Who: Mobius and Sharon What: Shakespeare in the Park, Burgers and milkshakes When: Saturday 8/7 Where: ...in the park Warning: Low/None Status: Completed via Gdoc
It was a really good night for Shakespeare in the Park, Mobius thought. He wanted to be a part of this summer ritual, this decades-long experience, because it seemed fun (and full of culture?) and he desperately needed some of that in his life. It was an open-air stadium set right in the middle of Central Park with views of Belvedere Castle, all of its rock and ornamentations, and then the infamous turtle pond as the backdrop - beneath the twinkling of twilight, a whisper of what stars were to come, it was downright picturesque.
The weather was a lot cooler too, which he appreciated. Especially because he had an actual t-shirt on and had ditched the stuffy suit and tie look for something more ‘jeans and summertime.’ It felt weird. Really weird. But maybe he just needed to get used to it.
The theater allowed anyone to bring in drinks or snacks - just no glass, was all - and there were food stands and drink carts, but he and Sharon opted for the burgers and fries thing. Plus milkshakes - he’d chosen cookies and cream and didn’t think he could go wrong there. There were still a few minutes before showtime, so, once they got to their seats (he’d snagged tickets earlier today as part of a lottery), unwrapped the dead cow, and dove into the crinkle fries, he was basically all settled in.
“So what’s the deal with you and going to the movies with your doctor?” he asked casually. “Is that - you know - an ethics violation?”
Teasing. Completely teasing, don’t worry.
Thankfully, the temperature had gone down a bit. Not that Sharon had spent so much time outside over the last couple of days, but she really didn't want to be hot and sweaty, especially because of the whole stitches situation. They were uncomfortable enough as it was, let alone with sweat trickling under the bandage. She'd found a way to be comfortable, though. With Friday's help she'd acquired some new clothes--jeans and skirts, blouses and t-shirts, and a sweater she absolutely loved. It was nice to find things that she felt suited her. Like the capris and tank top she was wearing today. They were loose enough to not bother the stitches, but form fitting enough to make her feel good about the way she looked. Sharon had never been super into fashion, but considering most of her stuff was stuck in the other world?
...not all of her stuff. She'd procured a couple of burner phones and found that many of her contacts were here in this world, and knew her--knew the Power Broker. And her somewhat above-the-level art gallery was there in Madripoor waiting for her. So yesterday she'd kept a little busy setting things up remotely both for the art dealing, and her other side hustle.
Once they had food and were settled down to eat, Sharon tucked in. The food was delicious and the company was pleasant. Amazing how knowing that he knew, and somehow trusting he wouldn't tell? It made her feel relaxed. Or maybe that was just a way he had about him.
"What? Dr. Banner?" Sharon smirked a little. "I love making him blush." She lifted her milkshake for a sip--she'd also gone with cookies and cream, and it was absolutely smashing. "Does that make me wicked?"
Poor Dr. Banner. Mobius could sympathize, a little. “I’d probably blush too,” he confessed with a laugh, deciding to live dangerously by popping the lid off his plastic milkshake cup and dunking a crinkle fry in there - hmm, survey says? Not bad. He kind of had a thing for salty and sweet stuff, as he’d discovered.
Anyway, right, back to the sympathizing - no one flirted with him (the idea of it was honestly kind of baffling), just as he suspected it wasn’t usually a thing for Bruce either, so to have someone who looked like Sharon Carter deciding to go down that road? Yeah. Rapturous and probably also confusing. “But no, not wicked. He seems like he’s into it.”
The guy wasn’t stupid, after all.
“You can go to the movies, see how it goes. Maybe it’ll lead to more blushing.”
Well, that made Sharon raise an eyebrow. And a part of her wondered if he’d be as much fun to make blush as Bruce was. Probably. But it might not be as easy. Making Bruce Banner blush was ridiculously easy. “Is that so?” She asked, and found that she was… maybe a little flattered by that comment. She set her shake down and dug into her fries. The crinkle-cut were her second favorite cut of fries, right after crosscut, and before curly.
“Perhaps a little wicked is okay,” she added, grinning. “Does he? He always seems so… surprised. Confused. Maybe that’s why it’s so much fun to turn him pink.” Besides, like she’d told Darcy, pink was much better than green. She shrugged softly. “Who knows what will happen? I just came through a portal to an alternate reality, my head is spinning. Not sure it’s a good idea to start anything…involved. Who knows how long I’ll be here? But friends are good. I like having friends.” Friends were useful.
