A/N: well I decided to take the advice of some reviews and turn this in to a full length story rather than continued one-shots. I'm sticking with 1st person point of view because I enjoy the challenge, and the fact that the first 3 parts were in 1st person I figured might as well continue the trend. Honestly, this style of writing is a bit different to what I have been doing. Not just in pov and fandom, but this is more emotion based than what I've written lately. In truth I had no idea where this story was going, but I think there's a plot, bare perhaps, but it's there nonetheless in this chapter. I haven't completely decided, but I believe I'm going to interchange povs through chapters, so up next most likely will be Loki's thoughts and dealings with the blowup of his and Tony's 'Frenemies with benefits' like affair
This story was originally going to be partially based off the song Poison by Alice Cooper, except that sorta fell through and this story took on a life of it's own. Honestly have no clue what happened, it just flowed through the pen, but I am proud of the end result :)
I'd like to thank everyone who has reviewed and favorited these stories, it really brightens my day. I'd especially like to thank Sony Boy for his reviews; it was great to see someone who really grabbed on to this story. Also would like to thank randomwriter90, because without their review this installment would not exist.
I hope ya'll like this chapter, hopefully I can get an update soon, but I have an essay to work on as well so I can't guarantee a fast update.
REVIEWS ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED, and will be rewarded with cookies ;D
The shades are drawn, thick maroon shields against any wayward light attempting to filter past the windows to come inside. That is assuming the sun is still out right now.
The hours have bled together leaving me no way to decipher between day and night.
I broke the alarm clock that used to sit on the nightstand two days ago, or was it three? I couldn't stand the glowing green numbers any longer, they were just another reminder that you still haven't returned.
The battered electronic device lies in pieces at the foot of the wall across from my bed. A dent in the wall glares back at me from where the clock smacked on impact.
I sigh turning my gaze to the half-drunk bottle of JD by the lamp. It was full earlier, wasn't it?
I don't focus too long on the possibility of vanishing liquor; instead I grab the bottle knocking the container back to take a large gulp. A little bit of the amber liquid drips from the corner of my mouth running down my chin, but I'm beyond caring about a little mess.
Gripping the neck of the bottle tighter my eyes flicker back to the alarm clock's dent. Three days. It had to have been three days since it met its demise.
Because three days ago, this all felt like a dream; a twisted dream straight from a scene of Liar, Liar, but a dream nonetheless.
Three days ago I woke feeling like Jim Carrey, minus the laughable mistake of having uttered 'I've had better.' No, perhaps it was a better description to say my situation was more akin to Murray in Groundhog Day; forced to relive a moment for eternity.
I didn't go down for breakfast that morning; I'm sure Pepper noticed, but I just couldn't bring myself to move from bed.
'I lo-' ve you.
The words wouldn't leave me alone. They just kept echoing through my mind as I tried to focus on other things.
Finally leaving the confines of bed to wash up I was haunted by the repeating sounds of 'I love you' as I brushed my teeth and combed my hair. Moving back to the room I could still hear the words in the back of my mind pressing against my thoughts as I tried to decide how to busy my mind.
You'd be back tonight, right? We can talk things out then; show this was all just a misunderstanding, right?
It's 9:30 now, and other than Pepper bringing in a sandwich and soup for lunch I have had no other visitors.
I try to ignore the nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach that says you're not coming back. I try to convince myself that you're off doing whatever villainy things it is you do, that you're off plotting your next big scheme for us and not the fact that I scared you off with those three taboo words.
I'd abandoned the soup, half-eaten and no longer warm, and began to fiddle over some schematics for the new improvements to my suit, but my mind couldn't focus.
Those green lights glare back at me, mocking almost, a shining reminder of the time.
I snap my gaze back to the schematics, but the arcs and numbers no longer hold my attention and I drop the stack of paper to the desk leaning back in my seat. Slumping further into my chair I feel my eyebrows furrow together as my right hand comes to rest on the desk, tapping out an impatient rhythm.
