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Double Trouble
Chris, Safi, 616 Steve | June 26
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#21
The tips of Steve's ears turn red at Christian's comment. He'd had his fair share of fans back in the war, but he never was very good at dealing with them. He never failed to get flustered and tongue-tied over the compliments.

"Umm...Thank you" he manages to get out politely. He wonders what happened in Christian's life to make his sad lonely comics seem appealing. He hopes it wasn't anything too terrible, he finds Christian to be a very sweet man.

"Weakling?"

Steve draws his eyes back to Safi who is looking significantly less starstruck. (AKA he is not starstruck at all.)

"4F'd five different times before Doctor Erskine got ahold of me," Steve says with a shrug, "I probably wouldn't have survived as a kid if Ma wasn't a nurse."

Steve breaks into a smile when he hears about Doctor Erskine. "I'm glad to hear it. He deserved a good long life with family."

Steve looks surprised when Safi offers him a choice of eggs. That is unexpected. "Scrambled. Thank you."
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#22
“Doctor Erskine was a genius.” The man had, after all, created Captain America in the comic books, and yes, Chris felt that that made him just as important to the books as Steve Rogers. And while Steve Rogers had never been the one who had earned the true hero worship from Chris, he had always, always felt the relationship between Tony and Steve was more than what was simply, straightforwardly, shown.

The comment about needing eggs earned a small reflexive jerk as Chris very nearly jumped up to go make the eggs for Safi, knowing that Safi would prefer his sunny side up with multigrain toast. He liked cooking for Safi. It was one of the few ways Chris was safe to show Safi how he felt, how much he cared.

”Umm...Thank you.”

Okay, Christian wasn’t the best at picking up social cues, but even he sort of realized that Steve’s response was… Off?

Sure, Christian was a touch starstruck. Steve was Captain America, and… The question from Safi drew his attention, and the smallest of the three men looked to Steve, a small, knowing smile pulling his lips into a smile as he cut his tomatoes, “It was sort of a relief, as a kid, knowing that there was, even if only in fiction, someone even smaller than I was.”

Safi’s offer to make eggs for Steve was met with a blink, and it was hard, so hard, to suppress the knee jerk reaction to wonder why Safi hadn’t extended the offer to him too. For half a moment, Chris wondered what he had done wrong, why Safi would withhold food of all things, before he offered Safi a small, shy smile before turning back to his plate. Safi knew that Christian would gladly have hopped up to cook the eggs for him, but Chris respected that Safi wanted to do this part of the cooking, and Chris forced himself to turn his mind away on the questions, worries, and second guessing of why he hadn’t been offered eggs, too.

Food was love, but you could not demand love from another person. You just couldn’t, and you couldn’t (shouldn’t) demand food of them, either.
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#23
F4. Five times over…

“pernicious anemia...Sensorineural congenital hearing loss...astigmatism….asthma..congenital heart defect?” He morbidly listed out the major reasons he's spent his childhood hospitalized and in and out of surgery.

He wasn't sure how he'd react if the man infront of him had had the same conditions.

..except if he was reading between the lines right during the 1930s.

He was shocked that Rogers had lived long enough TO be rejected.

Safi pulled the carton out, he hadn't asked what Chris wanted because he already knew; eggs over medium, toast to eat with his yolks.

So out came two pans, one for the scramble and one for his and Chris’s fried. Safi snorted; “You would have liked me as a kid than.”
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#24
Steve smiles kindly at Christian. He was very familiar with the idea of reading and wishing there were heroes who looked like him in the stories.

"Glad I could help then," he says sincerely.

Steve nods along as Safi lists the numerous health issues, feeling a new found sympathy for the man, as wella new found sense of respect. It wasn't easy growing up sickly, and Safi had made it without the serum.

"And polio," Steve adds. That had been a nightmare. Ma had been convinced he was going to wind up in an iron lung.

Steve watches Safi pull out the pans for the eggs. Food nowadays was a vast improvement over food back in the old days. Between the fried tomatoes and the promise of scrambled eggs Steve could feel his mouth watering.
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#25
The smile from Steve was, of course, returned. Steve is a nice person, a good person. Captain America… And unlike meeting Tony Stark, this was… Much how he would have expected Steve Rogers to be. Kind, maybe a bit quiet, sincere.

Not all that different than Safi.

