In Which Captain America Is A Robot [Part 21/22]
Tony has already convinced himself that Steve won’t turn up for dinner. Too awkward, too difficult, too much history. More than any of that, he has too few emotions - what had happened the first time around had been a wonderful, impossible glitch. For Tony to wish for it to happen again is almost the very definition of pointless. He gets that, he really does, but he can’t help himself from doing to the restaurant to wait for Steve anyway.
It’s not the same place as before. He can’t walk in their old footsteps and expect Steve to be happy with that. This is new - it’s fresh. If there is going to be any chance of this working out, Tony has to remember that they’re starting from the very beginning.
His nerves fizz when the door opens and Steve walks in, the stars-and-stripes gone and replaced with casual clothes. Tony is struck by how handsome he is - not simply his face, his body, but the way that he inhabits it, the surety in his every step. That’s the kind of thing that was never programmed into him. It’s all natural, in its own way.
Tony stands up from his seat when Steve approaches, even if this isn’t the kind of establishment that buys into ‘manners’ or ”cutlery’. It’s a small diner close to the SHIELD base, somewhere easily escapable if Steve decides to bail on him after all.
“You came,” Tony says as Steve walks over. He isn’t sure whether to shake his hand (actually, what he wants to do is kiss him senseless, right here in front of everybody, but that probably wouldn’t go down too well: patience) and they end up with an awkward half-shake half-hug that involves a vigorous back-pat before they both sit down. Tony is grinning like a lunatic. It’s unnerving but he isn’t able to stop. “I’m glad you’re here. I thought I was going to be dining alone, and I’m not sure if the food here is actually edible without company to distract you.”
“I’ll aim to be an adequate distraction,” Steve promises. He sits to attention on the other side of the table, his shoulders perfectly straight and level. “I wasn’t actually sure whether or not I should come. I know my association with you caused… difficulties last time.”
“”Difficulties’? Is that what they’re calling it? That’s kind. And inaccurate, but I’ll go with kind.”
“You’re a complex man with no respect for authority, for SHIELD, or what I do for them. My work is important. You design weapons; I am one. That means that I can’t afford to question orders or see conspiracies, because if I hesitate for even a second then the people I’m trying to protect die. That’s why they wanted to use androids in the first place - no hesitation, no doubt.”
Tony swallows around his dry mouth. He hadn’t quite expected this date to start with a lecture. He wishes he had ordered a drink already.
“But I…” Steve frowns down at his hands, resting on top of the table. He sounds as if he had practised the previous section. Now he’s off-script. “I wanted to see you.”
Tony nods, and holds back from pointing out that that was how it had begun last time: wants, desires, needs. Feelings filtering in that Steve shouldn’t have at all. It’s something. It’s starting.
“Okay, I get it,” Tony says, before he takes a deep breath and releases it. “Wait, no, I don’t get it. Tell me what you want, Steve. I’ll give it to you, anything. We’re talking a lot about how this is gonna work, and you know what? Pep and Rhodey would think that’s fantastic, but I don’t get it. Just… Tell me. You might not know this but I actually suck at working this stuff out by myself. It’s a flaw. My only flaw.”
“That’s what I’d like,” Steve says, almost tripping over the words in his haste to get them out. “To work it out. I want to see what happens.”
It’s more than Tony had wanted to hope for. He knows that he’s grinning like an idiot. “Yeah,” he says, nodding as he talks. “I can work with that.”
In Which Grantaire Is A Vampire [Part 14/14]
Enjolras’s body lies with the others for one long day, his skin pale with death, his chest unmoving. The blood of bullet wounds blossoms over his chest, while his mouth is smeared with the blood of another. Ash and burns linger on his lips.
The leader has fallen: the leader is dead.
And then, abruptly, he isn’t.
His eyes flicker open, as black as the night, and fangs burst free in his mouth with a toe-curling stab of pain. He gasps and thrusts himself upright, panting for air that burns in his lungs. The night is cold around him.
By starlight, Enjolras looks at his surroundings - his friends, dead and waiting for burial. Brave faces slack with death. Blood soaking into cobblestones. The scene of a failed revolution spreads out before him - and all of Paris is hushed with grief, shrouded in shame. Enjolras’s fingers twitch against the ground as he struggles to take in the dark face of reality.
He remembers his last moments of life - the burning, desperate hope in Grantaire’s eyes and the horror of knowing what he was doing even as he permitted it. Grantaire had died so that Enjolras could live, the gnawing hunger in his belly already taking root. Enjolras looks at his fallen friends, the horror too much to accept. This is not a life he wants: he had been prepared to die for his cause and for his friends. He hadn’t been prepared to survive them all.
On shaking legs, he pulls himself to his feet, but he doesn’t know what to do. He can’t stop looking at the bodies, struggling to put it into reality: Combeferre is dead, Feuilly is dead, Joly is dead. Grantaire is dead. The words sound false even as he thinks them, even as he stares at bloody, brutal evidence.