In a huff I ground my teeth together as a snarl emanated from my mouth. Throwing my arm over the desk sending the papers flying to the ground in a scattered mess as I grabbed for the clock. Ripping the device from the wall I turned hurling the clock to the wall.
It smacked with a resonating crackle as the plastic shattered on impact.
Stepping over the forgotten papers I left the room, I needed to get away before I did any real damage.
A trip to the distillery and I had a bottle of Vodka in hand as I made my way to the garage. I needed a distraction, something fast, something reckless; the Porsche it was then.
Peeling out of the driveway I took a large gulp of Vodka wincing slightly at the burn as it went down my throat.
Distraction, I needed a distraction.
Careening down the highway I moved the bottle between my legs as I reached out for the radio dial to find a station suitable to quiet the pestering thoughts running rampant through my mind.
Highway to Hell, how appropriate, I thought smirking as I pulled my hand from the dial to reclaim the bottle instead. Taking another gulp I gunned the engine pushing the limits of the car as I continued down the darkened road.
The rest of the night blurred by in a rush of asphalt and vanishing vodka as hard rock filtered in from the speakers. At some point I pulled off the road making a stop at one of the bars I frequented.
This was good; this could be the distraction I needed.
I quickly ordered a drink and tried to slip in to the role of flippant playboy chatting up a few of the women there. It shouldn't have been as hard as it was, but there was a nagging voice saying 'you don't want this, and you know it'. I tried to quiet the voice with more liquor and doubled my efforts on flirting.
But try as I might, the women, who were shamelessly returning my passes, no longer held my attention, and I suddenly felt very sick to my stomach.
A particularly buxom blonde perched herself on my lap as she leaned in to whisper some flirtatious comment, but I no longer cared for pleasantries at this point. I pushed the woman from my lap, detangling her hands from my shirt as I turned to pay my tab. I ignored the protesting valet, flashing a smile before flooring it and heading back home.
Pepper would kill me in the morning if she found out about the stunt I'd pulled. I didn't care, the stunt had served its purpose; mostly.
Crashing against the doorframe I stumbled inside dropping the keys in the bowl on the end table. It's a miracle I made it back in one piece, but I've always been pretty luck, or stupid depending on whom you ask.
Pulling at the buttons of my shirt I moved towards the stairs. I ignored Jarvis' comment on the hour and continued upstairs, discarding my shirt on the ground as I moved to unbutton my pants.
Stepping out of the jeans I looked past the still scattered papers and destroyed electronics that littered the floor and burrowed under the sheets.
I needed a distraction, and I still hadn't found one.
The second day was a hellish nightmare.
Pepper stormed inside holding the newspaper rattling off another of her 'of all the stupid things you've done, this is by far the worst…' spiels and I was now painfully aware of the throbbing hangover headache making its presence known.
Pinching the bridge of my nose I grabbed the paper to see a picture of myself in a bar pushing some woman off of my lap. The headline read 'Drunken Billionaire's Bar Room Buffoonery,' and in all honesty I had no room to dispute the claim.
Between my throbbing head and Pepper's insistent nagging I felt like my brain was going to splinter, so I did the best thing I could, I wrote a check for charity and gave Pepper the week off.
Day two was no better than day one.
After picking up the papers that I'd thrown to the floor in haste last night, I tried to busy myself with some menial task. Boredom soon took hold and no amount of paperwork for Stark industries or half written ideas for the Ironman suit could serve as an appropriate diversion.
Crumbling up a crude sketch of the new propulsion rockets for the suit I threw it in the waste basket before slouching over the desk bringing my head to rest on the surface as I let out a sigh of defeat.
I needed a distraction, and I just couldn't get one.
After some highly skilled rummaging on my part as well as the fortune of being the only one at home, I was soon returning to my bedroom with enough booze in hand to ensure a distraction.
Surrounded by my three favorite men, Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, and Johnny Walker, I set about finding the ultimate distraction. Getting a comfortable buzz going I felt a spread of warmth pool from my stomach and make its way through my limbs.
