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Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by d.fish, May 7, 2017.
What is it fluffy buns :V
She's basically just trolling the world, right?
If she's a Silver Age Kryptonian, she really could do all that.
Did... did she actually do all that shit, or is she making shit up to mess with the aliens guy?
She has the time stone... so, it's actually possible for her to have gone back in time to make everything real or confirmed...
I hadn't actually thought of that.
She was really bullshit enough without the Infinity Stones. Her using them is getting really bizarre and omnipotent even before she has the full set.
Though really reading this has been making me want a non-crack version.
Everything was going wrong. Nothing was going as planned. Where were Brandt and Savin?
The way Tony Stark gloated at him, even as he was tied up, as if everything was going by some kind of divine plan—and in Stark's mind, probably his own plan—only grated on his nerves even more. The way that infuriating man looked at him, as if he knew something that he didn't... it pissed him off. But it couldn't be; he had the Vice President of the United States in his pocket. He had his plants, that was no way...
“What?!” Aldrich Killian roared as his fist swung around and crashed down on the control console before him. He had been sitting back with his feet resting on the machinery in front of him, deep in thought and stewing over his anger. But now he'd leaped to his feet and his neck glowed as if he was going to spew hot fire through his mouth.
“... Sir, you might want to see this,” one of his less used and less experienced experiments murmured.
It was a mistake to have sent both Brandt and Savin out, Killian thought. They were better thinkers, and they could make tactical decisions on their own and pretty much everyone working for him, by this point, had been injected with Extremis. A muscle could have done the job fine... no, they could have done it even better. Stark must have figured something out while taking them out—what else could have happened to them? But Killian kept this to himself, and he turned to his employee and calmed himself down, straightening his jacket as if he had not made any outbursts, “What is it?”
The man pushed his laptop towards Killian. The screen was showing some website called 'Twitch”, which seemed to be some kind of video streaming website not looking too different from the multitudes of others on the internet. The video was of some child making almost spastic motions with her hands and talking too fast for Killian to care.
His minion seemed to notice this and spoke, “She's streaming on Youtube and other video platforms as well, sir.”
“Well?” Killian sighed. “Turn it up.”
“...So guys, it's me, your gal, Kara Zorelle, and we're about to do some superheroing! If you're just tuning in now, let me catch you up to speed. I'm the last survivor of an intergalactic species of aliens, which is why I look so weird, and I'm here on Earth as a intern to one of Earth's greatest heroes!” She spoke too quickly, but with a sort of spontaneous motion and tone that belied she wasn't reading off any script.
And then a voice called from the background, outside of the camera's view. “Coffee!”
Killian unconsciously gripped his hands into fists. He knew that voice. That was the voice of the man who left him to take this road, the man who started this all and opened his eyes to the way the world worked... a man he both hated and respected, really.
It was Tony Stark. It had to be.
But he didn't move into view, instead, it was the girl who started to panic. “Oh! Shit! Right, um, right away, Mister Stark, sir!”
“What am I looking at?” Killian turned to his employee.
The man evaded his gaze, almost as if he was going to shuffle his feet if he had any less discipline. “Sir, she's been streaming videos of her, along with Tony Stark and Lieutenant Rhodes. There's videos of her pulling people out of the Air Force One and videos of her flying to the moon for a...”
“A what?” Killian growled impatiently.
“... A coffee break, sir.” The man gulped as Killian closed in on him.
Killian turned back to the computer. There was a short list of other videos below, linked. They were all just minutes long, posted between one hour and half an hour ago, and there were over three million people currently watching her live stream. That number was ticking higher and higher with each passing second and—
“So, uh, Mister Stark's been attacked by, like, this evil organization that's behind the Mandarin and everything, and we're going to go save the President now. Oh wait, I gotta ask him,” She stopped talking and walked out of the room, but her voice could still be heard, despite at a much lower volume. “Hey, Mister Stark, can I come with?”
“Kara...” Stark's voice sounded strained. “I... look, I'd love to, but I won't say that it's because I don't know what you're capable of, okay?”
You could almost hear her pouting. “But you didn't know what the other Avengers were capable of...”
Stark's reply was honest. “Actually, I did. I knew of them even if I didn't know them. I read their files, I studied their story, and I had independent sources to back up what I learned about them from SHIELD.”
SHIELD? Killian's eyebrows furrowed in frustration.
“... Aw... can I come watch? I promise I won't interfere!” She persisted.
“Fine. It's not far anyway and we're pressed for time, so it's not like I have time to lecture you. Not that I want to, that's not my thing.” He paused, taking a long sip of his coffee. “Maybe I shouldn't be drinking this... I haven't slept in a few days so that can't be healthy, can it?”
There was a pause, something like static in the background. The microphone was shit.
Then Stark started rambling again, as he often did. “Usually Jarvis says something mothering at that cue.”
