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Rating: 3-3-3

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Let's Have Dinner - Thea and Christian
June 30
DC-DCTVU

16 Posts
3 Threads
Age:20
Job: Artemis
Ship Status:
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Raven

All Accounts Posts: 45
Points: 318.41€
#1
Thea hadn’t seen Christian in a few weeks, but she texted him a couple of times a day, usually a ‘this shirt or that shirt’ pic, or a ‘tell Jonah I miss him, hv new joke for him’, or ‘by the next time you see me I’ll be fat from pie and it’s your and Belle’s fault’. Nothing flirty, at all. Which was nice, because cutesy heart texting wasn’t usually her thing, and a little worrisome because cutesy heart texting was sometimes her thing. She didn’t have time or energy to go looking for someone to date, but when she thought of Christian he was exactly the kind of person she could see dating.

And the chasteness of their texts made her wonder if she was well and truly in the friend zone.

Which wasn’t bad, she was grateful for Christian as a friend but…

Her phone buzzed and she felt an electric jolt in her chest as she saw it was from Christian. He was in Gotham… She flopped on the couch and typed ‘I’m not hungry let’s have dinner’ and then wondered if Christian had watched Sherlock and then whether he’d think it was more than a joking reference and it might be so… She tapped backspace and finally sent ‘Mt. Olympus Burgers… you able to meat tonight?’

********

Thea tried not to tap her foot as she stood outside the diner that really did smell like it must produce the food of the gods. It was a hole in the wall restaurant but could be seen from a mile away due to the gaudy neon portrayals of the Greek pantheon. She was in wispy black slacks and a red top - because she didn’t get to wear red while swinging from rooftops - and had her hair actually styled beyond the bedhead norm she’d been sporting recently. When she saw Christian approach she trotted up to meet him, putting her hands on his arm and drawing him into a short hug. “A sure sign that I like you is that I stood out here for five minutes smelling that food and didn’t devour the entire place.”
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DC-DCTVU-1

399 Posts
15 Threads
Age:29
Job: PA/Magician
Ship Status: Single with Complications
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Nyte

All Accounts Posts: 1,185
Points: 6,285.21€
#2
“Heroes aren’t always the ones who win”
Texting back and forth with Thea was...great! It was one of the most relaxed relationships he’d had in a long, long time. It was completely different than what he had with Belle, and nothing like he had with any of this other friends. Or with Safi, for that matter. He texted Thea pictures he took in Central, he talked about work - nothing specific, but griping about this VP or that security person, and sometimes asking an opinion on how something looked, which meant another picture - and he talked about Jonah, and sent pictures of the little roomba. He wasn’t blatantly flirty, no, but no one couldn’t say that he didn’t pay attention to her, either.

He spent so much more time on his phone now that he was texting with Thea. So much more time. It was actually sort of a distraction, especially when he was at work, but it didn’t take away from his productivity, it just gave him something to do during the quiet periods of inactivity that he often found himself enduring rather than enjoying. Everyone was supposed to take time for breaks, and now Chris spent some of that time texting with his new friend. And it was so nice to have a friendship where he didn’t have to constantly smile, where he put on no airs.

So when he was back in Gotham, he shot off a text to Thea, telling her that he was back in town. Surprise!

Meat tonight. Chris gave an amused snort and then texted her back, ‘As long as it has cheese and pickles on it I am. Or bacon. Bacon works instead of pickles.’

Chris was drumming his fingers against the door of the uber. The uber that Safi had insisted that he take, because Safi was insanely worried about Christian getting beat up (again) while in Gotham. He wasn’t made of porcelain, but Safi certainly treated him like he was fragile… It was… Weird. More weird than any of Chris’ other relationships were. Even Belle didn’t insist that Chris couldn’t go off on his own or take a walk by himself! Weird. Grey slacks and a white button up made up his ensemble, except the now loose tie and the plaid jacket he’d worn to work before getting directly on the train.

There was one other thing that Safi wore today: a not so fresh shiner. It was older, turning a yellow-green color, especially where the worst of it was underneath his eye. The reason that Safi had told Chris that he had to take the uber. The reason that Safi had insisted on accompanying Chris on his frequent trips to Gotham… “Well, I’m glad you like me… But I don’t think I want to stand between you and food for any longer than need be, so shall we?” He offered her his arm playfully, and waited for her to take it (because he did assume she would) before turning and entering the diner. “It smells amazing. Definitely aptly named!”

