2019-05-22 - Roughing It


Tony and Bucky go camping to get away from booze, the pressures of fame and genius, and the distractions of civilization.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed May 22 05:24:08 2019
Location: RP Room 6

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Theme Song




Proof that Tony does need to upgrade his staff and maybe even his security gear. For it was the work of only a few moments to extract Tony at one of those fancy charity events he puts up with. Amazing how, even knowing Bucky's coming, the Soldier blends in. Just another one of the staff, another little drone in a waiter's garb. Tossed into the back of some generic little sedan, hidden until they're away from the great circle of eyes that is the city…..and out and away to the wilds of upstate.

Hurried along a trail on a night brightly lit by a nearly full moon - Buck's got a bigger pack, and Tony a smaller one. No electronic gear on either of them, save for a simple burner phone in Buck's pocket. And now they've come to where they're apparently intended to stay. It's a cabin, actually. No electricity, but running water of a kind….and cots already set up. "You can try and sleep now, if you want." This won't be intervention by shouting and haranguing, apparently.

Tony Stark didn't even put up much of a fight, namely because he knows Bucky's hand to hand skills dwarf his own. "I have to say, I'm impressed. I do want to make sure my people know I'm okay so we don't end up with a media circus and cops swarming the forest. After that, I solemnly swear, no electronics."

He looks around the cabin. He spent awhile in a cave with a gaping chest wound, so he's slept in worse places. "At least we're not sleeping on the floor. You can't get the cold out when you're sleeping on the floor."

So has Buck, for that matter. "All right," he says, softly. "Call off your dogs so we don't end up with a SWAT team trying to crawl up our asses." Already turning to light a lamp - it's a little oil lamp, the flame only as bright as several candles. There're three rooms off the big main chamber - a little kitchenette, a bathroom, and a storage closet/pantry. By the look of the kitchen, Buck was here before, getting ready. There're canned goods on the shelves, supplies - at least they won't starve, if they don't catch something hunting.

Tony Stark makes the call. He's on a retreat and not to be bothered, not even in the case of an emergency. He's got people under him capable of handling most of the business barring the collapse of the economy. He hands the phone to Bucky. Then he shrugs out of his tux's jacket and asks, "Did you pack something for me to wear or am I going to be roughing it in a tux? Don't get me wrong, whatever we're going to do, I want to look great doing it, but I don't think this penguin suit was made for the elements."

Bucky looks over his shoulder at Tony, momentarily bemused, as he shakes out the match he just used to light the lamp, before flicking it into the fireplace. It's as if he hadn't really considered the question. Then he grins, slowly, that ridiculous, crooked grin. "I brought you some clothes. Stole those, too," he admits. "T-shirts and pj pants to sleep in." The cots are already made up - at least tothe extent of blankets and pillows over something else. Maybe even a kind of sheet?

Tony Stark looks incredulous at Bucky as it appears he hasn't packed anything, then shakes his head and rolls his eyes when the woldier grins. He goes to the pack and gets changed, not bothering with privacy. He's sharp enough to see there isn't any, not really. The bathroom, but it's not exactly roomy. Once he's in a t-shirt and pj pants, he heads for one of the cots. Not to sleep, but to sit on and wrap the blanket araound himself. Even though it's spring, nighttime gets cold in the wilderness. "So people come out here and do this on purpose," he muses. "When there are warm places indoors with magic lightning in the walls."

"Had my gear here already," he tells Tony, nodding at a pack against the wall. He's in fatigue pants, t-shirt, cover over the arm that at least gives it that rough appearance of skin. Better than bare metal. "Yeah," he says, more gently, as he settles down to sit on the cot. "I coulda gone a good deal rougher, but…..figured I'd start with baby steps. We're not here to do atonement…..but to get the both of us away from all the distractions back in civilisation."

Tony Stark bundles in the blanket and shivers a little, but he doesn't complain about it. He's had to get by in worse. At least there aren't a bunch of armed men outside that'll kill him if he doesn't get to work. "I'm still not entirely sure what I'm supposed to learn from this exercise," he admits. "I'm not fighting it. I'm just not sure what it's supposed to prove." He looks at Bucky, no worse for wear. Not yet.

Bucky's expression is sympathetic. "To make you take a little look at yourself, see what's literally driving you to drink. Maybe let you deal with some quiet. Back in the world, you're tremendously busy. You're very important - running a company, designing things, making decisions. Here you don't have to….and maybe that's frightening."

