- “I can't sleep. You go to bed — I come down here; I do what I know. I tinker. Threat is imminent and I have to protect the one thing I can't live without: that's you”
Pepper works as Tony's personal assistant.
Tony is experiencing a steady rise in blood toxicity levels and, feeling powerless to stop it, he fears he is dying. He doesn't share this with Pepper, but makes her CEO of his company, takes more risks than usually like he has a death wish and keeps her at arm's length. Pepper gets jealous of his new 'assistant', Natalie (Natasha Romanoff undercover) and takes out her frustration on her. It's only during the final battle with Ivan Vanko that Pepper discovers Tony was dying and they reconcile.
Tony and Pepper are happy together, with Pepper busy running the company as Tony is sought out by S.H.I.E.L.D. to form The Avengers in the face of Loki's threat.
Tony is shaken by the events in New York — he suffers from panic attacks and is unable to sleep. Pepper has moved in with him, but is unaware of his plight until they have a fight and he reveals that he fears he is powerless to protect her. She finds herself drawn to another scientist who Tony spurned years ago — Aldrich Killian.