“they’re the ones who lose sometimes.”
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DC-DCTVU

16 Posts
3 Threads
Age:20
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Raven

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#3
“And that is why you’re such a good friend,” Thea said as she pulled back from hugging him, a bright smile on her face. “You know better than to keep a girl hungry.” She wiggled a brow playfully, and took the proffered arm. “And don’t you worry, they have as much pickles and bacon as you can eat. We have a fantastic window-side table - I bribed the maitre’d.” God how long had it been since she’d talked like this? She and Artie joked around, but full filters down babbling just didn’t happen that often. And with Chris… it could. She curled her lip wistfully wondering again at the friendzone issue… ‘you’re such a good friend’... she needed to just bring it up, get it out of the way. After all, she was the open don’t sweep your worries under the rug Queen, she embraced her heart-on-her-sleeve philosophy.

As they approached the door, they passed under a street lamp and Thea turned to Chris, an “I like to look at you and smile” smile on her face. “It’s good to see your handsome mug again…” she had reached out a finger to boop him on the nose as she spoke but suddenly paused the motion, paused her words. “What the…” Her finger came to rest just under his eye, tracing the outer edge of what was obviously a bruise.

“I want to say that this must be an injury from you finally taking the Krav Maga class I suggested but…” She dropped her hand and shook her head. “But I’m guessing Christian ‘why would anyone hurt me’ Verglas went walking somewhere he shouldn’t. Again.” There was disapproval clear in her voice, though she wasn’t really angry at him. He couldn’t help who he was, and she wouldn’t want him to change.

She wanted the shitty world that would hurt a kind man to change.

And, well, she was fighting to change it, but as Bane had told her mockingly, she was a drop in the ocean, and a drop didn’t change the entire ocean. But she could change things for a single person… all she had to do was spend all her time as Artemis trailing Chris and keeping him out of trouble. Irrational. Unreasonable. And yet an attractive option.

Artie would bombard her with milkshakes for even suggesting it.

“You’re not a violent person, you’re not a mistrustful person, you’re not an overly cautious person… “ She sighed. “Those are things I actually admire about you. I just hate the world that would… what happened?”
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DC-DCTVU-1

399 Posts
15 Threads
Age:29
Job: PA/Magician
Ship Status: Single with Complications
Sexual Orientation: Pan-Romantic
Nyte

All Accounts Posts: 1,185
Points: 6,285.21€
#4
Chris grinned at Thea's words. Sure, a lot of people called him their friend, but it was always nice to hear it. “Of course I do! I have a sister, after. Besides,” he gave Thea a playful wink, "Food is love. Never starve any one of either!" Pickles and bacon. Chris laughed, brown eyes twinkling, "You know how to win a man's heart, Thea. Pickles, bacon, window seating…”

Thea's babbling was wonderful. How often did you really meet someone who didn’t mind if you babbled or went entirely off topic? It was actually quite rare in Christian’s experience. The ‘friend zone’ thing never occurred to Chris. His crushes didn’t usually go so well, and he was resigned to that fact. Better to let them go, because otherwise he ended up pining, and that wasn’t attractive. Look at how pathetic he was with Safi! So when Thea called him her friend, he accepted that in stride. Thea was lovely, and he treasured having a place in her life at all.

When she smiled at him, he grinned back easily. Handsome, was he? That took him just a little by surprise, his smile shifting slightly, showing a touch of satisfaction and shyness before Thea changed gears, her tone losing some of it’s lightheartedness. Ah, damn. Chris grimaced when she traced the bruise that marred his eye. It had been an impressive shiner last week, covering his eye and cheekbone. Now, much of it had faded away, leaving the bruise around his eye and a little discoloration on his cheek. Chris sighed at Thea's words. "Aw hey..." He raised his free hand to hold in an' I surrender' posture, "I wasn't trying to find trouble!" He really hadn't been! "I was just taking a walk... And I got lost. You know, Gotham could use some signs to let visitors know when they're coming into an even more dangerous than usual neighborhood."

He brightened. "Oh! I met a friend of yours!" Who had been kind, and have saved him. "Raven, I think her name was? Great gal. Helped me out quite a bit."

She spoke of him, and he shrugged. "Like I said, I went for a walk around the park, and lost track of time and where I was, and then suddenly I was being mugged... Your friend helped me out. She was very nice" He sighed and rolled his eyes, “And now I'm not allowed to come to Gotham alone anymore. Safi made me take an uber to come to dinner, even!"
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DC-DCTVU

16 Posts
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Raven

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#5
“Good philosophy,” Thea agreed, pursing her lips and nodding, holding back the quip ‘I’m hungry for both’ because it would only partially be a quip and underneath the banter she wondered if this was Christian babbling lightly as he did or if he meant her to take it more seriously. And she could drive herself nuts with those games. Especially since they’d be all her games. Christian didn’t play games, at least as far as she could tell. That was their thing, not playing games, just being honest when they couldn’t share something.

