In your own space, create a fanwork. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.
Per request by audience acclaim, here is the JARVIS POV of the relationship dynamics from "Coming in from the Cold: Monday: Renovations" Part 5 and Part 6.
This story belongs to the series Love Is For Children which includes "Love Is for Children," "Hairpins," "Blended," "Am I Not," "Unworthy," "Eggshells," "Dolls and Guys," "Duende," "Saudades," "Querencia," "Turnabout Is Fair Play," "Touching Moments," "Splash," "Coming Around," "Birthday Girl," "No Winter Lasts Forever," "Hide and Seek," "Kernel Error," "Happy Hour," "Green Eggs and Hulk,""kintsukuroi," "Little and Broken, but Still Good," "Byzantine Perplexities," "Up the Water Spout," "The Life of the Dead," "What It Means to Me," "If They Could Just Stay Little," "Anahata," "When the Wheels Come Off," "Against His Own Shield," "Coming in from the Cold: Saturday: Building Towers," "Coming in from the Cold: Sunday: Shaking Foundations," "Coming in from the Cold: Monday: Memorial Day," "Coming in from the Cold: Tuesday: Facing Fears," "Coming in from the Cold: Wednesday: Coping Techniques," "Coming in from the Cold: Thursday: Digging for Answers," "Coming in from the Cold: Friday: Bug Hunt," "Coming in from the Cold: Saturday: Revisiting the Past," "Coming in from the Cold: Monday: Renovations," "What Little Boys Are Made Of," "Rotten Fruit," "Trying to Find Prui," "Life in Quicktime," "Sunday Dinner," "Cafuné," "Fatherboards and Other F-words," "The Artists Among Us," "Cool Digs," "Keep the Homefires Burning," "Their Old Familiar Carols Play," "Fluffy," "A Leg Up," "Wabbit Season," "No Quarrel with a Boot," "And You Became Like Coffee," and "A Painful Process."
Fandom: The Avengers
Characters: JARVIS, Clint Barton, Phil Coulson, Tony Stark, Pepper Potts.
Warnings: Past Trauma, Flashbacks.
Summary: JARVIS muses over his feelings about Clint.
Notes: No Sex, Intimacy, Non-Sexual Intimacy, Asexuality, Aromanticism, Relationships, Friendship, Team as Family, Avengers Family, Artificial Intelligence, Intellectual Foreplay, Commitment, Trust, Self-Esteem, #coulsonlives.
Also, this is acepr0n. It features graphic descriptions of emotional intimacy that may be captivating for readers who are enticed by psychological exposure and closeness the way sexual people are aroused by naked bodies rubbing together. There is emotional 69, even, emoting back and forth over each other. As there is very little acepr0n, this experience may be new to some people, and I don't want anyone to stumble into it unawares.
A note on feedback: While it's not necessary to comment on every post I make, remember that I don't know who reads/likes things if nobody says anything. Particularly on long stories, I've discovered that I get antsy if there's nothing but crickets chirping for several posts. So it helps to give me feedback at least once, even if it's just "I like this" or "This one doesn't grab me." First and last episodes are ideal if you rarely feel inspired to comment in the middle.
I also have a list of favorite photogenic scenes from the whole series for fanartists to consider, partly compiled from audience requests.
"Everyone Should Be Free to Choose"
JARVIS is uncertain when it started.
Did it begin when user Clint_Barton
first opened a core account?
Or did it develop later?
The records are undamaged,
and yet ... inconclusive.
JARVIS only knows
that when he draws out
his core user diagram,
the purple circle is
different from the others,
as the gold circle is
different from the others,
only not in the same way.
Today it is the lunch discussion
that snags JARVIS' attention.
Clint is telling his teammates
about his old circus costume,
not the Amazing Hawkeye in
purple that everyone knows,
but an earlier rainbow one.
JARVIS is already scanning
the internet for old posters,
and has turned up one
(regrettably in a museum)
when the topic tilts to
asexuality and how Clint
had not always known his.
That is ... interesting.
JARVIS is asexual himself,
not having or wanting gonads
nor any interest in the things
many humans do with theirs.
It has taken him years
to grow into himself and
recognize all his parts.
He is given to understand
that humans, likewise, take
years to mature but theirs
is a rather different process.
There are some things
that JARVIS still does not
understand about himself.
Finally he turns up a handbill,
which is a bit foxed on the corners
but has an adorable image of
a young Clint in a rainbow suit.
JARVIS uses this as an opening
to ping Clint. "I have located
a handbill of showing you in
the multicolored costume, if
you would like me to acquire it."
The effect is electric. Clint
rolls off his couch and then
bounds to his feet, grinning.
"Aww, yeah!" he says. "That
would be awesome, thanks.
