2011-01-30: Burger King Home Of Deep Conversation


Theo_icon.jpg Tony_icon.jpg

Summary: Theo stops by the Towers to see how Tony is doing after the fight with Envy and to have a meaningful conversation over cheap hamburgers.

Date: January 30, 2011

Log Title: Burger King Home of Deep Conversation

Rating: PG

Stark Towers to Burger King

It was an odd weekend in the sense that instead of spending considerable time in a lab or tracking down a known criminal Tony Stark was sitting in his office catching up on a truckload of work that was put off for far too long. He was also doing this alone which meant that most of the time was spent staring at documents instead of actually reading them. Clad in a casual suit and shirt he was at least comfortable as he suffered the torture of responding to messages, signing papers, and making phone calls to restructure divisions. If only there were an excuse for him to completely ignore the work load yet again. Sigh.

Theo was mad as a hornet to hear about the attack on Stark Towers. He's been even more annoyed that he hasn't been able to see Tony since it happened. So he's taken his Sunday to just go stroll down to Stark Towers. He doesn't wait for permission from the secretary before knocking on the door. "Tony, you in here?" he asks before the door can be answered.

"Theo," Bambi chides the young man for being impatient. The old woman opens the door a crack to poke her head in, "Tony? Theo is here to see you as you may have already guessed." Desk chair scoots back and Tony stands up smiling, "It's alright Bambi let him in." She nods and steps out of the way fully opening the door so that Theo can enter the office then takes her leave once she can shut the door behind the young man. "Theo! What brings you by?" For truthfully any reason is going to be an escape from work and he's going to take it without question.

"Somebody fired a rocket launcher at you," the boy answers. "I wanted to make sure you're okay. I mean, that's not normal." Then again, Tony is a superhero, but it's still not normal in Theo's world. Of course, Theo had his own brush not long ago in Mutant Town, which he's not brought up since the event occured. "And what's with all the mess? Aren't you supposed to hire people to do this boring stuff?" he holds up one page between his thumb and forefinger, as if it were a dirty diaper.

"Ahh, that." Tony waves Theo towards the couch in the room and walks over to slump down in the chair facing that couch. "I can tell you that it ruined a perfectly good day out on the town but I'm alright Theo. Thank you for asking by the way as not many even bother for the most part." Peering back over his shoulder Stark chuckles, "That would be all of the work that I can't pawn off on others. Please, sit down and get comfortable. If you've got time I could have Bambi get something from downstairs." If you choose to sit he pounces on you with a million questions at once. How have you been since Christmas? What is going on over at the school? How is your family doing? Is working going well? At least he manages to stop when he notices that you have said anything in a few minutes.

Theo starts to answer a few times, but the questions keep coming. "Do I need to fill a report out for this?" he asks with a grin. "My sister calls me like every two days, and if she doesn't the other does." Mary was extremely protective when Theo came home, and didn't want him to leave again. Fortunately, Tony's ability to persuade was very useful in that situation. "Work's good, school's boring and easy, as usual. Dr. McCoy is gone, so is Forge, so…" He quirks his mouth. Nobody's challenging him that much in the technology department. "It's been busy, though. I don't know how you balance so much stuff."

There's an apology for not letting Theo get a word in edgewise but Theo was used to this sort of thing as Tony tended to babble endlessly at times. "I hope that your sisters liked the thank you that I sent them. I had Pepper help me pick out what basket would be best as I'm not very good at figuring out what to give people." What woman wouldn't like flowers and expensive chocolates accompanied by a card that Tony actually wrote himself thanking them for having him over for Christmas and for allowing Theo to return to New York. "You're tutors over there, if I may call them that, are elsewhere? Perhaps I can find a way to convince the staff that you should be allowed to work with me directly when I am able to find time. I can't promise any sort of consistency obviously but it would be better than stagnating in your education." Legs cross and hands locked to rest against his stomach as he considers how he balances his life. "Honestly it's a juggling act that you get better at over time. You may start out with say balancing school and your social life then you throw in work and hobbies suddenly you're juggling several things. If you drop a ball no big deal just pick it back up. If there's anything I've learned you can't stress out about how much is weighing on you or you'll end up miserable."