Vision blurring at the edges, either from the alcohol coursing through my veins, or the newly sprouting tears, that I would deny if anyone were to walk in right now, that were threatening to spill from my bloodshot eyes I didn't know nor care. Pouring another shot of bourbon I knocked back the drink, accustomed to the burn, not so much as flinching as the liquid made its way down my throat.
The second day, the day I shut down Jarvis.
'Sir, you really shouldn't be drinking right now.'
I needed a distraction, not a conscience.
Now alone in my house, Pepper gone, Jarvis dismantled, I sat wallowing in self-pity. This I was good at, I had years of practice with the daddy didn't love me stage, this I could deal with. But even Jack, Jim, and Johnny soon left me and I was back to square one.
Thoughts muddled I let my head fall to the desk as my eyes drooped shut. The painful quietness resonated throughout the room, and I suddenly feel more alone than I ever have before.
The third day made Dante look like a child's fairytale. A play thing for the ring I was currently caught in.
My back ached and my neck was stiff from sleeping across my desk the previous night, but I pushed the pain away. I blinked my eyes rubbing at them as I forced a yawn out.
I was going through the motions, but this was hardly a normal morning. I ran a hand over my cheek, there was a rough patch of stubble from two days without shaving, it was prickly to my hand and I gathered that I probably looked like shit right now.
Pushing away from the desk I moved to the bed. Laying on my back staring up at the ceiling blankly I tried to push away the hold of fear that was weaving its way through my thoughts.
You weren't coming back, were you?
I swallowed the lump of worry that had lodged its way in my throat and rolled over pulling the blankets tighter around me. Biting my bottom lip I squeezed my eyes shut willing away the thoughts of abandonment and slowly drifted back to sleep.
Now I sit in bed, my back against the headboard, glaring across the room at the dented wall. I feel like crap, my clothes are dingy, covered in sweat and liquor, and I fear I look every bit as awful as I feel.
The JD is long gone and I don't feel like moving from the bed, so I pull my knees up to my chest and rest my chin on them, keeping my gaze focused on the dent as I do so. I must be glaring at the wall pretty intently, at least enough to slip notice of the door opening.
'Tony, when's the last time you showered?'
I don't move my gaze, I know that voice; Steve. I know under other circumstances I would likely shoot back some double meaning laced innuendo at the Captain that would cause a blush, but I'm not up to it right now.
'The great Tony Stark, without anything to say,' it's meant to be a joke, but even as the words fall past his lips Steve is already pushing further inside brow furrowing in worry.
I offer a small smile, but I know it doesn't reach my eyes, and give Steve a shrug.
'I thought you'd appreciate the modesty.'
Steve is standing right in front of the bed now, and it makes me sick to see him. He's a living embodiment of Jiminy Cricket, and the way his bright blue eyes are looking at me laced with concern is enough to make me curse my state even more.
'Jesus Tony, what happened,' Steve asked inhaling sharply as he gave me a once over.
I guess my suspicions were correct, I look worse than I feel.
Well that's a lovely question, now if I could just answer it we'd be in good shape. The problem was even I didn't know what the hell was happening. I had a fling, the fling ended. This should be second nature to me by now, and yet here I was like a man broken holed away in my bedroom drinking my sorrows away.
Something was definitely wrong, and if I knew then I wouldn't be in this position right now. So sorry Steve, but I can't answer you right now.
I offered a shrug instead. 'Oh you know, just putting my liquor reserves to good use.' The joke is weak at best and the look Steve fixes me with shows me that he's not buying any of what I'm selling.
'Tony, you haven't been outside this room other than to grab more liquor, and I'm fairly certain you're wearing the same clothes from last Saturday.' I winced at the comment but it seems that Steve was far from being done. 'You gave Pepper the week off, and don't try telling me it's because you care, because we both know you enjoy messing with her. Jarvis was put offline, and that's saying something because you usually let your AI get away with telling you anything. And to top it all off you haven't brought anyone home, and under other circumstances we would be congratulating you on living some semblance of a normal life, but your complete lack of social life over the past few days is more a cause for concern, so out with it Stark, what's wrong?'
