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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 WasemApologies
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#1
“Tony?” Safi stood outside the workshop, hands shoved into his pockets, addressing the door to his workshop, trusting the pickups to communicate to the techopath that he was outside. “I need to apologize.” He rubbed the back of his neck with a sigh. “I was high, which i shouldn’t have been and-” Safi looked directly into a camera. “Used you.” he faced his sin squarely. “Something you didn’t deserve. I-” he nodded once. “I understand if you don’t want to see me. I just...I needed you to know that. You never deserved to be treated like that. And I hate that I broke your trust.”

He waited for a heartbeat, perhaps trying to think of more that should be said- “I...I’m sorry.” he finished quietly, turning to leave.

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#2
Tony had been hunched over his lab bench for hours, working on an update to his boot repulsors. Trying to lose himself in the work. More specifically, trying to distract himself enough to drown out the nagging need to go up the stairs to the Mansion's guest lounge and get the bottle of fine scotch he knew was sitting on the second shelf in the cabinet beside the ping pong table. Or the even finer bottle of vodka sitting in the guest apartment near Wanda's room. Or the--

He closed his eyes, and opened them again, focusing on the circuitry in front of him. His vision was starting to swim. He'd hardly slept last night, or the night before, and the night before that, well, he'd been pretty busy then, getting drunk. (Don't think about how good it had felt.) Still, working on the armor was better than any alternative. It was probably the one thing he still truly loved without any reservations or pain or regrets. Well, that and flying, but the boot repulsor really did need some work.

Safi's accented voice startled him into jabbing the soldering iron into the hand he was using to steady the heel of the boot, the sudden burning making him jump back with a muffled, "Fuck, fuck."

Then he stood there, heart pounding in his throat, because it was Safi. Safi, the thought of whom made a mess of conflicting emotions roil in his chest, not the least of which was fear. Safi had made him lose himself. Safi made him want to lose himself. He'd planned on avoiding him for as long as it took him to get sober, since, obviously, not really a healthy thing going on there.

Except...Safi had come to apologize, and was bearing his heart to Tony's closed door. A different feeling surged through the mess, warmth and gratitude that made Tony's throat go tight. Safi still cared. After all that, Safi cared. Tony didn't deserve that.

Tony walked over to the door, sliding it open with a thought. He had no idea what he was going to say. He cleared his throat. "It's not your fault," he said. His hands twitched. God, he wanted a drink. If only to get through this conversation. His tone turned self-effacing. "You didn't push me to do anything I didn't want to do anyway. So, uh. Don't worry about it."

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#3
“Tony-” Safi’s hand reached out, curling around the other man’s jaw if he didn’t flinch away, “That doesn’t mean it wasn’t fucked up.” he sighed, the hand sliding across the familiar line of Tony’s jaw to the back of his neck, kneading the muscles there in a familiar motion. “I wasn’t-” Safi cleared his throat. “I wasn’t in a good place-” understatement of the year. “And I took it out on you. And that was all on me.” Regardless of the fact that he’d been high out of his fucking mind; “I wanted to be hurt.” he’d told Tony as much, “And when you didn’t-” fuck this was hard to admit. “I tried to kill us both.” Because the gun hadn’t been a fucking joke; Safi had been near suicidal that night, tipping back and forth between despair and insanity.

Contributing to Tony’s crash off the wagon had been part of the deletionist desire.

“And that’s not something I should have done to you.”

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#4
Safi was touching him. Tony froze, torn between leaning into the touch and flinching away. He wanted the understanding, the comfort, the easy acceptance that Safi had given him when no one else could. He was also fucking terrified because, good, Safi made him want to drink.

As Safi spoke, Tony couldn't help but understand. Hell, how many times had he been in the same position, apologizing for hurting someone he'd cared about while too fucked up to care? He understood the desire for self-destruction just as well. He'd begged for it. And when Steve hadn't finished it, well, he understood that kind of disappointment too. He'd been looking for pain of his own, last night. What Safi was apologizing for, he couldn't hold against him, because he understood.

Then, he UNDERSTOOD.

He didn't say anything until Safi finished speaking. Then he doubled over and laughed, and laughed.

