The Panda in Lab Twenty Six

BY : Indigo_Miko
Category: Marvel Verse Movies > Iron Man (all) > Iron Man (all)
Dragon prints: 532
Disclaimer: I hereby disclaim all rights to the known characters in this tiny bit of fiction. I don't own Iron Man and make no claim to the Arctic Monkeys. I make no money from writing this. Lawsuits begone!

Disclaimer: I hereby disclaim all rights to the known characters in this tiny bit of fiction. I don’t own Iron Man. He’s got Marvel stamped on the bottom of his foot. I just get to play on their jungle gym.

The Panda in Lab Twenty Six

Artic Monkeys- Stop The World I Wanna Get Off With You

September 1995

Another R&D visit. Joy. Tony had been awake for forty one hours and was still half drunk. He wouldn’t have gone in to SI that day at all except for two things. One, he made it a point of checking development, especially weapons development, every three months. And two, there’d been a new recruit hired since the last time he’d done the rounds. The woman was someone he had personally picked whose letter of recommendation from her professor at Georgia Tech seemed especially promising.

“Mr. Stark,” a stuffy sounding voice greeted him. 

Tony turned his attention away from the glass fronted labs across from him to hold a hand out to the man who was two decades his senior. “Lucas.” Tony shook the sharply dressed man’s hand. “Everything looks to be purring along,” he commented.

Lucas Sterns, the man who was his Head of Weapons Development, gave a smile that was tight around the edges. “For the most part,” he agreed. He lead Tony back toward his office and settled himself behind his desk. 

“Is there a problem?” Tony wondered, taking a seat across from him.

“Not as such,” Sterns hedged. “We’ve a delay on the AIM-22B Mantis. It seems the casing we ordered wasn’t up to spec. Mr. Watson’s team has switched to wiring some of the internal parts in the meantime.”

Tony started to tune out a little as the man continued to update him on projects. His attention was drawn sharply back when he heard Sterns complain about the new hire.

“She’s not very personable,” Sterns informed him. The elder man‘s lips were pressed together in distaste. “I’ve fielded a few complaints from the senior engineers about her ability to take direction.”

Tony frowned. Her professor had described her as brilliant, resourceful, and diabolical. He’d also used the term forceful. A young woman with those characteristics coming into an established R&D department was bound to ruffle feathers. But when Sterns took a disliking to someone they usually didn’t last long. 

“I’ll look in on her,” Tony assured. He had planned to do so anyway. 

With the initial meeting over he crossed the open area between the Head’s office and the different labs in search of the new employee. Tony finally spotted the woman in question working alone in Lab twenty six. She was bent over a work table in a very distracting pair of dress pants. Tony felt his lips lift into a smirk as he took in the dark hair held up in a professional bun and the lean back leading into a sweetly rounded ass. ‘Very nice,‘ he thought. 

Throwing professionalism to the wind in the pursuit of a hot woman, he snuck up behind her and reached around her side to touch the guidance system she was working on. Without even looking at him the woman growled and slapped his hand away. Tony blinked in shock. The slap had not been light. Maybe Sterns hadn’t been exaggerating.

After a moment of silence she finally turned around, a severe frown on her face. Tony had a moment to recognize that her body posture seemed defensive before he found himself looking into narrowed green eyes under thick dark brows. “Hi,” he breathed a little dumbstruck. So she was gorgeous from the front even when she looked pissed. Tony chastised himself for acting like a teenager instead of the CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation. 

Upon seeing him the muscles in her face eased and she blinked in surprise. “Mr. Stark. I apologize.” Tony noticed she didn’t seem sincerely sorry. She took a step to the left to create distance between them, then held her hand out for a handshake.

Charmed by her initial vicious reaction, Tony put on his most charismatic grin and grasped her hand. Her palms and fingers were calloused, but when he ran his thumb over the back of her hand her skin was soft. Her lips pursed a little as she gently disengaged the handshake. 

“How can I help you?” Her expression and body language screamed professional space bubble and Tony just wanted to yank the tie out of her hair. 

He forcefully reminded himself this woman was an engineer and he shouldn’t risk another job opening just because he wanted to take her home for a night. Obie would give him that disappointed look if they had to restart the vetting process for someone new so soon. Tony tried to keep out of situations like that. A few particularly beautiful women had slipped through though, and Miss. Harper definitely fit the criteria. 