“Though when it comes to food and love, at least a hamburger won’t leave you for your own good.” She winced. “Sorry, not to bring bitter history into our lovely get together, but I’m capable of taking care of myself and haven’t always been treated a such.” That was something she loved about hanging out with Christian. He would never presume to make decisions for her, to condescend. Yes, she was young, she was well aware of how young she was, but everyone from Ollie to Artie seemed to see her as a project to be managed. “Thank you, by the way, for not trying to take care of me.”

Though Christian seemed to need someone to take care of him. She noted his reaction to her compliment and was about to follow up when she saw the bruise. Real concern was on her face as she waited for an explanation but she couldn’t help but giggle at his sign suggestion. “More like a sign that says ‘nice people should get back on the freeway and continue on to a safer city, meaning any city.” She shrugged, her gaze going distant as she thought once again of what Bane had said. Would Gotham never get better under the ministry of heroes? “Yeah, Raven’s great,” she said, her mind elsewhere, not yet glomming onto what it meant that Raven had saved Christian. She didn’t know the girl had any fighting skills whatsoever, let alone a drive to save people. Christian was highly saveable though… “I just wish we could… or the heroes could… or someone could make this city better. It is a beautiful city, and there are so many good people, and yet all that gets attention is its crime. And then you can’t even come here without getting attacked…”

She held the door to the burger joint open for him, reeling a bit from the delicious smells slamming into them as they walked in. The only ‘maitre d’’ that the place actually had was a sign that said ‘seat yourself’, but there was a window booth available and she veered toward it. Formica tables with metal edging, squishy vinyl seats, and a brightly colored menu made it not so much a romantic establishment but a joint where she could let her shoulders drop and kick her feet up on the seat. She sighed with satisfaction as she slid in, and then paused as Christian’s words caught up with her.

“Not allowed to come alone? Is Safi your boss at Lexcorp?” Not that she minded someone taking an interest in Christian’s safety, but that sounded a little micromanagey. She flipped a menu out of the metal holder and pointed to the bottom of the page. “If you’re daring, try the Buddhist Burger - make me one with everything- “ She snorted a laugh. “What’s a burger joint without puns?”
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DC-DCTVU-1

399 Posts
15 Threads
Age:29
Job: PA/Magician
Ship Status: Single with Complications
Sexual Orientation: Pan-Romantic
Nyte

All Accounts Posts: 1,185
Points: 6,285.21€
#6
Thea's approval gained a smile from Chris, and he nodded, "I think so, at least.” She was right, though; Christian didn't play the 'guess what I really mean’ sorts of games. If Thea didn't know, she could always ask. Chris wouldn’t lie, she knew that for certain.

The bitter tone in Thea's voice got Christian's attention, and her apology a shake of his head. "Hey, you don't need to apologize, Thea. Friends are going to complain to each other, that's part of the deal. And I can understand how it is, always having people think you need help, or a babysitter, or a bodyguard. You'll never have to worry about that from me. You know that if you want or need my help, you have it, but I won't press it on you.”

Everyone thought Chris needed someone to take care of him. From Belle to Safi to Thea. Chris had never been thought of as capable in a confrontation. He must give off some vibe to people that labelled him as weak or incompetent or in need of a caretaker. “There are nice people in Gotham." He could name a few, actually... Belle, Thea, Raven, just off the top of his head. "And maybe Gotham isn't a kind place. Maybe being here - to live or to visit - is hard... But the people here, some of them at least, like Belle and you, like the heroes of the city, make coming here worth it." He shrugged, “So better or not, I'm going to keep coming back, and keep hoping for the best.”

This place smelled fantastic. Chris paused in the entrance, closing his eyes and inhaling long and deep before moving to catch up to Thea. There was a certain charm to this sort of restaurant, in the mass produced tables and less than comfortable seats, crammed together and making for a cozy place to relax and enjoy a good burger with a friend. The question about Safi earned an amused snort, “My boss? No no, no way. God, he’s nearly insufferable as it is! Would you believe the man doesn’t pie?! Belle’s pie!!” Chris rolled his eyes, “Safe’s one of the security guys, and… Maybe? A friend?”

