A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed [Part I]

[Joint post between Megumichi and OhManMyBad

She slid the blanket up enough for her to take a peek over her shoulder; only to throw off the entire blanket and spin around with cartoon stars in her eyes and an “O” mouth and none of that in reality because she wasn’t a cartoon. Still, her puffy eyes lit up with excitement. “OHMIGODOHMIGODTHAT’SSOCOOLLEMMESEEEEEE!” she practically bounced off the bed, drawing herself to her rather impressive full height as she stared at the can, followed hastily by the arm that’d summoned it. “Is that magnetized? Super magnetized? With cloaking technology that makes it invisible to the human eye but still there to protect you? Does it just appear on you when you will it? I NEED ANSWERS!!”

Kris moved out of the way and stood slightly agape as he realized how tall the girl was. Come to think of it, he still didn't know her name. However he did know that she was wildly enthusiastic about his armor… definitely not the reaction he was expecting.
“Ah, no- uhm well, actually- this doesn't frighten you?”

Frightening? He genuinely expected his armor to be frightening? Did he think she was a damn six year old or something? If so, then...wow, she probably couldn’t be mad. She didn’t feel particularly grown-up after all. Just kinda stuck in hormone limbo, at which stage you kinda reverted to needing diapers and a pat on the back once a month. It wasn’t the right time of the month for that, so it was fair to assume that he’d been barking up the wrong tree when he’d designed it. Or whatever it was: pet project, war machine, inheritance...she didn’t give a crap, it looked really cool.

“Yeah, no. Are you even looking at that metal box?” She was now thoroughly hyped to just about disassemble the entire thing. If he’d goddamn bring it back out so that she could fawn over whatever crazy features it had. Brought back memories from middle school of spending every possible hour on coding a test game that she never actually finished due to a lengthy argument with her teacher about her disengagement from her studies which got her expelled, and oh shit the memory just turned sour. Back to the tech! “Ya gonna answer my very important questions...dude?” Shit, she didn’t know his name either. Maybe she hadn’t been paying enough attention, or maybe he’d just never given it to her. Eh, whatever. Dude worked just fine as a placeholder

Kris nodded, pursing his bottom lip. Well, if she wasn't scared… maybe others wouldn't be? “No, it's not magnetized. I'm actually telekinetic. I don't need the armor to use that sorcery.. it's actually a long story. The armor bends light, allowing for me to mirror out towards people, sort of the same way a periscope works. Since I'm significantly taller in the armor, that was a tricky modification. I can also fly, conduct or command electricity, and it augments my physical strength. I suppose… it is rather neat.” He couldn't help but smile. He'd never considered the possibility of someone actually enjoying the armor, appreciating it the way this girl was. She was absolutely enthralled, how charming indeed.

“I don't believe I caught your name-” Kris extended his hand to shake.

Aw, it would’ve been more fun to take apart if it was magnetized. Not that she would’ve stolen his fucking armor or nothing. She just wanted to both see and understand all the features. As for telekinesis? She didn’t know what the fuck that was. Apparently it wasn’t part of his armor though. A little disappointing, given that magic was a constant pain in her ass nowadays. But hey, at least he hadn’t mentioned any portal bullshit. It was reassuring to have someone in her damn tower who mightn’t be capable of just yeeting themselves in uninvited.

Shit though, that was a cool thought. “So it’s a really, really complicated mirror?” She mused to herself, envisioning what a periscope was again. That was the shit submarines used to peek above the surface, wasn’t it? Or was that a normal telescope? Eh, regardless of its usage, she was aware of the inner workings of the contraption. “You gotta show me how that works sometime.” The rest was mostly self-explanatory. He punched and kicked harder because he was wearing a heavy suit that was probably sturdier than flesh and bone. Flying could be accomplished in several different ways; she was mentally voting on the suit having a hidden jetpack for style points. It looked pretty metal to her, and metal conducts electricity. Bang, that was all the science she needed for today. Wasn’t everything she wanted though.