He sidled up next to her a half step closer than was appropriate. “What amazing piece of my tech has you so focused? Not the best startle reaction by the way,” he teased, rubbing the back of his hand for show. The half drunk part of Tony was urging him on. Maybe just a little dinner. She might not immediately quit.

The brunette glanced at his hand and then cut her eyes back to her work. Tony thought he caught the hint of a flush but couldn‘t be sure if she was embarrassed or angry. Either way she hid it well. With a discreet cough she gestured to the piece of tech on the work table. 

“The guidance system for the MIM-7 Locust,” she answered. Without further preamble she leaned back over the table and commanded, “Look at this. The damper for the gyroscope platform performs well enough. But if the design is changed to use an electrical damper instead of the liquid the system performs eleven percent more accurately in the final phase.” 

Tony blinked and ran over the math she had sketched out along with the virtual testing she had done. He hummed in surprise before pointing toward the accelerometer measuring altitude. “The electrical damper would interfere with the placement of that,” he challenged.

She nodded before gesturing to another spot. “It could be moved there. It would save an extra mounting bracket. It would also allow the attitude control system to be moved here,” she pointed. “The overall shape would be more aerodynamic.”

Tony considered her suggestion and began peppering her with questions. Thus started a descent into design and a whirl of ideas so wonderful Tony had to disappoint his libido. The siren with her sparkling eyes and wicked ass, was not for touching, no matter how much he might want. 

He did notice her glowering at Sterns semi-threateningly when the man hovered outside the door. Miss. Harper‘s attitude toward his Head of Weapons put Tony in mind of an animal preparing to maul someone. She had dark circles under her eyes too. Like she’d been working too long. 

“I’m going to call you Panda,” he declared. After he realized what had slipped out he scolded himself for completely loosing his head around a woman. That hadn’t happened to him since he was a teenager.

“Panda?” The way she asked it said she couldn’t decide how vociferous she could be in her dislike of the name to the man who ran the company. 

Tony huffed and smirked at her before explaining. She didn‘t need to know his mouth had been operating without input from his brain. “You’re like a bear, but a cute one. Aren’t Panda’s one of those cuddly looking bears who will still eat people? Plus,” he leaned in closer to her. “You have these great bedroom eyes.” So he wasn’t above flirting. Obie couldn’t get pissed at him for that.

Miss. Harper, and he had already started to think of her as Angela, raised a dark arrogant brow at him. “Do you need to sit down, Mr. Stark?”

It took a moment for him to realize that faced with the full force of his entrancing personality she was being snarky with him. She was implying that his mental faculties were suffering. He rocked back on his heels. “Sassy Panda,” he declared in surprised joy. 

Her eyelashes fluttered like she aborted an eye roll. He noticed her gaze flicker slyly toward the entrance to the lab. “Are the modifications I suggested approved?”

Oooo. A part of Tony delighted in her catty attitude. She must really not like Sterns to go over his head while the man stood outside the door. Tony enjoyed people who had the guts to go for what they wanted. 

Experiencing her attitude first hand explained Sterns earlier words. The woman was gifted, sarcastic, and sexy. To a lesser man she would be threatening. Tony thought he might be a little in love. Which was sad because he didn’t do love. 

“Yes,” he agreed with a short nod. Because the mods the woman had brought up were sound and more efficient. “Write up a proposal and send it to my PA.” Tony commanded. 

He hoped the woman who was his PA that month actually remembered how to do her job. It would probably be alright. He hadn‘t slept with her yet so she was still trying to impress him. “I’ll sign off,” he assured. There was a soft grunt from outside the lab and Tony thought he caught a hint of smug mischief in Angela’s expression. He found he couldn’t keep the little amused grin off his own face.

The off limits engineer tilted her chin to a jaunty angle. “Thank you, Mr. Stark.” she replied primly. 

It was such a shame, he thought as he watched her brush a strand of dark hair out of her face. “Tony,” he blurted. Green eyes locked with his for a moment. He wanted to hear her say it, even if it wasn’t in the way he really wanted.

She smiled at him in a manner that only deepened the lower curve of her lip before moving over to a computer and bringing up another design. His eyebrows raised and Tony barely kept from laughing out loud. It was a deliberate attempt to distract and manage him. After getting his mirth under control Tony followed the vixen, eager to hear what else she had rattling around in that brain of hers.

He spent the rest of his visit wrapped up in the magnificent woman’s mind and trying to discreetly eye her ass. Stern’s would just have to suck it up. If Tony had his way Angela Harper wouldn’t be leaving SI anytime soon.

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