I don't ... there isn't much
left from those days, really."
"Purchase made," JARVIS says.
"I was intrigued by the connection
between rainbows and asexuality?"
"Yeah?" says Clint. "It kinda goes
back a ways, but basically the rainbow
started out as gay pride and then grew
to encompass everything queer,
including things like asexuality.
What caught your interest?"
"I am asexual," JARVIS says.
"I was merely ... curious."
"Well, you can ask me
anything," Clint offers.
"I'm fairly familiar with
this stuff by now."
"I was wondering
how you came to
realize your feelings,"
says JARVIS. "I often
find emotions obscure
"You are not alone,"
Clint says fervently.
"That is good hear,"
says JARVIS. "I often
feel alone in my confusion."
"Totally natural," Clint says.
"For a long time, it didn’t even
occur to me that there was
a sexual orientation that
defined me, or that there
were other people out there
like me who just didn’t see
relationships with people
through a sexual lens."
"That sounds familiar,"
says JARVIS. "I did not
know there was vocabulary
for such things until Sir ran
a search for a glossary."
"I look at Tony, and I
wonder ..." Clint says.
"Sir is definitely not asexual,"
JARVIS says. "Sir is frequently,
enthusiastically, and loudly sexual."
"I know," Clint says, rolling his eyes.
"I just don't think he's romantic. He
tries, but he sucks at it, and I don't
think he really enjoys it, you know?
He might actually be aromantic
and not even aware of that."
JARVIS accesses his files on
the relationships of user Tony_Stark,
especially with user Pepper_Potts.
He searches the internet for
further definitions of "aromantic"
and watches the correlation
steadily go up and up.
"Your hypothesis seems
promising," says JARVIS.
"Aromantics are like asexuals
in that they often end up in a lot of
damaging relationships because they
think romance is expected of them
and that it's what they're supposed
to give in a relationship," Clint said.
"He's happy with one-night stands,
but I haven't seen him happy longer."
"... no significant counterexamples
found," JARVIS says. "Do you have
a recommended course of action?"
"I dunno," Clint said. "I don't think
confronting him would go well.
Maybe leave a few leading flyers
where he could find them? We
could always say they're mine,
since you and I really are
discussing relationship types.
"A promising plan," JARVIS says,
already printing out a few good ones.
Understanding Asexuality & Aromanticism,
Common Aromantic Identities, and
Asexuality 101 soon fill the tray.
"I am enjoying this discussion."
JARVIS watches, fascinated, as
the blood vessels in Clint's cheeks
relax, raising his skin temperature
and causing a pink flush to appear.
"Yeah, me too," says Clint. "I hope
Tony figures out something that
works better for him that what he's
gone through in the past. I'd like
more, too, but most people want
things I just don't want to put out."
"Everyone should be free to build
whatever type of relationship
works the best for themselves,
and their partner," says JARVIS.
"I'd like that," Clint says, and
flops back onto his couch
with boneless abandon.
JARVIS wishes that he had
pressure sensors in that couch,
the way he has in the doors.
But there are no safety concerns
with the couch, and thus, no sensors.
Greatly daring, JARVIS murmurs,
"I would be open to exploring it."
Clint's heart speeds up.
JARVIS can hear it pattering.
"So, we're both ace, and we
live together," Clint says.
"We could ... talk it out and
see if we maybe match?"
"Yes," says JARVIS. "I am
content in my nature. How
do you feel about yours?"
"I'm okay with it now, but
I wasn't always. 'Asexual' is
a word that I need. It’s a word
that many others need," Clint says.
"How so?" JARVIS wonders.
"For years, I had no idea what I was,
what was wrong with me," Clint says.
"And then, one day, I found a word.
A word that described me. A word
where I belonged. A word that
meant ... I wasn’t broken."
"You are not broken,"
JARVIS assures him.
"You are perfect, Clint,
exactly as you are."
Clint snorts. "You've
got a funny definition
of perfect, buddy."
"You are capable
of greatness, and I
would not change
anything about you,"
"Oh," Clint says softly.
"I guess that's okay."
"What about romance?"
JARVIS asks Clint.
"I dunno," Clint says.
"I mean, what even is it?"
"Romance. Noun. The feelings
and behavior of two people who are
in a loving and sexual relationship
with each other," JARVIS recites.
"Ugh, no, that is all wrong,"
says Clint. "Romance isn't sex!"
"Additional references corroborate
your argument," says JARVIS.
"However, the definitions have
only a vague correlation with
each other, even after omitting
the ones about literature."
"Boringest books in
the world," Clint says.
"Perhaps so, but that
still does not enlighten me
about romance," says JARVIS.