He chuckled at the pun, “Boring, that’s what. Oh look! They have a chili cheese burger! Might just have to try that one."
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DC-DCTVU

16 Posts
3 Threads
Age:20
Job: Artemis
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Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Raven

All Accounts Posts: 45
Points: 318.41€
#7
Christian’s open accepting words unfurled something in Thea that had been kept tight for longer than she cared to acknowledge and her eyes misted as she slung an arm around his shoulders and pulled him in for a quick side-hug. “I need a friend, Christian, who is exactly you… “ And as she said it she realized she needed to tread carefully as far as romance went, because friends like Christian didn’t come along often. And as much as ex-lovers promised to remain friends, it never quite worked out that way, there was always a different tension. “So if I ever do anything to threaten our friendship, you tell me right away, ‘Thea, you’re going to fuck things up’, because I wouldn’t want to do that.” She gave him a light punch on the arm as punctuation, forgetting that even her light punches were delivered with trained muscles and hardened knuckles. “Sorry, Krav Maga training… which, by the way, I insist you take for when there isn’t a convenient hero lurking about!”

She nodded, grateful that he found Gotham worth visiting, even if it was for the people. Especially if one of those people was her. It still ate at her though… “There are a lot of good people, actually. Seems like if they could work together they could shift things for the better. Take me, I’m a paramedic out there making a little difference at a time, but what if I could connect with all those others like me?”

As a hero, she did have a network of people fighting for good, but even with the size of Team Bat, it was barely enough to hold back the onslaught. And sometimes beating up people who were only criminals because they’d grown up on the streets and gone down the wrong path felt… useless.

“I want to make a difference Christian, it’s one of the reasons I’m in a place like Gotham, but I feel so helpless…”

She sighed and refocused on the comforting warmth of the burger joint. Self care was a thing too, and getting a burger with a friend definitely counted as self care. “Maybe we just need to fill Gotham with places like this… everyone in here is happy. Good food made by good people, maybe that’s the answer…” She threw him a smirk. “I’m reaching, I know… probably delirious with hunger.”

Thankfully the server threw a basket of fries their way, one of the perks of this place, rather than bread or chips they kept you supplied with endless waffle fries.

“I find that hard to believe, actually,” she said around a mouthful of fries. She’d helped Belle make a pie and had agreed at the time that her pies alone might be the key to peace in Gotham. “But I’m grateful there’s someone else in the ‘keep Christian safe’ camp, though…” She slanted a brow at his description of a ‘maybe friend’ regarding a man who cared enough about Christian’s security to make him take an Uber. “Forgive the suspicious part of me, part of having a family that specialized in secrets and betrayal I guess, but what’s his interest?” She’d ordered a root beer and a simple bacon burger, and both arrived, interrupting her line of questioning. And why was she questioning him? This wasn’t a rooftop interrogation of a thug, this was a conversation with a friend. “You know what, forget it, I’m seeing ulterior motives everywhere and it’s not my business. Tell me about what projects you’re working on… any new robot creations?”
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DC-DCTVU-1

399 Posts
15 Threads
Age:29
Job: PA/Magician
Ship Status: Single with Complications
Sexual Orientation: Pan-Romantic
Nyte

All Accounts Posts: 1,185
Points: 6,285.21€
#8
Christian was an observant person. He noticed the change in Thea, saw how her eyes grew a bit more watery before she reached to hug him. Giving her a smile to reassure her, Chris told Thea, “Well it's a good thing you have exactly me as a friend, huh?" It was such an easy, open friendship they shared. Chris could confide in Thea, and when he couldn't, he could tell her that, too. "You won’t, Thea. Just let's not lie to each other, like we agreed." He chuckled, “Ok, then. I’ll tell you if things start looking rocky." It might surprise Thea that Chris didn’t seem bothered by the punch to the arm. Tipping his head slightly, he arched a brow at his friend, "I'm a pacifist, Thea. Doesn't mean I’m fragile. I promise I'm not going to shatter from a friendly knock on the arm."

Gotham wasn't a nice place, no. But Thea was right, there were good people here. And if could band together.. "A lot of crime is committed by desperate people. People who find themselves with nothing; job, home, opportunity… It's not just being poor, or lazy, or unlucky, like a lot of people think. It’s About not thinking you have other viable options." He considered, “People like you are amazing, Thea. And yeah, if you could band together, correct, with others like yourself then maybe you could make a real difference.” That Chris was giving the idea real consideration was obvious. "An app for phones could do it, maybe. People with the app could maybe use it to stop some of the petty crime. I mean, no one should try to take on the joker or something. Leave that to the capes... But thugs and low level gangs? That's possible."" The idea had merit. "EMT's, counselors, soup kitchens and shelters, lawyers, and people just looking to help… At street level, a difference could be made. Make it easier on the heroes, too."

Looking around the burger joint, Chris nodded, "It could help, yeah. But it only helps people who can pay. Gotham needs jobs, not the high ranking stuff, even., just decent paying honest jobs."

"No, seriously. The guy straight up refused pie. Weird, right?” Belle's pie, saving the world one slice at a time. He described Safi as a ‘maybe friend' because, well, he wasn't sure.

