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Stark reflections
Marvel-MCU

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#21
Stark Reflections

Steve noticed the reaction the Other Tony had to the alcohol, and honestly, he actually felt a little pull of approval and pride at it. Good for this Tony.

And he was not going to cry. He was devastated by what the answer to the question the Other Tony had asked, yes but he wasn’t going to start crying over it. He’d made his bed, and he’d sleep in it.

The approval and pride for this new version of his friend was pushed roughly aside at the harsh tone, the scolding attitude, that this Other Tony used about… The turn around in Steve’s attitude showed in his face and body language. The desperate need for absolution that had so clearly been there a few moments ago shifted into a cool calm as the man put himself back together in the face of being told that… All of that.

”Excuse me,” Steve’s blue eyes settled on the new Tony, ”To be frank with you, you have absolutely no idea what actually happened between us. You don’t have any understanding of what I did wrong, or what the issues are between us. And if you knew us at all? You’d realize that Tony,” he motioned to his Tony, the man he’d known for years, whom he still considered a friend, ”And I haven’t actually spoken about what happened between us. So yes, on a scale of speaking to each other versus being dead, we’re doing well, but that doesn’t mean our friendship is intact.” Because Steve was pretty sure it wasn’t, not really. They might be able to fix it, to salvage something out of what they’d once had and make something new, and maybe even as good (he didn’t dare hope for better) out of it, but that would the future, not the present.

The point was that the Other Tony didn’t know them, didn’t know their history, and thus couldn’t really make judgement calls about how well they were doing together. His voice was softer as he indulged Tony’s insistence they were fine, ”Right, of course, Tony.”

Justin walked in, and honestly, Steve was relieved to see him. ”If you’re in hell, Justin,” he asked almost casually, ”Why are the rest of us here? Because I’m fairly certain I’m not dead.”

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Marvel-616

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Jasmine (starkly-tony)

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#22
Tony ignored the other Tony's quip about steps--he hadn't mentioned being alcoholic, just turned down the liquor, which made the other Tony's comment obnoxiously presumptuous. On the other hand, he wasn't exactly wrong, and the glinting amber liquid still kept catching his gaze in a tantalizing way. (It wasn't like this Steve or this Tony knew, not really, what would be at stake if he took it. There'd be no judgment and no one at home would be any wiser.)

No, no, no. That was bad. That was a really bad way to think.

He had to wrench his thoughts away, which turned out not to be so hard when Steve started talking. "... So yes, on a scale of speaking to each other versus being dead, we’re doing well, but that doesn’t mean our friendship is intact."

It was more of a diatribe than he'd been expecting, and it stirred up a nearly irrational anger in him. The nerve this Steve had, to act like not talking to each other was as bad as it got. As if Tony wouldn't give anything, anything he had to go back a year in time, to the height of their fighting, when Steve had been so spitting furious at him Tony had been sure nothing could repair their fractured friendship. Because as much as that had hurt, Steve being gone hurt a thousand times more. At the end of the day it didn't matter if Steve loved him or liked him or could kind of tolerate him or hated his guts. All that mattered was that Steve was gone, and somehow Tony would have to live out the rest of his life in a world without Steve Rogers in it.

"You don't have any idea how lucky you are," he snapped, then slammed his jaw shut because he wanted to cry again and that just wasn't acceptable. Instead he formed his face into his media-ready blank mask that was all he could really manage these days. The liquor glinted again in the glass and he could almost feel himself reaching for it, because this was all almost more than he could bear.

Then the door opened and an unfamiliar man came in, glared at him, and told Steve he was in hell. Tony folded his arms (partly in annoyance, partly because he really had been about to reach for that drink), and demanded, "Great, and you are?"
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Marvel Comics-616-ish

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#23
Oh god damn it.