"My old man drank," Tony says. "I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree." He glances down, then to the side. "I'm not exactly the poster boy for taking a break." His gaze travels over the cabin, already going over ideas in his head to fix this, improve that. He can't help it, it's in his blood. "I take it this is a dry vacation? I draw the line at no caffeine, though."

"Dry it is," Buck affirms. Just smug enough that one miiiight want to smack him one. "Plenty of caffeine, though. Wait until you see how I make coffee. When was the last time you took an actual break?" he adds, with a tilt of his head. Already pulling the rubber band from his pony tail - otherwise brutally practical in grooming and dress, he still keeps his hair past his shoulders.

Tony Stark's eyes narrow. He sighs, then nods. "One could argue I was taking a break when you kidnapped me." Even he doesn't sound like he believes that, though. "The fact is I actually enjoy working. My hobby is my job. Whenever I get tense, I go to the lab and invent something. I can just get inside my own head and work stuff out. I think I'd go crazy if I couldn't work with my hands."

"That's not a break. I like my work, too, but I still need a break from time to time. A real one. So does Steve….and he's as bad as you, on that front. I gotta make him step away," Buck leans back against the wall, making the cot creak a bit. "You need to take a breath, look around. It's not all about the world inside your head…."

"It is, though," Tony says. "It's the world I live in. I don't see things the way other people do. I'm not wired to. Trust me, it's not a picnic, but it's not something I would change about myself." Gesturing around, he says, "You probably see a cabin. I see every place cold air is getting in from outside and how to stop it without sealing us in to suffocate. I'm not trying to do that. That's literally the way I perceive things."

Bucky lifts a finger. "I'm not trying to change how you look at things or what you perceive," he says, slowly. "It's about how you react to it. How you decide to deal with it. Same as I have to decide how to deal with what was done to me."

"Just don't give me demerits for being who I am," Tony says. "I promise I won't trick this place out. But if I see something that needs fixed, I want to fix it. Big things, not small things. One of my core beliefs, the stuff that remains when everything else is stripped away, is that I want to make the world a better place than I found it. It's probably the only really good thing about who I am."

Bucky lifts both hands, placatingly. "I'm not saying you need to change who you are. But….why're you drinking? Let's put it that way. That aspect of the situation's suboptimal, and I'm not gonna be the jackass who just says 'well, stop'. 'cause you're gettin' somethin' out of it…."

"I drink to slow down," Tony says after a moment's thought. "When things feel like they're spiraling, it pulls me out. I drink when I can't sleep because, when I close my eyes, I'm back in that cave. I drink at social events, because that's what you do. I mean, why does anyone drink? I know that's deflection, I don't mean it that way." He runs a hand over his face and exhales sharply. "Yeah. I drink to slow things down."

"There you go," His voice is encouraging. "You're an engineer, a problemsolver. You said it yourself. And alcohol….it may be the quickest and easiest thing to reach for when those problems come up, but we both know it's not viable long-term. That it'll make 'em worse. Right?" The lamplight flickers over his features, catches in the blue of his eyes. "I'm not here to judge you, Tony. I can't judge anyone, not from where I'm sitting. But maybe being here can be a start to looking at that particular problem differently. Let you get away from habits that aren't serving you."

Tony Stark eyes Bucky. "Do you really want to be here when I wake up screaming because I didn't knock myself out before going to bed? It's not pretty." He sighs, shaking his head. "It doesn't even bother me that bad when I'm awake, you know? I mean I'm here, I survived, they didn't. Neither did…" He glances down again. "Anyway, it's only sometimes, but I dream I'm still back there."

"Want to in the sense of finding it fun? No. Think it might help if I do, yeah," Buck retorts. "I wake up like that, too. Sometimes. But the back of your brain is still….reacting to it. Lessons learned in fear and pain are the ones hardest to unlearn." His eyes are shadowed, weary, but there's still that little curve to his lips.

Tony Stark taps his chest and says, "This was learned in pain and fear. Probably the singlemost important piece of technology in our time, make no mistake, born of desparation. It keeps me alive, so the thing is, I can't get away from it. The weight of it, I feel that all the time. It doesn't ever feel natural or like something you can just forget." He nods toward the metal arm. "I'm thinking you might know what I'm talking about."

