superposition: (All men have secrets)
Qubit ([personal profile] superposition) wrote in [community profile] maskormenacelogs2015-09-18 06:26 pm


WHO: Qubit, Superman, later Mighty Max
WHERE: Maurtia Falls, near Kittler & Sons Salvage
WHEN: Sept 18, early evening
WHAT: It was only a matter of time.
WARNINGS: 'Narm flashbacks

Three days had passed now since the first tests - and absolute failure - of Qubit's extended-range teleportal. He was nearly done restoring the damaged hardware, but no closer to an answer on why it didn't work in the first place. He'd spent a month pouring all the energy he had into that thing, and for what? All he'd managed to build was a ton and a half of useless garbage. To call it humiliating was a grave understatement. Qubit was mortified. God, he must have looked like a complete idiot. He certainly felt like one.

Whether he could fix it... no, that wasn't the issue. He had to, for everyone's sake. For the people he'd met here, and the few friends he still had back home. He'd make this work even if it killed him. He had to. He had to.

But he was losing momentum. The portal's failure wasn't just a minor setback, no matter how hard he tried to play it off as one. It was as if he'd run full-speed into a solid wall, and rather than back off like a sensible human being, he was dazedly coming around for another pass. Not because he was any more likely to succeed the second time round, but because right now he genuinely didn't know what else to do.

This wasn't just a month-long jaunt into an alternate universe. He was actually stuck here. But he had to keep moving, keep trying. Something in him was starting to crack, he could feel it, and if he stopped moving then something was going to fall apart in there. And then what? He didn't know. Nothing he could afford, that much was certain.

It was a warm late-summer evening. He was back in Maurtia Falls, at his favorite junkyard. Over the last month he'd become something of a fixture around here, and both Kittler and the sons had been gradually warming up to their imPort patron - at the very least, enough that if an emergency happened while he was there, they knew they could come to him. Qubit had only just heard the indistinct yelling in the distance when one of them approached him about it. In the past there'd been a gang of youths who'd been known to loiter around the junkyard, though they'd been making themselves scarcer during business hours now that there was an imPort around to run them off the property. Apparently, though, this gang was an actual gang, and now they were having some kind of altercation by the highway overpass the junkyard backed up to. The police-? Well uh, I don't know if you know the cops around here, Mr. Q., but between you and me by the time they show up somebody's gonna be dead.

So, a few seconds later, the argument under the bridge was cut short as a bright blue teleportal phased open nearby. Qubit's voice came through it a second or two before the rest of him. "Excuse me, I'm not interrupting anything important, am I?" ("Holy shit!" "What is that?!" came a few startled responses.) "Care to explain all this noise? You're bothering the neighbors."
crapbearer: (concern profile look down)

[personal profile] crapbearer 2015-10-04 05:15 am (UTC)(link)
Max wasn't entirely sure what Qubit's work schedule looked like, so he went at a reasonable hour in the afternoon, present tucked under one arm.

Realistically, he could have just portaled in like last time, but he didn't want to break something else and completely defeat the point of what he was doing. This would probably be his best bet as far as staying reasonably close to the guy's good side. He'd helped with the griffin, after all, and they were on the same team, right? Team Import. And he did break the guy's computer thing, even if he could fix it after the fact.

When he reached what he was pretty sure was Qubit's lab door, he gave it a quick knock, before simply just trying the door itself.
crapbearer: (REACH NO)

[personal profile] crapbearer 2015-10-08 04:02 am (UTC)(link)
Max had probably established something of a reputation with Qubit by now; Mostly as... someone who did not take things seriously. Not danger, not property damage, not his own damn life. It wasn't true, of course; Quite the opposite, really. Humor and bravado were just Max's coping mechanisms for dealing with... everything in his life, really.

But there was a time and a place for it, and right now, Max tucked away any quips he might have in the back of his mind as he closed the door behind him — that's the opposite of getting out, Max — regarding Qubit with concern.

"What happened? Are you okay?" He stepped closer, setting the present on a nearby countertop, forgetting it instantly as he kneeled near his friend, looking him over worriedly. "Are you hurt? Let me see."
Edited 2015-10-08 04:02 (UTC)
crapbearer: (stare)

[personal profile] crapbearer 2015-10-08 06:21 am (UTC)(link)
Max looked him over a moment, straightening up and stepping back, but making no movement to leave. Some of the concern fades from his expression as it becomes clear Qubit is all right, save for... well, crying.

Max turnd his head, averting his gaze. He'd always hated being caught like that; He understands if Qubit does, too. But that hardly means Max is going to abandon him, not by a longshot.

He circled around the counter, around a corner, sitting with his back against it so that he and Qubit sat facing away from each other at a 90 degree angle. A distance respecting personal space, but still close enough to talk.

"I'm always listening," Max told him, quietly taking in the details of the mess that covered the workspace in front of him. "There's a big difference between listening and obeying, sure. But I always listen."

