Pepper woke up and felt sick to her stomach. She didn’t even care that she was naked. She went to the toilet immediately and began to vomit. It was the side effects of drinking on the birth control pill. At first it was great because the migraines disappeared but now she was feeling unstoppable waves of desire for people she was attracted to, people she wasn’t attracted too and even complete strangers and these effects were amplified by alcohol. And the waves were happening more frequently. It’s hard for someone who drinks a glass of wine nearly every night to remember not to drink. Of course it was probably not a good idea to drink around Tony but she forgot. She was too distracted by Tony’s lips.
“Pepper I need to know everything about this pill you’re taking and when you started taking it and you need to get to a doctor as soon as possible,” Tony said coming into the bathroom and stopping short because he wasn’t expecting Pepper to be naked.
“I’m sorry. I thought you’d be dressed” he said stepping back out of the bathroom.
“I woke up and I had to vomit” she said as she exited the bathroom in Tony’s robe.
“You need to come off this pill. It’s making you sick. I was up all night reading the side effects of prolonged use and it’s not safe. I promise we will figure something else out for your migraines”
“I can’t just stop taking birth control-
“I’ll wear a condom. It’s not my preference but I’ll do it when the time comes”
“No you don’t understand. I can only come off of this one as directed by a doctor. There’s warnings on the package. There are terrible side effects for coming off of it. I could have violent vomiting and diarrhea, sweats and chills, hives and even a fever”
“Pepper why would you sign up for an experimental drug trial so dangerous?” he asked.
“Because Tony my migraines were debilitating and I was missing too much work and I tried everything. I was at my wits end. I was desperate” she said as tears welled up in her eyes.
“Pep why didn’t you tell me it had gotten that bad? I could have helped you. I’m not a chemist but I know enough about it to figure something out for you not to mention I can call Bruce” Tony said annoyed that he didn’t think of calling Bruce sooner.
“Ok call him but I’m not going to stop the pills until Bruce has a plan but I need to go to the office” she said trying to gather her clothes.
“No you’re on a leave of absence effective immediately,” he said.
“No way. There’s too much to do” she said.
“Nancy is going to take care of some of it and I will do the rest,” he said.
“What about the softball game? I was looking forward to playing” she said.
“Fine you’re taking a personal day. You go back to the office and then after the game on Friday you’re on leave” he suggested.
“Thank you” she said, placing her hand on his chest.
“Come here” he said pulling her in for a hug.
Pepper put her head against his chest and hugged him deeply. She should have told Tony about the migraines but she didn’t want to bother him with her trivial problems.
“Now get dressed before I get ideas involving you in my robe” he said as he gave her an eyebrow wiggle.
“Tony don’t be fresh” Pepper teased.
“Fresh? I’m being good. You don’t know what it took for me to calm myself down last night. You got me so hot I jerked off twice” he confessed.
“Well I’m sorry. I don’t know why I can’t remember that I can’t drink when I get those waves. I’m sorry about last night. I want to do this right” she said.
“I can’t say I’m sorry because I got to see you naked. Don’t worry about us. There is nothing in the world that would make me change my mind about my feelings for you. Just worry about getting better” he said as he kissed her forehead and headed down to call Bruce.
Bruce arrived at Tony’s place and they were waiting for him in the kitchen.
“Thanks for coming. This means a lot to me” Tony said.
“Hi Pepper” Bruce said as she shook his hand.
“It’s good to see you. Thank you for coming. I told Tony it wasn’t necessary but he insisted”
“So what are you taking?” Bruce asked.
“It’s an experimental drug Neurowave” Pepper said.
“No wonder why Tony was in such a panic. Experimental drugs are illegal for Doctors to prescribe. How did you get signed up for a trial?” Bruce asked.
“After I left the gynecologist office one day I was approached by a woman and she asked me if I suffered from migraines. I said yes and she said she had been out there all day asking people and she said there was an experimental drug trial for a birth control that helps with migraines. I took the flyer. Then after a few days I called the number and went to the facility. A doctor looked at me and gave me a pack of the pills and then they got sent to me every month” she explained.