“Shittttt, that’s so cool. Does the weight of the armor place strain upon your body? What kind of me-oh, name, right. Clarisse.” She eyed his hand, face scrunched in slight discomfort as she quietly shied away from the gesture. Firstly, formalities sucked. Secondly, no. Just no. Clarisse might’ve asked for his name, but she was cautious. Didn’t stick too quickly to people. Distance had to be maintained for the sake of her goddamn sanity. Otherwise she’d actually be stuck with a fucking friend. Wouldn’t that be horrifying?

It didn't take long to realize that, Clarisse, wasn't the handshake type. Kris retracted his hand and stuffed it awkwardly in his pocket. He took a sip of the beer… his face bearing the visible disgust. Alcohol definitely wasn't in his palate. He sat the can on the in-table then immediately noted the difference in the labels between what they were drinking. Good grief, that was a blunder. “Well, pleased to make your acquaintance Clarisse. As I said before, my name is Kristoff Von D- Vernard. Kristoff Vernard. Though you don't strike me as someone who cares much for details. To answer your question, no it doesn't strain me. The armor is designed to balance itself and move as I move based on mental commands. The hydraulics provide a fair amount agility as well. And as for your other question, it's made out of titanium and a rare alloy found close to the core of the earth called Siduonium. It makes it an excellent conduit for electricity. You seem to be quite interested in this.. tell me, what do you know about this field? I don't suppose you inherited a knack for super suits?”

Clarisse failed to repress a smirk at what appeared to be a mistake on his part. Probably didn’t mean to grab the alcohol that they kept on them. Of course, she wasn’t overly appreciative of the beverage either, but she hadn’t made the mistake of floating it to herself. Sometimes it felt good to know that you weren’t the only one who fucked things up, even if their fuck-ups seemed to be on a lesser scale pertaining to their ultimate life choices. “Not a fan, huh?” she plopped her ass onto her wheely chair, spinning around somewhat restlessly in between the hiccups that she couldn’t be bothered curing. “Meh, grab something else. Mom’ll give it the TLC it deserves.” Pepper and her associates were main consumers of alcohol within the tower. Which wasn’t difficult, given that the tower housed an entire company.

Liar. As much as she wanted to like the guy for not ruining her day, it wasn’t difficult to tell that he was withholding facts for reasons that she couldn’t deduce. It was irritating, to say the least. Kinda insulting too; to think that she wouldn’t notice him stumble over his words and then proceed to settle on something only vaguely related. Clarisse sighed, slumping over the edge of the chair so that her neck curved around the top of the seat somewhat painfully. “Yeah, no. Can you cut the bullshit?” She hated it. Withholding information was far more intolerable than just lying to her face. Especially when he’d made his dishonesty so transparent.

A little less enthusiastic now, she managed to restrain her expressions of passionate interest and simply pondered the stream of information that was provided. That was a trick that she could stand to learn. It was the kinda crap you’d learn in physics, so maybe she’d suck up to her science tutor for a day in exchange for some emphasis on that point of interest. That guy also did her maths tutoring. It was blatantly obvious that her dislike for him was reciprocal. “Hmm, I dunno. I just like sciency stuff.” She stated vaguely, partially out of pettiness towards his lie. If he didn’t tell her everything straight, then she couldn’t be expected to disclose information about a subject that she’d wrestled with for a long time now.

“Von Doom. My name is Kristoff Von Doom. Legally speaking…” Kris decided there was no point in perpetuating the façade, considering a quick Google search would reveal all anyway. It was best he just admitted it up front, and prepare for any prejudice that might be directed towards him. It would be naive and unreasonable to expect anything less.