Death had shown him the multiverse, himself and Steve in half a dozen configurations that had nearly what was left of his heart to shreads. And when he'd seen Safi and Chris, he'd assumed--God, he'd assumed--

He pulled himself up, wiping at his eyes, and said, "God, Safi. You're ME." He started wildly at him. "You have Steve's face but you're not him, you're me, and you're as fucked up as me because you ARE me." He laughed again, brokenly. "Oh, fuck, what does that say about me?" Safi had hurt him, encouraged him to slide all the way off the wagon and Tony had come away from it thinking he was in love.

There was a joke to be had there. There was an existential crisis to be had there.

And if Safi was him then Chris was Steve and Tony had already hurt him and it was no fucking surprise that everything had gone to hell.

@kel
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#5
Blonde eyebrows shot up, shock mixed with worry coloring his expression “Tony are you-?”

‘You are ME.’

“Oh for!” Safi’s hands clenched at his sides; he was so fucking sick of being compared to Captain Fucking America and now? Now Tony-

“I’m me-“ Safi hooked a thumb at himself- “Not Steve Rogers, not Anthony Stark. Me. Robert Safi Wassem, my mother is a history professor and my dad is a diplomat! I’m not either of you!” He come here to apologize and what he was getting instead was ANOTHER burden of someone else’s life, sins, expectations. “I am myself and only myself.”

His nostrils flared as Tony broke down how ‘fucked up’ it was- “Don’t.” He Bit out. “Don’t push me away like this.” He recognized this, it was the same destructive urge from the other night. “I’m fucked up for reasons you-“ never asked about.

Safi’s body carried scars, his dreams held nightmares; and maybe Tony was falling in love, or maybe he was attracted to a soul like his own. But regardless their relationship had been based on Safi being the caretaker. And that had been fine.

But how the fuck did Tony dare to push him, try and label him.

Tony didn’t know his demons, the reasons for his reactions.

It was damn hard to be angry.

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Marvel-616

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#6
"Oh, come on," Tony snapped, as Safi protested. "You understand the concept of the multiverse. You've seen shit I haven't seen. I can promise you I've seen some shit you haven't seen. That doesn't change--" he took a breath, remembering that Safi hadn't seen what Death had shown him. "It has to be one or the other of you, and" he smiled humorlessly, "well, the face fooled me for a while, didn't it? But I understand a hell of a lot more than you think. I'm not pushing you away. I just. Finally. Understand."

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#7
“I understand enough to know that the odds of me being anyone you know-” The words were ground out through gritted teeth- “Are infinitesimal. Why do I have to be either of you?” Safi threw up his hands rubbing over his face with a groan. “I am MY SELF. Just me. Not any fucking copy!”

‘Face fooled me-’

Damn if that wasn’t a kick in the nuts.

Safi might not have liked the expectation to live up to the Legendary ‘Captain America’ but to have it thrown in his face just how far from that ideal he really was...well that was a hell of a thing to hear.

“I don’t need this.” he growled torn between his need to make amends and the insults falling from Tony’s lips. “If that’s what you want to think. That this whole time you’ve been fucking yourself...fine.” Safi wasn’t- Damn it he just wasn’t in as stable a head space as he’d thought to deal with this.

“I’ll see you around.” Safi spun on his heel moving to leave. He’d talk to Tony again when he cooled down and could deal with this new bullshit.

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#8
Of course Safi didn't understand. He hadn't seen what Tony had seen.

"You don't know the odds like I do," Tony said, feeling drained. His voice was flat, exhausted. He didn't want to tell Safi this. It would mean admitting that he'd known about them since the beginning, had gone into meeting them with an edge that Safi hadn't had.

Tony would hate that. He was pretty sure that meant Safi would too.

"I met Death," Tony said as Safi turned away. "When I first came here. It showed me--me. Well,me and Steve. Half a dozen different lives. I saw us happy, I saw us dead, and I saw...you and Chris. It course I assumed, well, the logical thing to assume." He stopped and took a shaky breath. His hand stung mildly where he'd burned it and for a moment it was strangely distracting.

"You want to know something really fucking funny?" he added to Safi's back. "After you got me drunk and put a gun to my head, I thought I might be in love with you." He let every ounce of self hated he had seep into his tone. "There's something to be said there about us and our self worth issues, probably. But I can promise you, I don't like this any more than you do. I'm sorry."

