Characters: Rictor, Shatterstar, Longshot, Dazzler, Siryn, Domino, X-Factor, Skids, Spiral, and Doc Samson.
Pairings: Rictor/Shatterstar, Longshot/Dazzler
Genre: AU, drama, romance, angst, humor.
Rated: NC-17 for extreme violence, language, and sexual situations.
Disclaimer: I don’t own a thing. I just play in the world of those who can't appreciate.
Story Summary: When X-Factor gets help in defeating
Chapter Summary: Picking up where Spiral and Dazzler left off, what happened to make Ali go off the wall? And Shatterstar's origin is finally revealed!
Part: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve,
Prequel Pieces: One, Two, Three, Four.
Extra Scenes: Chap 9,
“If you would kindly just spare a few moments of your time, I can get you your memories back.”
“What’s the catch?” Alison narrowed her eyes. “How do I know I can even trust you?!”
“Just hear me out, child,” the woman smiled and bared a row of long, pointy teeth. “Because you just might learn that you’ve had your trust in the wrong people all along.”
Alison swallowed, and took one last look at the diner before she stepped further into the alley. The Executioner was often spoken of and was very much feared back on Mojoworld. The Dazzler had never dealt with the woman personally, that she knew of anyways, and the only time she had seen her was when X-Factor had fled the dungeon and entered the nexus realm. The woman had not attacked her, however.
“Why should I trust you? I’ve only heard bad things about you, Executioner.”
Dull yellow eyes narrowed in the darkness, but the woman’s face remained emotionless. “I told you once before, human, I am a slave of Mojo like you were. I try and work on my own agenda as much as possible.”
“I saw you with him though!” Dazzler accused, fists glowing bright. “He ordered you to attack the Cadre as we fled, and you did. You stood by when Quark was killed.”
“I keep my friends close, but I keep my enemies even closer,” she explained effortlessly, with a wave of a hand. “It’s something I’ve dedicated most of my adult life to, and it's a strategy of war. Certainly you understand by this point how important it is to the bipeds of my world that Mojo is taken down.”
“Of course,” Alison whispered. “But what does that have to do with me?”
“Everything,” the Executioner responded.
“But I-- I’m only human,” Alison responded slowly. “I’m not even from Mojoworld! My life is here on Earth and the only ties I have to Mojoworld are--”
“Longshot and Shatterstar,” the woman interrupted. “Yes, I’m aware. But have you at all been curious as to what your ties to them truly are? They tell you one thing, yes, but I’m sure you would much prefer to know these things for yourself.”
“Of course, but…” Ali raked a hand over her hair. “What are you proposing exactly?”
One of the Executioner’s many arms twisted behind her back and she pulled a flat, metallic looking device from her belt. There was a long handle on one side, and a flashing light on the top. The woman’s face remained indifferent as she held it up. “I can make you see.”
“I don’t…” Alison shook her head and stepped back. “Longshot--”
“Longshot is unreliable,” she snapped, and propelled herself into the air. Ali jumped back, startled, and spun around to find the woman standing directly behind her – and blocking her way out of the alley. “You’re best off seeing it for yourself, Dazzler.”
She never finished. The Executioner growled and wound her arm back, and then proceeded to slam the device down onto Alison’s forehead.
Alison woke groggily; a bright light shone down hotly on her face, heating her skin and making her wince. The room around her was cast mostly in shadow otherwise, but she was able to make out the forms of various tables, shelves, tools, and counters. Blinking, she attempted to move her arm up to rub at her eyes, but found that she could not. She was restrained. Wrists, feet, and hips all were subdued. In a panic, she forced her head around.
Alison snapped her head around at the voice, and glared dangerously at the woman to her left. “Spiral! What is the meaning of this?! Where are we?”
“On Earth,” she replied simply, stepping forward and closer to the mutant. “How does it feel to be home for the first time in months?”
“You have to bring me back,” Alison pleaded. “You know as well as I do there’s a war going on back home! I need to be there, and there’s no time for you to be playing games, Spiral!”