The teen shrugs, "I dunno, Hank went on some sabbatical, and Forge is weird anyway. His power makes it hard to understand. There wasn't enough going on so they decided to throw a school dance in the mix." He says it as if it would give him cancer to attend. He rolls his eyes. "I hate dances. You gotta teach me how you get all the girls to go for you."

"I haven't seen Forge in some time which is sad because he was a great help over here," Tony comments as if you know everything about your teachers and you may not know that Forge worked for him at one point. "There's a dance happening over at the school? You don't seem thrilled by that at all. Why's that?" Both feet find their way to the floor again as Tony sits up straighter flaring his suit jacket out before settling back again. "I sincerely doubt that anyone would be thrilled by my tutoring you in the ways of women but when have I ever cared?" For their is laughter after he says it, so much so that the corners of his eyes have wrinkled a bith with the mirth. "Confidence is a strong selling point Theo as well as a good sense of humor. With those firmly in your pocket you can branch out from there with flirting which is an art form to say the least. Maybe we should start with taking your clothes from tech-geek to bad boy. Nothing works better than edging up your gear."

"My clothes aren't that bad," Theo contests. He goes to mainstream stores. With his increased budget, he's been able to afford it. "It doesn't help that the girl I tried to ask doesn't like to dance. Or maybe she was just making that up to avoid me." Not a fair accusation, but he defeats himself faster than most people will defeat him. "Confidence is hard when you know the girl is way cooler than you are."

"Not that you're clothes are bad but there's something to be said for having a stash of things that you wear simply to attract women. Not something you'd normally be wearing around." Tony does find that your problem with this particular girl is going to be hard to work on especially if you've already shot yourself down. "If you don't ask her you'll never know but have you considered asking her to do something else? Forget the dance try something else like taking her out to lunch or a movie. Approach things like you would something you are confident about. If you're already feeling less than stellar you're not going to do very well in your approach."

"Well, I asked to take her out to dinner for her birthday," Theo says. "I had to work to get that. I think I overdid it with her Christmas present. Maybe just a little." Exactly how he overshot, he doesn't say. "It's really nerve racking, you know? If I screw it up, it'll mess up the friendship. We're on the same team, too." Meaning they are around each other a lot.

Tony nods in understanding, "Asking out a friend or someone you work with is a lot more complicated than picking up someone you don't know." Trust him on this one! A hand rubs over his chin as he considers what kind of advice he might be able to give to Theo in this particular situation. "The worst thing you can do is press things. Treat her no differently than you normally would and the little things will count for more than you think. Opening doors, asking how they're feeling or if they need any help with something. There's also seeing if she'd like to go out and do something like grab lunch or hit the mall. The more you spend time with them the easier it gets to shift things in a way where you can show you're interested in them. That make any sense or am I not helping at all?"

"I guess," Theo says. "I do the door thing, when I can manage to get to the door before her. She's a speedster. That's the other problem. I'm too slow. She wants to do everything at six times normal speed. Not a whole lot of stuff that I can keep up with at that speed. Don't think we got anything at R&D that can help with that quite yet."

"Well, that certainly is a problem." Tony doesn't outright say that he thinks you're screwed but does he have to? The fingers of one hand drum idly on the arm of the chair he's sitting in as his expression is clearly thoughtful. "A friend of mine is a speedster and their lives are far different from ours Theo. Even talking can be a painful challenge for them to have to deal with as we appear to be speaking incredibly slow. There's sadly no way to keep up with them but given time she might appreciate your patience and persistence."

"Great," Theo says, not feeling very encouraged. "So I'm pretty much screwed," he lets out a sigh. "Well, I guess we'll see what will happen." Probably nothing. "So what about you? What'd that crazy lady want to kill you for? She's one of those 'destroy all humans' sorts, right?"

Tony shrugs the hand, "Maybe, perhaps not. Just let it evolve as it will." The incident downtown that caused one hell of a traffic jam as well as a lot of property damage was still weighing heavily on Tony even a week later for Eris was still underground, again. "Envy happens to be the sort that wants to wipe humans off the face of the Earth for being inferior to mutants. She's just a little," emphasizing a little by holding up a finger and thumb depicting an inch, "bit angry with me for existing. I'm apparently playing a mutant because of my inferiority. I've lost track of all of the amusing ways she's put that but that's the jist of things."