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#9
Death. Other versions. A vision of him and Chris.

“Who’s so say she wasn’t fucking with you?” Safi breathed out harshly. “So now. Let me get this straight. Somehow you ‘figuring out’ that i am ‘another version’ of you. That means that anything you felt for me is dead, because i’m just a copy of you. And that means that anything I feel for you is worthless because I am you.” Safi barked out a laugh. “Well isn’t that priceless.”

Safi spun on his heel stalking toward Tony. “Ok so I have to be you or him? Lets line up the pieces-” he’d already played this game with Tony’s Steve so he knew damn well were they matched. “My grandfather? His name was Abraham Erskine. I spent most of my childhood in hospital because of pernicious anemia, Sensorineural congenital hearing loss, astigmatism, asthma oh and congenital heart defect.” the only thing that he HADN’T had as a child that the other Steve did was Polio and that was because the vaccine had come long before he’d been born. “I still have to take vitamins every day, and I have fucking implant-” he tapped his left ear. “So I can hear correctly. My granddad was the one that operated on my heart, developed a new technique to do it.” Safi stared down into Tony’s eyes. “But go on. Tell me how much I resemble you. So you have a good excuse to push everything away.”

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#10
"She wasn't," Tony said, stonefaced. As lost as he'd felt then, he'd been sure of that. Then he snorted. "What, you don't like the semantics? Fine. We can call me another version of you, if you'd like." He smirked. "If I didn't know better, I'd think that was some ego I was detecting."

The smirk froze on his face as Safi brought up feelings. "It can't be real. Not to mention. Pretty fucked up if it is, right?"

Oh, so Safi wanted to play this game? Tony met stepped forward as he did, meeting him in the middle. "First of all. Heart defect?" He tapped his chest. "You probably don't want to know how many heart attacks I've had, but, believe me, it's been a theme. Now, let's talk about what else we have in common. Self hated bordering on suicidal on your bad days? Hurt everyone you love, no matter how much you try not to? Look for relief in a bottle, or a bong, until one day you lift your head and find out you've just made it all worse?" He clenched his teeth, unrelenting. "You told me you'd sacrifice anything, anyone, your good damn ideals, for the good of your country. The ends justify the means, don't they? Until one day you've gone too far and one day it's not fucking worth it. Does any of that sounds like Chris? Not to mention. One night stands? Clearly our thing. Though we're less compatible than you'd think, considering we're both looking to get hurt just to feel a little something new. Now is that enough, or should I go on?"

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#11
“My best friend-” Pain flashed in his eyes, hating Tony a little bit that he probably didn’t even know the story and yet was forcing him to drag it out. “Name is James Buchanan. And considering I punched out a guy claiming to be Steve’s bestie because i thought he was him..” Safi left that logical step for Tony to make. “Really? Because i’m pretty sure i was told that your damn Steve sacrificed a shit ton for his country so don’t tell me that’s not ‘in character’.” he hissed.

“Fuck you.” Safi spit out, “Personality? Really? I’m a god damn soldier I never said I was His almighty Captain America self but i’m sure as hell not you. Do you want to know how many of my old unit are still above ground and sober after mustering out?” Safi got into Tony’s face, anger tightening his expression into stone, only his eyes showed his rage. “You weren’t a one night.” Safi stepped into Tony’s space. “And I wasn’t to you. And that scares the fuck out of you. Because you fell in love once before to some ass hat wearing my face, and now you thought for a second it had happened again and you are grasping at anything that makes you feel less out of control of your heart.” Safi took a breath eyes closing for a long moment. “I like you Tony.” his tone changed, the anger bleeding out as he made the conscious decision to let go. “Alot. Don’t push me away because you are scared. For once don’t listen to that voice in your head trying to tear down a relationship you have.” Safi’s head tipped back down, eyes sliding open. “I’m not him, and i’m not you. Tony-” Safi rested his hands on Tony’s shoulders. “People who have things in common are attracted to each other, this place...it fucks with your mind, but not everything needs to be connected like this. Hell even if she was telling the truth who says it was the exact truth you assumed? What if there was someone else in that room? Belle’s ghost lover might have been there and Death saw him and you didn’t.” Safi lifted one shoulder. “Don’t fixate on this. Please.”