Justin almost punched the wall. Yes, being stuck in some extra-dimensional hub was its own level of weird, but at least everyone had some sort of familiarity going on. Everyone knew each other, more or less… except for him. This was by all appearances a Tony he knew… except he didn’t know him. Once again, Justin was the non-person in the room, and it was getting old. He’d been an Avenger for years. He’d gone into space to fight in the Infinity War. He’d stopped the Goddess the next year in that messed up Crusade she’d started. He’d fought Ultron. He’d fought Kang. He’d fought Onslaught (that was a weird year). He’d helped save the world numerous times, but if Friday hadn’t found the records to prove it, he doubted anyone would believe him.

He shot Steve a glance. “Same reason everyone else is here, to make everything harder for me. Yeah, Tony, he’s mine. Sort of. Armor’s a dead ringer, face is too, but apparently I’m not a thing on his world, either. Who knows, maybe I died while I was in the marines or something while I was there, I don’t know.” And, notably, he didn’t answer ‘his’ Tony’s question. If he didn’t know who Justin was, Justin would just consider that a personal failing of Tony’s, because he was sick of thinking about the alternative.
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#24
@Steve Rogers
‘Not dead’ Tony didn’t flinch when Steve said that...except he very much did. Turning his attention to the other version of him that was studiously ignoring him and his really very polite demands to get out of his fucking armor Tony decided it was time to play hard ball.

So here’s the deal. For the last week Tony had been trapped in a lab that wasn’t his own surrounded by armor that was way more advanced than his own in many respects and he had been locked out of them. You cannot leave Tony Stark in that kind of puzzle and expect him to leave it alone. Nope for the last week he’d been tickling, tempting, and cracking his way into the armory.

“Friday, Sweetie pea?” The redheaded avatar nodded to her boss. “Gimmie.” he cocked his fingers at the other Tony, gesturing hard with his fist. Friday dived into the systems while he snapped forward, hitting the emergency release.

The armor dropped off of Other Tony, reforming around Tony, a gleeful giggle escaped him as the HUD responded to his commands. “Oooo hello my pretty!” Mad Scientist laugh? Yes yes he would. Because if he EVER deserved to do it, stealing another version’s of him’s armor? Yep that was it.

Tony stepped out of the armor “All yours sweetie. Never say i don’t get you anything nice.”

Friday deadpanned back “Thanks boss, what i always wanted.” the armor closed up moving back from the group to stand next to Tony’s original armor.

“Really? Hell? So rude.” Tony was in a good mood now, grinning at everyone. “Don’t worry babe. I still love you.” He winked at Justin taking a sip from his abandoned glass. Ignore him? Well how did it feel other him?
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Marvel-MCU

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#25
Stark Reflections

No, not talking to each other wasn’t as bad as it got, not by a long shot. But it wasn’t the sort of relationship he wanted, either.

How bad did things get before he longed for the days where he and Tony were just not talking to each other? Steve didn’t think he actually wanted to know the answer. Did that not happen until one of them died? Or did it happen somewhere along the way to that??

This Other Tony certainly knew how to get under Steve’s skin just as well as his Tony, that was for sure. He might not look the same, but that this was definitely a version of Tony Stark was undeniable. ”Considering you met me just a moment ago, I’m pretty sure you have no idea how lucky I am.” The words were spoken calmly, almost pleasantly, but the look he leveled on the Other Tony was one of weary frustration. He really didn’t need to have anyone else telling him anything about the other versions of himself. He’d heard enough from Wanda and Justin, thank you.

Watching his Tony take over the Other Tony’s armor? Steve would admit to being just a touch proud, and a little amused at the sight. So it was that Steve was smiling when he looked over to Justin, ”Sorry, Justin. Seems like most everyone is dead here or there…” He chuckled a little bit, glad to see Tony’s mood so far improved to what it had been.

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Jasmine (starkly-tony)

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#26
"I'm pretty sure you have no idea how lucky I am."