“Hmph, see? Wasn’t that hard.” She mumbled a miffed response, pretending to take a swab from her long-empty can. “Cool name by the way. That German? You German?” Did she ever mention how cool the German language was? It sounded so damn aggressive. Take every villain song from every animated movie ever, and just make it German. Perfection could only be achieved via those means. It’d be cool if he was German: she could get him to teach her German swear words. Shouldn’t get her hopes up though. She was American: her own country was so self-absorbed that it was kinda hard to memorize anything foreign inbetween learning all the fucking states.

Another reaction that caught Kris off guard. Was she just being facetious or was she genuinely ignorant of that name? And the armor? What a peculiar girl. She didn't seem the slightest phased by his admission, but at the same time he wasn't sure if she was aware of the implications. Well… were there implications? “I'm sorry, I just assumed you would feel… disconcerted… by my true identity. Though I must ask, have you not heard that name before?”

Oh great, so he was trying to sugarcoat stuff. It was an easy way out for your average Joe. Didn’t particularly lighten her mood either. Clarisse was genuinely trying not to judge, but it was so commonplace for people to assume that she wouldn’t call them out on their obvious crap. Commonplace to the point where it was a pet peeve multiplied by cancer. He thought she would’ve heard of him or something? Was he famous or something? A little suspicious, but if he was a serial killer, she’d probably have blood gushing from her throat right now. So it couldn’t be all that bad.

“Nope, why?” Clarisse opened a draw on her desk and took out a notepad with a pen clipped to it, scribbling down some quick notes on the design of his suit to keep her brain occupied. Clarisse had been cooped up in her room for a few years now, and even when she’d been an actual person within society hadn’t been up to date with celebrities. The news was a fucking bore. Aside from the sports section. Sporting actually took the time to challenge her cynical outlook as opposed to reinforcing it with a gigantic list of travesties.

Kris took a deep gulp and decided it was best to just lay it out there, “My father, adoptive father, was Victor Von Doom. More colloquially referred to as Dr. Doom, one of the Avenger's primary adversaries. He aided the Asgardian Loki's attack on Manhattan back in 2012, and he also claimed the lives of many X-Men mutants. Though perhaps you don't know of them either. He also regularly invaded other countries, from his nation state of Latveria, my home. The man was a tyrannical despot and an internationally despised maniac with a lust for literal world domination.”

Shit. That was heavy. It gobsmacked her face with it’s edginess. Sometimes it was hard to remember how petty her own daddy issues were in comparison to those born to complete madmen with a penance for murdering people. Actually, her dad had probably killed some assholes during his life. But not quite on the scale of attempted world domination. “Um...he sounds…nice?” Shit, this just got really awkward. Not ‘cause he was adopted by the guy or nothing, she reserved judgment. The baby didn’t get to pick the sperm it was made from (or in this case, the sperm that adopted them). The conversation had just gotten a little too serious for her liking. Was she meant to express sympathy? Was she not meant to and just blow it off as a joke? Shit, WHAT WAS SOCIALIZING?

OK, Plan A: play the situation cool. Don’t pick a side until you’ve picked up some social cues that you probably won’t get. SHIT. “Guessing you don’t wanna be associated with him?” There, great, nailed it. She might as well go through metamorphosis, right here, right now. Cause one of these days, she was gonna earn her social butterfly achievement.

“I would presume it's too late to disabuse people from the idea that I am my father's son. Unfortunately that's a brand I doubt will ever heal… hence why I'm on this journey to find the sorceress Maximoff. My father despised the Avenger's, an extension of his pathological disposition against altruism and the state of humankind in general. Despite his venomous nihilism, Victor tended to view himself as superior to the world, and thus the rightful monarch of earth. The only one capable of bringing us utopia. He gave me his name, his legacy… hell even his knowledge and memories. But he also gave me a choice, though much to his dismay. I don't know what he saw in me, what darkness revealed itself to make him believe I was the one to carry on his mission. It scares me to think about. The Avengers… I know you don't like to call them that but, they're my best chance at forging my own identity. It's just, the world will see me as little more than Von Doom version 2.0 and I need to change that. Perhaps in a stunning display of naivete on my part, I thought the best way to do that was with the progeny of earth's mightiest heroes. Am I so juvenile to believe they'd give me a chance?” Kris’ demeanor had shifted dramatically. In the 10 years he spent on San Juan beach, he never really had anyone to talk to. Manuel was his friend, but not someone capable of understanding this struggle.