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Marvel-616

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Jasmine (starkly-tony)

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#12
"Details," Tony hissed, his own face stiffening in pain. "So you got his face and some of the names. It's the multiverse. Same cast of characters, different configurations. Means nothing." His expression hardened more. "He sacrificed himself," Tony said, almost in a whisper. "He sacrificed me. His ideals? Never. That was always the problem. And. If I know one thing about Steve. He would never, never, do what you did to me on that roof. No matter how much he was hurting. Or how much I deserved it."

Safi's eyes softened, but Tony was finding it hard to care. "Don't you dare call him that," he snapped. "You want to talk about us, fine, but don't--dont--" he closed his eyes, trying to regain his composure. To fight down the fundamental unfairness of it all and the helpless anger that came with it. "You know what drew me to you? From the beginning? You understood me. The choices I've made." He wanted to ask what Safi thought there was between them. If maybe Safi had started to feel the same thing he had. He didn't. What could be the point?

Instead he stepped back, scrubbing a hand down his face and letting out a sigh. "I've seen it. I'm not going to unsee it. If that means I'm fixating, then, fine. Whoever you are-- it doesn't change the fact that, uh. I don't think being around you is very good for me right now."

The thought 'I never was a very good influence on myself' passed through his mind but he kept it to himself. Safi didn't want to believe they were the same. He almost laughed, an odd smile twisting his face. It wasn't like he particularly wanted to be Tony Stark these days either.

"I don't blame you," he added. "Apology accepted, if that's what you want to hear. I hope things get better for you. I really do."

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#13
Safi in that moment hated Hub. Everything in his life had gone to shit the moment Belle found her way there, dragging him and Chris along for the ride.

“Don’t bring the ghost in the closet up?” Safi couldn’t stop at this point; he’d tried to de escalate but instead- “You said yourself that the only reason you fucked me was because I-” his voice shifted to those too familiar Brooklyn tones. “Am him, look like him, sound like him.” Safi had two kinds of Ex’s those that were still good friends, that understood he wasn’t a guy for the long term...and those that he had the feeling Tony was going to become.

“So because I understand you...that makes me you?” God damn it all. “You don’t want to listen. And I gave up the moral high ground. Fine. I can’t even argue now!” he threw up his hands. “Did you ever consider that maybe what makes us us isn’t so damn unique? The same seed sprouts uniquely in different soil. I’ve done everything these months to try and get your heart patched back together, we both knew what this was and what it wasn’t and the second you got too deep in-” Safi stepped back hands clapping to punctuation his point like a gunshot.

“I fucked up. And you have the fucking right to cut me out for it. But I refuse to be pushed away because you think i’m some version of you. I REFUSE to be blamed for anything but my OWN crimes!”

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Marvel-616

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#14
As Safi slipped into Steve's familiar Brooklyn accent Tony felt something inside him break. He hadn't been denying that he'd seen Steve in Safi. Of course he hadn't. He'd objected to Safi calling him an ass hat, had thought a little respect for the dead was warranted, but this--

He had to turn away as the tears sprung to his eyes, and buried his face in his hand. He wanted a drink. He needed a drink. He couldn't handle this.

"I was only asking for a little fucking respect for the dead," he forced out, and was horrified when it was followed by a sob.

This had been a mistake. This had all been a mistake. He wanted to flee back into the workshop but he stayed where he was, partlu because he owed Safi that much and partly because he felt like he couldn't move.

"You don't want to believe me? Fine," he says, turning to face Safi again, breathing hard. "I don't care. You can put this on me. I was in a bad place when I met you. I should have turned away but I've never been strong enough to not give myself what I want. There. It's my fault. And I got in too deep and I got hurt again and that's on me too." He took a ragged breath, hating that Safi had broken down his defenses so easily. He needed to not feel so much, he needed a drink--he needed to talk to Chris right away because if he didn't he was going to slip again and he couldn't-- he couldn't--

He almost started laughing again. "You think I'm cutting you out because you're me? Because of MY sins?" he snapped. "Newsflash. I'm cutting you out because I need to get sober and you--you make that so hard--" he fisted his hands, searching for control and just barely finding it. "You were good to me. For a long time. More than I deserved. Now? I can't trust you to let me do what I need to do. We are too alike, Safi, whether you want to see it or not,and I've never exactly been a good influence on myself."