“Sorry boss,” the girl's voice was getting louder. “I'll make a note of this, boss! Where are we going again?”
“The docks. Suit up, Rhodey!”
The girl was on the screen again, “Right, yeah, I'm not changing in front of y'all, okay? Anyway, going there's gonna be boring, so I'll start streaming again when the action starts! Sighing out, winky face!”
A strange semicolon and a parentheses appeared on the blackening screen for half a second, weirdly enough. It must have been some kind of teen thing. How inane, Killian thought.
Killian pulled away from the screen. He couldn't believe how utterly crap Stark's operational security was... but then again, he could believe it. Stark was a decadent, narcissistic man gifted with too much talent and resources, who squandered it in the saddest ways. But he would come around, after he saw his sweetheart burning before his eyes, perhaps. He found himself plastered with a rather sadistic smile.
Then Killian clapped twice, loudly and getting the room's attention. “Well, gentlemen, get ready! It seems like Stark's bringing us some audience for our show. Best not disappoint! And you too, Mister President.”
So the plan had gone to shit. Everything was fucked, but so what? He wasn't going to show his face, and once the President of the United States died on camera—he'll have to get Stark's assistant a little thank you card for getting him some extra eyes for his big show—AIM will control the War on Terror.
Yes, Killian thought. He had everything under control.
Oh. Oh that is too rich. I almost feel sorry for Killian. Almost.
I thought she just looked a little too perfect? There's nothing inhuman looking about a Kryptonian.
I don't get why you'd want to have a coffee break on the moon. The lack of atmosphere would vaporize and/or freeze your coffee in a matter of seconds.
Underestimate not the human brain's ability to go, "That is hot as fuck... no, wait, what the fuck is wrong with that?"
I think Superman skimmed by because he was actually raised on Earth, so picked some of our weird monkey-species habits.
We're used to videos showing actresses edited to perfection though without thinking that though.
This is Fish inserted as supergirl though, should have the monkey habits.
Yeah, but there's still the facial expressions that don't tick quite right.
Do we actually know it's only the Fish though?
We haven't seen it from her perspective, so it could be an amalgamation of Fish-chan and Kara-chan.
An unholy union, THAT I DIDN'T KNOW I WANTED!
I don't think there's any version of supergirl that would go around eating primordial relics of power.
So I'm betting only Fish, maybe with some memory or skill packs.
Dark Supergirl, perhaps?
Or maybe Justice Lord Supergirl (from the cartoon).
The moment they rose into the air, the haze in her mind cleared.
She loved flight. She loved flying. She loved how the wind flowed between their fingers, how their hair whipped behind their back. This was the sense of unaided flight, being able to move any direction she willed as easily as, if not easier than, walking.
And that was why she thought she was the real one.
She sounded so smug in their mind.
And she, the one who loved flying, found it disgusting. She didn't like how she treated their lack of... their comprehension of their situation as if it were a simple problem. A simple problem like...
Like what? What is even a simple problem to us anymore?
Yet she who was smug also loved flying. The tender joy of feeling the vapors of the clouds brushing gently against your cheeks, like drifting lazily into a sauna, like burying her face into the fur of a golden retriever, like sunlight burning on her skin on a lazy Sunday morning as she laid not awake and not asleep, somewhere in between where everything was warm...
Like burying your face into a set of beautiful breasts...?
That was the problem though.
They shared this and that, so they could both do this and that.
It was crazy, it was insanity.
She has the save voice as her in their mind. She remembered the same things, the end of the universes, the collapse of everything, being right there in the front lines... getting punched in the face by Doomsday, being torn apart by Darkseid's Omega Effect, headbutting the Anti-Monitor...
… yet she remembered sitting in some defunct book store called Borders in her very earliest memories, and seeing all of this in ink, on paper.
She wanted to shake her head, trying to make sense of a conundrum that only grew more tangled the more she thought about it.
No, none of this made any sense. Perhaps that was why she wished it did make sense.
She believed she was the real one, because she wanted to get back to it all. Perhaps get to a new one. She might have even settled for this place, but she was too curious... how was everyone doing? Were there anyone looking for her?
… Could anyone find her?
If not... we can always find them, once we have all of the cosmos in our hands.
No. That isn't the way to do things, such power, in our hands... If Mister Stark can help us, then we should have sought him out first.
A preventive measure then.
Yes. A joke.
… How delightful.
I tend to think of us as a protector... they're a fragile bunch. If they don't work together, if they don't come together, if they do not become Earth's Mightiest Champions...
… It would be so easy to just collect them all, ignoring everyone.
Now who was the one who sounded more real?
But it wasn't her turn, she would have to wait. Waiting for her to mess with the tens of millions of people watching, humiliate the villains gloating, and sass the President. Well, she didn't want to do that anyway.