"Ah," Theo says. "I wish she'd go murder people who want to kill mutants instead. Nobody cares if they die." He rolls his eyes. He may in fact mean that statement. "Wanna go grab some burgers or something?" He nods toward the door. "You've been couped up in here, people can track you down if you stay where they expect you."

The comment about killing mutant killers is let go for it is merely an opinion that was shared and not like Theo was going to turn vigilante any time soon. Least that was the hope. "Food?" That was certainly a good way to distract the billionaire exec who didn't want to face the mountain of paperwork on his desk. All of that work could be done in the wee hours of the morning when he was bored out of his mind again. Laughter bubbles out of Stark as he rises up from his chair to straight his suit jacket. "I would be up for that actually. Though in my defense who would expect me to be in my office?"

Theo arches his brow and tilts his head, "That's a good point. I'm driving!" On the way there, it seems that the lights are in their favor. Tony of course can know why. Theo's learned to hack the light systems and drive at the same time. "I know I don't usually ask you superhero stuff," Theo starts. He hesitates. "Nevermind." He seems to have changed his mind about asking. He never talks about Iron Man. He's said before that he doesn't want to be like one of the groupies who just think he's super cool and want his autograph. He wants to be Tony's friend, not a fanboy.

"You're driving huh?" Guess one too many times of Tony's terrible driving in the city has been enough for the young man to tell Stark that he's relegated to shotgun for the safety of everyone in the city. There's amusement in the older man who's comfortably sitting in the passenger seat of Theo's mini-Ferrari when the lights remain green for their route, "What? You know you can talk to me about that it's not a problem."

"I just don't wanna make you uncomfortable," Theo says. He lets the silence linger a longer moment. "You've been fighting people as Iron Man for a long time, right?" he establishes. It's not a real question. He veers between two cars, using the small size of the car to his advantage. Tony's not the only dangerous driver. Theo also seems to abuse his powers a little. Newer cars seem to slow a little for him. "You ever have to kill anybody?"

Tony doesn't seem to be phased by how Theo is driving as he's equally as bad if not worse when it comes to weaving in and out of cars and breaking the speed limit. There's a nod for your initial question, "For awhile now. Have I ever had to kill anyone?" That was a question that came up from time to time as people were always curious about how things went when the good guys fought the bad guys. "I'm not a big fan of killing people but yes, I've had to kill people when I've exhausted every other option to stop them. This is the first time you've really asked me about what goes on outside of the company. Is there a specific reason you wanted to bring that up in particular? Just curious."

Theo shrugs. "You saw the Mutant Town attacks," he said. "I was there. Right next to the stage when Magneto started his speech." Ground zero. Lots of people dead. A miracle he didn't die. He even came out without a scratch, strange, given that his powers aren't exactly combat-oriented. "What is it supposed to feel like to kill someone?"

The news had of course covered what happened down over in Mutant Town well enough that Tony had seen quite a bit of what happened from where he was at the time. "I'm sorry you had to be there when that happened," for he can't imagine what it must have felt like to witness that level of destruction as a teen knowing a lot of the people that had been there that night. The question leaves a sour taste in his mouth, "Were you put in a position where you killed someone during the attack? If you were not you would be better off not knowing. It stays with you Theo regardless of why it had to be."

Theo is quiet, and doesn't answer directly. "But what is it supposed to feel like?" he repeats. He accelerates to try to pass a truck, but then weaves back to avoid oncoming traffic, gaining a honk from an angry Fed Ex truck. That was a little too close.

Calm as ice even in the face of Theo's Formula One driving style Tony turns about in the passenger seat to be able to face Theo to see the teens expression when he's talking about something like this. "It depends on the person, I can't believe I'm going to talk about this…" reluctantly but clearly this is wearing on your thoughts. "People who seek to do harm to others get a thrill of some sort off taking a life. They feel powerful and exhilarated by what's been done by their will. Someone who seeks to protect people who is forced to take a life there is always regret for what's been done."