He'd opened his mouth to reply but the attack came without warning, the AI who had compromised Extremis's channels before exploding into his consciousness and ripping the armor away from him. Pain shot through his skull as Extremis's relays were violently disrupted, again, and Tony staggered as the armor formed around the other Tony and reformed beside him. Tony was dressed in the clothes he'd been wearing for his late night paperwork spree--not his SHIELD uniform, not even a snappy suit, but a T-shirt and jeans that left him feeling utterly vulnerable as the armor tore away. He was vaguely aware of Tony looking (and sounding) gleeful, and Steve saying something to the man who'd just come in, but he slammed his eyes shut to block out the distractions and put everything he had into calling the armor back. It didn't come.

He looked up and discovered that at some point he'd collapsed onto the ground, the others all standing around him. And maybe it was the angle, since the last time he'd really seen the man he'd also found himself on the ground with a pounding headache, but the third man's face suddenly clicked in his memory. Different costume, a few years older, but there was no mistaking him.

"Justin," he muttered. One of his biggest fans. ...As if today couldn't possibly get any worse. Still, he could deal with Justin later. He could even deal with Steve later.

He shoved himself to his feet, glaring at the other Tony, with his faux-innocent expression and little smirk. "What the hell was that for?" Tony demanded, just barely stopping himself from demanding childishly to give it back. Then, because he couldn't think of anything better to say, he stepped forward and punched the other Tony as hard as he could in the face.
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Marvel Comics-616-ish

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#27
There were some times that Justin had to enjoy being the most grown up person in the room, and really, when you got down to it? This was one of those times. Granted, he also had to make sure no one hurt anyone else, since if they did? He was the one who had to patch them, up, and two thirds of the people in this room were likely to refuse to let him treat them like big huffy babies when push came to shove. So, sadly, he needed to be the parent here.

He felt this sick, wrong feeling bubbling up in his chest, and it took him a moment to identify it as the impulse to side with real-Tony in this case. Oh, sure, he’d come busting in here and had tried shoving his virus-addled brain through the systems of the tower, but hacking his armor? Justin would readily admit that he didn’t understand the science behind what real-Tony had done to his body, and he would never pretend to approve of what he’d done, but he understood the end result. Ripping out his control from his armor… hell, that must have hurt, and doing things like that could, conceivably, cause him physical nervous damage. It was a long shot, sure, and he didn’t think Friday would intentionally do that, but accidents happened, even to super heroes.

“Will you two knock it off!” Justin snapped, flying forward and interposing himself between them. “What are we, high schoolers? You going to just whip them out to see whose is bigger next?” He glared at better-Tony for a second. Honestly, he’d hoped for better from him. Better-Tony, though, had been here as long as he had, and there was really only one interloper in the room. “Why are you here,” he asked, his gaze shooting back to real-Tony.
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#28
“Hey I asked nicely, three times!” Tony’s smirk was well justified he felt, look he really was better Tony! “Cap asked, I even offered a drink, you were the rude-” in the middle of his spiel Tony was caught completely off guard by the punch.

Pain exploded across his cheek and jaw, the hit was expertly placed sending him staggering back. In his defense he wouldn't have opened with a goddamn physical attack right out so he'd made the assumption that this other version of him wouldn't either.

He wouldn't make that assumption again.

“Didn't anyone ever teach you not to punch in the jaw.” He ground out, wiggling his jaw to see if everything was still working.

“Hey!” Tony got to his feet. “I'm not the one solving his problems with violence here!” He'd been trying to deescalate thank you! I mean sure he'd been a dick about it in the end but he felt justified in that!
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Marvel-MCU

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#29
Steve was annoyed with this new version of Tony; the man made assumptions he shouldn’t. He didn’t listen. But when he fell, Steve pushed aside the irritation he felt and moved to help the other Tony up, or at least offer to do so.



”Justin, is he-” Steve had been in the middle of asking Justin if the other Tony were alright, having fallen suddenly. For all they knew, this version of Tony could require the suit, that being out of it hurt him. Oh, Steve hoped not, but the possibility was there. And Justin had recognized this Tony, had said that this was the Tony from his world, so… Justin would know. And be the best person to help.



