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Rating: 3-3-3

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RPF* Real Person Fiction; IE Apping an actual celebrity

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Thread Contributor: Robert WasemStar spangled day
DC-TV-1

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#41
The singer crooned in a language Safi didn’t recognize, and lacking the translation that Hub provided never likely would. But he didn't need to understand the words to feel the yearning pain that echoed his own. Safi downed in that kiss, letting himself be selfish, weak, and holding Chris tightly enough to feel how thin he’d become Safi wanted to believe that the man he held was strong enough for both of them.

“I lost my wife, the woman I’d loved since I was a teenager because I couldn’t keep her happy.” Resting his forehead on Chris’s, Safi quietly confessed. “I keep secrets, honesty...it's not natural for me.” Safi chuckled humorlessly, “That's why they wanted me to be a bloody spy so badly.” Safi felt like he was confessing his sins, which he supposed he was. “I need.” he took a breath. “I need to go home, take care of somethings.” his thumb brushed over the too sharp points of Chris’s spine, “Can you wait for me to come back? And take care of yourself?” Safi sighed. “Spend time with Belle yeh? She will feed you back up.”

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DC-DCTVU-1

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#42
Thinner, yes, but he was still strong. His body fat might have begun to disappear, but working with Kai, learning how to defend himself without harming someone, that kept him strong. Lean, but still possessing muscle and strength. Still, it wasn’t how he used to be, a definite change from how he’d been even a month ago. The man heard the singer, his voice smooth and sweet, though the melody of the song tugged at his heart. It wasn’t the words; communication wasn’t all about the language, there was so much more to it; it was the tune, the pace, the emotion in his voice. This was a song about that certain kind of ache, the one that meant you loved what you didn’t have, maybe couldn’t have, and Christian understood that feeling too well. He was thinner than he had been, yes, but he wasn’t frail, either, it showed in his arms as they moved on the dance floor.

He couldn’t remark on Safi’s loss. He couldn’t imagine it in any other way than by imagine losing Safi, and his mind shied away from that idea, away from the image of Safi attacking the Hulk, of Safi falling when he’d been thrown down. For just an instant, there was something, not exactly a flinch, and not enough tension to question, just a tremor that was the echo of what he had felt in that other world, seeing those events unfold. But it passed and it was as though it hadn’t happened. Chris reached up to soothe Safi as he spoke, fingers threading through the blonde’s hair before pressing gently into his neck to help relieve the tension there. “We all keep secrets, Safi.” The magician tipped his head slightly, pressing his temple against the soldier’s even as he gave Safi’s neck a gentle squeeze. “It’s okay.”

Go home. For Christian, home was where Safi was, which was preferably not far from where Belle was. Safi needed to leave, though, and Christian couldn’t deny him it. He had a family, an ex-wife and a daughter, and he couldn’t see them while they were in Hub, and even when Safi went back ho…to Central City, he couldn’t just go visit them. He needed to go home. He gave a soft smile against the other man, “Yes, Safi. I believe I am quite capable of looking after myself for awhile.” His tone was wry, but amused, no hard feelings. “I’ll help Belle with the cafe and work on my projects.” And pine endlessly for his return. Of course, but there was no point to admitting that.

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#43
“Take care of yourself for me?” Safi’s smile took on a self deprecating edge, “can I ask that?” He knew that he’d changed the rules, rewrote their reality selfishly, he’d lied. He wanted them not to forget this, he hadn’t lied, he did want to try with Chris.

Heh maybe he should thank his old CO, considering if he hadn’t been forced into this position Safi would have been happy quietly continuing what they had.

“And-“ habitual silence drilled his tongue, biting back warnings he needed to give. “Watch your back.” He forced out past deeply ingrained training. “Keep the magic to Hub ok? I-“ his eyes squeezed shut hidden by the ruff of Chris’s hair. “Here is safer for that.”

Anything more detailed and Chris would change his habits too drastically, be noticed. And to be noticed was to be avoided at all costs.

