|ｐａｎｔｈｅｒ (kingly) wrote in avengers_logs,|
@ 2019-05-23 13:36:00
|There hadn’t really been much of a chance for Sam to get to know T’Challa what with being on opposite sides of the fight in Germany and then being preoccupied with taking out Thanos, twice, in Wakanda and New York, so when the king showed up in this weird alternate dimension, he decided to take advantage of the relative calm to grab a drink and chat. He knew that there was a better than average chance the calm wouldn’t last and they would all need to fight together again, so it seemed like a good idea to be friendly.|
Plus, the dude was a king and that was kind of cool.
Sam had found a little neighborhood bar not far from 30 Warren that had good beer on tap and wasn’t full of Avengers groupies. It wasn’t that he objected to getting a little bit of attention for being Falcon, but sometimes a guy just wanted a beer. This was one of those times.
When he spotted T’Challa entering the bar, he waved him over to the table in the corner that he’d procured. “Hey, man, good to see you,” he said, standing up and offering his hand to shake.
T’Challa also wasn’t in the mood for attention. It had been a brain-rattling twenty-four hours, but in all actuality, he could not even gauge how much time passed. He’d faded away into dust, leaving one world and being jolted back into it a mere five years later - all with the snap of one’s fingers. It was not meant to be a happy reunion, however, since he and the previously dusted tribes, his armies and his sister, all were shoved through portals - numerous sparking rings - to fight once more, and fight they had.
The sadness he felt about Tony Stark’s death had just barely sunk in when he arrived here - in a place where Tony was alive and all which, admittedly, was a great relief to the King.
So to say he wanted a drink was an understatement. He never really indulged in alcohol though, and went to bars even less frequently - usually only when he was abroad. This seemed like a good place to numb his headache with - the clientele was quiet, more interested in what was in their glasses than their surroundings. There was a jukebox in the corner, the tunes a mess of Rock-a-Billy and bebop and folk - the bartender didn’t linger either, he served clientele and then went back to work. Perfect. It was then T’Challa saw Sam and headed right to him.
“It is good to see you as well, Mr. Wilson,” he greeted, shaking Sam’s hand. “Thank you for inviting me. I admit I am not particular about beer - whatever you recommend, I will have.” As long as it was frosty cold, it would do.
“It’s Sam,” he said immediately, wondering if he was supposed to refer to the other man as ‘your majesty’ or if he could just use his name. He wasn’t really up on Wakandan formalities. Oh well, he’d just avoid addressing T’Challa directly either way until he could figure out the right way to do so.
He gestured for the waitress and requested a pitcher of Sam Adams with two glasses. “They have decent food, too, if you’re hungry,” he said. “Typical bar fare - nachos, wings, burgers, fries.” Did kings eat that kind of food? Guess he’d find out.
“Settling in okay?” Sam asked. He knew it had to be quite an adjustment from what T’Challa was used to.
“Sam,” the King repeated then, with a ghost of a smile. “Same with me - or I mean, you may just call me T’Challa.” He didn’t need the royal distinction in front of his name, not when he was in another country not always involved in diplomatic matters - but rather, was attempting to make friends with those he had fought beside (and even died with) yet didn’t know very well.
He hoped to change that, however. And he was intrigued about these delicacies Sam mentioned - food, in Wakanda, was much different. Spices and herbs came from the Jabari tribe, all from the northern slopes - flavors found in the rich stews, and the roots and tree barks were blended in drinks and tonics to revitalize and refresh. Milk and cheese came from mountain goats, the River tribe was where fish like perch and shrimp were dried and used as seasoning in broths and soups, and also eaten fresh or grilled. Celebratory feasts featured huge, vibrant platters of roasted fish surrounded by a rainbow of seasonal vegetables. And that was just the beginning.
“A cheeseburger, please,” he ordered from the waitress, to go along with that pitcher of beer. “And fries.” It was typical American fare that Shuri loved, so T’Challa ought to try it too. “I am settling in just fine, I believe. I suppose the downtime does not last long, so I should enjoy it while it lasts. How long have you been here in this...alternate universe?”
