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Rating: 3-3-3

Word Count: None

Fandoms: All

Canons: Open/Oc's Welcome!

Bans: Howard the Duck,
RPF* Real Person Fiction; IE Apping an actual celebrity

Main Rule:Don't Be a Dick

OOC min age:18


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Thread Contributor: Christian VerglasComfort Food
Marvel-616 Universe

250 Posts
6 Threads
Age:27 or 99 depending on how you define "age"
Job: Soldier/Avenger
Ship Status: Single
Sexual Orientation:
Becky

All Accounts Posts: 279
Points: 1,959.75€
#61
Steve gives Christian a tiny smile. He knows better than most that it's not easy going back to sleep after a nightmare, and anybody who thinks it is just hasn't been unlucky enough to have had too many nightmares.

Then Mr. Stark is calling off the tour and Steve frowns. That's not fair. Christian isn't involved in the awkwardness between Steve and Mr. Stark and he shouldn't have to suffer for it. Steve really hopes Mr. Stark isn't trying to punish Christian for being Steve's friend. Mr. Stark wouldn't be that petty, would he? Surely it's acceptable for Christian to be friends with both of them.

"You don't have to do that Mr. Stark," Steve says, "I'm leaving. You and Christian can have fun."

Steve's sure that without him there some of the awkwardness will bleed away and the two of them will be able to talk shop. Personally Steve thinks both of them need a break from work for a bit.
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DC-DCTVU-1

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

All Accounts Posts: 1,204
Points: 6,342.01€
#62
Steve was going to leave. And then Chris would be alone with Tony in Tony’s workshop, and Christian wasn’t really all that certain just how he felt about that. Intimidated? Worried? Awed? All of the above. Fear also came into play at the idea of being alone with the man he had idolized for most of his life, not because he was afraid of Tony doing anything (the man was a hero) but because he realized just how he measured up to the man, and really, what did Christian bring to the table? An impeccable sense of color coordination? Feh.

So yeah, Steve leaving, maybe not such a great thing. But Chris was perceptive enough to think that maybe leaving Tony on his own right now wouldn’t be a good idea, either. So he had quietly determined to stay, just for a little while. Hopefully long enough for Tony to find his center.

Tony’s sudden withdrawal of the tour (or not entirely sudden, as Chris had offered the man the opening) earned him a slow nod, accepting the statement without complaint. It wasn’t resentment or even disappointment in his brown eyes when he looked at Tony quietly as Steve left, not turning to leave yet himself. Sure, it was disappointing to not get the tour. Sure, he’d mope about it later. Tony was his hero, Christian wanted to learn about him, wanted to get to know the man. But more importantly, Chris understood that something was wrong, that Tony was hurting, and he was pretty sure he had something to do with it, even if he had only the vaguest ideas of what that something might be.

So Chris waited until Steve was long gone, out of even super soldier earshot before he spoke, his voice soft. “Tony?” It was easy to miss, the fact that Christian possessed a quiet but unshakeable strength, a steadiness that was often covered by deference and apology, but in this moment, he stood straight, and looked at the genius with that gentle firmness, “Don’t feel bad about the tour; I didn’t mean to press you for it. But…” And this was the hard part. Harder than others might think, considering how few friends Chris really had, “If it really bothers you for me to be friends with Steve… I...won’t be. He’s nice, and he’s thoughtful, which you know,” he offered the other man a small smile, “And I like having him as a friend. I’ve never had anyone just sit with me like that, let me fall back to sleep on them, other than Belle and Safi. But..” he shrugged, “I know how tangled and messy things can get with people. Steve is great, but you’re my friend now, too, and I value that. So if it’s going to hurt you for me to be friends with you both…” He trailed off, turning to leave, and more than that, to hide his face; Tony didn’t need to know how difficult it was, to make that offer, to distance himself from Steve, to pull away from someone who was becoming a friend who saw and didn’t mind his oddities.
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Marvel-616

254 Posts
9 Threads
Age:35
Job: Director of SHIELD
Ship Status: Open to shipping
Sexual Orientation: Sure, with just about anyone (but I don't want to write it explicitly)
Jasmine (starkly-tony)

All Accounts Posts: 382
Points: 2,561.62€
#63
Tony was an idiot. The hot shame that came with realizing that Chris and Steve were only friends--hadn't been doing more than sleeping on that couch--should have been enough to make him feel better. Instead, it only highlighted how pathetic he was, these days, that the merest suggestion that Steve had found someone had nearly sent him over the edge.

