Dec 09, 2022 3:33 AM
16-yr-old Gen Z Cal Chandler 2022; EoR Sherlock Holmes circa 2012
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Cal takes a moment to absorb this, and.

Okay. Shit. He's doing this wrong. He's been thinking of this as a wild Milliways thing and a cool thing to get to share with someone, but it's not - these aren't just movies. Not to Sherlock.

"Fuck," he says. "Alexa, pause."

Absolutely nothing happens. Right. Old technology. Remote control. He finds that and hits the pause button.

"Yeah, um, I don't know how much this impacts your timeline, but if it matters, like if it makes it easier to watch, he didn't kill them in the movies. It was a, uh, Russian Nazi brainwashed assassin, we'll get to that later. He is definitely an asshole, though, and like I can just summarize stuff if you need me to. Some of this is really gonna suck for you to watch."

And Cal will definitely not be mentioning the thing where Jeff Bridges is kind of a silver fox.

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"...a Russian Nazi... never mind. We will get there. I don't suppose you have conclusive evidence either way about whether Obadiah had a hand in the assassin? I suppose it would be unlikely to come up unless they had specifically made a point of exhibiting that he did, in which case you would've led with that."

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"Nah, dude," Cal says, "the Winter Soldier doing it is this whole big plot point later. He's working for this Nazi organization called HYDRA - well, working is . . . anyway, never mind, HYDRA's whole thing is unquestioning loyalty to them and their ultimate goal, and like." He waves toward the television. "That guy isn't loyal to anyone but himself.

"I mean they never say he didn't do it, but they kind of don't have to." Like. Narratively.

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"Fair. All right. We shall see what the future holds."

He unpauses the movie.

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Cal resists the urge to ask Sherlock for updates.

He is gonna keep a closer eye on Sherlock's reactions from here on out, though.

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He is no longer quite so aggressive about it but he still does emanate a faintly murderous vibe whenever Obadiah is onscreen. Especially when he does something characteristically Obadiah-like.

...Tony handing his award to some rando does get a giggle out of him. Oh Tony. You're so... you.

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Cal smiles a bit at that.

"He's my favorite," he says. "There are so many cool char - people in the MCU, but Tony's my favorite."

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"Feel free to say 'characters'. It only puts him on a level playing field with me."

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Cal makes a face. Busted.

"But you're not a character either. You're here, aren't you?"

(Some other Cal on the other side of the Door finds himself thinking good luck with that and has no idea why.)

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"I am a character on purpose! I read about a character in a book and decided to become him! And succeeded better than I knew—I think there is some sort of metacausal fuckery going on with the fact that those films and I both seem to have independently invented the concept of analytical violence."

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"Yeah, I don't know, does Milliways do fanfiction?"

Cal spends most of his social media time on tumblr. It's way easier to hide on than most social media sites.

"But no, like, you're either a character or you're you. Or, like, you're you being a character, and in that case, who are you actually?"

Like we said. tumblr.

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"I am myself and myself is a character, specifically the character of Sherlock Holmes."

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"But like -" No. Wait.

Cal is very good at barrelling into discussions (arguments) thinking he's listening (he isn't), but the entire context of this one - Sherlock, Tony, the MCU, Milliways itself - trips him up before he can get too far. So he stops and thinks.

"So - that's part of your identity? Is knowing you're Sherlock Holmes. Knowing that you like, made him real?"

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"...you could put it like that, yes. I... needed someone to be, and I picked him, and I do believe I have done a fantastic job."

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Cal nods, thoughtful.

"That's cool."

Pause.

"Also, way to set the bar sky high, wow."

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He laughs. "Well, after all, I had to hold my own next to Tony Stark!"

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Cal had previously noted that Sherlock is hot - he has eyes - but. He's cute too.

"I mean I can't think of any other way to do it," he says, echoing Sherlock's laugh.

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"It was a bit of a troubled time but I can't complain about how it has all turned out."

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"That's good," Cal says, genuinely.

Meanwhile: Tony Stark is having a troubled time of his own.

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And what a troubled time it is.

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Cal settles back a bit against the couch, but continues to monitor Sherlock in what he thinks is a subtle manner as Tony discovers the mechanics keeping him alive, endures torture, acts like he's giving them what they want.

Even though he isn't.

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Fascinating. And, yes, very Tony of him.

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The movie plays out - Tony creates Mark Zero, Yinsen dies, Rhodey gets Tony home - and Cal thinks like he never has before about all those things happening to people. People who really exist somewhere.

God, he hopes it happens differently for Sherlock's Tony. For Sherlock, too.

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"...Are there vampires in your world?" he asks, as Tony is being picked up from the desert. "I suppose you might not know. My Cal didn't. We actually became friends partly because I made fun of him for it."

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"I don't think so?" Cal says. "Like I tried looking for all that stuff after Milliways started showing up, but I mostly just found, like, pagans and roleplay and kinky shit. Which doesn't rule it out, but I've been coming here for like a year, I feel like I have an idea of what to look for, you know?"

. . . wait.

"Wait, the MCU doesn't have vampires." Pause. "Yet." Because you never know.

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