“I don’t know how long I’ll need, hopefully not more then a month or so.” Safi pulled back a smile sliding over his mobile features, “Might end up quitting Lexcrop. Finding something here or on Tony’s world where I can get around easier.” The song had ended and he wasn’t in the mood to stop talking to dance the faster rhythm.

“That is...creepy? Or pretty? I honestly can’t tell.” Safi stopped in his tracks staring at the main course that had appeared on their table.

It was a work of art no matter how you cut it; a mist that smelled faintly of red wine and… cucumber? Drifted out from each dish; the main component seemed to be some sort of bird suspended, splayed open, roasted vegetables spilling from its innards onto the plate.

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#44
You would do anything for him. Not anything, though, he argued silently, there were things that Christian wouldn’t do for Safi. He might not be able to name something right off the top of his head, but… You’re not thinking hard enough then. He didn’t want to think about this more, though.

“I’ll take care of myself, Safi. For you. I promise.” Chris huffed a tiny laugh as Safi told him to watch his back. Of course Safi would ask for that, because if he weren't there, obviously Christian was going to get himself killed or worse. But even as he opened his mouth to respond, Safi continued, telling him to keep his magic to Hub. That was both unusual and unexpected, but Chris nodded slowly to the request, “Okay, Safi. No magic at the apartment. I can do that.” It was clear that he didn’t understand why the request was being made, but he would respect it nonetheless. “Do you want Jonah to stay in Hub while you’re gone, too?”

A month or so, and that was the shorter version. The breath that Chris pulled in was a long but silent one. He… A month. Okay, he could do that. He could go a month. He’d gone his whole life before they’d met without Safi there, but as much as Christian insisted that he could take care of himself without Safi there, the idea of a whole month without the man around at all was terrifying. And he was thinking about quitting Lexcorp. His nods were growing slower and slower, more and more hesitant. Safi might worry about being able to protect him, but Chris depended on him for so much more than protection. This was like being kicked out of your home for a month… But he could do that. For Safi, he could, and he would. He smiled bravely to Safi, “You… Are you going to move here permanently?” For as much as Chris loved Hub, the small apartment in Central City that they shared was still home. And if Safi came to Hub permanently, then what about his daughter? He let Safi pull away, let him pull them both back to the table.

The….food….was definitely art, but Chris wasn’t sure he’d call it pretty. Maybe if it didn’t have a dead bird flayed open it might have been a little bit pretty, what with all the vegetables, but… “Um… It’s certainly interesting?” This menu was a weird one, that was for sure. But Christian sat down fluidly. He might not think the meal was pretty, but he was hungry, and he would at least try the food that Safi had picked out for them to eat. The worst case scenario was that he didn’t like it and would have to warm up something from the fridge later. It wasn’t a bad worst case scenario.

He started with the vegetables, tasting each kind, giving it thought and consideration before moving on to the next one. And then he tried the bird. It wasn’t like turkey or chicken, but it was good. “Mm. It’s like pheasant.”

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#45
He couldn't, shouldn’t ask for more than that; it was selfish enough already for him to make these demands of the younger man

Safi visably hesitated, “-Jonah-“ He had gotten attached to the little roomba that could. It would break Chris’s heart if something happened to it- “Yeah, just for a little bit.” Safi smiled down at Chris. “I know Tony will not mind having him around more.” He assumed that Chris would continue to spend his Hub time at the mansion.

“Depending on how things work out-“ Safi raised one shoulder noncommittally, “I’ll know better when i'm back.” God help him but he would miss his daughter, but if it all fell in the pot his staying wouldn’t safe gaurd them. And might just make things worse.

“Ever the diplomat.” He snorted in good humor at Chris’s delicate description. “Personally it feels alittle on point.” Flayed open for the world to see, offering himself to be devoured. Damn he was feeling dramatic tonight wasn’t he?