Shit, no, she didn’t know how to talk about this kinda crap. It was too deep and heartfelt for her half-dead feelings. He was speaking way too honestly to her all of a sudden. Shit, she couldn’t win between wanting people to be honest and wanting to remain hidden within her pessimistic bubble. Clarisse always expected everyone to speak to her as coldly as she did them. Shit, dealing with adults was so weird. They’d actually reached some kinda emotional maturity. The horror. It wasn’t just an argument online with a 9 year old over whether or not dabbing was cool (that one had ended in a draw). Fuck, she needed a revised plan.

OK, just...answer the question and avoid the emotional talk? Crap, that was about the extent of her social skills. “Eh, I guess it’s not wrong to believe.” Hahahaha, she wished that she felt the same way as she thought. “They’re a couple of shit-stains though, just a warning. Your fucking sorceress idol blasted my goddamn door to smithereens.”

“Why did she do that? Did you close it on her? Something tells me Theodosia doesn't like closed doors. My father's knowledge of the Avenger's comes and goes in pieces. Sometimes I find myself in possession of some information that I have no recollection of acquiring. I think this.. hunch? Yes, hunch about Theodosia Maximoff could be correct. Though it does strike me as odd that she's waited so long to unify the progeny. Did she tell you her motivations?” Kris stepped a bit closer to Clarisse, though still within an appropriate distance.

“Of course I did! SHE TELEPORTED INTO MY FUCKING APARTMENT!” Her fists clenched violently, her mood shiftly about as drastically as you’d expect from a pubescent teenager. “THEN SHE FUCKING YELLED IN MY FACE! SHE’S A-ahem-she’s a piece of crap, OK? Don’t like her. Hate her, even.” Shit, stop yelling. Everytime Clarisse got pissed, she fucked over any chance she had at friendship with anyone. Since apparently honesty was considered a vice nowadays.

Seriously though, she didn’t know what the hell he was talking about. He didn’t seem to be forming constructive sentences so much as he was just musing to himself about some hunch he had. “Yes, she did! Then she fucking yelled at me about them. In case I didn’t just make that clear enough. Anyway, she judged me on my daddy dearest. Who’s to say that she won’t judge on yours, huh?” That was all Theo was to her. Some kinda corrupt judge.

Ah, that was it. Theo had made Clarisse feel guilty and attacked. Clarisse did not like that. Or, at least, that was what Kris had perceived. Unfortunately he did not know Theodosia, and therefore he could not make any valid discernments about her intentions. What he could do, was reaffirm Clarisse.

“I'm sorry she did that to you, she sounds rather… abrasive. I don't think it was kind for her to make judgements about you, but I also don't think it was kind for you to shut the door on her. Perhaps, to her, it wasn't just a physical door you were shutting. If Theodosia is an idealist, which is a reasonable characteristic for someone trying to assemble a team of enhanced people to defend the world, ostensibly; then it could very well be the case that she felt rejected by you and that rejection led to anger, and that anger led to the destruction of your door. Don't think I'm trying to justify what she did, but I don't believe she's as bad as you're making her out to be. I also don't think you're as bad as you'd like people to believe. Walls might protect you from enemies, but they also barricade you from friends. Sometimes you need to keep the door open. Maybe she will judge me for what my father did, I honestly can't expect anything less. But I can hope. I can hope that she won't. You didn't. Why are you so vehemently opposed to the idea of assuming the role of the Iron Man?” Kris had difficulty understanding people beyond an analytical level, but something about Theodosia was different, Clarisse as well. It's as if he had some vague knowledge of their personalities… or maybe that of their parents

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