“People do seem to blip in and out from what I’ve read so I understand being cautious. I guess on the flip side you kind of just have to take the time you have while you have it,” was Mobius’s counter-argument. They didn’t get to choose if they came and went (free will? What was that again?) but they could still choose what they did with that time while they were here.
Personally, he was still kind of figuring that out himself - but he wasn’t in any particular rush or hurry. It was already a mess trying to sort through these revelations and realizations that had hit him as quick as a streak of lightning during the whole debacle with Loki and Sylvie - like how he remembered everything and nothing at all; he recalled the places he used to sleep, to lay his head down at night, but not how he got there. His brain was probably Swiss cheese by now.
The burger was unwrapped, and Mobius took a bite to test the juiciness of it - it was that square patty, that type smashed down with a spatula on the griddle. So good. “I like having friends too though - didn’t really have very many before.”
Sharon had just sort of fallen into things here, and was trying to figure out what that all meant. Not just what she wanted, but what worked best in this new world. Especially considering where she’d come from. It would be irresponsible for her to get carried away, to forget who she was, to hurt people. At least, before she knew what she was doing. —And she didn’t want to hurt Bruce. Or Mobius. Or Tony. He’d been through so much already.
“Take the time you have while you have it,” she repeated to herself, nodding. It was the whole “You only live once” argument. A totally valid one. Sharon imagined that she would probably live by that motto once she figured out how this world worked. “I like that thought.”
She lifted one of her fries and popped it into her mouth. “Well,” she said, after chewing. “You’ve got a friend in me. I’m really glad that you invited me out for dinner and a show.” Ugh it sounded corny, but after Sharon said it, she realized it was true.
“Aw,” Mobius grinned a bit, flattered by the declaration. He wouldn’t lie - Sharon was still a liiiiiiiittle bit scary. She somehow worked her way up to owning a good chunk of a place that didn't care about your past, just cared if you had money or not - and if you did have money, it didn't really matter how you obtained it either. The Lowtown portion of Madripoor was the perfect place to hide your ill-gotten gains - in general, the island was very ‘go forth and do crime,’ and for a locale that was founded by pirates? Well, it made sense.
But Sharon was also here flashing a pearly smile about how happy she was to flirt with Dr. Banner, drinking a milkshake with Mobius, so - it just goes to show that there were multiple layers to people.
“I’m glad too - and same, with that friend thing,” he said. “Still am working on getting the TemPad charged, by the way. I’m hoping that once I do, I’ll be able to access all the TVA’s files - including the hidden ones that may help with me getting my memories back.” Or he’d have to have Sylvie jumpstart them. Less looking forward to that option, truthfully.
Sharon as Sharon wasn’t really scary. Sharon as The Power Broker was a bit more scary. The amount of power she’d accumulated over a few years was impressive. But then again, take a woman with her skill set and push her up against the ropes with nothing to lose? She surprised even herself. And now that she knew that most of her network existed in this world? She had a lot of that power at her fingertips.
It wasn’t hard to keep Sharon separate from her secret alterego. Especially when she was surrounded by Avengers. The only other person who knew who she was was here having hamburgers with her. The more time they spent together, though, the more she trusted him. It could have been the biggest mistake.
“Is there anything I can do to help you with the TemPad?” Sharon asked. There might be useful files on that device. “It’s just not cool that you were treated the way you were. If there’s anything I can do to help you get your memories back, I’ll do it.”
“It’s just a matter of getting it charged now,” Mobius shrugged, though it was more casual than he felt about the situation - he reached up, with his free hand, and rubbed at a knot of tension in his shoulder. “Takes a lot of juice. But I’m working with Tony on it - we have to study some energy sources and outputs and inputs and figure out what would be best so as not to, uh, break anything.”
Or cause a massive citywide power outage or something. That would probably be awkward.
“And remembering what some authoritative organization took from you is - a lot,” he also confessed, after another sluuuuuurp of milkshake. He still kind of see-sawed about it - in wanting to know for sure, or just trying to barrel on toward a future he could build with his own two hands. Maybe he could do both. “So sorry in advance if I kind of flail about some stuff.” The support was appreciated either way.
"Yeah, you definitely don't want to break anything." If anyone could figure out power and wattage and inputs and outputs, it would be Tony Stark. He was one of the world's most knowledgable and resourceful leaders in energy technology, right? His Arc Reactor and all that? Sharon read his file and files on a bunch of his inventions when she was working for SHIELD. (All she really understood of the science was the commas.)