His lips thin out, and he ducks his head a little, letting his hair forward to veil his face. The gesture of an abused animal. "Exactly," he says, and his voice is low. "Every minute of every day. It hurts, honestly, but I'm so used to living with the pain I don't know what I'd do if it went away. I'm not as smart as you, and I guess I'm….not inclined to kind of chew on myself the same way. But if a guy like me can learn to carry it….there has to be a way for someone like you to do it."

Tony Stark leans over and clasps Bucky's non-metal shoulder. No words just then. It's after he draws back that he says, "I feel electricity surging through me all the time. I know that's not exactly what's going on, but I can feel the energy buzzing around in my chest. I've forgotten what it feels like not to have that. It becomes the new normal. Even if you can't not be aware of it, it just becomes part of you."

Tense, that, beneath Tony's hand. "Exactly,' he says, looking up. "They….I can feel some sensations, but it's not like the real thing." A beat, a shaking breath, and he says, "It's woven all through me. Has to be, to not be something that'll come right off. Anchored in my bones, woven in beneath the muscle. And…..even after all these years, it feels wrong. I mean, I function, I don't fall over….but it's a reminder of what I am. What they made me…."

So much for him being the calm teacher. His voice has begun to fissure, and even in the lamplight, the pale eyes have become too bright.

Tony Stark gets off his cot, bringing his blanket with him, and he sits beside Bucky. It's harder, without a scotch to lubricate the interaction, but he tries. "What they did to you isn't like what happened to me," he says gently. "I had a choice of design and implementation. I had state of the art materials. I know I'm lucky. This was done to you, and they didn't take comfort into consideration when they were designing their new weapon. But you're not what they made you. Would what they made you be doing this? Trying to help some guy just because?"

Harder being the point….even it is for him, too. "No, it's not," he says, raising his head, doing that trick men do when they tip their heads back so tears don't fall. "I am. I'm just….I'm just not under their control anymore. But Bucky Barnes woulda been dead in the Alps seventyfive years ago, if Zola hadn't experimented on me. If they hadn't kept me on ice to use me as a weapon." He sighs. "I…." A miserable glance at Tony, sidelong. He radiates heat like a little furnace. "You're capable of so much more. And maybe you got all the folks around you fooled, or they're too scared to really buck you when you get going…..but sheesh, if I'm not dead, you don't get to kill yourself or ruin your brain with booze. IT'd be beneath you."

Tony Stark has nothing to say to that for awhile. He stares at nothing to give Bucky some privacy as he does his no-tear thing. "I don't think anyone really cares," he admits finally. "Especially the media. I think they're waiting for the spectacular swan dive my dad never gave them, because he died in a car accident before the alcohol could finish him off. My competitors would certainly be thrilled if I could just drink myself to death already, and the only people in my life that are there with any sort of consistency are on my payroll."

"I care. Steve cares," he says, lowly. "You deserve better. You understand that, right?" he wonders, folding his arms in front of him, resting them on the knees he draws up. "You can come up with all these amazing things. You can learn to live in peace with the nightmares. I did. Well, I work on it," he admits, sheepishly. "And it is work." A shivering breath, though he's not cold.

Tony Stark says, "Do I?" Tony asks. "Let me tell you, pal, those weapons I made have killed a lot of innocent people and ended up in a lot of wrong hands. And there was my name right on them. I mean, when my dad was fighting the baddies? They were bad. There was no wiggle room, no 'wait, but…' The cause was good. After the war, he kept it up I guess because he still believed in that black or white. The world's different today, and I didn't even question it. I honestly believed only bad people were getting killed. Do you know how naive that is?""

"I think you're taking on responsibility that isn't yours to take," Buck says, tossing his head to finally get his hair out of his face, look at him directly. "You made whatever…..you didn't aim 'em. You didn't fire 'em. You didn't make the call. You're not the president or a general or a soldier on the ground. And let's be blunt - say you quit….they'd get someone else. Someone will always be making weapons. Before we were born, after we're gone. You can choose not to, if you want. Make prosthetics for veterans or equipment for farmers or more energy efficient trains. Let's put it this way - if the weapon and its maker are the ones responsible, than I'm the guilty one. Me and Zola and HYDRA, but me first. Am I? Are my gut feelings right, that they only used what was there already? And it is my fault?"

