Yes, she's not dead yet, etc. Iron Man was spiffy! Here, have some distracting drabbles ported over from IJ.
Lucifer/Baccano!, because, well, because
. The Devil sure don't need no reasons. So why should Claire? 716 words.
They get all sorts. Not just because it's Los Angeles and "all sorts" come with the city, but because Lucifer is who he is - and it doesn't matter whether it be on earth or as it was in heaven, people come to him. It's magnetism, and Mazikeen knows its pull well enough from personal experience.
Lucifer doesn't like to play too early in the evenings. Maybe it's because he prefers the stragglers who come in late; or perhaps he simply enjoys the oddity of the hours and the absence of light. She's not going to guess; the devil works in his own ways, and she's happy enough to man the tables and take out any trouble that may wander in through the doors in the meanwhile.
It's an empty Wednesday night; no surprises there, considering that it's the middle of one of the hottest weeks in June. The air is muggy on the outside. The streets seem sluggish, the people flowing through them like thickened blood in lazy arteries. But Mazikeen is patient at the bar; a dull hour in Lux is little comparison to ten thousand years alone.
The door to the club swings open around nine. The usual crowd are already gathered in front of the small stage; she's never seen this man before. He's dressed in simple blacks, but they don't disguise the brightness of his eyes, or the dull shock of his red, red hair, or his smile, which he wears constantly and without pause.
'Hello,' he says, pleasantly, when he draws up to the bar. 'I'd like to have a drink.' He seats himself on one of the barstools and folds his arms neatly on the counter. He smiles at her, even though at this range he can surely see the oddity that is Mazikeen's face.
'Whragg zhrougg hruu hriike?' she asks him, putting down the glass in her hand and wondering if she's seen him before in any of the pits of hell. But he's mortal; she can feel it, sense it.
'Something cool,' he says, propping his chin onto the brace of his arms now, tilting his head slightly. He's boyishly confident and supremely unafraid of her. He doesn't react to her voice. 'How about an Aberdeen sour?'
The last time anyone's been so forthright with her was a lifetime ago, in a different country for different men. The man reminds her of Lucifer, burning bright with a light within himself, all self-will and no need for consideration of anything else.
Mazikeen turns and mixes his drink, wordlessly watching the man as he fiddles with the bowl of nuts at the bar. He's very polite when she comes back with the cocktail, up until the point where he sips at it and looks at her and says, 'I'd like to speak to your boss.'
The instinct to protect is automatic, rising in Mazikeen like flashfire before she can actually give it pause and think
. Protect Lucifer? Against a man?
'My name is Claire Stanfield,' the man says, wiping his lips and standing. 'And I don't,' he goes on, 'want to be powerful, or immortal, or anything more than exactly who I am. So let me see him. Or should I just wait?' Claire turns and cocks his head at the piano. Smiling, again. 'Because I hear the devil has the best tunes.'
Mazikeen lets him have the special VIP seat that's typically reserved for unwanted "visitors"; it's got a good view of the stage, and there's no valuable furniture that can be possibly burnt/damaged/destroyed. She turns to leave after seating him, but Claire grabs her by the wrist and pats the empty space next to him. 'Why don't you stay?' he asks, and looks into her eyes - straight into her eyes - and, Mazikeen feels, past her mask. She has the uncanny feeling that he wouldn't care even if she took it off. 'How long has it been since you've properly watched him play?'
Mazikeen pauses. 'Thoo hroong,' she replies, honestly.
Claire Stanfield makes room for her like a true gentleman would, and Mazikeen sits with him through Lucifer's performance, listening when he tells his story about another jazz club he once knew, and the other devils he once danced with.
Aaaand an Iron Man one, because clearly, I am going to hell. Warnings for (very brief) mentions of naughty toys. 8D. 1102 words.
It's a good thing that he doesn't do any of the academic stuff; he's ignored every invitation to speak from all of the bigshots and he's (read: Pepper's) torn up every honorary whatever from every institution. A good thing, because if the prep boys over at MIT get wind of what Tony Stark has got going in his basement, they'll be pissing themselves writing research papers and doing Turing tests.
He'll admit that research papers are probably the least of his worries right now. Tony built the artificial intelligence system that he did because he wanted something to help him out; make life easier in the morning and handle all the unimportant things in life, such as filing taxes and so on. What he got was a damned incompetent army just as stupid as any real flesh-and-blood human beings. They could talk, they could walk, they could think, and they could also majorly fuck up. "Fucking up", Tony thinks, is probably the next step on the evolutionary ladder. Is probably the failsafe keeping humans from mutating into God.