When the other Tony punched his Tony, though… The shift in Steve was immediate and obvious; like Justin, he surged forward, but where Justin had stepped between the two Tonys, Steve moved to pull the other Tony back and away, not unkindly (the man had just been on the floor a moment ago), but firmly. Dealing with this new Tony like one would a kitten, he held him back, frowning at him, ”We don’t hit anyone here, even our alternate selves, Tony.” Then he all but rolled his eyes back over to his Tony, ”Stop. Both of you stop. For all you know you just hurt him.”



Taking a deep breath, Steve looked between the three of them, ”Okay.” He let the other Tony go, keeping a hand on his shoulder to maybe offer some comfort and support. ”Why is it that we can’t just talk like normal people?” He sighed, ”For once, let’s just talk.”

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Marvel-616

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Jasmine (starkly-tony)

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#30
Tony's head was pounding with pain and fury as Justin shoved him back and Steve pinioned his arms behind him. As obnoxious as he found his counterpart he honestly hadn't expected him to stoop as low as using his AI to muscle into Extremis and take the armor. Not to mention, Tony hadn't given up control easily and he was sure the struggle had left the neural pathways damaged. Nothing he couldn't fix given a little time in the lab (he hoped), but the stabbing throb behind his eyes was showing no signs of abating at it certainly wasn't helping his mood any.

All three of them treating him like he'd overreacted, like he was the childish one here, well, that only served to stoke his irritation even more.

He glared at the other Tony. "You offered me a drink? Really? Like that's supposed to make me feel better. Also, obviously, you know nothing about Extremis if you think that hostile takeover of yours wasn't--violent." He cut himself off abruptly, not wanting to give away how much damage had been done.

So he rounded on Justin next. He knew the man had never liked him, but really, he'd expected a little less hostility considering he'd been attacked first. "I'm taller. Draw your own conclusions." He leered for effect. What he was doing here, well, mainly he was asking himself the same exact question.

He tugged away from Steve's hand on his shoulder--probably trying to be comforting, but in combination with the utterly patronizing tone, hardly that--and snarled at him, "You want to talk? Fine. What exactly do you want to talk about?"
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Marvel Comics-616-ish

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#31
In this case… Justin couldn’t argue with real-Tony much. At the very least, he hadn’t taken a drink, and better-Tony’s drinking did worry him, as much as it should worry anyone when a known alcoholic was drinking. On the other hand, while real-Tony might be trying to keep his secrets close to his chest, Justin didn’t give two damns about his secrets, and so he activated his medical scanner, the holographic display spreading through the air with a swipe of his hand as he searched for damage that had been done. Extremis. Now that was a profanity against nature if he’d ever seen one…

Justin didn’t even look away from his display as he answered Tony’s silly assertion. He was a doctor, he knew anatomy better than Tony could ever hope to. “Some conclusion as usual,” he said in a bored tone, “That you’re compensating so hard that you can’t even see it anymore, even though the entire rest of the world can. You go through more penis stand-ins than Clint goes through arrows.”
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#32
Hurt him? Extremis? Humm.

Tony's eyes narrowed as the Not explanations mounted, “one:” he held up a finger, “I don't have a problem with being offered a drink so-” tony obstinately snagged the rejected drink since his was now decorating the floor- “So yes I did think it might make you comfy womfy.” The liquor burned against the cut inside his cheek, but fuck it, disinfectant right?

“Two-” Tony’s narrowed eyes read the holo display backwards, “My version of Extremis is nothing like yours apparently. Because if you had my version, you wouldn't sweat the boo boos. And it has nothing to do with the armor.” Again a dig about his height?

Tony moved closer to the display, mouth pulling into a deepening frown. “What the everliving fuck happened?” Tony turned to his not exactly doppelgänger brown eyes actually concerned, because probably unlike the rest of the world he got extreme measures. So what ever Other him did...he had a damn good reason for fucking himself that hard.

...and if he were him he probably did NOT want to go there.