What was his interest? Christian... Didn't know.

Shrugging, he looked down at the fries, buying time to let the sudden blush calm down by munching on one. "I'm not entirely sane. He was... He told me he didn't like me, but scolded me for getting hurt. Went to the party for the most spoiled kid ever - I was working at it - and he kissed me? And when I came back with this," he motioned to his eye the bruise just barely showing still, “Last week, he told me he'd come to Gotham with me to make sure I didn't get hurt from now on. He came with to see Belle when she was shot, too... So... I don’t know." He was quiet a few moments when Thea changed topics, but in the end, Christian looked up again, "No, not really. I'm making a ballerina for Belle, but don't tell her. okay? It's gonna be a surprised. And I’m learning some new tricks, so there's that, too."
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DC-DCTVU

16 Posts
3 Threads
Age:20
Job: Artemis
Ship Status:
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Raven

All Accounts Posts: 45
Points: 318.41€
#9
“Yeah, it’s a good thing… really good thing…” She leaned into him, noticing the electric charge down her back as her head brushed against his. Yup, that was called attraction, that was called having a kind sexy man as a good friend and was it lying to not tell him that she could very easily have feelings for him, might already?

Her stomach growled. There was always the chance her currently emotional state was more connected to low blood sugar.

“Memo taken, Christian isn’t fragile.” She winked and hit him in the arm again, using the humor to distract herself from her maelstrom of thoughts. Really, Thea, eat a burger, you’re hungry, and lonely. Chill. “How far does that pacifism go though?” She looked at him curiously. “If you knew how to defend yourself, and someone tried to hit you, would you just let the blow land? If you would fight back, when would you?” It wasn’t that long ago that she hadn’t considered herself a fighter, that the idea of hitting someone was as foreign as spending her day doing something other than getting drunk and partying with friends. Now she had the dormant bloodlust of hundreds of assassins in her soul… and even with it held in check she still yearned for the fight. If she wasn’t able to use that hunger to help people, how would she sate it? The thought that she would struggle to function in a peaceful world sent a shiver up her spine. And yet it was still worth fighting for, ironic as that was.

Her eyes lit up as Christian took her community team thought and easily turned it into something that could exist through an app on a phone. “That would be amazing. I would… “ She scrunched up her nose as she considered the trinity of her life: sleeping, driving the ambulance, and lurking on the rooftops. “...have no time to give to developing such an app… but…” She held up a sudden hand. “... you could bounce ideas off me. I’m an excellent idea trampoline.” And it was an idea worth pursuing. Too long the citizens of Gotham had been characterized as victims who needed saving. They were a people who could save themselves.

Unlike, seemingly, Christian. Who had a maybe friend who was micromanaging his trip to Gotham. When Thea asked about Safi’s interests, she was more thinking of someone looking to get access to whatever genius it was that Christian had that allowed him to basically bring life to a robotic vacuum. She hadn’t been thinking, at all, of someone whose interests ran to kissing. That was clear from the sputter of root beer from her mouth onto the table.

“Oh my God… I’m sorry…” she said, wiping up the mess with her napkin, “but I…” Shouldn’t assume. That’s what. But he had seemed, at least slightly, interested? If he was gay… Assuming again Queen. She sighed and pressed her palms against the table. Honesty. That thing that would end all Shakespearean comedies in the first act. It was time to keep this from becoming such a play.

“Honesty,” she let the thought out, along with some others that had been simmering. “So, I, uh… am attracted to you Christian, and thought…” She bit her lip. “...thought it might be a little bit mutual…” She pinched two fingers together to indicate how little. Perhaps she should should just press them together completely. “...but it sounds like you might prefer dating men so if we could get this particular deck of cards on the table maybe we can move on, friends, and not be awkward.” Right.
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DC-DCTVU-1

399 Posts
15 Threads
Age:29
Job: PA/Magician
Ship Status: Single with Complications
Sexual Orientation: Pan-Romantic
Nyte

All Accounts Posts: 1,185
Points: 6,285.21€
#10
“And don’t you forget it.” Not telling someone you had feelings for them (or could have feelings for them) wasn’t lying. That was.. Different. Chris still hadn’t told Safi how he felt, after all, and he wasn’t entirely sure he ever would. Especially not now, with how things were going with Hub and… Chris frowned at the thought of a specific person (whom he did not like, nope, not even a little bit!) before shoving aside thoughts of Safi and Tony Stark. When Thea leaned against him, he reached to give her a gentle squeeze with a smile. He’d missed her.