Which, yeah, is sort of weird, but… Damn do they look alike. Enough that it was actually disquieting to look between them, but Christian dismissed that discomfort immediately; they were both good people, and Chris wasn’t going to let the fact that they were all but twins get to him. Safi had a beard. Steve was younger than Safi. Both were devastatingly handsome, Safi being his usual dashing self and Steve being sweet and modest. “You have no idea.” He told Steve with a chuckle, “Kids’re mean, especially in the group home. Captain America and Iron Man were probably my first friends. Well, other than Belle, but she’s different.”

The litany of health defects had Chris’ head whipping to stare at Safi, though. Safi, who was big and strong and beautiful and commanding… The idea of him sick, especially sick like that, went against everything Christian believed. “But you…” His question was a whisper, “You’re better now?” He had to be. Christian’s mind went to a small doll, not one of his living toys, but just a doll (if as lovingly, dedicatedly crafted) that he had stowed in his things, just in case. If Safi still suffered any of those things… Chris could help with that. Chris would help with that.

Safi might not like magic, but Christian reveled in it, and the idea of being able to help Safi with it? Well… That was a temptation that not only could Chris not resist, but he wouldn’t even try. “I’m glad they cured polio. Too many people died from that. Or ended up crippled.”

He noticed the extra eggs, and smiled a small, soft smile down to his plate. It was as though Safi had said 'I care about you' just like that. Because food... Food was love.
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#26
“Good for me polio was eradicated before I was born.” He snorted plating three sets of eggs, taking a seat to stab at his eggs. “So I spent my childhood getting knives shoved in my ears, eyes and heart...and you get magic steroid juice.” Safi quirked a quick smile at Chris’s concern. “Grew out of the asthma, need to take vitamin b every day, have a tiny implant in my left ear…” Safi shrugged, “and I've been shot a few times. I'm as healthy today as I was yesterday.”

Safi broke the yolks of his eggs, dipping his toast into them. “So...does that mean you had to drink liver juice?” He asked half curious half amused. The vitamins for the anemia his grandfather had told him once or twice had only been discovered in the 60s.

“So Rogers-” he speared the man with a curious gaze, “what are you doing here?”
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#27
Steve smiles at Christian. He was very familiar with how cruel children could be and it was good to know his stories managed to help people. Safi's next statement completely distracts him.

"They cured polio? As in no more iron lungs?" Steve asks practically beaming at the thought. On his many trips to the hospital in his youth he had seen many kids trapped in the metal tube. Kids once healthier than himself forced to lie in a contraption that breathed for them. As a child he had nightmares about being forced into one, and given his track record with his health it had seemed pretty likely that's where he would end up. It was only by the grace of God that Ma had caught the symptoms early enough that he hadn't needed one.

"Had to drink a full glass of liver juice every day. Lucky you if you missed that." Steve says. He wonders what else modern medicine has cured. He eats his eggs slowly, enjoying the simple pleasure. Scrambled eggs were a favorite of his youth.

"What am I doing here in the future or in the hub?" Steve asks, "both are accidental. I'm in the future because of misadventures with ice and I'm in the hub because I walked through a portal thinking they were perhaps a normal part of modern life." Steve shrugs, "clearly I was mistaken."
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#28
Polio. Seriously, Safi?! Chris was just about beside himself at the idea that Safi could have even had such a horrible, crippling disease. “Yes, mostly, thank god. I mean, it exists in pockets in some places, but it’s pretty much gone now.” The statement about kids being mean was a blanket comment, and mostly just a statement of fact. Orphans were just as mean, maybe sometimes even more so, than other children. Hearing that Safi had had an unpleasant, if of a different sort, childhood earned another frown. Chris would prefer that Safi had lived a happy life, even if he had to go through infidelity and divorce. “No more iron lungs, no. We have different sorts of respiration machines now, too, so even in the case of breathing issues, you’re not stuck in a tube.”

Safi’s answer did not make Christian feel any better. Knowing his friend was suffering bothered Chris; he didn’t like to hurt people, but he also didn’t like knowing someone was hurting, especially when he cared about them. It didn’t matter that the man’s condition hadn’t changed while Chris had known him, Safi’s quality of life was important to Chris, and he’d do what he could to improve it and bring it to what he had thought Safi had had before today!