He took several deep breaths, reminding himself that even if it had been something else Steve had always had other relationships. Tony had no claim over him no matter what his multiversal counterparts had had. But that wasn't really the problem, either, since he'd never expected that from Steve, especially not this young Steve. No, the problem was that he was losing it, as surely as he'd been losing it back on the helicarrier when he'd been hallucinating dead people. And he really, really wanted that drink. He wanted to not think about how many times Steve had offered him a shoulder after a tough mission, when they were both so exhausted they...

No. Stop it. He had to stop.

He was taking too long to answer, he knew that, and when he finally did it was only to snap at Chris's back in a tight voice, "That's noble and all, but why the hell would I care if you're FRIENDS?" He was on the verge of hysterical laughter and he swallowed it down with an effort. "Look. I'm fine. I'm fine. And even if I wasn't, you'd be an idiot to pick me over him. He's kind and good and gentle and everything and I'm not. Now I just--I need to--" He needed a drink. He really needed a drink. But he cut himself off because Chris with all his comics KNEW, and that was a conversation Tony couldn't have right now. "I need you to leave."
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DC-DCTVU-1

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

All Accounts Posts: 1,204
Points: 6,342.01€
#64
Steve was great. The guy was downright amazing; sweet and kind and thoughtful… The kind of person that Christian wanted very much to be friends with, to spend time with… Steve hadn’t so much as hesitated to sit down with Christian on the couch and let him fall asleep on him. He hadn’t even seemed put out that Chris had curled up with him and dozed off. But where Steve was Steve (and yes, Captain America, but he was Steve) Tony… Was Iron Man, Christian’s childhood hero, the reasons he had found his magic. It was easier for Chris to be friends with Steve, but when it came to Tony… Well, the whole hero thing got in the way.

Not to mention the whole Safi thing.

It was hard to be jealous of your hero. To force yourself not to resent him. To be friends with him regardless.

Then tonight, he’d made far too much food, mostly cooking by muscle memory, lost in his thoughts, in the nightmare that had woken him, and Steve had come and been this amazing friend, only for Tony to find them and… Be however this was that he was being. Christian didn’t understand the problem, at least, not at first. But he was intelligent, and he was observant. Tony hadn’t liked Chris and Steve being together on the couch, and had been acting...off...since then.

Christian didn’t make the connection that Tony might have thought that he and Steve had been doing more than sleeping on the couch, as everything between him and his friend had been purely platonic and innocent.

Of course, that didn’t stop him from flinching at Tony’s sharp words. Taking a step back, Christian blinked at Tony, frowning and not quite meeting his eyes, “Apparently? It’s just that you’ve been acting...differently...since…” He trailed off as Tony continued, fidgeting silently, toying with a piece of of the copper wire that he always carried around, right up until Tony started in about how much better Steve was than him, and how Chris shouldn’t pick Tony over Steve. “Don’t do that.” The words weren’t loud, they weren’t angry, but there was a strength in them. “Yes, Steve is good and gentle and I’d like to be his friend, but that doesn’t make him better than you.” He smiled a tiny, self deprecating smile, “Safi is kind and and good and protective, too. Do you think less of me because of who he is?” Chris shook his head, “Don’t answer that, because I know the answer. You, Tony Stark, are so able to look at others and see their positive qualities, aren’t you? But not when it comes to you. Well, you deserve someone to be on your side, too. To pick you first. You deserve that.”

He understood more than he wanted to let on. But he also knew that Tony would shut him down if he said anything. That Tony would brush the comic books aside, brush Christian aside. “You’re more good than you think you are, Tony. And you’re a hell of a lot stronger than you give yourself credit for. You’re a hero. My hero, since I was a kid. And I’m not an idiot.” He didn’t often stand up for himself, but today, he felt the need. He bit back another frown, pushed away the softer emotions that tried to burst out, and nodded sharply, “Right, yes, okay.”
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Marvel-616

254 Posts
9 Threads
Age:35
Job: Director of SHIELD
Ship Status: Open to shipping
Sexual Orientation: Sure, with just about anyone (but I don't want to write it explicitly)
Jasmine (starkly-tony)

All Accounts Posts: 382
Points: 2,561.62€
#65
Chris thought he was acting differently. Tony almost, almost, broke down into laughter, again, not because Chris was wrong but because it was absurd that after everything, this was what was taking his tenuous control and shattering it. He'd managed to run SHIELD and SI and the Avengers for months, sleeping one night out of every three, seeing Cap in the corner of his eye because Extremis couldn't let him go, yet somehow this was what he couldn't handle. He'd let his guard down. He'd gotten too comfortable here, had started to believe that things would work out, that there was an end to the nightmare... but there wasn't. There never had been. The world he'd left behind on the other wise of the portal was still there, the man he'd loved for a decade was still dead, and none of it had been worth it. Seeing Steve cuddled up with Chris had been a reminder of that truth, that he'd destroyed any chance he might've had for that kind of easy happiness, and it had hit him like a truck before he'd even fully realized what. So, yes, he thought, though he didn't voice the derisive words. Tony was acting differently. Really perceptive of him.

