sir_vancelot: (OU - Thinking)
Vance Astrovik/Justice ([personal profile] sir_vancelot) wrote in [community profile] legionworld2017-09-10 05:24 pm

There are places I'll remember/All my life, though some have changed

Who| Robbie and Vance
What| Vance has a few things to say to Robbie
Where| Basement of Mount Wundagore in the Habitat Area
When| After Vance comes back from bailing Rich out
Warnings/Notes| Possible mentions of depression, self harm. abuse, child deaths. Will update as necessary


He'd recognized the wall when he caught video of Robbie talking to Brainy. Vance had been intending to give Robbie some space, then go look for him. He HADN'T been expecting Rich to enforce that space by being an idiot, but maybe he should have expected something from that quarter when he hadn't spoken up.

Also, the whole thing with Valeria may have rattled him a bit.

Still, Vance makes his way down to the 'basement' of Mount Wundagore, to a room that doesn't actually exist in the real version. It's not that surprising to Vance that Robbie retreated down here, though some part of him wishes that the room didn't exist at all.

"I thought I'd find you down here."

But, then, Robbie always has been the kind to self-flagellate. And where better to do that than the Stamford memorial?
walkingballpit: (14)

[personal profile] walkingballpit 2017-09-10 05:41 pm (UTC)(link)
Robbie had expected Vance to ask where he was, eventually. He hadn't be worried about anyone recognizing the location because, as far as he knew, the only person who had ever seen the real memorial was Vance. And he'd only been there once.

The memorial isn't even a normal part of Mount Wundagore. Robbie snuck it in, because the Legion doesn't know better and out of the quirky teleportation drive that the mountain uses, which lets it be in two places at once. The Stamford memorial is actually a PART of this Mount Wundagore though, taking the place of a catacomb of tunnels that let original inhabitants park street vehicles at ground level. No one ever bothered going down this many floors. All the cool stuff is at the peak.

"I didn't think you hung out in the parking garage." Vance's arrival is a surprise, but his attention is not. Robbie stops staring at the large fountain and the engraved names. He doesn't look at his friend though. Rob just stares down at his hands and says flatly, "Rich thinks I'm nuts."

Right now, that's bothering more than anything from the video. More than seeing Arnold Astrovik hit Vance, more than any of it.
walkingballpit: (55)

[personal profile] walkingballpit 2017-09-10 08:44 pm (UTC)(link)
"Where else was I supposed to pick? This is as much home as anywhere." Given that Vance already had the Crash Pad, there wasn't really a better second choice. Home would've felt too strange, at this point in his life. The mountain was fine.

Robbie shrugs at the assessment. He can tell by Vance's reaction that this is a frustration no one needs right now. "Insanity's doing the same thing and expecting different results. Update: same results again. Will try again later."

He bites his thumbnail and squirms in place a little, repositioning both legs twice before he says anything else. "I told him he should go see the Doc. I said, you know... I know how it feels when you feel like a puppet to your own decisions. And he said "I'm not crazy." That's it. Just like that."
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[personal profile] walkingballpit 2017-09-10 09:43 pm (UTC)(link)
"Oh, I'm crazy," Robbie says with a laugh that so dry you could cut your finger on it. He trusts instinctual reactions more than this careful approach. After all, he gets less trustworthy the more time he has with a response. "You and Rich - well, you've always had your head screwed on straight. Rich grew into his. I'm the one who can't stop fucking up."

Is the problem his relative lack of machismo? He used to have more, Robbie thinks, but can't remember when he stopped worrying about being The Man. "I don't know if you can cajole him into it. I asked him to do it as a favor. He's not me, the odds aren't pre-stacked in your favor because he obviously doesn't care about not disappointing a friend. He said something about how he acted before he left - I think he saw that clip of me complaining - but it's weird. He never felt bad about it before."
Edited 2017-09-10 21:47 (UTC)
walkingballpit: (2)

[personal profile] walkingballpit 2017-09-11 12:38 am (UTC)(link)
"I hate that I'm relying on the same people to be that help." By which he means mostly Vance, but all of the surviving New Warriors are factored in to different extents. He's, at the very least, on their Winter Holiday of choice card list and their Twitter feed. "I do. You just don't see it, and I don't know if that's you missing things or me hiding them without trying."