Misadventures with ice. Chris didn’t comment, because if the comic books called it right, Steve didn’t really like talking about being frozen. Still, when Steve said that he thought that portals were a normal part of life today, he laughed, not unkindly, but actually in delight, “Well, depends on who you ask, really, Steve.” He was fairly chipper about the portal, “Magic users know about portals, make them, and use them quite a bit. But most people, no, you’re right, they don’t really know about them. Magic is, at least in our world, the exception, not the rule.” He smiled to the super soldier, “Our portal here was in a tree in a park, and we found it and came through looking for my sister.”
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#29
“Not a cure. A vaccine.” Safi shrugged off his jacket hesitating over the exposed the shoulder holster before making a ‘meh’ noise of disgruntlement. He wasn't going to fully strip just to show the vaccination scar. “All kids get them. At least in Israel. I think not so much in other countries where it's been officially declared dead.”

Rolling his eyes at Chris Safi joined the conversation; “No. in my world at least no portals. This is the first. And not so many people are magic that they stumble over them.”
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#30
Once again Steve marveled at modern technology. It was inspiring and he made a note to ask Mr. Stark if there was a library in the hub where he could catch up on all of humanities advancements. He wonders what other diseases have vaccinations and cures.

Then the conversation shifts to the topic of magic. Steve isn't completely unfamiliar with it. It had cropped up a few times during the war and it was impossible not to meet Thor and realize there was something magical about Mjolnir. He did feel a bit silly about believing portals were normal now and a blush creeps up his cheeks.

“Our portal here was in a tree in a park, and we found it and came through looking for my sister.”

"Did you find her? Do you need help looking?" Steve asks.
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#31
“Well, right. But if everyone takes the vaccine, in a few more generations we won’t have the disease any more at all.” He shook his head, “But that’s if everyone takes it, and some aren’t given the option, and others are just…” he made a face, “Stubborn.” That he meant ‘stupid’ was fairly evident, but Christian was just a touch too polite to come out and say that.

And then Safi was disagreeing with him and Christian blinked, feelings hurt just a bit. Christian had been offered to be taken home via portal by Miss Zatara, and he’d all but said as much when Safi disagreed and said that portals weren’t a thing in their world. Just a little chastised, even if he hadn’t been exaggerating, Christian looked down at his plate to pick at his food and eat some, and almost missed Steve’s blush.

Almost, but he didn’t. And oh, he was so very glad he didn’t miss that.

Christian was a blusher; he blushed easily and often, and he’d learned to accept that fact long ago. He didn’t like it, but it was what it was. Seeing Steve Rogers blush? In real life? That was pretty damn amazing, and it helped that Steve was handsome. But on top of that, Steve looked like Safi, and Christian had never actually seen Safi blush. Also, this was Captain America, who was sitting at the table eating fried tomatoes and eggs with them, blushing, and what guy (who at very least wasn’t opposed to the idea of liking another guy) would have wanted to miss that?!

The man was beautiful, and Chris caught himself just before looking became downright staring, and thus got all weird, but… He couldn’t help but to look. “Sorry,” Chris honestly did sound apologetic, “Like I said, um, exception, not the rule in our universe.” But now… Now he wanted to make a portal. To show Safi that he could, that they existed in their world, that Chris could do big things with magic, too…

Steve’s question was met with a brilliant smile from Christian, “I found her, thank you! She’d like you, you know, you’re so nice. Do you like pie?” Chris had learned, not everyone liked pie, so now he asked instead of assuming.
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#32
Wait why was there blushing now? Safi glanced between his doppelgänger and Chris, one who was ducking his head with a tiny hidden smile while the other flushed.

Riiiiighhhtttt.

That...that was a thing.

Grumpily turning his attention back to his eggs, appetite suddenly lacking Safi just made a huffing noise as Steve was asked if he liked bloody pie.

The answer if he was going to lay money was ‘yes’ which would further cement his status as ‘better’ him-

And this was giving him a headache. “I'm going to go look around.” The mostly empty plate clattered in the sink. “Call me if you plan on leaving the grounds alone.” Safi shrugged on his jacket, giving Steve a look over Chris’s head.

‘Be nice or I'll put a bullet between your pretty blue eyes’

He was actually very skilled at such looks. He'd been practicing.
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#33
"You seem to understand magic a bit better than I do," Steve says. It seems like everyone understands what's happening a better than he did these days. Technology, magic, it was going to be impossible to catch up with everything.

"I'm glad she's ok." Steve says and then Christian offers pie and Steve's mouth begins to water.

