could handle seeing it written in black-and-white on a page. Having it in a book made it seem too real and too close. It gave him panic attacks, which he hadn’t had since his major tinkering days. He had longed to leave those days far behind him. Now, he missed those days.

It only made it worse when they found out they were going to have a boy. The thought of a smaller version of him, running around and humping everything in sight, made him feel ill. Having one Stark in the world was bad enough, but how could the world handle two? He pitied the kid’s kindergarten teacher. Oh God, he would have a child in kindergarten. He was getting too close, and he could already feel the familiar fear-induced sweat beads forming on his brow.

Regardless, he always did his best thinking at night. Before the pregnancy, he could recall Pepper staying up at night and watching him as he thought through things. They weren’t always bad, but they usually were. She had been resourceful and watched over him, but the radiance of pregnancy had dampened most of her energy. Though he was sure she was aware of his weight leaving his side of the bed, there would be no way for her to keep her eyes open long enough to watch him. He sometimes wondered if she dreamed of him thinking, leaning against the glass, and listening to the ocean waves.

Tonight was no different. He kept thinking and always in a circle. Pepper’s well-being during the birth, whether or not he should take her to a hospital or have someone come to his home, if he had bought all of the proper tools necessary in case he did call someone, who he would call, did he clean the designated “birthing area,” well enough for Pepper? If any of these questions seemed without an answer, he would begin to tinker. He would go down to his work area, which he partially converted into a “birthing area.” It made him sick to think of the things that would go on down in his sacred place, but he knew it was all for Pepper, and that made it all worth it.

Tonight, he knew everything was perfect. He had done all he could do, and he couldn’t do anymore. Then, he asked himself, why couldn’t he sleep?

Removing himself from his thinking position, he turned back around to face his wife. Her back was toward him, and he could barely make out the shape of the body pillow he had bought her directly from a manufacturer in China, which he watched make it, personally. He wrinkled his nose in disgust at the memory of their argument prior to his agreement to buy it for her.

‘Pepper, I can make you one. A few sheep, a sewing machine, a few sanitary, chemical washes, and I’ll have you the greatest body pillow known to man.’

He remembered the way her swollen face pinched in frustration, though her entire pregnancy had him constantly on edge, he loved the way it filled in her face. She would be perfect to him though, no matter the circumstance.

‘Tony, I don’t want one of your creations. I want a normal, human-made body pillow.’

‘I am human, and I can make a damn body pillow!’

She had rolled her eyes.

‘You and I clearly have two completely different definitions of “human.”’

The argument went around in a similar fashion for days on end, but in the end she got what she wanted. He still didn’t see why she needed it to begin with. Sure, he wasn’t the world’s best cuddler, but he could try. Pepper wouldn’t have that either, and there was no way he was going to argue anymore with an emotional, pudgier version of Pepper. He was stubborn, but not an idiot.

As the memories of the pregnancy returned to the forefront of his mind, he made his way over to the bed and lowered himself gently beside Pepper. She stirred, but only for any instant, and she hadn’t even cracked an eye. His wife really was worn. Stark took the rare occasion to study her. Her arms were wrapped tightly around the pillow he hated so much, but her legs were tucked neatly beneath it and folded together in a fashion not unlike her former non-pregnant self. Then, her face. Her dimples were rounded out now, but their small indents could still be seen. The vitamins had done wonders for her hair, lengthening it considerably from just below her shoulders to the start of her bottom, which had rounded out with the rest of her, but he wouldn’t go into that now.

His wife had become something else entirely. He found it strange how she looked so much like herself, but so alien to him at once. Then, his eyes fell on her rounded belly. Eight months along and it had gone from a plum to a plump melon. Not quite a watermelon, but on the verge – he was sure. It occurred to him then that he had never once touched her stomach. He had missed every kick and movement, and the most contact he had with it was when he did his own sonograms, but that was done with tools and required no physical contact. She always told him the baby felt like butterflies. He found that comparison ridiculous, but Pepper always insisted. She also insisted he would one day regret never feeling a single kick, which he also found ridiculous.

Now, though, he thought about it. Not much longer and his son would no longer be a fruit analogy, but an actual being – a human, which scared him. It was another life he would have to protect. It would be another life that Pepper would have to protect. The little being in her belly was important to her, and he decided if it was important to Pepper, it was important to him. So, he gingerly reached his hand over Pepper’s side and rested it across her protruding abdomen. There was nothing. It would be an understatement to say he was disappointed, and as he began to remove his hand, he wondered if this was a sign of things to come, but then he felt it. He felt the kiss of a butterfly on the edge of his fingertips.

