Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Colossus"

This is today's freebie, inspired by Angel. It also fills the "Colorful Garment" square in my 5-1-20 card for the Sumerian Me Bingo Fest.

Warning: This poem contains intense and controversial topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It features a graphic depiction of 14-year-old Tony Stark screwing Sunset Bain in college, while drunk, and then Rhodey pulling them apart. There are various indications of neglect and maltreatment that Tony considers normal and Rhodey considers appalling. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.


"Hey, sweetie, can you
run this up to Sunny's room?"
said a gorgeous brunette. She
shoved a basket of condoms
and lube into Rupert's arms.
"I think she's gonna need 'em."

Rupert rolled his eyes.
Just because he was black,
half of MIT treated him
like a servant boy.

On the other hand, it
would be funny to walk in
on some sorority bang.

When he opened the door,
the whitest ass cheeks that
he had ever seen in his life were
pumping away on top of a chick
who looked like a brunette Barbie.

The room was a total wreck.
The desk was swept clean,
the chair overturned, and
some colorful garment
hung from the ceiling fan.

"Hey, Sunny, I brought
your stuff," said Rupert.

Sunny and her partner
both turned to look at him.

Suddenly Rupert realized
that the short, scrawny guy
was actually just a kid.

Horrified, Rupert dropped
the basket, hauled him
off her, and then pushed
the kid behind himself.

He pointed at Sunset.

"You, get out before I
call a cop," Rupert said.

"But it's my room!" she pouted,
crossing her arms under her tits.

"I look like I give a fuck?" Rupert said.
"Get out, or you can go to jail
for statutory rape, bitch."

Sunny snatched her clothes
and ran, swearing at him.

Then Rupert looked at
the squalling, spitting boy
in his hand and said, "Cool it,
kid. You're safe now. Let's
get you properly dressed."

The white button-up was
probably a loss, stained with
what looked like red wine, but
the suitcoat was intact and
the pants could be salvaged
if Rupert sacrificed his belt.

"The fuck, dude?" said the boy.
"I wash jusht gettin' shome!
She'sh in businesh an', an'
eclec -- elet -- gadgetsh."

Lovely. He was drunk, too.

Rupert suppressed a desire
to go find Sunny and strangle her.
ROTC would frown on that.

Instead he said, "Well, you
look a little young for that.
What are you, twelve?"

"I'm fourteen!" the kid said.
"I don't need to be, to be --"
He swallowed. "-- rescued."

Oh yeah, he totally did.

Rupert looked down at
the stark-naked, drunk teen
who was clinging to him.
"How did I end up in charge?"
he muttered, overwhelmed.

Apparently, because nobody else
was going to be the grownup.

Rupert crouched down so he
could start stuffing the kid
into the wrinkled pants,
trying not to think about
how the zipper got broken.

"You got a name, kid?"
Rupert asked him.

"M'not a kid," he spat.
"I'm in college!"

"That's not a name,"
Rupert said as he
buckled his belt around
the ridiculously tiny waist.

Did the kid ever eat?

"They call me Love Machine,"
the boy said with a smirk.

"You can't be Love Machine,"
Rupert said. "You're too young.
Besides, I'm Love Machine."

"Aww." The kid pouted.
"Alla good nicknamesh
are already taken!"

"I'm sure you'll find
your own someday,"
Rupert assured him.
"What do the teachers
call you in class?"

"Tony Stark," he said,
and then appallingly,
"Know-It-All. Brat.
Trust Fund Ticket."

Rupert rubbed a hand
over his face. Punching out
a professor would be bad.

He scooped up the shirt
and began buttoning Tony
into it. With the suitcoat
over it, the stains wouldn't
show too much. He hoped.

"Nice to meet you, Tony,"
he said, standing up so he
could put the suitcoat on
the kid. "I'm Rupert Rhodes."

"Wow, y'r big," Tony said.
His head barely came up
to Rupert's chest. "Y'r like
a colosshush." He giggled.
"The Colosshush of Rhodes!"

Rupert thought that he had heard
every possible bad pun on his name,
but no, those all involved streets.
This one was actually new.

Maybe there was something
about this kid after all.

"Big and strong enough
to get you home safe,"
Rupert said, wrapping
an arm around Tony.

"Yeah yeah, sure thing,
Colosh -- Cush -- Rhodey,"
said Tony, clinging to him.

It was a stupid nickname.
It was undignified. But it ... fit,
somehow. Well, all right then.

"Okay. Where do you live, Tony?"
said Rhodey. "I'll walk you home."

Tony gave him the address
of a dorm, and Rhodey got him
there, expecting a floor supervisor
to take the kid off his hands.

But the supervisor's room
was locked, which it
wasn't supposed to be.

"Fffff ... udge," Rhodey said,
which made Tony giggle.

So Rhodey made him
drink a bottle of water,
fed him some aspirin,
and held him up to pee.

Then Rhodey undressed him,
put him in a sleep shirt, and
tucked the boy into bed.

The way Tony stared
at him made Rhodey
think dark things about
the kid's so-called family.

Rhodey put another bottle
of water and packet of aspirin on
Tony's end table, with a note that read,
Take these before trying to get up.

He wrote his phone number underneath,
in case Tony needed something else.

"Good night, Tony. Sleep well,"
Rhodey said, smoothing the blanket.

Tony gave a drowsy murmur that
wrapped around Rhodey's heart
and squeezed like a boa constrictor.

How did he wind up in charge?
Rhodey wondered yet again.

Because that's what Tony needed.

* * *


Colonel James Rupert "Rhodey" Rhodes later becomes the superhero War Machine.

Sunset Bain later becomes a nemesis of Iron Man.

The Colossus of Rhodes was a giant statue standing over the harbor of Rhodes.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, family skills, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, safety, weblit, writing
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