But the thought, once it was there, was now stuck in her head. She hated how she had become so introspective. She despised it, truthfully, because she wanted to charge through everything. It would be easier that way, simpler, more enjoyable.
She wouldn't have started to form attachments to people here.
And she knew, one day, she might leave and never return.
She didn't want that.
Even if this world was nonexistent in one life, and a set of films in another. This universe, despite feeling so real, couldn't be. Some part of her, not her, wanted to settle down here, and forget the past. Something must have came and swept it away. Some thing that destroyed her multiverse.
It was this universe that was just a bunch of movies, right?
She was real, right? And her, she was real too right?
Must one of us be... not real?
I hope not...
But what if... both of them weren't real?
Despite it not being her turn, and despite being sunken and chained into one corner of their mind, she found herself willing their body's breathing to quicken. Their heart must have been beating a hundred times a second.
Anxiety filled their veins, and dread nearly weighed them down from the sky. It was hard to fly, when despair gripped their mind. One a bleak hope remained if the minds of those like Tony Stark couldn't find their origins... if these great people of science couldn't prove their existence. They'd have to rely on the most powerful objects in the universe... to... what?
To see if we have a home to go back to? To see if our friends and families are still there?
If we are even real?
I must be losing my mind.
That makes two of us.
Feels in another crack story.
But at least we know what is going on with super fish.
CALLED THIS SHIT!
Notes: Not very happy with this one, but I thought I might as well knock it out of the way. Tony isn't seeing much because he's tired, sleep deprived, lost some blood, bruised, injured, burned through adrenaline without having paused all day, and just all around worn out. Still felt like I was showing... too little, you know? Like I was going at it from the wrong angle. Not sure what to do about that... Don't know how to fix.
Tony was out of breath.
He really wished Rhodey didn't need such a high vantage point. Couldn't they have grabbed a commercial drone and used that to get sight on everything rather than climbing so many stairs? There was a way onto the old tanker that Killian and his bunch of terrorists were stationing themselves that didn't require like a thousand steps. Ugh.
He wished they could have taken the elevator, or hell, even get his little intern to carry them up. Not that Rhodey would go for that though; it was too revealing, he'd said.
They'd see them coming, he'd said.
You could tell it wasn't a normal night at the shipyard or whatever this place was. Tony didn't know the exact purpose of the place and how it'd have normally functioned other than being some sort of shipyard, but there were lights and people everywhere. And everyone was armed, like some kind of Hollywood action flick. There were cameras and people everywhere, it was almost like this was a movie set.
And for a moment there, Tony felt like John McClain.
He didn't want to be John McClain. Every single Die Hard movie had him getting injured, thrown around, shot at, and whatever else. Tony could still remember watching the first one back when he was a little boy and mimicking McClain's running around barefoot. He'd stepped on a little shard of glass, and after that, his nanny never let him out to play without supervision.
Come to think of it, it was kind of weird for him to have a nanny back then, wasn't it? Normal people didn't have nannies until they were fourteen. Maybe it was his unique upbringing, but was the end result really that much more desirable?
That Tony was drifting off to think about it now, while his heart rate started climbing and he was about to run head-first into a combat zone was indication that maybe he'd have to get that checked.
He peaked around like a groundhog peering out from the ground on the first of April, his gaze swept over the shipyard from his vantage point watching the oil tanker, beyond it into the blackness of the night sky that seemed utterly blank in contrast to the blindingly bright search lights that Killian had running, and behind him. His intern was still just a little shadowy figure in the background, watching them and playing around with her cellphone. Tony made a mental note to peek at what she was fiddling around with on her phone once this was all over, if he survived. He was also wondering why no one seemed to notice her or bothered her... if he could see her, then why couldn't they?
Strangely, he also noticed that there were a lot of cars driving around the docks, all pulling in from that one road they arrived on. The road was congesting to the point of peak hours of Los Angeles traffic, it was almost as bright as Killian's setup.
Something... didn't feel right. Tony couldn't quite place his finger on it, so he absentmindedly followed Rhodey further up the stairs.
“Is your gun up?” Rhodey suddenly asked.
“Yep,” Tony muttered. He immediately raised the hand he was holding the gun to an awkward position. He didn't feel like this was how people held guns, but this was how his arm was raised when he fired his repulsors on his palms... it followed the same concept, right? They were both projectile weapons fired by one hand, what could go wrong? “What do I do?”
“The broadcast will commence shortly, get in your positions.” Some nondescript male voice spoke over a loud microphone.
“Stay on my six, cover high and don't shoot me in the back,” Rhodey replied without turning around to Tony.
If they were sitting down and having this conversation, Tony would have rolled his eyes. “Six, high, back. Alright.”
And that was when someone started firing on them.
