Maybe it would make sense on paper. (Even though even the paper doesn’t make sense either.)
He sketches the magnificent structures in front of him- the towering steel buildings that left him in awe, the beautiful edifices that he still cannot comprehend. He takes in more of this new world every day and tries to translate it into something easier for his mind to digest. He sketches all these shiny, metallic things, the colors and the lights, and tries to convince himself that it’s really all happening because that hasn’t really sunk into him yet. He’s still stuck in the grief and loss and confusion and fear that he hasn’t found time to move on and take everything in as reality.
So he sketches them. Drawings can be anything. They can be real. They can simply be a product of imagination. It makes everything seem a little less impossible.
And for some reason he’s so drawn to this particular building.
It’s not the first time he’s sat in that cafe. It’s not the first time he’s drawn that building. He’s had several sketches of it, in fact, and they’re all practically the same save the shading. Yet he goes there every now and then, re-sketching something unchanging. He doesn’t know why. The building isn’t anything special, really, it’s still just metal.
Sometimes he feels like he’s waiting. He doesn’t know why, since there’s nothing and no one to wait for in this new world he’s in. There are just so many things he doesn’t know and understand right now, not only about this world, but about himself as well. Why why why why why? is all he can think about sometimes, and the incessant thinking drives him insane. So sometimes he doesn’t think. He just exists.
Then a waitress asks him if he’s waiting for The Big Guy. Iron Man. The most advanced technology developed by man yet. He says no. He doesn’t really care. Maybe he’s waiting for something big, though. Someone or something as amazing as Iron Man. Someone or something that will make sense. At least just one thing.
He keeps sketching, and waits. For who or what, he doesn’t know. He trusts that time will reveal what’s in store for him soon. He just hopes that things will make sense, and that his sketching will no longer be search, but a report.
He waits through guns and metal. He waits through a jet plane. He waits through arguments. He waits through a death. He waits through a war and aliens and blood. He waits through goodbyes. He waits.
New York is wrecked and he’s exhausted and bloody but he feels relieved of so many things. He feels like he’s found his place among people just as lost as he is. He looks around him, at all their tired faces, and feels whole. Somehow he can see in their eyes that they feel the way he does too.
He still sketches, but now of new faces. He sets aside the old drawings and locks them somewhere in his heart, promising them they’ll never be forgotten. He locks them away and focuses on the shadows under the eyes of the man he’s drawing.
A week later and New York is still recovering. He sits in the cafe again, still waiting. But at least now he knows what he’s waiting for.
A man with bright brown eyes and just the right amount of stubble on the chin sits across him- he drops the pencil, his drawing finished, flashes a smile, and stops waiting.
The Sound of Wings by Ayien (on ff.net)
And Steve realizes, as he stares into Tony’s dull eyes, that it won’t be long before Death is back, this time for both of them. Contains spoilers for Secret Invasion and Civil War.
(Warnings: Depression, Sexual Identity Crisis, Major Character Death)
High School!AU wherein Steve struggles with his sexuality.
Some nights are so difficult. Some nights feel like being punched on the jaw for the first time and tasting your own blood in your mouth. Some nights feel like being stood up on a first date and feeling those sympathetic eyes on your face.
Some nights feel like nothing at all, and those are the best nights he’s ever had. Those nights when he just lied down, the tears dry on his cheeks, his fingers numb from pressing too hard into his palms. Those nights when he felt inexistent, when he simply was and simply wasn’t. Those nights when he stopped shaking, when he thinks he stopped breathing- those were his best nights.