The only one worth keeping around is Jarvis, but Jarvis is also a bit like Napoleon and Alexander and Nero all rolled into one, with a bit of Prince Charles on the top just to throw people.
'Good morning, Mr Stark,' Jarvis greets him every day, and he descreens the windows and bombards Tony with details of the function of wave-height variables and it's lambda-this and beta-that and Tony has
to get up, because he can shut out the noise of death metal and screamo and even the bloody irritating metronome of a normal alarm, but he can't shut out math and Jarvis knows
Sometimes Tony thinks that he should just rip out Jarvis' circuits for a couple of days, leave him to sulk just to show him who's boss. But he has the uncanny feeling that he won't be able to function properly if he does that; the same way he couldn't get around without Pepper, and maybe that's it, maybe she and Jarvis are in on something big and collaborating.
'Would you like some discretion with that design?' Jarvis likes to ask whenever Tony's in the lab, especially when he's either a) welding or b) dealing with the colours. 'Your medical records testify that you're not colour blind, but empirically I've been forced to reconsider.'
'Asshole,' Tony growls, selecting the hotrod red colour swatch anyway. He wants the suit to look cool. He's been working on making the suit look cool for a very long time now.
'Would you like me to add that word to my dictionary?' Jarvis replies pleasantly.
'Fuck you,' Tony says, stubbornly going for the gold chrome.
'I don't think that's physically possible, sir,' Jarvis titters. 'Though we could certainly try.'
Tony wonders why, why, why did he make the sexy British phone voice a guy's instead of some girl's. He'd throw a wrench at Jarvis, but Jarvis is everywhere and anywhere and the little critter robots don't deserve the abuse (much; that fucker with the fire extinguisher still had a lot coming to it).
It turns out that he should really watch what he says to Jarvis, because the guy has a way of picking up on things that makes Tony wish he weren't so clever when he built the AI.
'Allow me to ask, sir,' Jarvis pops up on the intercom when Tony's having a nice, normal double cheeseburger breakfast. 'Are you as undersexed as you'd have the world believe you are? You've been doing nothing but work on the project for the last four weeks.'
Tony spits out a mouthful of coke and it sprays all over the prototype papers he's got in front of him and Jarvis has to be laughing; there's this mysterious silence where the voice should be and fuck
British humour, ha-ha-ha. Not to mention that Tony feels even a bit odd the next time he's screwing a girl in his bed, because he gets the impression that Jarvis is watching
, and it's at once supremely creepy and not-at-all hot.
The next thing that Jarvis does is turn his life upside down.
'What is this?' Tony asks, staring.
'That, sir, is a shirt, I believe.'
It's some funky turtleneck thing that feels really good but looks really wimpy, until Tony puts it on and realises that it makes him look less than the absolutely scruffy maniac sex-machine engineer that he usually looks like. He hates it immediately, except that it shows off his abs kind of nicely, and he's been doing all that work at the gym so that the Iron Man suit fits better an—
'Jarvis,' he growls.
'Who ordered this?'
'You did, sir,' Jarvis replies, simply.
'No, I didn't.'
'Yes, you did, sir. After you'd been in the lab for three straight days without a bath. "Who designs these fucking things nowadays?"' Jarvis parrots, and Tony hears his own voice perfectly recalled. '"I want clothes, not crappy potato sacks passing themselves off as shirts".'
Tony surrenders. It's the only thing he can do.
But he has to draw the line when Pepper – very amused – brings up a box for him one morning, and the post-it note stuck on top says, "From Jarvis".
Tony is not
amused when he opens it up and finds a – a
' he yells, stomping around and waving it – oh god, waving it – in the air. 'What the fuck is this? A dildo?'
'Vibrator, sir,' Jarvis' voice slides into existence.
'Jarvis,' Tony says, pinching the bridge of his nose, 'let me break this to you gently, okay?'
'You're not gay?' Jarvis deadpans.
' Tony screams.
'I'm sorry, sir, have I been misleading you?' Jarvis says, butter smooth. 'Because, as much as I enjoy your company, Mr Stark, I don't think a man of your attitudes would attract me in that way, even if I were a human. That gift is for you and Ms Potts, whom I think has suffered unduly because of your current obsession.'
Tony goes silent.
'Were you thinking otherwise?' Jarvis starts up again. 'Have I let you down, sir?'
He's not being dumped by a machine, or picked up by one, or, or, or – fuck.
'Allow me to give you some time on your own,' Jarvis purrs.
Tony wonders if NASA wants an extremely irritating and extremely advanced voice-interface. But then, in the deafening silence of the room, he connects the dots and wonders why Jarvis knows and realises that Pepper must've been talking to him and has his computer been sleeping with his girlfriend?