"You can make pie too?" Steve asks excitedly. Christian is rapidly becoming his favorite person here, even if he does have the most unpleasant bodyguard around. Steve can't imagine Iron Man ever acting so surly while on the job for Mr. Stark.

Safi stands up abruptly, putting on his jacket. He shoots Steve a look that promised untold agony to Steve should he upset Christian. It raises Steve's hackles a bit. As if he would do anything to the man who had been nothing but friendly sincr they met. He gives Safi what he hopes os a reassuring smile.
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#34
Sooo.. Yep. Damn. Christian couldn’t help it; Steve was just… Lovely. He was lovely, that’s what he was, and hell, seeing him blush..!! It was double lovely, because not only was Steve just sweet as could be, but seeing him blush had the added bonus of know what it would be like if Safi blushed, if Safi didn’t have a beard. And Chris supposed he also knew what Safi would look like without a beard.

Weirdly, Christian was glad that Safi did have the beard. It marked him different than Steve Rogers. Because while Steve was handsome and kind and sweet, Safi was Safi, and Chris did not want to get the two men confused, no matter how much they looked alike or had in common. No matter that Christian was now wondering if Safi was his world’s Steve Rogers. (That almost sort of hurt his head to consider, truth be told.)

“Oh, me too! The last time she got herself mixed up in something like that she ended up getting shot and interrupted a really great...night.” Okay, so the night hadn’t started out nice. It had started out fairly horrendous and had devolved into hellish around the time that Safi had confronted him and all but yelled at him, but then Safi had come back and they had danced and then…

That kiss.

Yeah, that night was going into ‘really great’ forever, and to hell with how it had started. At least that night up until the phone call from the hospital.

And oh look, now he was just a little bit flushed too, thinking about that kiss. Damn it. Steve saved him, though, by saying he liked pie, and Chris beamed at the other man. Another way that he and Safi were different, but this wasn’t a bad way at all! “I can. Not as good as Belle, but I can make pie. I just don’t very often because Safi doesn’t-”

Safi stood and all but tossed his plate in the sink, and…

He was leaving?

Why was Safi leaving?

Christian’s eyes went wide as he frowned slightly at Safi’s words. Was it the pie thing? Safi didn’t like pie, but Chris hadn’t thought that Safi would dislike the very mention of the desert… “I… Um… Oh, okay.” He looked down at his plate as he murmured, “Have a good day, Safi.”

Probably going to look for Stark. Ah damn it. Feeling just a bit chastised, Christian finished his food with the care of someone who knew just how it felt to not have enough to eat and wasn’t going to waste what he had now that he had it. Christian always cleared his plate and never wasted any food. It was a holdover from how he’d grown up at the group home, and in the foster homes he’d bounced in and out of. His voice was quiet and apologetic as he told the other man, "Sorry, Steve, I didn't mean to annoy him away."
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#35
Steve was having one of the most enjoyable afternoons he's had since entering the hub. Christian is charming and engaging. Safi is...tolerable. The food is good, really good.

“Oh, me too! The last time she got herself mixed up in something like that she ended up getting shot and interrupted a really great...night.”

Steve's mouth drops open. What kind of cad went around shooting at ladies? It was despicable.

"I hope you popped the pill right in the kisser!" Steve says, anger bringing out his Brooklyn accent. Christian looks a bit pink and the subject changes to pie.

Safi stands up abruptly, dropping his dirty dishes in the sink. Hurt clearly passes across Christian's face. Then the poor man apologizes to Steve, as if he's the one responsible for Safi's poor behavior.

"Don't apologize. I don't think you're the one who annoyed him." Steve says, "he seems rather...unfriendly. How did you meet him?"
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#36
Christian would have blushed if he knew that Steve found him charming. Most people found him annoying and aggravating; he could get under people’s skin, and he knew it, he accepted this about himself, he was… Sometimes too nice, and he talked too much. But Steve didn’t seem to mind, and Safi no longer seemed to be bothered by it nearly as much, either.

Life was good.

When he said that Belle had gotten shot, there was no anger in it, and he certainly didn’t blame Belle for what had happened, but he obviously regretted the interruption to his night. But it had been nice, too, being protected by Safi on the train. Oddly intimate, that, not that Christian was ever going to complain about that because, um, no, no he was definitely never going to complain about that.