With a bit more urgency, he pressed his hand fully against the whisper of movement and willed it to happen again. It did. He felt his son move and twist against his hand, and he could scarcely make out a tiny hand reaching out and pressing against his own. She had been right, it did feel like butterflies, and it seemed the butterflies had woken her as she grumbled softly and cut a bleary gaze in his direction.

“… Tony?”

She sounded confused, surprised, and pleased all in that one word. Pepper blinked past the initial hold of sleep and met Stark’s eyes, but without a word her gaze flew to his hand pressed against her stomach. If she hadn’t been surprised before, she was now.

“Tony, can you feel him?” Her eyes went back to his, and she kept her mouth in a hard line.

He found that small detail strange, but he realized it was because she wasn’t sure how he would react. Stark simply shook his head and threw his legs over onto the bed. Pepper smiled brightly, radiating all of the wonderful glow, which came with her pregnancy, and she scooted forward a little bit to make room. Tony took the space with his body, laying down on his side and pressing close against her back, all without once removing his hand from their son, who continued to give him the butterflies.

It was the first time he had ever held Pepper so close just to sleep. It seemed to be a night of first, including the night his first son was born, Howard Stark. Pepper loved it because it was his father’s name, Stark loved it because she loved it, but like Pepper had told him before,

“When the time comes, you’ll be ready. I know you will.”

He hadn’t realized it, but the time wasn’t when she got pregnant. The time was when he held his son in his arms for the first time. When he met that little boy and could gaze into his blue eyes, he knew. He was ready.

The End

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Being Human – A Pepperony (Tony x Pepper) Iron Man 3 Fanfic

He had long since gotten over his fears of wormholes and raining Viking Gods from the sky. He had even managed and overcome his crippling dependence on his suits. His suits – sure, he tinkered still, but it was nothing like he was known to do. His lack of tinker-time was not what made him wake out of a restless sleep. Dreams of time and space being ripped apart were not what pushed him into screaming fits during the night. No, none of that was the case, though it would be reasonable to assume so.

What he feared most was the woman that lay next to him every night. There was a time where she would wake up when he did, but recently she had resigned herself to sleeping through his nightly fits. There was nothing she could do to stop it, she knew that, and he knew it even better. He also liked to think of himself as a completely independent man, but as he got up for the fifteenth time that night, he began to envy Pepper’s ability to sleep throughout the night and long for her presence.

How could she not worry? In his single life, he barely knew the definition of fear. He could remember closing his eyes at night, completely comfortable in his bed, and sleeping through the night without any trouble. Now, he was lucky to get even an hour of light dozing, and it seemed tonight was another one of those nights. He threw his legs over the side of the bed and hunched forward, elbows pressing into his legs and the heels of his palms scrubbing at his eyelids. He hoped the act would scrub away his fears, but he wasn’t one to rely on miracles.

Frustrated, he rose from his sitting position and trudged toward the large windows facing out toward the ocean. He had gone through this process more times than he would have liked to admit, but he hoped this time the ocean would calm his nerves.

“Maybe this time.” It never was.

Regardless, he made his way over to the floor-to-ceiling glass panels, or at least they seemed to be glass. Now that he was much more human than he had been previously, he wanted to make sure Pepper was safe even in the event that he might not be. Bullet-proof glass, the best of the best. It wasn’t enough to stop a missile or a rocket, but it would give her a chance. The thought sobered him a little, and he found himself smiling. It was a strange feeling.

He pressed his hand against the glass, the thickness, while apparent, did nothing to prevent the cold of the night from seeping through. The cold was calming, and he could feel his shoulders beginning to slump. It was the most relaxing he had done since his surgery. Unconsciously, he leaned forward until his forehead pressed against the glass and the chill made its way across the exposed flesh. He let out a content sigh and allowed his eyelids to slide shut.

It was comforting to find darkness on the other side of his eyelids and to not be bombarded by images of Pepper and her impending death. As soon as the thought crossed his mind, the images that had haunted him every night came in a flood. Waking up next to Pepper, dead, murdered in her sleep, Pepper standing next to the windows and smiling at him as a large rocket headed straight for her, and, even worse, he imagined her dying in a hospital bed. He wasn’t sure why this particular image scared him more than anything, but it was always the same. She was lay up in the bed, weak from a disease, which he could not cure. She would die, and he had no way to help her.

