To be honest if you put me in Tony’s position in the MCU I’m telling you now I would have quit that shit so fucking fast?? And I’m generally a really persistent stubborn ass but honestly??? The shit that he goes through, he amount of loss and pain he’s suffered through….if I’d been kicked down to the dirt that many times I would just not get up again. And for him to just…to keep going? Through every day? Every disaster? Every hardship? It’s something only the most powerful superhero could do.
So maybe Cap can lift trucks and Thor can crush a man with his bare arms etc etc whatever blah blah. But son. There ain’t no one as strong as Tony Fucking Stark.
It’d been a while since he really
saw her last. After they’d gone off to university, he’d had a hectic schedule
that didn’t allow him much time to socialize with his friends from middle
school or high school. Plus, with Nino away in Spain, and Alya’s web journalism
internship they hardly had a chance to all get together.
Seeing her now, sitting on her
balcony quietly consumed in sketching, Chat Noir was hit with an overwhelming
wave of nostalgia.
Jon and Sansa in the late hours, evading sleep and sharing stories.
He turns in his bed for the umpteenth time, searching for sleep but sleep evades his grasp. His eyes are heavy with fatigue but he can’t bring himself to close his eyes. There is only darkness and shadows that dance beneath his eyelids. Sleep is strangely similar to death. The silence, the nothingness, the end of all existence and thought. The moment he sleeps, he is dead once more. There are no colours, no dreams, none of those things exist for dead men.
He tries to push all thoughts of death and nothingness out of his mind but the thoughts are relentless, they creep through the cracks in his mind, slipping in just like winter. He squeezes his eyes, desperate for something, anything truly. He wishes he knew what it was that he wanted but his desires and wants are unknowable to him. He does not know if it is because death has stolen his memories of all human desires or needs or if it because the things of men are now barred to him. The answers evade his reach, frustratingly close and yet still so unknown and far away. He doesn’t know the answers, perhaps, he never will. All that he knows is that death has made him a strange creature.
There is a hesitant knock at the door and he pushes himself up, grateful for the sudden interruption. He hurries to the door, not caring that it is late, only relieved that he is able to escape his thoughts for but a moment. He opens the door, opening his mouth to greet whoever it is but his words die in his mouth at the sight of who it is. It’s Sansa, wrapped up in a blanket, her head poking out. For a moment, he sees the girl from his childhood, the one who had used to sneak into his room before she learned her courtesies and his place. The memory cuts sharply at some unknown space in his chest.
“Sansa?” He asks cautiously. The girl before him juts out her chin, a stubborn look in her eyes but he sees the fear that burrows itself into her eyes. She trembles before him and he pretends that it is because she is cold. Sansa had never trembled before, not even when she was most scared. His throat goes tight every time he allows himself to wonder where she learnt how to tremble.
“I can’t sleep.” Her words are simple and plain but something inside him moves at her statement. He nods, moving out of the way and she steps into the room, wrapping the furs around her tightly. He stares at her, watching her as she studies their father’s, his chambers. From this angle, beneath the shadows, she looks like Arya. It is funny, they’re both so different but there was so much of Arya in Sansa. There are flashes of their little sister so quick and sudden that it makes him feel dizzy. The jut of her chin, the shape of her eyes, the snap of her voice, even the defiance in her eyes. Standing before him and shouting, her voice loud and girlish, just as his little sister had once done before her mother. He closes his eyes, the pain twisting and sharper than any knife. If he could close his eyes, if she could remain in the shadows, then it would be so easy to imagine it is Arya instead. His little sister sneaking into his room because of nightmares, eyes like his, pleading and tearful.
But they are only flashes and illusions cannot last. You can’t live in the shadows forever and Sansa speaks.
“I’m sorry if I woke you,” Sansa’s voice is quiet and gentle. Disappointment and guilt twists in his stomach. It was wrong and cruel to pretend it was Arya, he thinks to himself. Sansa isn’t his little sister but she is his sister still and somebody he loves.
“It’s fine. I couldn’t sleep either.” Sansa smiles at him, so small that for a moment that he thinks it is another shadow or illusion. “Do you want to get into the bed?” Sansa nods and climbs onto the bed.