And then Steve asked if Chris had hit the person who had shot Belle. Asked, and said he hoped Chris had, and Chris flushed and looked down at his plate, taking a moment to figure out how to respond, because.. Because he doesn’t want Steve to think him a coward. “I don’t… I mean, I don’t hit people?” Chris shifted and winced, “I mean, obviously I understand that violence is sometimes necessary, but not… Not for me. So I didn’t hit anyone, but I did take care of Belle.” He had used his magic to heal her, after all, and he was actually quite proud of that. It was still a relief to be able to change the topic over to something safer, like pie.

Safi’s sudden departure bothered Chris. He didn’t feel anywhere near as safe (even in the company of Captain America!) without Safi nearby, but also he disliked the idea that Safi had left to go find Tony Stark, and that whole thing didn’t sit well with the smaller man. But it was out of his control, and…

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

The serenity prayer might have been one of Christian’s most used. Sometimes he murmured it, sometimes he thought it. Right now he sent the prayer up to heaven silently with a thought. He could not control who Safi fell in with. All he could do was accept it and try to move on.

Ha ha, how was ‘moving on’ working out for you there, Chris? Yeah, not so well.

It was weird, because he usually could accept the things he couldn’t change, but this was more difficult. Frustrating, that.

Still, he gave Steve a small, tight smile and apologized for chasing Safi away (he wasn’t quite sure what he’d done, but it was him, had to be). Chris blinked at Steve’s words, then shook his head, “I get on his nerves sometimes. Always have.” How did he meet Safi? Chris blinked, and then smiled to Steve again, this time a wider one that spoke the warning that Steve was going to get a story.

“Well, we work at the same place. I’m a PA at Lexcorp, and Safi is security there. I remember the first day he started; he’s a very, very handsome man,” Chris blinked, flushed a bit as he realized that he had basically told Steve that he was handsome, and then smiled a bit more nervously before continuing, “So he caught my eye. Just a tiny crush, I get those sometimes, had one on Miss Mercy when I started, too - she’s the best of both worlds; PA as well as security - but I figured it would go away eventually. I was… I was wrong. See, Safi’s beautiful, Steve, but it’s not just on the outside. He comes off as a bit… Brusque, but he cares about people. He’s a protector, just like you are, he keeps people safe. That’s why he’s in security. It was why he was in the armed forces. And he… Well, see, I don’t hit back, like I said before? I mean, I could, but I just can’t, you understand? I can’t imagine hitting someone like that just because they hit me…”

Christian was in the throes of telling his story, eyes on Steve, engaged, and listening, but it was Story Time. “So I went to Gotham to visit Belle and got mugged. Bruised ribs. Safi noticed. I’m pretty good at pretending I’m not hurt at work, but he saw, and he pulled me aside...into a closet...and asked what had happened, and he was so distressed when I explained. And… Well, he’s a bit rough around the edges sometimes, Steve, but Safi is good. He protects me, he insisted on coming to Gotham with me to keep me safe, and when Belle was hurt he was there, and when I couldn’t stay in my apartment, he opened his home to me…” Chris looked at Steve, pleading with the other man to understand that Safi might be less than gregarious, but he was still a very, very good person.
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#37
Christian looks uncomfortable as he explains his stance on violence, and hitting back against people who hit first. It's not a new concept for Steve. (He's pretty sure Ma and Arnie would have loved it if he had been a little bit more of a pacifist.) There were many people in the months before America got involved in The War who advocated for peace over war. Steve appreciated those people. People who couldn't, or wouldn't fight back were exactly the type of people he was fighting to protect. However, despite his admiration for pacifists, he he knew that he could never make that type of choice himself. Fighting injustice was too ingrained into his very being to ever stand by and let bullies hurt people.

"It's okay not to fight. As long as you took care of your sister and she's alright. That's the most important thing." Steve says. He gives Christian a smile. Christian has an innocence about him that Steve hasn't seen in a while. Steve knew a few boys like Christian who also had that same peaceful innocence. Most of those boys ended up drafted. They didn't get to keep that innocence for long after that. Seeing the broken defeated looks in the eyes of men, no boys, who had been forced to kill even though it went against the very nature of who they were was something that still haunted him. Some people just weren't meant to be military men, but the draft didn't take that into account. though thinking about the draft and Christian's continued innocence, Steve had wonder; was there ever a draft after his war? Was there ever another war after "his" war? People had said that the second World War was a war to end all wars, but then again they had said that about World War One as well. Christian would know if there were any more wars. Though Steve felt a little silly having to ask something that is probably common knowledge to everyone else.