Robbie considers Vance's various offers and decides for him. "I'll do it. If you tell her to bench him, and he finds out, then Rich isn't talking to either of us. I'm already not talking to him. I don't know if the pity apology or the I'm not crazy like you is worse, but I know I don't want more of either..."

He trails off and looks back over at the main part of the memorial, immediately getting a backwash of guilt for having said something like that, here. Robbie cringes and rubs his forearms roughly. "... I'm having a really hard time with today.
walkingballpit: (27)

[personal profile] walkingballpit 2017-09-11 02:53 pm (UTC)(link)
“I’m so sorry,” Robbie blurts out. He knows that it’s not enough, no matter how much emotion leaks out with the cliché. “I should’ve done more for you. I just – I didn’t know, and then it was too late.”

Everyone saw those afterschool specials. Next week, on a very special Blossom. Robbie wonders how much of it was right there to be called out, but he didn’t notice enough to even spot it in hindsight. “And I still keep being a jerk about it, because I don’t ask you how you’re doing. I just lean you all the time, and I never stop to take my turn as “the strong one.”

He hangs his head, and his hair obscures Vance from his sightlines. “And then this comes on, and I freaking sit there and watch like the rest of them, because it’s a slow motion Trainwreck. I don’t go find you, I don’t go storm the tv station. I just hide because my priorities are so messed up that I’m more worried about whether or not I can get through talking about the show to the team than I am about you .And that’s not – that’s not how it is. You’re more – you’re what’s important. So... I'm listening."
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[personal profile] walkingballpit 2017-09-11 07:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Despite Vance’s complete disregard for Robbie’s thoughts on the matter, Rob holds the protest in. He tried, and Vance doesn’t want to hear it. Maybe he, too, still had trouble with self worth. Vance was sometimes dropping in on the doc, after all, and he just said he can’t live it down. Arguing that if there was only enough time to put the mask on one of them, it’s going on Vance, or that Robbie wouldn’t have stopped at a desk if he’d found out Vance was the featured Legionnaire before the show aired – why keep everything stirred up duking out the morals?

“I guess you’re right.” It was much easier to shrug it off, for both their sakes. Not literally, Vance’s arm is fine. “I'm kind of in the same place, if you swap the yous and Is. I thought I’d gotten to a place where I could walk down the street and not wonder when someone was looking at me. But it’s mostly… about you. Rich is – his heart's in… enh.”

Robbie sighs. His heart isn’t in the right place to defend Rich's motivations today. “I don’t even know. You’re mad because of me, I’m mad because of you, and he’s mad for of us. I get it, and part of me wants to have his back so badly. It’s been a long time since he took a cheap shot like that, but… I should have a thicker skin. People say worse things about me all the time. And I did chew him out about how getting himself arrested made it worse for you.”

He feels a little more comfortable, having excused away what Rich said. After all, Robbie's IS crazy, and everyone knows it now.
walkingballpit: (66)

[personal profile] walkingballpit 2017-09-11 10:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Robbie does know that Vance goes regularly - Vance told him that in no uncertain terms, but it's how Robbie plays fast and loose with vocabulary to keep the negativity that he heaps on himself from being applicable to Vance. Or, in this particular case, to protect Vance from Rich's negativity. Robbie would probably invent a way to break a knuckle on Rich's fat head if he thought for one second that the crazy implication blanket-covered Vance as well.

"You're assuming he has a brain." His mouth was on autopilot. Robbie's good at that. The autopilot jokes are a little too insulty and definitely cliched, but it's great for filling awkward silences after he just bounced his butt off somebody's head or trying to deal with the hot mess of his life - and his best friend's - being served up for dinner. "... can we agree that neither of us wanted this to happen to the other and would've done whatever it took to accomplish that? Because you won't let me apologize, and I don't want to keep chasing each other around the same conversation."