His footsteps falter and waver as he tries to walk, emotion choking him, a newborn thirst clogging up his thoughts. He may have survived the revolution, unwillingly and unnaturally. Looking out to the sky, alone and desperately afraid, Enjolras feels his immortal resolve beginning to crumble. Grantaire would not want to see him like this, stumbling and scared, but Grantaire is gone.
Faced with immortality, Enjolras aches in abandonment and hunger: a lone figure looking to the empty, mocking stars.
If you want to leave anything in my Ask Box, now would be an excellent time!
I’m currently open to requests for the following fandoms: MCU, Hannibal, Les Miserables, X-Men Movieverse, Angel&BtvS, Being Human UK, Doctor Who, Lost, Star Trek AOS, Assorted Marvel Comics Characters (just ask and I’ll say if I don’t know enough about them.)
Additionally: I’ve picked up quite a few new followers since Hannibal started, so hello everyone.
oxers asked: oh no suddenly shipping Scotty/Chekhov whAT HAVE YOU DONE
My general policy when it comes to Chekov is to ship him with everyone.
“Nah, you did good,” Scotty assures Chekov for what may be the hundredth time. Hidden away in a spare classroom, they are running over the Khan scenario again - or, to be more precise, Chekov is going through every single action he took, while expecting Scotty to announce that the entire situation had been preventable if only Chekov had remembered to do X, Y or Z. Scotty isn’t playing along. “Couldn’t have done better myself, lad. They’re lucky they had you aboard.”
“But that is not true,” Chekov says stubbornly. He looks down at the reports spread over the desk and the diagrams of the ‘incident’, as it’s being called, and frowns deeply. “If you had been there, it would have gone differently. I need you to show me how.”
“Ach, lad,” Scotty sighs. “We were up against Starfleet itself. That’s something a great deal larger than you or I. You did what you could.”
Chekov’s expression remains distant and pinched. “People died under my care. What I did, it was not enough. I need to -” He heaves a breath and the sound of pain in the movement makes Scotty want to hunt someone down and give them a very good scolding. “I need to be better.”
And of course that is stupid and ridiculous and Scotty can’t help the sound of indignant disbelief that bursts from him. He reaches out before he can think it through, his hand against Chekov’s cheek, his thumb pressed against fairytale pale skin. His thumb swipes over a defined cheekbone and when Chekov looks at him, his eyes heavy with guilt and worry, it’s as painful as a stab through the chest.
“Don’t talk like that,” Scotty urges, while aware that he’s never allowed himself to get this close to Chekov in all the time they’ve spent working together - he’s never allowed any level of contact. Chekov is just a teenager, and Scotty hasn’t been that young for a good couple of decades. It’s dangerous to even look at him, his mind so sharp and his intentions so good. Touching, this hand on his cheek, it’s completely beyond any rule Scotty has ever made for himself.
Chekov breathes his name like it’s an appeal to a higher power. He leans into Scotty’s palm for a brief moment, as though the contact alone might be able to leech all of the guilt and responsibility from his over-worked conscience. Scotty needs to back off right about now - he knows this.
He isn’t moving.
He’s not drunk or hungry enough to justify any stupid behaviour, but when Chekov edges closer to him, leaning in hopefully, Scotty doesn’t make him stop. Their lips touch and his eyes slide closed, even if he can’t admit to himself that this is what he was wanting all along. Shadowing sessions on the Enterprise and rowdy social evenings in the rec room, it all feels as if it’s been leading to this - Chekov’s sweet mouth opening up to him, and the thought that if he can make Chekov feel better about himself, even for a second, this might all be justifiable.
Anonymous asked: I really like the new Scogan lawyer piece. The dynamic is different, and it seems like Logan's the one who's unsure how to proceed. Love it!
Thank you! I’m glad you liked it. Sticking Logan in an honest-to-god date seems like the kind of situation he wouldn’t have had a lot of experience with.
Previously, Logan was arrested and Scott was his lawyer:
“So this is something you do a lot,” Logan asks, but it comes out angry and defensive. That’s how he’s feeling, today. He sounds petty and jealous and it makes him hate Scott for turning him into this. Logan has survived in the wild for years with precisely one rule: don’t care too much. Getting irritated at the thought of Scott dating others, dating lots of others, is the kind of thing that counts as far, far too much.
He hates how relieved he feels when Scott shrugs. “Not as often as you’d think,” he confesses. “Work keeps me busy.”
“Saving mutantkind one lawsuit at a time?”
“Providing legal representation to a persecuted minority group.” Scott’s mouth twitches like he’s struggling not to laugh at himself. It’s a side of Scott that Logan wouldn’t have imagined when they first met, with Scott stern and judgemental in his suit. “I know you think it’s stupid.”
“You got me out of a jail sentence. Can’t be that stupid,” Logan admits grudgingly. “It’s never gonna work. You’ve got guys like the Brotherhood tearing the place up. When they get caught, what are you going to do about it?”
