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good company

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Marty isn’t sure what he expected from living with Rust, but somehow the endless stepping on screwdrivers wasn’t it.

He’d known Rust would come with…quirks. Christ, between what he’d seen of how that man lived and the shitshow that his life had become in the past few years, nothing would have shocked him. Too much time alone made an already crazy man absolutely batshit, he figured. Rust was a lunatic. He’d half expected the man to sleep upside down like a fucking bat.

Rust didn’t sleep upside down like a bat, but he was a pain in the ass, albeit a more helpful one than Marty’d had reason to expect. It’s not uncommon to come home to see Rust with a knitting needle, furiously darning one of Marty’s old sweaters that he’d intended to throw away due to the holes in it. (He’d made a “little woman” joke exactly once, and Rust had fixed him with an absolutely withering stare and delivered a speech so blistering that it made Marty want to crawl into a hole and die; he couldn’t follow a lot of it but he was pretty sure Rust had verbally ripped his dick off, so he shut up after that, no matter how ridiculous Rust looked in Marty’s old armchair with his giant knitting needle, brows furrowed and his mustache hanging down over the bottom half of his face, like some hangdog old granny.)
“Hey Rust,” he calls as he comes in. “I wanted to try out that new burger place. I know I’m, uh, off the red meat, but I think they’ve got turkey burgers that should be somewhat acceptable - Rust, man, what the fuck are you doing.”

“I’m fixing your VCR, Marty,” Rust says. He’s on his hands and knees in front of the TV, and his voice is muffled by the - Jesus Christ - screw between his teeth.

“We don’t need a fuckin’ VCR, Rust, it’s 2014. Where the hell did you even find that thing?”

“Marty,” Rust drawls, so fucking slow, like Marty’s name is about five syllables long. “You’re home.”

“Yeah, great fuckin’ observation,” Marty grumbles, making for the couch before seeing the mess, giving up and collapsing at the rickety kitchen table instead. “That’s a great observation, Rust, did your special detective skills teach you that?”

“Taught me more than you,” Rust says. At least Marty thinks that’s what he says; his voice is more or less muffled from his head being half under the TV.

“What use,” Marty sighs, “do we have for a VCR? Everything’s - you know, everything’s streaming now, Rust. We get Netflix on that thing - “

“After Maggie showed you how to use it,” Rust supplies. Marty’s seriously considering kicking him straight in the ass. He’d never see it coming.

“Yes, thank you very much, that’s a very important detail.” Marty sighs and runs a hand over his face. “Is there some reason that you feel the need to keep this outdated technology in our house? Or that you take over the entire goddamned living room - “
“Nothing’s outdated, Marty,” Rust says. “Your concept of time is limited. I don’t know why I expected anything else from you.”

“Oh, now I know you’re full of shit.”

Marty can’t see Rust’s face, but he’s smirking. He just knows it.

“I mean, the socks are one thing, Rust - “

“There you go with the socks again, Marty,” Rust says. He actually sounds disappointed. Fuckin’ asshole.

“People throw away socks when they get holes in them, Rust. It’s what people do. Normal people get holes in their socks, they throw them away, they pick up another pair from Walmart. No one bothers to knit their socks, or make their own hand towels - “

“Well, I’m sorry you grew up with that sense of privilege. Must have been very convenient for you not to learn any sort of skill - “

“Oh, for Chrissakes - “

“To actually keep yourself alive and functional without the aid of mass consumerism, to worship at the American capitalist ideals that keep men in the 21st century from taking responsibility for themselves and their place in the world - “

“Yes, I’m sorry my parents shopped at stores like normal people, not all of us grew up in the goddamn Alaskan wilderness - “

“Maybe you should have, Marty, you’d be a lot less useless, not to mention you might have made some progress on your outdated sense of gender roles - “

“Do you ever get tired of hearing yourself talk,” Marty sighs.

“At least I’m striving to not be part of the problem, which is more than I can say for you.”

“Yes, you’re a regular saint, and you walked to school every day through ten feet of snow, in your old shoes and a jacket you made from, from the deer you skinned yourself, ten miles and uphill both ways - “

“Not both ways,” Rust says, and Marty’s 80 - no, 90% sure that he’s smiling, just a little, with the corner of his mouth.

“Oh fine,” Marty sighs, getting to his feet, “fine, go electrocute yourself fixing somethin’ we’re never gonna use, see if I care - “

“Marty,” Rust says, loud enough that he actually stops for a moment. “Extra hot sauce on my burger.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know. Shit always gives you heartburn, but fine.”

“And no tomatoes.”

“I know, Rust,” he sighs, grabbing his coat as he walks out the door. Like he’d forget.