In New York there was a man named Steven, son of Joseph, and of Sarah, daughter of Liam the Fearless; she was the sister of Conor, who was the father of Patrick the Feeble, John the Round, and Francis the Mad, who all remained in Co Antrim when their aunt set out for America with her betrothed. Steven was a man so tall and strong that none could match him, though it was said that in his youth he had been of a puny stature and sickly disposition. Even then his heart was bigger than his frame, however, and his appetite for fighting was matched only by his passion for justice.
In fellowship with him was one Anthony, a man of great renown for wit and daring; he was the closest thing to a mage that modern America knew. Wealthy in both lands and chattels, he was cheery, liberal, impetuous in everything; a good trader, winning the hearts of all men. Anthony was most comely as well as doughty, like his father Howard both in face and mind. He became a good man of business, skilful in wood and iron, an excellent smith. Steven and he made common household together, had one common purse, and were the very dearest of friends.
[fireandice] (18.35): You need to decide who your audience is. If you’re planning on reciting at the next meadhall, then by all means continue as you are. You’ll have to go back and edit in a genealogy for “Anthony” though, because at the moment it sounds as if “Steven” is the one from a great family line which patently isn’t the case, nicknames won in drunken Irish bar brawls notwithstanding. You should also mention his mother. The Carbonell/Cerrera line is just as interesting as the Starks, and speaking as a mother, I find it boorish not to even acknowledge her existence.
If, on the other hand, you’re writing, as I suspect you are, for Midgardian fangirls, then get straight to the point. Armour off, shield down, straight to the fighting and fornication.
[hammer_time] (18.37): What’s a “fangirl”?
[fireandice] (18.38): Don’t be disingenuous. If you didn’t want me to know what Livejournal communities you frequent, you should have picked a less obvious username, oh God of Thunder.
[hammer_time] (18.40): So you know the conventions of the genre, then?
[fireandice] (18.41): What genre, exactly?
[hammer_time] (18.42): Slash. I suppose RPS, to be more precise.
[fireandice] (18.55): I have a passing familiarity; in my darker moments I have trawled the pit of voles. I confess when you first asked me to look over your work I assumed it would take more the form of a flyting, since that’s the way I recall Rogers’ and Stark’s actual first meeting and early interaction going.
[hammer_time] (19.01): I’m not writing 100,000 words of insults in the form of sextains. There’s no audience for that, except possibly on a kinkmeme, and I’m not going within hammer throw of that. Once was enough.
[fireandice] (19.03): Ah, vanity, all is vanity. I think you’re just jealous that Stark gets all the good lines, and your beloved Rogers has to play the straight man. For a given value of straight.
[hammer_time] (19.04): Are you going to help me or not?
[fireandice] (19.07): Since you asked me so nicely. But I don’t want my name anywhere on it, especially if it’s going to be all ergi and seidr at every turn.
[hammer_time] (19.10): Stark isn’t actually a mage, I was being metaphorical.
[fireandice] (19.15): He was Sorcerer Supreme, and you know it.
[hammer_time] (19.17): Alternate universes don’t count.
[fireandice] (19.20): Well then, you need to specify what universe you’re writing in; you can’t just jump back and forth as the whim takes you. And I see you’re not denying he’s argr.
[hammer_time] (19.25): You’re the last person to throw that in a man’s face, surely.
[fireandice] (19.27): I confess I fell a little in love with him myself when Surtur accused Rogers of playing the woman every ninth night, and Stark responded by saying he gladly played it the other eight. I’ve never met a mortal who better embodied “I do what I want”.
[hammer_time] (19.28): Yea, verily.
[fireandice] (19.29): Seriously, Thor? I know mock-Shakespeare makes the fangirls swoon, but it won’t work on me.
[hammer_time] (19.35): All right. I’ll come back to the opening. One benefit of the shipping comms is everyone knows the “characters” well; there’s not much introduction required. How’s this next bit?
He stroked the older man’s face, then leaned in to kiss his soon-to-be lover
[fireandice] (19.41): No! Absolutely not! No epithets!
[hammer_time] (19.45): Oh, you can talk, Liesmith, Silvertongue, Scarlip, Thief of Dwarves and Giants, Hairharmer, Maker of Mischief, Skywalker; need I go on?
[fireandice] (19.47): I can talk, yes, I believe that’s well-established in both myth and media. And kennings are one thing, but if you mention Rogers’ cerulean orbs even once, or call Stark the shorter man, or the smaller man I’ll DDOS the entirety of LJ.
[hammer_time] (19.51): It can be difficult to distinguish between multiple uses of the masculine pronoun.