I felt shocked, I was pretty certain that this was the most I'd heard Steve talk in one go. He was right; I had withdrawn the past few days.
I looked up to Steve opening my mouth to say something, anything, only I didn't know what to say. Instead my mouth opened and closed much like a big mouth bass as I grasped at straws for a response. Nothing was coming to mind.
Steve's features softened and he moved to sit at the edge of my bed. 'Tony, whatever it is, you can tell me, I'm here to help you.'
I nearly scoffed at that. Yeah, how would you feel to know I was 'fraternizing' with the enemy only to end up fucking that up and I now feel I may or may not, most likely, have fallen for him? Bet that would do a number on your moral compass, wouldn't it? As it is, I don't even know how to deal with this new revelation, alcohol has worked thus far, but surely my liver will throw a wrench into those plans of dismissal.
I gulp back the string of sarcastic remarks welling up and instead look up to Steve's blue eyes and ask with the most sincere honesty I can:
'Have you ever been in love?'
Steve sighs as if a huge burden has been lifted from his shoulders, and a small smile flits across his lips. He nods softly before speaking 'yes, yes I have; once before.'
Moving to sit cross-legged I motioned for him to continue.
Biting his bottom lip Steve moved to rest against the banister as his eyes got this spaced out look and if I had to guess I'd say he was somewhere back in 1944.
'There was this girl, Peggy; I worked with her back when I was still a soldier. She was a rather fiery woman, full of spirit. She knew me before the serum, she actually got a chance to know the real me,' he said smiling. 'Red Skull was attempting to create pandemonium and destroy all the major cities in the world; she stayed with me trying to battle him. We made a promise; we were supposed to go dancing on Saturday.' Steve's gaze darkened at that statement. 'It never happened, the plane went down and I was frozen below the ocean for nearly 60 years.'
I swallowed nervously, I had never seen the Captain so out of sorts, but Peggy was obviously still a sore subject. Licking my lips I hesitantly spoke up 'what was it like?'
Steve raised an eyebrow in question, snapping out from his thoughts as he looked to me.
'What was what like?'
It's now or never, I reminded myself.
'L-love, what's love like?'
Steve was quiet for a little bit and I thought perhaps I shouldn't have pushed for an answer after bringing up Peggy. Looking up at me Steve sighed before trying to explain.
'Well, it's odd to explain. Love is- well it's nice. It's like you've found your other half, you feel whole. You feel happy, like you're floating through the day, and nothing can bring you down. And when you're away from that person, they're all you can think about, and you do everything in your power to get back to them. It drives you to do things, sometimes crazy, but you do them because you're in love and you'd do anything to see that person smile and return the feeling.'
I nodded softly looking at my hands that were knotting the blankets. 'And how do you know that it's love?'
Steve laughed softly at that, 'what's all this talk about love Tony, have you gone and fallen yourself?'
A small smile tugged at the corners of my mouth but I didn't say a word.
'You have, haven't you?'
I looked up then smiling a little more freely 'possibly.'
Steve grinned as he stood from the bed 'and when do we get to meet this girl who's stolen the great playboy Tony Stark's heart?'
Girl? Just go with it I told myself as I turned my head to face the curtains.
'I don't know if she feels the same,' I muttered softly.
'Well I'm sure there's something there if she's managed to put up with you and that ego for as long as she has,' Steve spoke with a lilt of laughter in his voice.
I smirked at that looking up at the doorway where Steve now stood. 'Hey Steve, thanks,' I spoke offering a small smile.
Nodding in return Steve turned to leave calling out over his shoulder 'When I come back up here in an hour I expect you to be showered and in some decent clothes, and shave for god's sake!'
I laughed then, fully, the first time in days. Falling back to the bed I stared up at the ceiling, only this time I wasn't looking for answers or an escape.
I thought I had needed a distraction, in truth I just needed a push to face reality.