"This might sound dumb...but after The War, was there ever another war? I didn't accidentally sleep through World War 3 did I?" Steve asks.

At Christians continued insistence that it was his fault for driving Safi away and that he "got on his nerves sometimes" was sad. Christian had clearly been bullied as a child and Steve had a feeling that "annoying" was a frequent insult that was thrown at him. And if Christian was blaming himself for Safi's huffy fit after being kind enough to feed the man, than it probably meant that on some level Christian was worried that the bullies might have been right about him. Steve could sympathize with that. No matter how strong he was, there was always some part of him that worried that the bullies who had loved calling him "weak" were somehow still right.

Christian visibly brightens as he breaks into his story of meeting Safi. He speaks very highly of Safi, and even admitting to having a crush on the man. Either Christian trusts the reputation of Captain America to be accepting towards all or men having crushes on other men is much more tolerated in this day and age. He wants to ask if it's normal now, if the doctors don't consider it a "disease" anymore, but that seems to be one of those common knowledge things too, and he's getting sick of looking like an idiot for not knowing basic things.

Instead he asks, "does Safi know how you feel?"

From the sound of it Safi is a good man. Perhaps a bit rough around the edges, but let's be honest what military man isn't rough around the edges after the types of things they see. When Safi comes back, and Steve is sure he will turn up to collect Christian at some point, Steve plans on playing nice with the man. He is a bit curious to see the side of him that Christian finds so endearing.
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#38
Of course Chris is uncomfortable while he explains that he isn’t violent. Most people who are willing to harm others to protect themselves and others don’t look highly upon someone who refuses to do so. And while Christian is small, he’s also dense and fit and perfectly capable of throwing one hell of a right hook. And yet, the idea of punching someone (even Tony Stark) makes him feel ill. That didn’t mean he stood by and let people get hurt, either, though. Chris was fully capable and frighteningly willing to place himself between an attacker and their intended victim, which often led to Chris becoming a victim himself, not that he looked at it that way.

“Of course I took care of Belle, that’s what brothers do.” Chris smiled to Steve and then nodded slowly, “I don’t fight, but I don’t leave people to get hurt, either.” He spoke the words carefully, knowing that the last time he tried to explain his point of view someone thought he would just stand by and do nothing. Christian would have been surprised had Steve said he was innocent; Chris really didn’t think he was… You lost innocence when you had your ribs broken for the second time because someone bigger than you didn’t like the fact that you were weird.

Another war? Chris blinked… How long had Steve been awake? Did he know about google? Wait… Did he… “Um, no, that’s not dumb. You were sort of out of the loop for a long time, right? So not dumb at all. There were other wars. Not like… I mean, nothing like your war… There was peace for like almost a decade, but… North Korea started a thing, and the UN and US got involved to protect South Korea, and… Well, it was a war. Not a great war. And then there was the Vietnam war during the sixties, because again, North invaded South, only it was Vietnam this time, and it was again communist versus non communist, because that was a whole thing back then… After that it was small stuff, military actions, but no real war-wars until the early 90’s when Iraq when nuts over oil and invaded Kuwait, and we stepped in again and took down their dictator. And then pretty much another decade before Afghanistan hijacked some planes and flew them into the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001, and we had to go back into Iraq during then, too..” Chris had all but stopped eating during the little history lesson, looking at his plate with sadness, “People are violent creatures, Steve. And we have short memories. We learn for a little while, but… Bad people still come to power, and the good ones still fight to stop them.” He sighed, and gave Steve a small, strained smile, “People like you, and like Safi. But no world war 3 yet. Hopefully never.”

Christian had indeed been bullied as a child. But that hadn’t stopped as an adult, either; he was an easy mark, a target in how submissive he was, how quiet and unassuming and pacifistic he was. So when someone said he was annoying, well, he’d always been annoying, and that hadn’t just up and changed with Safi. But the difference was that Safi was willing to tolerate his annoying traits, and his weirdness, and all of it, and still be willing to keep him around, to protect him, to hug him when he needed a hug. Yeah, Safi was the best.