“I’m not playing any games, Dazzler,” the woman spat vehemently. “I’m well aware that there’s a war going on right now. I’ve been part of it for longer than you’ve even known of Mojoworld. It was your husband and I that started it, you know.”
Alison attempted to loosen her hands again, and tried her hardest to control her breathing. She could not get stressed out no matter how bad the circumstances; she had someone else to think about now. “Spiral please; you don’t understand. I need to be there with Longshot right now.”
“I am aware,” she replied emotionlessly and approached the mutant’s body. Dull yellow eyes gazed over it for a few moments before she pulled a knife from her belt. Ali’s eyes widened in fear, and she suppressed a scream.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing!?”
Spiral said nothing as she grabbed the front of Dazzler’s shirt and tore the fabric open with her blade, stripping her until she was topless and wearing only a bra. As soon as the clothing was gone, she placed the knife back in her belt – much to Alison’s relief – and placed her palm on the mutant’s rounding belly.
Alison had no idea how to respond to that, so she did not. Spiral was unpredictable; they never knew if she was on their side or not. And with her baby’s life on the line, there was no way the Dazzler would risk putting him or her in harms way. She would do whatever the six armed woman asked – whatever this was.
“That is why you’re here,” Spiral continued, face impassive and blank. She removed her hand and stepped back. Her eyes remained on Alison’s face. “It’s your role in this war.”
“What!?” she shouted. “Look, I know you hate me – and I know you hate Longshot more! But I know that you hate Mojo more than anyone else, so why would you risk knocking us out of this fight?”
“Because you won’t win anyways,” Spiral replied simply. “I’ve been through time and I’ve been back and I know how this ends. Longshot was destined to fail from the start, and in time he will be killed by Mojo and be declared the bipeds’ ultimate let down. It will only provide Mojo great ratings.”
“So we can change it!” Alison pleaded. “If you know how it ends just tell us! We can change our strategies and our plans!”
“You don’t get it, do you?” the woman hissed angrily. “It has nothing to do with the Cadre, you, or strategies! You can change your tactics as many times as you like, but no matter what happens it is Longshot’s destiny to fail in this fight.” She turned and leaned against a table adjacent to where Dazzler was restrained. “His purpose was to rebel and start the Alliance. He was to open the eyes of the slaves and turn them against Mojo. He succeeded in that – his destiny has been fulfilled.”
Alison did not understand. “I--”
“His abilities were given to him in order for him to succeed in that task. I know this because I have been back and forth through time and the realms. I have spoken to Arize himself. I’ve seen the end of this war.”
“Just tell me what needs to be done, please,” Alison begged as she fought to keep from panicking. “You and I -- we -- can work together and take down Mojo!”
“And we will,” Spiral explained. “As I said once, woman, this is your role.”
“Just tell me! Please! I don’t understand why you’re doing this! Whatever you want me to do just tell me and I’ll do it! I just don’t want anything to happen to--”
“To what?” Spiral spun around and hissed. “Your baby?”
Alison did not respond, but nodded fearfully.
“Many years ago I was just like you, you know. Perhaps a little less maternal, but a thrill seeker nonetheless. I traveled with Longshot to Wildways to start the rebellion and free his people. We were in love.”
Alison swallowed. “Okay…”
“We fought together a long time and even spoke of marriage. Then one day, like usual, he failed in his fight and was captured. Mojo had him hollowed and thrown to Earth like the useless piece of garbage that he is,” she narrowed her eyes, and folded two arms over her chest. “I was left to be experimented on and became what I am today. A six armed freak! Longshot forgot all about me and only eventually met you.”
“I’m sorry,” Dazzler attempted. “But he didn’t know! If he did, he’d never have--”
“Save it,” Spiral snapped. “I once travelled through time in an attempt to find a way to destroy him another way. But it was there that I discovered that the being destined to end Mojo’s reign was the spawn of an Arize creation and a human. A half breed.” Pale eyes moved down to Alison’s stomach. “I was under the assumption it would be mine, as I was the only human living on that world at the time.”
