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New Fic: The Waiting Game

The Waiting Game
Fandom: Iron Man, Batman.
Rated: PG
Category: Crossover DC/Marvel. Gen. Friendship. Supporting character fic.
Spoilers: None. General knowledge only.
Summary: Two people, so different in so many ways, are the same in the only way that matters.
Word Count: 661
Disclaimer: Like any one person could own both DC and Marvel. That’s crazy talk.

XXX

Only one table at the sidewalk cafe was occupied.

In the plastic chairs that were arranged around the cicular eating surface sat two unlikely customers. An older, distinguished gentleman in a crisp three-piece suit sat across from a thirty-something redhead in stunning business apparel. It was their regal bearing that set them apart. After all, this particular establishment usually catered to the jeans and hoodies crowd.

Still, though, they seemed comfortable enough as they struck up a conversation.

"Thanks for meeting me," said the redhead.

The man nodded politely to her, and when he spoke a soft English accent graced his words. "Of course. It is so rare that we find ourselves in the same city. It would be a pity to not share a meal, or at least a moment or two."

"True. Still, I appreciate the time."

"Anytime, dear. Now, what's on your mind?"

A long silence met his question, and finally he spoke again, taking a guess at what his companion was thinking about as she looked slightly to one side of him and chewed her bottom lip in what looked like worry.

"It's always the same, isn't it?" he asked.

"Every time," she answered, finally meeting his gaze.

The man smiled sadly. "I don't even think they realize what it's like."

"Oh, no way," agreed his companion, shaking her head.

"So, how are you holding up?"

She shrugged. "Oh, you know..."

He nodded knowingly. "You're not, then?"

"Not really, no," she replied, heaving a sigh.

"I wish I could say I don't understand," said the old man, placing one hand over hers on the table.

"Just answer me this. Does it get easier?"

The man snorted and echoed her words back to her. "Not really, no."

A slight sheen of tears formed in the woman's eyes, and she slid her hand out from under his to dab at them. "So how do you keep doing it? How do you manage?"

The man shrugged. "I try to remind myself of the good he does."

"Yes, I suppose there is that..." said the woman, clearly not convinced of the truth of his words. She started chewing her lip again and he took his clue to prompt her.

"But?" he said.

She gave an exaggerated sigh. "But what about the risk? Does the end justify the means?"

"You know I can't answer that," answered the man. "Only you can decide that."

"I know. It's just that..."

She trailed off, and the man picked up her train of thought yet again.

"It's bad this time?"

She nodded. "Well, yeah. Yeah, it is."

He nodded back. "I know."

"So, what do you do then? When it gets bad?"

"Honestly?"

"Of course."

A soft smiled graced the man's lips. "Well, you know I'm British."

"So, stiff upper lip? Carry on and tally ho and all that?" proposed his companion, using a pretty admirable British accent herself.

The man laughed. "Well, yes... And I find a stiff drink helps."

The woman laughed back and the dam that had been building inside of her for the past several days finally burst, letting out all the tension and worry she'd held inside. She reached for her glass and held it aloft to her friend with a smile.

"Only one thing to say to that," she said.

A raised eyebrow was the only response to her words.

"Cheers, Alfred Pennyworth."

A similar smile broke out across the table, and a second glass was raised.

"Cheers, Virginia Potts."

It was many hours later when the two finally went on their way, and if they did so with a slight stumble to their steps, it didn’t matter. What was important was that they left with lighter hearts and less on their shoulders. For theirs was an odd existence, and the hardest part was the waiting game - that sometimes weeks-long period when they could do nothing but worry - and it helped to share that burden with a friend.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
lolmac
Nov. 22nd, 2011 01:34 pm (UTC)
Oh. nice! I figured out who it was very early, and enjoyed it all the way through. Sweet!
jackwabbit
Nov. 22nd, 2011 03:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I came across a two-year-old note in my phone that simply read, "Alfred and Pepper," and voila! ;) Thanks for reading, my dear. Your reviews always mean a lot because I respect your opinion.

As for figuring it out, well, yeah. It ain't rocket science, but it was fun not to use the actual names until the end. Even if I wanted to call Pepper by her nickname and Alfred wouldn't let me. :)
ncb1
Nov. 23rd, 2011 04:17 am (UTC)
Wonderful
jackwabbit
Nov. 23rd, 2011 05:12 am (UTC)
Thanks, mate!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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