“Chris-“ Safi’s hand creeped out to curl around his again, clearly a habit he’d been suppressing for months if it was so automatic now- “I need to know that-“ His thumb rubbed over the scar on his jawline, “That you know you can say no, that...you don’t want to try something more with this old fuck up.” The humor bleed from his voice, “Because i am, you’ve seen some of my nightmares, you’ve heard me pacing when i can’t sleep-“ Safi winced. “You’ve seen me turn to the bottle more than i should. There are ghosts in my closet, and not all of them are dead.” His hand tightened painfully on Chri’s seemingly unnoticed. “I’m going to do my best to get us a clean start but...i can't guarantee anything.” Safi look up at him, vulnerable. “I never want be the reason you are hurt. But I know it will happen.”

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DC-DCTVU-1

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#46
They viewed this conversation in drastically different ways. Looking at Safi, his concern so visible on his face, Chris saw a man who cared about him asking him to be careful, to do these small things for him to stay as safe as possible, and wasn’t that always the request Safi had to make? To be careful, to stay safe, to watch his back. It really was, and so this request was entirely in line with what Chris would have expected were the bodyguard to go away for any length of time, even just for a day. Even the request to keep magic in Hub wasn’t a surprise. Besides, Christian wasn’t looking to draw the attention of any more demons. He was careful, always aware of his energy level and making sure he didn’t ‘overflow’ at all.

Jonah staying in Hub would be a little bit more difficult, but Chris nodded at the request nonetheless. The little roomba would understand, and the magician knew he would comply, too. Still, he couldn’t help but to snort at Safi’s words. “You know that Tony doesn’t like magic, don’t you? At all.” Sure, he and Tony were friends, and there were no glares or unpleasantness between them over the fact that Chris was a magician, but he also did his best to keep it out of Tony’s sight. Well, maybe Jonah wouldn’t mind staying at the tower with the other Tony. That would work, and the dust in his workspace would keep Jonah constantly busy, too, meaning he wouldn’t get so lonely when Chris wasn’t there. “But don’t worry, Tony’s nice to Jonah, and I have plenty for him to do.” he reassured Safi, not wanting the man to worry while he went back… Back to his home.

Hub permanently. Probably wants more time with Tony. The little voice in his mind could be so unpleasant sometimes… But Safi had spoken about Tony, bringing it up that he might go to his world to find work. The little magician nodded miserably, a slow silent bow of his head before he looked back up. “If that’s what you want to do…” He wouldn’t try to force Safi to stay, not if he really wanted to just leave their world completely. Christian didn’t tell Safi that if he left the world, if the apartment didn’t have his sounds and smells and stuff everywhere, then it wouldn’t be home to Christian, either, and there would be no point in going back. Belle was here, and if Safi were here all the time, too, then… Then it wouldn’t matter all that much, because home would be here.

“On point?” He hadn’t actually meant to ask, looking at the bird, “It’s a little… Vivid.” Christian was no vegetarian, he ate meat, and he enjoyed it, but the way the bird was presented made it very clear that whoever had prepared this was at his roots, a predator.

There was no way he was going to eat very quickly or very much one handed, but Christian wasn’t going to complain, not if it meant Safi might stop holding his hand. Given the choice between food and that, well, Safi won hands down every time. “Safi.” Christian spoke, his voice was as usual on the quiet side, but there was a firmness in it, too. “If I didn’t want something more, do you think I would…” He sighed, “We’ve had this discussion before. Earlier tonight, you said to tell you what I wanted, and I did. So please, just hush..” But Safi kept talking, and Christian went quiet, blinking at him. Did he really think that he was the only one with skeletons in his closet?? Demons. Christian had actual demons in his past! And quite possibly in his future, too, because they were there, in Hub, and his magic, he knew, drew them constantly closer.