“Nope, he’s definitely not.” She asked about his pacifism, and he smiled and tipped his head slightly, considering the question before giving an answer. “I really don’t like the idea of doing something that would directly hurt someone, not unless I had no other choice. I think if I had the knowledge on how to fight, I could just dodge their blows, don’t you? If I could do that, then there wouldn’t be any reason to hurt them.” He paused, then blushed, fidgeting and staring at the table, “I have recently had the urge to hit someone, though. It was… Unfair, and unkind.” Not that Christian would claim to always be kind, but still, the point was that it had been a horrible urge to have.

Chris considered the idea of the app. He could help with that, he knew how to make an app, and even if he continued going to Hub regularly with Safi, and visiting Belle, he had time at Lexcorp that he could use to work on the application. “Well, if you have the time to take a look at it from time to time and give me ideas and criticisms, then I could help put something together. Just something simple, but user friendly?” Chris agreed with Thea that Gothamites needed a way to be more proactive, and this… They could stay out of direct trouble and still help those in need with something like this. And with push notifications, people could alert each other to events, goings-on, and villain sightings.

Her reaction to him commenting that Safi had kissed him was… Less than encouraging. Apparently, the idea that someone might kiss him was shocking.

Joy.

And then she apologized, and he was about to stop her, to tell her it was okay, he understood that he was small and…

And… That wasn’t what she was saying.

She was attracted to him?? He blinked at her, expression dumbfounded as she explained; it wasn’t until she was nearly done speaking that he shook himself. “I’m not gay.” The words were spoken quietly, but with a resignation to them, as though he had had to explain this many times. “I like women and men, depending on the man or woman. It’s… Not about gender for me. I mean… I can find a man or a woman beautiful, and what will make me attracted to them is that, but also their personality…”
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DC-DCTVU

16 Posts
3 Threads
Age:20
Job: Artemis
Ship Status:
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Raven

All Accounts Posts: 45
Points: 318.41€
#11
Christian pulled her into a side hug and all she could think was more of that please. Because heroes didn’t get much cuddle time. Sure they escaped the madness of their work by gasping and grasping with another human being, but there was a difference between a keep your sanity screw and being held. Even the sanity screws had been few and far between lately.

She nodded knowingly as Christian hoped that skill at dodging would be enough to deal with an assailant. When she’d started training with Malcolm she’d focused on blocking and dodging so much that he’d finally stood in front of her, hands at his side, and insisted that she hit him square in the face. She hadn’t want to hurt him, or anyone. But though she hadn’t subscribed to his more extreme logic, she’d finally understood that hurting some people could prevent many others from suffering. It wasn’t an ideal worthy of a Disney movie, but it was reality.

“You’re partially right,” she said with a nod. “You can probably block or dodge the first attack, and then run, or even better, run first. For a civilian, flight is almost always safer than fight.” And she’d better be careful. As far as Christian knew, she was a civilian. “But if you’re cornered, or they’re faster than you, you can only block so many blows. Even a really good fighter like, I don’t know, Batman, is going to get hit eventually if he only blocks.” Batman was more than a good fighter, and if anyone could dodge strikes indefinitely it was probably him, but still, she’d made her point. “Not trying to dis your pacifism philosophy, I think it’s admirable, but if you’re going to put yourself in…” She looked around. “Well, Gotham, being able to hit back might be something to practice.”

A community connection app was definitely more in Christian’s wheelhouse than learning Krav Maga. Seeing him excited about it was like a snort of cocaine (which she’d only tried once, maybe twice) and she leaned in, eyes bright. “I’ll make time to work on it with you.”

Speaking of work and grand ideas was probably where she should’ve stayed, but the pull to share her feelings for him was strong, and the thought that he might be gay and the whole thing all in her head was too much to keep inside. So she didn’t.

“... get this particular deck of cards on the table… and not be awkward…” She froze. “Wait, you’re not? So you…”

...like women and men…

“Well, okay, that’s… well it is, isn’t it.” God she sounded like an idiot. She pressed her palms into her eyes and then slid them down her face. Lucky thing about not having time to put on more than lip gloss, she didn’t smear makeup down her face. “But it doesn’t really change what I’m asking, especially if you’re into Safi. You’re a handsome man, Christian, with a smile that makes me giddy - and I don’t do giddy much. But you’re a good friend at a time I need a good friend, so, you don’t have to commit, but just tell me if I’m barking up the wrong tree, okay?” She shrugged, winked, and then added a quiet “woof.”
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DC-DCTVU-1

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Nyte

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#12
Christian loved to cuddle. Cuddles, snuggles, hugs, that way of sitting where you just touched on the side but didn’t actually do more than that? He loved it all, every sort of physical affection, he lapped it up like a starving kitten given a plate of cream. Growing up, there had been precious little of it, there were so many children, and those who worked at the group home had always known that while some kids would stay in the home to adulthood, many would find permanent homes elsewhere; there had been every reason not to grow attached. As an adult, Christian took every sort of affection offered him and responded in kind and with gratitude. Seeing Thea enjoy the little squeeze he gave only encouraged him to offer her more of the same.