That answered at least one of Sam’s questions. When T’Challa ordered a burger and fries, he decided to tack on a dozen wings to the order, figuring that they’d be here long enough that he’d be able to finish them. He might feel guilty later for introducing the king to a standard American diet given how unhealthy it was.
“I’ve been here about a month or so,” he said. “Maybe a little longer.” Time was relative, especially thanks to the dreams he’d had lately. Knowing that he lost five years was difficult to process despite how much he appreciated the team doing what they did to restore all of those who were lost to Thanos. He hated knowing that Natasha and Tony had sacrificed themselves for it though. Losing people was never easy, he still carried guilt over Riley’s death more than a dozen years ago, so he knew these losses would always stick with him.
He had no idea how long their downtime would last either. Not long would be his guess and he was glad that Steve was working on getting the team back together. “Did I hear right that you’re joining the Avengers?”
T’Challa had to smile a little at that. “Can we call me an Avengers consultant?” he asked, because while he appreciated the idea of unity and working together, he just was unsure if he would have the time to dedicate to the team. Wakanda came first, always. And there was much to do, to keep everything running smoothly, even from afar.
“But I suppose, yes. Something close to that. How do you anticipate it will go? I know there was...trouble. In the past. Clashing ideals.”
The last time the Avengers had attempted to stick together, everything got burned to the ground (in the figurative sense, but in some places? Literal too). He hoped that history would not repeat itself - that those involved had learned from that history, and mistakes.
Sam snorted, a half amused, half derisive noise. “I think if the government stays out of our business and Fury makes sure his ranks aren’t infested with Hydra, things will be much better.” Those were bigger asks than they probably should be, at least the first one. The government liked to stick their nose in everything. He wasn’t sure how the whole Accords thing had worked out in this universe, probably would be a good idea to figure that out though, and supposed that would inform their path forward.
“A consultant is good though,” he said. Not only was the Wakandan technology far superior to anything Sam had ever seen, but T’Challa was a capable warrior who commanded a very capable army. Having him standing with them would be beneficial.
The beer came by then, a pitcher of it as requested and two glasses - the color of that beer was an orange amber, with lots of bubbles; it looked good, and when T’Challa took a sip it tasted good too - kind of like biscuits and toffee. An interesting blend indeed. And not something you’d find at any Wakandan market stall.
“I will do my best to assist with...delicate political matters,” he assured, referring to the long, Pinocchio noses of the government. He no longer felt he needed to atone for the sins of his father, but instead would use his own knowledge and instincts to defeat those who challenged him - no one would make the same mistakes as they had in the past. It was his duty to pull back the fabric of history and reveal the parts of the woven tapestry to tell truths, especially when it was uncomfortable.
The world needed the Avengers, he saw that now. He would do whatever he could to assist - and given the bridges he was building with outsiders, well, Wakanda would also be there to assist as well.
“As for HYDRA, they will not stay quiet for long either. So many nuisances, so little time.” He too wondered what came of the Accords, but apparently they were not an issue here if Tony Stark was renovating a gigantic tower to be their headquarters. No secret lair needed. “But what is it that you do on your down time?” he inquired, picking up his beer glass for another sip. “The world may always need saving but there at least lulls in between disasters.”
“Honestly, not much,” Sam said. Truth be told, he was kind of bored. “Been testing out my new wings and catching up with people mostly.” He was seriously considering looking into getting a job, or at least finding a veterans group to volunteer with, just to have something to do with his time now that he was settled in one place for the foreseeable future.
The years he was on the run had been hectic and made him appreciate the relative normalcy that seemed to exist here. Well, for as normal as an alternate universe that kidnapped people could be. Given a choice, he would prefer to be on the run than dead, but so far, being here was better than both of the other options.