Scott’s smile is fading away. Not exactly ideal first-date conversation. Logan can see his chances of being invited back to Scott’s apartment fading away. “That’s complicated,” Scott says. “We have procedures in place. We want to make sure that mutants are treated equally under the law - not that they’re exempt from it.”
Logan grunts as if that means something to him. “And in practice? Those ‘procedures’, what the hell does that mean?”
Scott clears his throat and leans back, his coffee now untouched and cooling rapidly. “We offer legal advice to the authorities about how best to handle the case,” he says. His tone is heavy with finality, and he doesn’t squirm under Logan’s attempt to stare him down. It’s impossible to intimidate him the way that Logan is used to intimidating everyone around him. “You don’t want to listen to me talk about work, Logan. I’m boring you. Let’s talk about something else. What are you up to this weekend?”
It’s an easy out, an escape from the awkward topic Logan had managed to fall into. It’s probably even a kindness - Scott is trying to stop Logan from burning their afternoon to the ground before they’ve even got started. All the same, he can’t stop himself from sullenly shrugging one shoulder.
Scott ploughs on regardless. “Because I was going to ask if you wanted to meet up again,” he says. “I’ve had a good time today.”
‘Today’ has so far been a coffee and the beginnings of an argument, but Logan knows Scott has to get back to work - get back to his version of saving the world, whatever that means.
The smart thing might be to cut his ties and move on, but Logan really isn’t interested in doing the smart thing. He smirks, and tells himself he was planning on staying in town for a few more days all along.
After so long in incarceration, to feel the sun upon his face is an unexpected luxury. For the first few weeks of his escape, Hannibal does not have a chance to relish his new freedoms. Logic demands that he keeps his head down and ploughs onward, following every plan, all the way across the ocean to Europe and beyond. He cannot pretend that the streets of his own country, or even continent, are more tolerant of his excesses, but at the very least he has a heightened chance of anonymity. The Tattler is not well read on this side of the Atlantic.
He slips through the nets with expert ease and then he’s free, able to walk in the sun. He finds a table in a beer garden, and sits in the sunshine with his eyes closed to shield them against the light. He breathes deeply and slowly and feels more free than he had felt even before his imprisonment. No patients demanding his attention, no meaningless whining to comfort, no need to conform to outside expectations.
Nonetheless, between slow, savouring draws from his beer, Hannibal considers the postcard on the table in front of him, blank and waiting for his message. Sending anything is painfully foolish - it’s a mistake, however theatrical, that he should not make when his freedom is so fresh and perilous. Nonetheless, he hasn’t contacted Will Graham since before his escape. His cards and letters are persistently unanswered, but he allows this slight to go unnoticed. The lack of a reply is not the same as a lack of a response.
He puts pen to paper and allows himself a smile as he imagines Will’s reaction when it pops through his letter box without any intervention or mediation from the FBI. The message on the card is nothing more than a comment on the weather and a wish to see him soon - but the message, unwritten, is still as plain as any script: I know where you live now.
He licks the back of a stamp and smooths it down onto the card. There is a cheerful lilt to his step when he pops it into the mailbox, taking his own private delight in the unrest his message is sure to cause - quietly, secretly, he thinks Will might be glad to hear from him for reasons that have nothing to do with the FBI, and everything to do with their entwined past.
As Hal is surfacing from his afternoon nap, he feels paws on his shoulder and whiskers brushing against his cheek. “No,” he sigh, before he’s even opened his eyes. “You’re not keeping it. Do you have any comprehension of how much these things shed?”
Tom is standing in front of him, working the puppy eyes for all he’s worth. In the background, Alex lounges against the bar with a positively wicked smirk on her face. The kitten pads curiously over Hal’s shoulder, nearly losing its balance on several occasions. Deliberately, Hal won’t turn his face to look at the creature. He knows the tactics that strays like to play, and one of those tactics is being alarmingly cute.
“Please, Hal,” Tom asks, in precisely the kind of tone that makes him very difficult to say ‘no’ to. “This bloke was selling them on the street, gave me her for a tenner, I can’t take her back now.”
“You can. You will. He can find some other poor fool to offload ‘her’ on.” Hal sniffs. He’s sure he can feel his allergies kicking off already.
Tom hooks his thumbs into the pockets of his trousers and rocks on his feet. “Alex said you’d be like this,” he mutters.
Hal struggles not to bristle. “Like what?”
“All stuck up and stuff. It’s just a cat, Hal.” Tom wears the ‘kicked puppy’ expression extraordinarily well. Hal suspects it might be supernaturally enhanced. “I’ll look after it and everything.”
“No. I know exactly how this will go.” Pearl had shared Tom’s fondness for strays. Hal has to put his foot down early. “You can hand it into a home.”
“It might take a couple of days to get all that organised,” Alex suggests, with the kind of tone that implies ‘a couple of days’ might actually be ten years. “We’ll get on that, right?”
Tom scoops the kitten up from Hal’s shoulder and coddles it against his chest as he disappears out of the room with Alex. Hal is left alone in the living room with the distinct impression that he has been woefully out-played.