Though he had ultimately given up his core, he would always be Iron Man, which meant there would always be people after him. If they were after him, then they would go after her. Yet, there she was, in his bed, asleep as she always was while he was up and in a panic. It wasn’t solely the fact that people would be after her, which frightened him, but it was instead the thought that his abilities would fail him. They would fail him, and nature would win out. Nature would take his wife because she was human, and he knew all too well how fragile human life was. Eyes wide open now, he felt the tears begin to spill over.

He panicked every night, but it wasn’t often that he cried. Not because he couldn’t, but because he couldn’t allow himself to. He couldn’t allow himself to be weak. He had to be more than a human. Not just for his own protection, but for hers.

Sometime, during his fit, Pepper had gotten up. She wrapped her arms around him, pressing against him and running her hands across the scar on his chest. It reminded him of the decision he made that changed their lives forever. He would always be Iron Man, but now he was so much more man. It made him feel vulnerable, and he hated when she touched it. Her hands were like soft whispers and reminders of his choices, whether they were wrong or right – he wasn’t sure.

Though his voice shook, he said, “I’m sorry. Did I wake you?”

He felt the soft movement of her head against his back before she responded, “No, I haven’t slept in a long time.”

This surprised him, but he remained still. He wondered what all she had seen and heard, and if she was actually telling the truth.

“What do you do during the night?”

She hugged him a little tighter, and he could feel her form begin to shake.

“I like to watch you. I know you don’t like to be…” she paused, “I don’t like to leave you alone with yourself. I want to make sure you’re alright.”

A smile made its way to his lips. That was just like his Pepper. She was just as sneaky and resourceful as he was, and he often forgot that fact. He also forgot how blunt she could be.

“Why do you cry at night?”

The question sent a chill through his body, and he could feel hers go rigid at the change. Now, he had to make another decision. He had gotten tired of making decisions. He never knew when he was making the right or wrong one, and not knowing how it would affect Pepper only made it that much harder. Did he tell her the truth, or did he continue on with his lie? He decided his decision would be best made if he could see her face. He would know the answer then.

With a slow turn, his arms found their way around her waist and her arms lifted and draped around his neck. He studied her face, noting the newly formed crow’s feet that appeared when she blinked and the small indents, which he knew formed a set of perfect dimples, that framed her crooked smile. She was perfect because she wasn’t perfect. He couldn’t help caressing her cheek, and her head dipped into his hand. It was a perfect dance, and, as he always did, he trailed his thumb across the apple of her cheek.

Then, there were her blue eyes. They glistened in the moonlight. He was glad to have taken the time to add the window feature, but when the first tears formed in the creases of her eyes, he began to regret it. They shined like tiny stars, and he couldn’t bear to see them. That’s when he knew the answer.

“I cry because I know, one day, I will lose you,” he paused to release her waist and hold her face completely in his hands, “whether it is by a person or by age itself, I know I will lose you.”

He dipped his head to press his forehead against hers. He couldn’t meet her eyes, not until he was done saying what he needed to say.

“You will get sick, and there will be nothing I can do. What is the point in having all the money and the knowledge in the world when I can’t use it to save you?”

Silence fell between them, and Stark began to wonder if he had possibly said something wrong, though he had no idea what it would be. It wasn’t much longer before Pepper had something she wanted to say.

“I am willing to die, though.”

Her words shocked him, so much so that he physical began to pull away from her, but her hands found their way to his hair and locked him in place. He was cornered, but he had never thought it would be by his wife.

“I want to live my life the best I can. With death comes drive and need… I need to love you as long as I can because one day, I know I could lose you. What’s the point of life if there is never an end? I have come too close to losing you. I want to protect you, just as much as you want to protect me.”

Stark couldn’t help the smile. It was just like his Pepper to see the philosophical side of everything. He was a scientist, first and foremost. She was sentimental and could always see the other side of things. They weren’t perfect, but that was probably the reason they were perfect together.

He shook his head and let out a deep chuckle before pressing his lips against hers. He couldn’t remember the last time he kissed her so deeply, and he couldn’t remember the last time he had, had such a great night without sleep.

The End

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