While she had some idea about organizations taking things from her, she couldn't imagine what he'd been through. To be branded a criminal and chased to different parts of the globe only to settle in the one country where she could hide without the threat of extradition was one thing. To be stripped of memories and forced to murder? Quite another.
She lifted a hand and gently placed it on his upper arm in a comforting way. "Flail away, my friend. I'm here for the flailing. And I'll buy the Drinks."
They’d both been through some shit - it was why Mobius didn’t judge Sharon. She wanted to change the world too, just in a different way - a shadow government, one that answered to her. One that assured she would never be a victim of stupid politics or superheroes intervening and ruining things, never again.
Was it right? Probably not. But she was still smarting, and hurting, from being hung out to dry by the organization her great-aunt founded; he didn’t think she was bad. She wasn’t a villain - she just decided to step outside the boundaries of a broken system, and swing big. He respected someone who was done with dancing to everyone else’s tune because you know what? So was Mobius.
“Definitely gonna need those drinks,” he chuckled, his opposite hand reaching over and covering hers for a moment - it was almost strange, since he wasn’t quite used to touching anyone besides Loki. Not used to touching anyone at all, with the TVA - he hadn’t realized what he’d been missing for literal eons.
But there was warmth in touch - and a certain comfort; he’d realized that. “You’ll have to tell me how your movie date goes too,” he grinned. Ooh la la.
She'd become disillusioned by the whole superhero thing. The idea that the whole world could look to these heroes to do the saving, that people were safe when they were around? It just plain wasn't true. Look what happened to Sharon. She'd lost her whole life because she'd chosen a side. She wanted to make sure that would never happen again. She was never going to let someone else treat her that way. And now she was going to do whatever she could to help Mobius, too. For better or for worse, they were allies now. Two people with somewhat similar experiences who... well, if they didn't understand each other fully, at least they could sympathize with each other.
There would be lots of drinks. Sharon was buying, and using one of Stark's accounts to pay. So lots of drinks. She gave a laugh, going a little pink at the idea of the movie date. She shook her head a little. "I'm not convinced it's a date. At least, not the romantic kind. Maybe it is? But no, he was acting as my doctor, and they're not supposed to fraternize with their patients. Right? Besides... do you have any idea how long it's been since I've been on an actual date?"
“Probably not as long as me,” Mobius admitted, with a self-depreciating kind of laugh. “So I think you’ll be okay. You’re fun and attractive, and a movie should at least give you something to talk about?”
As far as whether it was an official date or not, well, he wasn’t sure either - because not like he could really be an accurate judge of the criteria there. They were two adults spending time together in a darkened movie theater, maybe one would pay for the other and someone would buy snacks (because movie theater popcorn was a must), and if they held hands or something that pretty much sealed the deal?
“It’s also probably easier for Tower residents to date other Tower residents,” he surmised. “So I think the ethics violation would be waived.” Who would they even report it to anyway? Stark? That was a hilarious idea.
The self-depreciating laugh was endearing. Sharon grinned at it, and gave his arm one more little squeeze before pulling her hand back. She needed that hand to finish her fries. They were all she had left of this delicious meal, after all.
"Mobius!" she gasped, playfully. "You think I'm attractive??"
To Sharon, the idea of a date was pretty much the same as he envisioned, with the addition of romantic interest. Dates were for people to decide if they wanted to continue dating. Possibly move to exclusive dating. Sharon hadn't reached that stage of the dating world in... a very, very long time. Maybe not since college. At least, not genuinely. She'd dated a bit in her undercover work, but that didn't count. So the idea made her feel incredibly rusty.
"Well, I'm glad it gets your stamp of approval. I'll make sure to keep that in mind." She wrapped up all of her trash and tucked it into the now empty milkshake cup.
Mobius was capable of blushing - not that easily, but it would happen. It didn’t happen now, but it was close - he gave Sharon a look, fondly exasperated. “You’re alright,” he replied but he was kidding because, uh. Obviously she was more than alright in terms of looks.
The last of his milkshake was slurped too, cookies and cream settling nicely in a pleasant sugar buzz - the lighting was warm and people were beginning to whip out the bug spray, so, it was probably about showtime. Sure enough, those lights dimmed even more and his parting thought before the reimagined play began was a brilliant:
“Just don’t take any advice from Shakespeare about dating. It never ends well.”