No, that wasn't right. All of the searchlights turned to him, and at least ten—his eyes counted ten, but it was hard to do this without an augmented reality head-up display interfaced into a protective helmet counting his enemies for him—people pointing what looked like semi-automatic rifles at him.
He reached up to shoot at one of the searchlights, intending on emptying his clip in that general direction if he didn't hit anything—John McClain made this look a lot easier in the movies.
But then something grazed his shoulder, throwing him back.
Why was his neck feeling wet?
His breathing felt so shallow and quick, but it felt like he wasn't gasping enough air in each breath to keep himself from freaking out. Was he having another attack, now?
Rhodey pulled him behind some kind of metal box or something. It was cover. His eyes were wide.
Heh. Tony didn't want to be a... well, he couldn't see clearly even with all the searchlights flashing around their proximity. He could hardly see Rhodey's face in the night; all he saw were the whites of his eyes.
“All personnel, let's welcome our guests.” That voice... Tony found himself squinting, a fire suddenly burning in the dark pits of his heart. That was Killian's voice, and it was so fucking smug.
“Shit, shit, shit, SHIT!” There was a blur of light and sound, and suddenly all Tony heard was the clinking sounds of a thousand little pieces of metal clinking and clanking against the similarly metal floor. His new intern was standing over them, in the air. She was standing in the air, almost like she was pacing back and forth, swallowing thickly while catching all the stray bullets flying at them without looking at them. “Sir, um, this isn't how I wanted this to happen. Why didn't you dodge?”
Tony rolled his eyes then. Fuck it, why not? And he tried to pick himself up, but for some reason his legs felt a little weak. “Dodge bullets, Miss Zorelle? You overestimate me. Not a first, because I am the... how did you put it? The first modern superhero?”
Literally, within one blink of the eye, she was standing right over him and he couldn't quite see her arms. They were blurs, and he felt as if a thousand hands were pressing against him at the same time.
His neck felt stiff. It wasn't that his neck was stiff, it was that something was binding that part of his body.
Tony looked down. Ah. He was shot. There was still blood going through the bandages—ah?
When did he get bandaged?
“... It wasn't supposed to happen like this.” Kara muttered.
“Kara, right? Tony's new intern?” Rhodey was staring at her strangely, but he didn't even question her abilities. He just motioned at Kara's face, “I hate to say this this way, but I think you got a condition. Are your eyes supposed to be bright red?”
Kara didn't respond immediately, Tony could see she was taken back by the question. She didn't expect someone to point it out so blatantly. “Oh. Um. Yeah, my eyes get red when I get mad.”
“No, I get that. People see red or something, but your eyes are literally glowing in the dark,” Rhodey added.
“Oh! Oh. Yeah! It's so I could do this!” She turned around, spinning so fast she looked like a top. A pair of beams of red light shot from her eyes, as fast as beams of light went yet still visible like they were burned into Tony's vision like Star Wars blaster shots. Kara had shot almost consecutively so quickly that her laser eyes looked like one stream of fire and she'd sustained it for almost six seconds before stopping.
Tony saw that only the searchlights that were pointed at them—over a third of the lights here, the other thirds either in the outer perimeter or focused on the strung up War Machine powered armor Rhodey lost earlier that day. The President of the United States was trapped in that suit, Tony knew. He was also thankful none of them beams had at the President.
But what caused him to stop, not to marvel at what had happened but to feel a new thread of fear emerge in his heart, was the many cooling bodies that fell from the parapets and railings above them. Literally cooling... they were all bodies of former soldiers pumped with Extremis, and that formula was working overtime to fix their bodies, but... Kara had used her eyes to slice and dice them into so many pieces they had already lost their lives while the Extremis kept working.
There was a moment's silence.
Then Rhodey turned to Tony.
“Tony, have you been holding back on me? Because Killian can breath fire and your intern can shoot laser eyes.” Rhodey watched him, almost as if he were tired of this shit but didn't have the will to voice it. As an afterthought, and with an almost whiny undertone, he added, “I want laser eyes.”
“You know,” Tony started to say slowly, turning back to the still struggling pieces of Extremis fueled bodies below that were burning holes through solid industrial railings and concrete flooring. “Those guys might explode—”
Kara radiated smugness as she gave him a vulpine grin. Tony sighed. “Of course, you got it covered. Now let me do the rest.”
All of his suits, all twenty or so of them flew out from the darkness of the night, swooping down like avenging angels. They were all shapes and sizes, some made for heavy lifting, some made for enduring volcanic temperatures, some that were light and some that could tank almost anything... just about every variation that he thought of and made into reality in the short time after the Battle of New York.
“Yeah, Rhodey, I held back on you. Just a little.”
“A little, my ass.”
Speedsters... Man, they don't even need any other superpowers to be top tier capes, just good reaction times to go with that speed.
Oh Kara... you know that Tony is an idiot... of course, he would get shot.