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#15
GREAT just great Safi, lash out because you are hurting; it didn’t matter that Tony was refusing to hear what Safi was saying, that he was pulling out all the stops… It was up to SAFI to be the damn adult. “You are right.” Safi took a breath. “I-” he shook his head, “I am sorry. I forgot for a moment that he isn’t the man I know as Steve.” And wasn’t that a kick in the nuts? That he was guilty of the same mistake? Safi groaned internally at this ‘proof’ that he was the same as Tony. LIKE HE WAS THE ONLY ONE TO GET CONFUSED!!

“But that’s not an excuse.” mea culpa. Safi ate the sins that belonged to him.

And ONLY those.

Safi took a long deep breath, listening to Tony, “If you really want to get clean.” his tone was forcefully calm, pushing his rage down, because this wasn’t fucking about him was it? “I want to help you. Contrary to the other night I do have some self control. And i'm very good at saying ‘no’.”


“But if this you can’t trust me than I have to accept that.” Safi rubbed his face. “Just...tell me you have someone you can trust. Someone that will help keep you straight?” Because god dammit he did care.

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#16
Safi was apologizing, and now didn't Tony feel like the asshole?

"It's all right," he said, pulling himself together with an effort. He knew Safi was in a bad place, that, three nights ago, he'd been on the edge of ending it all. Tony wasn't saying anything that was easy to take. He couldn't take it personally when Safi lagged out, no matter how much hearing Steve's voice--God, with no warning, just like him--had cut through him. "I understand," he gritted. "I--for what it's worth. I'm sorry too."

His hands were shaking and he shoved them in his pockets. He'd asked too much of Safi already. Leaned on him for months, as Safi had rightly pointed out. (He'd always been selfish.)

"I have help," he said shortly. It was hard to meet Safi's eyes. "After the other night. Couldn't exactly pop through the portal to an AA meeting, so I... I went to Chris." And why did it feel like such a betrayal now? "He's willing to...be there for me. For a bit. So, uh. No need to worry."

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#17
It wasn’t alright. It couldn’t be, not that quickly. But the worst of it was that Safi could tell that Tony was just saying the words, there was not even a seed of genuine forgiveness in him..and maybe there couldn’t be. Sometimes you had to cut people who were part of your pain out.

“Chris.” Of course. That- “Why him?” Safi’s hands flexed, protectiveness flaring up, Chris would make a great sober buddy, and Safi had little doubt of the man’s will to keep Tony on the straight and narrow. Nope his question had everything to do with Tony. Because as far as he knew the pair had hardly been in the same room together for some very good reasons, mostly involving him and the man he looked like.

“I’m going to worry Tony. just because i fucked up doesnt mean i don’t still care about you.”

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#18
Tony was tired. Whatever anger he'd felt--and there had never been much, really, not when he deserved everything Safi had done to him, when he himself was guilty of far worse--seemed to have ebbed as quickly as it had come. Tony had never been one to hold grudges, in any case. But he didn't answer the plain skepticism on Safi's face at his acceptance of Safi's apology. Safi hardly seemed inclined to believe anything he said, anyway. He supposed he shouldn't be surprised. Self-delusion had always been one of his superpowers.

He was tired of feeling. The end of this thing with Safi--it was at once nothing compared to the shattering loss he'd been drowning in and also more than he could take. He wanted relief. He couldn't possibly have it. He really needed to talk to Chris.

Chris, who was his own universe's Steve.

Tony almost started laughing again. He wondered distantly if this was what going insane felt like.

Why Chris? Well, the most likely answer was looking like 'because I instinctively turn to any Steve I can find when I need help.' Probably wouldn't go over well.

"I couldn't go to you, for obvious reasons," he said. "The Steve from my universe can't stand the sight of me, and hasn't been around in months, anyway. Wanda gave me this chance and I blew it all. Who exactly do you think that leaves?" He hated how self-pitying he sounded. It was his own fault he had no friends left. "Chris is a good man, and I was desperate. I didn't tell him anything that happened between us, if that's what you're worried about."

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