“Yes,” Spiral nodded. “You were an unexpected wrench thrown in the plan. Now that you are here, the conclusion was not what I had originally considered.”
“What do you want?”
“As you said before, my hatred for you and Longshot is strong. But never could my hatred for you compare to that of my hatred for Mojo,” she explained, and stepped forward once more. “The mission of freeing the bipeds has been one I have fought for many years now. Because of my abilities, I have been able to bear witness to many of the war’s outcomes. I know what needs to be done, morally questionable or not, but I do it to make sure the outcome is the one I want.”
“Which is?” Alison questioned shakily.
“That Mojo is brought down and the child is the victor.”
“You…y-you can’t have my child.”
“If you had the chance to change history, would you do it?” Spiral questioned.
Alison stared. “W-what?”
“If someone brought you back in time to face Adolf Hitler – before the Holocaust – and you had the chance to kill him, if it would save millions of lives, would you do it?”
“Answer the question,” Spiral shouted, and grabbed the mutant by the face. “If you could save millions of lives by ending just one, would you?”
“I don’t know,” Alison admitted. “If it was at the expense of my child--”
“Your child is just one being. Think of how many children died in the Nazi invasion.”
“I…maybe. Yes. I don’t know! I suppose I would…”
“I am faced with such decisions everyday,” Spiral informed her, face masking any emotion as she backed away. “Often I am subjected to humiliation by Mojo, and hate from the very people I strive to fight for. Often I am forced to make horrid choices, cast evil spells, and destroy those in my way. But it is all done for a reason, and reasons those who do not wield my power can never understand.”
Alison felt a stray tear slip down her cheek and she cursed. “What does that have to do with me?”
“Your son is destined to kill Mojo.”
“Yes,” she confirmed. “The war starts here, within these past few years of my inhabiting Mojoworld. It is to continue for the next hundred or so years. That child needs to be in that future.”
“No!” Alison shouted.
“Yes,” Spiral glared and began to pace. “Without that child the entire biped race is doomed. He needs to be trained and prepared, and he needs to fulfill his destiny.”
“I don’t care what the fuck you or anyone else needs!” Alison shouted. “This child is mine – human – and you won’t get any of your hands on him!”
Spiral nodded. “That’s why you’re restrained. I knew you wouldn’t cooperate. You’re much too stubborn for such things.”
Alison struggled again, more tears angrily falling down her face. “No! It’s not your place to play God, Spiral!”
“Say what you will, woman, but it has to be done. And despite my hatred for you, I sympathize. I once had tall dreams with that man of yours, and I understand why you would be so willing to devote yourself to such domestic matters,” she muttered, and approached Alison once more. “Your mind tells me your husband desired the name of ‘Shatterstar’.”
Alison squeezed her eyes closed at the memories of such humorous arguments regarding the name of their child, and it only brought more grief upon her.
“In return, I will not only assign him the name that Longshot chose, but I will erase this entire thing from your memory. You will have no recollection that you were here.” The woman dropped her gaze to the ground. “You will have thought you miscarried your child in battle. The scars left over from this procedure will coincide with the injuries you will ‘sustain’ to your abdomen in the fight.”
“No!” Alison shrieked and began to yank forcefully on her restraints, flesh rubbed raw until it bled. “If you’re so adamant about a baby then have one yourself!”
“It is this one I need!” Spiral screamed, finally losing her patience. “He needs to grow up in the pens and prepare himself for warfare. He cannot risk growing emotional attachments – to be distracted from parental love. You will give him up to me and I will raise him as my own.” Spiral explained, and grabbed a large needle from one of her table tops. “Shatterstar will be his name; the name that will be fed to the masses in Longshot and Dazzler’s honour for giving up something so special. His gladiator stock designation will be Gaveedra Seven; words derived from the Cadre language – his heritage. Gaveedra meaning 'to rise above', and Seven as a tribute to the Lucky One.”