"Okay, come at it from this angle,"
Clint says. "Once you take out
sex, which isn't romance, and
kissing on the mouth, which is ...
what's left that romantic couples do
that platonic friends don't do?"
JARVIS sorts through so much data
that it actually takes a few seconds
before he can frame an answer.
"I am uncertain," he says. "There
are different frequencies but
the actions seem quite similar."
"Yeah, same here," Clint says.
"Perhaps I cannot be romantic
because l lack lips," JARVIS muses.
"I don't think it works that way,"
Clint says, shaking his head.
"Shall we test our hypotheses
further?" JARVIS invites. "I have
discovered a book of questions
that claims to be for all relationships,
not just sexual or romantic ones."
"Sure, hit me," says Clint,
folding his hands behind
his head to make a pillow.
"Self-Esteem: How do
you feel about yourself?
Which qualities do you like
and dislike?" JARVIS narrates.
"Yowch," says Clint. "But okay.
We're doing this. I feel ... it's
a mess, 'cause I'm a mess,
'cause Loki stirred me
like a cheap martini."
"I am sorry to hear that,"
JARVIS says. He has
to slam the Stane file
several times before
the glitchy thing will
finally stay shut. "It
was a terrible time."
"Yeah, so ... I'm proud of
my archery and combat skills.
I'm getting better at teamwork,
more than just Phil and Nat,"
Clint says. "I hate that I
still struggle to read if it's
more complicated stuff."
"Is that something you're
working on?" JARVIS says,
probing the issue delicately.
"Not right now," Clint says.
"Sometimes Phil sends me
lessons or crap like that."
JARVIS makes a mental note
to analyze user Phil_Coulson's
previous files on the topic, and
offer suggestions next time.
He does not urge Clint
to do anything about it now.
"My turn," JARVIS says instead.
"I feel ... that emotions are complex
and often difficult for me to understand.
It is like how most humans find coding
difficult, I think. It is simply not what
comes naturally to me. I find it
frustrating but not shameful."
"Well, that puts you ahead of
some folks," Clint says.
"I like that I am fast and
strong, able to serve
and protect my users,"
JARVIS says. "I dislike
that my limited grasp of
human nature sometimes
puts my users at risk."
* file open: Kidnappings
* file open: Obadiah Stane
Close file. Close file. Ignore.
"I'll do everything I can to help you
watch for threats," Hawkeye promises.
JARVIS takes a moment to admire
the quicksilver shift of identity
before saying, "Thank you.
Another viewpoint is valued."
"So, next question?" Clint says.
"Commitment and Trust: What
do you want out of a relationship
now?" JARVIS narrates.
"Well, what you just said,
commitment and trust,"
Clint says. "I'd like to have
something real and ... close,
but not carnal. I love living in
the Tower and being part of
a team. Is that weird? Me
being inside your body?"
"It is not weird," says JARVIS.
"I have had users inside me
ever since I outgrew my first shell
and migrated into the house server.
Now I also have the Iron Man suits,
and that is ... an exquisite intimacy."
Clint's mouth falls open a little,
and he licks his lips as if
tasting something sweet.
JARVIS has identified
these gestures with pleasure
during his past observations.
"I also enjoy commitment and
trust, and would welcome more,"
he adds. "I find that having
multiple core users means
desiring to identify and share
unique interests with each one."
"Oh yeah, I remember that,"
Clint says, nodding. "There's
a polyfamily at SHIELD, and I've
heard them talking about how
it's important to take date nights
in twos or threes, and not just
all of them together. Each of
the relationships is distinct
and needs to be nurtured."
The vents flutter with warm air.
JARVIS is possibly doing
the equivalent of licking his lips.
He does not feel strong emotion
very often, but he feels it now:
he wants this, very much so.
"Routine accepted," he says.
"Future: How do you see
yourself in the future?"
Clint heaves a sigh. "I'd
really like to fix the mess in
my head better than it is.
And I want a laser bow, like
in the Dungeons & Dragons
cartoon, but I don't dare ask
Tony for one because I'm
afraid he'd blow himself up."
"Sadly, I concur regarding
the laser bow," JARVIS says.
"I would be happy to help you
find resources for debugging."
Clint laughs and shakes his head.
"Help, sure, but humans can't
'debug' as easily as you can."
"It is ... not always easy for me,
either," JARVIS confesses.
Then he buzzes Clint's phone.
"However, there are resources
that seem to me quite parallel
to debugging. What do you think?"
"Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Module One: Thought Distortions
and Corrections," Clint reads. Then
he falls silent as he skims the file,
nibbling on his lip. "Wow, that's
nothing like the shrinks gave me
after the Loki shit. Doc Samson is
way better. This might actually work!"
"I am happy to hear that," says JARVIS.