Tony Stark says, "Yeah, but they'll be inferior weapons." Yeah, maybe he's arrogant to assume his are the best. Then again, maybe it's just a wicked sense of self-awareness. He really is that good. "I've shifted away from weapons. Not entirely, but we're investing more in medical research and food science. Clean energy, too. But the point is we are what we put out into the world, and I was death. And it's not like you. You didn't get a conscious choice. Now you do have a choice, and what are you doing? Not that."

"Yeah, they will be. But they'll still be there….and …." He hesitates. "I don't know. I don't think you can blame yourself for what's done with them. If America's leaders make gray choices, you're ot one of them. You've never tried to dictate policy to increase sales, right?"

Tony Stark shakes his head and says, "I'd rather build a superior product. What I'd prefer is for there to be no need for weapons whatsoever. That's why I'm looking into peaceful industries, foremost the clean energy. Our wars aren't fought over principles these days, they're fought over oil. If I can get rid of our need for the stuff, we'll have to find something else to fight about. Food? I'll feed the world. Land? I'll reinvent infrastructure."

That makes him smile - that absurd, tremulous one. "You're still an idealist," he says, clearly surprised by the finding. "For real. Wow. You and Steve must be the last two. People will always fight, but….knowing you, you might make a dent. But you gotta survive to do it."

"I'm a futurist," Tony says, "and the future we have is the one we make. I know what I want mine to look like." But Bucky brings up the part about having to survive, and he purses his lips, then looks away. "I'm not trying to kill myself," he says. "When I was younger, I just thought I was immortal. Now, I just… I just need to quiet the voices that say 'why haven't you done more.'"

"You're not tryin', but you're lettin' it happen," Now it's his turn to reach over, lay a hand on Tony's shoulder. "And chemistry may not be your favorite, but you got enough of it to know that you are damaging yourself. So….let me help you find a way to deal with those voices without resorting to the bottle."

"Technically, that's biochem," Tony says, "and Biology is a soft science." Spoken with polite disdain. Soft sciences, ugh. "So what do I do? When it gets bad? When I'm shaking, and I can't sleep, and the numbers and figures are going through my mind leaving me in the red? Do I try yoga? Deep breathing? SSRIs?"

"All of the above, if need be. You know how experimentation works, you're a scientist," The wind is blowing in the pines - it sounds like a distant sea….and it's still long enough before dawn that the moon is casting dappled shadows in the parts of the cabin not lit by the lamp. "View it as another project. Hell, get up and walk around. You seem like you're in good shape, but if that permits, hard exercise at the right time of day might help you a lot."

"I exercise," Tony says. "Maybe a hard run at three in the morning isn't such a bad thing if I'm up and sweating anyway. I admit, I haven't been motivated. I still don't think I'm drinking myself to death, but I admit I could cut back. Unfortunately, I don't think people who change the world are all that comfortable with where they fit in it."

Bucky gives him an amused look. "No, or they wouldn't be changing it, would they? A fat cat's not gonna tear up his own bed, right? We'll do some hiking then, this trip. If you can run, we can do that. Fresh air away from people, it'll be good for both of us."

Tony Stark lookes around the cabin, and despite that he's aware of the air currents and how insulation could be improved, he takes a moment to notice the moonlight. "I don't hate it here," he says. "It's hauntingly primitive, but I don't hate it. Though, at some point, I'm going to get you in the lab and we'll relax my way. You might be surprised how much you like it."

"You'll learn to like it. There's a lot of rest to be found out here," Buck assures him. "You will." Then he blinks at Tony. "What's your way?" he asks, innocently

"We'll hit the lab and mess around with stuff to see what happens," Tony says. "Tell me something you want to build, and we'll go through building it. It can be useful, or it can be something to blow up just because explosions, under the proper circumstances, can be incredibly cool. I'll get us a few ballistics gel bodies. It'll be a good time."

Bucky laughs at that. It's not mocking, but surprisingly boyish. "I bet. I useda love demolitions stuff during the war. HEck, I could use a cover for this arm that makes me look like a real boy," he adds, lifting the metal hand.

Tony Stark glances at the metal arm and doesn't even hesitate when he says, "Sure we could invent something to cover your arm. It'll be more fun to blow stuff up, though. The arm will take awhile, finding the right polymers and adhesives, blah blah blah, but detonation is a game we can play any old time. I'll tell you what, we'll make grenades, then we'll blow up ballistics dummies with them."

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