“And you didn’t think that was shady?” Tony asked.
“Well a little but it’s experimental so I figured they were still getting it off the ground”
“How long have you been on them?” Bruce asked.
“About four months” Pepper said.
“I’m going to need to know everything in your system before I can figure out a replacement or antidote” Bruce said.
“Jarvis can do it. We just have to take blood” Tony said.
Pepper’s face paled and Tony noticed it immediately.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Needles make me faint” she said.
“It’s gonna be okay Pep. I will hold you. You won’t faint” Tony said rubbing her back gently.
Bruce prepared Pepper for her test and Tony turned her to look at him.
“Just look at me the whole time babe” Tony said as Bruce was drawing Pepper’s blood.
And then he was finished and Pepper never fainted.
“Got it” Bruce said.
“See honey you did great”
“Honey? Babe? Are you guys an item?” Bruce asked.
“Yes” Tony said at the same time Pepper said No.
She turned to look at him.
“Tony we haven’t even been on a date yet. We are still figuring this out” Pepper insisted.
“Pepper I want you to be my girlfriend. I know it’s going to work out, so what’s the harm in telling my good friend Bruce. It’s not like I announced it at a press conference” he said using the chocolate puppy eyes to wear her down.
“How do you know it’s going to work out?” she asked.
“Because I’m not going to stop until you agree to be my girlfriend” he said giving her his signature eyebrow wiggle.
“We will see how Saturday night goes,” she said.
“It’s going to be great,” Tony said.
He was already making lots of preparations to knock Pepper’s socks off.
“Jarvis run Pepper’s blood test” Tony added.
“I need a minute to go over all my data” Bruce said.
“Take all the time you need. Thanks again” Pepper said.
“Let’s give Bruce some space and go in the kitchen. I want to talk to you about something” Tony said.
Pepper followed Tony to the kitchen and turned to face him.
“What’s up?” she asked.
“I want to talk to you about last night” he said not meeting her eyes.
He was afraid of her reaction.
“Tony that was very embarrassing for me. I don’t normally do that sort of thing. I told you when the wave hits me I can’t stop sometimes and I had three glasses of wine and-
“I know Pepper. I understand but what if when you come off these pills you don’t want to kiss me anymore. What if it’s all the pills?” he asked revealing his worst fear out loud.
“That won’t happen,” she said.
“ How can you be sure?” he asked.
“Because Tony I told you I wanted to kiss that night back on the roof and I panicked and that was two months before I started the pills. That hasn’t changed. I still want to kiss you sometimes when you’re not driving me crazy”
“How about right now?” he asked getting closer to her.
“No I think we did enough kissing last night. No more until our date and then I will reevaluate” she said with a smirk.
“What do you mean by reevaluate exactly?”
“I have the results of Miss Potts blood work” Jarvis interrupted.
Tony hurried back into the living room.
“Jarvis has the results” Tony said to Bruce.
“Can you bring it up for me?” Bruce asked and then stretched out the hologram.
Bruce and Tony scanned through the results.
“Your levels of everything are completely out of whack,” Tony said.
“Here’s what we need to do” Bruce said.
Pepper turned to Bruce.
“You need to come off this immediately. You’re going to have a bunch of crazy side effects. It may take weeks to level you out. I need to think on this some more and take these results to my lab. I may be able to come up with a serum to stop the withdrawal symptoms sooner. And then you can go to your doctor and get a new birth control if you want to” he said.
“But my migraines will come back. They are debilitating” she said.
“I figured out migraines years ago. I can give you something for that” Bruce said.
“Now see Pepper if you had just told me how bad it was you could have gotten help for it years ago,” Tony said.
“Now I need to know who's behind this. Can you take me to this facility?” Tony asked.
“Tony What are you going to do?” Pepper asked.
“They need to be shut down” he said angrily.
“We can drive by later after lunch” she said reluctantly.
Tony was going to go with Pepper but he planned on going back without Pepper as well.