He paused, then added with a hopeful, inviting tone, "I'm listening right now."
crapbearer: (concern profile look down)

[personal profile] crapbearer 2015-10-08 09:14 pm (UTC)(link)
"Of course it does," Max insisted, leaning over so he was just visible around the corner, but not looking at Qubit. "You're my friend, and you're upset. It involves me."

The way he was positioned, Qubit probably couldn't see the friendly smile on his face, but he hoped the man could hear it in his voice.

"We don't have to talk about it if you don't want to. We could talk about something else. We could say nothing at all." Admittedly, Max was extremely uncomfortable with silence, but how Qubit felt was far more important at that moment. "But I'm not going to leave you alone."
crapbearer: (coat with arms crossed and smirkin)

[personal profile] crapbearer 2015-10-08 10:38 pm (UTC)(link)
Max laughed in response, a more genuine laugh than Qubit's. "Sometimes," he says a little wistfully. "You and they tell me to stay safe about as often, too. Maybe less than you."

He finally turns, looking at Qubit again. "Why shouldn't we be friends? We're both in this together. The whole Import thing, I mean."
crapbearer: (lookin hopeful)

[personal profile] crapbearer 2015-10-13 11:35 pm (UTC)(link)
Max smiled. At the very least, Qubit didn't say no.

"On the contrary, I happen to be an expert in juvenile behavior."

The fresh tears weren't lost on him. Still, he took a chance and scooted around the corner. He moved closer, still mindful of Qubit's personal space. There was still a reasonable distance betwen them when he stopped, legs outstretched, before bringing his knees in toward his chest and resting his chin on them.

Starting points weren't quite the hindrance for Max that they were for Qubit. For Max, those starting points were abrupt, circumstantial, and ultimately arbitrary: The important part was where the friendship went from there. It could be built on the most unexpected things sometimes. But communication and trust were key, and Max knew from experience that his age was a major hindrance for both. It wasn't surprising that Qubit wasn't willing to open up to him, and Max wouldn't force it if he wasn't ready to talk about it.

For all of Max's talk about how he didn't want responsibility, it surprised him how much he wanted Qubit's trust. It wouldn't be an instant thing, sure — he had his secrets and his reasons for keeping them. Maybe Max would never know the whole story. But that doesn't mean he couldn't try to be there for the guy.

And besides, trust was a two-way street. He couldn't expect Qubit to open up if he wasn't willing to open up a little himself.

"A while ago, you asked me what the M on my hat stands for." A soft smile tugged at the edge of his lips, but didn't quite reach his eyes. "You're gonna laugh when you hear it."
Edited 2015-10-13 23:36 (UTC)

[personal profile] crapbearer 2015-10-19 04:20 am (UTC)(link)
Max snorted, putting a hand over his mouth to try to stifle it before raising a finger at Qubit and shaking his head. "That? I gotta hand it to you. That would have been worse. That would have been a lot worse."

He leaned back, letting his hands drop to his knees again, drumming his fingers a moment before glancing to Qubit once more with a dull expression.

"Mighty," he said with the kind of unpleasant tone one might use to describe week-old leftovers, flicking the syllables off his tongue like a bad taste. "Mighty Max."
Edited 2015-10-19 04:21 (UTC)
crapbearer: (official hat inspector)

[personal profile] crapbearer 2015-10-22 07:50 pm (UTC)(link)
"None," Max said simply, pulling off his hat by the brim and turning it over in his hands. "Or, well — I don't know. Here I'm kind of a booster pack for magic users, but not at home."

He frowned, running his fingers over the emroidered letter. "I'm not strong or super fast or anything like that. I show up where I need to be, and one way or another, I get things done." He smiled, but there was a hint of a haunted sadness in his eyes. "Most of the time, anyway."
crapbearer: (unsure)

[personal profile] crapbearer 2015-10-23 05:01 am (UTC)(link)
"Something like that," Max muttered, looking back to Qubit. "But I guess that's life for you, you know? I mean, if it's not me, it might be some other kid instead. So I might as well step up to the plate.

With that, he placed the cap back on his head, pulling the brim to the side like the true nineties child he is. "Sometimes life... or fate or whatever, I don't know. But every once in a while, some lucky winner gets the destiny lottery and gets way more heaped on 'em than they can manage."

He unfolded his legs, stretching them out in front of him as he leaned back and turned his gaze forward. "Then manage anyway. Somehow."
crapbearer: (DAS ME)

[personal profile] crapbearer 2015-10-31 07:24 am (UTC)(link)
Max hummed in thought, mulling that over in his mind. He'd thought he'd had choices once, a long time ago, but recent revelations shortly before he'd been Ported in, well... they'd shaken many of the things he'd once held as truth.

But just because something's shaking doesn't mean it's fallen. Even in the face of uncertainty, Max can still have faith in his own free will, and in himself — and by extension, everyone around him, too.

"Funny thing about diamonds," he finally said, a bit more cheerful, "they're not as rare as people think. Everyone treats them like some kind of miracle, but in the end, they're just rocks that are a little bit stronger than other rocks." He shrugged. "No one even wants them, not until they've been chopped and cut and shaped and polished to fit how everyone expects them to look."