The painfulness of his grasp might be unnoticed by Safi, but Christian felt it. Frowning, he wiggled his fingers in Safi’s hand, trying to get the man to loosen his grip just a little bit so that the blood could flow freely and so that his fingers weren’t pressing against each other. Us? Safi wanted to get ‘us’ a clean start? Clean from what? Chris blinked, “Safi, we’re human. Both of us. We’re going to make mistakes, we’re going to hurt each other. Please don’t be so foolish to think that I won’t make plenty of mistakes, that I’m not capable of hurting you, even if we both know I don’t want to. I brought you to the end of the world with me and watched you come so close to dying,” his voice nearly broke on the last word, strained but spoken nonetheless, “So please don’t think that way.” He met Safi’s gaze, quiet but still strong, “I can say no when I want to. I know that. You should know that too.”

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#47
‘Just Hush.’

The quick quirk his lips was completely involuntary and completely genuine; the scold was so quintessentially Chris that he had not a single choice but to be pulled out of his mood by the two simple words.

It was also not something he could imagine Steve Rogers or Tony Stark saying, so another nail in the idiotic coffin of that theory that Tony was determined to die on.

His grip relaxed along with the tension in his shoulders, “I am glad you called me.” Safi’s hold turned tender, thumb stroking over the callused palm he held. “And i’ll lock you up if you ever go do something like that and NOT wait for me.” Safi cocked his head, “you..” he shook his head, he’d already told the other man he’d put his body between his and bullet more than once, and from almost their first meeting. The difference now was that if he wasn’t fast enough something in him would die right along with the small fussy man that had wiggled his way into his affections.

“I didn’t plan this.” he chuckled self depricatingly, rubbing his thumb over the scar on his jaw. “So sorry if i’m screwing up our first date with too much serious shit.”

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#48
Tony Stark. Steve Rogers. For so long in the Hub everyone had said he was the one, and then not so long ago a man had looked at him and called him the other. But did it really matter? If the two were so easily confused for each other given each other’s faces, then were they really all that different?? Chris had decided that no, they really weren’t. Oh, sure, there were some pretty fundamental differences between the two men, but they weren’t immediately obvious. They could be overlooked, mistaken.

Who really cared, anyway?

Christian had been Christian Verglas for his whole life before he’d come to Hub. And Christian Verglas loved his people. Two people. Belle Street, his sister, and Safi Wasem his… Something. Everything. So the way he looked at it was that everything he did and said was him, was his own.

Once Safi relaxed his grip slightly, Christian’s fingers went still. It wasn’t like he wanted Safi to let go, just… Not squeeze so hard. “I’m not glad I did.” He was serious, his voice quieter as he admitted something he’d rather not. “You always talk about how… Like you are right now, I don’t want to be locked away, Safi. That’s no way to live.” Chris sighed, “I could see it, you know. He threw you down, and you were falling and…” Christian didn’t usually speak about his nightmares; it was easier to pretend they weren’t a big deal, that they didn’t affection him if he pushed them back and ignored them, “If I hadn’t had my magic..” Safi would be dead, and… “I couldn’t… I can’t, Safi.”

Pushing some of the vegetables around on his plate with his free hand, Chris gave Safi a small smile. And then that smile grew into a grin even as the small man flushed with joy at what he heard. “First date?” Implying there would be more…

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#49
“It’s my job.” his voice was not unkind, softly reminding Chris that if he couldn’t live with Safi risking his life...than maybe it was better to stop before they really started. “And for Belle?” Safi’s smile was soft. “I would have gone even if you hadn’t asked.” yes he had started to hate the events that she’d started, but he couldn’t hate the woman herself.

Safi wasn’t going to mention that he’d run at the Hulk thing because he was the only one he trusted to get between it and Chris, that he’d make the same choice over and again. Instead he simply squeezed Chris’s hand. “Thank you.” because it needed saying. “For having my back.” there were not many people he’d trust with that, but oddly somehow this fussy little PA had become someone he felt he could depend on when the bullets started flying.