I'm unclear on why Tony didn't have a suit here.
At the very least he could have sent Kara to fetch one of the previous ones.
“One puuunch!” The idiot girl flew at Aldrich Killian, yelling—almost as if she were singing for ACDC— and with her fist raised.
Killian planted his feet firmly down and positioned his body so that he could leverage the swing of his body so that he could flip Stark's stupid intern on her ass. Well, he wasn't going to be so crass about it, but ever since she started showing powers never seen before in this world, everything was falling apart... literally, he wasn't sure how long the shipyard was going to hold together with all the lasers melting entire steel beams when she unleashed a torrent of that kind of power.
Bracing himself turned out to be the wrong thing to do. Her fist pushed into the left side of his chest like a fork pushing down on a piece of delicious cake and then right through him. That entire shoulder blade, arm and all, flew into the air as it was torn off by the force of the girl's blow. His body was pulled up by the bones and sinew in the middle of being torn and he spun three times midair before making a Killian shaped hole into a nearby shipping container... on the other side of the shipyard.
Before he fell through and as half of his body crackled with fires with nothing holding them in, he saw his arm had flown into the ocean in the distance, but not before bouncing on the surface of the water a dozen times like some kind of skipping stone.
“Oops,” the girl murmured, her voice nearly drowned out by the groaning of steel and combusting heat around them. “T-That wasn't supposed to happen like that. Oh, god, I think I threw up a little in my mouth.”
… It... it was just not fair.
Killian staggered up. Even if his wasn't on fire as his entire body's nerves burned themselves out while the Extremis tried to make him a new arm, he could not cry. He'd cried too much, alone, in the desolate wastes of society, to cry now. He'd cried when he realized no one was going to help him help the world out of the kindness of their hearts, back when Tony Stark left him alone on that roof...
Fucking Tony Stark.
It wasn't fair.
Tony Stark was born with intellect beyond mortal understanding—Killian knew Stark was the only one who could fix Extremis. Stark inherited all the resources, fame, and reputation he ever wanted before he could even talk. He had everything, and now he even had some kind of alien bodyguard?
Killian roared in rage, knowing that his opponent wouldn't give him any mercy. The world never lent him any mercy. He had to scrape for every bit and piece of what he had now, and he wasn't about to give it up just because of overwhelming opposition! He had to try, he had to do something, anything! Rage mixed with frustration, and despite himself, streaks of molten fire rolled down his cheeks like burning lava. “NO! I will not give up! I have come too far, I have worked too long, to give it up... to anyone! Not you, not Stark, no one!”
He staggered out of the twisted mess of metal beneath his feet, already melting around him. Hot blood burned through his veins, and he felt he couldn't even keep his mind on his plans.
Was this what people said about intricate plans? Something about them never surviving contact with opposition?
Killian found himself laughing and crying at the stupid line he couldn't even remember now. Was this what broke him? Not the years of torturous labor beneath his political masters? Not all the near-death experiences between combat situations and lethal experiments gone wrong? He felt like this was the time his life should have been flashing before his eyes. No? Nothing? Fine. He smirked and scratched his side as he pushed away the steel shell of some wasted shipping container. That was the side that was first burned by the first explosion caused by Extremis.
He still remembered the dawning horror that threatened to consume him the moment he stared into the ashes of the man who exploded... he was the first. Killian had nearly given up then... he was still weak back then. His convictions were weak back then. He didn't have the firm belief in himself and his cause as he did now.
Seeing the girl flutter down to him delicately in some kind of elegant, superhero's pose, Killian's lips parted and he roared again. The hot blood within poured out like a breath of dragon fire, engulfing the girl.
For a moment, Killian had hoped that he'd next see the charred corpse of the girl—tragic, but expected.
Life wasn't so easy.
It never was when it counted, and Killian killed that blossoming hope in his heart the moment he saw the girl shake her head, like some kind of dog that just crawled out of a pool.
Her Stark Industries sweater had burned off, revealing some kind of almost skin-tight blue mesh that covered her like a one-piece swim suit. Idly, Killian wondered what the material was, because AIM had a hard time replacing clothing since while some things could be flame resistant, nothing could quite resist the heat of Extremis and still fit comfortably.
Then she turned to him, her teeth gleaming in the darkness like the maw of a shark. “Ah, fire breath. Neat. I wish I had that... all I have is ice breath.” She breathed at him.
He blinked and then realized he couldn't move his feet. It took another moment for him to feel the cold... the nerves in his legs have long since deadened—he'd resorted to experimenting on himself with a lack of personnel and volunteers back then, and the failures had taken a toll on his body that way. Killian stared down at his feet, not quite surprised by the curve ball he'd been thrown, but still feeling a mixture of shock and irritation.