“Kind of going stir crazy,” he admitted, though he hesitated to even say that for fear of tempting the universe to dump something crazy on them. “It’s been a while since I got to stay in one place.” He didn’t have any resentment towards T’Challa or anyone else who’d taken Tony’s side during that dispute though. The concept of oversight wasn’t terrible in general, it was simply the execution that was objectionable.
“Oh?” T’Challa pressed the tips of his fingers together - something of a thinking pose. But while he had been glad for this meeting, for the chance to get to know a teammate better, he also had to admit it could be beneficial in other ways.
Sam’s stir crazy feeling might be alleviated soon enough. “In that case, I was wondering if you would be interested in assisting with a project of mine?” he continued. “Having to do with the Wakandan Outreach Center.”
He had just the job in mind for Sam, too. Nothing he would dream taking away from Nakia, but she was a spy and meant to be one - during the battle over the infinity stones, she had been in another country entirely, traveling the world. Her work was important, he would never begrudge her that. Merely, he was looking for just a little assistance - and from a fellow person of color, who could relate to their brothers and sisters. He strongly disagreed with Erik’s execution of his philosophies, his extremism - but on the surface level, his cousin had not been wrong. T’Challa was still, to this day, disappointed with the way things turned out. Disappointed that Erik was dead; it saddened him greatly.
The offer of a project to work on was certainly not what Sam was expecting to come out of having a beer with T’Challa, but he was intrigued and leaned forward a little so he could hear the other man more clearly.
“I might be,” Sam said. “What kind of project? What would you need me to do?”
He was open to learn more about Wakandan culture and the idea of working more closely with T’Challa was appealing. The little he knew about the man’s country fascinated him and he wished that he’d had the type of support that seemed to exist there when he was a young man.
“We have a few departments that make up the international outreach efforts,” T’Challa explained. “My sister Shuri heads up science and technology, and organizes things like engineering fairs and science exhibits - we also have a social outreach department, and I could use some help there. Thank you,” he added to the waitress, who brought by his cheeseburger and fries (he’d ordered it medium, so it seemed to be nicely cooked and oozing the right amount of grease) and those wings for Sam.
He took another sip of his beer, unrolling the silverware from his napkin. Granted, this all looked to be finger food, but just in case. Then, he continued. “By help I mean organizing other community events. For the youth of Oakland, mainly - coming up with ideas for programs they can participate in at the center. Things to do after school, helping them learn not just about Wakanda, but other valuable life skills.”
There was a reason he’d chosen those particular buildings in Oakland. It was where T’Chaka had killed his brother N’Jobu, where the life of the young N’Jadaka first began to spiral downward. He wanted to stop that in its tracks - he wanted to help the younger generation, to prevent that same spiral in as many youths as possible.
Sam flashed the waitress a smile of thanks when she delivered their food. The staff here was getting familiar with him and he always made sure to tip well. He wasn’t sure how many, if any, of them knew who he was and that was okay by him. If they did know, they were discrete about it, which he greatly appreciated.
“I would definitely be interested in that,” he said, realizing that the population they would be serving in Oakland would largely benefit young men of color and he knew all too well that they could use those kind of events and programs. It would be easily as rewarding as his work with the veterans groups. A lot of those kids probably had PTSD too. “I volunteered as a PTSD counselor with veterans before Steve and Natasha showed up at my door.”
That experience would serve him well in what T’Challa was looking for.
“Wonderful,” T’Challa smiled, pleased that Sam would be willing to help out. He sounded like he had a lot of experience too, working with those who could use some guidance and a friendly ear. “I visit the center frequently and you are welcome to join me next time to have a look around. We can get there quickly.” People still used airplanes in this country, didn’t they? Those long metal tubes that took hours and hours to go from New York to Los Angeles?
Right. That would not be necessary, when you were traveling with the likes of T’Challa.
And in the meantime... “Now, let us consume this deliciousness,” he said, eager to pick up his burger and bite into it. Completely unhealthy, but it would be tasty.
Not to mention Shuri would have to be responsible for producing an heir, because he was about to die of a heart attack.