Showing tact for himself Tony steamrolled his own question, “Friday give it up, other me. Let Doc McSexy do you up. Or let's hit the lab, because-” Tony’s head shake was aborted. “Than you and Steve can have some personal man time. Sound like a plan?” Because yeah..really what were they gonna talk about besides the fucked that was everything about them apparently.

Everything he was trying to project to the other him was ‘stand the fuck down and let's go lick our wounds in peace, cuz I fucking get it.’
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#33
“Language!”

”Extremis?” Steve’s eyes found his Tony, frowning slightly, ”The healing plant stuff that makes people blow up?” That was… Confusing? Tony hadn’t given him the full explanation about that whole mess with the Mandarin and what had actually happened with Killian and his crazy killing thinktank, but Steve had listened to what he had been told. ”What does that have to do with anything?” What he was able to pick up from this other Tony was that Friday’s incursion had done something to him. Something bad, from the tone he used.

It was sort of a relief when Tony didn’t see the connection between Extremis and Friday taking over the armor, either. It meant that maybe, just maybe, he wasn’t missing something here, which he had begun to expect might be the case.

It was easy to ignore the comment about height and the dick measuring contest that had been interrupted. Some things weren’t going to change, it seemed. It was far less easy to ignore the way other Tony yanked away from him, though Steve let him go.

”You want to talk? Fine. What exactly do you want to talk about?”

The sigh Steve gave was patient, but frustrated, ”Nevermind, Tony. I said I’d like to talk… Not fight. I’m tired of fighting Tony Stark. Seems like that’s all we do, barring a world threatening emergency.” He frowned, shaking his head; was there no world where they could just be okay? It didn’t seem there was. At least his Tony seemed to be letting go of the hostility toward his other self. That was good, it was a relief.

Really? Personal man time. For what? ”Justin? They’re both okay?”

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Jasmine (starkly-tony)

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#34
"Technically, arrows are penis stand-ins," Tony muttered, fully aware that saying so made him sound like a middle schooler at best. Still, the fact that he knew Justin hated him so enthusiastically made everything the man said or did get under his skin.

Especially when he pulled up a holographic display Tony's vitals, flashing warnings that showed the cracks in Extremis (and by extension, in his brain) very plainly for the whole room to see. Insult on top of injury. He resisted the urge to bring his hand to his head, which was still throbbing savagely, and instead glared at the other Tony, who was looking at the holo display with far too much interest.

"One," he snapped, "you should, because as he"--he nods at Justin--"will undoubtedly tell you if I don't, I am an alcoholic and you're me, and I know you can do that math. Two, of course I didn't take Extremis to make myself an exploding, fire-breathing monster. It lets me interface directly with the suit, and other tech," he added, because Steve sounded genuinely curious and hadn't actually done anything to deserve his irritation.

"And I'm fine," he added, both in response to the other Tony's suggestion that he let Justin examine him (god no) or go with him to the lab, as well as to Steve's concerned question. "I can handle this on my own, and then, uh, personal man time?" On the one hand, the thought of sitting down with Steve and, well, just talking without any hostility... he could barely admit to himself how much he'd like that. But it was clear that this version of Steve hadn't meant any such thing when he'd said talk. "That's okay. I'm good, I promise."
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#35
“Oh, they’re totally penis stand-ins. You have to make yours bigger and flashier, though. Draw your own conclusions on what that means.” He peered at the holodisplay, then glared over his shoulder, wiping it away. “Hey,” he said, “Just because you won’t listen to the doctor doesn’t mean confidentiality doesn’t still apply.” Honestly? Justin just didn’t want to be giving better-Tony ideas. All he needed was to see the advantages, and maybe he’d start doing the same shitty stuff to his body.

And, of course, real-Tony was going to refuse treatment. Justin rolled his eyes, throwing up his hands in frustration. “Hey, you want to know why I keep treating you like him?” he shot at better-Tony. “There you go. You two pull the same aggravating shit. You have to be in a brain-damaged coma before you’ll listen to someone who might know something you don’t.” He started for the door, scowling. “And I don’t know if that was really listening, you just couldn’t talk back. Probably as close as it gets, doesn’t matter if it’s the real Tony or the better Tony.” Heh… let them argue over which one of them was which. That suited him just fine.
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#36
Tony was just done.