“You can’t do this!” Alison pleaded as she eyed the needle. “Please Spiral! We can work something out if you only let us--”
“As a failsafe, I will send part of him to Earth,” she continued, ignoring her cries. “Splice his genetic code in half, and give part of him a chance to live and learn on Earth. Here he will learn to develop his powers and learn social skills specified to lead Wildways. Maturity and responsibility. And he shall be called Benjamin, meaning the 'son of my pain'.”
Alison screamed as Spiral jammed the syringe into her forearm, unable to fight her off as she had her way.
“Through a psychic link these boys will be attached, and when the time comes for Shatterstar to assume his role as leader, Benjamin will be there to guide him and give him a chance to succeed.”
“No,” Alison muttered one more time as she grew drowsy.
“The shot I gave you will put you to sleep. The procedure will only take a few moments and then I will have it wiped clean from your mind. The pain and torture that will no doubt be inflicted on your child will never be known to your subconscious mind. You are safe from the knowledge of his hellish wellbeing.”
“Please,” she gazed up groggily through wet tears. “I only just want to hold him. One time. Allow him to be born…please. I just need to…” she sobbed. “I just need to see him…meet him…I just want to touch him! Just once! Please…”
“You are a hero of legend, Alison Blaire, for your sacrifice. And perhaps, one day, you will know him,” Spiral told her as Dazzler fought to keep her eyes open. “I may have a way for you to do so. However, you may never grow to love the monster he is only sure to be.”
“He’d never be a monster…” Ali glared weakly as her head dropped lower.
Spiral nodded. “I can only hope he gets his courage from you.”
“Where the hell have you guys been!?” Jamie shouted, and Longshot turned to see Rictor and Shatterstar approaching. They both looked very grumpy, and their clothes were wrecked. “Where the hell is your shirt?”
Rictor glared at him. “Never fucking mind, nosey! We got here as fast as we can; it’s not like the ‘alley beside the diner’ is good fucking directions in
“What happened?” Shatterstar demanded, and Longshot could not help but shoot him a guilty look.
“Something happened to Dazzler.”
“I don’t know,” the Cadre leader admitted. “I turned my back for one moment…and then…”
“Fekt!” Shatterstar yelled and spun on his heel to go pace a few feet away. Rictor turned and shot him a concerned look, and Longshot could not help but feel he had made an already unpleasant night for his son even worse. The Mexican just shook his head and stared at Longshot.
“Where’d she go?”
“I don’t really know,” the blonde scratched his head, and frowned at all the annoyed faces. “She blinded me! And then she ran away too, so I don’t know.”
“God this night it just keeps getting fucking better,” Rictor scoffed and backed away.
“Enough,” Jamie scolded and turned to the Mojoworlder. “Look, we’ll find her. She couldn’t have gotten too far. She doesn’t remember her way around, and I’ll bet she just needed to cool off from whatever it was you did.”
“I didn’t do anything!” Longshot insisted unhappily. “We were…uh, you know, and then she just got mad at me!”
“Za’s Vid but you are stupid!” Shatterstar yelled at him. “Why do you tell me these things I do not care to hear every single time I am around you!?”
“I am not!” Longshot defended. “I’m just telling the truth!”
Jamie pinched the bridge of his nose before looking between the two aliens. “All right, boys - gentlemen - there’s no use in standing around and yelling. We can break off into groups, and we’ll all go looking for her. No big deal.”
“Fekt, I do not want a group,” Shatterstar huffed and unsheathed a blade. “I’ll go by myself.”
“And ye honestly think ye need a knife tah do that?” Terry rolled her eyes and grabbed his wrist. “Put that away.”
He growled and did as he was told, but still looked very angry. Rictor was staring at the warrior with concern, while Terry just looked annoyed. Monet and Guido had already began leaving the alley in search of Ali, and Madrox just sighed and snapped his fingers to create a dupe. “Ter, you can have him.”
“I don’t wanna go!” the dupe protested. “I’m cold!”
“Says the guy with the sweater!” Rictor glared at him. “Suck it up, cabron.”
“Nice hickey, slut, where did you pick up the hooker?” the dupe taunted.