“Yeah.” Safi’s smile was teasing just a shade of boyishness, “Or did you miss the part where I asked you to start dating me?” Safi mimed moving for his phone. “I suppose I could set my facebook status...seems i remember Belle telling me you watch my status updates religiously…”
Was he teasing? Oh hell yes.
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#50
“I don’t have to like it. And I don’t have to let you die for me.” He pointed at Safi with the butt of his fork, “Next time you to do something stupid like that have a shield before you run off, huh?” For Belle. Chris couldn’t argue. He’d decided in an instant that he was going after Belle. Had Safi not answered, had he said he couldn’t go, Christian would have gone to that terrible world anyway. “Just let me protect you the best I can before you run headlong into danger.”

The squeeze was met by equal force, “I’ll always have your back, Safi.” It didn’t matter what else was happening, or where either of them were, Christian would never let anything happen to Safi, no matter the cost. Chris would protect Safi endlessly, and he trusted Safi to do the same for him, and he hoped, prayed, that they would keep each other alive in the process.

”Did you miss the part where I asked you start dating me?”

“I guess I did.” At least his voice was even as he said it, even if he spoke quietly; surprised and pleased and just a little bit awed, because really hadn’t Safi said that he didn’t feel the way Chris wanted him to feel? And what about Tony? Chris wasn’t going to ask that question. There were enough issues between the three of them to ask and start even more.

Facebook status. Chris sorted, then blinked, frowning at Safi’s words. “I do not. I check my facebook every day, that’s not… That’s not religiously!” And if he were just a bit defensive, well that might be because of certain videos that Safi tended to upload for all the world to see! And for the fact that Christian watched those videos, and because… Damn it Belle! “What a little traitor! She’s the one who found your facebook page in the first place!”

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#51
“Was the ‘I want to be more. Let me clear the decks so we can be together.’ too subtle?” Safi’s eyes gleamed with humor. “I’ll remember that next time.” he finished pulling out his phone, making a show of typing- “Note to self: be very obvious when asking Christian out.” Safi grinned looking back up at Chris. “There we go! Made a note and everything can’t forget now.” he winked, sliding the device back into his jacket breast pocket.

“Oh?” He leaned forward. “She didn’t mention that. Now what could you two have possibly been doing on my facebook feed?” he asked, voice dropping into a suggestive purr.

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#52
Yeah, well, the thing was that Christian was still stuck on the whole comment Safi had made weeks ago about how he couldn’t give Chris what he wanted, that there was love there but it wasn’t…. That kind of love. And now tonight it was a sudden 180 and it left Chris dizzy and confused and just a touch fuzzy about what, exactly, Safi was saying. “You said to give us a fresh start… I… Had no idea what that meant.” Safi made his note and Chris couldn’t help but to blush and smile a little bit self deprecatingly, “Right, that’s exactly the sort of thing you need to make sure to note, right there.” He could laugh at himself, he really could.

“Of course she didn’t.” Christian huffed at the image of his sister painting a very specific picture to Safi. Damn it, he didn’t need her help with this! Things weren’t already awkward enough, huh, sis? “Well,” Chris met Safi’s eyes with effort, “Mostly just trying to figure out the puzzle that was this new bodyguard at work.”

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#53
“Damn it Chris-“ Safi sighed shaking his head, because if he wanted to compare people that seemed a hell of a lot like Tony thing to do. “You are worth more you know that right? You shouldn’t-“ safi scrubbed both his hands through his hair. “i shouldn’t make you feel grateful for any bit of attention or feel scared to ask what it means.” Yay fucking great he was already messing things up.

His creepy bird ignored entirely Infavor of the conversation safi clasped Chris’s Hand between his- “i want to try and be...well your boyfriend.” Didn’t that sound lovely and 6th grade? “I’m going to fuck it up. And I don’t know if I can do the monogamy thing again...but I’m going to try.” For Chris.

“But I need to know from you-“ His Ernest expression never wavered- “did you like my puzzle pieces?” His eyes glinted with mirth at his hopefully correctly translated pun.

