Summary: And now for the story of a self-absorbed magician who found everything, and the one other self-absorbed magician who helped him put it all together. It’s Gob’s surprising character development.
Right, so, for whatever reason I’m too wound up to do any real writing tonight, so this is going to be tumblr-style not!fic of the Bruce Banner/James Rhodes story Iron Man 3 made me want, played fast and loose in this window. I may even write this fic someday! But if not, we’ll always have this tumblr post.
Okay so, the way I figure it, James Rhodes has spent the better part of two decades considering Tony Stark one the most important people in his life because nobody else is really as interesting. Like, don’t get me wrong: he has other friends, close friends, even; he’s got people he’s served with who are like family, not to mention his actual family, and all these folks mean the world to him. He dates, has had serious relationships (a couple that ended for Don’t Ask Don’t Tell related reasons, a couple that ended because of his schedule, one that ended because the guy cheated, one that ended because Tony was such an invasive, controlling, unbelievable dipshit, none that Rhodey was hugely broken up about). It’s not that Tony is the only relationship in his life — as if — and it’s not that everyone else, this whole massive group of other people he cares about, is boring by any stretch of the imagination.
It’s just that Tony’s such a mess, you know? It’s just that Tony’s always been such a mess, from the day Rhodey met him at MIT as a scared, mouthy kid. And it’s not that Rhodey has one of those complexes, where he needs to save people, where he needs to feel needed — he doesn’t. It’s just that there’s something compelling about it, something exciting about it, because even though Tony’s predictable, he’s not. There’s always something he’s hiding, either from Rhodey or from himself, and he’s always growing in ways Rhodey wasn’t expecting from him. It’s sort of like being friends with an active volcano: most days he’s just smoking in the background, enough risk about him to be thrilling without actually getting dangerous, but every once in awhile, he explodes.
Late September a dozen years later and Derek runs until his lungs give out, until even the whipcracking twigs under his feet sound like only gunfire. He’s not running from anything, not these days, not anymore, but old habits like old grudges die hard; there’s a picnic table at the edge of the property line and a storm on the edge of the horizon, pushing on to greener pastures with wreckage in its wake. Derek watches the forest watch him with its wounded eyes, branches hanging loose and ragged in the thin wind. He doesn’t blame it for its reticence, for the way, today, it refuses to warm to him—he scares the birds and badgers back into their hidey-holes, wishes he could thank them for comparing him to thunder.
It is autumn like autumn has never come before, autumn like a first run or a last stand. Later, tomorrow, the forest will sing; just now, Derek is its only sound.
For Marie, who had a bad day and wanted a fic to accompany this stunningly gorgeous piece of artwork. This fic is a) going to go up on Ao3 in the near future and b) canon-compliant. As such, warning for underage romantic entanglements. <3
If someone had told Stiles a year ago that his life was soon going to feature heavily in traipsing through the woods after occult creatures in the dead of night…
…well, he probably would have thought that was pretty cool, actually. There’s the decent chance he would have asked a number of probing questions, and maybe had the time to buy one of those water bottle backpacks he keeps meaning to order. Possibly, if whoever had told him had made a convincing enough argument, Stiles would have had the foresight to invest in some comfortable hiking boots. It would have been a good thing, really, if someone had thought to mention it to him before this all started, because lately Stiles is spending so much time actively trying not to let anybody die that some of his plans are falling through the cracks. Usually they’re the plans that deal with his own comfort; that, Stiles thinks, is Not Right. He’s the human, after all. He’s starting to think he may be the only human in the entire goddamn town—his comfort should be paramount, since it’s not like he can heal away blisters and dehydration and his thousandth freaking mosquito bite of the night.
Grimly, Stiles wonders if he’s going to wake up tomorrow as a weremosquito. It wouldn’t really surprise him.
A man rises from the dead, which everyone but Boyd seems surprised about. His eyes glow golden yellow in the mirror, his hands are lately more claw than finger, he has to fight the urge to howl at a silvery orb in the sky; is he the only one who read the manual on being undead? It’s not that that would shock him, exactly—Boyd’s no stranger to knowing the score when everyone around him is too busy playing the game—but still, it rankles a little. Even Derek, life-long werewolf and fighting for his title (not his life: Boyd can tell the difference, and he’s pretty sure Derek cares more about being alpha than being above ground and breathing in any case) acts like it’s some great shock. Undead means undead. Undead means death’s not much of a stopping point. Undead means you don’t die—for god’s sake, it’s in the name.
In the rough and tumble weeks that follow, scrambling to kill the latest in what Boyd suspects will be a long line of bad men who hate to die, nothing shines but her. Immunity is a good look on Lydia Martin, but bitchy’s a better one—she snaps and snarls and chafes against the orders Derek barks at her, fights back and gets even, looks up through her lashes and tricks three different guys into telling her what she needs to know. Boyd’s known of her for years, of course, watched her holding court while he sat alone on the other side of the cafeteria; he’d never thought much of her back then.
He’s impressed now, and Boyd doesn’t impress easily. He thinks that probably merits some thought.
everything i’ve ever let go of had claw marks on it (you’re in a car with a beautiful boy) | derek/stiles
The Jeep shrieks around the corner, blue as it’s ever been, bumps a curb and misses a cone. It skids to a stop an inch from Derek’s left boot, and that’s on purpose—it always has been, after all.
“Get in,” says Stiles, and Derek does.
Stiles drives like he talks like he fights like he lives: reckless. He throws the gearshift like it’s the winning shot in one of those lacrosse games he never quite managed to play, and Derek keeps his eyes on the road. If he looks to his right, the countryside will stream by fast enough to make him dwell on the word fleeting; if he looks to his left, he’ll have to stare at the way Stiles’ fingers tighten and release on the steering wheel. They’re old habit, run in, the two of them in this bone-tired machine, and Derek knows there’s value in that. Derek knows that breaking patterns leads to chaos. Derek knows he doesn’t know very much.
She’s born breech, feet kicking out before the rest of her screams free; she’s born breech, and never stops running. It’s a talent of hers, eventually, bringing the country to its knees with her stilettos leading a charge. She slips out of dark cars with her legs freshly waxed and her calves pressed together, bright red heels making the only statement that matters.
“I’ve arrived,” says Tony Stark, and if no one hears her, well. That’s not such a problem, is it? She’ll just have to say it louder.
Bruce’s hands are the only big thing about him. His smiles are small and his laughter is quiet, his waist is trim and his height is lacking; he wears clothes two sizes too large and swims in them, enjoys, Clint imagines, the sensation of misfitting on the less dangerous side of his least loved equation. His hands, though, spread wide across the tabletop, the windowsill, the tattoo at Clint’s left hip—his hands open and close, long fingers tracing lingering paths, palms curved with breadth enough to carry around an extra heart.
“I don’t know what to do with the way you look at me,” Bruce admits, once.
“Hold onto it?” Clint suggests, and Bruce doesn’t argue.
They draw at the same time, the Black Widow’s pistol against the Winter Soldier’s assault rifle, and it’s never really been a question of fire power. Her smirk has never been a match for his, but she knows he knows she wouldn’t miss, wouldn’t hesitate if she thought they were playing for keeps.
“Look who grew up nice,” says Bucky Barnes.
“Look who didn’t grow up at all,” says Natasha Romanov, and her smirk has never been a match for his, but it’s always the last to falter.