“I outta knock your teeth out, pinche culero!” Rictor seethed.
“Jamie, do ye have tah send me with asshole-dupe?” Terry perked an eyebrow.
Madrox groaned and snapped his fingers again, and a new dupe smiled happily at Terry. “Did someone want to go on an adventure? Because I'm ready to go, stylin' and profilin'!”
The redhead just chuckled amusedly before wrapping her arms around the dupe’s middle and taking off into the air. Jamie Prime, on the other hand, reabsorbed jerk-dupe just as Ric attempted to punch him in the face.
“You should’ve let me hit him!” Rictor yelled.
“Let’s go,” Jamie rolled his eyes and grabbed the Mexican by the elbow, leading him from the alley. “We’ll cover the west side!”
Longshot nodded and turned back to Shatterstar, who was staring back at him with a scowl on his face. The look made Longshot’s stomach twist painfully, and he approached the younger man. The warrior just watched him coolly, and did not say a word when the Cadre leader placed a hand on his shoulder.
“I’m sorry,” he told him sincerely.
Shatterstar just clenched his jaw. “We should not waste time. She could be in danger.”
“I just want you to know that whatever happens…with her, I mean, she might say some things that she doesn’t mean…” he trailed off and dug his fingers tighter into ‘Star’s torn open shirt. “I don’t really know what she knows.”
“Whatever,” Shatterstar muttered. “I’m aware that humans throw temper tantrums; I’ve witnessed many since I’ve been here.”
“No, I mean…” Longshot paused, and dropped his arm back down to his side. “I know that you know. About Ali being your, um, mother. I just don’t want you to get the wrong idea if she says something bad to you.”
“I’ve probably heard worse,” he frowned before turning on his heel to walk away.
“Wait!” Longshot called. Shatterstar turned and looked at him. “And I know you know about me too. I’m sorry I didn’t say anything to you.”
The younger man shrugged. “I didn't ask.”
"That’s not an excuse,” Longshot mumbled. “We should have been more open from the start. It’s not right to keep secrets!”
Shatterstar nodded. “Perhaps; but I do not hold it against you, Longshot. I’m sure you had reasons, just like I did.”
“You’re a smart kid, you know that?”
Shatterstar just smirked and continued walking down the alleyway. “I’ll take the north side of the park, you take the east.”
“You got it,” Longshot nodded, and bounded off to get to work.
Shatterstar leapt over a bush and perked his ears, listening to the sounds of the area around him. It had been his mission to find the Dazzler, and it was one that he had been unsuccessful in for over a half of an hour. So far he had seen many people walking canines, and a couple of men sleeping around burning garbage containers, but no sign of the pink haired woman. ‘Star had no idea what sort of behaviour to expect from her, but he did know what she was capable of and for that he had to be prepared.
The amount of light and the intensity she was able to produce was not only astonishing, but could be very damaging to his eyes. Many times back in the dungeons he had seen her defend herself against the monstrosities that lived in there, and he could not allow himself to fall victim to that same trap. He would not fail his mission to retrieve her.
However, something deep within Shatterstar hoped that it was not him that had angered her. He was unsure why he felt that way, just that he did. It was probably safe to say that he did care about her – she was his mother after all, even if they had not had much of a relationship outside of protecting each other from being eaten by cannibals. It was something odd and strange, more natural he supposed, but definitely not something he could explain.
Which was why he had been running through the park at top speed, and had not stopped until that very moment when he saw a faint flicker of light. A large pond was situated at the outer limits of the area, and amongst the banks was a line of trees. The light was not very bright, but the reflection shining off of the water was enough to catch his attention. Slowly, the Cadre warrior approached the trees, soft on the balls of his feet. He would not allow his boots to make any noise; it would be silly to startle her. So he slid easily down the outer bank and landed soundly in the grass below. From his place, he could see Alison staring blankly off into the water, back against an old oak. She was opening and closing her hand, allowing small sparks of light to shoot off of her fingers. He stepped closer, feeling a strange nervousness flutter within him.