It’s a little bit of both when Chris acknowledges his crush on Safi. It’s far more accepted in his time and place, but he also trusts Captain America. Besides, Stark was sleeping with Safi, which said something about the world where they were from, too, right? He speaks highly of Safi because he thinks highly of Safi, and that is evident in his face. ‘Crush’ really isn’t the right word for it. Maybe months ago, but not anymore.

”Does Safi know how you feel?”

Christian’s eyes went wide, the color draining from his face, “Please don’t tell him!” It’s a plea, the words were almost begged, and Chris gripped his utensils hard enough to cause his knuckles to go white, “Please don’t tell him… He… He’s my friend, that’s what he wants to be, and that’s… That’s good enough for me.” Because really, it was. It was enough. Safi in his life, with those wonderful hugs and easy touches and little moments where they just sat and joked and talked and laughed… Yeah, he could accept that. And when Safi went out to find his ‘fun’ Chris dealt with it. He was coping. He was okay.
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Marvel-616 Universe

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Becky

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#39
It wasn nice to hear Christian talk about his sister. It was clear that he loved her very much. Despite being an only child Steve was of the opinion that every child should have a sibling. It was like having a built in friend and someone to watch your your back when things got rough. Not having a sibling was just one more thing that Steve missed out on in his youth, like missing out on playing Stickball in the street with the other kids.

As Christian gives Steve a brief history lesson, Steve can feel his good spirits plummeting. Fighting in Korea, fighting in Vietnam, wars in the Middle East. Steve wasn't dumb. He knew that the idea of world peace was a good goal to aim for, but not realistic. There would always be men like the Red Skull, trying to destroy everything good in the world... but he had hoped that there wouldn't be quite so many wars, and not so soon after his war.

"Is that all our sacrifice bought the world? Just a decade of peace?" He asks. He doesn't regret fighting, even knowing how little peace it brought the world, but he still can't stop the feeling of bitter disappointment. Good men had died, Bucky had died, trying to make the world a safer place. Would Bucky regret dying, if he knew it would bring so little peace to tje world? Of course not. Bucky was a brave lad, a hero. Nothing would have stopped Bucky from fighting the good fight. Still, that does little to make him feel better.

The conversation switches to Safi. Steve isn't sure what reaction he was expecting when he asked if Safi knew, but he was surprised by Christian's strong reaction. He begs Steve not to tell Safi. And though Steve much prefers confronting issues and honesty, he can't bring himself to try and convince Christian to change his mind. Instead he gives him his most reassuring smile.

"Of course. You're secret's safe with me," Steve promises, "but, and I mean no disrespect, but watching the two of you...your crush isn't exactly subtle. Be hasn't noticed?"
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DC-DCTVU-1

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Nyte

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#40
Chris didn't bother to hide that he loved his sister; that was to be expected, it was normal. And in this one way, Chris was normal. Of course, that Belle wasn't actually related to him wasn't normal, but that had never mattered to either of them; they were brother and sister in spite, or maybe even because, of that, close as could be.

Ever observant, Chris noticed Steve’s mood declining, and reached out to reassure him with a gentle pat on the arm, “There has never been anything so big again, Steve. Most of us did learn our lesson… But there will always be madmen, and the rest of the world will always stand against them. Saddam Hussein was the dictator in Iraq, when he invaded Kuwait, the world put its foot down and said ‘enough’. Yes, it was war, but it was one against the rest.” It was so, so much more complicated than that, Chris knew it and he figured that Steve would realize that, too, but it wasn't really inaccurate, either. Just very simplified. “I know it's not much, but…”

He wished there was something more he could say, proof that he could show Steve that things weren't as bad after the last world war. “Things changed after your war, you know…” He watched the other man to see if h crossed lines, “Social rights and equality things. Women’s rights, and minority's rights…. People like me, we have rights now. It's…” he gave Steve an almost shy smile, “Things are better. Not perfect, but better.”

It was a very tense moment while Chris waited for Steve to answer. This was Captain America, who was all about doing things right, and…. Chris had been told often enough to just tell Sadi how he felt that he realized that he was being a coward in this. And yet…. “He hasn't ever said anything. And neither have I. And.. He's…”

So here was the rub; Chris loved his old comics. He still had his favorites tucked away, and while he didn't take them out much, he knew them by heart. He loved Iron Man and Captain America. His gaze fixed onto the table and Christian fidgeted with his fork, “He's found someone else. And if he's happy…. Then I'm good with that.”
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