It wasn't Chris's fault. He knew that, intellectually. But Chris was also the one who was standing in his lab, in between him and a drink or--not a drink, because he couldn't, he didn't do that anymore. Standing in his lab, in any case, and lecturing Tony about what kind of a person he was.

"Grow up," he intoned in a low, dangerous voice. He wanted to hit something. He wanted that drink. "You think you know me, know what I deserve, because you read comics as a kid. Here's a thought. You don't. I'm not Steve, or Safi, or even you. I got my friends killed. I--" he broke off, turning away because it hadn't even been only Steve, he'd killed Happy himself and Bill had gotten caught in the crossfire and the only way he'd been able to live with himself over the last several months had been to stay so busy, so distracted, he hadn't been able to think or feel a thing. He turned back when he was sure he wasn't going to cry, and snapped instead, "It doesn't matter. Get out of here, and forget whatever you think you know about me from some comic you read hiding under the covers in your bedroom as a kid. I'm not your hero. Leave me alone."
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DC-DCTVU-1

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

All Accounts Posts: 1,204
Points: 6,342.01€
#66
Christian might not know what was going on with Tony, but he knew it was something, and he knew it wasn't good. Good didn't look like what Tony looked like right now. They weren't close friends; Chris understood that even though they had agreed to be friends, that meant precious little.

He spoke the truth to Tony. Tony Stark deserved a friend. Deserved someone to have his back. Deserved someone to think and believe the best of him. Chris was able to be that someone; Tony, Iron Man, was his hero, why not be his friend, too?

The look Tony was giving him, though... The tone of his voice, along with what he said, burned him. Not physically, of course, but emotionally "No, actually." Christian's voice was soft, almost calm. It was a lie, of sorts. Chris wasn't calm. He was... He didn't know. "You've made it quite clear that I don't know you. I'm trying, but I'm pretty sure you also don't want me to know you." He ignored the way that Tony's words were like knives, that it hurt to know that the man he had idolized for nearly as long as he could remember was... Well... Like everyone else Tony had no use for Christian, the magician was in his way.

He was always in the way.

The snapped words earned tiny flinches as Tony flung them at Christian, but though the younger man looked near enough to tears, they wouldn't come. He would not cry. Not here. Not now. Instead, he nodded, "Yeah." Chris turned, shoulders stiff and held high, tension radiating from him, "You're wrong, Mister Stark. I never hid in my bed as a kid. That's the first place they would have looked for me." He moved up the stairs more quickly then, head ducked down low, making nearly no sound at all.
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Marvel-616

254 Posts
9 Threads
Age:35
Job: Director of SHIELD
Ship Status: Open to shipping
Sexual Orientation: Sure, with just about anyone (but I don't want to write it explicitly)
Jasmine (starkly-tony)

All Accounts Posts: 382
Points: 2,561.62€
#67
"You're not trying to know me," Tony snapped, as if that was the problem. "All you do is tell me who I am. What I'm like. What I deserve. He sneered the word. "So you can drop the innocent act now."

Chris looked like he was going to cry. A sick sense of guilt washed through Tony but it was too late, the damage had been done. Tony was selfish. Pathetic. Cruel. None of the things Chris kept on insisting, for whatever god damn reason, that he was.

"...that's the first place they would have looked for me."

And with that he was leaving.

Tony stared after him, his mouth partly open, but he didn't say anything. He was frozen, his hands curled into fists, all the emotion he'd kept pent up over the months since the SHRA thrumming to the surface. Staying in the HUB, spending time with Safi and a young Steve from another time, hadn't helped anything. All he'd managed to find was a way to miss what he and Steve had once had even more than he had before. He'd fucked up. Again.

Not bothering to see if Chris was gone, Tony stalked over to the cabinet where he knew he could find a bottle of whiskey, and pulled it open, then picked up the bottle and stared at it. He could almost feel the warm, easy spread of calm through his mind, dulling the edge of loss and guilt and inadequacy. His hand shook as he slowly unscrewed the cap. Just this once. Just tonight.

Just to get him through the realization that Tony couldn't even have this Steve as a friend, when Steve was beyond willing to offer whatever comfort and companionship a near-stranger needed. There was no rebuilding, no reworking, no second chances, not even in this place where men who wore Steve's face seemed to grow on trees. Steve was gone and everything they'd ever had was just...gone.

Tony put the bottle to his lips and drank.

@eve
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