He's staring at the fountain again, and five, ten seconds tick by before Robbie manages to get the rest out. "I know you're okay. You're always okay, and I don't know how you do it. But... it fucking kills me when I have to see how much harder I've made it for you to be okay the last few years. You make a normal life okay because then it's for you and not me being selfish. Vance wants to work at the new Avengers school. Vance wants to go on a road trip. Vance is down for reforming the team." Robbie's eyes are slick and shiny, and he wipes them on his sleeve. "Look where we are, man. You're my excuse for everything that's not here. So I need your 'okay' to be as easy as possible, because one day you're going to be over it and retire to Nebraska."
walkingballpit: (8)

[personal profile] walkingballpit 2017-09-11 11:48 pm (UTC)(link)
"Washington?" Robbie gives Vance's retirement location another half-hearted stab. He knows the answer's not New York, because too much shit goes down in the Big Apple. Vance would never be able to stay retired there. No one did.

Confirmation that two of the three were definitely about him - it doesn't feel great, but it's not like he didn't know. Somewhere around the Cadillac Ranch, he just had an epiphany. "You're a lot better at than you think. I bet you even know how to balance a checkbook."

Robbie nudges Vance in the ribs, half to drive the previous point home and half as setup for the next. Chiding him comes so much easier than struggling for a heartfelt, appreciative response to being told he's still worth that. "If I told you you sound like a Hallmark card, would I be in as much trouble as the wallpaper comment?"
walkingballpit: (9)

[personal profile] walkingballpit 2017-09-12 01:54 pm (UTC)(link)
“Yeah, but nothing happening is the whole point. You’re retired in this hypothetical, not starting the West Coast Warriors. You don’t need stuff to be happening.” This should be a lot more obvious, but Robbie’s here to keep the what ifs on track. “So that’s why I'll have a mountain that can go anywhere. You don’t get custody of the secret lair when you split.”

The eyeroll is massive, because Vance does not get to miss that one in a blink. “Ugh, seriously, retire already and stop stepping on my lines. I know you have online banking. Online banking isn’t funny.”

He’s fueled by Vance's laugh, really. It sounds good and feels better. This is what he can do for Vance: he can still make him laugh. “I don’t know. Iron Fist could keep me in new phones and better HQ décor. I could do green tea and fortune cookies for satin sheets.”
walkingballpit: (6)

[personal profile] walkingballpit 2017-09-12 05:01 pm (UTC)(link)
“Because you’re you?” He’s not sure when the assumption started, but it was probably way back when Vance and Angelica got engaged. They would have kids – adopt kids – and settle down to do the picket fence thing. Even though Angelica was off X-MENing it up, the idea stayed. “That’s why you went to college, right? The whole I'm not always going to be a hero thing that everybody else tries. I thought that’s the way you’d go.”

Robbie shrugs his shoulders under Vance’s arm. He’s not invested in the prediction, but. “Didn’t you just get done explaining how you’re not doing things because I want to do them? It shouldn’t make a difference if I’m still kicking around the tights biz.”

He tries to make it neutral, despite vastly preferring Speedball and Justice to always be a team. Robbie retreats back to making fun of their furniture, where there’s no landmines. “You’re under no obligation to help me rescue more couches from the curb, and I can buy my own sheets without your weirdness ruining the idea."
walkingballpit: (32)

[personal profile] walkingballpit 2017-09-13 12:09 am (UTC)(link)
See, this is why he veered back towards the furniture. Life as whole has too many landmines, for both of them. Robbie knows a lot of them, but they're buried so deep that they touch everything. He can't even explain why he can't consider quitting and going to school. It cuts too close.

And then Vance saying that he's still trying to be normal for his dad. How does he begin to respond to that?

"I'm going to be a hero forever," Robbie says quietly. "It's the only thing I ever wanted for me. I know the reasons changed, but... it's who I am. Sometimes, I think about going back to school, but then I hear him asking me how every last thing is going to help me go to law school. No law school'd accept me now."