His legs couldn't even twitch. The ice was harder than some of the metals he was used to breaking with his fists, but perhaps this was more due to the lack of leverage he had. Nothing below the belt could move. The layer of ice was over almost a foot thick all around him.
Now his torso was encased in the same way. He had not finished healing from her tearing his arm off, and that part of him nearly blinded him in the pain that reverberated through him. His spine felt like it was being torn apart, and the shock made him gasp.
“Stop! Stop. Stop...” Killian gasped. “FUCK!”
He stared into her eyes. “Why? Why are you working for Tony Stark?”
She tilted her head, as if she didn't hear him correctly. “Isn't it a little late for pre-battle banter? I thought that happened before the fight.”
“This... ngh...” He struggled, but he couldn't even twist his shoulders out of the ice. There was something supernaturally powerful about it that kept Extremis from even heating up. It felt like a thousand little needles pricking into his bones, ripping apart his muscles, and biting into his skin all at once. It was almost overwhelming. “This isn't banter, girl. Kara, right? Why? WHY?”
The blonde girl scratched the back of her head. “Eh. He's Tony Stark, you know? Like, I'm not saying that great for a resume, but it's good for a resume, you know?”
She might have been joking, Killian knew. But he took her word for it. What did she have to lose lying to him now? He was utterly vulnerable and at her mercy. He wanted to yell at the sky at the frustration he was feeling. But he was tired. Maybe he'd overdrawn his energy, but all he could do was sigh.
“So...” She strutted towards him, so confident in her victory. Or perhaps she thought he was harmless. To her, she might have been right. “You're not gonna struggle?”
“I don't stand a chance, do I?” He peered back up at her unnaturally bright eyes. There were specks of green and gold in her blue eyes. That was such a strange combination, almost alien, but not quite, in their configuration. “I couldn't scratch you if I worked a little harder, could I?”
“Nope,” she answered immediately, with such brutality.
Killian blinked at the honesty. That was what he liked about Tony Stark, actually. He told it like it was... none of this backstabbing and hiding a dagger behind a smile shit that so many other people in places of power and positions controlling resources would do. If only Tony Stark had agreed to work with him... Killian looked back up, at the girl who was now circling him curiously. She was watching him like a child would look at an ant through a magnifying glass... now he could see the strangeness in her gaze, like she didn't understand what it meant to struggle with life.
“Why?” She had asked.
Killian smiled bitterly. He knew her question, it was one that everyone who met him asked. Sometimes, even he asked it of himself. He almost asked her what she meant, just to deny this alien goddess of a little satisfaction. To show her she couldn't have it all. To spit in the face of god. To slap Stark.
… But that wasn't him, not now. The fight had left him. He could still slug it out with Tony Stark, he felt they both had equal chances of coming out on top. But with this girl, this alien, this Kara?
Killian was a smart man. He prided himself on that above all things. He knew when he was utterly outclassed.
So he just sighed bitterly. “I had started with something... pure. I wanted to help people like myself.”
“Like yourself?” She frowned, not quite believing him.
He wouldn't believe himself either. His arms weren't frozen, so he raised them, wincing at the pain coursing through his veins as he did so, and stared into his palms. “I was... not always like this. Extremis fixed me, Miss Live Streamer. There was a time when I couldn't even stand straight, not without crutches. I was a cripple. Aaah... it felt good to finally say it.”
She glared up at him. “Good? Why?”
He almost laughed, but his chest was pressed down forcefully by steel-like ice. It hurt to laugh. Still, Killian huffed, “I didn't... I wasn't that desperate back then. I was... naive. I didn't like the cards I was dealt, I didn't believe in fate. I wanted to fight against the world for a better life. I didn't accept that I was disabled... a case beyond hope.”
“Really? But you fixed it, didn't you?” She was close, and he saw it—she still had her phone strapped to her belt. How? How did it not get melted by his breath? “You're not beyond hope.”
“Doctors gave up on me. I had to create something new to fix myself... there were no cures for me back then. I had to kill, I had to steal... I did horrible things, Kara. I deserve to be locked away. So, take me in, or whatever you Avengers do,” He raised his hands, as if offering to be cuffed. It was almost adorable to see how she recoiled from him the moment he did so. “Go on, do it.”
“I... I think I can understand you.” She took a step back. And then another. “If... if someone had cancer, and this was... if they could cure it. If they didn't have to die in a month. If... no, um. No. I'm not an Avenger, like, I'm at most an Avenger-in-training. Well, I'm just Mister Stark's intern. How did the... hold on, I'll go ask Mister Stark what to do with you.”
Almost like she didn't expect him to live through the night. Ah, that too reminded him of the old days. Still, he was standing there, like an ice sculptor, almost literally freezing his balls off. Stark was going to laugh at him when he saw, wasn't he?
“For fuck's sake, at least unfreeze me or something!”
Tony: "Well, we needed a statue for the roof."