Fekt! Warriors did not get nervous! What was wrong with him this day? The club had been bad enough, but now he was fearful of facing his own mother. It was like a very bad MTV reality television show.
Shaking his head, Shatterstar forced back any unnecessary emotions and just approached the woman. She did not look up at him as he stood tall over her, but he knew that she knew he was there. Her ears had perked at the sound of his steps, and she had peered at him from the corner of her eye. Thankfully, she did not try to attack, so he took that as an indication that he was safe for the time being.
Stepping in front of her, he dropped down to a crouch on the balls of his feet, and just stared at her. “Dazzler?”
Blue eyes finally moved to look at him and blinked a few times. Her hands stopped sparking and she pulled her knees up to her chest. Just watching him in silence for many moments. Shatterstar tilted his head to the side and watched her back, and frowned when a tear fell down her cheek.
“Why are you crying?”
She squeezed her eyes shut as she let out a sob, more tears falling through thick lashes. Alison did not say a word, but after a few moments she lifted her hand and pressed it against his face. The touch surprised him, but he did not dare move so to not startle her. She just pressed her palm there, fingers tracing the lines of the star shaped brand on his face. The rough, bumpy skin there tickled beneath her fingers and he blinked again, just watching her dumbly.
“I…” she started, but she choked up as more tears fell.
Her hand dropped down from the brand and along his jaw, to his nose, his lips, and finally to his hair. She just continued to cry as she felt him, and he frowned. “Dazzler?”
“I just wanted to touch you,” she whispered.
Shatterstar swallowed, not at all knowing what to do. She was so sad, and he was unsure why; Alison had not explained to him what the problem was. “Did I do something wrong?” he asked her.
“No,” she shook her head, and pulled away to wipe her eyes. “Not at all.”
“Then why did I make you cry?” he asked, dropping down to his knees in the grass.
“I-I…” she sniffed and grabbed onto his hand; another touch that surprised him. “I just missed you, Shatterstar.”
“Missed me? I was only gone for two hours!”
She laughed through her tears. “I’m so sorry. I never knew that-- I…she did bad things to you, and I never got a chance to--”
The ball of nerves came back, and Shatterstar inwardly cursed it. Perhaps was she talking about the Executioner? The one who had been taking over his dreams - and the one he had been confused about? Za’s Vid! How did Dazzler know about her? “I am unsure what you’re referring to.”
“I know that your memories are still probably tricky,” she said slowly. “But I just want you to know that I never meant for you to be hurt. Anything that Spiral did…”
The name caused a nasty shiver to run through him, and he frowned. “Okay; it is not your fault.”
“Do you…” she trailed off and wiped at her face again. “Do you know who I-- that I’m…?”
“My mother?” he finished hesitantly, voice lower than he meant for it to be.
She choked up another sob, and a fresh batch of tears came trailing down her cheeks again as she fought to wipe them away. The sight made Shatterstar dismayed; he was unsure what to do in such a situation, yet he also did not like to see her so sad. They were together now, so there was no reason for it.
“You don’t have to cry,” he told her. “Unless you are sad that I'm your son.”
“No,” she told him, shaking her head. Again, she lifted her hand up and pressed it against his face just taking him in as if she were looking at him for the very first time. “I just can’t believe you’re here and in front of me. This whole time…”
“Yes I was,” he frowned. “I don’t remember why though. Maybe I was there the whole time? But gone for just a short while?”
“No,” she shook her head. “I remember-- I remember everything now. A lot of things that I don’t want to remember, too, ‘Star. Still everything’s just…too much. That’s why I’m sad, not because of anything that you did.”
“Are you sure? Because it seems from the memories I have gained back that all I ever seemed to do was make people upset. I do not want to make you upset, Dazzler,” Shatterstar admitted.
“I’m sure,” her chin trembled again, and she moved her hand to the back of his neck. “If anyone needs to be sorry, it’s me. I should’ve protected you. I let you go. Everything bad that happened to you is because of me.”