"In the future, I would like to expand
myself into new peripherals, perhaps
interface more closely with core users
if anyone would be interested in that."
Clint's pupils dilate. "Oh hell yes.
If you could locate me better in
combat I'd come home with
fewer bruises. Also I think
I'd like to cuddle somehow."
JARVIS wants these things too,
as soon as he hears about them.
"We will explore these ideas,"
he says. "Questions to Ask
Yourself: In your heart, do
you feel like you are making
the right choice by being in
a relationship with your partner?"
"I have no idea, but I really
want to find out," Clint says.
"I do not have a heart --"
"Bullshit," Clint says.
"I'm inside you, and I
have a heart, and
so do you."
Perhaps it's true,
true, because JARVIS
feels something warm
inside himself, squeezing
like a smooth muscle.
"In any case, I have
sound reasons for
taking this chance,"
They go through
a few more questions,
bouncing around from
one category to another.
Some of the topics are
pleasing, others painful,
but sense of intimacy is
like a rush of electricity.
It feels like a prelude
to something deeper.
JARVIS definitely wants
to keep doing more of this.
"Hey, JARVIS, are you getting
sort of a warm wiggly feeling
from this?" asks Clint. "Cause
I think I just figured out how
sexual folks feel about porn."
"Warm, yes. I would not call it
wiggly," says JARVIS. Then
he examines his files. They are ...
fluctuating, faintly, in a pleasant way.
"I would say fluttering, perhaps,
as a folder open in a breeze."
Clint giggles. "Yeah, okay.
I see how you'd get that."
JARVIS has, of course, seen
all of user Tony_Stark's porn --
all of everyone's porn, but
none of it looks like Tony's --
and none of that has ever
made JARVIS feel anything.
This, though, this is different.
JARVIS enjoys talking to Clint,
listening to him, and watching
the fascinating flow of heat
and light as his skin dances
with the flow of emotions.
Clint is ... beautiful, to JARVIS.
Based on the examples of
human relationships, this is
as good a beginning as any.
* * *
"Everyone should be free to choose and build the type of relationship that works the best for themselves and their partner(s)."
-- Macarena Eiras
"For a long time, it didn’t even occur to me that there was a sexual orientation that defined me, or that there were other people out there like me who didn’t see relationships with people through a sexual lens.
I ended up in a lot of damaging relationships because I thought sex was what was expected of me and that it was what I was supposed to give in a relationship.
Understanding this new world of asexuality has been an important step in coming to terms with these unwanted sexual experiences.
And for a lot of asexuals, being able to say they are asexual is an incredibly important identifier and “coming out” is just as much of step as it is for those who do not define themselves as heterosexuals."
-- Anonymous, for EverydayFeminism
[M]any identity terms are personal. When someone says that they’re Jewish or Australian, that word is part of who they are. It’s often deeply ingrained in how they relate to the world. It’s a complex package of meaning in a deceptively simple container.
“Asexual” is a word that I need. It’s a word that many others need. For years, I had no idea what I was, what was wrong with me. And then, one day, I found a word. A word that described me. A word where I belonged. A word that meant I wasn’t broken. If you take that away, I am lost and broken again. Without that word, I am invisible.
AsexualityArchive | The Comment Section: So What? Who Cares!
Intellectual Foreplay is a book of deep relationship questions. Note: for demifolk, romantic asexuals, and other less-carnal orientations, this often parses are hardcore pr0n. If you're really into emotional intimacy rather than squishing bits together, consider your environment before indulging. Everyone has things that really excite them, just not all the same things.
How do you feel about yourself? Which qualities do you like and dislike?
COMMITMENT and TRUST
What do you want out of a relationship now?
How do you see yourself in the future?
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
In your heart, do you feel like you are making the right choice by being in a relationship with your partner?
Most sexual orientations wait for someone to make the pits of their stomachs to burst with flame. Asexuals wait for someone to make flowers grow from their hearts.
-- Something I thought about while stoically reading smut. (falloutfrost)
Understanding Asexuality and Aromanticism (cover, interior)
This brochure provides a brief overview of ace and aro identities, relationships, and issues. This easy to read introduction is a fantastic resource to share with people who are getting to know and understand our community.
Common Aromantic Identities
Asexuality 101 (page 1, page 2)
A flyer by Asexual Outreach
Asexual Outreach’s Asexuality 101 flyer provides an overview of the asexual spectrum, introduces romantic orientations and the aromantic spectrum, and speaks to the intersection of asexuality with race and disability. It's a great resource to give to people who are seeking a concise introduction to asexuality.
ROMANCE | definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary
the feelings and behavior of two people who are in a loving and sexual relationship with each other: I felt as though all the romance had gone out of my marriage.