He'd tried playing nice. He'd tried being empathic. The only person other him was even half listening to was Steve.

Not his Steve.

So you know what fuck it.

“Fine. Go fucking fix yourself." Tony rolled his eyes at other him, turning to give a half flop of his hand "Steve-” he gestured to the blonde “and Friday-” because she was everywhere- “get to babysit. Have fun fixing your stubborn ass.”

Tony rolled his eyes at Justin, “Hey I actually accept treatment when I'm mostly broken.” Tony stalked to the door after Justin, “i’m not an alcoholic, and I need a fucking drink. Cap!” He finger gunned the blonde, “he's all yours don't be afraid to use your rape whistle if he gets handsy.”

“Common, let me show you where I keep the good stuff.” He clapped Justin on the back.
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#37
“Language!”

There was no winning with one Tony Stark in the room, let alone two. ”I’m pretty sure a lot of what we do, use, or own could be considered stand ins in some way or another, really.”

Alcoholic? Steve’s eyes went to the other Tony in the room, frowning, considering; the man didn’t seem to drink to excess, not that much. HIs own… Well, Steve did worry sometimes, not that Tony was an alcoholic, but that he could develop a problem if he weren’t careful. Tony put too many green, alcohol free shakes (he drank the stuff when Tony offered it but honestly, give him something deep fried anyday) into his body for Steve to think he had an actual problem. Tony guzzled coffee far more than he did booze. The smile that crossed his face at that thought was warm and affectionate, but he remembered having to doctor a coffee not all that long ago, and looked at his Tony with more concern.

Tony and Justin bantered some, and Steve sighed to himself. The more things changed…

Justin and his Tony were heading out, leaving him with this new, far more abrasive, Tony. Okay. That was okay. Steve waited till Tony was out of sight, his eyes drifting toward the ceiling, toward one of the many cameras Friday could use, “Friday? Look after him, please? Just… let me know if I should… You know.” The words were spoken with concern, and the sort of caution that implied that Steve had when he was facing an enemy he had no idea how to fight. Then he turned to the new Tony, ”So, it seems like our worlds are quite different. Do you…” Steve blinked, his face falling, ”I’m not the Steve you knew, but if you need anything, any help, or just the company…”

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Jasmine (starkly-tony)

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#38
"You're not my doctor," Tony muttered at Justin, then rolled his eyes at the real-Tony/better-Tony line. Not that he was surprised, exactly, but considering that the other Tony had so far proven himself to be a complete ass, it didn't seem like the fairest of assessments. Not that he was likely to convince. Mr. Team Cap Forever of that.

Then the other Tony (worse-Tony, his mind supplied) was insulting him some more--also not surprising--then going off with Justin to drink. Tony couldn't resist wincing at the thought of it. It was obvious like it'd never been to him that this other Tony had a problem. And despite that there was a long moment where he wanted nothing more than to join him.

But then the other Tony was gone, and Steve was talking to the ceiling like he was worried about the same exact thing. For a fleeting moment, Tony remembered, well, half-remembered, Steve's discovery of his own problem. How he'd tried to help and Tony had shoved him ungratefully away each time. He wondered if this Steve would fare any better.

”Do you… I’m not the Steve you knew, but if you need anything, any help, or just the company…”

The words, in a kind tone like he hadn't heard from Steve in so long, shook him. He'd done nothing to earn this Steve's kindness, and it was almost impossible to look at him without seeing his own Steve's face twisted in fury and hatred like he'd last seen him. He had no doubt that spending any time with this Steve would hurt.

"I'd like that," he said, then winced. "The company, I mean. If you wouldn't...mind." He cleared his throat, feeling suddenly uncomfortable like he hadn't since he was a teenager. "You don't have to, of course. But if you don't mind."
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