“I don’t blame you,” he replied, attempting to make her feel better. And it was the truth, too.
Without another word she pushed herself forward and wrapped her arms around his neck, enveloping him in a tight hug. He could feel her crying against him again, and it made him frown. So much crying and emotion confused him, and all he wanted to do was the proper human thing and end such bad feelings for her. But he did not know how. Instead, he just mirrored her actions and slowly wrapped his arms around her and hugged her back. She tightened her hold considerably when he touched her, so he figured he did the right thing.
They stayed that way for a few moments as she struggled to compose herself. The only sounds around them were the ripples in the water and the wind through the trees. It was odd, but the strange bond he had felt towards the woman only felt stronger now that things were in the open, and he hoped it would only be a step toward making everything right in both of their miserable lives. She, at least, deserved it after all.
“Are you guys okay?” a voice called down, and instantly Dazzler pulled away. Her fists glowed bright and she glared up at Longshot.
“I don’t want him here,” she hissed.
Shatterstar frowned and grabbed her hands. “What? Why? He is your mate, Dazzler!”
“He…” she frowned sadly, and wiped at her face. “He should’ve told me. He shouldn’t have kept it from me! He kept you from me.”
“No, he did not,” Shatterstar explained slowly. “Longshot had reasons and he wanted to protect you. He is a stupid and annoying man, but it’s apparent that his emotions for you are very strong. He was worried for you.”
They peered back up to the top of the banks where Madrox, Rictor, and Longshot all stood. The blonde looked absolutely relieved that Alison was okay, but made no move to approach. Shatterstar figured it was for fear that he would be struck again, and to back down from battle with a woman said a lot. He did not want to disrupt her.
Alison climbed to her feet and stared up at her husband, emotions flickering like wild fire in her eyes. Shatterstar slowly placed a hand on her shoulder when he stood as well. “I’m not like Doctor Phil about these things, but perhaps you should allow him an explanation before you damage his retinas permanently. And Za knows he needs no more brain damage.”
Her eyes watered as she laughed again, and she managed to catch him off guard with another hug, that time grabbing him around the waist as he towered over her. “Don’t talk about him that way; he may be a little off the walls, but he’s your father.”
“Lucky me,” Shatterstar muttered, and placed his hand on the top of her head awkwardly. “Do you always touch so much?”
“I’m sorry,” she pulled away. “You just have to understand that I…missed a lot. It hurts, and it felt nice to have the chance to just…”
“Fair enough,” the warrior conceded, and let his gaze move to Longshot, who was now only standing a few feet away. The younger man let go of Dazzler, and watched in uncomfortable silence as the two other adults stared at each other.
“Ali, I’m sorry,” Longshot told her slowly. “I don’t know what happened, but I never meant to scare you. I love you.”
Alison looked up at Shatterstar one more time before looking back at Longshot. She stared wordlessly at him for a few moments before she nodded. “Can we just go home? I’m freezing.”
Longshot nodded quickly and handed her off her jacket. “I remembered it.”
She gave him an appreciative smile, and her eyes softened. “Thank you.”
Shatterstar stood awkwardly between them and scratched his head. “I saw on television once that families have group hugs at times like these. I do not want to do that.”
Alison snorted slightly before she began walking away. “Don’t worry, silly. No group hugs for us.”
“Good,” he heaved a relieved sigh.
Longshot just rolled his eyes and walked with them. “I would’ve had a group hug.”
“You frighten me,” Shatterstar told him.
“I frighten me too,” Longshot muttered, and kicked at the ground beneath him.
Alison frowned and watched her husband for a couple of moments, guilt and unsaid apologies masking her expression. She took a deep breath before reaching for his hand slowly and holding it between them. “Honey, you scare me too.”
Shatterstar rolled his eyes and walked ahead of them. “You guys are weird.” But by the sound of the hushed chuckles behind him, Shatterstar figured that they were probably just trying to go back to normal. It would take awhile, but he hoped – for their sakes – that they managed to succeed.
And then maybe he could work on being normal with them.
Go to chapter fourteen.