He doesn't want to be a lawyer, but lawyer, artist, and superhero were the only options Robbie knew. "You need to do what you want, too. He doesn't get to have that sort of power over you. He never deserved a kid as awesome as you."

Letting out a little huff at the idea, Robbie nods once and gives Vance a half smile. "Not gonna lie, I'm glad what you want is living in a teleporting mountain with a bunch of people who drive you crazy, because we need you. You are normal, Vance. Not Justice, but you, Vance Astrovik, are in possession of the normalest personality I know. You're just. Solid. And that's good. That's why I want you there."

"You can cross facing the end of the world next to me off your bucket list, though. We've done it like three times already. I'm over it."
walkingballpit: (6)

[personal profile] walkingballpit 2017-09-17 02:22 am (UTC)(link)
"Let's be heroes that don't have to save the world. Or the universe. Let's just save cats from trees and save people's spaces in the Starbucks line." Robbie nudges back against Vance's weight, but not hard. It's just that back-and-forth, you put bump me so I bump you reaction. "Mm, not as crazy. I know what that means. It means I'm just slightly less irritating and high maintenance than Kaine and Aracely.... wait. Do I drive you crazy less than Sil and Selah?"

He's legitimately stunned if that's true. Should Robbie try harder? As much as he likes attention (still, unfortunately), he doesn't like it at the expense of Vance pulling his hair out. It doesn't seem like they're anywhere near that level at the moment, though. "I'm not giving up the teleporting mountain. You'll have to fight me for it."
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[personal profile] walkingballpit 2017-09-21 03:29 pm (UTC)(link)
“Aracely thinks they’re in love,” Robbie remembers aloud. He doesn’t sound too confident about it, because Aracely's flightiness is not limited to actual flight, but the potential teammate romance is a comfortable topic to gossip about. “Maybe it’ll be the other way around. He could make her a little more boring. That’d suck.”

He keeps his eyes and focus on Vance. Boxing off the pleasant conversation from the solemn location is doable, but it’s definitely easier to compartmentalize when he doesn’t let the memorial pull focus. “I think we’re stuck with each other – and you haven’t gotten your boring all over me yet, so maybe Selah's got a chance.”
walkingballpit: (71)

[personal profile] walkingballpit 2017-09-25 10:53 am (UTC)(link)
"Woah, they aren't even dating yet, and you're already breaking them up." Robbie raises an eyebrow while shaking his head at Vance. "That's rough, man. You could at least let them get in one team meeting of PDA before you start saying it's going to end."

Which is... basically what Vance is suggesting, and it's not like Robbie doesn't know that every single relationship his friends have tried have all ended - in some cases, badly. He just wants to nip this negativity in the bud before Vance starts telling the wrong people that their feelings will fart out. "Because you know I'm -"

Because you know I'm awesome, Robbie had almost said, but he catches himself in time to stop the words and squash about half the shame that bubbles up from starting in on that routine here. "Never going to be boring. Why is it that only the boring ones get to be the good influences?"
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[personal profile] walkingballpit 2017-10-02 12:53 am (UTC)(link)
"You and rules are my OTP." That might be a recycled joke - he's, at least, used it in his head before now. It's better if it is an old joke, because that little speech is strange. It's overkill.

"Are you okay? I mean, aside from the video or maybe just aside from the anger and frustration." Robbie feels a bit like an idiot for the question. They've already established that both of them are currently Not Okay. "It's just... I've told you like three times that you're stuck with me. You're still stuck with me, by the way."
walkingballpit: (71)

[personal profile] walkingballpit 2017-10-04 01:13 am (UTC)(link)
There's a prolonged silence while Robbie tries to figure everything out: the failing at words, the frown, the apparent frustration. He's missing something. No, Vance isn't telling him something, and Robbie's left wondering what it might be.

His view shifts over to the memorial again. He doesn't want to watch Vance make that face, knowing that it's because of Robbie and doesn't involve a particularly bad joke. He suspects it's something to do with the holo-vid. There are probably memes that Vance wants to warn him about, or worse.