Aaaaaaand... that's perfect.
“Oh, Steve, you're here!” Kara jumped out of her seat and rushed over to wrap her arms around him. Her eyes were alight with something Steve didn't really understand, but when had he ever understood women?
Gently, Steve put his hand on the younger girl's head, as if to pet her. Honestly, he was old enough to be her father or her great grandfather, depending on how he looked at it!
She kept trying to run dangerously close into his personal space.
Steve found himself pushing against the girl's head, using his leverage and his longer reach to keep her from getting her hands on him. He almost shuddered, when had gals grown so strong? Had they always been this strong? He'd never truly been physical with Peggy and when he'd been close, it was always her who was in control and guiding him. What was he supposed to do?
After a moment of futile effort, Kara sighed and stopped trying to tackle him—finally—and glanced over her shoulder. “Stan is already here, and have you met Aldrich? He's joining us for the campaign.”
Steve took his time to survey all that he could see.
There was so much visual information in this little shop that he felt overwhelmed. It never really occurred to him how much popular culture he head to catch up on until that moment, seeing the rows upon rows of comic books lined up in the back. There were aisles of board games and entire shelves lined with what looked like trading cards... but why were there so many cards? If they were playing cards, weren't they all just variations of the same 52 cards? Even back when the War had been going on, Steve never really understood why people collected the cards... well, he could understand it a little. Some of those were the collectibles with his heroes printed on them. It was similar to how the SHIELD agent, Phil Coulson, felt about him in a way, probably.
But were there this many important people to memorize? He'd only been gone for a couple decades, what happened to the world while he was gone?
Who even bought these little pieces of cardboard and ink?
There were also many tables lined up in the middle of the shop, as if it were some kind of exhibition hall. However, most of the people who were there were rather on the portly side and seemed to lack in terms of personal hygiene, if the stinging sensation in his nose was anything to go by. They were dressed in colorful shirts with prints of what was probably famous cartoon characters—one even had a shirt with Steve's shield printed on it.
And that made him uncomfortably aware of who he was. His face felt naked without a mask to keep his identity hidden, and he felt like he was back in the war, before going into the simple battlefields. His mind flashed back to the horrors of the complicated times when he tangled with politicians and newsmen, as a mascot for war bonds and a face for the comic books. It made a wave of horror run down his spine for just a second, but he got over it.
After all, what if this rotund man wearing his shield on a shirt that couldn't hid his navel was similar to Agent Coulson? What if he would one day lay down his life for a cause?
In the end, it didn't matter what they looked like, Steve knew. He felt a warm sensation in his chest. It was the feeling of accomplishment; Steve was just... happy... that he had inspired someone to believe in a cause. That made tangling with any politician worth it, he reasoned to himself.
Yeah. The game shop didn't feel so overwhelming.
“Hi, I'm Steve Rogers,” he said and reached out.
The rather muscular young man shook his hand. He had a firm grip, though it felt rather hot for some reason. Perhaps it was because of how the game store had rather bed ventilation and no air conditioning. This young man wore a set of thick, coke-bottle glasses and seemed hunched over, but he had a nice, if slightly sharp, smile. “Hi Steve. I'm Aldrich. You can call me Al, if you'd like.”
“Okay Al, call me Steve. Hello, Mister Lee,” Steve nodded towards the elderly man with the white hair and thick rimmed sunglasses. He turned back to the girl who was bouncing on the balls of her feet, “Kara. What are we doing today?”
“Oh, Steve! We're playing Capes and Champions, it's basically a superhero Dungeons and Dragons, but you know, relevant, because we have actual superheroes around now,” Kara replied.
“... I understood the individual words you said, Kara.” Steve said slowly as he took a seat beside her. They were at a little square table, with many little tabletop game pieces placed one some kind of map, while Mister Lee was partly hidden behind a cardboard veil with the stylized logo of Dungeons and Dragons printed on it, with some kind of African-American elf (he could tell from the pointy ears) wielding two scimitars standing in an awkward pose under it. In truth, it was beautifully painted, and Steve knew there must have been many hours dedicated to the work, so he took a moment to admire how life-like the elf's expression was. Sighing, he turned his attention back to the conversation, “but Kara, I didn't understand the sentence you strung them together into.”
“Hey, you're getting humor now, good job, Steve.” Kara patted his shoulder genuinely.
The other two men around the table also voiced their congratulations, albeit in a lackadaisical manner, causing Steve's cheeks to feel hot. “Shucks.”
Kara made an unladylike noise. “I can't believe you said that.”
“I got caught up in the moment,” Steve replied quickly. After a moment, he remembered too late that this was a perfect moment to roll his eyes at her. It was an opportunity lost, but he would get it next time.
“Can we start already?” Al half-whined without looking up from a stack of paper he was making little notes on.