"Other rocks, even broken pieces... the might get lost or buried. Ground up and blown away in the wind. But the sediment builds up and... we get sedimentary rock. You know, limestone and stuff. Or warm sand on the beach. Maybe some other bits wind up in concrete or stuck in the shoe of someone you hate or... hold on, I had a point to this."

He paused to gather his thoughts. "The point is, even if something breaks... that doesn't mean it's not special, or it's a failure, or it can't still be part of something great, you know? Just... not always in the way that you expect." He paused, then added a bit more solemnly, "Whether it's a rock, or a person... or just. Something you had faith in."

Like his free will. Like his destiny.

...Like himself, all around, really.
Edited 2015-10-31 07:26 (UTC)
crapbearer: (side glare)

[personal profile] crapbearer 2015-11-02 07:12 pm (UTC)(link)
All too well, is Max's knee-jerk response, but he bites it back. There's a moment of hesitation, and Max feels the thick silence in the air. The weight of his past failures hangs heavily in his chest, waiting to be spoken aloud so he can be free from the burden of carrying it around.

But this isn't about him, this is about Qubit, and in the end Max simply nods. "Yeah. A few steps below bittersweet, barely a tick above failure."

And, as he's always done, the weight of his memories gets pushed aside in favor of someone who needs his attention more.
Edited 2015-11-02 19:13 (UTC)
crapbearer: (Max and Virg)

[personal profile] crapbearer 2015-11-02 09:44 pm (UTC)(link)
"Didn't tell me, no," Max mused, glancing around the lab, "but obviously some kind of science thing, right? Computers. And you had that portal thing you were working on." He looked back to Qubit, looking him over. "And when we first talked, you sounded like you knew a thing about the superhero business already. I mean, obviously you would since we're here, but still."

He leaned back, mulling it over in his head. "So I'm guessing superhero. If not then you must have at least been like, Q or something."
crapbearer: (vulnerable)

[personal profile] crapbearer 2015-11-03 06:49 am (UTC)(link)
Max couldn't help it; He chuckled at that, though there was no humor in it. With a shake of his head, he responded, "You know, I've been doing this hero thing for almost a year back home. Met a lot of people in the 'biz. Fought monsters, made friends..."

His voice wavers, gaze locked unsteadily to the floor as he tries not to think too hard about where he came from.

"...seen things. A lot of awful things."

Just admitting it was like opening a floodgate. One detail slipped through and already the emotions were trickling through. An aching grip of anxiety and despair clamped at his heart, a thousand words and as many sobs welling up in his throat, threatening to burst free at any moment. He shut his eyes and turned away as he tried to force the tears back. He swallowed the lump in his throat, taking a deep breath or two to clear the congestion of emotion welling up inside him.

When he turned back to Qubit, he was smiling again.

"When I got here, I thought it might be fun to pretend I was normal back home, that all this stuff never happened to me, like being a superhero was some awesome new thing I could try for a while. And I get here and put on the act and the first thing that happens is I get people telling me I'm—" There was a telltale wavery crack in his voice and he had to pause.

"That I'm too young for this. I'm just a kid. That no one should expect me to save anything, because I should be doing kid things!" Still smiling, still forcing that smile to stay on his face, Max shut his eyes but this time the tears would not be contained. They rolled steadily down his cheeks, but Max turned away to try and hide them, still desperately tried to keep the facade.

"I mean, if you'd — if you know what I've been through, you'd... I've fought demigods and wizards and mad scientists and aliens." He kept talking as much as he could, trying to mask his sobs with forced laughter. "Have you ever been to Hell? Like, literal fire and brimstone at the center of the Earth? Because I have! It's awful! And then I come here's — here's a whole city of people in the 'biz who just gang up on me. Go home! You're too young! You don't know what you're in for, let someone else handle it!" He was rambling, he knew he was, but he was terrified to stop talking because he might start sobbing instead.

"And it's... it's hilarious because after everything I've been through back home, it's..."

He finally trailed off then, bringing a hand to his face to wipe at his eyes and let himself sniffle.

"...that was the first time anyone's ever said that to me."

[personal profile] crapbearer 2015-11-04 06:04 pm (UTC)(link)
Max stiffened in surprise when he felt Qubit's arms around him. He hadn't expected this kind of gesture from him, but like hell he was going to waste it. Max leaned into the embrace, wrapping his arms around Qubit in return, burying his face in the man's shirt and taking that opportunity to let his tears run free.

God, this wasn't supposed to be about him. He'd started out trying to make Qubit feel better and it turned into a rant session for himself. Yet guilt aside, he couldn't deny the fact that it felt nice to get that off his chest, even if it was just the abridged version. The pressure and anxiety that had lingered in his heart was already subsiding, slowly ebbing away after the talk and the hug. He embraced Qubit tightly, turning his head just so to allow him to speak.

"I'm sorry, too."