The idea of dodging most of the hits that came in at him, thrown by, to be honest, simple thugs, was a very appealing one for Christian. It meant he would never have to hurt anyone, while at the same time, avoiding being hurt himself. Still, he listened to her, the same has he had listened to Safi when he’d asked a similar question to the other man. “Well, yeah, there’s no way to always dodge perfectly, no matter how much you practice. But I mean… I’m not a cape, Thea. I’m just a guy trying to escape getting beat to hell when he gets mugged, you know? If…” He winced at the thought, “If the Joker or someone attacks me, I’m gonna either try to run or meekly do what I have to to make it out of the situation alive, I’m not going to try to play hero, I know better. But some random thug on the street that tries to hit first and make demands after? Sure, if I can dodge and run, then why not? And if I get to keep my wallet, so much the better, but that’s not the point.” He chuckled at her words, “Don’t worry, Thea, Safi has already had this argument with me. He refuses to take ‘no’ for an answer when it comes to learning how to defend myself.”

The idea of making an app that allowed people to band together in Gotham and protect themselves and each other from attacks by the variety of rogues that stalked the city’s streets? Yes, that would a very, very good thing. Something that Chris definitely wanted to be a part of. Wanted to help and be involved with. “A lot of it I can do just… in my free time. But sure, we can meet up and discuss it, our options, ideas…”

“No, I’m not.” He really, really hated labels. Gay, straight, bi… Just labels. He’d love who he would love, like who he would like.

Her response was… Confusing. She almost seemed frustrated with him? And he wasn’t entirely sure why, even as she explained that she was attracted to him (which was weird and unexpected but in a good way). Into Safi. “I’m.. A bit hung up, yes. But he’s…” Christian gave her a pained look, “Unavailable?” She didn’t do giddy much? He blushed a little bit at her candor, but he also appreciated it. It was nice to know where he stood. “I’m not sure how committed I could be to an actual relationship right now. I’m… Like I said, a bit hung up on Safi. But… You’re beautiful, Thea. You’re my friend, and no matter what? That won’t be changing, not unless you’d prefer it does. But I have recently learned that being friends with someone does not preclude having more.”
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DC-DCTVU

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Raven

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#13
It was easy being with Christian, maybe too easy. She nestled into his side and he held her closer and how far was it from a hand to his jaw and pulling him into a kiss? Not far at all. That wouldn’t be a bad thing, probably, but Christian seemed one of those people where his natural friendliness could be mistaken for something more, and if she was wrong she’d have to deal with that whole ‘yeah it’s fine, it won’t be weird’ but it would be and then he wouldn’t text her and…

Christ she was borrowing trouble. Not a surprise considering how much trouble she’d gotten for free, without asking for it.

Enjoy Christian’s company, scarf a burger, or two, and just have a good time for hell’s sake!

She raised a sharp brow to his, in her estimation, fairyland strategy to staying safe in Gotham, but she didn’t want to push it. She wasn’t that type, even though she worried about him. “I will point out that you said ‘when you get mugged’ not ‘if you get mugged’, maybe raise your standards a bit.” She wrinkled her nose and poked him lightly in the ribs. She was ribbing him after all. Thea knew Christian was as stubborn as he was kind and how could she not be grateful that he kept on coming to Gotham?

“Well thanks to Safi then,” she said, not realizing the spike of jealousy that name would hit her with minutes later. “If two people who care about you are telling you the same thing, and you value their opinions…” She shrugged and sighed as they walked in, letting the blissful smell of seared beef change the conversation.

Helping people was her calling, and technology Christian’s, so working on an app to help the people of Gotham was something they could both happily pour their energy into. In fact she probably should have continued pouring her energy into that and not getting into the personal. But he mentioned Safi, and a kiss, and, well subtlety and beating around the bush weren’t part of her makeup. If she seemed frustrated by his explanation, she was, but not at him. Her emotions were on a yo-yo and in her confusion she was worried she’d acted like his way of loving wasn’t okay. It wasn’t that at all, it was more her heart was on her sleeve one moment and then flopping all over the table the next. Especially as he both admitted he was hung up on Safi, and that Safi wasn’t an option.

So she was the next best thing?