“Alright, alright,” Mister Lee raised his hands in a placating way. “Steve, this is your first with anything remotely similar to Dungeons and Dragons, and Kara, this is your first time with Capes and Champions, so I'll give you a summary. C&C is basically D&D but set in the modern world and with superheroes. The setting actually has some movies made from it, and the collection of flicks is called the Detective Comics Entertainment Universe. Or DCEU if you don't have all the time in the world to write it out.”
“DCEU?” Kara suddenly interrupted before frowning. “Well, it does sound better than DCCU. It also looks better too, I mean, two C's in a row? Yuck.”
“Hm?” Al suddenly looked up from his papers. They were labeled 'Character Sheet', and there seemed to be twenty or so pages of what was labeled 'Backstory'. Al seemed to have a sort of rebellious, cocky look about him when he talked about this DCEU, which fit his next words. “Two C's in a row describes any combination of DCEU films ever.”
“Oh snap,” Kara whispered beside Steve, as if in awe at Al's insight. “Gonna need some ice for that burn.”
Steve wisely wrote down in his little notepad the quality of DCEU films.
“I mean, we got real superheroes now,” Al added, as if to justify himself to Kara. “The Avengers. We even had an alien invasion. How neat is that?”
“Yeah,” Kara's voice grew dreamy, as she often did when talking about the Avengers. “That Thor is something else.”
Al scoffed. “Thor? The best Avenger is obviously Iron Man. He has that great, plump... intellect.”
“Have you seen Thor's hair? Have you seen it?” Kara grasped Al's shoulders and shook him. Her eyes took on an almost fanatic glint. “It's so... perfect. And he probably doesn't even use any product! Can you imagine? You can't even get that kind of hair even after purifying yourself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka!”
Al didn't give up. In fact, he seemed more into the conversation than he was before, a surprise to be sure but a welcome one. “Thor doesn't even pay taxes. He's not even American! Iron Man's got that wealth, he could do far more good than Thor could on Earth.”
“Oh my god,” Kara clutched her head as if she were in pain. “Don't start with your Ayn Rand stuff again.”
“Now hold on guys,” Steve spoke out, making a mental note to look up what an Ayn Rand was. “Captain America is alright too, right?”
Both of them looked at Steve as if he were Kara's mentally deficient puppies.
“Steve,” Al sighed. “That's adorable.”
Kara patted his shoulder. It never felt as patronizing as it did now. “You're such an old timer guy. What's next? Gonna tell some young punks to get off your lawn?”
“... If I had a lawn,” Steve made to reply.
Then Stan interrupted him. “Alright, that's enough bullying Steve for acting like he's older than me for one day everyone. I'll be your game master for this campaign and we can start by helping Steve make his character.”
“Question!” Kara raised her hand straight into the air. “Can I make a new character?”
Mister Lee said immediately. “You're just going to have to deal with being a character with below average stats in everything.”
“Um.” Steve also raised his hand, like Kara did earlier.
“What is it, Steve? This isn't a classroom, you don't need to raise your hands like that.” Mister Lee looked up at him.
Steve nodded. “What's... okay, one question at a time. What's a game master?”
“The game master,” Mister Lee explained carefully, as if talking slowly to a child, “is me, the person who made the setting, or at least, I put it together. Well, sometimes I borrow settings, but look, that doesn't matter. I'm the, well, the one guy above all other guys, able to do anything and see anything... your narrator for your story. And when I say your story, I mean the story of the character you'll make.”
“I think I understand now,” Steve pieced it together. It was called a role-playing game because he was taking on the role of a character, like an actor. Well, he could act. When he first started as Captain America, he was acting... he didn't know what he was supposed to do. It only came naturally after he went behind enemy lines. “So we're a bunch of different characters, we tell you what we do and what we say, and you tell us what happens.”
“Precisely,” Mister Lee nodded again. “Now, we're starting in a city called Metropolis. It's a city like New York, but it's not New York, because superheroes in New York is just too silly.”
“Stan, we literally just had an alien invasion in New York with superheroes fighting them off, are you going senile?” Kara remarked.
“Hogwash,” Stan harrumphed. “And that's not the point anyway. Are you ready to get to know the setting and make your first character, Steve?”
Steve wasn't sure he was ready, actually.
I think that's my favorite chapter yet. Just the right blend of happy puppy, lost Captain America, and amusing subject. I kind of want more of that scene.
Kara found god and god plays a DnD rip off!
That was subtle...
You know I thank the real Stan Lee would get a kick out of this part he just seems like that kinda guy
...Alright, since no one seems inclined to ask. *jerks thumb* How long till she snaps and proves that Sabaku no Gaara somehow achieved male conception and decided to practice on a dubiously willing Deadpool? With her as the illegitimate lovechild?
Seriously. Those vibes she's giving off are kind of freaky.