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#54
“Hey.” Chris tipped his head, looking at Safi, “That’s not fair, Safi. I was trying to figure it out. That doesn’t mean I’m scared.” He pointed a finger at Safi, fork settled onto his plate, no longer even pushing the food around as his attention was drawn completely on making sure they were on the same page, “You don’t scare me, Safi. What scares me is the fact that you seem hellbent on throwing yourself into danger without…” He huffed, “Let me protect you before you go running into danger instead of leaving me to have a heart attack while I watch you fall to your death and frantically cast something, praying it’ll work!” The moment Safi reached for his hand, Christian reached as well, latching on with a gentle but almost desperate grip. He needed Safi to understand what he meant. Yes, Hub and the other words connected to it could be dangerous, and he realized Safi was going to go out there and protect him and other people, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t protect Safi, too.

Boyfriend. Christian had never put a name to what he wanted with Safi. Boyfriend was close, but it didn’t seem like enough. “Just be you, Safi. Sure, we’re going to argue and get frustrated with each other, but… Of course we are. But we’ll watch Cake Slayer on the couch and have dinner.” Monogamy. “All we can do is see how things go.”

Did he like… Chris rolled his eyes, “Well of course I did. I’m here, aren’t I?” He looked down at his food, “Some of them I had to spend a lot of time figuring out.” He wasn’t exactly blushing, but the tips of his ears had gone pink as he made the admission.

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#55
“My job.” His thumb swept over Chris’s knuckles soothingly, “is to be the pointy end of the stick, I shield you-“ and Incase Chris missed it- “Because I can't think of you hurt. Not when my body can stop it.” Not just a job or obligation, not with this man.

But he did nod slowly, “I need to remember you are more than I see.” Safi brought Chris’s hand to his cheek, brushing his lips over the sensitive skin of his inner wrist. “To trust you that you know how to help better than I.” Safi sucked the skin there, leaving behind a tiny bruise- “but I need you to promise me something-“ clear blue eyes met his seriously- “Do Not give the last of yourself for me. One of us being stupid and self sacrificing is enough. I am a soldier. If you-“ his eyes darkened with echoed grief- “I could not live with the guilt. If you died and so I lived.”

Far to serious for ‘first date’ but this was who they were apparently.
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#56
Those first two words had Christian immediately frowning, scrambling to argue, to irritably tell Safi that he wasn’t a job, that his life and safety wasn’t a job. Those harder lines in his face smoothed back out as Safi continued to speak. Chris went still for half a moment, staring at Safi, brown eyes unblinking as he considered what the man was saying. Okay. Okay. “That doesn’t mean that you have to go running into danger without a shield, Safi. Without whatever magic I can do to make sure you come back from that danger.” He asked, more quietly, “Because how do I go on knowing I could have saved you?”

Magic let Christian do so many things now. But he only used it on the people he cared about to heal or protect them. A shield and healing and extra energy for Safi, healing and extra energy for Belle. A larger-on-the-inside bag for Belle and a watch for Safi.. A little toy for Tony. Rings that would heal people when need be, dancing ballerina music boxes. So it wasn’t hard to understand why Safi didn’t always remember just what the little magician was capable of.

Chris gasped almost silently at the feeling of Safi’s lips against his skin, his eyes closing just for a moment as he processed. Just as he’d settled from that sensation, Safi spoke, and Christian opened his eyes to listen, “I know my limits, Safi.” Promise? Tipping his head slightly, Christian nodded for Safi to continue; he’d promise Safi nearly anyth- “Safi.” Christian’s voice was thicker than usual, his own eyes sad and worried, “As long as you don’t make me watch you die, I promise that I won’t be stupid.” He drew in a breath, “Just let me protect you the ways I can, so when you do something stupid, like climb a Hulk, I know you’re as safe as I can make you.” Because while Safi might not be able to live with the guilt if Chris died, Chris wasn’t sure he could live like that, either.

It was a heavy conversation, but then, so many of their conversations since coming to Hub had been, hadn’t they?

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