"Angelica made everything seem easy. Most of us, you could say that our head was in the right place, or our heart was. But Angel - she had her head and her heart in the right place, just about all the time - not that you're a lackadaisical lunkhead, but I get why you'd think she's better at dropping bombs on people. Say what you've got to say. I'll survive."
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[personal profile] walkingballpit 2017-10-05 01:32 pm (UTC)(link)
There should be a cliché for this. Robbie feels like the rug got ripped out from under him, the oxygen sucked out of the room, an anvil dropped on his head. They’re all accurate and completely insufficient to help him deal with the frenzy of emotion that somehow has him feeling numb.

He can’t make sense of it. Vance likes girls, and the revelation that his interests were broader than that would make Robbie blink. There’s nothing else to unpack there. After blinking, his reaction is just 'okay, great.’ It’s not a big deal.

The real problem is that that revelation is only implied. The anvil that clanged off Robbie’s head is that Vance …well, that Robbie is involved in it at all. That’s not so okay. He can’t help wondering what he did wrong. He must have overdone being normal, if it seems like a relationship with anyone is ever going to be a possibility.

Guiltily, he slides away from Vance and out of reach. Robbie knows it’s a terrible move to make, and he doesn’t know how to nicely explain that he doesn’t mind the contact but it’s probably better for Vance if it doesn’t continue.

Shit, how did he let this happen? He’s bad at letting people down easy. The only time he’s really even tried is when he backed away from Aracely's crush, and it didn’t even work.

Robbie gets to his feet and looks anywhere but Vance. Unfortunately, everything that’s left is the memorial to Robbie’s worst mistake. How can this conversation be happening, here? With the angel fountain and the names of hundreds of people who'll never get the chance to say I love you again. It’s so out-of-place that it’s vulgar.

“You can’t say things like that. Not here,” he adds quickly, trying desperately to soften the impact. After the show and telling Vance how he wishes he had done more to spare him pain, hurting his friend now would be cruel. “It’s – not right. They can’t –“

He abandons trying to explain, between having choked up on the words and feeling like he’s digging the hole deeper, and stands fidgeting while he waits for some sort of direction. Robbie doesn’t know what’s worse, leaving or staying, but he can always change his mind if he stays.
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[personal profile] walkingballpit 2017-10-11 12:09 am (UTC)(link)
"Doesn't have to mean anything?" Robbie asks, so incredulously he almost sounds affronted. The word bullshit might as well be punctuating every word. It's bizarre when a declaration of love is bookended by worries of chickening out and then a complete dismissal of the declaration.

At least, Robbie thinks it's weird. This would be the first time he's been involved with one. When he was a kid, he'd pictured, oh, a 100% completely different scenario, usually involving Heather Locklear.

He's pretty sure it isn't supposed make him so uptight that the emotional awkwardness spills over into physical discomfort, and Robbie is certain that part of him shouldn't be considering going along with it, because that would at least make one person happy.

That would be a shitty thing to do to a friend. "I know you better than that. If it meant you might chicken out, then it meant..."

It's only then that Robbie finally takes a step back, shoving a hand through his hair. After a moment, he mumbles, "I am so not prepared for this conversation. Nobody told me life was going off book today."

He's rehearsed a lot of responses in his life, both quips and explanations, but Robbie hasn't prepped for anything like this.

"I should... go," he says quietly, with an accompanying flinch at how lame he sounds, but it's said now. There's a certain amount of follow-through required, and Robbie takes a few more steps away. He gives Vance one last apologetic look, and turns to go.
walkingballpit: (Default)

[personal profile] walkingballpit 2017-10-14 01:08 am (UTC)(link)
"It's okay, Vance." But Robbie didn't stop making his way out of the memorial park. The arch that marked the entrance framed the stairs into the rest of Mount Wundagore. Once he was there, he'd use his flight ring to get some real distance.

Part of him wants to joke that leading then to shit is still leading somewhere, but Robbie doesn't find it as funny as he thinks he should. "I'll catch you later."

Like when he can look Vance in the face again. When Robbie's officially out of the memorial, he takes off, intending to lose himself in Central Park for a few hours.