He watches her for a moment before joining her. She faces him, wide and blue eyes watching him, Tully eyes, Lady Stark’s eyes. He slips in beside her, grateful that the phantom of her mother doesn’t suddenly appear between them. All he sees is Sansa, her eyes still wide and fearful. She looks more girl than woman when he’s this close to her. The freckles that dusted her cheeks when she was a child are still there. The bony knees, even the way that she digs her sharp and bony knees into his side is familiar and known.
He brushes a hand against her cheek but she stiffens at his touch. She soon relaxes though.
“I’m glad that you still have your freckles,” he whispers to her. Sansa grins, a wide one that shows all her teeth, the white standing out against the dark.
“I’m glad too,” she whispers back. He traces a finger over each freckle just as he had done when he was a boy and she openly loved him. “I wouldn’t have wanted to lose the love of the stars.” He freezes, surprised. When they were children he had told her that the stars had loved her so much that they had kissed her cheeks, leaving freckles in their place. He had traced and joined each freckle, drawing the constellation across her face.
“You remember.” Sansa nods, her smile softening into something more adult and less known.
“How could I forget? I had the very constellation upon my face. It used to make me feel less alone,” she confesses. His tongue goes heavy with the weight of his words. He wants to bury his head under the ground, pretend that Sansa was safe, pretend that she’s still a little girl but it is impossible. Sansa’s eyes are always sad and there are curves where there had once been pointy bones and skin. She is still Sansa, not even the layer of frost or her mask could hide away that girl.
“I’m glad that you didn’t forget, that it made you feel better.” They fall back into a silence that envelopes them both. Neither has mentioned their pasts. It is easier to ignore and forget the other’s pain in the same way it is simpler to forget that they’re both still broken. They are dancing on the edge, avoiding the truth and evading sleep. It is an edge that they are trying their best not to fall off, even if that means pushing the other down first.
“I’m glad too and I’m glad that I have you here with me.” He hears the raw honesty in her voice. It burns every shadow in his mind, casting light everywhere. It is perhaps that, the sudden light that releases the onslaught of words trapped in his throat.
“I wouldn’t be able to, do this without you, be on my own.” His chest is heavy from the weight of the truth. It leaves him aching and sore. It leaves him wanting to retreat into the shadows but Sansa doesn’t let him. Her hand slips into his own, gentle and questioning, loose as if she is waiting for him to choose what happens next. He wraps his fingers around her own. His grip is tighter than it should be but her grip is just as tight, her nails digging into his skin as if to remind him that this is real. Within the shadows and darkness, they are real.
“I’m broken, though. I’m not the same Sansa.” He looks up and into her eyes and for a moment he is struck silent. For a moment, he sees her as she was when she was a child. Her eyes are wide and open and trusting. It is those eyes that she used to watch their father and Robb with and it is those eyes that are focused on him now. She trusts him just as she did their father, just as she did with Robb. The weight of this revelation strikes him with something he had forgotten existed, something he hadn’t felt since he came back.
“Perhaps, we’re all broken now. Maybe it doesn’t have to be bad,” he says. Her eyes widen at what he says and realisation dawns on her face. Perhaps, we are all broken and maybe that means nothing. Maybe all it truly means is kindness and bravery and strength. Maybe it makes kingdoms out of all us, is what he means to say, what he hopes she hears and he thinks that she does, but there is still that stubborn glint. That glint that reminds him achingly of Arya.
“Something loosened inside me when I watched Ramsay get eaten by his dogs,” she says suddenly. He knows what she is trying to push him away, disgust him. Sansa has always been good at turning the most innocent of things into weapons.
“He deserved it.”
“I’m glad that he died. He deserved it.”
“He did,” she says simply.
“You aren’t a monster for this. You aren’t a monster for being happy.” Sansa’s lower lip trembles but she does not reply this time.
There are still questions that he wants to ask her and things he wants to say but he curls his fingers over hers instead. There is a time for honesty and there is a time for shadows and there are some answers that are best left unknown. Answers that deserve to be kept close to one’s heart. He remembers Sansa’s eyes, though, large and trusting and so blue and he knows that one day she will tell him her story and one day he will tell her his. This is the time for bravery and darkness though and so he closes his eyes, ready to be brave, ready to face the darkness.