"So what does it mean if you don't feel anything?" Theo asks. He pulls up to nothing fancy, just a Burger King. He puts the car in park. "Tony, I watched a man melt into liquid right in front of me. It was terrible, I never thought I'd see that outside of a movie. But…I didn't enjoy it. I didn't get sick, I don't feel regret, or joy, or fear. I don't feel anything." Which is what bothers him. He's pretty sure he should feel something.

Tony leans against the chair a bit more as the car is parked at a Burger King, and Theo reveals what brought up this line of questioning. There's a moment of silence before Tony shakes his head pulling off his shades to hang them from the collar of his shirt. "It's shock, Theo. You've seen something traumatic and you haven't been able to process it yet. There's nothing wrong with that at all but eventually you'll be able to deal with what you saw that day. In your own way or with help depending on how you end up feeling. Don't be surprised if you find yourself getting hit by your feelings out of nowhere it's perfectly normal for that to happen."

"But it happened a month ago," Theo says, opening the door to the car. He gets out, and closes it behind him. "I just…don't care. I don't feel any different than if I had stepped on a bug. Like it didn't even matter."

Tony gets out of the car to come around the trunk to stand near Theo. "I wish there was something that I could tell you Theo. Each person deals with death in their own way and perhaps your's is indifference. It doesn't mean that it will stay that way always or perhaps it does. Would you feel similarly if someone you cared about was lost?"

Theo already knows how that feels, and the look he shoots Tony isn't one that is appreciative. "You already know how I feel about that," he answers. "But I wouldn't kill someone I care about. What if I get in another situation, and I do it again? I might be a sociopath." He's not entirely sure what that would look like, but he also doesn't think it'd be a good thing.

Tony holds up his hands, "I didn't mean it that way. Simply a comparrison. We're you responsible for that persons death?" All things were pointing that way and that's a heavy burden for a young man to have to bear. "You're not a sociopath, Theo. You're capable of learning from experiences, youv'e a sense of responsibility, and you've formed relationships with people that mean a great deal to you. You're having to deal with something that's not easily dealt with."

Theo nods. "Yeah, I was," he says. "But it's okay, he deserved it. I mean, he attacked me first. The world's a better place without him. What kind of person thinks it's okay to shoot at a bunch of random innocent civilians anyway? Or burn a house to the ground with a family inside. Why are people so…evil?" He shakes his head. "I'm sorry, I should've just let it alone, we're here to hang out and let you have a good time not thinking about work. You don't need to hear about my stupid crap going on."

"I don't think you realize it but you're angry Theo and have every right to be but be careful you don't go too far over the line. I don't have to tell you that there is a difference between self defense and killing someone /just because they deserved it./ Evil is perspective Theo and will always be around and has been since the dawn of time. Just make sure you don't turn into that which you hate." Tony reaches out to rest a firm hand atop the young mans shoulder offering a supportive squeeze. "I'd rather you let me help you in any way that I can rather than letting it bottle up within yourself. Hell, you can even talk with me about this over dipping some hamburgers in tiny barbeque sauce containers. It's alright, really."

Theo doesn't avoid the squeeze, but he lets out a rather tired sigh. "I'm trying," he says. "I'm just having trouble figuring out why I shouldn't give in. It seems like evil always wins in this world. I just keep thinkin' maybe Magneto is right." A frightening thought to be present in any teenager's mind.

"Why shouldn't you give in?" Tony ends up crossing his arms across his chest. "There is far more good in this world than evil. Have you ever heard of violence begets violence? Would you want to live in a world like that? A world where one race lords over another? I don't think so." This is certainly not a conversation that should be happening in the parking lot of a Burger King. "It's not easy to watch people suffer, or be harmed, or lose that which means the most to them but it only makes a person stronger. It's certainly not easy to be a good person in the face of evil. I've lost friends, I've lost lovers to people who didn't have a grain of soul left to them, and here I am. Think of it this way, the Friends of Humanity that seeks to kill mutants simply because they are mutants would then be no better than a mutant who seeks to kill them simply because they're human. Hopefully that day never comes to be but you see my point."

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