[fireandice] (19.53): Bollocks. And last time I saw them, they were the same height. Stark is taller than Rogers when he’s in the armour. It’s not his fault the fangirls have decided a rakish midget is the only actor fit to play him. Also, his eyes are blue.
[hammer_time] (19.57): I don’t think you’re allowed to say midget anymore. Agent Coulson made the whole team do sensitivity training when a bartender stole security footage of us dwarf-tossing and posted it on Tumblr.
[fireandice] (20.01): He’s obviously never had the misfortune of visiting Svartalfheim. Is this a piece of erotica, or a sociology seminar?
[hammer_time] (20.03): Both, I think. Especially if I crosspost to Dreamwidth.
Now, Steven had one treasure he prized above all others, a shield of rarest ore, blazoned in the colours of his house, fashioned for him by none other than Howard Stark himself, the father of the man who was destined to be his boon companion.
Anthony, a man of great feeling but little sentiment as regards the past, took it upon himself to improve upon his sire’s masterwork, adding an ensorcellement of great power known as a “forcefield”.
Steven was quickly roused to anger by this importunity, and the two might soon have fallen upon each other in rage instead of passion, had the mighty Thor, on a happy embassy from Asgard, not explained that this was a very great gift indeed, comparable almost to the gift of an elven hammer that Loki had once given unto Thor.
[fireandice] (21.11): Thor, that’s not appropriate at all.
[hammer_time] (21.12): Peace, brother. This is my favourite part.
And so it was that Steven offered Anthony a gift in return, training him in the ways of unarmed combat, for he feared that his friend depended too greatly upon technological wonders. Thus they became shield brothers, and, indeed, their future destiny was written right there in that first exchange of gifts, and in the name of the fraternal order to which they both belonged: SHIELD.
[fireandice] (21.15): Need I remind you that the first words uttered by Stark and Rogers on meeting you were, and I quote: “Pretty boy” and “Prima donna” respectively? You so closely resembled the cover of a bodice ripper you reduced even Captain America to petty insults.
[hammer_time] (21.17): It would be churlish to dwell on such things. Would you want me to explain in detail how we came to be reconciled?
[fireandice] (21.19): I think you would probably have to, yes. Your readers might otherwise wonder how I went from demanding all New York worship me and pushing Stark out the window of his eponymous – and, dare I say, phallic – tower to moving into a suite in said tower.
[hammer_time] (21.23): Nonsense. Those who think you are, I believe the term is a “woobie” in the appropriate dialect, do not require explanations. Those who think you are a spoiled brat with “daddy issues” – again, I use the parlance of the internet – would not be persuaded if I wrote an additional forty chapters, and in any case I don’t have time to do so. This challenge closes at midnight.
[fireandice] (21.26): This story isn’t about me!
[hammer_time] (21.27): Not this one, no. But I’ve already started work on a sequel.
[fireandice] (21.31): I’ll collapse the entire internet if you do. Or see that SOPA and PIPA pass, which amounts to the same thing. What about the fact that they immediately then put aside their differences and formed an alliance against you?
[hammer_time] (21.35): I already showed you the chapter where I pointed out to them how perfect they were for each other. It was the first one I wrote.
[fireandice] (21.37): Yes, a masterpiece of third-party matchmaking. Congratulations, you’re now, in your cherished vernacular, a Mary-Sue.
[hammer_time] (21.41): You’re wrong, actually. A Mary-Sue is, by definition, an original character. Colonel Fury expressly said I was a good example when Captain America and Iron Man came to blows on Sunset Boulevard.
[fireandice] (21.43): That’s not the usual kind of blows exchanged on Sunset Boulevard. All right, look, I never thought I’d say this, but we’re almost out of time, and I want to go to bed. Let’s just make this one a PWP. Write up what happened last week when you threw me up against the wall in the kitchen; only make it Stark’s workshop. Everyone loves sizekink, even if neither Stark nor I are delicate flowers. Then do a find and replace for the names. And no first person.
[hammer_time] (21.45): Loki! That’s the worst kind of cheating.
[fireandice] (21.46): Everyone does it. And not just in the sex scenes. I can barely tell Howard Stark and Odin All-Father apart at times. But if you’re upstairs in the next hour I’ll help you “choreograph” your “sequel”. If not, you can sleep on the couch.
ISteve pushed him hard up against the door and pressed myhis full length against him. The leather of my breecheshis uniform did nothing to conceal myhis arousal, and LokiTony arched his own narrow hips, trying to get closer. ISteve grasped Loki’sTony’s thighs, myhis strong hands easily curving around and under, and with his usual grace LokiTony jumped as Ihe lifted, wrapping his longlegs around mySteve’s waist and his arms around myhis neck
[fireandice] (22.38): I’m starting without you, Thor!