It might have been a bitter thought, but it wasn’t. There was no bitterness on her face. There was hardly anything on her face but a blank stare as she held her breath listening to him. She knew that romance wasn’t some Disney story where there was the one and only out there waiting. She got that Christian had fallen hard on Safi and could also imagine having a thing, fling, something with her. The question was what did she want? And the reason she held her breath was to keep from just jumping at any chance with him like some giddy teen. She wasn’t that, not anymore. Listen to her heart, yes, but it wasn’t her ruler. Even if she finally drew breath and grinned broadly as he called her beautiful.

“Okay,” she said, shrugging, eyes bright. Okay what? “Let’s just see what happens then? I mostly wanted to know that I wasn’t having a one-sided crush. To be honest, I have no interest in registering for dinnerware just yet.” Though shopping with him would be fun… That was the best thing about him, he was simply fun to be with. “And if it starts to feel weird, I want to know… if something happens with Safi, I’d want to know and…” She paused and her heart fluttered as he spoke of having ‘more’.

“No, I suppose it doesn’t… it makes it better? Less issues of ownership, more consent…” She tilted her head to the side, eyeing him with mock suspicion. “We are talking about sex right?” Might as well get it out on the table. Well, not literally on the table. She was blushing again, and reaching out to tangle her fingers into his.

“No labels for how you love someone, so no labels for what we are, as long as it feels right.”
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DC-DCTVU-1

399 Posts
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Nyte

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#14
This was Christian; if Thea had kissed him, well… That really wouldn’t have been a bad thing. Thea was beautiful, both physically as well as her personality, and Christian recognized that he was attracted to her. She was also a good friend, and not one he would be willing to cut off communication with so easily over something as harmless as a kiss.

Maybe his strategy and outlook for survival in Gotham were a bit optimistic, but he had Safi, and Safi kept him safe. Still, he was also realistic. “Well, yeah.” He snorted quietly, “If I manage to not get mugged during a stay in Gotham it will be entirely to Safi’s credit, Thea.” He smiled good naturedly at her ribbing, shaking his head, “I’m fully aware that I’m an easy mark, you know. It’s not something new, really, just something that’s made so much more clear in this city of yours.” He spoke without any bitterness, because he knew that the reason he was an easy mark was because he chose to be that way; if he were going to be bitter about it, then why wouldn’t he just change his circumstances and be less of a target? He wouldn’t let Gotham defeat him, he would just keep returning, and he would deal with the consequences.

When Thea thanked Safi and then started to prod him about learning how to defend himself, Christian held up both hands in an ‘I surrender’ gesture, “Hey, hey, like I said, Safi already beat me into submission! He’s teaching me.” Not a whole lot thus far, as life had suddenly gotten so much more hectic with the discovery of Hub, but… He knew how to put up a shield that would reflect attacks, at least. But that was magic, and he hadn’t broached that particular subject with Thea, worried about how she might take the information. They both had secrets, and they had agreed to not press to be told about them, to not push each other into lying.

They spoke about the app that Thea envisioned, and yes, Christian was pretty sure he could put something like this together. Hell, he was pretty sure he could do the bare bones work on it from Lexcorp in his down time, especially if she wasn’t in a huge hurry to get it up and running, though Chris knew for sure that he would end up spending hours working out the color scheme and visual aesthetics. He was a PA, and aesthetic and taste was very much a part of that job. He wasn’t one to leave something half finished or do a half assed job, so the app would be functional as well as pleasing to the eye.

And then they weren’t talking about the app anymore, but instead they were discussing their feelings about each other, and about how he felt about Safi, and…

He watched her as he spoke, looking for tells, looking for hints of what she was feeling and thinking. Christian never wanted to hurt anyone, but especially not those few people he considered his friends, and Thea was definitely one of those people. Christian paid attention to the details, that was part of his personality, and he knew she had started to hold her breath… Figuring out what that meant was the more difficult part, really, at least for Chris. Was she holding her breath in order to not yell at him? Or… He averted his eyes, no longer comfortable holding her gaze, especially if she were going to disapprove of his comment..

Okay? She said okay? But he wasn’t sure what she was assenting to… When she said they’d see what happened, Chris looked back up at her, “I… Yeah, no, but.” He smiled to her, “Pretty sure that you won’t ever have to worry about someone not finding you attractive, Thea; you’re amazing.” He nodded with her conditions, they were fair. “Of course. Communication is important, and… I couldn’t imagine something changing and not telling you.” She was one of the few people he found he’d like to share things with. When she mentioned sex so outrightly, he flushed, but he chuckled quietly, nodding, “Yes, we are talking about sex.” Because, yes, yes they were. “Okay. I don’t like labels anyway.” It was the truth, of course, and as long as both of them knew where they stood and they could keep the friendship they had made (if allowing it to shift and be a little different), Christian was happy.
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